Strangeland: Ep 13 of 14: The Witness

audiochuck audiochuck 3/2/23 - Episode Page - 25m - PDF Transcript

When we interviewed the Nara's upstairs neighbor, Thurman Jennings, he told us about another

neighbor, someone named Craig, who lived right next door to the Nara's.

According to Thurman, Craig was home the day of the murders and saw an unidentified man

enter the apartment with Sassi and Anish.

We search our list of neighbors and find that the woman who lived in the unit to the right

of the Nara's has a son named Craig, who was living with her back in 2017.

We track down someone who might be Craig in a neighboring town, and Betsy Shepard heads

over to talk to him.

Hey, I'm looking for Craig.

Is he here?

I think he's here.

Can I just give him this information to see?

Can I just deliver the message?

And if, thank you so much.

Craig's sleeping, his sister tells me, and he can't come to the door, so I leave a note

with my contact info.

But when I don't hear from Craig, I decide to go back to his house the next day.

Hi, are you Craig?

Hi, I'm Betsy.



The reason that I'm coming here is I'm investigating.

There's no investigation here.

I don't know nothing.

Craig knows why I'm here, from the note I left with his sister.

And he does not want to talk to me.

He seems really upset at the idea of talking about the murders.

But he also can't help himself.

The story pours out and stops and starts.

I'm sorry.

I did not mean to disturb you.

I'm really sorry.

I'm not saying you disturbed me, but that case disturbed me because there were good people.

And yeah, I was home that day.

And yeah, I seen them pull up.

You did?

I seen them go in the house together.

I've been there for a long time.

I watched everything.

The guy that dropped her off, dropped her off every day.

I got him off every day.

The kid and come on.

He never goes in the house.

This one day, he went in the house and he came out.

Craig says a man who was not Hanyu would drive Sassi Nanish and drop them off at the apartment every afternoon.

Craig never saw him go inside with them, except for the day they were murdered.

The guy that went in that day, did you ever see him again after that?


I was waiting for him.

That was my job.

I was waiting for him.

The camera on standby was waiting.

That was your last question.

That was my last answer.


And that was it for Craig.

This is something we've come up against a lot throughout our reporting.

People who don't want to be interviewed because they don't see how any good will come of it.

Why put themselves at risk if the case isn't ever going to be solved.

And for Craig, it's even more personal.

He says the Nara murders were extremely traumatic for him, and he doesn't want to dredge up the past.

But then, a week and a half later, I get a call.

It's Craig.

He says he's changed his mind.

He's ready to talk.

I'm Betsy Shepard.

I'm Ben Adair.

And I'm Tingku Ray.

This is Strange Lands Season 2, Murder in Maple Shade.

13, The Witness.

Craig calls back because he feels he owes it to Sussie and Anish.

He says that after the murders, he was haunted by them.

And he means that, literally.

It'll come through my walls.

And it will come up to me.

And I will feel the presence.

It'll always be like some screaming and crying.

And she will be trying to tell me.

She'll be trying to tell me, like, we need help.

Like, we need help.

It's not like, man, I'm trying, you know.

But it's nothing I can do.

It bothers me because I was home.

And if I could do something, I would have.

But then Craig realized there is something he can do.

And that's why he called us.

Because you asked me, and the case is not solved.

And I feel bad that it's not solved.

I told him, like, it'll be okay.

And it's not okay.

It's not okay.

Craig doesn't want us to use his last name for privacy reasons.

Plus, he usually goes by a totally different name.

My name is Cool Nurse.

That's what they call me.

I'm cool as a breeze.

I'm cool as do you and no.

Not too many people that move the way I move.

Nobody in the street knew my name.

It was like, whatever that person is, he cool as hell.

And that's how I got my nickname from the street.

Craig has a big personality.

He's smart, self-assured, and funny.

But when the questions turn to the gnaras,

he's noticeably different.

After all these years, he's still shaken.

I don't cry a lot, but I cry that day.

I was the last person to see him walking in our unit.

He is stressful.

He here hurts me.

I'm a golly person.

My soul is real bright.

And that crushed me.

That was the most disturbing thing I ever witnessed in my life.

In many ways, Craig seems to be an investigator's dream witness.

He lived right next door to the gnaras.

He was home the day of the murders.

And he spent most of the day outside, people watching.

Because that's just the kind of person Craig is.

I'm always outside.

I'm a cancer.

I like nature.

I see everything growing.

I study everything.

I observe everybody.

I gotta make sure I know what's going on.

So I always study my neighbors.

Craig was unemployed for part of 2017, so he was home most days.

He'd hang out in front of his apartment, smoking,

working out, and listening to music.

Craig says he didn't interact much with the gnaras,

mostly because of the language barrier.

