The Generation Why Podcast released its first episode in 2012 and pioneered the true crime genre in the podcasting world. Two friends, Aaron & Justin, break down theories and give their opinions on unsolved murders, controversies, mysteries and conspiracies.
October 24, 2001. Montgomery County, Texas. Fifty year old Sandra Stotler, her 17 year old adopted step-grandson, Adam, and his 18 year old friend, Jeremy Richardson, were all shot to death. Sandra was murdered at her home. The young men were killed at a wooded area nearby. It took days for these crimes to become known to the police, but once they were it didn't take long to discover a motive. The primary motive being the theft of Sandra's Chevy Camaro. Identifying suspects in the crimes wasn't difficult, either. But each of them took a different path and ultimately ended up in very different circumstances. When you learn the details of how law enforcement and the justice system dealt with them it may just surprise you. This case was also the subject of a documentary by filmmaker Werner Herzog titled, 'Into the Abyss'.
December 5th, 1981. Toledo, Ohio. Bobbie Russell, a 28 year old mother of three, is brutally attacked and murdered at her home. Detectives were able to get a name from the woman's six year old son who was there with his younger twin sisters. The name he gave was Danny. With that information they picked up 24 year old Danny Brown who had been seeing Bobbie Russell. Danny is cooperative, but denied any involvement. A jury disagreed and he spent years in prison before a dna test in 2000 flipped the case on its head. The prosecutor, though, doesn't find the dna that compelling. Was Danny Brown involved in Bobbie's murder somehow? Or is he the victim of a system that just doesn't like to correct its mistakes?
April 13, 2012. Irmo, South Carolina. A panicked man named Brett Parker called 911. He told police that a friend of his named Bryan Capnerhurst had shot his wife, Tammy Parker, and that he was forced to shoot Bryan in self defense. Brett Parker admitted to owing his friend money. He stated that his friend must have snapped due to being so far in debt. But early on in the criminal investigation, investigators began to doubt Brett's story. Brett scheduled a meeting with the sheriff to make his case but that backfired. The investigation and an autopsy would reveal startling evidence of betrayal, greed, and murder in a case that tore apart families. Was Brett forced to kill his best friend? Or did he hatch a sinister plot for his own selfish reasons?
July 13th, 1994. Bellevue, Washington. Sebastian Burns (19) and Atif Rafay (18), who had been in Bellevue for a number of days to visit Atif's parents, arrive at the home around 2am to find a terrible scene. Burns calls the police to tell them of a break-in and the deaths of his friend's father, mother, and sister. The authorities get the two close friends a hotel room to stay in while the investigation gets under way. But they decide to go back to Canada rather than remain in the USA. The pair became the main suspects but how could investigators get to them? The Royal Canadian Mounted Police began monitoring Burns and Rafay and after a short time launched a Mr. Big operation. Illegal in the United States, this operation placed undercover officers in a position to make suspects believe they were dealing with criminals who were in a position to help them get out of their 'impending arrests'. With confessions from the two given to the investigators in Washington, the case is set. Did the two close friends murder the Rafay family for the insurance payout? Or was this sting operation only successful in getting them to lie in order to protect themselves?
May 1st, 2001. Washington, D.C. Chandra Levy, an intern in Washington, D.C. was an independent woman with big dreams. As someone who was very interested in politics and law enforcement, the move from California to the nation's capital was exciting for her. In April of 2001, she lost her intern position with the Federal Bureau of Prisons because her eligibility had expired six months before. Because of this she had no real reason to stay in D.C. Chandra started the process of moving back. On May 6th, though, her parents reported her missing. The authorities were informed that Chandra had been involved in a relationship with Gary Condit, a married U.S. congressman. Did he harm or kill Chandra to prevent her from leaving? In May of 2002, her remains were found in Rock Creek Park. As the investigation evolved, two suspects stood out; congressman Gary Condit and a 20 year old man from El Salvador named Ingmar Guandique who had admitted to attacking other women in the same area. At the time, this case received massive coverage due to Chandra's affair with Gary Condit and his possible involvement in her death.
Sept. 17, 2016. Point Judith, R.I. Nathan Carman, 22, and his mother Linda, 54, left on his boat for a fishing trip. The two hadn't been getting along but they were known to fish together and maybe this was the opportunity for them to patch things up. A week later, a Chinese freighter discovered Nathan on a life raft and rescued him. Linda's sisters and local law enforcement suspected foul play. But this isn't the first time someone close to Nathan Carman had died under strange circumstances. His grandfather, Linda's dad, was murdered on December 20, 2013 with a rifle. With the grandfather's estate worth hundreds of millions of dollars there were potentially many suspects in the family as concerns over who would inherit how much was very much on their minds. But was Linda murdered? Her body has never been found and Nathan said that he would never have killed her or his grandfather. Join us as we look into a baffling true crime case that you won't forget.
