Part 2: The Dog Trainer, the Heiress and the Bodyguard

A celebrity dog trainer is murdered -- now, exclusive interviews reveal the truth behind the crime

The Dog Trainer, the Heiress and the Bodyguard: Part 2
The Dog Trainer, the Heiress and the Bodyguar... 43:13

Produced by Liza Finley with Marcelena Spencer and Sara Rodriguez

[This story originally aired on Aug. 13, 2011. It was updated on Dec. 27, 2014.]

WINTHROP, Wash. - It has been more than a year since celebrity dog trainer Mark Stover disappeared from his home in Anacortes, Wash.

"I love this area... I love everything about it, but it's different," Stover's sister, Vickie Simmons, said. "It's now the murder scene."

Police scoured the surrounding waterways.

"Mark Stover could be anywhere. He could be in a shallow grave. He could be in several pieces. We still don't know," says Private Investigator Leigh Hearon.

In the months before he died, Mark Stover feared someone was out to kill him. Terrified, he hired Private Investigator Leigh Hearon.

"He thought he was being followed...and that he was concerned for his own life," Hearon told "48 Hours" correspondent Peter Van Sant. "It's almost as if he a premonition that he was going to die..."

And he told Leigh Hearon he thought he knew who wanted him dead: his ex-wife Linda Opdycke.

"I think Mark had a very real fear of what Linda was capable of doing to him," said Hearon.

The mystery had all the makings of a Hollywood movie. Linda Opdycke, the daughter of multimillionaire Wally Opdycke, drawn into the sensational murder investigation of her ex- husband; her boyfriend, Michiel Oakes, charged with the crime.

"Michiel would never murder anybody," Linda Opdycke told Van Sant in an exclusive interview.

"And those who accuse him of doing just that?" he asked.

"They don't know him and they don't know the whole story," she replied.

No one believes in Michiel Oakes more than his four children. Amanda is his oldest daughter. "We are 100-percent sure he is not a murderer..." she said.

After getting a divorce from his first wife, Oakes took full custody of his four kids.

"...he'll sacrifice everything. His time, his money and like [laughs] everything just so we're happy and have a good life," said his daughter, April.

The son of a Boeing supervisor, Oakes grew up overseas. Smaller than most kids his age, he quickly learned how to stand up for himself, says his mom, Corrie. "He's a little warrior, but it's a gentle warrior..."

That little warrior grew up to become a self-taught security specialist skilled in firearms.

"I ended up training with SWAT teams and so on and it's what we call force-on-force training," Oakes told Van Sant.

Oakes' expertise in security eventually led him to Linda Opdycke, who told him her ex-husband, Mark Stover, was stalking her.

Mark Stover Voicemail: I'm a guy that can hold a grudge until I am dead!

"Michiel did an initial assessment for me and looked at the situation, my records and files, and saw what I was dealing with..." said Linda Opdycke.

She confided in him the threats: "He told me that he would ruin my life," said Opdycke; Stover's menacing phone calls: "And I can hurt you too and I know how to do it;" and the fear.

Opdycke had turned her home into an armed fortress with more than 20 firearms and a video security system.

"I remember thinking this can't be real because no woman alone could go through this amount of harassment..." said Oakes.

Despite getting a protection order against Stover, the fear lingered and Oakes was there to protect Linda. They grew closer and fell in love.

"It's a beautiful love," Opdycke told Van Sant. " my opinion it's legendary. It's something that you read about in romance novels or movies..."

Oakes and his children moved into Opdycke's home in Winthrop. It all seemed perfect.

"Mark, as far as I knew, was leaving me alone and he was going on his way, and I was going mine," she said.

What Opdycke didn't know, Oakes says, is that Mark Stover had set his sights on a new target.

"Mark Stover sought me out and told me that I would do what he wanted," Oakes said. "From that point for almost six months I lived in constant fear."

Oakes says his first terrifying encounter was in a Costco parking lot - when Mark Stover appeared out of nowhere.

"He said that he knew who I was and he knew that I was in a relationship with Linda... and he said there was something of his that she wouldn't give back and that I was going to get it for him..." said Oakes.

As bizarre as it sounds, Oakes says Stover demanded Linda's wedding photos and if he didn't get them, Oakes' children would pay the price.

"He went on to describe what my daughters were wearing that morning..." he said.

"And what did you realize at that moment?" asked Van Sant.

