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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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Now displaying: Category: true crime

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!

Mar 23, 2020

In 1991, Kurt Cobain released a song on the album Nevermind. Titled "Polly" the song was inspired by a kidnapping and rape of a young girl in Tacoma, Washington.  This is the story of that crime.

Listen to "Polly" by Nirvana here: https://youtu.be/3H0NHHKBemg

Resources: 

"Story Behind the Song - Polly" by Hayley Selfridge on YouTube

"Nirvana's Darkest Song" by The Nerdwriter on YouTube

"Police suspect rapist in serial killings", Tri-City Herald, June 19, 1987.

Links to episodes mentioned: 

The Day the Music Died: Kurt Cobain - Episode #10 - https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/episode-010-the-day-the-music-died-kurt-cobain/id1122650415?i=1000382663745

True Crime Game Changers: Polly Klaas - Episode #21 - https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/episode-021-true-crime-game-changers-polly-klaas/id1122650415?i=1000382668498

Sponsors:

Best Fiends - Download free on the Apple App Store or Google Play

Endurance Warranty - endurancenow.com/once for $300 off an Endurance Vehicle Protection plan

 

Mar 9, 2020

A young girl is brutally murdered in New York's Central Park in 1986. Her killer, Robert Chambers, would be dubbed "The Preppy Killer" in the press and his victim's name would be dragged through the mud. This is the real story of "The Preppy Murder" you haven't heard before.  

Listen to "Jenny Was a Friend of Mine" by The Killers here: https://youtu.be/1Bxx_h4vl8Y

Resources used in the research for this episode: 

"East Side Story" by Michael Stone for New York Magazine, June 27, 2008.

"Looking Back at the Preppy Killer Case, More Than 30 Years Later" by Elizabeth Angell for Town and Country Magazine, November 12, 2019. 

Sponsors

First Leaf - tryfirstleaf.com/ONCE for an exclusive introductory offer of $29.95 for your first shipment plus free shipping.

Endurance Vehicle Protection Program - endurancenow.com/once for $300 off an Endurance vehicle protection plan. 

Feb 11, 2020

In Kansas in 1958, an 18-year-old kills both of his parents and his only sibling. Was it a case of greed, mental illness, or was Andrews just a "bad seed"?  

#parricide #InColdBlood #TheBrothersKaramazov #deathrow #familyannihilators 

Resources: 

"Lowell Lee Andrews Was 'The Nicest Boy' in Wolcott by Beth Elias for Ranker.com 

"Nicest boy in Wolcott" by David J. Krajicek for NYDailyNews.com, Feb. 21, 2010

"State vs. Andrews", Appeal Record, State of Kansas, Dec. 10, 1960. Retrieved on Justia.com

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, Modern Library, Reprint Edition, 2013. 

Sponsor: 

Native Deodorant - www.nativedeodorant.com - Use promo code ONCE for 20% off your first purchase.

Music Credits:

Original theme music by http://AaronGoldberg.Bandcamp.com

Music from https://filmmusic.io - "March of the Mind" by Kevin MacLeod (https://incompetech.com) License: CC BY (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)

Other music:  https://freesound.org/s/321070/  ,  https://freesound.org/s/243435/   Licensed under the Creative Commons 0 License.

 

Feb 4, 2020

In 1975, a rebellious teen enlists her boyfriend to kill her parents in a small, Northern California town. The gruesome crime would be dubbed "The Barbecue Murders" in the press. 

Sources: 

"Kill My Parents: The story of Marlene Olive" by Denise Noe for Crime Library, June 23, 2014

"A Local Murder: Terra Linda was the setting for a real-life 1975 crime" by Jim Wood for Marin Magazine, October 21, 2008

Sponsor:

Firstleaf:  www.Firstleaf.com/ONCE for 6 bottles of wine for $29.95 plus free shipping 

Music Credits:

Original theme music by http://AaronGoldberg.Bandcamp.com

Other music: https://freesound.org/s/131913/, https://freesound.org/s/403662/, https://freesound.org/s/147495/, https://freesound.org/s/147495/ - all licensed under the Creative Commons 0 License

Links:

Let's Taco 'Bout True Crime - https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/lets-taco-bout-true-crime/id1452118167 

Affirmative Murder - https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/affirmative-murder/id1296864488

www.CrimeCon.com - Use offer code ONCE2020 for 10% off your registration. 