But he quietly observed them from afar.

They stayed to themselves,

but I could see that the mom was going through something.

I could tell she was going to talk to the relationship

because she was probably tired of the same routine every day

from what I see, the same thing.

Like, it never changed for years.

Craig came to know that routine pretty well.

He'd see that same unidentified Indian man

drop off Sasi and Anish in the late afternoon.

And he never gets out the car.

He always parked the car in front of his house

and he would wait for him to get out.

And then he would wait for him to get in the house.

And then he would pull off.

This happened every day, Craig says,

Monday through Friday, like clockwork.

But March 23rd, 2017, was different.

The mom and son got out

and she was already halfway down her path

when he came out the car.

And he said something to her in their language.

That's another thing.

I can never understand what they're saying

because they don't speak English.

So he said something to her and he said something to her.

He ran in with her and maybe she forgot something

or he had used the bathroom.

But I did notice that he did go inside her unit

and the car was still outside running with the hazards on.

And I was kind of, you know, being nosy.

I kind of went.

But if you got to think about it,

my friend would tell me this shit

like months prior before this happened.

Craig says this friend he's referring to

is a woman that he was romantically involved with at the time.

She lived in a nearby apartment in Fox Meadow.

And according to Craig, she and Sasi were friends.

And Sasi confided in her.

The girl I'm talking about,

she used to work as a security guard.

So she used to always wear like crop uniform.

Like, you know, like, you know how you be security.

I guess she felt comfortable talking to her about stuff like this.

And she was someone that she lived at Fox Meadow too.

She was a neighbor.

Yep, yep.

They're right next to us.

What was this woman's name that was the security guard?

Not telling me that.

Okay, okay.

She's out.

That's not my business.

It's not her business and she's not supposed to beat me then.

Tell me some of the stuff that you heard about

Sasi Kala that Sasi Kala shared with this woman that you were seeing.

I know that the dad was cheating.

He had another girlfriend on the side.

But I know she was playing on breaking up with him and divorcing him.

She was trying to get the kid and he went and let her.

You know, I guess he was threatening her or whatever.

She knew something was coming.

So Craig says he was extra vigilant.

And on the day of the crime, he kept an eye on the man as he went into the Nara's apartment.

He doesn't remember the exact time, but Craig says it was probably around 4 p.m.

when they usually got dropped off by the same man.

He was there for a few minutes.

About how long, how many minutes?

About 10 minutes.

It was quick.

Did he, was he like, seemed like he was in a hurry or just kind of normal?

He was walking in the fast pace.

He did walk, you know, like he was in a rush because his car was still parked out front with a hazard zone.

Like he just came out the unit and went straight to the car.

Craig says he didn't see any blood on the man as he was leaving.

And he didn't hear anything alarming coming from the apartment.

The guy was just inside briefly, then came out of the apartment and drove off.

At the time, Craig didn't think too much of it.

You know, I didn't pay the money and until the murder part popped up, it all struck me like lightning.

I don't know where.

Like, what the hell is happening here?

He got the car today and then there's a murder.

Craig says this man was wearing a dress shirt like he'd just come from work.

He appeared to be in his early 30s.

Black hair.

He drove a grey sedan.

So all in all, not very distinctive.

But Craig did recognise him.

When he got out the car, it surprised me because I was like, well, that's funny

because that's the same guy that be, you know, at the house time to time with the dead.

Like on the weekends, like they'd be out front chilling, they'd talk.

The man Craig says was friends with Hanu.

But when Craig eventually told all this to the police, he says they weren't hearing it

because they were too busy honing in on another suspect.

That's coming up after the break.

Craig says he recognised the man who followed Sassi and Anish into their apartment.

He and Hanu would hang out on the Nars patio on the weekends.

But they was always outside just to drink.

That's how I knew the dude when he got the car.

I was like, that's weird.

But at first, Craig was reluctant to share this information with police.

He was like, I don't know.

But at first, Craig was reluctant to share this information with police.

He was scared that if he did, the murderer would retaliate against him.

Well, I come from a little snitch.

I don't tell people business.

I don't want my name.

I don't want no precedent.

Now, well, these guys are coming to kill me now.

They could be watching me.

I'm the neighbour, bro.

My mom lives here too.

It's not just me.

You know, they gonna shoot me and my mama.

My home one day and she did because of y'all.

Fuck out of here.

I didn't want to say nothing.

The night of the murders, police knocked on Craig's door to question him and his mom.

Craig says the conversation quickly took an accusatory turn.

By midnight, hearing no screaming, it felt like I had something to do with it.

You see what I'm saying?

All because I didn't hear nothing.

And I don't think that was right.

