From the insane reception of Hulu's "The Act" to the much anticipated Netflix release of the Ted Bundy-inspired "Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile," America is currently on a crime spree. Thankfully, not the fatal kind.
Every time a true crime documentary or movie drops, my timeline on every platform of social media is filled with everyone obsessing over it. It's unclear when exactly all this frenzy of the genre started but I for one, can't relate. You see, I was the type of person who grew up watching CBS' "Cold Case." When I used to stay home sick from school, instead of "Dr. Phil" and "The Price Is Right" I opted for reruns of "Unsolved Mysteries."
Now, I'm not annoyed in this sudden interest of my favorite genre, in fact, I could not be happier. What I want to do is educate you all that there is more out there, so many cases all over the country that aren't at all what they seem. So instead of watching yet another documentary about Ted Bundy or researching the JonBenet Ramsey case for the 20th time, go down the rabbit hole of one of these cases. Trust me, you'll never be the same.
The murder of Hae Min Lee (or better known as The State vs. Adnan Syed)
19 years ago to day Hae Min Lee left Woodlawn high school and disappeared. Nearly a month later her body was found… https://t.co/oqf0nnKa6y— rabia O'chaudry (@rabia O'chaudry) 1515880121.0
The Gist: In January of 1999, senior Hae Min Lee left her high school to pick up her younger cousin from daycare but never made it there. One month later her body was found in a ravine in a park just outside Baltimore. Her ex-boyfriend, 17 y/o Adnan Syed, was eventually convicted of her murder (despite many appeals) and he remains in prison to this day.
Why You'll Get Hooked: As the most downloaded podcast of all time on "Serial" insinuates, nothing about this case was as shut-and-close as the judicial system so desperately tried to make it. Even more recently, Rabia O'chaudry's book "Adnan's Story", goes into even greater detail of all the police misconduct, negligence throughout the investigation and Adnan's failure of having a competent lawyer during his first trial. I don't want to deprive you of either of those experiences so I urge you to dig deeper into this case yourself, you may have a different opinion on whether or not Adnan is innocent. Either way, that is the debate of the millennia.
Where To Start: Hae Min Lee's Wikipedia page
The unknown identity of The Long Island Serial Killer (L.I.S.K)
Long Island Serial Killer episodes 1&2 available on iTunes Store and website store. https://t.co/8ZJFb3lZwp https://t.co/u6mSM92he3— Captain (@Captain) 1479493899.0
The Gist: On May 1, 2010, escort Shannon Gilbert made a frantic 911 call in the middle of the night on the Long Island Sound, after hanging up she was never heard from again. The investigation led the discovery of four other escorts all wrapped in individual rolls of plastic and burlap and buried in a row on Gilgo Beach, NY. Within the year, more bodies were discovered scattered all over the banks of Long Island, eventually leading to Shannon's remains being found in a marsh for a total of 17 bodies: but no killer. Just the chilly title dubbed The Long Island Serial Killer or L.I.S.K.
Why You'll Get Hooked: Not only is this one of the most contemporary cases associated with a serial killer in the US (with bodies being found less than 10 years ago!), there are theories that revolve around there being not only one, but two killers. This theory is highly controversial, but it boils down to the notion that it is just so rare that a single killer would change his M.O (Modus Operandi).
The girls dubbed the Gilgo Beach Four were found in a very particular way while the other bodies were scattered all over the island, many of the others dismembered and their parts found several miles apart from each other in some cases. Then Shannon Gilbert was found intact but not even on the beach. When you dig deeper into the case, more and more details don't add up and you seem to never come to the same conclusion twice.
The disappearance of Maura Murray
15 years ago today Maura Murray disappeared from Route 112 in N. Haverhill, New Hampshire. Please keep her in your… https://t.co/l1UcIwO0Xs— Missing Maura Murray (@Missing Maura Murray) 1549718065.0
The Gist: In 2004, UMASS student-athlete Maura Murray abruptly left campus citing a sudden death in the family. Hours later, New Hampshire police were dispatched to an abandoned crash site on Route 112 with plates registered under Maura's name but no driver on the scene. Further investigation puzzles police even more: Maura didn't have any family in New Hampshire and when questioning her parents they revealed there was not even a death in the family and they had no idea why she would make that up. So what exactly was Maura doing in New Hampshire all by herself, and why hasn't she been seen since?
Why You'll Get Hooked: While this is truly a tragic loss for her family and everyone she left behind, what makes this case so fascinating is that Maura wasn't always the All-American Girl she was portrayed as initially. Without revealing too much, Maura had a lot going on in her life that implies that she could have taken any chance at just walking away from the life she had. Yet on the other side of the spectrum, police dogs tracked her scent up to only a couple hundred feet away from the crash site where it abruptly stops implying she was picked up or willingly got into another car. And that's just the tip of the ice burg, there are hundreds of other little details about this case that lean in both directions.
Where To Start: Muara's Wikipedia page
The mysterious death of Henry McCabe
The Gist: In 2015, the wife of 32-year-old Henry McCabe received the most chilling voicemail ever recorded in the middle of the night. Henry had been out with a group of friends at a night club where he was described as being intoxicated. His friends abruptly drop him off at a gas station 4 miles away from home where he is videotaped entering and exiting alone. The next thing we know is he left the voicemail, then two months later his body is recovered in Lake Rush, MN with his death ruled an accidental drowning prompted by intoxication.
Why You'll Get Hooked: Seems cut and dry right? Wrong. What makes this case so crazy is the contents of the mysterious voicemail Henry left the night he disappeared. It contains two straight minutes of an unidentified male (assumed to be Henry) screaming in terror and pain. After two minutes there is a pause and then a second male voice the grunts "Stop that", the voicemail then stops abruptly. What on earth was going on in that voicemail and who was the second voice?
