Bad Friends Determined To Get Revenge – Convicted Of A Murder He DIDN’T Commit – Innocently Convicted #1
Hello everyone! Welcome back to Crime Sunday where we talk true crime every single Sunday. Today I am starting a new series called Innocently Convicted where I cover stories of those who have been wrongfully convicted of crimes. I believe that sharing the stories of victims of heinous crimes is crucial, but so is casting light on these cases because when someone is wrongfully convicted, essentially, that is another person that lost their life, and most of the time and most of the time they will spend years fighting for their freedom. So I do hope you guys appreciate these stories as well as I plan to do at least one a month. Thank you for reading, if you would rather listen as always scroll to the bottom of today’s post to find the YouTube video for today’s case!
Corsicana, Texas is located just an hour outside of Dallas. It has a population of just over 25,000 and hard-working middle-class families make up most of this small city’s community. It’s a place full of tradition and history, with twenty-five blocks of historic buildings. Back in the day, it was known to be one of the wealthiest oil boom cities in Texas as this town is where oil was first discovered west of the Mississippi. Today it is best known for Navarro College which has been featured on Netflix for its outstanding cheer team.
On August 30th, 1981, a local woman was checking on her livestock around 9 o’clock in the morning when she stumbled upon the body of 21-year-old Carol Armstrong. Carol grew up in Blooming Grove, Texas which is a small town just 20 minutes from Corsicana. She graduated from Blooming Grove High School in 1978 and she stood out to her classmates as she was voted her class’ #1 choice which was based on popularity and the ability to get along with others. She played basketball and volleyball and participated in FHA and her senior class play. She was also a member of the student council, was a homecoming nominee, and also voted her senior class favorite.
She was working at a dress shop in Dallas and had just spent the weekend visiting with her Mom in Blooming Grove. Carol’s body was discovered on a rural road, she had been stabbed over forty times and was naked from the waist down. Her green 1978 Ford Thunderbird was found abandoned just a few miles from her body with the keys still in the ignition. Inside her car, law enforcement found a black hairnet and a partially smoked joint. A gas station clerk said she saw Carol driving her car at about 10:30pm the night before on West 7th Avenue in Corsicana. She was clearly very loved by everyone around her so when police discovered she had been brutally murdered and sexually assaulted, they had no idea who would want to hurt her and for two years her case went unsolved.
In 1983, a man by the name of Bennie Lamas contacted the Corsicana Police Department from prison in Tennessee, where he was serving a life sentence for an armed robbery conviction. On this phone call, he tells police that his friend, Randolph (Randy) Arledge had admitted to him that he was the one who had killed Carol and even showed him the knife that he used. Randy and Bennie’s girlfriend, Paula Lucas, had also been convicted of the same robbery in Tennessee. Coincidently enough, Randy was visiting his family in Corsicana the same weekend that Carol was murdered. The next day he headed back home to Houston where he met up with Bennie and Paula and the three of them began road-tripping in a stolen van and were eventually apprehended in Tennessee. A single-edge hunting knife that had been confiscated from Randy when he was arrested was similar to the one that had killed Carol. Randy was questioned by police about his involvement in Carol’s murder but he denied these allegations against him. He did admit that he had fallen into the wrong crowd of friends but he said he did not kill Carol. However, the police felt like they had enough evidence with the knife and the statement from Bennie to charge him with Carol’s murder.
During the trial, the prosecution relied heavily on the testimonies of Bennie and Paula. Paula agreed to testify against Randy in exchange for a reduced sentence for her involvement in the armed robbery which was reduced to just probation. Paula testified that Randy had threatened her with a knife and said that he had killed a woman before. A pathologist testified that the size and shape of Randy’s knife were consistent with Carol’s stab wounds. However, the defense had an alibi as Randy’s sister testified that he was at a party at her house the night Carol was murdered. She said that he had been in a couple of fights but he never left her house and stayed the night. However, a couple of people who attended the same party testified that Randy left the party and that he even had a knife on him.
Despite there being no physical evidence linking Randy to Carol’s murder, the jury found him guilty on March 27th, 1984 and he was sentenced to 99 years in prison. He was first sent back to Tennessee to serve his time for the armed robbery charge and when he was granted parole in 1998, he was transported back to Texas to begin his sentence for Carol’s murder. At times, Randy felt hopeless and his heart shattered every time his parole was denied. He had no resources to prove he didn’t commit this murder and he felt like there wasn’t even enough evidence to prove he was innocent.
