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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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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!

Feb 23, 2021

A serial killer preys on vulnerable women in Tokyo, Japan.  He will meet his victims on Twitter.  (Caution: This episode contains the subject of suicide.) 

Resources: 

"Inside the mind of the Japanese serial killer who killed 9 people" by Walter Sim for The Straits Times, Nov 5, 2017. 

"Japan's 'Twitter Killer' Given Death Sentence for 9 Murders" by Ben Dooley for The New York Times, Dec 15, 2020. 

"Killer who kept heads in cool boxes advertised himself as a professional hangman to lure suicidal victims" by Claire Carter for The Mirror, Nov 3, 2017. 

Sponsors:

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Links:

www.patreon.com/onceuponacrime 

 

Feb 16, 2021

Two women meet a man on Match.com. After they end the relationship, Wade Ridley vows deadly revenge. 

Resources:

20/20: In an Instant - "Match Made in Hell", ABC Television, aired July 1, 2017

Dating App Horrors: The Untold Story, A&E Network, aired May 2, 2019. 

"Mary Kay Beckman Sues Match.com", The Huffington Post, Jan 24, 2013

Sponsors:

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The New Yorker - www.newyorker.com/once - Get 12 weeks for just $6 plus a free tote bag.

 

Feb 9, 2021

A Canadian man, inspired by the television show Dexter, lures his murder victims through online dating sites. 

Resources: 

Dateline: Deadly House of Cards, NBC Television, September 16, 2011.

"Alleged First Victim Recalls His Escape" by Nahreman Issa for CTV News, April 1, 2011. 

"'Dexter Killer' Mark Twitchell among members of dating site for inmates" by Scott Stevenson for CBC News, Jan 9, 2017

Mark Twitchell's "Profile of a Psychopath", retrieved on Scribd.com. https://www.scribd.com/document/52942084/Mark-Twitchell-s-Profile-of-a-Psychopath 

Alleged Diary from Mark Twitchell's Computer (GRAPHIC WARNING), retrieved on Scribed.com. https://www.scribd.com/doc/202712564/51755869-WARNING-GRAPHIC-Alleged-Diary-From-Twitchell-s-Computer 

Sponsors: 

Munk Pack: www.munkpack.com and use discount code ONCE for 20% off any product. 

Skout's Honor: www.SkoutsHonor.com/once for 20% off your order. 

Links:

The Troubles Podcast: https://shows.acast.com/the-troubles-podcast 

 

Jan 26, 2021

In Part 3 of this miniseries, Curtis Dean Anderson confesses to a high-profile missing child case.  He would be investigated for a series of abductions and murders of children in Northern California.  Was he a serial killer as he claimed or was it just another manipulation by this serial predator? 

Resources: 

“Portrait of ‘an absolute monster’” by Kevin Fagan for The San Francisco Chronicle, July 7, 2009

“List of Bay Area child kidnapping cases”, San Jose Mercury News, August 27, 2009. 

“Murderer’s Confession to 1988 Slaying is Valid”. LawOfficer.com, July 7, 2009. 

Most Wanted: Curtis Dean Anderson.  Retrieved from FBI.gov  Link: https://www.fbi.gov/wanted/seeking-info/curtis-dean-anderson 

The Charley Project: 

Amber Swartz-Garcia. Link: https://www.fbi.gov/wanted/seeking-info/curtis-dean-anderson

Ilene Misheloff.  Link: https://charleyproject.org/case/ilene-beth-misheloff

Sponsors: 

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Jan 19, 2021

In part two of this miniseries the bravery of an 8-year-old girl unmasks a serial predator named Curtis Dean Anderson. He would be linked to the disappearance of Xiana Fairchild. 

Resources:

"Portrait of 'an absolute monster'", by Kevin Fagan for The San Francisco Chronicle, July 7, 2009. 

"Midsi Sanchez finds purpose, peace 20 years after being kidnapped in Vallejo", by Amy Maginnis-Honey for The Daily Republic - Solano County, July 2020. 

Letters from a Serial Killer, Kristi Belcamino and Stephanie Kahalekulu, Publisher - Kristi Belcamino, 2018. 