Dec 17, 2019

On this special episode my guest is Jack Luna from Crime Machine Podcast.  We discuss the evidence and theories behind the JonBenet Ramsey Case.

Sources: 

Foreign Faction: Who Really Killed JonBenet? by A. James Kolar, Ventus Publishing, 2012. 

JonBenet Ramsey Case Encyclopedia, www.jonbenetramsey.pbworks.com 

"The Case of: JonBenet Ramsey". https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x6mj3ze 

Crime Machine Podcast: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/crime-machine/id1209610434 

Sponsors: 

Solid Gold Pet Food - www.solidgoldpet.com/ONCE for 30% off your first order. 

Dec 3, 2019

On this year-end wrap up episode, I answer listener questions and share updates on cases I've covered in past episodes. 

Sponsors: 

Detective Trapp: www.wondery.fm/DTonceupon 

Native Deodorant: www.nativedeodorant.com - use promo code ONCE for 20% off your first order. 

Away Travel: www.awaytravel.com/ONCE20 and use promo code ONCE20 at checkout to get $20 off a suitcase. 

Nov 19, 2019

A young man from a wealthy family is accused of committing two rapes while still in high school. Before he could be tried on these charges he'd flee the jurisdiction and disappear for eight years before finally being brought to justice.

Resources: 

"Accused Rapist and His Flight Trouble Darien" by Elizabeth Neuffer for The New York Times, Aug 27, 1987

"From Ski Slopes of Europe to a Rape Trial" by George Judson for The New York Times, Jan 31, 1995. 

"Judgment Days" by Bill Hewitt for People.com, Nov 4, 1996.

"Son of Darien" by Susan Cheever for The New York Times, April 27, 1997. 

Vanity Fair Confidential: Fugitive Son, based on reporting by Jennet Conant for Vanity Fair Magazine, first aired on Jan 24, 2017. 

Sponsor: 

Bombas - www.Bombas.com/ONCE for 20% off any purchase between November 18 and December 5, 2019. 

 

Nov 12, 2019

In this episode I’ll share two separate cases of women who became part of a very small and exclusive club - women who made the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted List.  

Nazira Ugalde killed for financial gain and flees to South America.  A young woman in Texas, Brenda Delgado, plans the murder of her romantic rival and disappears soon after being questioned by police.  

Resources: 

"New details emerge about Reno 'Black Widow', Behind the Crime Tape Blog, Nov. 27, 2012

"Fugitive Black Widow wanted in ex-husband's 2008 murder arrested i Peru", by Nina Golgowski for New York Daily News, Jun 5, 2014. 

"Mother of Hygenist at center of deadly love triangle sas her daughter is 'not the jealous type'", by Shekhar Bhatia for DailyMail.com, Sep 12, 2015. 

"Duo Behind Killing of Dentist in Murder-for-Hire Plot May be Linked to Drug Cartel", Chicago 5 News, Oct 23, 2015. 

"Brenda Delgado: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know", Heavy.com, Jun 7, 2019. 

"The State of Texas vs Brenda Delgado", Criminal Indictment, October 2, 2018. 

Sponsors: 

Onyx and Rose: www.onyxandrose.com/ONCE and use offer code ONCE at checkout for 15% off your first purchase. 

Hello Fresh: www.hellofresh.com/ONCE9 and enter ONCE9 at checkout for 9 free meals plus free shipping on your first box. 

Podcast Recommendations: 

Crime Machine by Jack Luna and Sam Swenson.  https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/crime-machine/id1484881599 

You can now find us on Stitcher Premium! https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/esther-ludlow/once-upon-a-crime 

 

Oct 7, 2019

A free concert took place in northern California in December of 1969 featuring The Rolling Stones.  It would descend into chaos due to poor planning, rampant drug use and the ill-advised use of the Hells Angels as concert security.  