May 17, 1953. Isojoki, Finland. 17 year old Kyllikki Saari bicycled home after a prayer meeting with a friend. Kyllikki had earlier expressed a bit of fear about riding home at night, but when it came time for the two to go there separate ways, she seemed to downplay her fear. Perhaps she felt that three and a half miles was close enough to home or that her fear was not something that she wanted to give into. Her final words to her friend began, "I'm sure I'll be fine from here on, as I have been before." But Kyllikki was never seen alive again. Less than six months later her remains are found. Her burial site seemingly marked by a sharpened pine stick pushed into the ground. As the investigation into her murder got under way, a list of suspects grew. Who could have murdered this young woman? Was it the local vicar? A former police officer? Or was it a suspect from the Lake Bodom murders case? A tragic case of murder and a list of strange evidence and suspects adds up to one of the most infamous cases in Finland's history.
Aaron from Generation Why presents Framed: An Investigative Story. An unsolved crime has divided a community for more than a decade. This season on Framed we will go beyond the narratives and attempt to answer the question of what happened one fateful night in 2002.
2002-2013. Cleveland, Ohio. Three young women went missing in Cleveland, Ohio between 2002 and 2004; Michelle Knight, Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus. While investigations occurred and families held vigils, these three women endured unspeakable torture at the hands of a monster. But as terrible as this was, what this story really became was one of courage. Aaron & Justin discuss the kidnappings, the captivity and the escape of these three strong women after a decade in hell. You will be moved by their stories and you'll never forget their names.
September 10, 2001. Los Angeles, California. Successful personal injury attorney Larry McNabney is seen being pushed in a wheelchair by his wife Elisa after a horse show. An odd sight as Larry was known to be a healthy guy. The next day his office was being cleared out. Clients had been asking after him and being given the run around. After the body of Larry McNabney was discovered in a San Joaquin vineyard, authorities began to uncover Elisa McNabney's secrets. The woman who had married Larry McNabney was not who she said she was...
Introducing I, Survivor. There are so many podcasts about crime and tragedy, but few if any who give a voice to those who survived, who overcame adversity, and who could help others get out of the way of physical or emotional harm.
Listen to I, Survivor on Apple podcasts, wherever you’re listening to this or go to wondery.com/shows/i-survivor/
November 5th, 1975. Heber, Arizona. On their way back to the town of Snowlfake, a logging crew of seven men see a strange sight in the sky. Mike Rogers, who hired the other six men, stopped the truck. Travis Walton, who had been sitting up front, jumped out and moved towards what appeared to be an alien craft. A blue-green beam shot out of the craft and into Travis and was thrown backward ten feet. The men in the truck did not wait around to see what would happen next. Mike drove the truck a number of miles before stopping again. They needed to report the incident to law enforcement but they waited a bit before speaking about the 'ufo'. As the days went on and search parties failed to locate Travis, people started to wonder. Had the missing man been the victim of foul play? Was he taken by aliens? Or was this a hoax for fifteen minutes of fame and some cash? Special thanks to Nic of True Crime Garage for joining me to discuss this famous alien abduction case. Check out TCG at www.truecrimegarage.com or search for the podcast on your favorite podcast app. Justin is on episode #229 of True Crime Garage with The Captain so be sure to check that out, too.
March 30, 1985. Bedford County, Virginia. In 1984, 18 year old Jens Soering, a German citizen, and a 20 year old woman named Elizabeth Haysom met at the University of Virginia where they were both students. They subsequently fell in love. In March of the following year, Elizabeth's parents were brutally stabbed to death at their home. At the top of the suspect list were Elizabeth and Jens. As the authorities sought to gather statements and evidence, Elizabeth cooperated while Jens did not. Once she confessed and implicated her boyfriend Jens it was simply a matter of time before he was arrested and eventually tried. Jens Soering had confessed as well, but after being dumped by Ms. Haysom he recanted. Despite his conviction for the murders of Elizabeth's parents, he has maintained that the confesion was only meant to protect his girlfriend. But what did the evidence show? If Jens didn't participate in these murders, how was he found guilty? Join us as we discuss this bizarre case of love and murder.
