Investigative journalist Chris Hansen has earned a reputation for digging into the most unsavory corners of true crime.
On Tuesday evening at 9 p.m. ET, the former Dateline host returns to the Investigation Discovery network with the third season of Killer Instinct with Chris Hansen, which revisits 10 killings. Hanson, a seven-time Emmy winner who also hosts Crime Watch Daily, secures interviews with key players and inspects each crime scene, offering his own perspective on the crimes.
“These stories are all so compelling, but maybe didn’t get a lot of coverage when they were going down because of other national events,” Hansen tells PEOPLE. “We’re immersing ourselves in these cases and in some instances, getting interviews with the families of the victims — and this is their first time speaking about the murders.”
The show features interview footage interspersed with dramatic recreations of the killings.
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The first episode takes a closer look at the 1993 killing of Tammy Tatum, who was found naked dead by her husband in her Colorado home with her baby, Sadie, asleep in her crib.
Authorities initially suspected Tatum’s husband, but the killer was identified 13 years later as another man, Rudy Gaytan, who also raped Tatum. On Killer Instinct, Hansen speaks with Sadie, now 24, as she recounts what it was like growing up without a mother.
Hansen speaks with the lead investigator on the case, Det. Bruce Vaughan, who shares previously-undisclosed details about the puzzling murder he says kept him awake at night for 13 years.
“Having the knowledge that the baby was [at the crime scene] was disturbing being a parent myself,” he told Hansen.
Another episode left an indelible imprint on the veteran journalist.
In late 1997, 23-year-old Susannah Chase was raped and murdered right outside her home in Boulder, Colorado. The case baffled police for more than a decade.
“That one tugged at the heart strings,” Hansen says. “Susanna was walking home from her boyfriend’s graduation party and was 50 feet from her house when she is bludgeoned with a baseball bat.”
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“The police were looking at her boyfriend, but the case went cold for a decade,” Hanson says, noting advancements in DNA technology eventually led to the identification of the killer: Diego Olmos Alcalde, who was then living in Connecticut.
For the first time, Chase’s relatives spoke about the case with Hansen.
“They trusted me with the interview,” Hansen says. “I am fascinated by the relationship that develops between these detectives, who are so dogged and stay with these cases so long, and the relatives of the victims … it is so fascinating to me how they encourage each other to get through it and find justice, and that’s what we explore in season three.”
The third season of Killer Instinct with Chris Hansen premieres on Investigation Discovery on Tuesday, Sept. 5 at 9 p.m. ET.