"That he had been following us the whole time ... And he said you're going to get this, these wedding pictures back and they would be OK," Oakes said, getting emotional. "And I was very much afraid."

So afraid, Oakes trained his children how to defend themselves.

"...He started placing a firearm in my room," Amanda said, "and he told me if I thought I heard an intruder I was to take the handgun and fire at them."

Oakes says Stover's obsession with those wedding photos went on and on. He demanded secret meetings, including two at a church in Anacortes.

"Did Michiel tell you that Mark Stover approached him and told him information about the kids and demanded wedding photos?" Van Sant asked Linda Opdycke.

"No," she replied.

"Why wouldn't he share this vitally important information with you?" Van Sant asked.

"My guess, and knowing Michiel, is he really did not want to stress me out more..." she said, adding, "[Mark] was a deeply disturbed individual... He was a very disturbed person..."

Then Oakes says Stover demanded that he come to his home in Anacortes. Oakes says he had no choice -- he had to go. "I was under tremendous pressure to do exactly what he wanted, exactly how he wanted it or suffer the consequences..."

On Oct. 28, 2009, at 2:30 a.m., Michiel Oakes is captured on Linda Opdycke's security cameras leaving her home. His destination: Mark Stover's house.

"It was put up or shut up time," said Oakes.

He says Stover was obsessed with those wedding photos.

"I was supposed to deliver them to him or else..." he toldVan Sant.

"And the 'else' was?"

"My children were frequently mentioned as the 'else,'" he replied.

Oakes didn't have the photos, but he went anyway -- thinking he could reason with Stover. Just in case, he says he went prepared for the worst.

"I was always armed in every meeting with Mark Stover," he explained. "I had worn my Kevlar vest to every one of those because he was getting progressively less patient with me."

Oakes says he parked down the road and walked to Stover's house. Once inside, Oakes says Stover left him alone. Moments later, he returned with a gun.

"He caught me totally by surprise and shot me in the vest and he was not wearing Kevlar and he was shot," Oakes said.

Asked what gun Mark Stover was killed with, Oakes told Van Sant, "His own gun."

"So what are you telling me? You shot Mark Stover in self-defense?"

"Absolutely," said Oakes.

Oakes says the next thing he knew, he was outside and staring into the ferocious face of Stover's guard dog, Ding.

"The dog came at me and I had to shoot the dog," he explained.

Soon after, employee Stephanie Poor arrived for work. She sees a man at the top of the driveway.

"I saw who I thought was Mark going into the house, coming out of the house putting stuff in the back of the hatch," she said.

"What made you think it was Mark?" Van Sant asked.

"Because it was his hat and his jacket and why wouldn't I think it was Mark?" she replied.

Having put on Stover's trademark hat and coat, Oakes loads the dead body into the back of Stover's station wagon and tears off.

"It was the worst moment of my life. I wanted him to be alive still," Oakes said. "...I would never harm anybody for any reason except to defend my family, myself."

But lead Detective Dan Luvera isn't buying it. He says he doesn't believe that Mark Stover threatened Michiel Oakes' children.

"No, not at all," he told Van Sant. "I don't think it happened..."

In fact, Det. Luvera doesn't believe any of Oakes' story.

"I believe Michiel Oakes went to Mark Stover's house that day with a mission... and that mission was to kill him," he said.

After fleeing, Oakes drives Stover's station wagon to a parking lot. A woman calls police.

911 Call: There's two vehicles facing back to back...looks like somebody's transferring something back and forth.

Was it the body? If it was self-defense, asks Luvera, why did Oakes move it? Why didn't he call police? And why did he drive to meet Jennifer Thompson -- his second wife who he divorced in 2009, just hours after the shooting and tell her this disturbing story?

"The tension was so thick, the unspoken was so loud," Thompson told Van Sant. "He was noticeably agitated and not OK."

They went for a walk down by the water's edge.

"I said, 'Are you OK?' And he said, 'No. I think I'm in trouble,'" Thompson said. "Michiel told me if the police saw what was in the back of his car he'd go to prison for life."

Thompson says Oakes then implied that whatever he'd done, he'd been hired to do it.

"Michiel told me that it was a job gone bad," she said.

Now Thompson believes he was talking about a murder for hire.

"I believe Michiel Oakes is the hitman," she said. "He took on a job to go take someone out..."

Thompson believes that Michiel Oakes had long been a killer in waiting based on his unusual philosophy.