Valley Springs, California. April 27, 2013. Twelve year old Isiah Fowler asked to stay home while his father and stepmother took his siblings to a baseball game. His sister, eight year old Leila, wished to remain at home as well. The parents agreed to let them stay. Isiah made pancakes and the two watched a movie. Sometime later, Isiah called his parents to report that an intruder was in the home. The 911 dispatcher, after being called by Isiah's stepmother, Crystal, wanted to speak with the boy. Sometime during the call it was learned that his sister had been attacked. A subsequent investigation revealed curious evidence and inconsistencies in the home and in Isiah's statements to police. Could this twelve year old have murdered his own sister? Or did he really witness an intruder in his home at the time of the attack? Join us as we discuss this mysterious case and try to answer the question; who killed Leila Fowler?
September 14, 2007. King's Cross Railway Station, London, UK. A bright young student named Andrew Gosden leaves for school one day. His family didn't know it, but Andrew waited for them to leave then returned home and changed into his street clothes and headed for the Doncaster railway station after withdrawing £200 from a cash machine. When his parents discovered that he was missing they began to look for him. Once they learned that he had purchased a one way ticket to London their concern grew. Andrew wasn't someone who just left like that. He had a perfect attendance record at school and was always reliable. Though it took police weeks to get the CCTV footage from King's Cross railway station in London, they were able to locate Andrew in it. What was Andrew doing there? Why did he leave? Had he planned to visit a relative or a friend? If so, then why has no one heard from Andrew in more than 10 years? Join us as we discuss this mysterious disappearance case.
Michael Peterson's trial for the alleged murder of his wife Kathleen was the subject of a documentary titled, The Staircase, which is now on Netflix. This is the second and final part of our discussion where we go over the evidence in more detail and state what issues we had with the trial and with the documentary series. Do we believe Michael Peterson murdered his wife? Or do we think this was just an accident? Or, as some believe, could a barred owl be responsible? Join us as we conclude our discussion The Staircase and the death of Kathleen Peterson.
December 8, 2001. Durham, North Carolina. Michael and Kathleen Peterson seemed to have it all. A beautiful home and great careers. She was an executive at Nortel and he was an author. But one night, Kathleen went into the home they shared while Michael continued to lounge outside. After a bit he went in only to discover his wife covered in blood at the bottom of their back staircase. He called 911 to report an accident. After a few hours, Michael Peterson contacted his attorney. Inside the home, prosecutors said that Kathleen Atwater Peterson was attacked and killed by her husband. In this first episode we discuss the night in question and some of the evidence. With the re-release of the documentary The Staircase on Netflix, we have seen our inbox flooded with requests to discuss the documentary and the case. Part two we'll be focused on going through more of the evidence and giving our opinions on what occurred on that fateful night in 2001 at the Peterson home.
Yuba County, California. February 24, 1978. Five men went to a basketball game in Chico, California to watch their favorite college basketball team play. They never returned home. Four days later their car was found on a Plumas National Forest access road. There was no sign of the men and no indication of why they had abandoned their operable car. In June, the remains of four of the five men were found even deeper in the forest. The fifth man remains missing. No one knows why they went into the forest. If it was voluntary or foul play was involved, or why they died when the trailer had enough supplies to allow them to survive until spring. This case is full of mystery. Join us as we attempt to sort out what happened to these five friends.
December 01, 1987. Townsend, Massachusetts. Andrew Gustafson was a 34 year old lawyer who had just closed a successful real estate deal and was attempting to let his wife know about it and to see if she would like to go out that evening to celebrate. A babysitter would be needed for their two children, but Andrew didn't think finding one would be a problem. Upon arriving home, Andrew found the house to be quiet. Too quiet. Upstairs, in their master bedroom, he found the body of his wife. He would then leave the house. Afraid of what else he might discover. Law enforcement used tracking dogs which led them from the Gustafson home to a home a half mile or so behind it through some woods. The killer it seems was within walking distance and was now on the run. When the criminal activities of this murderer were brought to light, many felt as though the young man was truly evil. It all began with home break-ins not unlike those of the Golden State Killer that escalated to terrorizing a family and murdering another.
