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De de de de de de de de de de de de de de de de. In today's episode, we're going to discuss the Malinovsky Sager case, which was featured in the second episode of the Up and Vanished TV series, if you haven't seen the show yet, don't worry. You can stream the episode from the Oxygen app whenever you want as a refresher. And for those of you that haven't seen the show yet, here's a quick summary and timeline for Karina Malinovsky and Annette Sager's case.
In 1987, in rural South Carolina, 26 year old mother Carina Malinovsky disappeared without a trace. Then, almost one year later, her 11 year old daughter, Annette Sager's, went missing from the same place. You just don't see two members of the same family disappear a year apart and no trace of either one is found. It's a very suspicious set of circumstances.
Both mother and daughter were last seen around the plantation grounds they called home with their family. Stephen Malinovsky, Carina's husband and Annetts stepfather, was the caretaker for the plantation grounds. The couple also had two young sons. Not only did we not know our mother's name, we didn't know anything that had happened.
Carina was my sister. She loved life. She loved her kids.
He's not seeing him, did not get along very well and that he had done something to her.
When 11 year old Annette Sager's disappeared, her stepfather found a note in a nearby bus shelter allegedly written by young Annette, explaining that her mom had come back for her bus driver to come to pick up my niece. She wasn't there. There's a note. Note said that mom came back and got me.
Did mom actually come back? Did someone else force her to write that note? It's been over 30 years and no one has heard from either of them since nothing ever turned up. We thought that was in Texas. They found a carpet that was rolled up and tied with an electrical cord. Could it be the most perfectly planned escape? Mother and daughter starting a new in a different place? Or is there something more nefarious at play here? This Monday night on CBS, it's the return of the CBS original series All Rise, a legal drama where Judge Lola Karmichael, played by Simon Missick, is a dynamic and bold African-American judge fighting to change a flawed legal system.
There are compelling cases told in unexpected ways, featuring beloved characters and plot twists, its entertaining, heart stopping, absurd, but ultimately hopeful. The All Rise season premiere this Monday night, nine eight central on CBS. The following is an extended interview from the Malinovsky Sajor case. My name is Leon Sega's and Carina was my sister.
Sandy Sagers and Carina was my sister in law. But she went back.
Corey Corey. Yeah, she was fun loving and exciting person. She loved life.
She loved kids. She liked to do things to work. Me and her brothers and sisters, we got along great. I mean, we were there for each other.
Oh, she was a good person. I met her when I of course, when I married him. And I mean, she was always there for you. She always called on holidays and birthdays. And she was just a good person, very good person.
When and how did Carina meet Steven Norske?
Well, she met Steven through. He worked. He worked in the carnival.
What do you do? Any guy KANAE guy? Yeah, kind of Kanae people. He worked for the carnival. He done rides and whatever. I don't know.
How did you guys feel about him? Steve, he could never hold down a job and he was into drugs. I to say that, yeah, well, he was, um, he was into drugs, marijuana, pills, acid. He could never keep a job, and my sister was working all the time and Steve was very abusive to my sister. I've got after him several times doing what I used to hit her beat on her. And I went after him several times and he intimidated my niece.
She was always scared, intimidated.
I mean, as Karina's brother. Were you concerned about her being in this relationship? I was.
He always talked to my sister. I told him to get rid of him. He's no good. He's no good for her or for Annette.
After they got to North Carolina, she had called us and told us they moved into that plantation.
But like I said, she has always called on birthdays, holidays. Every time they got into a fight, she was always calling and then it stopped. And that's when Steve called us and told us that Corey disappeared. And they found her car at the end of the plantation at the gate. And he said she just went with somebody else. Well, we knew right off the bat that not what happened. She would that go and leave them kids?
And then she would come back almost a year later and just grab one and not the other two. But we almost had Annette. The summer after Corrie disappeared, we almost had Steve talked into letting us have met for the summer. He was all for it. And then at the last minute, he canceled. Why? I don't know. But if he had gotten to our house, she would have never went back. Because there was words about that he could have done, he wasn't the father, but he wouldn't let us.
So when Stephen calls and says Cory's missing, what do you think? Well, he called the house and asked if Cory was at our house and I said no. And I asked him, I said, what's going on? He said, well, your sister and left. And I said, What do you mean? He said, well, we got into it and she left. So I said, well, what would you do to her?
