(NBC) — Wendy Trapaga was found dead in an empty warehouse parking lot in Miami just days after her wedding in 2002.
As detectives began to investigate, suspicious details of the newlyweds’ lifestyle were uncovered.
Here is a preview of Dennis Murphy’s report for Friday night’s “Dateline”:
Wendy and Michel got hitched at Miami Beach City Hall. Three days after the wedding, they were back in Miami Beach. Sunday evening, Wendy called her mother to say they were going to a movie and then dancing later at a club.
Then, in the middle of the night, in the wee hours of Monday morning, Wendy’s mother got an unexpected call from her new son-in-law: Michel saying they had argued and Wendy had stormed off saying she was going to her mother’s house. Since then the bridegroom said he’d repeatedly called Wendy without success.
Right around then, in a bleak warehouse district miles from the after-hours bars in Miami, a sanitation worker was startled to see the body of a young woman in a blue dress slumped between two cars.
It was the newlywed, Wendy. News traveled fast.
RITA TRAPAGA: I get a phone call from my stepmother screaming, crying. “Wendy’s dead. They took her from me.” She told me, “It’s on the news” and I went looking. And there’s my sweet little sister being put on a gurney and it’s just so surreal.
DENNIS MURPHY: This desolate warehouse place?
RITA TRAPAGA: All I kept thinking about was her being alone there by herself and praying to God that she didn’t suffer.
The killer who bludgeoned her to death also erased the beauty of her young face.
A honeymoon weekend for the new bride had ended behind yellow police tape.
Watch, “Dateline: Mystery in South Beach” at 10 p.m. on WFLA.
“Dateline NBC” is the longest-running series in NBC primetime history and is in its 30th season. Dateline is anchored by Lester Holt and features correspondents Andrea Canning, Josh Mankiewicz, Natalie Morales, Keith Morrison and Dennis Murphy.
Dateline is the #1 Friday newsmagazine and reaches more than 17 million people every week through its broadcast, and millions more through its social media platforms and podcasts.
The stories range from compelling mysteries to powerful documentaries and in-depth investigations. When major news breaks, they go to the scene, putting the pieces together to bring the viewer the full picture. And in every story they tell, they help the real people who lived the events share their journeys with the viewer.
This past season, Dateline debuted two new podcasts, “Mommy Doomsday” and “Killer Role,” hosted by correspondent Keith Morrison.
In February, NBC also greenlit a straight-to-series inspired by the story featured in the Dateline podcast series, “The Thing About Pam.” Two-time Oscar-winning actress Renee Zellweger will star and executive produce the series, in collaboration with Blumhouse Television, NBC News Studios and Zellweger’s Big Picture Co.