"He felt there were evil bad people who needed to be removed, taken away... taken out," she told Van Sant. "Not everyone was capable of taking those people out. He prided himself on being one of them."

"Your ex-wife claims ... you describe what had happened earlier in the day as a job gone bad. A job implies you were hired by someone," Van Sant remarked to Oakes.

"Yeah, well, I think she has an interesting approach creatively speaking," he replied. "I believe my exact words were 'I had a meeting ... something went dreadfully wrong and I will be blamed for it...'"

He got that right. Oakes was arrested and charged with the murder of Mark Stover. But investigators weren't so sure he acted alone.

"Did you want to talk to Linda Opdycke?" Van Sant asked the detective.

"Oh, most definitely," said Luvera.

"Did she agree to speak with you?"

"No, she did not."

Linda Opdycke briefly spoke to police the night Oakes was arrested. The next day, on her attorney's advice, she refused to answer any more questions. Michiel Oakes was freed on bail, but the lovers were forbidden by court order to see each other or communicate.

"I think Linda Opdycke knows more than what she's telling," said Det. Luvera.

For example, how did Michiel Oakes know to put on Mark Stover's trademark hat and coat the morning of the murder? "Linda, it all comes back to Linda," said Luvera.

"Investigators believe that you must have given Michiel details of Mark Stover's life -- what hat he wore during the day, what car he drove," Van Sant pointed out to Opdycke.

"That's simply not true," she replied.

"The implication that Michiel was hired by someone to go over and kill Mark Stover," Van Sant continued. "Was it you?"

"No. Absolutely not," she replied.

But Mark Stover's niece, Julia Simmons, believes Oakes was played by a master manipulator.

"I'm sure Linda just had him wrapped so around her little finger, she coulda gotten him to do anything," she said.

Police believe a peculiar call from an unidentified man, in August 2009, was the first strike in an organized campaign to destroy Mark Stover:

911 Operator: Dispatch. Can I help you?

Caller: I need to, ah, report something.

Caller: I've seen the gentleman in question unloading drugs...

911 Operator: And do you know the name?

Caller: I know a name... The last name is Stover. S-T-O-V-E-R.

911 Operator: "Why are you whispering?

Caller: Ah, yeah. It's something very delicate.

Caller: I'm trying to make it completely anonymous...

" ...the police found a small metallic box on the undercarriage of Mark's vehicle which contained a couple of marijuana cigarettes and some very low grade cocaine," according to Leigh Hearon.

Stover wasn't arrested, but feeling he had been set up, he asked Hearon, his private investigator, to get to the bottom of it.

"Mark had been in fear of his life for some time," she told Peter Van Sant.

When Jennifer Thompson heard the tape, she instantly recognized the distinctive voice: it was her ex-husband, Michiel Oakes.

"...when I heard it -- I thought it was very disturbing because it was the moment I realized whatever he had done it was premeditated," she told Van Sant.

"...I believe that Michiel Oakes planted the drugs with or without the help of other people," said Leigh Hearon.

And while Linda Opdycke has never been implicated, Hearon thinks she's the only possible link between Michiel Oakes and Mark Stover, since Hearon believes the two men never met.

"In the two-and-a-half months that I worked for Mark, he never mentioned the name Michael Oakes," Hearon said. "He never gave any indication that he knew who Linda's boyfriend was."

Van Sant asked Oakes, "Did you plant drugs on his car?"

"No," he replied, pausing. "No, I did not."

That drug call was made at a time when Oakes insisted he was being harassed by Stover. So who was really stalking who?

According to Stover's fiance, Teresa Vaux Michael, "It was after the drug planting that he thought that his life was in danger..."

Stover may have had a reason to be afraid. Authorities believe Oakes traveled to Anacortes just four days before the murder. Home security video taken at Linda Opdycke's home that same day shows Oakes loading up what appears to be two rifle cases. He says he told Linda he was going on a hunting trip. They shared a long goodbye.

"...the long, passionate embrace that was captured on Linda's surveillance cameras indicate that Michiel Oakes thought of himself as a prince who was out to slay the dragon -- his perceived dragon, for the damsel in distress. And his perceived dragon was Mark Stover," said Hearon.

"They are comparing it to a wife sending her soldier off to war," Van Sant remarked to Opdycke of the long embrace.

"Well ... maybe they haven't experienced true love, and Michiel and I really love each other ... it was always long goodbyes for us. They were difficult," she said. "We do not like to be apart."

