On Friday, June 5, Dateline NBC is airing for only one hour instead of the usual two hours. Here’s what you need to know about the episode, “Before the Storm.”
Dateline is at 10 p.m. ET/PT on June 5
Dateline NBC often airs from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. ET/PT on Fridays, but this week, it is only an hour, airing from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. ET/PT. NBC is airing rebroadcasts for World of Dance and The Wall at 8 p.m. and 9 p.m., respectively.
The Dateline Episode is Also a Rebroadcast
The June 5 episode is titled “Before the Storm” and it is a rebroadcast; the episode originally aired on July 15, 2019. “Before the Storm” is about the disappearance of Crystal McDowell, a mother of two who vanished during a hurricane, which made investigating her death that much harder.
What happened was that in August 2017, McDowell, a realtor in the Houston area of Texas, disappeared the day before Hurricane Harvey hit the state, on August 25, according to NBC News. She was seen leaving her boyfriend Paul Hargrave’s home in Baytown, Texas, in the morning, then she stopped responding to calls and text messages.
When her uncle Jeff, who raised Crystal after her parents died when she was 11, contacted Crystal’s ex-husband, Steven McDowell, about not being able to get a hold of her, Steve initially claimed that she was supposed to come to pick up their children Madden and Maui from his house but she never showed. When Hurricane Harvey hit the area, the investigation was thrown into chaos, though officers continued to try to find Crystal.
“It was horrible. The rain wouldn’t stop. It just would not stop. … We had deputies that were flooded out of their homes. One of our investigators lost his entire house. Our local Texas Ranger and his wife were flooded out of theirs,” District Attorney Cheryl Lieck told 48 Hours, adding that they still continued to search to Crystal.
Three days later, as the floodwaters receded, Crystal’s car was found in the Baytown Motel 6 parking lot with the keys inside. Eventually, security footage from the motel showed Steve parking the car there and leaving.
As authorities dug deeper, they discovered that Steve and Crystal’s divorce had not been very amicable. Then just a few days before her death, Crystal uninvited Steve from a family cruise that her new boyfriend was attending, which investigators believe started Steve’s downward spiral.
Eventually, Steven Took Authorities to Crystal’s Body
After having his two youngest children taken away, Steven more or less confessed to his oldest daughter, Krysta, from a previous relationship, that he had killed Crystal. Then he eventually told the police that he and Crystal fought, he strangled her, and he put her into trash bags and into his car. Steve led authorities to her body 15 days after she went missing.
At the trial, Steve argued it was a heat-of-the-moment killing, which in Texas can get a defendant as little as two years in prison. But the jury saw things differently and found him guilty of murder, sentencing him to 50 years in prison. He will be eligible for parole in 2042.
The couple’s two young children are currently living out of state with a friend of the family who is seeking full legal custody, according to CBS News.
Dateline NBC normally airs Fridays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.