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Trace Evidence

Trace Evidence

Trace Evidence is a weekly true crime podcast that focuses on unsolved cases, from chilling murders to missing persons. Join host Steven Pacheco as he examines each case, diving deep into the evidence and exploring the theories which revolve around them. For each unsolved case, there are the victims and their families, who want answers and the abductors and murders who hide the truth.For more information please visit: Trace-Evidence.comhttps://www.patreon.com/traceevidence Social Media:https://twitter.com/TraceEvPodhttps://www.instagram.com/traceevidencepod/https://www.facebook.com/groups/traceevidencepod

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206 - The Vanishing of Richard Bendele

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On a cold, November afternoon in 1996, twenty-nine year old Richard Bendele left his mother's home to do a little hunting where his recently deceased father used to take him. Hours later, Richard called his mother in a panic. He couldn't get his truck started and due to the darkness, he couldn't give specific directions to where he was. Planning to mark the road, to make finding him easier, Richard said he would call back, but he never did.

The next morning, investigators discovered his truck abandoned miles north of where they'd thought he had been. The scene itself was bizarre; a window was smashed out, the battery was broken and tilted upside down and Richard had left everything behind: his phone, his gun and his coat.

As massive searches were launched over the course of the next week, the discovery of several items belonging to Richard began making investigators wonder if, perhaps, Richard wasn't lost at all but actually the victim of a sinister trap.

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2022-10-28
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205 - The Disappearance of Kelly Wright Sims

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Twenty-seven year old mother of three, Kelly Wright Sims was heading out for a night on the town. Alongside her boyfriend, Sims planned to participate in a darts tournament at a local bar. Sometime after arriving, however, the couple argued and split up, going their separate ways.

Kelly ended up meeting with different friends, had a few drinks and took a trip. When pulling back into town, she requested to be dropped off so she could walk over to the Rendezvous Tavern to shoot a few games of pool. She has never been seen again.

While investigators believed her disappearance to be an isolated crime, another young woman would go missing less than two weeks later. With both cases growing cold, fears of a serial killer were stirred up when a third woman missing and was later found murdered. Was Kelly another victim of this killer, or was it possible that she may have been targeted by someone much closer to home?

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2022-10-07
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UPDATE - The Fort Myers 8 - New Identification

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In Episode 129, Trace Evidence features the case of the Fort Myers 8. In March of 2007, the skeletal remains of 8 unidentified men were found in a wooded lot in southwest, Florida. Investigators managed to identify three of the victims, but the remaining names were unknown.

A few years earlier, in nearby Charlotte County, investigators discovered the remains of several men. Some of the bodies were found hundreds of feet apart, others were nearly a mile away. Ultimately police arrested and charged Daniel Conahan Jr with one of the murders -- there was not enough evidence to link him to all.

***UPDATE***

In June of 2021, investigators working the "Hog Trail Murders," announced they had positively identified John Doe Number 1 as being Gerald "Jerry" Lombard who had vanished from Lowell, MA in 1991.

In September of 2022, investigators from Fort Myers announced that through the use of genetic genealogy, they had successfully identified the fourth victim in the Fort Myers 8 case. He has been identified as thirty year old Robert Ronald "Bobbie" Soden.

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2022-09-23
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204 - The Disappearance of Paresh Patel

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Thirty-six year old Paresh Patel was on top of the world. Smart, rich and powerful, Patel was the owner of three separate clubs on Austin's famous Sixth Street. Outside of his own clubs, Patel was tied into several others run by friends and business associates. Many loved Paresh and called him a great person and a smart businessman; others believed he was corrupt and went out of his way to try and cut the legs out from under the competition.

On the afternoon of Monday, September 25th, 2000, Paresh stopped by his club, the Metro, to pick up cash from the weekend's profits. Leaving with $15,000 in his hand, Paresh was set to stop at Azucar, another club he owned just down the street. Driving away in his Lexus SUV, Paresh was never seen alive again.

Investigators located his abandoned vehicle the next day, with the windows rolled down and the keys in the ignition but there was no sign of Paresh, nor the money he was carrying. While some believed he had been the victim of a random robbery, others argued that perhaps his own business associates decided to cut him out -- literally.

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2022-09-16
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203 - The Vanishing of Peggy Reaves Mock

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On Christmas night, 1992, Boaz, Alabama resident Peggy Reaves Mock left the home she shared with her mother for a night of drinks and celebration with friends. She never made it home, and for months following her disappearance, investigators didn't have a single clue.

Then, in March, several of Peggy's personal affects were discovered discarded at the sight of a burned down club that was once a town hotspot. Despite the recovery of the items, no additional information about the disappearance was uncovered. Two months later, Peggy's missing car was found, parked at an apartment complex less than a mile from where she was last seen. It had been wiped clean of prints.

Back to square one, with no solid leads or clues, investigators received a bizarre letter. A local woman wrote about Peggy's disappearance and suggested that the missing woman had been taken to Texas, in the trunk of a car. By the time detectives went to question the writer they learned she had been killed a year earlier.

What happened to Peggy Reaves Mock? Was she attacked in a random act of violence, was she stalked and specifically targeted or did she place her trust in the wrong person?

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2022-09-09
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202 - Update - The Murder of Irina Yarmolenko

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In May of 2008, the body of twenty year old Irina Yarmolenko was discovered along the shore of the Catawba River, in North Carolina. Initially, investigators were baffled as they found Irina with three ligatures tied around her neck. Hoping to locate witnesses in the area who had seen or heard something, detectives began canvassing.

