The scene deputies encountered upon arriving at the mansion in the posh California beach town of San Juan Capistrano was as horrific as it was unlikely.
In the early morning hours of Feb. 9, 2014, real estate mogul Andra Sachs and her husband Brad lay dead in their bed, riddled with bullets. The couple’s 8-year-old son had sustained a gunshot wound that would leave him paralyzed from the waist down.
“First thing we noticed was shell casings on the ground, broken glass — just a terrible scene,” Sgt. Justin Montano of the Orange County Sheriff’s Office says in an exclusive clip of the upcoming episode of People Magazine Investigates, titled “Death Before Dawn,” which airs tonight at 9 p.m. ET on Investigation Discovery.
Before the murders, the Sachs family led a seemingly charmed life. They owned a $2.5 million mansion that was nearly 9,000 square feet. Andra was a self-made success story in real estate whose net worth totaled more than $80 million, while Brad was a former champion surfer.
• For more on how police solved the mystery of who killed Brad and Andra Sachs, watch People Magazine Investigates: Death Before Dawn, airing tonight at 9 p.m. ET on Investigation Discovery
Despite their wealth, the family had dealt with tragedy. In 1999, the couple’s 18-month-old daughter Sabrina, the youngest of their four children, fell into the backyard hot tub and drowned. Sabrina’s death rocked the Sachses’ marriage, and in 2000 the couple filed for divorce, though they later reconciled. Shortly before they were murdered, Brad was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.
Investigators would soon piece together clues that would lead to a shocking suspect, who later confessed to the killings with eerie coldness. The killer admitted devising the murder plot four or five days in advance, and had an internet search history showing Wikipedia articles on felony murder, the insanity defense and parole.
But initially, police had few clues to draw on. One of the Sachs’ daughters slept through the attack, though the other, 17-year-old Alexis, did not.
“She was woke up by someone kicking the door,” Sgt. Don Voight of the Orange County Sheriff’s Office says in the clip. “She saw a dark shadowy figure who fired one shot at her and fled.”
People Magazine Investigates: Death Before Dawn airs tonight at 9 p.m. ET on Investigation Discovery.