He said, We just argued it was all about money, him not having a job or what. So the conversation didn't last very long. He told us that he heard we heard anything. Let him know. And then later on, somehow the detectives or somebody got a hold of us and asked us and I said, well, he called and asked if she was here and I said no. And then later on, Steve called again. So the detective said to try to get more information as much as you can.
I talked to Steve again. He said left. She got in a car. And drove to the end of the gate, got out of the car and jumped in to another vehicle, somebody else, and took off. Did he see that happen? Yes, that's what he told me. So he told me that she drove to the end of the property and then jumped in another vehicle.
She got out. She had opened the gate, closed the gate, got into the vehicle, took off. So I said, well, we'll of cover the van. I asked him, who was it? Do you know? He said, no. And this and that.
Well, anyway, I called the detective and told him what was going on.
He said, Mr. Saggers, he says there ain't no way Steve could have seen that guys from the house to the the gate was three miles as no timbers. So he lied.
He's already told to lie to the detectives. Plus he lied to me. So we listen to what he had to say, told them what else Steve told me. And then I said the phone contact stopped. We didn't hear from them and then talk to detective and he said, well, they had to stop because they pulled the deal out and he was being harassed by the police department. We tried to get a net at this time. And he was going to go with it, but he changed his mind because, like I said, if we would have got a net, he would not have gotten back.
My half sister, her and her husband and my dad went to South Carolina. She told us that when they were up there. Annet tried to get my sister to go upstairs and show her something my sister didn't. What do you mean? She tried and tried to get my sister to go upstairs. And I told my sister Cheryl, I said, well, it could have been possible that Corey was upstairs, wrapped up in a bag or up there somewhere out of the way.
So nobody knew if anything happened, like she saw something maybe, and that she was a smart little girl.
You know, Steve wouldn't let her take Tyrel upstairs. Unless night was going to show or maybe something new address or new toys or toys or whatever. I don't know. I don't know if Corey was upstairs. I don't know that she could have been tied up. She could have been dead. She could have been alive. I don't know. Nobody knows.
But Annette and Steve. What's your gut tell you about what Anett was trying to say that day? My gut feeling tells me that my sister was up there dead, wrapped up in plastic bag, and he was trying to figure out how to get rid of the body.
You know, long it's been since Cory had been missing. Oh, it wasn't long because his dad and sister went up there not long after Cory disappeared so they could find out what was going on. And they try to get Gerrold go upstairs and she didn't and he wouldn't even let her take her into town goodbye or anything Steve wouldn't let her do.
You know, everybody had to be downstairs when Steve made contact with me on Corrie being Miss and. I had that gut feeling, I had the feeling that she was already dead. It was on a plantation. And it was pond, pond or whatever, and they had alligators and stuff that went through my head a lot of times. Let's flash forward to October that year, Annette goes missing. Walk me through what you learned about that.
And that was at the bus stop. The one bus driver went by and seen her, their driver come to pick her up. She wasn't there. And there was a note left. And they said it was Annette's handwriting, said that Mommy, come and pick me up. I mean, I don't know what the note said because the detective was supposed to send us a copy of it. Never done. Never got any that did Steve never call you guys?
No. He never called us after. We talked to him and then last time he called you about Corey. Yeah, wait, so he didn't call you guys to say that Annette is missing? No, no.
You know, he was trying to cover his bases. In case Annette did actually see what happened to my sister. After Steve left, South Carolina, moved to Florida. We didn't know nothing about it. Detectives never called us and told us. We found out later on that he took boys, dumped him off somewhere. Found out that he signed his waiver over Dr. Dubois out. They called us. We could take care of the boys. We already got married again and had more kids.
Wow, how can he get married? I've asked different people, how can a man get married? When they're still married. When's the last time you talked to Steve? I talked to Steven. When Corey disappeared. We only talked to him a couple of times. It's been 30 years. We sent papers down to every state that we knew she would go and never had no luck, we know like I said, Corey called us all the time if she was to go on her own and even if she did come back get in, that she would have called long enough to say, hey, I'm OK, I got to that goodbye.
She would have called and she wouldn't come back. Got one kid and not take the other two. And she just wouldn't. It doesn't make sense. No. Trying to get it on unsolved mystery at the time when they were there and there was another one and I had talked to both of them and they said, well, we're not airing it because we already talked to husband and we beat the husband. We don't believe you.