They quickly came upon thirty-nine year old Mark Carver, fishing just up the river. He, along with his cousin, Neal Cassada, would become the prime suspects despite absolutely no evidence linking them to the crime. Cassada would pass away as the result of heart attack before going to trial, Carver would ultimately be found guilty and sentenced to life without the possibility of parole.

Several years later in 2019, Carver's lawyer successfully argued to have his conviction thrown out and a new trial ordered. While the District Attorney promised to charge Carver again, his lawyer felt there wasn't even enough evidence to have charged him the first time.


***Update*** -- In August of 2022, fourteen years after Irina Yarmolenko was murdered, the Gaston County District Attorney's Office officially dropped all charges against Mark Carver noting that the Touch DNA upon which he had originally been arrested did not meet the modern standard necessary to link him to the crime. In today's episode we'll dig into all of the news regarding this update and what it means for the case in the future.

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2022-08-26
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201 - The Disappearance of Angela Gray Hamby

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October 29th, 1982 -- Wilkesboro, North Carolina. Twenty year old Angela Gray Hamby had a big day planned with her mother. Together, the two women were set to head out on an all day shopping trip where they'd hit all the clothing stores, share lunch and just be together. Sadly, however, Angela never made it to the store that day.

At approximately 9:30am, Angela headed out to run some errands. She needed to fill her gas tank, drop off a payment on her car and deliver a message to her sister at work. All of this should have taken no longer than an hour so when Angela hadn't returned by 11am, her mother grew concerned. When noon hit, that concern transformed into panic and terror.

By evening, the Wilkes County Sheriff's Department, along with the Wilkesboro Police and the State Bureau of Investigation were out searching for the missing woman. More than fifteen hours after she had last been seen, detectives discovered her car, abandoned behind a local restaurant. Soon they found witnesses who had seen Angela throughout the day. One of them described an unknown male, seen behind the wheel of her car.

For nearly four decades the mystery of Angela's disappearance has haunted investigators, her family and the town of Wilkesboro. What became of the smart, driven, hardworking twenty year old who ran errands and never returned?

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2022-08-19
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200 - The Shocking Murder of Betty Williams

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In episode 200 of Trace Evidence we examine one of the most shocking, disturbing and haunting murders in Texas history -- The Shocking Murder of Betty Williams.

Odessa Texas, 1961. Seventeen year old Betty Williams goes missing from her bedroom sometime during the night. At first investigators don't believe there's any reason to worry, it's not uncommon for seventeen year old's to sneak out or run off for a few hours. As a matter of procedure, an investigator heads to Odessa High School to find out if anyone knew where Betty was.

They could have never imagined what happened next. John Mack Herring, a popular football player at the school, and Betty's ex-boyfriend, makes a shocking confession. He killed Betty the night before and hid her body beneath the muddy waters of a rural stock pond. When detectives ask why, Herring simply replies "Because she asked me to."

Herring explained that Betty had begged him to end her life, saying she was miserable and wanted to escape from this world. In Herring's own words, moments before firing the fatal shot, he asked for a kiss to remember her by, and Betty obliged. The media christened the crime "The Kiss and Kill Murder."

The town rallies behind the good looking and smart Mack Herring, a boy from the right side of the tracks from a good family while they demonize Betty, a harlot who seduced a tender teen into committing a hideous and violent act. Even in death, Betty Williams was blamed for the horrible crime committed against her.

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2022-08-12
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Special Q&A Episode

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Episode 200 - Q&A Special. In this week's episode, as we prepare for the release of episode 200, host Steven Pacheco answers listener submitted questions covering everything you want to know from details about case, creation of the show and overall views of podcasting and true crime in general.

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2022-07-22
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199 - The Disappearance of Jie Zhao Li

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February 11th, 1988 - twelve year old Jie Zhao Li walks out of her family's Honolulu home to sell tickets for a school fundraiser. She never makes it back home. Within hours she's reported missing and investigators begin massive searches trying to track down the little girl or anyone who may have seen her.

Soon witnesses come forward but their stories lead detectives in different directions. Some people saw Jie speaking to a man outside of the local 7-11 moments before her disappearance. Others claim to have seen her in the back of an old, yellow Chevy miles away and days after she went missing.

While detectives quickly determine that the twelve year old was likely the victim of an abduction, their race against time hits dead end after dead end leading many to wonder if Jie is still alive out there somewhere, or if perhaps, her abductor took her life within hours of her vanishing.

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2022-07-16
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3 Major Case Updates

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This weeks episode takes a look at three major updates regarding cases previously covered on Trace Evidence.

First we examine the details surrounding Annandale Jane Doe who, after twenty-five years, has positively been identified as Joyce Marilyn Meyer Sommers. Then we turn towards the release of new information and the announcement that investigators have narrowed their suspect pool down to one person in the 1982 abduction of Kelly Bergh Dove. Finally, we will discuss the results of the trial of Dawan Ferguson, charged with the murder of his nine year old son, Christian.

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2022-07-08
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198 - The Murder of Laura Ann Parker

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On a cool spring morning in May of 1984, fourteen year old Laura Ann Parker went off to Lindenhurst High School and never came home. While her parents pressed the police, and even the FBI, to track down the missing teen, their concerns were written off as it was ruled that Laura had chosen to runaway.

