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California woman’s murder committed by highway patrol officer haunts family 36 years later: ‘A devious soul’

On the night of December 27, 1986, Carla Knott drove her Volkswagen from her boyfriend’s house.

The 20-year-old woman was on her way home. She never succeeded.

Police quickly located the San Diego student. The body of the aspiring teacher was thrown off a bridge. She landed on a dry river bed about 75 feet below. Ms Knott had ligature marks on her neck and bruises on her face. Apparently someone hit her with her flashlight.

Her father, Sam Knott, was also there when investigators made the horrifying discovery.

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The murder of Carla Knott, witnessed here between her parents, is examined in the new true crime series “Good Cop, Bad Cop.” (ID)

Over the years, the patriarch worked tirelessly to establish a memorial garden in his daughter’s honor. The facility was established in the Los Peñasquitos Valley Preserve, where Knott’s body was discovered. In 2000, at age 63, he suffered a fatal heart attack after spending time in his beloved garden. He died just a few yards from where his daughter was found.

Knott’s case is being re-examined in Investigation Discovery’s new true crime series Good Cop, Bad Cop. The event will be hosted by Garry McFadden, a 37-year veteran of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD) in North Carolina. He has worked on over 800 murder cases and had a 90% success rate.

This series investigates cases across the country where the perpetrators are members of law enforcement. It includes interviews with loved ones and police officers who helped solve the case.

Gary McFadden stands in front of a public relations magazine wearing a suit.

“Good Cop, Bad Cop” is hosted by Gary McFadden. (ID)

“The average homicide detective would not initially believe that law enforcement is responsible for this case,” McFadden told FOX News Digital. “As you peel back the layers, sometimes you wonder, ‘Who committed this?’ You can’t eliminate anything. We can’t eliminate anyone. But law enforcement… The fact that someone committed such a crime is something we probably never thought about.

“This was a distracted heart, an evil soul.”

In the episode, which will air on Sunday night, Knott’s family is adamant that their matriarch died of heartbreak after losing a child.

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Cynthia Knott wearing a pea green sweater being interviewed

Cynthia Knott revealed that her father died from a broken heart. (ID)

“It destroyed my father,” Knott’s sister, Cynthia Knott, told the series. “A monster killed him just like it killed my sister.”

Although the murder occurred in a largely undeveloped area, it was widely reported in San Diego. In the ’80s, San Diego was considered a vacation town where local crimes never made national news, the episode shared.

At the time, investigators needed to rule out the possibility that Knott was a victim of the Green River Murders, which operated out of Seattle.

Close-up of James P. Jarvis being interviewed

Retired Lt. James P. Jarvis spoke of how investigators were determined to bring justice to the Knott family. (ID)

“I’ve worked on serial murder cases, and it’s very important to rule out big cases quickly,” McFadden explained. “Everyone wants to link it [homicide] To a big incident to make it more sensational. Therefore, it is necessary to deal with it in advance.

“And our bosses, county mayors, city council members, mayors, everyone wants to make sure there’s no connection to a serial killer. And we need evidence to support that. This is… It’s very important, because you’re going to end up.” As time passes, it becomes like a goose chase. [if you’re wrong], you’ll never find the golden egg you’re looking for. ”

The unlikely suspect’s lips began to loosen. Craig Allen Pyer, who had worked as a California Highway Patrol (CHP) officer for 13 years, suddenly took an unusually strong interest in Knott’s case and began questioning the bewildered detectives.

“It’s like going back to the crime scene,” McFadden explained. “In this case, he did not have the opportunity to return to the scene of the crime. However, he felt comfortable enough to talk to law enforcement about this incident and that they felt comfortable enough to talk with him.” That’s what he wanted. That’s what he wanted.”

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Joyce Knott in a blue sweater

“We were basically torn apart,” said Joyce Knott, Carla Knott’s mother. (ID)

“The key is knowing what you have and what you don’t have,” McFadden added.

