Saturday, December 1, 2007
"Capture the Queen: A 48 Hours Mystery"
"48 Hours Mystery" is on tonight, December 1, 2007, on CBS stations. From The New York Post HOW DID SHE DO IT? (A review of "48 Hours Mystery") By Linda Stasi '48 HOURS' TRACKS COLUMBIA FRAUD STUDENT December 1, 2007 -- HOW does anyone disappear, reappear in a different guise, disappear and then reappear again in a post 9-11 world? It's impossible. Isn't it? The government likes to think it is. And hell, we like to think it is, too - unless of course you're the one doing the disappearing. Take Esther Elizabeth Reed, a 20-year-old woman who disappeared from her Seattle home in the summer of 1999. You might know her, or at least recognize, her as Brooke Henson, because earlier this year she made the front pages here. At that point, she had been uncovered as a fraud while enrolled at Columbia University. As a student there she maintained a 3.22 GPA, and played competitive chess. Before that she was a student at Harvard and before that she was enrolled at the Cal State Fullerton campus of the debate institute there. Turns out that Brooke Henson, one of just four identities that Reed, a high school dropout, assumed, was the name of another young high school dropout who'd disappeared the same summer that Reed disappeared - but in South Carolina. Her other assumed identities at various schools included Natalie Fisher and Natalie Bowman. When Henson's family found out that a student with her ID was registered at Columbia, they thought they'd found their missing relative. But before they could identify her, Reed had disappeared again. "48 Hours Mystery" takes a hard, long look into the Esther Reed mystery and it's riveting. You'd think it would be tough enough to disappear and assume another identity, but to do so using the name of a missing high school drop-out and still get into Harvard and Columbia? Now that's impossible! Reporter Peter Van Sant and private investigator Steve Rambam together try to track down the missing-again young woman and what they uncover is fascinating. For some reason, she left meticulous records at the last apartment she lived in NYC - credit card bills, you name it. Rambam found everyone she'd been in contact with over those months, including her best friend from her Fullerton days, Bita Shaghagi, a medical student; Steven Fouts, a Chicago resident and convicted sex offender whose cell phone Reed had called repeatedly; and Kyle Brengel, a military academy cadet whom Esther had dated and to whom she'd e-mailed her desire to become a spy. And that's why the government is more than a bit concerned with finding Reed. Is the high school dropout/brilliant college student with a lot of mysterious money and some plastic surgery a spy? Or is she just a psycho who happens to be better at the game than anyone else? Hard to tell, because she's totally vanished. Again. Great stuff.