Husband pieces together wife's last movements to find out how she was killed
A look into a grieving husband Jan Cilliers' investigative work after his wife Christy Giles and her friend Hilda Marcela Cabrales died after a night out.
Christy Giles, 24, left, and Hilda Marcela Cabrales, 26, were two friends living in Los Angeles, California. Christy, a fashion model from Alabama who had studied interior design, met Hilda in 2021. Hilda was an architect and interior designer who just moved to Los Angeles from Mexico.
A concerned husband
Christy and Hilda went out together for a girls' night on Nov. 12, 2021. It would be the last time their loved ones ever heard from them. Christy's husband, Jan Cilliers, didn't wait to look for clues to find his wife and her friend.
A typical Friday
Christy had a typical Friday afternoon on the beach with her cat, Loki, said Jan Cilliers. She told Cilliers about her plans to go out with friends later that night. Christy also sent Cilliers videos and photos of her and their cat, as they watched the sunset. She texted Cilliers, "I wish you were here." Cilliers told "48 Hours," "I will forever wish that I was there, too."
Girls night out
The two friends started their night at an art exhibit at the Soho House in West Hollywood, and later went to see one of their favorite DJs at a warehouse party in East Los Angeles.
The last dance
A video posted to social media showed Christy, pictured, and Hilda dancing in the VIP section at the warehouse party. They were accompanied by a third friend who left that party early.
One last text
Christy Giles' husband, Jan Cilliers, was in San Francisco for the weekend to visit his father. He said he received a text message from Christy around 1 or 2 a.m. on Nov. 13, 2021. He was already asleep when that message was sent.
An unknown address
When Jan Cilliers woke up, he texted Christy "Good morning". He received no response. Cilliers assumed Christy was sleeping in after being out the night before. As hours passed and Cilliers still hadn't heard from his wife, he checked her location and saw she was at an unusual address in West Los Angeles. The couple willingly shared their locations on their iPhones as a safety feature.
A different location
Jan Cilliers noticed that Christy's location later changed to Southern California Hospital at Culver City. Cilliers called Christy's parents who live in Alabama to let them know he hadn't heard from her and was worried something bad happened. He also called the third friend who was out with Christy and Hilda that night — she hadn't heard from Hilda either. Cilliers immediately left San Francisco to get back to Los Angeles.
The worst call
Hospital staff called Christy's parents, Leslie and Dusty Giles, and said, "… she didn't make it."
Christy was dead when she arrived at the hospital. Police later told Christy's family that she had been dropped off at the hospital by two men wearing a hat, mask and hoodie. They were driving a car with no license plates. They were also driving in a Black Prius without license plates.
They knew where Christy was, but where was Hilda?
The friend who was out with the women the night before shared phone locations with Hilda. She and Cilliers compared notes. Hilda was at the same unknown address in West Los Angeles that Christy's phone pinged at earlier that day.
The address was the apartment of a man named David Pearce — a self-proclaimed "Hollywood producer."
Dr. Hilda Marcela Arzola-Plascencia wondered what happened to her daughter. "I received the phone call in the middle of the night saying that she was so ill, she was very bad, she was intubated," she told "48 Hours," Hilda's family rushed to Los Angeles to be by her side.
Jan Cilliers was able to see Christy and Hilda's text messages by logging into Christy's laptop. Cilliers noticed the last text messages between Hilda and Christy were at 5:30 a.m. on Nov. 13, 2021. Christy texted Hilda, "Let's go" and Hilda texted "I'll call an Uber, 10 min away".
Cilliers realized something happened to the women at that mysterious West Los Angeles address. "The Uber waited outside and left shortly … after they didn't show up," said Cilliers. "… That was the last text message Christy ever sent."
Cilliers' investigation on instagram
When detectives showed up at the hospital in Culver City, Cilliers gave them all the information he had. The next day, Cilliers continued to look for clues to get to the bottom of what happened to Christy and Hilda. He turned to social media for answers.
"I just really wanted to get to the bottom of what happened," he told "48 Hours." "I was completely in the dark about everything. … And I guess the story went far and wide. A lot of people shared it."
On Nov. 14, 2021, a homicide detective was assigned to investigate Christy's death. Her husband Jan Cilliers continued to update his Instagram followers on the case. Christy's autopsy report showed she had cocaine, fentanyl, and GHB, known as the date rape drug, in her system.
Photos in the VIP section
Cilliers reached out to the owner of the warehouse and was connected to the event photographer from the night Christy and Hilda went out. The photographer provided the photos to Cilliers to help him get more information. The photos show Christy and Hilda in the VIP section. The photographer also sent Cilliers photos of Hilda with David Pearce.
Tracking Christy and Hilda
Cilliers' investigation continued. He also obtained surveillance footage from the warehouse where the party the women attended was hosted. The surveillance images showed Christy and Hilda leaving the warehouse with David Pearce and two of his friends. They all got inside a vehicle.
Hilda was still in the hospital with her family by her side. "My heart broke in [a] thousand pieces," said Hilda's father, Luis Cabrales. "Because I saw … my baby, unconscious, and fighting for her life." Still hopeful she would wake up, the toxicology report showed Hilda overdosed. She had cocaine, fentanyl, and ecstasy in her system.
After two weeks, Hilda Marcela Cabrales died in the hospital just one day before her 27th birthday.
One month after the women were dropped off at the hospital, the LAPD-FBI Fugitive Task Force and Metropolitan Division arrested three men in connection to the deaths of Christy Giles and Hilda Marcela Cabrales.
David Pearce charged
David Pearce has been charged with two counts of murder, two counts of providing a controlled substance [fentanyl], and seven sexual assault charges from seven other victims, unrelated to Christy and Hilda's case. The seven other charges date back as far as 2010. Pearce remains in custody at an LA County Jail. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Brandt Osborn has been charged with two counts of accessory to murder after the fact. "I have no comment, I'm innocent," he told "48 Hours
Christy's parents, pictured with their daughters, had a memorial service in her hometown in Alabama. Half of her ashes were given to Jan Cilliers, who has spread them around their favorite places. Christy leaves behind a loving husband, her parents, her older sister Misty and her nana, Sandy Leslie
Hilda's family donated her organs. Back in Mexico, friends honored her by celebrating her life at her favorite park. They lit candles and floating lanterns as they wore white, listened to her favorite music, and ate her favorite cake. Hilda leaves behind her parents, stepparents, and three siblings. Her dog Tomas is now taken care of by one of her best friends.
Fighting for Hilda and Christy
A trial date has not been set in this case. Christy's parents continue to attend court hearings in Los Angeles, and they are hoping the men responsible are brought to justice.