The latest episode of Final Witness dealt with love gone wrong and the consequences when children get involved. The story was that of beautiful Russian doctor, Nina Reiser. She met and fell in love with an American named Hans Reiser. When she visited him in America, she decided to become his wife.
The marriage yielded two children; a boy and girl. At first things went well, but they eventually soured. Nina and Hans disagreed on methods for raising the children. Nina wanted them to have normality. Hans insisted they not attend a public school but be privately taught by experts.
Eventually, Nina realized their problems were too difficult to surmount. She even engaged in an affair with one of her husband’s friends — Sean Sturgeon. But once Hans found out, he put a stop to the relationship.
Next, Nina turned to Anthony Zografos. Unfortunately, his love for her was smothering. His uncontrollable jealousy drove a wedge between them.
Then one day, after dropping the kids off with Hans, Nina vanished. Her husband insisted she’d run back home to Russia, but her friends knew better. Nina wouldn’t leave her children.
The police investigation became splintered. Still, eventually they ruled out Zografos and Sturgeon as suspects. However, they couldn’t rule out Hans Reiser, especially after a grocery receipt the timing of Nina’s disappearance was wrong.
The police started observing Hans’s increasingly strange behavior. He used cash; never credit cards. He drove around like someone was following him. Then one day, as he led the police on a chase before stopping and parking his car three miles from home. After checking the vehicle for something, he took off on foot.
The police moved in to look at the vehicle and found evidence that Hans might have killed his wife. The passenger’s seat was missing, but that wasn’t enough for a conviction.
A warrant to search Hans’s home yielded more evidence, including a blood stain on a small pillar just inside Han’s front door. That got sent off for DNA testing.
The police kept gathering information about the Reiser’s failed marriage. Hans hadn’t wanted his children to visit a doctor, which was a problem. Son, Rory, prone fo ear infections needed surgical repair, but Hans said no.
Nina filed for the right to make medical decisions for the children. The action angered her husband. He used any excuse to pit himself against her. Once the kids weren’t ready when he came to pick them up. So he shoved his wife out-of-the-way.
Friends advised she seek protection. She did at first, arranging for a third-party to take part in the child switch. But she worried that sent the wrong message, so she decided to drop off and pick up the kids at Hans’s house instead. It was during her last drop off that Nina disappeared.
The blood DNA evidence suggested foul play. It contained DNA from both Nina and Hans. Reiser got arrested, but prosecutors worried the circumstantial evidence wouldn’t be enough to convict him. That’s why they put his son on the stand.
Rory offered a picture of the events on the night his mother disappeared. One thing stood out. It was the picture of a person stuffed inside a bag being taken down the stairs. When the DA asked how a person could fit inside a bag, Rory demonstrated by curling his body into a tight ball in the fetal position.
The evidence led to Hans’s conviction of 1st degree murder. The sentence was 25 years to life.
However, Nina’s body still hadn’t been found. So the DA negotiated a plea with Hans. If he recounted what happened to Nina and led the police to her body, they’d cut the count to 2nd degree murder. Hans agreed, confessing to choking Nina to death. He also led them to Oakland hills and ultimately to Nina’s shallow grave. Her body was found inside a bag, just like her son had illustrated.
Ultimately, Nina had trusted too much in the wrong person. She wanted to believe the best of everyone, but her beliefs proved fatal. She became the Final Witness to her own death.