"Is it possible that this love drove him, in order to protect you and to protect his children, to plot and kill Mark Stover?"

"No. Michiel would never initiate a plot or a plan or an aggressive attack towards another person," Opdycke replied. "It's just not who he is."

But on the day Stover died, authorities believe Oakes made a three-hour drive from Linda's house, over the Cascade Mountains, to a Walmart near Stover's home. He's caught on surveillance cameras shortly after 5 a.m.

"You can see him across the parking lot. He grabs a shopping cart and he's on his way," Det. Luvera said. "He buys a backpack, some weights, some anchor line ... cammo pants, cammo shirt..."

"You did purchase weights at 5:20 in the morning?" Van Sant asked Oakes.

"Yes," he replied.

"You purchased anchor rope?"

"Rope. Yes."

"Camouflage suit?"


"Now does that sound like someone who's buying supplies for a meeting? Or someone who's buying supplies to go kill someone?" Van Sant asked.

"A meeting with Mark Stover where you're carrying guns and you're wearing body armor is not exactly a meeting at Starbucks," replied Oakes.

Famed defense attorney John Henry Brown, who once represented notorious serial killer Ted Bundy, says there's no connection between Oakes' Walmart shopping spree and murder.

"Michiel did not go to that meeting thinking everything was gonna go smoothly," Brown explained. "Michiel was prepared to defend himself that day. That doesn't mean he went there with premeditation."

Oakes says the bullet hole in his Kevlar vest proves Stover shot him. But prosecutor Rich Weyrich believes Oakes shot his own vest.

"It appeared to have gone in very close to exactly straight, exactly in the middle of the bulletproof vest," Weyrich pointed out. "What it suggested was it was done either before or after as somewhat of an alibi."

Detective Dan Luvera took "48 Hours" back to Stover's house at the exact time he believes Oakes attacked.

"I believe Mark Stover let the dog out probably through this carport door... Ding comes outside, in this driveway area where I believe Michiel Oakes shot Ding several times," he explained. "Mark comes out the door to see what's going on with Ding... I believe Mark Stover got shot right where we're standing and quickly retreated back into the house..."

Luvera believes Oakes finished him off in the hallway because of the blood on the walls.

"If this is a case of self-defense as you say, why didn't you call police immediately and report this?" Van Sant asked Oakes.

"With my knowledge of law enforcement ... nothing added up with Mark Stover," he replied. "I don't know if it's because he was so tight with local law enforcement... I don't know what it was ... from that first meeting with him did not feel like calling the police would do anything but [pauses] kill my kids..."

Police believe Oakes didn't report it because he had committed murder. Oakes admits to putting Stover's lifeless body in the back of his SUV, but he's never revealed to investigators where he got rid of it.

"What did you do with Mark Stover's body?" Van Sant asked Oakes.

"I think that probably the nitty gritties on that are going to have to wait till court," he replied.

"You have a story to tell you want the world to hear?"

"Absolutely, absolutely," Oakes said. "And 12 reasonable people are going to see a reasonable man taking care of his kids first and on that basis, I will be exonerated."

Nearly one year to the day Mark Stover was gunned down at his house, Michiel Oakes goes on trial for his murder.

Prosecutor Rosemary Kaholokula begins the case by connecting the dots between Oakes and Stover's ex-wife, Linda Opdycke.

"Number one, Mark is dead. Number two, that the defendant killed him," Kaholokula said in her opening statement. "Ms. Opdycke was armed to the teeth... Mr. Oakes became her 'bodyguard.'"

A bodyguard, prosecutors say, who became an assassin -- shooting an unarmed Mark Stover in his home.

"Mark's house was searched after his disappearance," Koholokula continued. "There were no guns found in his house. He didn't have any."

They meticulously present a mountain of evidence against Oakes, beginning with two women who saw him moving what may have been Mark Stover's body.

"And he had a big huge wad of plastic. It looked like a big huge roll of plastic," Tami Gilden testified.

The jurors see the damning Walmart video and learn about shell casings recovered from outside Stover's home that match Oakes' .22 caliber pistol.

Then, Jennifer Thompson -- who asked her face not be shown in court -- tells the story that links her ex-husband directly to Stover's killing ... and suggests it may have been a murder for hire.

"He said he was doing a job. And something went wrong," she told the court.

"If the jury believes your testimony, he's likely to go to prison for decades," Van Sant remarked.

"It just was a matter of right and wrong," Thompson said. "And I can feel bad and I can cry over it. But he killed someone. How do you not go forward with that?"

