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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!

Aug 12, 2019

Every manifestation of the Man of Steel - comic books, television shows and films - has been marked by bad blood, shattered careers, tragic accidents and even murder.  This is the Curse of Superman. 

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

George Reeves Revealed: An Inside Look at the Life and Tragic Death of Television's First Superman by Ed Gross for CloserWeekly.com, Feb. 27, 2019

Who Killed Superman? TheGuardian.com, Nov. 17, 2006

Link to Listener Survey: https://survey.libsyn.com/onceuponacrime 

Sponsor Links:

Italic - www.italic.com - Use offer code ONCE for $15 off your first order.

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

 

 

Aug 5, 2019

Three child actors become stars after being cast in the sitcom Diff'rent Strokes in 1978.  But, all three would go on to live troubled adult lives including drug addiction, legal troubles and untimely death. 

These are the stories of Todd Bridges, Dana Plato and Gary Coleman. 

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

The Tragic Stars of Different Strokes, People Magazine, March 25, 1991

Gary Coleman dies at 42; child star of hit sitcom Diff'rent Strokes by Dennis McClellan for The Los Angeles Times, May 29, 2010.  

The Overdose Death of Dana Plato by Frank Wilkins for ReelReviews.com. 

Todd Bridges book: Killing Wills: From Diff'rent Strokes to the Mean Streets to the Life I Always Wanted, Simon and Schuster, 2010. 

Sponsor:

Away Travel - www.AwayTravel.com/ONCE20 and use ONCE20 at checkout for $20 off a suitcase. 

You can listen to Let's Taco 'Bout True Crime here: https://truecrimepodcast.squarespace.com/lets-taco-bout-true-crime or subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher, Pandora, Spotify and anywhere you listen to podcasts! 

 

 

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 24, 2019

"Lost and Found" was the very first series of Once Upon a Crime in June, 2016.  In that series I covered the story of three young women who were held captive and abused by Ariel Castro for over a decade.  In this bonus episode we give you an update about these survivors - Michelle Knight, Amanda Berry and Gina De Jesus.  

Links:

Our website:  www.truecrimepodcast.com

CrimeCon:  www.CrimeCon.com - Use offer code ONCE19 for 10% off your registration. 

Toronto True Crime Film Festival: www.torontotruecrimefilmfestival.com

Our Social Media: 

Facebook: www.facebook.com/onceuponacrimepod

Click here to join our Facebook group.  

Twitter: www.twitter.com/uponacrime  www.twitter.com/tacoboutcrime

Instagram: www.instagram.com/onceuponacrimepod 

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

 

May 6, 2019

In 2005, a man on trial for rape escapes custody in Atlanta's Fulton County Courthouse and goes on a violent rampage.  This is Chapter 1 of "Disorder in the Court".  

Resources:

Several articles were used in the creation of this episode. Some of them are listed here:

3 Slain in Atlanta Courthouse Rampage, The Washington Post, March 12, 2005, Staff writers Manuel Roig-Franzia and Melanie Lasoff Levs 

A Manhunt and a Woman's Story, Washington Post, March 15, 2005, writer Manuel Roig-Franzia

A Youth Drifted from Deep Family Ties to Deep Trouble, The Baltimore Sun, March 18, 2005, writers Abigail Tucker and Stephen Kiehl

10 Years Later, Courthouse Safer, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, March 11, 2015, by Ernie Suggs 

 

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. 

 

Mar 25, 2019

A man starts having vivid memories of a violent crime he believes he may have committed during an alcoholic blackout. 

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

Kevin Dwyer and Jure Fiiorillo, True Stories of Law & Order (New York: Berkley Boulevard Books), 74-82. 

Cox v. Miller, 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals Decision, retrieved from www.Justia.com, July 17, 2002. 

David Goldnamn Biography, "AA vs DA: The Case of Paul Cox," March 2003, 21. 

 

 

www.patreon.com/onceuponacrime to become a patron and receive podcast merch, bonus episodes and be entered into our monthly drawing. 

Mar 18, 2019

I conclude the story about Eileen Franklin who claimed to have witnessed her friend, 8-year-old Susan Nason's murder in 1969. She would say her memory of the event was only recovered after 20 years.  Her story would begin a debate about the validity of "recovered memories" used in criminal trials.

******

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Mar 11, 2019

In this series I'll share crime stories that feature a very strange and rare phenomenon - recovered memories of murder.  Is it possible to forget about a murder?  Could a traumatic event, like witnessing a violent crime, cause a person to repress the memory so completely that they, in essence, “forget” they ever saw such a horrific event?

In this first chapter, Eileen Franklin recalls a 20-year-old murder.  She will claim that she witnessed the murder of her best friend, 8-year-old Susan Nason in 1969 and then repressed the memory for years.

Resources: 

Several articles, court records and other materials were used to research this case.  One resource was the book Once Upon a Time by Harry Maclean, published in 1993. 

Feb 26, 2019

A career criminal commits multiple murders plus an attempted murder and continues to be released on parole.  This is the case of Michael Keith Moon. 

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

Michael Hemmingston, San Diego Reader, "Moon Arraigned in Escondido Cold Case," Jan 16, 2008. 

Randy Kalp, The Coast News Group, Rancho Santa Fe, "Convicted felon takes wrap for 31-year-old slaying," Dec 11, 2008. 

Pauline Repard, The San Diego Union-Tribune, "Double murderer paroled to downtown San Diego," March 15, 2015. 

Patreon: www.patreon.com/onceuponacrime

Let's Taco 'Bout True Crime - The Podcast - subscribe on Apple Podcasts.

 

Feb 19, 2019

In the conclusion of the story of Louise Peete, the convicted murderess is released from prison and, before long, goes on to commit another violent crime. 

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

Dead Woman Walking:Louise Peete by Joan Renner - www.derangedlacrimes.com

Black Widow, Mara Bovsun, Daily News New York, November 18, 2001

She Buried Them All by Bill Walker in Saga: The Magazine for Men, January 1962. 

Feb 13, 2019

I'm pleased to announce my new podcast "Let's Taco 'Bout True Crime"!  Each episode will feature me and a special guest host talking about what's new, hot, and trending in true crime - in a fun and casual format. 

First episode drops on February 19th! 

Subscribe here on Apple Podcasts or search for "Let's Taco 'Bout True Crime" on your favorite podcast platform.  It's rolling out to more podcast platforms as we speak!

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