That was until 2006 when the Innocence Project in New York picked up his case and began working to prove he was wrongfully convicted. They were able to locate the DNA evidence including hair from the black hairnet which was found in Carol’s car that had been preserved for three decades. The Innocence Project’s lawyers requested that DNA tests be performed on the evidence and the Navarro County District Attorney’s Office agreed. In 2011, the DNA testing performed on the hair from the hairnet and was not a match for Randy. They also tested Carol’s pubic hair for any other DNA and that partial DNA also came back as not being a match to Randy. This was the first glimmer of hope that Randy had in years but the fight for his freedom wasn’t over. A lawyer from the Innocence Project made a trip to the Tennessee prison where Bennie Lamas was incarcerated in hopes that he would admit that he lied during his testimony. Bennie confessed to lying and said he wanted to seek revenge on Randy because he thought he was sleeping with Paula which was his girlfriend at the time. He also said that he was promised (and later received) favorable treatment from Tennessee authorities. Bennie signed an affidavit where he stated “Randy did not confess to the murder or say anything that would lead me to believe that he was involved.”
Based on the DNA test results and Bennie’s recantation, lawyers for the Innocence Project filed a state petition for a writ of habeas corpus. On February 11, 2013, with the concurrence of the Navarro County prosecutors, a Texas judge recommended that Randy’s conviction be vacated and the case dismissed. Randy was released on bond after nearly 30 years in prison, 15 of those years were for a crime he did not commit. When he was released, he was shocked, and as you can imagine it took him a while to get used to his freedom. He was thankful to be with his children again who through all these years stuck by their Dad’s side and never gave up hope that one day his conviction would be overturned.
On March 6, 2013, the Texas Criminal Court of Appeals upheld the judge’s recommendation that the charges against Randy be dismissed. Then on May 3rd, 2013, the case was officially dismissed and Randy was finally proven innocent and free of all charges related to Carol’s Murder.
Randy Arledge was the 118th person in the state of Texas to have his conviction overturned and state lawmakers have passed several laws to try to prevent wrongful convictions. One which allows all inmates convicted of a crime to seek new DNA testing. It also has the nation’s most generous law for ex-inmates who have proven their innocence, providing a lump-sum payment of $80,000 for each year they spent behind bars, as well as an annuity and other benefits. Randy received $1,146,000 in compensation from the state of Texas plus a monthly annuity of $7,140. He is now a grandpa and spends a lot of time with his family who he, unfortunately, missed out on so much time with. He also believes that jailhouse informants should be limited in trials, especially when they are being offered reduced sentences in exchange for their testimony.
The DNA found in Carol’s car and on her body did provide a match to a felon named David Sims who was a resident of Corsicana at the time of Carol’s murder. In April 1996, he had pled no contest to a 1985 attempted murder in Dallas where he stabbed a woman over 90 times. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison. He was paroled but was later convicted of three crimes in 1992—a burglary, a robbery, and an aggravated robbery. He pled no contest to those crimes as well and was sentenced to 20 years in prison. Despite his violent history, he was on parole when his DNA was matched to the hairnet in Carol’s murder. When police questioned him, he said that he worked at a Long John Silver’s close to where Carol’s body was found and they were required to wear hairnets but that doesn’t explain how his hairnet ended up in her vehicle. Not only that, he said he would have left work around 10:30 or 11 the night Carol was murdered and that is the time frame that police believe she was attacked.
Even though police have DNA evidence linking someone to the crime, nobody has been arrested for the murder of Carol Armstrong. This is unfortunate since they were able to convict an innocent man without DNA evidence but they have yet to build a case against the person who is a match. When Randy was cleared of his charges, Carol’s family was present in the courtroom but they declined to make a comment. I can only imagine that it was a hard day for them as I’m sure all those feelings that had for two years of not knowing who murdered their daughter and sister came back. This family thought for years they had gotten justice but in reality, the person who murdered Carol was still free and still is to this day. This is another reason why I want to share more of these wrongfully convicted stories because the person who actually committed these evil crimes should be found. Navarro County District Attorney Lowell Thompson said this case will stay open until they solve it as he is determined to get justice for Carol and her family.
Where is a Kyron Horman? Is His Step-Mom Responsible for His Disappearance?
Welcome back to Crime Sunday where we talk true crime every single Sunday! Today’s case is an important case as we are going to be talking about a missing child. Kyron Horman was reported missing when he didn’t get off the bus from school on June 4th, 2010. His mother has been fighting for years to find out the truth and she and many others believe his step-mom, Terri, is responsible. I don’t want to give away too much in the beginning so let’s drive right in! (Scroll to the very bottom to listen to today’s case instead!)
