There are vulnerable people in society who the rest of us have a moral obligation to protect and defend from those who would take advantage of them or abuse them. Of course, we often fail. But when someone dedicates their life to helping these people who society has basically cast out, it is an honorable thing. This is a person we can all admire as selfless and kind. We may admire them so much that we overlook some ominous signs of exploitation.
Dorothea Puente ran a boarding home for disabled and elderly people who had nowhere else to go. Many of them were mentally ill and incapable of caring for themselves. She came across as maternal and selfless, cooking and cleaning for her boarders without complaint. But she had a temper. And, she had a criminal history.
The crimes in Dorothea’s boarding house were shocking and heinous, so much so that she would earn the moniker “Death House Landlady.” It would take time for anyone to notice that tenants were missing and to connect the horrible, sickly sweet odor of decomposition to their disappearances.
Today, we’re finding out how Dorothea Puente progressed from being a thief to a serial killer and how she got away with murdering the people who depended on her while cashing their checks and spending their social security benefits on clothing and booze. We’re calling this episode “Death House Landlady,” because we can, and because it neatly sums up this story.
Full-time mom Candy Montgomery always did what was expected of her. She married, had two kids, and taught Sunday school at her church. Her husband Pat loved her and she loved him. But something was missing from Candy’s life: excitement. She took creative writing classes in order to express herself. She made close women friends to whom she could confide even her wildest desires. Still, something was lacking. Maybe an extramarital affair was the answer. Just some sexual exploration while Pat was away at work---nothing that would hurt anyone. She wasn’t the type to hurt anyone.
Betty Gore didn’t share Candy’s urges to find pleasure outside of her marriage. She adored her husband Allen, who made a good living and worked hard to keep her happy. Keeping Betty happy wasn’t an easy task. She suffered from depression and hypochondria. She was insecure. She cried when he had to travel for work, even if it was just a day or two. She didn’t do well on her own. Betty invested time and effort into her marriage, signing them up for the church’s Marriage Encounter program. And it was working. They were closer than ever.
How did the lives of these suburban moms intersect with a shocking and brutal ax murder in the middle of an otherwise normal morning? Join us at the quiet end for an extraordinary story of love, lust, and violence in the suburbs: Unleashed Rage: The Murder of Betty Gore.
When Cheryl Keeton was found dead in the middle of the highway in 1986, she was a talented, well-respected lawyer and the mother of three young boys. After her death was determined not to be an accident, her husband Bradley Cunningham became the prime suspect. Cheryl was Bradley’s 4th wife. They had been involved in a long and bitter divorce and custody battle. What investigators would learn from Bradley’s first 3 wives would solidify their suspicions. Then, Bradley’s 5th wife would find out what it was like to be on Bradley’s bad side.
Join us at the quiet end today as we examine the twisted mind of Bradley Cunningham and the events that led up to and followed the murder of Cheryl, in Murder Foretold: The Cheryl Keeton Story
Members of the Heaven’s Gate cult donned black outfits, new Nike sneakers, and purple shrouds on the day of their deaths. They each had a $5 bill and 3 quarters in their pockets. It was March 1997 and 39 cult members ritually ended their lives in waves. Each cleaned up after the last until all 39 were dead inside a San Diego mansion.
To us on the outside, this was a mass suicide. To families of some of the victims, it was 38 murders and 1 suicide. To the 39 people in the Heaven’s Gate cult, this was their destiny. Marshall Applewhite, their leader, had told his followers that there was a UFO in the tail of the Hale-Bopp comet. This comet orbited the earth once every 2,000 years. He told them this was their signal to board the space ship which would take them into eternity. In order to catch this ride, they would have to die.
This tragedy was the culmination of more than two decades of the religious and social development of a religious group that had taken different names over the years. The deaths were the result of years of behavior modification.
At the quiet end today, we’re talking about the origins of the Heaven’s Gate cult, the beliefs of its leaders, and how it appealed to its followers with a religion that fused Christianity, New Age practices, and science fiction. At the time of their deaths, did any of the members have second thoughts or resist in anyway? We’ll talk about the death scene in the Heaven’s Gate mansion and consider the reasons for the dressing and positioning of the bodies.