But the defense had a strategy to turn the tables on the prosecution, saying the real victim in this case is Michiel Oakes.

"Mark Stover made it perfectly clear that if Michael didn't do what he wanted him to do, Michael's children would be dead," says John Henry Brown.

"Michiel has never pointed a firearm at any other human being in the course of his entire life ... until the morning of October 28th of 2009. And then he did it only in self-defense," defense attorney Corbin Volluz told the court.

With his freedom hanging in the balance, Michiel Oakes must now convince 12 jurors that Stover's threat was real.

"He said that I was going to do what he wanted, and he began to describe [pauses] he began to describe what my daughters were wearing," Oakes told Van Sant.

"To school?"

"Yeah, that morning."

Oakes then put on that Kevlar vest he wore at Stover's house and demonstrates for the court how he acted in self-defense after Stover shot him.

In the demonstration, Oakes lunges at his attorney, Corbin Volluz, grabs his left arm and tackles him to the ground.

"I don't think we were expecting that," Brown said. "That was amazingly fast, Mr. Oakes. Was that the way you did that?"

"That's how I was trained," Oakes replied.

Oakes even had an explanation for that shopping trip to Walmart. He says the supplies - the rope, the weights and the camouflage - would only be used if Stover sent out his attack dog. Oakes' plan was to flee to a nearby water tower.

"My hope was to attach a weight to the D-Ring and use it to basically access the ladder on the water tower," he testified.

"And quickly tie those weights to the end of the rope, throw the rope up on to the ladder and pull himself up," Det. Dan Luvera said, looking up at the water tower. "This is like a James Bond movie gone wrong."

Oakes then reveals the secret so many people have longed to hear -- where he put Mark Stover's body.

"There's kind of a dilapidated looking dock thing," he told the court. "And I got my car as close to that as possible and muscled him out, and dropped him in the water."

The dock is just a mile from Stover's home.

But Oakes has a problem. Authorities searched that very spot just days after Stover disappeared ... never finding a body.

"I know Michiel Oakes doesn't want us to find the body ... 'cause it's gonna tell us that Mark was probably shot in the back of the head or in the side of the head," Luvera told Van Sant. "It's gonna tell us stories that Michiel Oakes does not want us to know."

"Are you lying to us?" Van Sant asked Oakes.

"It's a natural question and it's a question that I respect from anybody," he said. "I am telling the truth."

Oakes' defense team is now ready to call a dramatic witness -- a former employee who will crush investigator's claims that Stover was unarmed. Meghan Mataya will testify that Stover invited her on a hunting trip just two months before his death and asked her to carry his gun.

"It was my understanding he was gonna go get a gun out of his safe from wherever he was storing it," said Mataya.

Mataya is also the only other person who can back up Oakes' claim that Stover was indeed stalking him.

"Mark told Meghan Mataya that he saw Linda and Michiel in the Costco in Kennewick," said Brown.

The same Costco where Oakes says Stover first confronted him.

"He said you're the guy that's f-----g my wife," Oakes told the court.

But in a decision that cripples the defense, the judge rules there is no way to verify that Meghan Mataya's story is true and she is not allowed to testify.

Michiel Oakes' life now depends on someone who had remained in the shadows, refusing to speak to investigators: his lover, Linda Opdycke. She is now willing to come forward to save his future.

"Hearing what happened to Michiel and that he ended up being a victim of stalking, it was really important for me to stand up and talk about that," she told Van Sant.

Opdycke begins by telling the jurors just how dangerous Mark Stover could be.

"I woke up with Mark in my bedroom. ...And he had a pistol in his hand, and laid it on the pillow next to my head," she testified.

With Opdycke captive on the stand, the prosecutor zeros in -- raising the possibility that Opdycke was somehow involved in Stover's murder.

Prosecutor Rosemary Kaholokula: Isn't it true that if this is a case of self-defense, it gets you off the hook, too?

Linda Opdycke: What do you mean by that?

Prosecutor Rosemary Kaholokula: If a jury were to find that this was self-defense, you wouldn't have anymore liability either, would you?

Linda Opdycke: I have no liability in this case.

In fact, prosecutors have never charged Linda Opdycke with any crime.

"Was Linda Opdycke involved in the death -- in any way -- in the death of Mark Stover?" Van Sant asked Michiel Oakes.

"Not at all," he replied. "This was about my children and me and Mark Stover. ...He started a gun fight and I won."