For four long months James and Patricia Parker investigated for themselves. They gave out their home phone number, tracked down every lead from Manhattan to the eastern end of Long Island. Sadly, they never found a trace of their beloved daughter.

Then, in September, a group of teenage boys came upon a grisly scene. In a local hangout, in the middle of the woods, they discovered Laura's skeletal remains beneath an old rolled up carpet. A cause of death could not be determined, but evidence as the scene suggested this had likely been a homicide and that Laura had died the very day she was reported missing.

Now, urged to investigate the murder, the Suffolk County Police ran into a wall of silence from the community. No one wanted to talk, no one seemed to care. While some speculated that Laura had to have been killed by someone passing through town, investigators started to believe Laura may have known her assailant.

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2022-06-17
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197 - The Vanishing of Barbara Barkley

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Nineteen year old Barbara Jean "Bobbie" Barkley arrived for a normal day of work at the pipe furniture store in Pinellas Park, Florida on Friday, May 29th, 1981. Less than three hours later she had mysteriously vanished.

There were no signs of a struggle, no indications of where Bobbie may have gone. Left behind were her purse and her cigarettes; the only things missing were Bobbie and her 1973 Plymouth Fury. While, at first, her family thought there might be a reasonable explanation, investigators were immediately concerned.

Less than a year earlier, two other women had vanished under similar circumstances from within the same area. Police found one body, but the other remained missing. Soon it became a race against time to determine if Bobbie had been targeted by someone she knew or if she'd fallen victim to a yet unknown serial killer.

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2022-06-10
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196 - The Disappearance of Pamela Tinsley

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On a warm, lazy Sunday afternoon, nineteen year old Pamela Tinsley decided to take a ride down to one of her favorite Oklahoma City spots -- Lake Overholser. She'd had a rough few weeks and really needed a break from the hectic rat race of life. She never could have imagined that she wouldn't make it back home.

According to friends at the Lake that day, Pam accepted an offer from a man she didn't know. He's drive her a ride around the lake on his motorcycle and then drop her right back off where he found her. Pam agreed, but neither was ever seen again.

For more than twenty years investigators believed that Pam had been abducted by this lone, unknown man until an anonymous caller changed everything. Quickly the view of detectives shifted from this stranger to the people who last saw Pam alive -- her so-called friends and roommates who may have had a reason to want to see her gone.

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2022-05-21
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195 - The Mysterious Death of Robert Hamrick

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On a cold winter morning in March of 1970, Rock Creek, Ohio Police Chief Robert Hamrick radioed in that he was involved in a high speed pursuit. He never called in again. Hours later a deputy moving through the area came upon the scene of a hideous accident.

Chief Hamrick was found lying across the front seat of his cruisers whose lights and engine were off. He had sustained massive head and chest injuries and was barely clinging to life. Despite being flown to Cleveland for emergency brain surgery, Chief Hamrick succumbed to his injuries just nine days later.

While the Ashtabula County Sheriff's Department ultimately ruled Chief Hamrick's death to be the result of a car accident, rumors and speculation suggested something more sinister. Many believed there had been a massive cover up to conceal the truth: that Chief Hamrick was lured to that isolated stretch of road, ambushed and viciously beaten.

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2022-05-14
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Special Q&A

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This week I'm crisscrossing the country, making my way to CrimeCon in Last Vegas. Taking a break from our usually scheduled episode releases, Trace Evidence brings to you an episode driven by you, the listener. Host Steven Pacheco answers questions submitted by listeners and also addresses the progress being made on Episode 195, set to release next week!

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2022-04-28
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194 - The Disappearance of Irina Malezhik - Part 2

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On a cool October afternoon in 2007, forty-seven year old Irina Malezhik walked out of her Brighton Beach apartment and mysteriously vanished. Nearly two years later, the FBI finally identified the prime suspect: Dmitriy Yakovlev. However, what they believed was an investigation into identity theft would quickly become something much more hideous.

While the FBI dug into Dmitriy they quickly uncovered a complex history in which Yakovlev had been the last person to see Irina alive, but also two others; Michael Klein and Viktor Alexseyev. Klein, like Irina, has never been found. Alexseyev's dismembered remains were found just a few weeks after he was last seen alive.

Quickly investigators uncovered a pattern; every two years someone Dmitriy knew vanished and within days he, and his wife, would reap the benefits of the missing persons bank account. It soon became clear that Dmitriy wasn't just an identity thief, but an active and previously undetected serial killer.

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2022-04-14
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193 - The Disappearance of Irina Malezhik - Part 1

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Forty-seven year old Irina Malezhik mysteriously disappeared from Brooklyn after leaving her Brighton Beach apartment in October of 2007. Employed at the time as a Russian translator for the Federal Court system, tackling cases involving the Russian mafia, many were concerned that Irina had been targeted by someone from the mob.

However, as the FBI began digging into the case they quickly discovered that someone was using Irina's identity to make large purchases; expensive clothes, watches and linens. They'd even gone and withdrawn thousands of dollars from her bank account. That trail did not lead to organized from, but to a married couple with a direct connection to the missing woman.

What began as a case surrounding identity theft quickly developed into something more intense. Soon, they discovered a second missing person tied to the married couple. Then, the dismembered remains of a third were also linked to the identity thieves. It became quite clear; this was not just a one off crime, but a series of murders and disappearances driven by greed at the hand of a yet unidentified serial killer.

