Don Fluitt was a loving father who was found brutally murdered just around New Year’s Eve in 2016. The investigation stalled for a few months before a combination of DNA evidence and surveillance footage led to the killer. NBC News’ ‘Dateline: The Figure in the Garage’ focuses on the possible reasons behind Don’s murder and who was responsible for it. So, let’s find out what happened then, shall we?
How Did Don Fluitt Die?
Donald Bryan Fluitt was born in Los Angeles, California, in September 1962. Described as a devout Christian who would do anything he could to help people, Don was a retired firefighter. At the time of the incident, the 54-year-old worked at a company that supported and cared for people with developmental disabilities. Don had three children and was quite close to one of his daughters, who was eleven years old at the time of the incident.
Sometime during the afternoon on December 29, 2016, Don’s coworkers went to his home in Albuquerque, New Mexico. His daughter couldn’t reach him, prompting her to call one of her father’s colleagues. They realized that the front door was open and found Don on the floor inside the garage. He was strangled and had his throat slit with a steak knife.
Who Killed Don Fluitt?
There were no signs of forced entry at the scene, and everything seemed to be in its place. As a result, the authorities felt the motive could have been personal. So, they began digging into Don’s life and relationships. At the time, Don was in a tense custody battle with his ex-wife, Christine White. They had an eleven-year-old daughter together, and just days after the murder, they were supposed to go to court regarding the custody.
Furthermore, security cameras played a significant role in the case. Don’s next-door neighbor had cameras that recorded part of Don’s driveway. The authorities then looked at footage from the night of December 28, 2016. That night, Don was supposed to drop the daughter off with Christine, who at the time had been married to Terry White. The footage showed Don leaving, and sometime later, a hooded figure was seen intentionally throwing down the trashcan outside Don’s house.
Then, once Don arrived, he went to pick up the bin, and the video showed that the garage sensor was tripped as someone snuck inside. The authorities believed that the killer set up a ruse to kill Don inside the garage. A few months later, DNA evidence from under Don’s fingernails was a match to Christine’s husband, Terry. Furthermore, he also had a faulty alibi. Terry was then arrested in Arizona at a truck stop.
After his arrest, Terry seemingly confessed the murder and its details to an inmate who later went to the police with the information. While Terry never explicitly provided a reason in court, the family believed it was because of the ongoing custody battle. In August 2018, Terry was sentenced to a life term in prison for murder and other charges.
Read More: Where is Christine White Now?