Sponsors: 

Munk Pack - www.munkpack.com - enter discount code ONCE at checkout to save 20% off your purchase. 

The New Yorker - www.newyorker.com/once and use promo code ONCE to get 12 weeks of The New Yorker for just $6 plus a free tote bag. 

Links:

www.patreon.com/onceuponacrime 

 

Jan 12, 2021

A 7-year-old goes missing from Vallejo, California in 1999.  It would be some time before Xiana Fairchild would be linked to a serial predator who would ultimately be connected to several missing and murdered women and children in Northern California and beyond. This is the first part of a month-long series about serial predator Curtis Dean Anderson. 

Resources: 

Letters from a Serial Killer: The true story of a mother and a journalist's fight to save a little girl's life by Kristi Belcamino and Stephanie Kahalekulu, Publisher: Kristi Belcamino, 2018. 

"A Sad End to Xiana's Story" by Stacy Finz, Patrick Hoge, Tyche, Hendricks, Matthew B. Standard for The San Francisco Chronicle, Feb 4, 2001. 

Sponsors: 

Skout's Honor: www.SkoutsHonor.com/once for 20% off your order.

Acorn TV:  www.acorn.tv - use offer code ONCE to get your first 30 days free. 

Links:

www.patreon.com/onceuponacrime

Dec 8, 2020

In this episode I'll share three true crime cases you may not have heard of, but should have.  My special guest host is Laurah from The Fall Line and One Strange Thing Podcasts. 

Resources: 

"Murder in a Silent Place" by David Van Biema for Time, Jun 17, 2001. 

People Magazine Investigates: The Sounds of Silence, Season 3, Episode 13, Investigation Discover Channel

"Gwen Araujo murder 14 years later: Trangender teen's killers face parole" by Malaika Fraley for The Bay Area News Group, Oct 14, 2016. 

Sponsors: 

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PlushCare - www.PlushCare.com/once to start your free 30-day trial. 

Resources mentioned in this episode: 

A Girl Like Me: The Gwen Araujo Story (2006), Lifetime TV.

Trained in the Ways of Men (2007), directed by Michelle Prevost. 

Lumbee Indians in the Jim Crow South: Race, Identity, and the Making of a Nation, Malinda Maynor Lowery, (University of North Carolina Press, 2010).

The Lumbee Indians: An American Struggle, Malinda Maynor Lowery, (University of North Carolina Press, 2018).

If you have any information regarding the Brittany Locklear case you can contact the State Bureau of Investigation in North Carolina at (919) 662-4500 or the Hoke County Sheriff's Office at (910) 875-5111. There is a $20,000 reward for information leading to a resolution of Brittany's case. 

Other links:

Once Upon a Crime Patreon - www.patreon.com/onceuponacrime

The Fall Line Podcast - www.thefalllinepodcast.com 

One Strange Thing Podcast - www.onestrangethingpodcast.com 

 

Nov 17, 2020

Two women thought they'd met the man of their dreams. But one of them would be found dead of mysterious circumstances and one would go missing never to be seen again. Would justice prevail to convict Drew Peterson for these crimes? 

Resources:

Marcia Clark Investigates the First 48: Drew Peterson, Investigation Discovery Channel, April 5, 2018

Justice Cafe, petersonstory.wordpress.com 

Sponsors:

EverlyWell - www.everlywell.com/once and use ONCE at checkout for 20% off your test.

SimpliSafe - www.simplisafe.com/once For 30% off your SimpliSafe system plus a free security camera. 

Links:

CrimeCon House Arrest: www.crimecon.com/housearrest

Patreon: www.patreon.com/onceuponacrime

 

 

Nov 10, 2020

A teenager goes missing in Morgan Hill, California never to be seen again. It would take meticulous detective work to prove she'd been the victim of a murder and bring her killer to justice.

"Disappearance tests 'no-body' murder cases" by Jenna Lyons for The San Francisco Chronicle, Jan 16, 2017

Statement of Facts: Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office Case #12-076-0868G, May 24, 2012

"Dissecting Torres' Past", Staff Writers, The Gilroy Dispatch, May 25, 2012. 