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2022-04-09
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192 - The Disappearance of Sandra Prince - Part 2

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Sandra Prince was well known throughout Florida's Bay Avenue for her dedication to the community, her craft real estate acquisitions and for being one of the nicest and kindest friends and neighbors you could ever want. For much of Sandra's life, things had gone just the way she'd wanted them to until the night she vanished.

For months investigators struggled to gain a foothold on Sandra's life. Notoriously private, few people knew exactly what she was up to nor who she spent time with. Eventually, one name came to the surface: Earl Pippin. Pippin worked as a contractor for Sandra and, reportedly, had been in a relationship with her for close to five years.

Nine long months after her disappearance, the Temple Terrace Police officially named Pippin as a person of interest in the case. The hunt for Sandra's remains began in earnest as detectives had few reasons to believe the missing woman might still be alive. Pippin, allegedly the sole beneficiary to her estate, valued at nearly $3 million, quickly became the central focus of their investigation.

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2022-03-25
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191 - The Disappearance of Sandra Prince - Part 1

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In late December of 2005, fifty-nine year old Sandra Prince went missing from Temple Terrace, Florida. For several days, friends and neighbors assumed she had gone out of town to celebrate the New Year but when January rolled around and Sandra didn't appear, they grew concerned.

Detectives working the case noted that they hadn't found any signs of a struggle, nor indications of forced entry at her home but the cell phone she always carried was left behind while her purse was missing. A notoriously private woman, investigators struggled to learn more about her as they tried to find anyone in her life who may have stood to gain from her disappearance. They had no way of knowing that a secret romance might be the key to discovering what truly happened.

***Breaking News*** After fifteen long years, an arrest has been made in the brutal 2007 slaying of eighteen year old Minot State University student Anita Knutson whose case was profiled in episode 137. In this episode we'll go through all of the details currently available and, as more information is released, a full length update episode will come out at a later date.

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2022-03-18
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190 - The Murder of Walter Page

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Seventy-six year old Walter Page was a pillar of the community in Manchester, New Hampshire. A resident for nearly fifty years, he and his wife Fae had built their home, raised a family and were now slowing down to enjoy a little more of their golden years. Just over a week before Christmas, in December of 1995 however, a series of threatening phone calls and a fiery attack would forever change their lives.

Believing he had discovered banking inconsistencies, Walter began digging in to his Lodge's financial paperwork. Following a meeting with the then treasurer of the Lodge, Karl Bickford, as well as the president of the association, Conrad Ekdahl, disturbing things began happening. Ekdahl arrived home to find a homemade incendiary device wedged against his front door. Walter, among others, received a threatening call alluding to a bombing at his home.

Less than two days later -- Walter was brutally murdered in the basement office of his home before the killer set the home ablaze. While investigators initially believed the crime may have been conducted in retribution for the conviction of an embezzler, they soon began wondering if perhaps the crime had been done not in revenge for a crime that had already been revealed but in order to conceal a crime which had not yet been discovered.

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2022-03-11
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189 - The Vanishing of Lynn Burdick - Part 2

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Eighteen year old Lynn Burdick mysteriously vanished from her evening shift at the Barefoot Peddlar, a small convenience store in her hometown of Florida, Massachusetts. After weeks of grueling searches headed up by law enforcement and Lynn's family, no trace of the high school senior could be found.

By the beginning of summer, the senior prom Lynn hoped to attend had come and gone and, at what should have been her graduation ceremony, only an empty chair and a bouquet of yellow flowers marked her place. For the next forty years, the search for Lynn and the investigation of her disappearance would hit countless roadblocks and dead ends.

Had Lynn been abducted by someone local, someone who may have known her? Did she fall victim to a yet unknown serial killer stalking the rural areas of Massachusetts or, was it possible, that Lynn was taken so she couldn't identify the man who had robbed the store that night?

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2022-03-04
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188 - The Vanishing of Lynn Burdick - Part 1

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Eighteen year old Lynn Burdick was born and raised in the small Massachusetts town of Florida. Throughout her life she worked hard in school earning high marks, dedicated her free time to volunteering for different fundraisers and charitable organizations and helped look after her mother. She was always there, reliable and trustworthy until the night she vanished.

Scheduled to work the closing shift at a local convenience store, The Barefoot Peddlar, Lynn began her night without a worry. However, in the final hour before closing, Lynn disappeared from the store without a trace. Investigators quickly discovered the high school senior had likely been abducted during the course of a robbery.

Massive searches were launched covering a fifty mile radius around the store; local and state police joined up with volunteers to scour the main roads, side streets and countless miles of state forests and difficult terrain. When a failed abduction earlier in the night came to light, investigators began to wonder if perhaps Lynn had been the next target.

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2022-02-25
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187 - The Disappearance of Naomi Wilson

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On a warm Sunday afternoon in April of 1981, thirty-two year old Naomi Wilson walked out of her Cedar Rapids home, climbed in to her Ford Fairmont and drove off never to return. Two days later, her car was found abandoned at a local K-mart just a few miles away. There was no sign of foul play, no evidence of a crime and no trace of Naomi.

Despite large searches through the area and a media barrage -- Naomi has never been found. As the years progressed, her story slowly evolved into one of the oldest unsolved missing person's cases in Iowa. Did she truly drive off that afternoon, falling victim to a yet unidentified assailant or is it possible the story we've been told all of these years was merely a lie to cover up something closer to home?

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2022-02-12
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Four Major Case Updates

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In this Special Update Episode we will revisit four cases previously covered on Trace Evidence which have had major breakthroughs in the past few months.