Resources:

Joel Selvin, Altamont: The Rolling Stones, the Hells Angels and the Inside Story of Rock's Darkest Day, (New York: Harper Collins), 2016. 

Lester Bangs, Reny Brown, John Burks, Sammy Egan, Michael Goodwin, Geoffrey Link, Greil Marcus, John Morthland, Eugene Schoenfeld, Patrick Thomas, and Langdon Winner, Rolling Stone Magazine, "The Rolling Stones Disaster at Altamont: Let It Bleed," January 21, 1970. 

Albert & David Maysles and Charlotte Zwerin, Gimme Shelter (1970), http://watchdocumentaries.com/rolling-stones-gimme-shelter/ 
Note: Meredith Hunter can be seen in the crowd at timestamp 1:18:50. The attack on him begins at 1:23:26. 

Sponsors: 
Hello Fresh: www.HelloFresh.com/ONCE80 and enter ONCE80 at checkout for $80 off your first month of meal kits. 

Away Travel: www.awaytravel.com/ONCE20 and use promo code ONCE20 at checkout for $20 off a suitcase. 

Native Deodorants: www.nativedeodorant.com and use promo code ONCE during checkout for 20% off your first purchase. 

Sep 30, 2019

A woman begins receiving harassing phone calls and letters from a stalker.  It would take years to discover who the anonymous man was, but when he was finally identified a shocking secret would be revealed. 

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

Book: Little Girl Fly Away by Gene Stone

Articles:  

'Poet" makes life a living horror for Wichita Woman by Scott Kraft for AP in the Garden City Telegram, Jan 24, 1980

'Poet' strikes again and Wichita police still baffled by Scott Kraft for AP in Garden City Telegram, Feb 21, 1980

Harassed by an Unknown Author of Vicious Rhymes, Ruth Finley Confronts the Stranger Within Herself by Gene Stone for People Magazine, Sept. 5, 1988

Sponsors: 

Truman's - www.Trumans.com - use offer code ONCE for 50% off your cleaning product starter kit.

Solid Gold - www.SolidGoldPet.com/ONCE to get 30% off your first pet food order. 

Social Media:

Once Upon a Time Facebook Group - https://www.facebook.com/groups/1730325570622505/ 

Patreon:  www.Patreon.com/OnceUponaCrime

 

 

Jul 29, 2019

Susan Polk enters into a relationship with her therapist when she is a young girl. Years later, after 20 years of marriage, she will claim she has been abused by her husband for decades.  After he is found dead in their guest house the question would be, was this a case of self-defense or a cold-blooded murder? 

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

Court record: The People, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. Susan Mae Polk, Defendant and Applellant, Contra Costa County Super. Ct. No. 031668-7, December 13, 2010

Articles:

A California Murder Raises Troubling Issues by Carol Pogash for The New York Times, September 18, 2005

Obituary of Dr. F. Felix Polk, SFGate.com, November 5, 2002. 

Slaying rips apart a family in Orinda by Jason Dearen for Bay Area News Group, October 10, 2005. 

Convicted Orinda killer Susan Polk denied parole, kicked out of hearing midway through by Nate Gartrell for Bay Area News Group, July 17, 2019.  

Sponsor: 

Italic - www.italic.com use offer code ONCE for $15 off your first purchase. 

Patreon:  www.patreon.com/onceuponacrime 

 

Jul 28, 2019

A mother seeks help for her special needs child, but a church prayer service ends tragically.  

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

Book:

True Stories of Law and Order by Kevin Dwyer and Jure Fiorillo 

Articles: 

Death by Exorcism by David Krajicek for the New York Daily News, October 8, 2006

Sponsor: 

Native Deodorants - www.nativedeodorant.com  - Use promo code ONCE for 20% off your first purchase. 

