Dateline NBC “The Footprint at the Lake” October 13 2023 Recap & Preview
In an upcoming two-hour episode airing on Friday, October 13 2023 at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT titled “The Footprint at the Lake” Dateline delves into a haunting tale set in a tranquil Texan community. This idyllic small town is torn apart when Manuela Allen, a cherished teacher, mysteriously disappears from her residence in the dead of night. In the wake of her vanishing, a gruesome and baffling discovery is made at a nearby lake, leaving investigators grappling with a multitude of unanswered questions.
Andrea Canning is the reporter for this gripping narrative, and viewers can expect to hear from key figures involved in the case, including Julius Mullins, Texas Ranger Michael Schraub, family members, and others intimately connected to the perplexing events that unfolded in Olney, Texas.
What Happened to Manuela Sabine Allen & Julius Mullins?
On July 7, 2019, the Allen family woke up to a harrowing discovery in Olney, Texas. Manuela “Manu” Allen, a beloved high school teacher and mother of four, had vanished during the night, leaving behind only clues. Her family found a blood-soaked bedroom floor, bloody footprints, a knife, and blood smears throughout their home.
The gruesome scene left by her disappearance led investigators to believe that something terrible had transpired. Strangely, neither Manu’s husband, Peter, nor two of their children, who were at home that night, reported hearing any signs of a struggle despite the extensive amount of blood.
Peter explained that he had fallen asleep on the living room couch after watching TV with Manu, who had gone to bed in their bedroom. He mentioned having consumed vodka that night.
One of their children, Kiara, who slept in a room adjacent to her mother’s, returned home around 11:30 PM. She spoke on the phone with a friend, fell asleep with earbuds in her ears, and didn’t notice anything unusual.
Their 20-year-old son, Darian, was also home playing video games but claimed he hadn’t heard anything out of the ordinary, except for some noise in the kitchen which he attributed to his father.
The family didn’t sense anything was amiss until Kiara needed something from the laundry room, which could only be accessed through her parents’ bedroom. She discovered blood in the hallway and realized the bedroom door was locked. Peter initially believed his wife had harmed herself and went to the hospital after finding her white SUV missing. He and his daughter then searched for Manu before contacting 911, which struck investigators as peculiar due to their seemingly calm demeanor.
The extent of blood in the bedroom led investigators to fear that Manu had been killed or gravely injured. The search for her led to the discovery of her body near Lake Cooper, with Manu having been brutally murdered, stabbed approximately 47 times, strangled, and post-mortemly shot in the face.
Authorities found fingerprints on the vehicle, bike tracks leading from the scene, and a witness reported seeing someone riding a bike early in the morning. The motive behind this heinous crime was not immediately clear. Manu, originally from Germany, had come to the United States, where she met and married Peter. They had settled in Texas and started a family.
Peter suggested that someone might have broken in to steal from his extensive gun collection, but this theory didn’t align with the evidence. Instead, it seemed that the killer knew Manu’s habits, walking directly to where she kept her car keys. This led investigators to interview a local teenager who had been arrested for burglary involving a stolen firearm.
While speaking with the teenager, they noticed a bike with tire tracks similar to those at the crime scene. He pointed them to his friend, Julius Mullins, a teenage football player who had once dated Manu’s daughter Melanie. However, the couple had broken up several months before the murder.
When questioned, Mullins initially denied involvement but later confessed to sneaking into the home, killing Manu, and moving her body to her car. He claimed Peter had demanded the act, although no evidence supported this assertion. Authorities ultimately concluded that Mullins acted alone.
Although the motive behind the murder was unclear, it was suggested that Mullins might have committed the crime due to heartbreak following his breakup with Melanie. He pleaded guilty to murder in the first degree and abuse of a corpse, receiving a 55-year prison sentence.
Manu’s tragic death left her family grappling with the profound loss of a loving wife and mother, leaving them searching for answers that might never fully explain the senseless act.