In September of 2021, Chapel Hill police announced they had arrested and charged a suspect in the 2012 murder of UNC Chapel Hill student Faith Hedgepeth. Just last month, in December, investigators with the Miami-Dade Police officially closed the case of seventeen year old Daniel Jess Goldman who was abducted from his family's home in March of 1966.

This month, January of 2022, South Yorkshire Police announced that they had arrested two suspects believed to be connected to the 2007 disappearance of fourteen year old Andrew Gosden. Finally, after thirty-six years, an arrest has been made in connection with the 1986 abduction and murder of four year old Jessica Gutierrez, taken in the middle of the night from her family's Lexington, SC home.

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2022-01-27
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186 - The Disappearance of Gail Joiner

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On the first day of Fall in 1972, thirteen year old Gail Joiner rushed home from school to her parents house in Thonotosassa, Florida. An hour later, the teen attached a leash to her beloved pet racoon's collar and strode out of the house to take him on his daily walk. She never returned.

Despite exhaustive searches involving more than 200 people, not a trace of Gail was ever found. Within a month of her disappearance the case had grown cold and the investigation was scaled back. For the next decade, her case lingered in the limbo of joining other cold case files.

Then in October of 1982, a confessed serial killer took credit for Gail's murder. After allegedly leading police to where he had disposed of her body, Gerald Stano retracted his confession and Gail's remains were never found. Had Stano been responsible, or was this another case of a murderer taking credit for crimes he didn't commit?

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2022-01-21
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2021 Wrap Up and Q&A

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2021 Wrap Up and Listener Submitted Q&A!

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2022-01-08
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185 - The Stolen Grave of Paula Ream

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On August 7th, 1962, nine year old Paula Ream passed away following complications from Cerebral Palsy. Her mother, father and three sisters were devasted by her death and struggled to make it through their grief and pain. On a quiet afternoon, the child was laid to rest beneath a simple stone in Riverside Burial Park in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. There she remained for forty-eight years. Then the unthinkable happened.

In early August of 2010, long after Paula's parents had been laid to rest beside her, an unknown figure crept into the cemetery. Under the cover of darkness, they broke through the earth, cracked open the vault and stole the small casket containing Paula's remains. Despite the shocking and grisly nature of the crime, investigators had few leads to follow.

Originally thought to have been a gruesome prank pulled off by teenagers on Friday the 13th, the investigation would soon point towards practitioners of a ritualistic religion; perhaps voodoo or Palo Mayombe. Despite their efforts to identify the perpetrator and recover Paula's remains, the case quickly grew cold and more than a decade later the answers remain undiscovered.

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2021-12-24
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184 - The Mysterious Death of Chad Langford

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Twenty year old Chad Langford had been working as a Military Police officer at the Redstone Arsenal, just outside Huntsville, Alabama. A bright, driven and accomplished soldier, Chad was planning to re-enlist when his term of service ended but he'd never get that chance.

On Thursday, March 12th, 1992, Chad radioed that he was investigating a stalled vehicle at the base. Several minutes later, when they were unable to get a response from Chad, all MPs were directed to track him down. At 8:20pm, Chad was found lying on the ground near his cruisers, bleeding from a gunshot wound to the head. He passed away 90 minutes later.

Despite the fact that Chad had been found with his legs bound, his hat shoved into his mouth, a wire around his neck and handcuffs attached to his left wrist, the Army would rule less than forty-eight hours later that the soldier had died as the result of suicide.

Arguing against this, Chad's family pointed towards conflicting evidence and Chad's fears that his life was in danger. Chad had told loved ones he was working as an undercover officer and worried his identity would be revealed. The Army claimed to have no knowledge of Chad's covert work, alledging that he had made it all up to sound more important. Despite the inability to conclusively prove he fired his gun, a mysterious vehicle stopped near the scene and countless inaccuracies in their report, the Army refuses to change their ruling or consider any other evidence.

Was Chad killed in the line of duty, or had he constructed an elaborate suicide plan in order to make it appear as though he had been the victim of a homicide?

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2021-12-16
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183 - The Disappearance of Star Boomer

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Thirty-nine year old Star Boomer was turning over a new leaf. In the midst of a divorce, she was studying to obtain her GED to put herself on the path to fulfilling her dream of opening her own business. She wanted, more than anything, to be able to provide a good and happy life for her young son, but a casual stop at a local bar would turn deadly.

On the afternoon of February 23rd, 1999, Star walked into Uncle Mike's, a local dive bar in Kansas City, Kansas. Observing an argument between an apparent couple, Star stepped in to protect the woman. Moments later, she was assaulted by the man's friend before he hustled out the back door.

Sometime later, Star's attacker returned and in full view of more than a dozen witnesses, Star was beaten unconscious before being dragged out to a waiting car. She was never seen alive again. Based on witness testimony, two men were charged with second degree murder but the charges would be dropped when not one of the witnesses was willing to testify as to who attacked Star nor what they did with her afterwards.

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2021-12-03
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182 - The Vanishing of Bruce Falconer

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Twenty-one year old Bruce Falconer had finally gotten his life on track. Enlisting in the Marine Corps at the age of sixteen, Bruce returned home to his native North Dakota on leave. Assigned to a new post in Arizona, Bruce was excited for his military future when suddenly he and his childhood best friend, Timothy Jewell, mysteriously vanished on a cold, February night in 1981.

