Police collect what could be compelling evidence in Beach man’s death

Posted at 12:05 AM, Nov 21, 2013
and last updated 2013-11-22 06:19:03-05

Virginia Beach, Va. - Diane Pardee told NewsChannel 3 she doesn't believe the stories about how her son died. Three people in the car with him say it's simple: Chris was drunk and climbed out of a car window. He fell to the pavement and died days later.

Chris Pardee was wearing a bright white new T-shirt and new gray pants the night he died.

But his mother got them back mottled in blood and slashed by the scissors of rescue workers trying to save Chris' life.

“I had no real concept of what was happening until I saw him in the emergency room, and that was when the gravity struck me of how grave it really was,” she says.

Related: Beach police admit possible mistake as grieving mother seeks answers in son’s death

Three of Chris' friends told police that while they were driving in his neighborhood, Chris climbed out of the car window. He fell to the pavement and got hurt.

Chris died days later on his 21st birthday. The answers she has from his friends and police, she just doesn't believe.

“I want to know. I really just want to know what happened,” Diane says.

Our investigation revealed what might have been a police mistake. We located videos posted online that show the 19-year-old driver was drinking that night. And court records show her blood-alcohol concentration was over the limit for teenage drivers. But officers let her go. During our investigation, the Beach Police Chief conceded that part concerned him.

“Why didn't officers charge her right at the scene? That's what we're going to find out,” he says.

On the day our story aired, police re-filed the charges. And since then, Diane Pardee's friends urged her to take a harder look at Chris' clothes, clothes police never took.

To Diane, the shirt collar looks stretched and strained. On the back appears to be a shoe print. And on the rear of Chris' pants, is what Diane thinks is a bloody handprint. Diane also says our story stirred talk among Chris' friends, including one who heard Chris was hit in the head with a baseball bat. Diane found her daughter's softball bat in the garage, and to her, the mess on the metal looks like dried blood and hair. Diane told NewsChannel 3 Chris had road rash, broken ribs and a punctured lung, in other words, injuries that didn't seem to match the story that he tumbled out of a car on a residential road.

This week police returned to Diane's home and took all of this back to headquarters. They also took pictures inside to prosecute one of the passengers.

Erin Robertson was in the car with Chris that night. And according to police, while Chris was dying, Erin helped himself to Chris' expensive Canon camera. Diane says -- and court records confirm -- Erin was caught on video trying to pawn the camera, and get this, several accessories that didn't leave her house that night.

“Somehow the parts that were in your home while Chris was at the hospital made their way to a pawn shop?” asked Mike Mather.

“They did. They did,” she replied.

Diane says there is no other way to look at this. A guy Chris counted as a friend took advantage of the tragedy and stole from Chris, as he was dying.

“You're dealing with this, and you are down, does it feel like someone came along and kicked you?” asked Mather.

"I felt like somebody disemboweled me, to be honest with you,” says Diane.

The way Diane sees it is simple: The driver was drinking and a passenger stole from Chris. So she doesn't have faith they're telling her the truth. Police have charged Erin Robertson with grand larceny. He has a record of convictions for theft, drugs, and assault. Neither he nor anyone else in the car that night agreed to speak with NewsChannel 3 for our investigation.

Now it will be up to police to analyze the clothes and the bat, to see if Diane’s right, that something else happened to her son.