Evil Genius. August 28th, 2003. Erie, Pennsylvania. A pizza delivery man robbed a bank with a bomb around his neck and a cane shotgun. He was captured soon after by police and handcuffed. The presence of a possible live bomb underneath his shirt caused the authorities to back away. The man repeatedly asked them to look for the keys to remove the bomb which were hidden in the instructions of a scavenger hunt. The elaborate heist resulted in a shocking moment that was captured by the media as police waited for the bomb squad to arrive. This is all covered in the new documentary series on Netflix by Barbara Schroeder and Trey Borzillieri. It's an unbelievable true story with many layers. Justin & I discuss it and then an interview with the directors follows. This crime is also known as the pizza bomber case.
Adam Kaufman. November 7, 2007. Aventura, Florida. Adam Kaufman, a successful real estate developer, called 911 to report that he found his wife, Lina, slumped over in their bathroom. Paramedics are dispatched and take her to the hospital where she was later pronounced dead. By all accounts the couple, who had two young children, were very happy. But a case of murder would develop against the husband after the manner of death is released a year and a half later. It was listed as manual asphyxiation which meant that she must have been strangled. Adam maintained that his wife must have died from natural causes even stating at one point that the spray tan that she had received just hours before might have been the cause. At trial, the prosecution sought to show that Adam had behaved oddly and that he had an interest in another woman while the defense illustrated just how much he loved his wife and that she hadn't been murdered. Had a crime occurred? Or was a loving husband facing a possible prison sentence because his behavior that morning and his wife's death were being misunderstood?
February 22, 2017. Olathe, Kansas. A man re-enters a bar that he was escorted out of minutes before for spouting hateful rhetoric and, armed with a gun, shoots two Indian men as well as a bar patron who attempted to stop him. On this episode we discuss two different shooting incidents, the motives behind them and the responses by survivors. Gun crimes affect many more people than those who are shot. Immigration fears, racism, and outright paranoia can encourage violence against others but what can be done about it? Two strong women are working to change the minds and hearts of those who might commit crimes against those who they perceive to be different.
West Valley City, Utah. December 7th, 2009. Josh Powell took his two sons camping at 12:30am so they could have s'mores. This wasn't a typical trip to take during a snow storm and on a Monday morning, but stranger still, no one was told about this trip. Not his employer who expected him at work. Not the daycare where his sons should have been that day. His wife, Susan, also missed work. The boys' daycare worker did her best to contact the parents of Charlie and Braden, but no one answered these calls. By the time Josh returned home in the family's sole vehicle, a minivan, police were waiting for him. His wife was nowhere to be found. As detectives attempted to locate Susan Powell, Josh's behavior and recent activities caused them to be very suspicious of him. A search of the Powell home turned up a safe deposit box key and led them to a note written by Susan herself the year before. What happened to her? In her own words she described a controlling husband who may harm her or even their children. Was Josh Powell capable of this? And what about his father? Eventually convicted for possession of child pornography and voyeurism, he had seventeen notebooks filled with his desires for Susan Powell and a large collection of photos and videos taken of her without her knowledge. Control, anger, obsession and alliances combine for a true crime case almost too crazy to be believable.
Aaron is joined by Mike Morford from Criminology Podcast to discuss the Golden State Killer who was captured on Wednesday, April 25th, 2018. While much remains unknown at this point, the notorious serial killer now has a name and a face. Criminology Podcast is covering this notorious serial killer in depth in its current season. We originally covered this case on episode #155 under the title The Original Night Stalker.
Michelle McNamara's Letter to GSK:
October 16th, 1984. Lépanges-sur-Vologne, France. Christine Villemin was in her home doing housework while her 4 year old son, Gregory, played in their yard. At some point she went to check on him but he was nowhere to be found. An anonymous call to Gregory's uncle revealed the terrible truth. The caller claimed to have taken the young boy and thrown him into the river. Hours later, little Gregory was recovered from the river. An investigation into the Villemin family revealed that harassing calls and letters went on for years prior to the murder. The caller was nicknamed "The Crow" after a controversial French film from 1943 titled, 'Le Corbeau'. Why did things escalate from harassment to murder? For decades, police and prosecutors worked to solve this crime. In 2017 a major announcement changed the direction of the case. Will the mystery finally be solved? Will Gregory's killers finally be brought to justice?
Brock Turner. January 18, 2015. Stanford, California. Two Swedish PhD students riding bicycles discover a young man on top of an unconscious woman between some dumpsters. They intervene and chase him down. Police arrested Brock Turner, who claimed to have had a consensual encounter with the woman he had been seen with. But an investigation finds that she was unconscious at the time and he is prosecuted. A jury agrees and finds him guilty of sexual assault. Both Brock Turner and the judge who sentenced him faced a public backlash after Turner was given a 6 month sentence. A recall effort is currently underway to get Judge Aaron Persky removed. But Brock and the judge also have their defenders. Did the judge act within the law? Was the sentence too lenient? What should we take away from this case?