In addition to Bruce's case, this episode also touches on the underpublicized disappearances of three women: Rebecca Reid from Eugene, OR in 1997, Robin Ellis from Philadelphia, PA in 2003 and Kathleen Haley from Newport News, VA in September of 2012.

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2021-11-28
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181 - The Murder of Teresa Gilcrease - Part 2

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Teresa Marie Gilcrease walked out of an Alexandria, LA bar with an unknown man and was never seen alive again. Five hours later her body was found off a rural road southwest of town; she had been stabbed and run over. Early on, investigators received a deluge of tips but by year's end, the calls were drying up.

At the same time, a task force operating in Baton Rouge was back on the hunt for a serial killer after the arrest of Derrick Todd Lee showed he was not the only monster stalking the streets. Could Teresa's murder be connected to these crimes or did the answer lie somewhere closer to home?

Following up on a new tip, detectives turned their attention towards a Louisiana State Trooper. Their investigation would dig deep into the man's life in order to determine if the officer might be moonlighting as a brutal killer or if, perhaps, their unknown suspect might be someone who had disappeared without leaving any evidence to his identity.

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2021-11-19
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180 - The Murder of Teresa Gilcrease - Part 1

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June, 2002 - At the tail end of a month long trip to visit family in Louisiana, forty-four year old Teresa Marie Gilcrease went missing. She had driven a friend of her daughter's home that night, but never made it back to her parents home in the town of Boyce. The next morning, as her family began trying to track down their missing daughter, sister and mother, investigators with the Rapides Parish Sheriff's Office announced they had found the body of a woman along a rural stretch of road on the outskirts of nearby Alexandria.

By mid-day, the family contacted the Sheriff's office who, at that time, confirmed their belief that the murder victim they'd discovered was Teresa. She had been killed in a grisly fashion with her assailant stabbing her multiple times. He then proceeded to drive his vehicle over her body multiple times before disappearing into the early morning darkness.

At first, investigators believed there had to be some personal connection between Teresa and her killer. However, at the case developed, they began considering the possibility that the crime itself had been random and may have been committed by someone passing through Alexandria. This however opened the door to a dark consideration: was it possible that the yet unidentified serial killer plaguing the streets of Baton Rouge may have decided to take a two hour drive north in search of his next victim?

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2021-11-13
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179 - The Disappearance of Ylva Hagner

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On Monday, October 14th, 1996, forty-two year old Ylva Hagner was working late at her Belmont, California office. Waving goodbye to her boss at 9:30 this would be the last time anyone saw the Swedish National alive. Before sunrise the next day, she would mysteriously vanish.

Thirty-six hours later, Ylva was reported missing. Two days after that, police found her abandoned car less than a mile south of her office. There was no trace of Ylva, no sign of a struggle, nothing to suggest a crime had even been committed. Faced with a stunning lack of evidence, investigators almost immediately began hitting dead ends.

Ylva's friends rallied, building websites and organizing a memorial dedication to keep her name alive. While detectives initially believed Ylva had to have been the victim of a random crime of opportunity, close friends began wondering if perhaps someone who claimed to want to find Ylva may in fact have been responsible for her disappearance in the first place.

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2021-11-05
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178 - The Murder of Marvin Brandland

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While children from coast to coast donned masks of ghosts and monsters for a night of trick or treating, a real life monster was walking the streets of Fort Dodge, Iowa. Arriving at the home of sixty-nine year old Marvin Brandland, the man pulled a pillow case over his head and tucked a gun into his waistband.

Believing the man was a friend pranking them for the holiday, Marvin and his wife Ethel didn't take him seriously. The hooded man demanded to be led into the basement where the Brandland's kept a secret safe. Marvin fought back, reaching for the gun when a shot rang out and the man burst through the front door moments later, disappearing into the night.

While investigators believed the crime was likely random, a robbery gone wrong, members of Marvin's family began to think that they knew who the killer was and he was not a stranger.

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2021-10-30
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177 - The Disappearance of Maureen Fields

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While most people were celebrating Valentine's day with the one they love, forty-one year old Maureen Fields was scared for her life. Throughout her day at work, she told multiple co-workers and customers that she was afraid something bad would happen, and if it did, her husband, Paul, would be responsible. Less than twenty-four hours later Maureen mysteriously vanished.

Her car was found abandoned in the desert near Death Valley. A series of confusing pieces of evidence left investigators to wonder if perhaps her husband had made true on her words of warning. Focusing in on Paul, the investigation struggled to accumulate enough to file charges.

Then, after six long years, detectives got a hit on DNA found inside Maureen's car. To their surprise, it did not belong to her husband but to a convicted sex offender who made frequent trips to Maureen's town. Was this truly a random crime with no involvement from her husband or was there a connection between Paul Fields and Keith Wayne Holmes?

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2021-10-21
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4 Case Updates

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In a short break, this week we examine updates surrounding four episodes previously covered on Trace Evidence. First we'll examine how a woman seeking more information about her family revealed a connection to one of the United States' most infamous and brutal killers. Then, we'll examine how a new investigation might shed light a forty year old abduction where neither the victim nor her abductor have ever been found.

Looking back at one of the early cases covered, we'll go into Canada to examine the status of an investigation where officials are finally beginning to reveal some of the vital details they've kept under wraps for a decade. Finally, we'll take a look at the disappearance of a missing mother to be and how, nearly thirty years later, a new tip may provide answers which have been illusive for twenty-seven years.