**Disclaimer/Trigger Warning** Crime Sunday focuses on True Crime. Topics of murder, abuse, SA Crimes, crimes against children, and self-harm may be discussed in this post. Parts of this story may be hard to hear for some. I am not saying anyone in this story is guilty of any crimes. I am just talking about events surrounding this case. Everyone is innocent until proven otherwise.**
Kyron Horman was born on September 9th, 2002 to his Mom Desiree, and his Dad Kaine, in Portland, Oregon. Unfortunately, his parents had already spilt up just a month before he was born and their divorce documents state it was because of irreconcilable differences but the truth is, Kaine was not faithful during their marriage. They shared joint custody of Kyron for two years but when Desiree was diagnosed with liver failure in 2004, she had to travel to Canada for treatment and couldn’t care for Kyron as much as she had before. Kyron ended up living full-time with Kaine and his live-in girlfriend, Terri, who he had started seeing while he was married to Desiree. Terri was also a single mom who had an older son, James, from a previous marriage. She was also a teacher who seemed to have so much patience with children and when Kaine saw how great she was with Kyron, he really fell in love with her and saw a future with her as it was important that he found someone that was good with his son since he was a single first-time father. Many people say that Terri treated Kyron like he was her own son and never referred to him as her stepson, only her son. In 2007, Kaine and Terri got married and three months later on Mother’s Day, Kaine surprised Terri with a brand new Ford Mustang, and shortly after that, they found out they were going to have another baby. In 2008, their daughter, Kiara, was born. This blended family of five seemed to be doing very well and Terri flooded her Facebook page with pictures of their children. She seemed to be a devoted housewife and Mom.
When Desiree returned from Canada, she moved in with her parents to Medford, OR which is about five hours from Portland where Kyron lived with his father and now step-mom but she was still very active in his life and saw him at least every other weekend, if not every weekend. She too remarried to a man named Tony Young. Even though Kyron came from a broken family, he was still a very happy-go-lucky child and loved playing outside and getting dirty like most young boys his age. His Mom said he was a shy kid but he seemed to be doing very well living with his Dad so she never pursued full custody because she didn’t want to uproot his life and move him five hours away from everything he knew. That all changed when Kyron was around six years old when Desiree noticed a few changes in her son’s behavior. According to her, Kyron started wetting the bed again and would have meltdowns when he had to go back to his Dad’s house. When Desiree brought this up with Kaine, he said Kyron would behave the same way when he knew he was going to his Mom’s house so he dismissed his son’s behavior as normal and that he was just having trouble adjusting to change and being shoveled back and forth between two households.
Desiree still felt like something wasn’t right and Kaine and Terri weren’t exactly truthful with her about things that went on in their household. Shortly after the birth of their daughter, Kaine says that Terri began to lose her patience with Kyron and James. She became obsessed over knowing how Kyron was behaving in his classroom during the day and if he came home with anything other than a green card, green meant good behavior, she wanted Kaine to punish him by grounding him or sending him to his room for the evening. Kaine thought that was too harsh since he was only in second grade and the two often fought about how to discipline Kyron. Back in 2005, Terri was charged with a DUI and because she had her son James in the car with her, she was also charged with child endangerment. Kaine says that they got Terri’s drinking under control and they didn’t keep alcohol in the house. In February of 2010, Terri called Kaine while he was on a business trip in California and told him that she sent James to live with his grandparents because they had gotten into a fight and she couldn’t handle him anymore. Kaine says he didn’t want his stepson to move out but it wasn’t his decision. This paints a completely different picture than the one Terri tried to paint on social media. Desiree said that often times when Kaine would be gone on business trips, Terri would call her telling her that she needed to pick Kyron up, and during these calls, she said she could hear Kyron crying in the background. There were also a few times that Terri asked Desiree to take back full custody of Kyron and she was more than willing to but she says that Kaine refused to give up custody when she asked him. Terri says the only reason she brought the idea of Kyron moving back in with his Mom full-time is that Kyron told her that is what he wanted. It seems like nobody was on the same page and, unfortunately, Kyron was in the middle of all of this and things would soon take a horrible turn.
On Friday, June 4th, 2010, Kyron was really excited to go to school because it was the day science fair and he had worked really hard on his red-eyed tree frog project. At 8:15 am, the PTA president for Skyline Elementary saw Terri and Kyron in front of his project in his second-grade classroom. Terri even snapped a picture of Kyron in front of his project on her phone and sent it to Kaine. Terri says she took Kyron around other classrooms to see more science fair projects and when they were done, she said she watched Kyron walk back to his classroom from the top of the stairs. She left the school by 8:45 am and went to two different Fred Myer’s stores to find the right medication for her daughter who was sick. She says she then drove around for two hours hoping that the car ride would soothe her daughter as she waited for the medicine to kick in. She posted the photo of Kyron with his project to her Facebook page at 1:21pm. At 3:30pm Kaine, Terri, and their daughter went to the bus stop to pick Kyron up from school but he didn’t get off the bus. They asked the bus driver where he was and he informed them that he never got on the bus that day and that they need to call the school. The school secretary informed them that Kyron had been marked absent from school all day. According to Kyron’s teacher, she didn’t reach out to his parents when she realized he wasn’t in class because Terri told his teacher, she was taking him to a doctor’s appointment but Terri says she told the teacher she was taking Kyron to look at the other classroom projects and he would be back. Terri appeared to be upset that the teacher misunderstood her.