Oh, you didn't hear no screaming, you didn't hear them screaming through the wall or nothing?


Like, come on.


We didn't hear nothing.

But we're not quiet people.

Oh, yeah.

We was drinking at another time.

Just me and my mom.

My mom was in the house.

She was playing on the computer.

You know, drinking her little margaritas.

I had some ENJ.

I had my little, you know, smokes.

We had music on.

I'm out front.

She in the house.

You know, nothing new.

They were investigating my mom too.

And my mom was like, we didn't hear nothing.

We both tell the truth.

They don't believe us.

Craig says he felt like investigators were trying to pin the murders on him because he

was an easy target.

And that was another reason he didn't feel comfortable opening up to them.

What was the point?

They wouldn't believe him anyway.

Plus, Craig figured the police would check the security cameras and find out for themselves

about the man who went into the Nara's apartment.

You know what they told me?

Oh, the cameras don't work.

Oh, why are they up there?

I saw those cameras up there for our safety and protection.

You don't have security here.

And the cameras don't work when there's a murder.

And then a camera right there from the guy in the unit where you could have got the lights

in place.

You could have got the tags in the car.

You could have seen the guy go in in the unit and go out.

You could have seen it all.

And the cameras don't work.

Well, who thought it was that?

Investigators did eventually find out that Craig saw a man go into the Nara's apartment

because Craig had told a couple people in Fox Maddow and word eventually made it to the cops.

So a couple days after the murders, Craig says police show up at his door a second time.

They want to hear about the man he saw and what else Craig knows about the murders.

But then they want more information on me.

I can't deliver.

I'm just telling you what I know.

And y'all can't soak it all in.

That's on y'all.

Did they, did they imply that you were involved in the murder?

They couldn't find the murder.

They couldn't figure it out.

They wanted to get, they wanted to lock somebody up for the case, obviously.

They wanted to find the cookie somehow somewhere.

And there was nobody else there.

I was the last person that was receiving my live last.

Craig says as investigators continued to pressure him for answers, his mental health began to suffer.

It's been going on for about a month.

After the murder, I was still being harassed every day almost.

It made me not want to be outside that much no more.

I started isolating myself.

Like everybody was like, why don't you come outside that much no more?

Because you don't know what I've been through on my front porch.

The cops are investigating me.

They want to me now and I ain't had nothing to do with it.

Nothing to do with it whatsoever.

It was just because I was outside.

Craig, the big energy, nature-loving cancer sign, started to feel like he was a prisoner in his own house.

He was desperate to get the cops off his back.

So, he says, he agreed to take a polygraph test and get fingerprinted.

He said he'd work with a sketch artist to help identify the man he saw go into the naras.

But in the end he says, it didn't happen.

Because investigators never followed up.

I was waiting for him.

I was waiting for him.

Trust me, I was.

I was like, they're going to come bother me eventually.

But no, they never did.

They never bothered me about it.

So, you're the only person that can't bother me about it after that.

I can see the cops all the time.

If I snuck out, they never send nothing.

And everything after like it was just done.

Craig says police stopped hassling him about two months after the murders.

He doesn't know what caused him to drop off.

He wasn't sure if they lost interest or found a new suspect to focus on.

But we know that it was about two months after the murders

that Hanyu tried to claim Susie's million-dollar life insurance.

Maybe police lost interest in Craig once they realized there was a potential million-dollar motive at play.

As for the man that went into the naras apartment,

Craig still isn't convinced that he murdered Susie and Anish.

I didn't hear no screaming or no tussling or nothing.

You know, and I've seen him come out.

I was there when he came out.

I didn't see nothing like it was regular.

You know, I didn't see no blood and nothing on him, you know.

So there wasn't any blood on him?

It was not on him, but it was blood on the dad.

Craig says there wasn't blood on the unidentified man,

but there was blood on Hanyu.

That and more of what Craig witnessed coming up after the break.

Craig says he was hesitant to point the finger at anyone

because he just wanted to stay out of it.

But he also says he was especially reluctant to implicate the unidentified man

because Hanyu was the one with blood on him.

On the 911 tape, Hanyu says he did not touch the bodies.

Okay, are both of them breathing?

I didn't even touch, no, I don't know.

Craig says it was how Hanyu acted that convinced him that he was involved.

But I do know that dad was home 10, 15 minutes before he yelled a scream,

which I didn't understand.

Craig says it was 10 or 15 minutes before Hanyu had any reaction to the crime scene.

I told the cops that, I said, look, y'all got home right now cheapo

because he had something to do with it.

You know, if you come home and somebody gets murdered,

you're going to say something, you know, within that first minute,

you should already be screaming and yelling.

To me, it was weird that he was acting like that 10, 15 minutes later.