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2021-10-18
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176 - The Disappearance of Darla Harper - Part 2

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Twenty-five year old single mother Darla Harper mysteriously vanished from her apartment one winter night. After months of searching and years of investigation, police were no closer to locating the missing woman.

Then, during a court hearing regarding custody of the couple's daughter, accusations about Darla having been killed by her estranged husband were raised. Confronted about claims that Darla was buried on his property, Barry Harper challenged investigators to look for themselves.

Police were now faced with the possibility that Darla's disappearance might not have been a random crime executed by a trio of unknown suspects, but perhaps, a plot executed by her ex-husband, a man with over a hundred thousand reasons to want her gone.

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2021-10-06
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175 -The Disappearance of Darla Harper - Part 1

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One month before her divorce was set to be finalized, twenty-five year old Darla Harper mysteriously vanished. After leaving her husband, Darla had moved into a nearby apartment with the couples' two year old daughter. On a quiet, Tuesday night, Darla said goodbye to a friend and was never seen again.

The next morning police found a smear of blood on her apartment door and inside was her daughter, having been left alone for hours. A neighbor reported hearing strange noises the night before but no one had seen what happened to the twenty-five year old.

Investigators launched a massive search trying to locate the missing woman. When they located her car they discovered the vehicle was caked with mud and there was blood inside and out. The question quickly became: had Darla been the victim of a stranger abduction or had someone specifically targeted her, believing they had something to gain from her absence?

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2021-09-25
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174 - The Murder of Coe Paisley

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Coe Paisley had been putting things together. After opening her own law practice she'd finally purchased a home; her first home all for herself. Over the course of several weeks the twenty-nine year old had construction crews in and out making repairs to the seventy year old structure. Now, all that was left, was painting.

Coe took the challenge upon herself, spending free time between work and family, tucked into her new house dragging the brush along the walls. Then, one quiet Wednesday afternoon, she pulled into her driveway, walked inside and found herself face to face with a killer.

Coe's sister discovered her beaten body, she was barely clinging to life. Air lifting her to a nearby hospital, doctors word hard to save the woman's life but it was to no avail. Just twenty-four hours later, Coe lost her battle and investigators began hunting a killer.

Unfortunately, there was little to work with. No solid clues, no witnesses, no evidence of forensic value. The assault had been vicious and brutal, but there was no indication of who might have done it. Had Coe interrupted a robbery in progress when things turned violent or was murder always the plan?

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2021-09-17
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173 - The Vanishing of Charles and Catherine Romer

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Charles and Catherine Romer had spent their winter in Florida, but were preparing to head home to New York. For the next few days they planned to cover 1,400 miles in four days. It was a trip they'd made dozens of times before but this time would be different. Just one day in and they would mysteriously vanish.

After checking into a hotel room in Brunswick, Georgia, the couple seemingly disappeared along with their car, a customized 1979 Lincoln Continental. By the time anyone realized something was wrong no one had seen or heard from the Romers for four days. Investigators were starting with a major disadvantage, and it was going to get worse.

Despite launching the largest search in the history of southern Georgia not a single trace of the couple could be found. They had vanished along with their car and thousands of dollars in fine jewelry. Detectives and the family theorized they'd been the victims of a robbery gone wrong, a random crime or perhaps one executed by someone they knew. For others, however, the answers may lie somewhere beneath any number of bodies of water between Florida and New York.

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2021-09-11
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172 - The Aqueduct - Wells Fargo Robbery

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On a chilly, fall afternoon in 1969 a red armored car moved quickly through the busy streets of Brooklyn. Pulling over for an impromptu lunch break, three guards began their rotation. One after the next they'd go to a nearby deli, grab a sandwich and head back to the truck. Then, as the last guard approached, three armed men appeared and forced him inside.

Cuffing the guards together and disarming them, the thieves drove the truck a few blocks over to where they had a getaway car waiting. In less than five minutes the three assailants drove off with more than one million dollars making it the second largest cash heist in American history, to that point.. By the time police arrived on the scene the robbers were long gone.

Investigators struggled with a series of unanswered questions; how did the thieves know the armored car would stop there that day? Was this an inside job, and if so, who was the guilty party? Was it somehow higher level, perhaps involving the mafia or was it connected to a series of robberies allegedly conducted by a ring of corrupt cops?

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2021-09-03
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171 - The Murder of Justin Turner - Part 2

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Five year old Justin Turner vanished on a Friday morning in March of 1989. Two days of searches organized and led by the Berkeley County Sheriff?s Department turned up no trace of the missing child. Investigators began to theorize that the boy had been abducted while making his way to the bus stop until, early on the third day, his body was discovered in a location that was supposed to have already been searched.

While the focus of the investigation turned to Justin's stepmother, disputes between investigators and the coroner's office as well as the solicitor's office were sighted as hindering the case. Laws protecting spouses from testifying against one another were changed and a very public battle about the circumstantial nature of the evidence drew criticism from all sides.

Now, thirty-two years later, the case is in the hands of cold case investigators who hope new forensic technology can finally unlock the truth and identify Justin's killer.

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2021-08-27
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170 - The Murder of Justin Turner - Part 1

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Five year old Justin Turner said goodbye to his stepmother and headed off for the bus stop. It wouldn't be until hours later that she discovered the little boy never made it to the bus that day. As investigators arrived to begin searching for the child, it seemed like he'd been abducted sometime after leaving the house.