The story of Gypsy Rose Blancharde, a victim of Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy and a convicted killer, has gained international attention and invited speculation from lay people and professionals in the medical community. On the night of June 14, 2015, deputy sheriffs in Greene County, Missouri, found the body of Dee Dee Blanchard face down in the bedroom of her house. She was lying on her bed in a pool of blood from stab wounds that had killed her days earlier. There was no sign of her daughter, Gypsy Rose, who was believed to have suffered from leukemia, asthma, muscular dystrophy, mental retardation, and other chronic conditions.
The neighbors, who notified the police after reading alarming Facebook posts earlier that evening, suggested Dee Dee may have fallen victim to foul play. They were also fearful that Gypsy Rose, whose wheelchair and medications were still in the house, may have been abducted.
Police found Gypsy Rose the next day in Wisconsin, where she had traveled with a boyfriend she had met online. There was public outrage that someone had taken advantage of this severely disabled girl and killed her mother, until it was revealed that Gypsy was not sick at all but, in fact, a victim of Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy.
Further investigation found that many of the doctors who had examined Gypsy Rose did not find any evidence of the illness. Dee Dee had lied about her daughter’s condition and benefited from charities such as Habitat for Humanity, Ronald McDonald House and the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Dee Dee had been making her daughter pass herself off as younger, disabled and chronically ill. Throughout her childhood she had been subjecting Gypsy to unnecessary surgery and medication, controlling her as she aged through physical and psychological abuse.
This case brings up many questions about how this happened. How did Dee Dee manipulate doctors and everyone around her to keep Gypsy as her captive and how much can we blame Gypsy for being willing to kill for her freedom?
In-home daycare settings allow caretakers to work from home while offering working mothers an alternative to traditional day care settings. Parents weigh the benefits and drawbacks of their daycare options and most are satisfied with the care their children receive. When a tragedy occurs, as it did with the death of one-year old Maria Harris, the situation is reassessed in hindsight and unimaginable grief.
Maria was the adored child of her teenaged mother, Esther, both of them living in the supportive environment of her grandparents. It was Esther's determination to provide a better life for her daughter that led her to place Maria in Stephanie Spurgeon's in-home day care.
On August 21st, 2008, Maria's grandmother Patricia Harris picked up Maria from her first day in Stephanie's home. She left with Maria in her arms and a foreboding sense that something wasn't right. Maria was in too deep a sleep, heavy and limp like a sack of sand. She didn't rouse as she was buckled into her car seat. Her eyes did not open and her head lulled to one side. Maria would never regain consciousness.
One week later, Maria was removed from life support and several of her tiny organs were donated to children who needed them. The Harris family was living a nightmare and Stephanie Spurgeon would face a trial for the murder of Maria Harris.
At the quiet end today, Dick and I are talking about the injuries that caused Maria Harris' death as well as the law applied to her case. Shaken baby syndrome, also known as abusive head trauma, is a topic spurring debate and strong emotion. In "Death in a Home Daycare" we hope to shed some light on recent controversies and provide insight on prevention.
At 7:36 pm on the first Tuesday in July 2008, Carol Kennedy made her nightly call to her mother. Ruth Kennedy lived across the country in Nashville, Tennessee. She was 83-years old at the time and Carol worried about her living on her own. She had called her mother almost every night since her father died in 2006. Despite her advanced age, Ruth was not immune to worrying about her daughter, who was recently divorced and also on her own. Carol reassured Ruth that she had locked her doors and was in for the night.
It was 7:59pm when Ruth heard her daughter say two last words: “Oh no.” The tone of the words was surprise, not fear, and then there was no sound at all. She didn’t hear the phone drop or any voices. Now the line was dead.
This episode of True Crime Brewery, An Inconvenient Woman, is the story of an apparently loving and long-lasting relationship. When one person ended up brutally beaten to death; the other would be the primary suspect.
We have no way of knowing what happens behind closed doors, in a marriage. When a marriage ends in a violent murder, some of their secrets come to light while others remain in the shadows. When a relationship turns from companionship to malice, from malice to murder, all we can do is find justice for the victim, seek punishment for the killer, and attempt to learn something about human behavior.