Subscribe to "Let's Taco 'Bout True Crime" 

On iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/lets-taco-bout-true-crime/id1452118167

On Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/7k3cQGC0unJGSMhlEZRiWG?si=dLyaqKydRDi_SA3wYkhWnw 

On Stitcher: https://www.stitcher.com/s?fid=379086

 

Jul 8, 2019

In the second chapter of the series "Deadly Therapy" a young girl who grows up in an unstable home is placed up for adoption.  Her adoptive mother finds her behavior problematic and has her undergo a new and controversial therapy - with tragic results.  

Several resources were used to research this episode including: 

Her Name was Candace by Carla Crowder and Peggy Lowe for Denver Rocky Mountain News, Oct. 29, 2000    https://culteducation.com/group/1115-rebirthing/17893-her-name-was-candace.html

Seeking Child’s Love, A Child’s Life is Lost by Barry Siegel for the Los Angeles Times, Feb. 4, 2001  https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-2001-feb-04-mn-21072-story.html

Links from this episode: 

www.singleparentadvocate.org

www.doorofhope.us

www.adoptuskids.org

www.togetherwerise.org

https://store.23skidoovintage.com

https://www.facebook.com/events/493288214744272/

Today's Sponsor: 

Warby Parker - www.warbyparker.com/ONCE for a free Home Try-On kit. 

 

Jul 1, 2019

In this month's series, "Deadly Therapy", I’ll detail cases of people who sought help from experts, but rather than receiving healing and transformation, their journeys came to an abrupt and deadly end.  In this first chapter, you’ll hear how James, Arthur Ray, a self-described success coach and guru required his followers to perform increasingly more extreme mental and physical challenges all in the pursuit of “enlightenment” with deadly results. 

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

Articles: 

The Death Dealer by Matt Stroud in The Verge

Arizona Sweat Lodge: The Inside Story of James Ray's Fatal Retreat by Miguel Sancho and Kimberley Brown for ABC News

Blogs: 

https://spiritualityisnoexcuse.wordpress.com/james-rays-first-victim-colleen-conaway/

Films:

Enlighten Us: The Rise and Fall of James Arthur Ray (2016) 

Sponsor: 

Care/of - www.TakeCareOf.com - Enter promo code ONCE at checkout for 25% off your first order. 

 

Jun 24, 2019

Identical twin sisters, Sunny and Gina Han were lifelong rivals.  One sister's jealousy would lead her to plot her twin's murder. 

 

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

Court Transcripts:

People v. Han, Court of Appeal, Fourth District, Division 3, California, Feb. 25, 2000

Opposition of Parole letter from Orange County District Attorney's Office to Office of Governor Jerry Brown, November 20, 2017. 

Articles:

'Evil Twin' Granted Parole Despite DA's Objections by Nathan Solis for Courthousenews.com, June 21, 2018. 

 

www.patreon.com/onceuponacrime

www.truecrimepodcast.com

 

Jun 22, 2019

On this bonus episode I take you along with me to CrimeCon 2019 in New Orleans and my travels to New York City and Toronto for the Toronto True Crime Film Festival.  

#CrimeCon #NewOrleans #TorontoTrueCrimeFilmFestival #truecrimedocumentaries #NewYorkCity 

www.facebook.com/onceuponacrimepod 

Jun 22, 2019

In this bonus episode, I interview Jan Broberg and Skye Borgman about their documentary film "Abducted in Plain Sight" LIVE at CrimeCon 2019 in New Orleans.

#AbductedinPlainSight #truecrimedocumentary #CrimeCon2019

 

Jun 10, 2019

I continue the story of the Gibbons Sisters - twins who were locked in a battle their entire lives. Neither believed they could survive without the other, but controlled each other so completely they only spoke to or associated with one another.  When they reached adolescence, they knew they had to find some way to break out of this destructive twin bond or both would perish.  Their desperation lead them to commit increasingly antisocial and criminal acts.  This is part two of "The Silent Twins". 

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

 

Marjorie Wallace, The Silent Twins, (London, Vintage Books 1998). 