Charlie Tan. February 9th, 2015. Pittsford, New York. Jean Tan calls 911 to report that her husband is dead. From the call Jean had placed it sounded as though her husband was shot very recently and that her son had killed him. When law enforcement arrived it quickly became apparent that Jim Tan, who they found under a desk, had been dead for some time. There had been more than a dozen calls to report domestic abuse from the Tan home between 2003 and 2015. Jim Tan had abused and threatened his wife many times but was never arrested despite evidence of his crimes. Within a day, authorities felt they had enough to charge Jim's son Charlie with his murder. Between the final 911 call and Charlie stating that 'he had to do it' this seemed to be an open and shut case. Charlie must have rushed home on February 5th and used a newly purchased shotgun to end his father's life and put an end to years of abuse. Charlie Tan had a solid reputation and tremendous support from his team, his peers and his family. But at the end of the trial this case would take a surprising turn and controversy would ensue.
Leave behind the beaches, the theme parks and the tropical breezes. This is the dark side of the Sunshine State. Listen to Felonious Florida on Apple podcasts, wherever you’re listening to this or go to wondery.fm/gen
Lost Girls Of Panama. April 1, 2014. Boquete, Panama. Lisanne Froon & Kris Kremers traveled to Panama in the middle of March to vacation for a couple of weeks before going to Boquete to volunteer as social workers. Despite local guides being available to assist them on any hikes, the two women set out on a hike together on April 1st. They would never be seen alive again. A search would eventually uncover their belongings and some of their remains. Images taken with their Canon Powershot camera and cellphone records have led many to speculate what caused their deaths. Why did they leave such odd clues behind? Why were so many images taken at night? Did an unforgiving jungle claim their lives? Or did someone take advantage of the unsuspecting tourists? Was this an accident? Or were the women murdered? Join us as we discuss the case of the Lost Girls Of Panama.
January 01, 1998. Marlborough Sounds, New Zealand. Two friends celebrating New Year's Eve ran into trouble after the boat they had planned to get on was overcrowded. They located a water taxi still operating and got in. Sharing the ride was a man who learned that they had nowhere to sleep and offered to let them stay on his boat. As this was their only real option they accepted and the taxi took them to the man's ketch. The two friends, Olivia Hope and Ben Smart, were never seen again. The police conducted an investigation and despite a number of witnesses describing the same man and the same two masted sailing boat, they focused on a man with a smaller vessel named Scott Watson. Where this true crime case went from there has been a source of controversy ever since...
Leigh Occhi. August 27, 1992. Tupelo, Mississippi. 13 year old Leigh Occhi was left home alone for the first time while her mother went to work. Tupelo had been experiencing storms as a result of hurricane Andrew so Vicki Yarborough, Leigh's mother, decided to call and check up on her. After she couldn't reach her daughter she became concerned and headed home. Once there she discovered the garage door was up and a door to the house was unlocked. Inside their home she discovered blood outside of Leigh's room. Vicki searched desperately for Leigh but could not locate her. The Tupelo police department began an investigation which would result in two persons of interest for the crime; Vicki Yarborough and a man from their church named "Mike" Kearns who abducted and raped a 15 year old girl the year following Leigh's disappearance...
Abraham Shakespeare. November 15, 2006 - April 7, 2009. Plant City, Florida. A man discovered that his lottery ticket purchased in Frostproof, Florida on November 15, 2006 was the winning ticket for a $30 million jackpot. With a payout of about $14 million he had many who knew him wanting him to help them out. As his fortune dwindled due to his giving nature, a woman by the name of Dorice Moore offered not only to help him manage his money, but to write a book about him as well. Later, though, in April of 2009 he seemed to disappear and with Dorice giving different people different stories as to why Abraham wasn't around his family became concerned. Winning the lottery may have seemed like a dream come true, but for Abraham Shakespeare it was the beginning of the end...
October 24, 2011. Potsdam, New York. 12 year old Garrett Phillips had played some basketball with friends after school one day and then headed home after his mother, Tandy Cyrus, called to tell him that he needed to start on his homework. Neighbors heard strange noises from his apartment after he arrived home. Law enforcement would hear someone moving around inside after showing up. When they finally gained access they discovered Garrett on the floor. He had a pulse but they could tell something was wrong. As an ambulance raced to the apartment a window was found to be open. The screen pushed out where someone may have exited. Within hours the boy died. It was discovered that he had been strangled and suffocated. A short list of suspects was drawn up, but front and center was an ex-boyfriend of Garrett's mother. Nick Hillary denied responsibility and felt that discrimination was the reason why he was being investigated. But the Jamaican born soccer coach wasn't the only ex who may have had a motive. Tandy had also previously dated a sheriff's deputy who might not have been happy about losing her, either...