Everything stayed, it was fake.

He wasn't even crying.

He wasn't even crying.

He was soulless, you know what I'm saying?

Like, you like him screaming and doing all this yelling,

but you ain't no tears coming down your face.

I've been crying little bitch ass right now.

I just lost my wife and child.

I've been crying.

I've been hurt.

He ain't sure there's no tears.

Craig's belief in Hanyu's guilt was compounded

when he saw the Nara's belongings in the trash just days after the murders.

This sounds like what Krystle and Thurman told us.

They're bothering me.

You got all the stuff outside of the dumpster that has blood on it.

While I'm taking my trash out and I see toys with blood on it

from the crime scene, which shouldn't have been tampered with,

and just like I told the cops,

they said, oh, we had a hard time tracking this case

because fingerprints, all this stuff,

if he didn't have nothing to do with it,

why would you trash all this stuff?

Craig says that over the years he's racked his brain

trying to solve this murder,

and he's come up with two scenarios.

He thinks either Hanyu killed Sasien Anish himself

in the 10 to 15 minutes between when he got home

and came outside screaming,

or Hanyu hired his friend to do it.

I've seen so many ways of looking at it,

but I do know for sure.

No matter how you look at it,

there was only two people I've seen go that went there,

and they were both known.

The dad knew the friend, so even if it came down to it,

the dad still had something to do with it.

Could Hanyu's friend have killed Sasien Anish

without Hanyu's involvement?

Craig doesn't think so.

Because if that were the case,

Hanyu would have turned his friend in.

Case closed.

If the dad knows who dropped his wife and child off every day

after dropping them off at home,

he should know that his friend has something to do with it.

If the friend did kill them,

the dad would have, he would have been yelling

when he first walked in the unit.

This is just what Craig thinks.

It's definitely accusatory.

We've reached out to Hanyu to give him a chance

to respond to these allegations,

but we haven't heard back.

Craig wants justice for Sasien Anish.

But at this point,

he's not hopeful that investigators will ever solve the case.

It's been too long.

It lingered too long.

It's been over five years.

There's no step now.

Everything has already been finalized.

There's no way of solving this case now

because even if the story get out,

it's already gone.

So Craig is trying to find closure within himself.

I've been trying to meditate.

I've been trying to look to the sky.

I'm just looking like that, you know, for an answer.

Well, I am hopeful that talking about it again,

well, hopefully just getting it, getting it out could, you know.

It could help out a little bit.

Be helpful.

It will.

I think they will like that.

I think the mom and his son will appreciate that.

This is exactly why I think it's a story out there.

Make them feel it.

Make them feel it.

For Craig, justice doesn't only come from punishing

the person that committed the crime.

It can also come from remembering the victims.

And Craig hopes that this story will help bring

that kind of justice.

Thank you for getting this out to me because they need it.

If it's not, if it hasn't been solved yet,

it's room I'm helping you.

It's room I'm talking to you.

Just make sure you hold your part in and just get this taken care of.

Because for me to dig in my head and go through all the trauma again,

you got to make sure something, you play your part.

I will do my part.

We're not able to fact check Craig's account of what he says he saw

on March 23, 2017, or verify his characterization

of how investigators treated him.

We submit a public records request to the Burlington County

Prosecutor's Office for transcripts or audio recordings

of police interviews with Craig.

And though the Prosecutor's Office does confirm

that they have these documents, they deny us access.

Because the records are, quote,

parts of an ongoing investigation and are therefore, quote,

exempt from disclosure as criminal investigatory records.

Our next move is to try to find the female neighbor Craig told us about.

The one that was friends with Susie.

The one Craig says that Susie confided in.

Craig wouldn't give us her name to protect her privacy.

But he did say that the woman lived in an apartment close to the Nara's.

So he reached out to dozens of past residents who might fit the bill.

But in the end, we can't find anyone willing to talk to us.

Without more information, we have no way of identifying the man

who Craig says followed Susie and Anish into their apartment.

But according to Craig, there is one person we can talk to

who knows his identity.

At the end of the day, the dad knows what really happened.

So we find out where Hanu Nara is now

and go there to ask him about his friend, about his family,

about Deepa, about his alibi,

and about who killed Susie and Anish.

It's right in front of me.

I have a full view of his entrance and his garage.

So if he leaves, I'll be able to catch him before he goes.

That's next time on the season finale of Strangeland.

Which starts right now.

Machine-generated transcript that may contain inaccuracies.

A traumatized eyewitness walks us through his memory of March 23, 2017 - from Sasi and Anish’s arrival home that afternoon to Hanu’s puzzling behavior upon discovering the bodies. The Witness shares all ... including, a brand new lead. The biggest one yet.


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