Peyer had a reputation as a “highly productive, competent, competent, reliable and professional official,” according to court documents.

However, Peyer also had a dark side that he kept hidden.

About two dozen young women later said Peyer stopped them for minor traffic violations at night in the same secluded area where Knott was killed, the Los Angeles Times reported. He reportedly testified that The women said they were detained for up to two hours and questioned about their personal lives, the report said. By comparison, when Peyer stopped men, those stops were in more visible locations and lasted less than 10 minutes.

Craig Allen Peyer in a beige suit between two lawyers in court

Women have come forward and described the “creepy” behavior of Craig Allen Pyer (centre). (Alamy)

The paper also said one of Peyer’s two ex-wives said Peyer became “Mr. Macho” after joining the CHP, and that “the badge was a means of cheating,” a probation officer said. I also mentioned what I had reported. He was also known to have a “hot pencil” with which he frequently wrote tickets. Many women who later came forward described his behavior towards them as “creepy”.

According to the paper, Peyer also came home one night with a bruised face. However, his wife later testified in court that the wound did not appear to be serious enough to require immediate treatment.

It was later revealed that Knott was trained in self-defense. A few days before her murder, she was in class. According to the episode, tissue was found under Knott’s fingernails, indicating that she scratched her in an attempt to fight off her attacker.

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Jill Fleming in a black blazer and light blue shirt

Retired Sergeant Jill Fleming also described Craig Allen Pyer’s worrying behavior during the special. (ID)

Knott’s boyfriend was initially considered a suspect. However, he had a clear alibi, which was confirmed by police, and he was at his home when his high school sweetheart was murdered.

All blood and fiber evidence found at the crime scene was linked to Peyer. Witnesses also saw Knott being pulled over by Peyer.

According to court documents, Peyer ordered Knott to exit the highway at the Marcy Road exit and drive to the bottom of a dark, secluded off-ramp. An argument broke out between the two, and Pyer strangled Nott. The man then threw her body off a nearby bridge. Her car was found under the Mercy Road exit.

Craig Allen Peyer cries in a white shirt next to his lawyer in court.

Craig Allen Pyer’s next parole hearing won’t be until 2027. (Alamy)

“This may have been an illusion, ‘Can we get away with this?'” McFadden said of Peyer’s attitude. “It’s sad, but as a homicide detective, he rises up and lives in this dark world. … I think he’s probably become warped, and he probably said to himself, I said, “I can escape with this.”

“My father always said, ‘You’re a real person when you’re alone with yourself,'” McFadden added. “He may have had fetishes or passions that no one was aware of. When we observe a pattern in someone, we often see that pattern, but that pattern is ignored. Be it a pastor or a star athlete, in this case. He may have had a fantasy or passion that he had hidden for years and wanted to act out.

“Was she the only victim? We may never know.”

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View photos Joyce Knott

Joyce Knott doesn’t want her beloved daughter to be forgotten. (ID)

Peyer was convicted and sentenced to 25 years to life in prison. According to reports, Knott’s case led to the abolishment of the 48-hour waiting period for filing a missing person report if the person is over 18 years old.

Peyer, now 73, is scheduled for a parole hearing in January 2027. In 2020, Knott’s family sent a letter to Gov. Gavin Newsom urging him to keep Peyer in prison.

Mr McFadden hopes the special will raise awareness among investigators determined to bring justice to the Knott family.

“The vast majority of law enforcement are law-abiding citizens who uphold our oath,” McFadden said. “There are only a few people that we cannot see into their hearts and souls. And we cannot see their evil hearts.

“But I can tell you that law enforcement is a noble and honorable profession. That’s why I’ve spent my life in this profession. We take that oath seriously. We have to have discussions like this. It is sad in itself that this should not happen.”

“Good Cop, Bad Cop” airs Sunday, Nov. 12 at 10 p.m.

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