"No body, no weapon, no crime scene: How disappearance led to guilty conviction" by Elizabeth Cho for The Davis Vanguard

The State of California vs. Antolin Garcia-Torres, Indictment dated Feb 11, 2014. 

Investigation Discovery Channel: See No Evil - Season 6, Episode 17, "Come Home Sierra". 

Sponsors: 

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Links:

www.onestrangethingpodcast.com

www.crimecon.com/housearrest

 

Nov 3, 2020

This month's series features crimes that were solved...without a body. Tom Capano thought he'd pulled off the perfect murder when his ex-girlfriend disappeared. Meticulous detective work and dogged determination would be needed to solve the crime. 

Resources:

And Never Let Her Go by Ann Rule, 1996, Simon & Schuster.

The FBI Files: Deadly Obsession, Jan 18, 2020, retrieved on YouTube.com. 

Sponsors:

Brooklinen - www.brooklinen.com and use promo code ONCE for 10% off your first order plus free shipping.

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Links:

www.crimecon.com/housearrest

www.patreon.com/onceuponacrime

www.truecrimepodcast.com 

Oct 19, 2020

A story about a teenage stalker who hides in his victim's homes to prey upon them becomes an urban legend.  But, the true life and crimes of Daniel J. LaPlante would be a real-life horror story. 

Resources: 

"Witness describes abduction by LaPlante", Paul Langner for The Boston Globe, Oct 21, 1988.

Commonwealth v. Daniel J. LaPlante, Sept 14 - Nov 16, 1993, Middlesex County Superior Court filing. 

"A Teen Terrorized a Family by Living in Their Walls", Laura Allan for Ranker.com, June 14, 2019. 

"Daniel LaPlante appeals sentence in 1987 murders", The Associated Press, retrieved from Telegram.com-Worcester, Massachusetts, Mar 5, 2019. 

Sponsors: 

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Orgain - www.tryorgain.com/once for 20% off your first order plus additional savings when you subscribe. 

Oct 12, 2020

The mysterious murder of Fred William Oesterreich in Los Angeles in 1922 would be revealed years later as one of the strangest and most bizarre true crime cases in California history 

Resources: 

A Crime to Remember: Guess Who?, Season 4, Episode 6, The Investigation Discovery Channel 

"The Story of Dolly Oesterreich" by Erin Kelly for All That's Interesting, Dec 19, 2017. 

News Clipping from Sanhuber Case

Sponsor:

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Oct 5, 2020

In 1998, a 14-year-old disappeared from Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia.  It would be feared she had become a victim of serial killer, Leonard Fraser, but this story would end with a shocking revelation. 

Sources: 

60 Minutes Australia - ‘The Girl in the Cupboard’”(2003) - https://youtu.be/os_K-e_qwu8 

"She had everyone fooled" in TheAge.com.au, Apr 11, 2003

"The girl who returned from death" by Greg Ansley for NZHerald.co.nz, Apr 18, 2003

"The 'dead' schoolgirl who fooled a nation" by Shannon Molloy for News.com.au, Dec 22, 2018.

Crime Investigation Australia - Predator: Leonard John Fraser - https://youtu.be/ueb8xNmxZF8

Sponsor: Stitcher True Crime Week - use offer code ONCEUPONACRIME at www.stitcher.com/premium to get your first month of Stitcher Premium free. 

Additional music: Halloween Theme 1 by Alexander Nakarada
Link: https://filmmusic.io/song/4735-halloween-theme-1
License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/



Sep 14, 2020

A well-respected educator in Bakersfield, California is accused of a brutal crime - the murders of five of his family members.  

Resources: 

"The Mystery of the Lost Weekend", by Keith Morrison for Dateline NBC, July 24, 2009. 

"Vincent Brothers and murdered wife had rocky relationship say witnesses" by Jessica Logan for Bakersfield.com, March 7, 2007. 

"Vice Principal is still a suspect in fatal shootings of wife, kids, mother-in-law" by Kerri Ginis for The Fresno Bee, July 10, 2003. 

"Woman Says Officials Covered Up Abuse by Murder Suspect" by John Johnson for The Los Angeles Times, Aug 11, 2004. 

