Once Upon A Crime | True Crime

Once Upon a Crime is a true crime podcast that researches the crime, criminals and victims to discover the “why” behind some infamous crimes as well as fascinating lesser known cases. Host, Esther Ludlow presents “the story behind the story” you won’t hear anywhere else. Each month a new true crime topic is covered - kidnappings, mass murders, tragic deaths of musical icons, killer kids and deadly duos and more.
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Once Upon A Crime | True Crime






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Welcome to Once Upon a Crime!

THE podcast for the true crime addict.

Join me for each episode as I dive in to some of the most fascinating true crime cases told one chapter at a time.

Please subscribe to the show in iTunes, Google Play and Stitcher and tell a friend!

Jan 28, 2020

In this special episode I'll do an in-depth look at the infamous serial killer Aileen Wuornos.  

Time stamps:

Early Life: 02:41

Teen Years: 13:25

Young Adult Life: 32:17

On the Road: 35:30

Criminal Activity: 36:12

Tyra: 47:30

The Victims: 55:57

Closing In/The Arrest: 1:36:40

The Confession: 1:44:46

Arlene Pralle/Adoption: 1:51:50

The Trial: 1:56:42

Death Sentence: 2:04:26

Execution 2:12:44

Final Thoughts: 2:14:35


"Lethal Intent", written by Sue Russell, Published 2002 for Pinnacle Books

"A Mother's Love" by Mike Clary for the LA Times, Dec 17 1991,


Away Travel:

Other links: 

Deadly Misadventures Podcast 

CrimeCon: - Use promo code ONCEUPON2020 for 10% off your standard registration. 

Music Credits: 

Aaron Michael Goldberg:

Music from "March of the Mind" by Kevin MacLeod ( License: CC BY (


Sep 23, 2019

A 7-year-old goes missing while on a family camping trip in 1973.  Anonymous calls would be placed demanding a ransom, but, the trail would grow cold until exactly one year later when the kidnapper would call her mother to brag about taking her daughter.  

Several resources were used in the research of this episodes including:

Documentary: The FBI Files, "Dark Woods", Season 5, Episode 13. 


Bible Verse May Have Spurred Meirhofer, The Daily Interlake, October 4, 1974

Small Town Terror by Joseph MacNamara for The New York Daily News, December 22, 1994

The Quality of Mercy by Antoinette Martin for The Detroit Free Press, August 21, 1994

Not Another Victim by Amy Linn for The Missoula Independent, November 5, 2015

Music Credits:  Music from"Floating Cities" by Kevin MacLeod ( CC BY (


Italic - - use offer code ONCE for 15% off your first order

Bombas - for 20% off your first purchase. 




CrimeCon CrowdSolve -

Feb 5, 2019

A man murders three innocent teens in 1966, is sentenced to death and later is released from prison to kill again.  This is the case of Kenneth Allen McDuff aka "The Broomstick Killer". 

Photo: Kenneth Allen McDuff at his first trial in 1966 for the murder of three teenagers. 

Research for this episode came from several sources including: Articles: "Free to Kill" by Gary Carthwright, Texas Monthly, August 1992.  "McDuff Likely to Take Grisly Secrets to Grave" by Mike Cochran for the Associated Press, published in the Lubbock-Avalanche Journal, 1996.

CrimeCon: June 7 - 9, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana. - use promo code ONCE19 for 10% off a standard registration.  

Send screenshots with your name and showing the use of discount code ONCE19 to be entered to win a VIP guest invitation to our podcast MeetUp in New Orleans during CrimeCon week!  Email screenshot to


Away Travel - and use promo code ONCE at checkout for $20 off a suitcase.

Daily Harvest - and enter promo code ONCE for three FREE Daily Harvest cups with your subscription. 

Opening Music Credit: 

"Das große Jazz Loop Paket" by Sascha Ende (

Licence: CC BY-SA + (

Jan 29, 2019

A rare form of serial killer are Black Widows - women who kill their spouses and other family members - usually for financial gain.  Even more rare are Black Widow Sisters.  This week I'll share two stories of sisters who set up murder syndicates for profit.  

#BlackWidowsofLiverpool #BlackWidowsofElSalvador #serialkillers 

Photo: Margaret Higgins and Catherine Flanagan - The Black Widows of Liverpool 

Several resources were used in the research for this episode including: 

Angela Brabin, The Black Widows of Liverpool: A Chilling Account of Cold-Blooded Murder in Victorian Liverpool. Lancaster:Palatine Books, 2003. 

Marcos Aleman, Chicago Tribune, "He pays to get married and emigrate to the US, then they kill him to collect the insurance," March 31, 2017. 


Jan 15, 2019

A woman is discovered to have murdered two of her husbands and hid their bodies in her yard.  


Book: Buried Memories: The Bloody Crimes and Execution of the Texas Black Widow by Irene Pence

Article: - "Texas Executes Betty Lou Beets for Husband's Murder", February 24, 2000


Southern Fried True Crime:

The Nighttime Podcast: 

Nov 6, 2018

This month I'm picking cases from listener suggestions as a "thank you" to my audience.  First up is a case from Warwick, Rhode Island suggested by Mikala Fortin.

When a series of brutal murders takes place in one neighborhood in 1989, investigators zero in on an unlikely suspect - a teenage boy who would be considered one of the country's youngest serial killers. 

Photo: Craig Price is taken into custody and charge with four murders in Rhode Island. 


To give a donation or find out more about Rhode Island Relay for Life go to 

Several resources were used in the research for this episode including:

Helen O'Neill, San Francisco Chronicle, "Juvenile Serial Killer Remains in Prison," Dec 15, 2007. 

Rachael Bell,, "Craig Price: Confessions of a teenage serial killer".  