However, on the third day of searching, a grisly discovery was made. Justin's body was found not in a far away location, not in the woods or in a field, but in a trailer camper in his own backyard. What really confused police was; how did Justin end up in a location that had already been searched?

As the investigation progressed, focus began closing in around Justin's family. Had the little boy been the victim of a random, violent attacker, or was it more likely that someone in his own house knew more than they were telling?

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2021-08-21
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169 - The Murder of Iva Tice

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Seventy-nine year old Iva Tice was worried about her husband after he suffered a stroke. Staying alone in their Allentown home, Iva made sure to visit the hospital every afternoon to be with him. Then, one afternoon, she never showed up. When no one could reach Iva, the Allentown police performed a welfare check and made a grisly discovery.

Iva had been killed in the bedroom of her home sometime during the night. The killer had used both an iron fireplace poker and a large carving knife to commit the horrifying crime. At the time investigators theorized that Iva had come upon an intruder in the process of a robbery but as additional evidence was collected it soon became a question of whether the crime was random or if Iva had been targeted by a killer, perhaps even someone she may have known.

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2021-08-13
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168 - Kelly Moriarty and Doris Carter

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Two days after Christmas a family, vacationing in St. Petersburg, FL, made the grisly discovery of a human leg washed up on the shore. Investigators conducted searches of the bay as well as the coastline but never located any other remains or evidence. For more than three months, that leg would remain unidentified until investigators began making ties across county lines.

Thirty-eight year old Kelly Moriarty and her girlfriend, sixty-one year old Doris "Pat" Carter hadn't been seen in more than a month by the time they were reported. Quickly investigators from St. Petersburg, Manatee County, Hillsborough County and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement found themselves involved in a desperate search for the two women while the assailant had well over a months head start.

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2021-08-07
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167 - The Murder of Stephen Sandlin

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All of his life Stephen Sandlin wanted to be a police officer. Growing up the son of a cop, Stephen looked up to his father and wanted to follow in his footsteps. At the age of twenty-one one Stephen realized his dream, but less than two months later, he would be violent killed in the line of duty.

On the evening of Saturday, May 7th, 1988, Officer Sandlin was found lying in a pool of blood on the floor of the Mountainair, NM police department, the victim of a single gunshot wound to the head. Initially investigators believed the wound might have been self-inflicted, but multiple investigations would raise a series of disturbing questions.

Was Stephen Sandlin's murder related to a recent drug bust? Was it connected to an investigation into accusations made against the department? Or was Stephen targeted by more than one individual in an attempt to cover up illegal activities possibly involving drug trafficking and local officials?

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2021-07-24
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166 - The Vanishing of Regina Brown - Part 2

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Thirty-five year old Regina Brown put her youngest child on a plan to Texas, to stay with her family. She was setting a plan in motion, one which would allow her follow her child, to escape the constant fear and worry she suffered under. Moments later, Regina stepped out of the airport and vanished.

Over the next thirty-four years the investigation would stop and start as phone calls initiated a massive search, court testimony indicated a world of pain and horror for the young mother of three and the discovery of new evidence reinvigorated the search for justice.

Regina Brown has been missing for nearly as many years as she was known to be alive and her children are now older than she was when she vanished in 1987. Many questions remain, but perhaps the most pertinent are what became of Regina Brown and who may have been responsible for her disappearance?

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2021-07-16
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165 - The Vanishing of Regina Brown

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In the Winter of 1986 the world was captivated by the disappearance of Danish flight attendant Helle Crafts. Police would eventually arrest and charge her husband, pilot Richard Crafts for her grisly murder in what became known as the "Wood Chipper Murder." However, while all eyes were fixed on the Crafts, an eerily similar case was developing just down the road.

Thirty-five year old Regina Brown mysteriously vanished after being seen at New York's LaGuardia airport. Much like Helle Crafts, she too was a flight attendant and mother of three married to a pilot. She lived less than three miles from the Crafts, in Newtown, Connecticut, and vanished just four months after Helle.

Yet there were no major headlines for Regina, without the headline stealing aspects of a gruesome crime and an arrest, few articles were dedicated to her disappearance. When the Newtown Police began investigating they never imagined what they'd uncover; a life lived in fear, a woman subjected to brutal domestic violence and an estranged husband with a bizarre list of accusations against his missing wife.

Regina had set a plan into motion, one which would allow her to finally escape from the nightmare in which she lived. However, on March 26th, 1987, as she was making her final preparations someone got to her before she could get away. This is her story.

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2021-07-10
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164 - The Murder of Russell Bean

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In the Fall of 1978, twenty-five year old Russell Bean mysteriously vanished from a small New Hampshire town. He left behind a wife, children, siblings and a mother. For a long, dark decade, Russell's fate remained a mystery until a dramatic confession changed everything.

In early March of 1988, a woman went to the police and relayed a story told by her father less than a week before his death. Her story suggested the location of a body and when police arrived they were shocked to discover Russell Bean had never left New Hampshire, but had been buried right beneath their noses.

The land belonged to Robert Chambers, a long-time resident, part-time police chief, Russell's former best friend and the man his wife next married. Soon the investigation was swallowed into a sensational chaos of rumors telling of a bizarre love triangle, anger, jealousy and betrayal. It was up to investigators to determine fact from fiction, myth from reality, in hopes of uncovering just who killed Russell Bean and who exactly knew where to find him for all those years?

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2021-07-03
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