The last time Jan Cilliers had a conversation with his wife,, she was taking a walk outside their Marina del Rey, California, apartment with their cat, Loki — a Russian Blue, whose favorite thing to do was run out on the beach and roll in the sand. She sent him a video of Loki playing in the sand.
It was Friday night, Nov. 12, 2021. Cilliers was in San Francisco visiting his father. Giles, 24, a high fashion model, was in Los Angeles planning a girls night out with her friend, Hilda Marcela Cabrales, 26, an architect and interior designer.
"I knew she was going out that night. I think she had a few different plans. She didn't know where she was going to go yet and then I went to sleep relatively early that night and she sent me a couple of text messages," Cilliers, told "48 Hours" contributor Jonathan Vigliotti in an interview for this week's broadcast, "Christy and Hilda's Last Dance."
The next day, around 7a.m., Cilliers sent his wife a text message to check in, but didn't hear anything back. He thought she'd been out late and was sleeping in. He recalls feeling something wasn't right. The couple shared their locations on their phones by using their "Share My Location," feature on their iPhones. "We share our phone locations with each other just as a safety feature," said Cilliers. He noticed that Giles' phone was pinging at an unfamiliar address, an apartment on 8641 West Olympic Boulevard in West Los Angeles.
Worried, but not yet panicked, Cilliers says he continued to try and reach her. Hours went by and still no word from Giles. "I still hadn't heard back from her, and I saw her location had suddenly moved to an emergency room hospital … and at that point, like, I'm in real panic."
Within minutes, Cillers' life changed drastically when Giles's phone pinged at the Southern California Medical Center at Culver City, Los Angeles. He called Christy's parents with the information, and a short time later they called him back and learned that his wife of just two years had died after being dropped outside the hospital by two masked men in a car without license plates. Hospital staff told investigators the men claimed to be "good Samaritans." She had died from a drug overdose.
"When you were told that the cause of death was an overdose, did that add up to you?" Vigliotti asked. "Absolutely not … definitely not something that she would have done to herself ever," said Cilliers.
His role as loving husband would suddenly turn to grieving investigator.
"In less than 24 hours, your world was turned upside down?" asked Vigliotti. "Shattered," Cilliers replied.
Cilliers wasted no time trying to get answers about what happened to Giles. Armed with the digital trail Giles had left behind, he set to work. He gave investigators a screenshot of the location on West Olympic Boulevard where Christy's phone had been pinging that morning.
Cilliers learned from the friend who had been out with the women that night that she shared phone locations with Cabrales. She told Cilliers that Cabrales' phone was pinging at the exact location where Giles had been, that mysterious address in West Lost Angeles.
She called Cabrales' phone. A man answered and hung up. Afterwards, it just went to voicemail. They later learned that Hilda had also been left at a hospital, Kaiser Permanente, about two miles away from where Christy was taken. She had also suffered a drug overdose and was dying.
"Obviously, all our alarm bells are going off in our heads when both girls are dropped off at two different hospitals, two hours apart," said Cilliers. "Something terrible happened that night."
He took the last known location of both women on West Olympic Blvd and blasted it on social media.
"I posted her address on Instagram asking if anybody knew and that she had passed away. And I guess the story went like far and wide. A lot of people shared it," said Cilliers.
He immediately got leads. "People got back to me with saying that this guy lives at this address and he's a very like suspicious person, that there's lots of things out on the Internet about him, that he's not a very savory character. … A lot of really terrible things have been written about him online," said Cilliers.
"Obviously at this point, I know she's passed away, that she was at this person's address all night, all afternoon," said Cilliers. "I knew something like the worst of the worst had happened."
Investigators say it was the home of, 39, a self-proclaimed "Hollywood producer."
Cilliers checked Giles' laptop: he could see her history of text messages. One, with a wide-eyed emoji, caught his attention: it was in an exchange between Christy and Hilda, where the two women planned to leave the location they'd been taken to and catch an Uber. But that ride never happened.
Cilliers provided detectives with that text, which would soon turn into a key piece of evidence. "I give as much information as I can to the detectives … and … I believe that that night, they knocked on his door for the first time to talk to him."
The quest to get to the bottom of what caused his wife's death continued. After combing through social media posts and connecting the dots through conversations with friends, he made a timeline. The women started their night at the Soho House in West Hollywood earlier on Friday evening. Just after midnight, they continued to party. They went to see one of their favorite DJs at a warehouse party in East Los Angeles.
"I contacted everybody I could at the events that she went to that night and found these photos of these guys hanging out with them," Cilliers tells "48 Hours." The photos proved that Pearce was at the same warehouse party, in the VIP section, with Christy and Hilda.
Cilliers continued to put the pieces of the puzzle together. He obtained surveillance video from outside the warehouse location where the women were last seen alive. At 4:51 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021, Pearce and his friends are seen leaving the warehouse with Giles and Cabrales. Surveillance images captured them getting into a car that would later be linked to the same location where the women's phones had been pinging all day.
"I mean it's just confirming my worst fears again that they were there at that place against their will," Cilliers tells "48 Hours." "We wanted to gather as much evidence as we could about exactly what happened … exactly what caused their death. At that point, we already knew who was responsible."
Christy Giles and Hilda Marcela Cabrales both died from a toxic mix of drugs, including cocaine and fentanyl. In Giles's case, GHB – known as the date rape drug – was found in her system. Pearce would ultimately be charged with two counts of murder and two felony drug counts for allegedly providing lethal amounts of fentanyl to Giles and Cabrales. He also faces seven counts of sexual assault involving seven different women. Pearce has pleaded not guilty to all charges against him.