New twist in case of mother’s mysterious death on ‘Dateline’


(NBC News) — Tonight on “Dateline,” when Leslie Neulander dies suddenly after what appears to be an accidental fall in the shower, two friends join forces to seek justice on her behalf.

Here’s a preview of Andrea Canning’s report on the latest twist in the case:

Leslie was officially declared dead at the scene. The news would be impossible for friends like Mary Jumbelic to absorb.

MARY JUMBELIC: I was confused at first. I thought maybe the information was incorrect.

ANDREA CANNING: Did you say, “How? Details?”

MARY JUMBELIC: I think I couldn’t even ask that question initially because I was too overwhelmed with the news.  I just cried.

Another friend, Terri Barr, heard the news from her daughter who was close with Jenna.

TERRI BARR: I just didn’t believe it. I thought this just can’t be true. Jenna had sent out a group text to her friends that, “My mother’s died.” “She fell in the shower,” is what I think it said.

Terri got in her car and headed straight for the Neulanders.

ANDREA CANNING: What’re you thinking as you’re driving to the Neulanders’ house?

TERRI BARR: I just couldn’t even believe it.  I just thought, “I can’t believe I’m losing Leslie.”

ANDREA CANNING: And all you know is that it’s an accident.

TERRI BARR: Right. And it just sounded so freaky.

Freaky for sure, after reviewing the scene, Sergeant Norton made a quick assessment. He wasn’t going home anytime soon.

TOM NORTON: I asked the fire chief to remove all of his personnel from the bedroom – paramedics, everybody. I wanted ’em all out so that I didn’t have to worry about contamination. I called my captain.  I told him quite frankly, I said, “I don’t know what I have.  But you need to come here.”

Crime scene experts were on the way, but what would they find? An accident or something much darker? It was the start of a mystery that would torment a community for years to come.

You can watch “Dateline” tonight on NBC4 at 9 p.m.

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