Tim White,, "Brother of murder victim calls Craig Price's shrinking sentence 'ridiculous'," April 23, 2015. 



Oct 1, 2018

A serial killer uses his own home as his killing grounds.  After his crimes are discovered his property, Fox Hollow Farm, will be considered one of the most haunted places in the midwestern United States.  This is chapter one of the series, "Haunted Homicide".  

Fox Hollow Farm in Carmel, Indiana where serial killer Herb Baumeister took his victims.  Many bones were found in the woods just behind the home. 

Several resources were used in the research for this episode including:

The Haunting of Fox Hollow Farm (2011), Directed by Dan T. Hall, Vizmo Films.  

Investigative Reports: Herb Baumeister: Secret Life of a Serial Killer (2010), A&E Television Network.  

Joe Geringer,, "Baumeister: Skeletons Beyond the Closet,". 

Richard Jerome, People, "While Julie Was Away," Dec 23, 1996. 

Fox Hollow Farm, Paranormal Witness, Season 2, Episode 8.

Other Links:

Once Upon a Crime Facebook Page:

Edensphere Band:



Sep 10, 2018

A series of women are found raped and strangled in their homes in Charlotte, North Carolina between 1992 and 1994.  Later it would be discovered that they could all be linked to one man - a manager at a Taco Bell restaurant in Charlotte. 

#CharlotteStrangler #serialkiller #HenryLouisWallace #FBIprofilers 

Photo: Some of the young women whose lives were cruelly snuffed out by Henry Louis Wallace. 

Clockwise from top left: Caroline Love, Shawna Hawk, Valencia Jumper, Deborah Slaughter, Betty Baucom, Vanessa Mack, and Michelle Stinson

Several resources were used in the research for this episode including: 

It Takes a Killer: Bad Henry. YouTube, uploaded by Crime Vault, July 14 2018,

Jason Lapeyre, Crime Magazine, "The Serial Killer the Cops Ignored: The Henry Louis Wallace Murders," Oct. 14, 2009. 


Jun 4, 2018

We continue the series "Infamous Locales" with another true crime story from the infamous Cecil Hotel. This time, I'll tell you about another serial killer who made the Cecil his base of operations -  Jack Unterweger, "The Vienna Woods Killer". 

#serialkillers #Austria #Vienna #ViennaWoodsKiller 

(Photo: A publicity shot of ex-con and writer, Jack Unterweger)


Books: Entering Hades: The Double Life of a Serial Killer by John Leake

The Unknown Darkness: Profiling the Predators Among Us by Gregg O. McCrary



May 28, 2018

The Cecil Hotel in Los Angeles has been home to at least two serial killers, numerous tragic deaths, a sniper shooting and one mysterious death.  Join me for this first installment of a 2-part episode covering the Cecil Hotel's history. #serial killers #RichardRamirez #TheNightStalker #

Photo: The Exterior of the Cecil Hotel / Richard Ramirez "The Night Stalker" in court. 


Resources: Book: The Life and Crimes of Richard Ramirez: The Night Stalker by Philip Carlo 


May 14, 2018

The district of Whitechapel in London, England was the location of one of the most infamous, unsolved serial murders in history - the Jack the Ripper Murders. But, there was possibly a second serial murderer operating at the same time. Journey with us to Whitechapel for some historical true crime cases.

Warning: This episode details more graphic details than normal. I give you a trigger warning before it begins in the episode if you'd like to skip ahead. 

#whitechapel #London #JacktheRipper #historicalcrime #crimehistory #TorsoMurders #ThamesTorsoMurders 


Jan 16, 2018

A young woman is offered a ride by a nice looking man in Salt Lake City in 1974. By the end of the day she would be attacked and almost killed by the infamous serial killer, Ted Budy. 

My special guest, Rhonda Stapley, is the author of "I Survived Ted Bundy: The Attack, Escape and PTSD That Changed My Life".  You can find it here on Amazon.

Rhonda can be found on Facebook here.

If you are someone you know would like help and/or information about post-traumatic stress you can go to

Nov 21, 2017

A mother-son team of grifters turns to murder to get away with their financial schemes.

Sante & Kenny Kimes on 60 Minutes.

#serialkillers #SanteKimes #KennyKimes #conartists



Nov 14, 2017

One of the most prolific serial killer families in history was discovered in Jalisco, Mexico in 1964.  This is the story of the Gonzalez Sisters. 

Serial killers, sex slavery - become a Patron starting at only $2 month for merch, early release episode, series wrap-up discussions and bonus episodes. 


Nov 7, 2017

Our new series "Murder in the Family" details cases where family members commit murder together. First up, the story of The Briley Brothers who went on an 8-month crime spree in Richmond Virginia.

Left to right: Linwood, James (JB), and Anthony Briley, Douglas Meekins

serial killers, death row, prison escapes, executions



Aug 14, 2017

Our second chapter focuses on a case of Munchausen by Proxy - but this time the perpetrator is a health care worker preying on unsuspecting hospital patients.

Beverley Allitt was a British serial killer dubbed "The Angel of Death". Many believe she killed because she had Munchausen's Syndrome. Others simply believe she was an evil person who used her position to attack the most vulnerable - the young and helpless.




Jun 12, 2017

This week I'll take you the beautiful Italian countryside - where a serial killer will stalk and kill young lovers. 

  The Monster of Florence strikes again the the area surrounding Florence, Italy.


Jun 5, 2017

A serial killer is hunting and killing women in Yosemite National Park in 1999. His ties to another well-known true crime case would make this story even more bizarre. 

Cary Stayner after his arrest for the murders of four women in Yosemite National Park in 1999.

Carole Sund/Carrington Memorial Reward Foundation:


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