We all have someone in our family who is a little unstable. An eccentric aunt or a brother preparing for the zombie apocalypse maybe. But what happens when a family member sinks deeply into true madness, becoming a danger to himself and others? This is when interventions are needed or lives fall apart.
Susie Sharp was born to a prominent southern family. She was meant for greatness. Her cousin, Fritz Klenner, was the son of a physician, expected to take over his father’s practice. After a bitter divorce, Susie became volatile and paranoid. She was lonely. Her cousin Fritz was there for her. She became involved with Fritz, a college failure who was practicing medicine illegally. Fritz also had a frightening fascination with guns. He claimed to work for the CIA.
A child custody dispute over Susie’s children became bitter as Susie and Fritz isolated themselves from the outside world and did everything they could to keep the two young boys from their father. Then relatives began turning up dead. Five of them in all. Even as Fritz and Susie were suspected, her children were left in the control of two dangerous people.
Follow us through this tale of family destruction beyond what anyone could have predicted. This episode of True Crime Brewery is a stranger than fiction family tragedy: Love and Madness: Murder in a Southern Family.
It only took minutes to tear apart the family of Darren Galsworthy, a blended family that had been through hardships and illnesses to finally find some happiness and equanimity. Darren and his wife Anjie had each been through difficult relationships before they fell in love and merged their two families into one cohesive group. Things were not perfect, but they were in love and Darren felt proud that their children had a solid home.
Becky Watts was 16-years old and living with her father Darren and her step-mother Anjie when she was reported missing in 2015. Her phone and laptop were gone from her bedroom but her clothing and make-up were left behind. It was initially believed that Becky left her home on the morning of February 19th, but it was later discovered that her step-brother and his girlfriend had lied to mislead police.
The search for Becky involved family, police, and volunteers as well as a social media campaign using the hashtag #FindBecky. As parents, it’s hard to imagine what Becky’s parents went through as days passed and there was no sign of her. Tragically, finding Becky would not bring relief but would only create deep, long-lasting wounds her family would struggle with forever.
This story of strength and loss, A Killer in the Family, edifies as it devastates, bringing to light a sad truth: even those closest to us can destroy us.
Pregnant mother Belinda Temple, 30, was found dead in her bedroom closet on January 11, 1999, shot in the back of the head with a shotgun. Her husband David, a Houston-area high school football coach and former local football star, was the focus of the investigation, but authorities did not have enough evidence to arrest him until several years later.
David Temple was convicted of his wife's murder in 2007 and sentenced to life in prison. In 2016, he was released on appeal and is likely to face another trial. He still maintains his innocence today--alleging that Belinda was killed by burglars during a botched robbery while he was out shopping with their then-3-year-old son.
This is a complicated case that we have examined from all angles. From David’s entitled childhood, to dating abuse, affairs, life insurance, and questionable forensic evidence, we’re letting you decide whether or not David Temple killed Belinda and their unborn daughter. Did a life of being told how special he was lead David Temple to think he was above the law? If that was the case, his family was probably behind him after Belinda’s murder, reassuring him that he was loved and supported, just as they always had whenever he got in trouble at school or in relationships. But there are other possible suspects. We’ll talk about those as well. Come with us to the quiet end.
We’ve all done stupid things due to peer pressure. It can be harmless, such as influencing the way we dress or the way we wear our hair. Sometimes it involves drinking or other high-risk behavior. It often plays a part in bullying, with a teen or group of teens encouraging abusive behavior against a peer. Today, we are talking about an extreme case of peer pressure which led to the torture and murder of a 12-year old girl by 4 teenage girls.
12-year old Shanda Sharer was a cute and friendly girl, living in Madison, Indiana, in 1992, when her murder attracted international attention. Her killers were unlikely criminals. Shanda had left her house willingly with them.
So, how did a typical teenage adventure lead to such horrific violence and murder? The role of peer pressure or mob mentality was definitely a factor. But there were other factors that influenced what happened that night, including the abusive histories and dysfunctional childhood environments of some of the perpetrators. We’ll talk about the crime of torture and murder against Shanda and examine the influences, including the home lives of the girls involved in the crime.