Carrie Culberson. August 28, 1996. Blanchester, Ohio. 22 year old Carrie Culberson arrived at her home very late in the evening after playing volleyball. Then she and her car just vanished. Or seemed to, anyway. A neighbor said that she witnessed the young woman's boyfriend, Vincent Doan, hitting her and heard him say, 'I told you if you ever tried to leave me I'd kill you'. Carrie's family tried their best to search for her, but the most promising lead developed when two dogs both alerted by a pond on the property of Lawrence Baker who was Doan's father. Detectives felt that this was significant and thought that answers to Carrie's whereabouts were about to be revealed. But before the pond could be drained and searched, someone put a stop to it and dealt a serious blow to the investigation...
Tex McIver. September 25, 2016. Atlanta, Georgia. Tex and Diane McIver are a very well to do couple who are being driven home by a friend named Dani Jo Carter after having some drinks. Diane sat up front in the passenger seat while her husband sat behind her. Dani Jo exits a backed up highway then drives the couple through a neighborhood that makes Tex a little nervous and he retrieves a gun to keep in his lap. Not too long after that the gun is fired and Diane is struck in the back and they immediately go to a hospital. Despite efforts to save her life, Diane dies. As the investigation got under way, some started to believe that this was no accident and that Claude 'Tex' McIver may have planned his wife's death and that a hidden will holds the key to his motivation...
Noura Jackson. June 5, 2005. Memphis, Tennessee. An 18 year old spends a Saturday evening partying with friends. Sometime that evening her mother calls her to say that she needs to go back home. Her mother had been upset with her regarding her drug use and concerned that she wouldn't finish her education. Noura Jackson had been told to stay home, but went out anyway. The phone call convinces her to go home. Sometime between 1am and 5am something terrible happens. Noura calls 911 at 5am to report that her mother isn't breathing and that she is bleeding. An autopsy later revealed that she had been stabbed 50 times. This was the second parent of Noura's to be murdered. In January of 2004, her father was shot and killed at his store by an unidentified individual. Months after her mother was stabbed to death, the teenager was arrested. Did she murder her mother? Or was someone else responsible?
John Edward Robinson. 1984-2000. Kansas & Missouri, United States. For many years, John Edward Robinson was known as a scammer and embezzler. His crimes usually resulted in probation and he was able to lie so effectively that many gave him the benefit of the doubt. But beyond the face he presented to most everyone lurked a man who hungered for domination of others. In the early days of the internet he chose the name Slavemaster. He not only abused and attacked those who signed contracts to be his submissives, but he also targeted women who needed help. To them, he first appeared to be a savior. With promises of training and a job, he was able to lure women into his trap. To understand just what a monster Robinson was you need to follow his history from Illinois as a young Eagle scout to his scams and murders in both Kansas and Missouri where he created layers of lies to attempt to perpetrate and cover his crimes. Join us as we discuss a serial killer who you won't soon forget.
Circleville Letter Writer. Circleville, Ohio. Letters were first mailed out in 1976 accusing a bus driver of having an affair with the superintendent of schools. At first she simply ignored them. Then letters were mailed to her husband. The threats from the anonymous writer prompted the woman and her husband, as well as a few other people, to mail letters to the person they suspected of being responsible, but the letters and threats only stopped for a few weeks. In 1976, Ron Gillespie, gun in hand, rushed out of his house after receiving a phone call. His truck would be found just down the road crashed into a tree and he was dead behind the wheel. His gun had been fired once, but it could not be determined why. In 1983, his wife Mary, the bus driver, removed a sign that had a box with string attached on her route that seemed to be from the mysterious letter writer. Once home, she took it apart and discovered that it was a booby trap. A gun was set to go off if tampered with. An arrest was made soon after. Was it the letter writer?
