‘Dateline: Before Daylight’ explores the mysterious killing of college student

Nation & World News

(NBC) — Tonight on an all-new two-hour “Dateline,” when a college student Jesse Valencia is found murdered in a residential neighborhood, investigators are left without any answers in sight. But as police search for the truth, they are stunned to learn that one of their own might be involved.

In a quest for answers about the Columbia, Missouri murder, Keith Morrison interviews Jesse’s mother, Linda Valencia, Officer Steven Rios, Jesse’s friends, Detective John Short and more.

Here is an excerpt from Morrison’s chilling report:

When he was about seven years old, Jesse Valencia asked his mom to sit down.

LINDA VALENCIA: And he said, “Mom, I’m not gonna live to be — very old.” He said, “I’m gonna die at a very young age.”

KEITH MORRISON: Did he tell you where that thought came from or why he thought that?

LINDA VALENCIA: He — he never did. He just said he knew that he was gonna die young

And now at the age of 23, Jesse’s awful prediction had come true. His half-naked body found lying in a lonely patch of grass, so far from home.

LINDA VALENCIA: I never dreamed that he was gonna die that way.

Whatever happened to him, the investigators figured, must have started here — behind this open door down the block from the crime scene. It was the door to Jesse’s apartment. Looked like Jesse may have flung it open, fleeing his killer.

JOHN SHORT: We believe he was headed to a friend’s house to get help.

KEITH MORRISON: And his assailant chased him, caught up to him, attacked him?

JOHN SHORT: Yes.

And showed no mercy.

LINDA VALENCIA: I mean, he was my — whole life and I just couldn’t believe that he was gone.

Tonight, Keith Morrison speaks with the convicted murderer from prison.

Watch “Dateline” tonight on News 2 at 9 p.m., right after an all-new “The Blacklist” for another “Crimetime Friday” you won’t want to miss.

On the air since 1992, Dateline is the longest-running prime-time program on NBC. Dateline’s work has been honored time and again with broadcast journalism’s highest awards.

Lester Holt is the principal anchor, joined by correspondents Andrea Canning, Hoda Kotb, Josh Mankiewicz, Keith Morrison and Dennis Murphy. 

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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