In this episode of True Crime Brewery: Mean Girls
Our intermission song is Perfect by Alanis Morissette
In 1966, three children, Jane, Arnna, and Grant Beaumont, went to the beach to celebrate Australia Day. Many people there saw the siblings having a great time, but they never returned home. They vanished without a trace. While a widespread investigation was launched, it turned up very little. To this day, we’re still unsure of what happened, but the case is still felt very deeply, effecting the way investigators search for missing children and the amount of freedom parents allow their children. Many see the disappearance as the end of an era when Australians felt that their kids were generally safe and the start of the modern era of “stranger danger,” and the suspicion that anyone could secretly pose a threat.
It was on January 26, 1966, that Jane, Arnna, and Grant Beaumont, aged 9, 7, and 4 respectively, set out from their house, headed for the beach to participate in the Australia Day festivities. Their parents Jim and Nancy trusted 9-year-old Jane to look after her siblings. But something happened that day that prevented Jane from keeping herself and her younger siblings safe. What happened to the Beaumont Children? How do parents cope after losing all of their children in one tragic event?
Join us at the quiet end for And Then There Were None: The Disappearance of the Beaumont Children
David Brown, a man who masterminded the 1985 murder of his wife, died of natural causes in a prison hospital in 2014. He was 61. Brown was in a protective housing unit because of his notoriety for the killing of his fifth wife, Linda Brown. He was accused of persuading two teenagers —one his daughter, the other his sister-in-law and lover— to kill his wife. He went on to collect $835,000 from the victim’s insurance, including several policies started just months before her death. Brown paid $350,000 in cash for a new house within five months of the killing. Shortly after, he took a sixth wife.
Our story today would be unbelievable if it weren’t true. David Brown was the very incarnate of evil, a sociopath with a sweet tooth and a weak stomach, with an insatiable desire for cash, cigarettes, junk food, and adolescent girls. He spent his life manipulating people and scamming in spite of the fact that he had a great income and he was surrounded by people who adored him. But the only life he valued was his own. Join us at the quiet end for Sugar & Spice: The Murder of Linda Brown.
Darren Burgess had married the wrong woman. Clinging to a dying relationship for the sake of his children, he turned to alcohol. Through 1998 and 1999, he drank heavily “just to numb the pain.” He started taking risks. In March of 2000, after a work meeting, he was arrested for drunk driving. He feared he would lose his job and his home, so he went to his boss, Kevin Matthews, for help.
Darren kept his job. His license was suspended for 6 months. Darren believes that it was during this time period that his wife Michelle and his boss began communicating via text messages. Flirtations progressed to a full-on love affair.This wasn’t the first time that Michelle had been unfaithful to Darren. She was actually known for her brazen infidelities. And Kevin wasn’t exactly husband of the year to his wife Carolyn. The intensity of their relationship quickly made it public knowledge, but neither Kevin nor Michelle seemed to care.
What they did care about was money. When their marriages began to dissolve, their minds turned to murder.
This episode of True Crime Brewery is about lust, betrayal, greed, and a murder for hire scheme that destroyed two families. Come to the quiet end with us for our discussion: Dead by Friday: The Plot to Kill Carolyn Matthews.
A young mother is shot to death while she clutches her 7-month old baby. Her husband lies executed in the next room. This isn’t the story of a Hollywood drama, but the tragic end to an average Tennessee working class family. Billie Jean Hayworth and her husband Billy Payne were going about their normal weekday morning routine when they were senselessly and violently murdered. The events that led to that morning are inexplicable, fueled by the petty ignorance of a woman who used social media to manipulate and hurt people.
We’re taking a look at the catfishing murders of East Tennessee in this episode of True Crime Brewery: Unfriended. Settle in for a twisted tale of senseless murder, jealousy, and cruelty beyond what most of us could ever imagine.
Dick reviews <em>Homestyle</em>, an American IPA from Bearded Iris Brewing
It has been 8 and a half years since anyone has seen Haleigh Cummings alive. When she was last seen on February 9, 2009, she was 5-years old. She would now be 13.
Haleigh's 17-year old babysitter, Misty Croslin, the girlfriend of her 25-year old father, Ron Cummings, called police at 3:30am on February 10th 2009. She had waited until Ron came home from work to make the call.
Misty claimed that she was asleep and woke up at 3am to find Haleigh missing. There was an open door, held open with a cinder block.
