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Crime News Dateline: Unforgettable

What To Know About The David Metter Case Before ‘Dateline: Unforgettable’ Season 2

During a vicious custody battle, Christine Metter turned to her father — and a Facebook friend — for help concocting a disturbing scheme.

By Joe Dziemianowicz
Police handout photos of Christine Metter and Al Zombory

Since 2012, Andrea Canning has been a “Dateline” correspondent. During that decade of reporting on disturbing crimes, certain stories have stood out because of their startling twists and turns.

How to Watch

Catch up on Dateline: Unforgettable on Peacock or the Oxygen App.

That includes the David Metter case.

“This is a story about a suburban secret in the Midwest, a family that looked perfect from the outside,” Canning said about the episode. “But behind closed doors the foundation was crumbling.” 

In Season 2 of “Dateline: Unforgettable,” premiering Tuesday, June 7 at 8/7c on Oxygen, Canning reflects on a case that involves, as she put it, “a brazen murder-for-hire plot” and “a big twist.”  

The “Dateline” story first aired in November 2020 in an episode called “The Eastlake Conspiracy” and as it re-airs for "Dateline: Unforgettable," Canning explains why it's stuck with her all this years.

Know the victim

David Metter, a divorced father of four, underwent an intense custody battle with his ex-wife, Christine. David testified that one daughter missed a month of school, while another refused to get on a plane with his former spouse. David won custody of one daughter and was determined to do the same for the other three girls.

A fateful Facebook message

Christine groused about her ex-husband on Facebook, claiming that David was abusive during their marriage, wkyc.com reported. Her high school friend, Patrick Sabo of Lake County, joked that she should hire a hitman to solve her problem.

“Lol,” was Chrissy’s response. What happened next was no laughing matter. 

Meeting to discuss murder

Christine asked Sabo, a former Army Ranger, if he would have dinner with her father, then-77-year-old father, Al Zombory, who felt “hatred” toward his ex-son-in-law, according to patch.com.

The conversation at the Lake County restaurant soon turned to the possibility of killing David. Zombory gave Sabo $3,000 to find a hitman, according to the WKYC report. Sabo figured that his military background made him seem like a go-to guy to track down a killer.

Acting like an assassin

Instead of finding a murderer, Sabo went to the police, and authorities hatched a plan to catch the father-and-daughter duo behind the contract murder. The police sent Detective Christopher Bowerstock to pose as the hitman and collect evidence at the meeting with Chrissy and her dad.

When Bowerstock asked why they wanted David dead, Zombory is heard saying on a covertly taped conversation: “He’s such a scumbag, all right? He’s done everything wrong. He took one kid. He’s threatening to take the rest of them.” 

The recording also captured the “hitman” demanding $50,000 for for the hit. The deal was sealed.

But what happened next for Christine Metter and Al Zombory, and how did it involve a Photoshopped corpse? Find that out — as well as more about David Metter — by watching Season 2 of “Dateline: Unforgettable,” premiering Tuesday, June 7 at 8/7c on Oxygen.

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