BBC: Inside Story, The Silent Twin: Without my Shadow. YouTube, Uploaded by GottaFindPants, Nov 20, 2017. https://youtu.be/98WtP1qC61s 

Links:

Website: www.truecrimepodcast.com

Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/onceuponacrimepod

 

Jun 3, 2019

June and Jennifer Gibbons were identical twins who, from a very young age, were so bonded to one another that they created their own “twin language” to communicate speaking only to one another.  They rejected any other relationships including their own parents and siblings.  Later, they would construct a fantasy world that only they inhabited.  This lead to more serious anti-social behavior that resulted in a shocking crime spree.  

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

Marjorie Wallace, The Silent Twins, (London, Vintage Books 1998). 

BBC: Inside Story, The Silent Twin: Without my Shadow. YouTube, Uploaded by GottaFindPants, Nov 20, 2017. https://youtu.be/98WtP1qC61s 

Music credits: 

Music from https://filmmusic.io:
"Reflections" by Alexander Nakarada (https://www.serpentsoundstudios.com/)
Licence: CC BY (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)

 

May 17, 2019

This bonus episode gives news and announcements for the month of May including information on Season 4. 

Website: www.truecrimepodcast.com 

Social Media:

Twitter - @uponacrime and @tacoboutcrime

Facebook and Instagram - @onceuponacrimepod

Patreon - www.patreon.com/onceuponacrime 

CrimeCon: www.crimecon.com - use discount code ONCE19 for 10% off your registration

Toronto True Crime Film Festival - www.torontotruecrimefilmfestival

 

 

 

 

May 13, 2019

A mother takes justice into her own hands in Jamestown, California in 1993 when she discovers her son has been abused by a child molester.  Some called her a hero, others denounced her actions as vigilantism.  This is Chapter 2 of "Disorder in the Court".

Several resource materials were used for this episode including: 

The Nesler Family's Tragic Past - www.oprah.com 

Pushed Over Edge, Mother Chose Own Brand of Justice by Mark Arak, Times Staff Writer, April 11, 1993. 

William Nesler Still a Fugitive by Lloyd Vries for CBS News, July 29, 2004. 

Ellie Nesler's Family Buries their Hero in Angels Camp, by John Holland in The Modesto Bee, January 2, 2009. 

Links:

www.facebook.com/onceuponacrimepod

www.truecrimepodcast.com

 

Apr 29, 2019

A summer ball game descends into chaos when a promotional event goes seriously awry.  This is the last chapter in the series "Bad Sports" recounting the Cleveland Indians' "Ten Cent Beer Night" riot. 

Thanks to guest voice actors Lorne and Michael from The True Crime Guys podcast.  www.truecrimeguys.com

Some of the resources used in this episode include: 

Articles: The Night Beer and Violence Bubbled Over in Cleveland by Paul Jackson on ESPN.com

Forty Years Ago, 10-cent Beer Makes Memories by Anthony Castrovince on MLB.com 

Video: Ten Cent Beer Night - Weird History on YouTube.com 

Other links: 

Our website: www.truecrimepodcast.com

Patreon:  www.patreon.com/onceuponacrime

 

 

Apr 8, 2019

Ray and Sally McNeil were a married couple who were both accomplished athletes in the sport of professional bodybuilding.  But, a combination of infidelity, abuse and anabolic steroid use would lead to a final, bloody confrontation on Valentine’s Day, 1995. 

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

Court Records:

McNeil v. Middleton, United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, Submitted April 8, 2003, Filed Sept 22, 2003.

Articles:

Sally McNeil...This is My Story by Leigh Penman for RXMuscle.com, Nov 4, 2009

The Sally-Ray McNeil Murder by Peter McGough for MuscularDevelopment.com, Feb 12, 2015. 

Once Upon a Crime website: www.truecrimepodcast.com

Sponsors: 

Hask hair care products - www.haskbeauty.com or shop online at www.ulta.com.

Harper Wilde - www.HarperWilde.com/ONCE for a free home try-on plus a free bra wash bag.  

 

Apr 1, 2019

This month I'll be sharing stories of outrageous crimes that occurred at sporting events or by sports figures.  

First up, a neighborhood ice rink, a pee-wee hockey pick-up game and some unsportsmanlike conduct leads to a confrontation between parents that ends with tragic results. 

 

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