And the husband is in Stephen. Yes. Yes. What did Stephen tell them? We I don't know what they believe.
They believed him, but they wouldn't believe us. They wouldn't give us a second chance or find that mind blowing.
Well, that's the way the world is. Nobody told us nothing. We've never heard no more. What was it about? Maybe 10 years ago, some lady called, she was a detective, we gave her all the information again.
She said she wanted some pictures and stuff. I sent her pictures of stuff MACARY When we were kids, they wanted stuff for DNA. I told them that they can have these pictures, but I need them back. They can take copies. The images, the young ones I have left, the me and her being kids, I don't have them now. All that stuff I sent them pictures was the only copies I had. I lost my mom when I was 16 months old.
I never had nothing. We raised ourselves by ourselves. Our dad was never around, so we depended on each other. We took care of each other.
She was there for me and I was there for her, only thing we had was each other and have somebody ripped away from you. And you never see again. I mean, I don't know how anybody else would feel, but. I love my sister. And she's going. I don't get enough phone calls, however, I don't see her. She's gone. I feel that they let me down. I'm sorry. But I ain't heard from nobody in years and years, so she's been put on the back burner for all these years.
And my kids are grown up, gone now. I had one in the Navy and one in the Army and one graduated from college, and to this day I had to call my boys because they were there at. I can't do that to my sister. She's gone and I can't call her, tell her I love her. Happy birthday. Merry Christmas. Happy Valentine's Day. Or call her and just say I'm thinking about you. I can't do that.
My sister's not here. You like what you got to keep blind till the day you die because you got to cover that same lie over and over. Because if you don't. Somebody is going to. Remember the first word he said about lie? Sometimes the case comes along that is so heinous, so shocking that it's called the crime of the century.
Truth is, though, there have been a lot of those cases over the years. I'm Amber Hunt, an award winning journalist and author with a new podcast that marries true crime with history. It's called Crimes of the Centuries from the Obsessed Network. I'm examining stories that left a mark.
Some of them are first of their kind, like the country's first recorded murder trial or first kidnapping for ransom. Crimes of the centuries will explore not just the crimes that were committed, but what was happening in the world at that time and what effects they had on society that we may still notice today. Subscribe to crimes of the centuries from the Absa's network on Apple podcasts or wherever else you get your shows. A healthy lifestyle should be easy, right, eat veggies, drink green smoothies, exercise to get your heart rate up.
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A lot of times you'll see people act a certain way that you would think is abnormal, but it turns out that that's just how they act and they're actually innocent. But this is very, very strange because there are certain things that you're just going to do. Emotions aside, like you said earlier, pain. You know, when you find out that not only is there a child missing, but that child is with the someone else who was presumed missing.
It has now reappeared. If you believe that you have two stories that you need to tell the authorities and the family members of Annette and Marina. So their emotion aside, you have the obligation. You're also no longer a suspect. You know, if you were a suspect in Carina's disappearance, even if not necessarily officially but unofficially with the family, you would at least say, hey, I told you it wasn't me. She's back. She took our daughter.
And now let's, you know, let's go find them or let's, you know, alert authorities. But like you said, no call. But I do think it's, you know, like you said, Meredith, learning that that wasn't his biological daughter. Also her age stood out to me because she's much older than her younger brothers. So if she had any sort of knowledge or had a memory come back to her from what happened the year before, you know, she's old enough to be credible witness to talking that people know what she heard or saw that night.
So you just never know what was going on over that past year in between the mother disappearing, in the daughter disappearing. That may have led up to this.
Yet to your previous point about the way people act when a tragedy happens, you can never. Predict exactly how one particular person is going to act, and sometimes they act in a way that, you know, may be confusing to you or may not look the right way or may look suspicious, even though it's really not. I think for me, it's not about dissecting that part of it. I think it's about behavior that contradicts itself. For example.
We know that when someone he loves goes missing, he finds it necessary to call Leon, that's a very normal thing to do when that same thing happens again. He doesn't. So to me, that's a contradiction in the way he's previously behaved. It's not exactly what I would do or what someone else would do or what I think someone should do. It's more about what you've done this in the past. Why not this time? And it makes you look at that particular incident a little bit differently and beg the question, well, why?