Where To Start: Youtuber Kendall Rae does a phenomenal job outlining the case and going in-depth with possible theories that could have happened.
The disappearance of Amy Bradley
The Gist: If you're planning on going on a cruise I'm sorry because I am about to ruin your life. In 1998, 23-year-old Amy Bradley was on a cruise ship with her family celebrating her completion of her undergrad. After a night of dancing at one of the ship's night clubs, Amy was last seen smoking a cigarette on the balcony of her family's room. The next morning she seemed to disappear out of thin air, WHILE THE SHIP WAS IN THE MIDDLE OF THE OCEAN.
Why You'll Get Hooked: While it is entirely possible she could have simply fallen off the boat, there is evidence that suggests otherwise. Passengers in the boat have reported seeing Amy after she had her cigarette in one of the lobbies of the ship with one of the band members that were playing at the same night club she attended the previous evening as much as an hour after the cigarette spotting. In the years after her disappearance there have been many reported sightings of her in beaches and brothels all over the Caribbean, and more horrifying, a supposed image of Amy appeared on a sex worker advertising website. But the most chilling thing? THIS HAPPENS A LOT. Amy is just the most popular cruise ship abduction victim but there are many others.
The mysterious death of Kendrick Johnson
Never forget #KendrickJohnson. His body found rolled up in a gym mat but sheriffs called it "accidental." School ca… https://t.co/lTL9GnrO2K— Don't wash your pits in the river of Sacred Tears (@Don't wash your pits in the river of Sacred Tears) 1554409829.0
The Gist: Full disclosure before you start digging into this case, not only is it infuriating but the photos Kendrick's parents have released to the public in order to get publicity for the case are extremely graphic and cannot be unseen. Nonetheless, in 2013 a Georgia high school student named Kendrick Johnson was found deceased inside a rolled-up wrestling mat. The police ruled the death an accident attributed to "positional asphyxia" or being unable to breathe due to the potion your body is in and dying as a result of it. The theory was that Kendrick was reaching for a pair of shoes that had fallen to the bottom of the mat, diving head-first to retrieve the shoes before getting stuck. The ruling left the town of Valdosta, GA divided: those who believed the initial ruling and those who supported the Johnson family who could sense some things were not adding up.
Why You'll Get Hooked: The family has stated many reasons why they believe Kendrick was a victim a foul play: citing multiple reports of bullying Kendrick faced, how the police mishandled the scene when the body was recovered, and how unlucky that someone of Kendrick's body width could even attempt to dive into the wrestling mat to grab the pair of shoes. What really gave Johnson's more leverage in the fight for their son's justice was the release of a second autopsy report.
Where To Start: Creepy narrator voice aside, the notorious group Anonymous has an informative 10-minute video on YouTube
The disappearance of Alyssa Turney
35. #Alissas35 #JusticeForAlissa #AlissaTurney https://t.co/tLa9IPP7tv— #JusticeForAlissa (@#JusticeForAlissa) 1554529039.0
The Gist: In 2001. Michael Turney reported his 17-year-old stepdaughter Alissa a runaway after she failed to return home one evening after school. He specifically reported her as a runaway, not missing, because according to him she had previously threatened to run away to California to live with a family member. For years her case laid untouched until a serial killer confessed to her murder in prison.
Why You'll Get Hooked: While the prisoner was eventually ruled out of any involvement, this led to a reopening of her case and the discovery of some key information. One of them being that Michael had actually taken Alissa out of school early that infamous afternoon and failed to mention that to police when she was initially reported to have left. Not only did this reveal Michael has been lying to the police the entire time, it means he was the sole person to have last seen Alissa, and he has suddenly stopped cooperating to this day.
Where To Start: Kendall Rae also has a video of the case in a collaboration with Alissa's sister Sarah, there is also an entire podcast devoted to raising awareness to the case titled "Missing Alissa"
The mysterious death of Kathleen Peterson
Guilty or innocent? Decide for yourself. The Staircase is now streaming only on @netflix. https://t.co/10FrQRUd2e— The Staircase (@The Staircase) 1528470955.0
The Gist: If you have seen "The Staircase" amongst your suggestions on Netflix, take their advice and watch it. It tells the story of writer Michael Peterson and the aftermath of his startling discovery of his wife's deceased body at the foot of their staircase in 2001. At the time of her death, Michael claimed to be outside relaxing by their pool...at around 2 in the morning. Things don't look up for Peterson as he is eventually convicted of her murder in 2003.
Why You'll Get Hooked: After many appeals, Peterson is eventually granted a retrial when new evidence is uncovered in the late 2010s. One of them being the highly controversial, and hilarious, Owl Theory. A quick google search of The Owl Theory is enough to get you sucked in.
Where To Start: The 13 part documentary series on Netflix mentioned above is a great starting point, however, if you don't have time for that the next best thing I have found is episode 33 of the "Moms and Murders" podcast.
The unknown identity of Bible John
The Gist: In the 1960s, a Scottish night club was the final destination of three Glasgow women who assumed they were enjoying a night out around town. The first two victims were Patricia Docker and Jemima McDonald. Despite both women disappearing from the same night club, found in eerily similar fashions, and found not too long apart from each other, their cases would not be connected for some time.
Why You'll Get Hooked: The discovery of the third, and last confirmed victim, is what will truly send chills down your spine. Helen Puttock was found the morning after she had gone out to dance at the Majestic Ballroom, she had too came from the same location and her body was found in the exact state as the two other women. What made Helen so crucial was the fact that she did not go out alone, she was accompanied by her surviving sister who implied they had shared a taxi ride with Helen's eventual killer.