Population Zero

Synopsis: In April 2009 three young men were killed in a remote part of Yellowstone National Park. Authorities Never Found the Murderer. He Found Them. Only hours after three young men were gunned down in cold blood, Dwayne Nelson walked into a ranger station miles away and confessed to the crime. Despite his detailed confession, Dwayne Nelson was allowed to go free because of a loophole in the American Constitution. Award Winning Canadian Documentarian Julian T. Pinder (Trouble in the Peace, Land, Jesus Town) travels to Yellowstone in a cinematic and compelling chase for truth behind a crime that should have rocked the nation. How did the United States Constitution, the supreme law of the United States of America, let a guilty man go free? In his hunt for answers Pinder breaks the first rule of documentary film making by allowing himself to become a subject in the story; risking his life and others when he finds evidence that could re-open the case of the Yellowstone Murders years later. In Pin
Production: FaceFilm
  1 win & 1 nomination.
Rotten Tomatoes:
84 min

Let's take this video

to the Idaho side of the Park.

But to get to Idaho,

you go out the west entrance.

The west entrance?


Is that the region where, um...

Have you heard of this

constitutional loophole thing?

Is that the region

where that is?

Constitutional loophole?

I'm not following that.

You never read any

articles about that stuff?

- No.

- Okay.

Thanks a lot.

- Here you go.

- Thank you.

- Have a great day.

- I will.

Knows nothing.

No one knows anything.

Yellowstone National Park.

Around every corner

is a reminder

of how still life can be.

How vast it can be.

How true it can be.

Until it isn't.

Yellowstone woke up

to what has to be

the worst crime

in the National Park's history.

A bizarre triple homicide,

where the murderer immediately

turned himself in

and confessed.

First victim

was by the fire.

The second one, I don't know,

maybe 10 feet from it.

This is where

the third victim was shot.

- Okay.

- By the back wheel?

I just really

can't understand

how a man can commit

all these horrific crimes,

you know,

and then just...

Talk about it like he's

reciting the details

of a traffic violation.

Nobody could

have expected

the side swipe that occurred.

We're talking about

a confessed murderer here.

One who showed no remorse,

no regret.

This guy should have been

put away for life.

There is no resolution.

I mean, it's just this thing

hanging over us.

I think most of the country,

most of the world,

hasn't even heard of this.

Well, this whole thing

was swept under the rug.

It's an embarrassment.

My name is Julian Pinder.

As a documentary filmmaker,

I believe anything in life

can be fascinating

when you delve

into the details.

I find characters and I

tell a story through them.

Their words, their actions,

their eyes.

But it's a completely

different story

when the camera turns on you.

It's nice.

How's that?

I first heard of this story

when I received an email

not too long ago.

Three boys were murdered

in a remote part of

Yellowstone National Park.

What struck me was

that the murders took place

on April 27th, 2009,

nearly five years ago.

Why was I being sent this now?

The email came from

I was unsuccessful

in contacting

the source of the email.

But when I did a search,

incredible images

immediately surfaced

of a bear chasing a burnt bison

down a winter road

in Yellowstone.

Incredible and unbelievable.

A chase like none other

seen before.

These images would

prove to be a metaphor

for the Yellowstone murders.

David Drabeck,

Thomas Burnett and Cody Gibbs

were camping in

Yellowstone National Park,

when tragedy struck.

A chance encounter

with a stranger proved fatal

when Williston resident,

Dwayne Nelson,

killed the young men

in a self-described

moment of insanity.

Shocking news of

a three person homicide

early this morning.

The suspect turned himself in

just after 5:
30 A.M.

In what has to be

the worst crime

in the National Park's history.

I was here,

and I received a phone call.

It was our family doctor.

There was

an emergency contact thing

in Thomas' wallet.

It was the middle of the night.

I didn't know why

I was getting a call.

I... I dropped to that floor.

And I didn't think I was

ever going to get up again.

First thing was...

Was violence.

Because, uh...

I heard that

someone shot him...

In the back.

And I... was angry.

I was very angry.

It took a while for

grief to set in.

I didn't believe it.

I thought they'd made

a mistake,

came to the wrong house,

had the wrong boy.

I didn't believe it.

I didn't believe it

till I actually saw his body.

On that day

I can remember

pretty much everything.

I remember

the color of the sky,

the calmness in the air.

I was just here at my post.

This particular

ranger station, um,

is the furthest south-west

that you can get to by vehicle

in Yellowstone.

It was just after 5:30

in the morning.

I'd just made myself

a cup of coffee.

He walked out of the woods,

the West Side,

the entrance side.

He left the weapon

outside of the door,

and just walked in.

The way it happened,

you'd think there would

have been some emotion.

But like I said before,

he seemed so calm and, uh...

So normal.

Right here.

This way.

It was right in here

that they parked the truck.

This is where

the third victim was shot,

- by the back wheel.

- Okay.

It's a bit of a clearing here.

And this is where the fire pit

was set up.

Right around here.

This is where the other two

victims were found.

First victim was by the fire,

and the second one,

I don't know,

maybe ten feet from it.

Never stood much of a chance.

The families...

Come and visit them.

They bring flowers and stuff.

But he just wanted

to be outside, all the time.

I mean, he's the guy that

organized all those trips,

every year.

Even when they weren't around,

he'd grab his knapsack

and be gone.

Go off hiking by himself.

He just...

I don't know what

it was about him.

I guess he found

something in nature that...

That put him at peace,

I don't know.

But he loved it.

This is, uh,

Thomas and Alicia.

- Great looking couple.

- Yeah.

And Thomas on his wedding day.

That's a great shot.

And another one of

Thomas and Alicia.

This one over here,

this is, uh...

This is all the boys together.

Thomas, Cody and David.

Oh, you know.

I'll show you this, actually.

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Jeff Staranchuk

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "Population Zero" Scripts.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 25 Apr. 2024. <https://www.scripts.com/script/population_zero_16091>.

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