The Murders Of Thomas & Ann Farrow. March 27, 1905. London, England. Thomas & Ann Farrow had been shopkeepers at Chapman's Oil and Colour Shop in Deptford for more than two decades. On the morning of March 27, 1905 they were victims of a vicious attack. Thomas was in the shop on the floor having been bludgeoned to death. Ann, barely breathing, was still in her bed having been bludgeoned as well. Police took witness statements and examined both the shop and the Farrow's flat for clues. In the early days of forensics it was not so easy to tie a crime to a person. The Farrow case would rest upon a new forensic science tool. One that would anger some who didn't believe it to be a real science. If the right people could not be convinced, this crime would go unpunished. This bonus episode is brought to you by TNT's new original series, The Alienist. It premiers January 22nd, 2018 at 9/8C.
Charles Stuart. October 23, 1989. Boston, Massachusetts. A man and his wife pulled up to a stoplight. Just minutes earlier they had left a hospital after attending a birthing class. Things had been looking up for them. They were financially well off and expecting their first child. But, according to the husband, they were intercepted at the stoplight by a man who decided to shoot them before leaving. The husband was Charles Stuart who called police on his car phone to report the shooting. He had been shot in his side and Carol was shot in the head. As the people of Boston became aware of the crime a rage swelled. Carol Stuart, Charles' wife, died. Weeks later, her child died as well. But police had a description of the killer and they stopped at nothing in their pursuit of justice. After an arrest was made in the case there was a great sense of relief. Soon after, though, someone contacted police claiming to be involved and the whole case would take a strange turn. This is a true crime story that you won't want to miss.
The Fairbanks Four. October, 1997. Fairbanks, Alaska. A 15 year old named John Hartman was found badly beaten on a curb in downtown Fairbanks, Alaska. At the hospital he was placed on life support as police worked the case and tracked down witnesses and suspects. By the next day John had died and authorities felt certain that a picture of what had happened was quickly coming into focus. But after four convictions and almost two decades the case had changed and the four who had landed in prison for murder were being released after new evidence made its way before the courts. Had the Fairbanks Four been wrongfully convicted? Or could they have committed the murder and then convinced many otherwise?
Stacey Castor. Clay, New York. August 22, 2005. A woman and her husband end up arguing during the weekend of their anniversary. He locks himself in the bedroom which eventually prompts his wife to call for help. When law enforcement broke through the door they discovered a horrific scene. David Castor, the husband, was found naked and face down on the bed and deceased. He had vomited prior to death and bottles in the room indicated that he may have ingested alcohol and antifreeze. Was this a suicide? Stacey Castor, his wife, stated that he had been depressed and that they had recently fought. After a turkey baster is discovered in the kitchen trash, investigators begin to very much doubt that David had taken his own life. As they start looking into her past they find that she may have done this before as her first husband died after an illness at age 38. Just as law enforcement thinks that they have things figured out, Stacey's daughter Ashley is rushed to the hospital after a possible suicide attempt. A letter was found, supposedly typed by the 20 year old, in which she admits to murdering both her father and her stepfather. But did she? Or was this part of some sinister plot?
Ray Gricar. April 15, 2005. Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. District Attorney Ray Gricar was known as a focused, capable attorney and was nearing retirement. After serving multiple terms and finding love, he was starting to plan for his new life. With plans to visit his daughter and to visit Europe, it seemed as though life was just where he wanted it to be. But in 2005, Ray decided to take a day off work and travel to Lewisburg, Pennsylvania where he liked to visit the Street of Shops which included an antique store. After hours go by with no word from him, his girlfriend, Patty Fornicola, calls the police. They are able to locate his car, but there's no sign of Ray. After months go by, his work laptop and then its hard drive are located, but both are badly damaged and reveal no answers. As detectives work the case they have difficulty choosing a likely reason for Gricar's disappearance. Was he abducted? Did he walk away to start a new life? Or did he take his own life just as his brother did nine years earlier? With a long list of suspects and possible scenarios, can we figure out what happened to Ray Gricar?
Jeffrey Dahmer. July 22, 1991. Milwaukee, Wisconsin. A man flags down two Milwaukee police officers and tells them about a 'freak' who had cuffed him. The police realize that the handcuff was not police issued and accompany him back to the apartment he had come from. Inside that apartment, police discover photographs of men before and after being murdered. The man who lived at that apartment was named Jeffrey Dahmer. A search of his place revealed to investigators that Dahmer was one of the worst serial killers in recent memory. A confession by the killer gave details on the murders of 15 men and 2 boys over a 13 year period. Dahmer's crimes involved drugging his victims, strangulation, necrophilia and cannibalism. But did he only kill seventeen people? Or did Jeffrey Dahmer keep some of his killings secret?