Why is it different this time? Did it slipped your mind this time? You know what exactly is different about this scenario? What do you guys think about the note in the backyard, I mean, pretty odd. It does seem very neatly in obviously placed. I mean, I can't. I didn't get to see the original bus shed, but the first thing that comes to my mind is. You know, why didn't it blow away or something, you know, to find this neat note, just kind of sitting there, how long had it been there?
It just seems so perfect. I mean, things happen, but just seemed like it was. Just too perfect to be laying there like that. Yeah, I mean, just the timing of it is is off just the timing to write the note. Is it preplanned or she you know, she contact that she contacted her daughter prior to that.
Like, what do you actually believe if you believe that note is real, you know, how exactly does it work and just doesn't add up to me? And why is the note crumbled up and then flattened out again? That makes absolutely no sense in the in this scenario that she's coming to pick up her daughter and take her away. But she's leaving a note really not for the father, but for the boys. Right. Interesting and odd.
Do you remember who told us that Steven Malinovsky picked up the note and crumpled it in Rachel as Steven said that OK, that seems like an odd thing to me. But he can. He said that. Yeah. So and, you know, we talked about it earlier, like, you know, the inconsistencies, not a motive when talking to the police, yet sees a note from his essentially stepdaughter and crumples it up with, like, rage and upset.
And then later it doesn't even call Leon. It's kind of odd to me. It does feel sort of weird and convenient, I think. Then I go back to the wording of the note, too. It just seems strange. I'm actually so mystified that it's really in her handwriting, though. That's what the experts say. But, you know, it's a kid, like we said earlier, they can be coerced to do things. They could be persuaded to do things.
You know, here's an assignment. Write this, not knowing that it will be used against them. They talked a lot like, was this done under duress? Is that why it's crumpled? Is that why there's words crossed out? I don't know. It's interesting because they said it didn't look like it was done under duress. It looked like it was written freely of her own accord in her own handwriting. I wish we had that note and could bring it to, you know, some more experts.
I would be really interested to see what people said about it today.
Right. Thirty years later, we're kind of in a different technology and different can can get on that and really give us another opinion or maybe, you know, hold up the original opinion. You never know.
Yeah, that would be I we could do one thing ourselves. Now, I would really like to take a look at the original note and bring it to more people.
What happened? And now they have it. They showed us a copy of it.
They have it, I think. And this is different. Yeah. I think also the bus shed thing is weird. When we were told by the police that the bus driver said they saw her there, then looped around, came back and she wasn't there, I just really wonder if they actually saw her.
Yeah, there's so many variables here that if one thing changes that we're considering as fact, you know, he opens up completely new doors. Right. Like if it was another was she never at the bus stop? Was that another child then then left the bus stop was there for another reason. I mean, you never know. But going by what the police believe are facts, it doesn't really point us in any direction outside of this all being very suspicious.
And the one person who's at the center of both these disappearances is Steven.
I think one thing that's kind of weird, too, is that the only child that would be there would be a net. If the bus driver indeed did see a child, it would have to be her because no other children were picked up at that bus stop. It's really odd. This was a unique experience. We drove up there. We didn't know what to expect. Right. We're we're we're taking a couple of cars were in there with Stephen on his sons.
They haven't seen their father in years. And we don't know if he's going to be home. We don't know if he's going to let us know if he'll talk to you. Pain. I think it worked out. I mean, you were able to get in the house and I think they spoke to him first. He didn't realize they were coming over and they said, hey, you know, we're you know, we're still looking for our mother and our sister.
And we have someone here who wants to talk to you about it. He let you in the house. What were you thinking? No one did you think was gonna let you in? And what were you thinking when you first got in there? Kind of set that up for us?
I didn't think that he was going to be super excited about letting me in or or talking to me at all. But I thought it was possible. I thought that I mean, if his two sons were there and they hadn't seen each other in that long and he saw in their eyes how much they wanted to know and ask questions about their mother, I think that it was the perfect recipe for Steven Malinovsky to talk. And that's kind of that was my mentality going into it.
And I'll be honest, I think the rest of the crew is probably pretty doubtful that we would get any sort of interview out of this just because it was so challenging to kind of. Create the scenario for it to happen, but I think really it was Thomas and James who. Just came to the front door and broke the ice and in a way kind of shocked Stephen with their presence and then from there kind of broke the ice and. From the outside, I was actually texting them and just kind of seeing how it was going and they mentioned that I was there and that we were doing this documentary piece for the TV show on Korina and Internet.