Over the years, Misty’s story has undergone intense scrutiny. The troubled, drug-riddled lives of the adults in Haleigh’s life have led to endless speculation and theories, but the case remains unsolved.
In this episode of True Crime Brewery, The Lost Girl, we are talking about one of the most notorious missing child cases in the United States. No one has been held responsible for the abduction or murder of Haleigh, but she is assumed dead. Who is responsible, and will justice ever be served? What does it say about our society when a 5-year old girl can disappear and the people charged with her care and well-being go unpunished for it?
As you may or may not now, we have a second podcast. It's called Watching ID. This is a brief introduction and 3 minute sample of our most recent episode: Grave Mysteries' Murder in the Chat Room. If you like what you hear, you can hear the full episode on iTunes or on your favorite podcast app. Thank you for giving it a try!
Killers don’t wear nametags telling us who they are. They look like everybody else. They are fathers, brothers, neighbors, carpenters, doctors, men, or women. On an upper class suburban street in Kansas City, at 7517 Canterbury Court, Dr. Debora Green and her husband, Dr. Michael Farrar, lived with their 3 children. It was a beautiful home where the children were provided with every advantage. Michael made a generous salary as a Cardiologist, Debora was a full-time mother. This was the image of the perfect family.
When the family’s home became engulfed in flames on October 23, 1995, Debora was barely able to escape the fire. Tragically, two of her children perished in the fire. When the fire was determined to be caused by arson, police were looking for a murderer. But they were searching for a murderer from a pool of people who seemed very unlikely to be murderers and it seemed unimaginable that anyone would have wanted to kill 2 innocent children. What was uncovered in the investigation that followed would shock the community and invite speculation from all over the world.
Join us at the quiet end today as we relive the lives of an outwardly successful couple, following the twists and turns marked by love, fraud, addiction, infidelity, madness, attempted murder, and, finally, murder. In this episode of True Crime Brewery: First, Do No Harm.
Alma Sipple, a single mother in Tennessee, could not afford medical care for her ten-month-old daughter Irma when a knock on the door changed her life: there stood a woman with close-cropped grey hair, round wireless glasses and a broad, stern face.
The older woman exuded authority as she explained she was the director of a local orphanage. She had come to help. Alma was relieved and excitedly rushed to show the lady her sickly child.
Examining the baby, the woman offered to pass her off as her own at the local hospital in order to obtain free treatment. She warned Alma not to accompany her, explaining: "If the nurses know you're the mother, they'll charge you."
Lifting the child from her bed, the woman turned and disappeared. Two days later, Alma was told her baby had died.
In reality, Irma had been flown to an adoptive home in Ohio. Alma would not see her daughter again for 45 years.
Far from being the kind savior that Alma thought she was, the woman who had taken Irma was a baby thief.
For 30 years, Georgia Tann made millions of dollars selling children. A network of scouts, corrupt judges and politicians helped her steal babies. She targeted youngsters on their way home from school, promising them ice cream and tempting them away from their homes. Legal papers would be signed saying they were abandoned - most would never see their families again.
Come with us to the quiet end as we discuss the cruelty suffered by children and families at the hands a woman considered by many to have been the most prolific child abuser and killer in a century.
How well do we really know the people in our daily lives? Our co-workers, our boss, the clerk at the grocery store, our neighbors, our friends, or even our spouse? Many people thought they knew Colonel David Russell Williams. He was a decorated air force pilot and commander at the Canadian Forces Base (CFB) at Trenton, Ontario, and a respected member of his community when he was arrested in 2010, and charged with the murders of two women, and numerous other sexually related crimes. The realization that he was a sexual predator and a murderer shocked the military and the country and quickly became an international story.
What were the signs that this was a truly deviant individual? There had to be some. There had to be moments in his professional or personal life where the cracks showed. Many people, quite reasonably, believe that his wife must have known.
Join us at the quiet end today as we go back to the childhood of Russell Williams, through his college years and the escalation of his abhorrent behavior from stealing panties to sexual assault to murder. Also, his victims shouldn’t be ignored. These crimes left many people traumatized and took two young women from the people who loved them, snuffing out their bright and boundless futures.