Death of LaVena Johnson. July 19, 2005. Balad, Iraq. Nineteen years of age and recently deployed to Iraq, LaVena Johnson had everything going for her. A great education, determination, goals, and a great family. In letters and calls to home, she seemed quite candid about conditions there, both the good and the bad, but was also looking forward to being home for Christmas. On July 19th, though, a grim discovery was made. LaVena was found in a contractor's tent, dead from an apparent gunshot wound to her head. An aerosol can was used to burn printed emails from a recent boyfriend. The Army ruled her death a suicide. Upset over the recent breakup with her boyfriend she must have hit her breaking point. The first autopsy didn't really find anything to question this as a suicide. The Johnson family had her exhumed and two additional autopsies would make some startling discoveries. LaVena Johnson had suffered a broken nose, loose teeth, a black eye, and chemical burns on her genitals just to name a few. The Johnson family never believed that LaVena would take her own life and despite the questions surrounding her death, no one seems to want to go beyond saying that this case is 'inconclusive'. Join us for a difficult discussion of losing a loved one under mysterious circumstances, not getting answers from investigators, and the possible reasons for why LaVena Johnson died back in 2005 in Iraq.
Dr. Death. June 24, 1998. Hyde, Greater Manchester, England. A woman in her early 80's unexpectedly dies and after her daughter discovers a new will had been signed shortly before, an investigation is launched. The last person to see Kathleen Grundy alive was her doctor. Dr. Harold Frederick Shipman was a well-respected doctor with thousands of loyal and trusting patients. Despite this, police discover something very unsettling; many of Dr. Shipman's patients had died while under his care. After an autopsy is performed on Ms. Grundy and other former patients have been exhumed and examined, a disturbing pattern emerged. Dr. Shipman had been injecting them with overdoses of morphine to kill them and then had altered their medical records to avoid suspicion. Throughout history there have been many serial killers, but few can rival this murderer's body count. Just how did he manage to get away with this for so long and what did the British government do about it?
The Springfield Three. June 7, 1992. Springfield, Missouri. After graduating from Kickapoo High School, Suzanne Streeter and her friend Stacy McCall head out to party with various friends that night. Sometime after 2:00am they head back to Suzie's house to sleep after a number of other arrangements had fallen through. Suzie's mother, Sherrill, was already there and had been working on varnishing some furniture. Sometime between 2:20am and 8:00am the three simply vanish. The only clues left behind are that all of their belongings were left behind and outside the front door a glass light cover had been smashed. Who could have taken them? Various motives behind the crime are discussed and potential suspects are named. For the past 25 years, this true crime mystery has baffled both the public and the police. Are we any closer to finding answers?
The Scream Murder. September 22, 2006. Pocatello, Idaho. 16 year-old Cassie Jo Stoddart was asked to housesit for her aunt and uncle while they were out of town for the weekend. Her boyfriend and two other schoolmates joined her for a while before they left her alone later in the evening. On the following Sunday, her relatives returned home to find Cassie dead. She had been stabbed about thirty times. Her mother arrived soon after the homeowners did, having been concerned that her daughter had not been in contact with her that weekend. The investigation focused on the three boys that had been at the house that evening. After one suspect confesses, detectives soon learned that the killers had made recordings leading up to and after the murder and wore masks and wielded knives when they re-entered the home later in the evening. The inspiration for the killing was the film Scream by Wes Craven. But was everything as it seemed? Was Cassie really murdered for fun and for fame?
Disappearance Of Emma Fillipoff. November 28, 2012. Victoria, British Columbia. 26 year-old Emma Fillipoff had moved away from her family home in Perth, Ontario in the fall of 2011. She found work and messages to family seemed to indicate that all was well. But over time, Emma's physical, emotional, and mental state seemed to be in decline. After a series of calls to her mother in November of 2012, in which a tearful Emma first asked to come home and then changed her mind several times over, it was clear that something was very wrong. Shelley, her mother, decided to fly to Victoria to bring her daughter home. But after her arrival, she learned that no one had seen Emma for several hours at that point. The last confirmed sighting of Emma was when two police officers did a welfare check on her, but decided she was well enough to leave her be on a cold night without shoes. As the clock ticked on and Shelley learned more about Emma's recent behaviors, the disappearance became more confusing and even more concerning. Where had Emma gone? Was she running from someone or something? As more information turned up, a suspect list formed. Can this mystery ever be solved? As difficult as this case has been, we do believe it can be. To help find Emma Fillipoff please visit: http://www.helpfindemmafillipoff.com/