And then they all came outside and we talked for a minute and he let me in. Some of Steven's answers are just ridiculous in there. I asked Stephen just point blank if he ever laid his hand on Korina and he kept saying, I don't remember. Or to the best of my memory, I don't think so. I mean, who says that about I don't care how long it's been. That means that, like. What do you mean?
Either you've never laid a hand on a woman like that or you have and you're just answering it in this weird way. That doesn't make any sense to me, you should definitively know if you ever abused your ex-wife. Yeah, I don't care how long it's been. Absolutely that that answer tells me that he probably has had on multiple occasions. But he he knows that by saying that it makes him look bad. So and also doesn't want to lie for some reason that he's lying about.
I think a lot of other stuff, but he's trying to get away with, you know, the safest answer possible without telling a lie. But it's pretty obvious that you would know that answer definitively if you have never done that before.
He just I mean, he kind of screwed himself because I asked him that and he immediately went to a default liars answer of, you know, I don't recall that when really you should really know that or not. Yeah, not to the best of my memory. What do you mean to the best of your memory? You remember everything else very clearly.
You remember those things in this note. You never went to the attic. You know, all these things. You know, these are facts to you, but you can't recall. It's kind of it's kind of fuzzy on whether or not you were abusive towards Carina, that parts physically abused.
You say for sure. But everything you say for sure. Or is that just how you answered that question in this particular instance? Because you're lying?
That's what I think.
How do you think Thomas and James reacted to seeing their dad for the first time in so long and really it being. Kind of about what happened to their mother, I think Thomas and James were going through a whole bunch of emotions at once, but they I mean, they put a lot of that to the side, I think, and had their game faces on and knew that when we were sitting in there like that, this was their chance to ask their dad straight up to his face, point blank about their mother, and they may not get another chance like this.
And so they really they were stone cold in there. I was sitting on a couch by the door. They were sitting on another couch across the room. In front of me and to my left and to their right was Stephen sitting in this chair and so I could see both of their faces kind of scanning the room as we were all talking. And I mean, they were stone cold and they were trying to get answers.
Were there any moments was really tense.
I think the whole thing in there was pretty tense. And I think at first we just sort of let him talk. I mean, really, in the show, we play about five minutes of what was really close to 45 minutes of us sitting in there talking all the really important stuff we, you know, put in there. But there was a lot of letting them talk and me sort of building up to the point where I was asking him some of the harder questions, which isn't really easy to do because it's uncomfortable and no one wants to to face the music like that because it just makes you feel weird.
But it was the only chance we had to ask him these questions. And I don't even know for sure if he's ever been asked them and if he has, it's been 30 years.
So didn't he get up at some point during a question? Yeah, he did. What question was that?
I was I was essentially. Telling him that the that the police precinct now has this cold case unit that is working this case full time, and I told Matt there was four officers on it full time and they're working it every day.
Isn't that great? And he was like, oh, absolutely. And you could tell he was super nervous. And in hindsight, here's what I think happened. I mentioned police and I mentioned cold case and just like law enforcement in my statement. And immediately his tune changed. And he just he sat up and he walked into his kitchen to warm up his coffee. And he looked very nervous and like he was looking around. And for a brief moment, I thought, where is this guy going?
What is he going to grab? I think that when I mentioned police, he thought this was to catch a predator or something and that the cops were outside and about to just ambush him and this was it. I really think that when I said, yeah, the police were working on this, now, you know, he's thinking they're outside.
There's already been two big surprises. Hey, here are your sons. Hey, here's this investigative journalist. Hey, here, these cameras. What's next? Well, obviously, the police, right, no, not today. Maybe next time. This Saturday at 7:00, Central Oxygen Network will play the next episode in the Up and Vanished TV series, where we cover Crystal Risinger s case. Next week, we'll have a follow up podcast episode on the same case.
If you have any questions about the cases covered by the Up and Vanished TV series, please call us at seven seven zero five four five six four one one again.
That's seven seven zero five four five six four one one. Executive produced by Payen, Lindsey and Donald Allbright, additional production by Mike Rooney, Meredith Steadman and Cooper Skinner, voice narration by Robert Karda, original music by makeup and vanity set a big thank you to the crew and everyone we spoke to during filming. Check out the show this weekend only on oxygen.