Links:

Patreon - www.patreon.com/onceuponacrime

Stitcher - www.stitcher.com/premium 

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

 

Sep 7, 2020

In this month's series "Bad Teacher" I'll share cases of educators who committed newsworthy crimes. 

First up, a 34-year-old teacher scandalizes the nation when she is convicted of child rape with one of her 6th grade students. 

Sources:

"Strange Love: Mary Kay Letourneau", 7 News Spotlight, July 8, 2020, retrived on YouTube. 

"Mary Kay Letourneau: 15 Shocking Facts" by John Whitefoot for Crimeola.com, May 29, 2018. 

"How the Media Turned Child Rape into a 'Tryst' for Mary Kay Letourneau" by EJ Dickson for Rolling Stone, July 8, 2020. 

"Lawsuit over Letourneau affair blames police, school", HeraldNet, March 21, 2002

"Letourneau is a predator and don't forget it", Susan Paynter for Seattle Post-Intelligencer, August 8, 2004. 

Video Interview: 

Mary Kay Letourneau, 7News Spotlight, July 8, 2020 - https://youtu.be/7mowKsGWuW4 

Links:

www.patreon.com/onceuponacrime

www.truecrimepodcast.com

Aug 31, 2020

We conclude this two-part episode with a young woman who comes forward claiming to be Grand Duchess Anastasia Romanov. The investigation into her claim would take decades to solve the mystery. 

Time Stamps: 

05:03 - "Miss Unknown"

22:47 - Investigating the Claim

28:06 - "Fraulein Annie" 

30:20 - Anastasia Tchaikovsky - Rescue Story

53:30 - Anna Anderson - United States

57:41 - Anna the Hoarder

01:01:00 - Mrs. Manahan

01:07:00 - What Really Happened to The Romanovs?

01:16:00 - The DNA

01:19:00 - Who Was Anna Anderson? Franziska Schanzkowska

01:34:00 - Why Was She Believed? 

Resources: 

Resurrection of The Romanovs, Greg King and Penny Wilson, Turning Publishing, 2010. 

The Woman Who Convinced the World She was Grand Duchess Anastasia, Crime Vault, Nov 8, 2018, retrieved on YouTube.

Romanovs: The Missing Bodies, National Geographic, Nov 5, 2019, retrieved on YouTube. 

 

 

 

Aug 24, 2020

On this first part of a 2-part episode, I share the fascinating story of the disappearance of the last imperial family of Russia, the Romanovs.  After their disappearance, most believed they had been executed by the Bolsheviks, but sightings of one or more of the Romanovs would continue for years.  Did some of Tsar Nicholas II's family members escape? 

Resources: 

The Resurrection of the Romanovs by Greg King and Penny Wilson, published by John Wiley and Sons, Inc., 2011. 

Romanovs: The Missing Bodies, produced by National Geographic, YouTube.com, Nov 5, 2019. 

Music Credits: 

Spring In Russia by Alexander Nakarada. Link: https://filmmusic.io/song/4845-spring-in-russia. License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Links:

Excuse Me, That's Illegal podcast - https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/excuse-me-thats-illegal/id1526994548 

Patreon - www.patreon.com/onceuponacrime

To help in the California Wildfire Relief efforts: 

https://www.mercurynews.com/2020/08/21/northern-california-wildfires-how-to-help-fire-victims-and-fire-fighters/

Our website:  www.truecrimepodcast.com 

 

Aug 10, 2020

On this second part of a two-part episode we continue the story of 9-year-old Walter Collins who went missing from Los Angeles in 1928.  In part two, we discover that a serial killer, Gordon Stewart Northcott, has been preying on boys and young men in the LA area.  Was Walter Collins a victim of Northcott's? 

Sources: 

The Wineville Chicken Coop Murders, retrieved online at crime museum.org. https://www.crimemuseum.org/crime-library/serial-killers/wineville-chicken-coop-murders/

The Disappearance of Walter Collins, by Gabriela Serrato for STMUhistorymedia.org.  https://stmuhistorymedia.org/author/gabriela.serrato/ 

Movie: Changeling (2008), Written, directed, and produced by Clint Eastwood for Imagine Entertainment. Starring Angelina Jolie, John Malkovich, Jeffrey Donovan and Amy Ryan. 