But will he win this final battle? The jury will now decide.

With the jury deliberating his fate, Michiel Oakes and his family come together and wait.

"I just cannot believe that God put him in my life and we have the possibility of him not being in my life," Linda Opdycke said as Oakes embraced her at their home.

As the agonizing wait drags on for three days, Mark Stover's sister, Vickie Simmons, worries the jury is deadlocked and prepares herself for the possibility of an acquittal.

"Being a woman of faith, I know that everything done in secret will eventually be shouted from the housetops," Simmons said. "I believe the truth will come out eventually."

Inside the courthouse, the jurors comb through the mountain of evidence, assembling a 20-foot timeline and elaborate fact sheets to help them find the truth.

"It was absolutely overwhelming," juror Heidi Toussint recalled. "I just kept thinking, 'If it was really self-defense, why didn't he call the police?'"

After four long days of examining the evidence, the jurors voted for the first time and it was unanimous.

Stover's family and the investigators gather on one side of the courtroom; the Oakes family on the other.

The verdict: We the jury find the defendant Michiel Glenn Oakes guilty of premeditated murder as charged.

There's tragedy and relief.

"I'm just so happy that we were able to get justice for my uncle. It's been a long road but we're really happy," said Julia Simmons.

Michiel Oakes gives his children one last hug goodbye and is led away.

"We had, you know, nothing but expectations that this would work out and it was like beyond shock to hear that guilty verdict," said Oakes' daughter, Amanda.

Asked what would he tell Michiel Oakes children, juror Tom Jenkins gets emotional as he replies.

"That I truly wanted to believe his story... um I did everything I could to try to believe his story but there just wasn't enough facts," said Jenkins.

Five weeks after the verdict, Oakes heads back to court for sentencing, where he must listen to Mark Stover's anguished loved ones describe their grief.

"He was an extremely intelligent, witty man with a phenomenal gift," Vickie Simmons said in court. "Until the day I die, I will always wonder, 'What happened that morning? Why was he murdered? Where is my brother?"

Michiel Oakes' mom, Corrie, begs Judge Mike Reichardt for mercy. She starts out calmly - telling the judge, "He's got a gentle heart" - and builds to a fervid pitch, a desperate mother pleading for her son's life.

"I can see, I can hear what he said when the gun went off. He sat there beside him and didn't know what to do," she continued. "So I trust that you will be merciful."

After listening carefully, the judge addresses Michiel Oakes.

"I almost have more questions now than I had when we picked the jury," said Judge Reichardt.

He goes on to say it's a simple story, one that has played out through the ages. "How does the Knight win the hand of the princess? He goes out and he slays the dragon that's chasing the princess.

"I don't know where Mr. Stover is," Judge Reichhardt continued, "but I'm pretty sure I know where he it isn't. And that's off the dock at the end of the Swinomish Channel."

As for Oakes' claim of self-defense, the judge told Van Sant, "I believe that the calculating and manipulative plan was something that I hadn't seen to that degree in a long, long time. ...And, I also felt that the cruelty to not disclose where the body was - that struck a chord in me."

Michiel Oakes gets the maximum sentence: 26 years behind bars with no chance of parole.

Oakes' children have lost the father they love; His son, Andrew, lives with his grandparents; daughters Amanda and April live with Linda Opdycke.

"They're a lot of ruined lives in this," Opdycke said. "It's tragic for every single person involved in this."

Detective Dan Luvera says the investigation remains open. Linda Opdycke -- never charged -- continues to adamantly deny any knowledge or involvement. She and the children still believe Oakes acted in self-defense.

"We're sticking together," Amanda said in tears. "And, no matter what, we're fighting tooth and nail - because when one of us is under fire, we all are ... we know his innocence and we're not going to take no for an answer."

Vickie and Julia Simmons believe Michiel Oakes is just one part of the story... and the final chapter is yet to be written.

"My job is to follow this story to the end," Vickie Simmons said. "I will always be looking for who did this. Who was in the conspiracy? Why it was done? That's my job."

"We just still don't know so much," Julia said. "We're just gonna have to hope that Michiel Oakes realizes that he was not being the hero. We need the truth. We need the body."

"I need to find him," Vickie said. "And I just can't let that go."

Vickie Simmons has posted a $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of accomplices in her brother's murder.

Michiel Oakes is appealing his conviction.

Stover's dog, Ding, survived her gunshot wounds, but died months later of cancer.