We remember the victims and examine the secret life of a predator in this episode of True Crime Brewery:
An Officer and a Psychopath
Of all the pain and struggles that are left in the aftermath of a murder, it may be the senselessness that haunts us the most. On February 9th, 2010, 17-year-old Mackenzie Cowell said she’d only be gone for 15 minutes when she left the Academy of Hair Design in Wenatchee, Washington. Four days later, police discovered Mackenzie dead and mutilated along the banks of the Columbia River. She still wore her beauty school uniform.
Mackenzie was a happy girl with a bright future ahead of her. Losing her was devastating to her family and friends. The viscous nature of her death was almost more than they could bear.
Chris Wilson, a classmate of Mackenzie, is in prison now after taking a plea deal in her murder. Mackenzie’s family feels like he got off easy while supporters of Chris Wilson say he is innocent and should not be in prison at all. Everyone agrees that her death was senseless.
Join us at the quiet end today as we review the last day of Mackenzie’s life and the investigation which led to Chris Wilson’s conviction in this episode of True Crime Brewery: The Beauty Shop Murder.
Dick shares Fremont Brewing's The Rusty Nail
At what age are we responsible for our actions? Laws and opinions differ, but there are certain acts that seem to transcend age in their brutality and lack of conscience. When 12-year old Jasmine Richardson attacked and participated in the murder of her entire family, a community and those of us looking on were shocked. Was she innately vicious or was she influenced and led into these crimes by her emotionally disturbed adult boyfriend?
An interesting outshoot of this is the impossible position Jasmine’s parents found themselves in as their daughter rebelled and moved into a world of drugs, underage sex, and depravity. Their options were somewhat limited. Also, there was no way for them to predict the horror that happened back in 2006.
Join us at the quiet end of the bar today as we tell the story of Jasmine Richardson’s family and discuss the issues involved in the prosecution of a child for a crime so outrageous that experienced detectives were traumatized by the crime scene. in this episode of True Crime Brewery: Runaway Devil
People do crazy things for love. Some people kill for love. Sometimes people die for love and their loved ones are left to somehow go on without them. To ponder the whys and what ifs. When Rusty Sneiderman was shot dead after dropping his 3-year-old son at daycare on November 18, 2010, police speculated that it was a professional hit. He had been executed with multiple gunshot wounds by an unknown assailant who fled the scene in a rented minivan.
But this was no professional hit. This was a calculated but passion-fueled act, a strategy to allow Rusty's wife Andrea the freedom to spend the rest of her life with another man and inherit millions of dollars.
At the quiet end today, we're telling you about a crime of passion and insanity, a family's loss, and a woman who may have gotten away with murder. You can be the judge in this episode of True Crime Brewery: Crazy Love.
The story of Lisa Irwin, who went missing when she was just 10 months old, has riveted the nation and left behind unanswered questions. How does a 10-month old infant disappear from her crib, never to be seen again? The police have focused on Lisa’s mother, Deborah, although there was plenty of evidence pointing to an abduction.
Deborah drank heavily the night Lisa disappeared and changed her story with police, increasing suspicions. During the subsequent investigation, two witnesses were discovered who claimed to have seen a man walking down the street with a baby. Police were able to find and question a man matching the description of one witness, but the other witness claimed that his photo does not match the man they saw.
So, what is the current status of the investigation into Lisa’s disappearance? Join us at the quiet end as we review Lisa’s story, the evidence, and the investigation. If you’re thirsty, don’t worry, Dick has brought the beer.
The Lillelid family van drove on through the twilight in Greenville, Tennessee, in April of 1997. Gravel crunched beneath its wheels as quiet sobs echoed inside. The sun had set, and dusk gave way to nightfall. When the van stopped, the doors opened to an unusual congregation. One by one, the occupants climbed out. A run down car pulled up the road behind them and came to a stop beside them.
Six young adults from Kentucky know what happened that Sunday evening. The Lillelid family, including two small children, were shot and left for dead.
Join us at the quiet end as we go into the background of the victims and perpetrators of the Lillelid killings, revisit the cold-blooded crime, and learn about the trial and punishments that resulted.
Dick's beer of the week is Noble Cuvee Dry Hop Saison from Blackberry Farm