Links:

www.patreon.com/onceuponacrime 

Fruit Loops: Serial Killers of Color Podcast - https://fruitloopspod.com 

Aug 3, 2020

In this month's series I'll tell you stories about people who missing and then, months or years later, miraculously reappeared.  But, these stories all have a twist - were they who they claimed to be or were they imposters? 

In this first episode, you'll hear about a young boy who goes missing in 1928.  When he returns home, his mother will say he's an imposter, but her claims are dismissed.  Who was the boy claiming to be her missing son and what happened to the real Walter Collins? 

Resources: 

The 1920s boy who impersonated a kidnapping victim, Suzanne Raga for MentalFloss.com, Jan 20, 2016

Collins Hoax Comes to an End, The Los Angeles Times, Oct 3, 1928

The Disappearance of Walter Collins, Gabriela Serrato, STMU History Media, March 26, 2017 

Links:

Patreon - www.patreon.com/onceuponacrime

 

Jul 27, 2020

The life and tragic death of a young socialite in the 1930s inspires an Academy Award winning movie. But, Starr Faithfull's life was far from the glamorous treatment it would receive on the big screen. 

Sources:

Ripped from the Headlines: The Shocking True Stories Behind the Movie's Most Memorable Crimes by Harold Schechter (Little A, 2020)  

The Passing of Starr Faithfull by Jonathan Goodman (Piatkus, 1990). 

Open Files: A Narrative Encyclopedia of the World's Greatest Unsolved Crimes by Jay Robert Nash (Rowman & Littlefield, 1983). 

BUtterfield 8, (1960), directed by Daniel Mann for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Starring Elizabeth Taylor, Eddie Fisher, Laurence Harvey

Links:

www.haroldschechter.com

 

Jul 22, 2020

As a bonus for this month's theme "Stranger Than Fiction" I interview author Harold Schechter about his new book, Ripped from the Headlines: The Shocking True Stories Behind the Movies' Most Memorable Crimes, an anthology of forty true crime cases that inspired films.

Links:

https://haroldschechter.com

Purchase "Ripped from the Headlines" here.

 

Jul 13, 2020

Two women accused of murder in the Roaring 20s would become the inspiration for one of the best known and longest running shows in American musical theater history. This is the story of the real life Roxie and Velma from "Chicago". 

Resources: 

"1924 - Beulah Annan & Belva Gaertner". Newspaper articles compiled and posted on Chicagology.com.  

Ripped from the Headlines by Harold Schechter, Published by Little A, New York, 2020. 

"Musical Theater and Law: Chicago, The Musical" by Geraldine Davila Gonzalez, April 30, 2019. 

Music: 

"Hula Lou" - 1923 recording by Isabelle Patricola,

"Prohibition Blues", 1920 recording by The Missourians 

(Both available for use by public domain.)

 

Links:

Listener survey:

https://survey.libsyn.com/onceuponacrime

YouTube Channel: https://bit.ly/2UDxhEG

 

 

Jul 6, 2020

In 1986, a beautiful young mother discovers her husband is cheating on her and files for divorce.  Soon afterward, she goes missing.  Discovering what happened to Helle Crafts would take an small army of detectives, forensic scientists, serologists, forensic anthropologists, a police diving team and other investigators to unravel this bizarre crime and would inspire an Academy-Award winning film. 

Resources: 

Forensic Files: Season 1, Episode 1 - "The Disappearance of Helle Crafts", FilmRise TV. 

"The Wood Chipper Murder Case" by Mark Gado for CrimeLibrary.com. 

"Richard Crafts, notorious wood chipper murderer, released from prison" by Christine Dempsey for The Hartford Courant, Jan 31, 2020.

Details about the film "Fargo" were found on IMDB.com.

Links: 
Let's Taco 'Bout True Crime - https://www.truecrimepodcast.com/lets-taco-bout-true-crime 

"Fargo" (1996) Trailer: https://youtu.be/h2tY82z3xXU 

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