Based on the conversation that the secretary had with Kyron’s parents, she called 911 to report Kyron missing and she also called Desiree who was five hours away. Desiree’s first thought was why didn’t Terri or Kaine call her? As she was driving to Portland, she reached Terri and she said she felt like Terri was reading a script as she gave her the details of the last time she saw Kyron. Law Enforcement arrived at the school and initially, the search involved 65 detectives, 60 trained searchers, and even more volunteers. They circled in on the school, his home, and the surrounding 2-mile radius around the school. When he wasn’t found that night, the search continued and would become the largest search for a person in the state’s history. The next day on Saturday, a press conference was held to inform the public that Kyron was still missing and this was not a criminal investigation. Over 1300 people joined the search party including the FBI and the Coast Guard. On Sunday the search continued early in the morning but by noon another press conference was held to announce the search for Kyron was now a criminal investigation. Over 300 students and parents were interviewed by police so that they could find out if anyone saw anything unusual that day. Some people reported that they saw another adult in Terri’s vehicle, several people say that witnessed Kyron leave the school with his step-mom, and one student said he saw Kyron at the south entrance of the school around 9:00 am. They searched an area called Sauvie Island because Terri’s cell phone pinged in that location the day Kyron went missing but Terri claims she was never in that area.
Kaine, Terri, Desiree, and Tony appeared to be a united family that was desperate for answers but behind the scene, Desiree started to suspect that Terri knew more than what she was telling her and the police. When the four of them appeared at a press conference, you can see Terri try to comfort Desiree but Desiree’s body language makes it clear that the hug made her uncomfortable and when a reporter asked her about that hug, she said in that moment she knew Terri was lying about where her son was and she was the last person she wanted a hug from. The first red flag for her was, Terri’s story of the events the day Kyron went missing seemed to change a few times and didn’t align with what witnesses from the school told police. She first told Desiree that she watched Kyron walk to his classroom from the top of the stairs but when Desiree pointed out that there was no way she could see his classroom while standing on the stairs, she changed her story and said she was actually in the hallway. Desiree said that Kyron was very cautious and wouldn’t even wander far in their front yard so she knows when he left school that day, he had to of been with someone that he knew.
Since this was now a criminal investigation, police wanted to rule out Kyron’s parents and stepparents for having any involvement in his disappearance by giving them all lie detector tests. They all were willing to take the tests so police could focus on other leads. All of them passed with flying colors except Terri who ended up failing two different times and walked out on the third test. Terri made up excuses for why she failed, one being that she is hard of hearing and she couldn’t hear the questions fully. Eventually, she stop cooperating with the police altogether because she felt that the police were corrupt and was frustrated that they only seemed to be focusing on her instead of finding Kyron.
Just a few weeks after Kyron disappeared, police informed Kaine of some pretty unsettling things. First, they told him that his gardener had come forward and told them that Terri offered him. “a lot of money” to kill him. This was an absolute shock to Kaine as he thought he married a nice caring woman and not only that he didn’t even know that they had a gardener, he thought Terri was mowing the lawn all these years. Of course, Terri denied these allegations and said this gardener tried hitting on her but she rejected him so this was just his way of getting back at her. Kaine also found out that Terri had told a few of her friends that Kaine made rude comments about her weight gain after giving birth to their daughter and that she wasn’t happy in their marriage. Police also informed Kaine of sexual text messages she was exchanging with one of his former classmates just a couple of weeks after Kyron disappeared. Again, this was all news to Kaine and on June 26th, Kaine moved out of the family home and took his daughter Kiara with him. He filed for divorce from Terri and also got a restraining order against her just two after moving out. He was granted full custody of Kiara given the murder-for-hire scheme and Terri was only given supervised visitations with her daughter. Investigators also showed Desiree emails that Terri had sent to some of her friends where she expressed that she hated Kyron but Terri denied ever sending such statements to anyone and claims she has never been shown evidence of these emails that she allegedly sent.
Two years went by without Kaine and Desiree knowing what happened to their son or where he was. They presented a united front in the media and called Terri out. They begged her to come forward and cooperate with the police so they could bring Kyron home but their requests went unanswered. In 2012, Desiree filed a $10 million civil lawsuit against Terri alleging she kidnapped Kyron and she wanted the courts to force Terri to return Kyron or disclose the location of his body. During a deposition with DeDe Spicher, one of Terri’s close friends, she invoked her fifth amendment right 142 times. Some of the questions she was asked were, “Do you know where Kyron is? Do you know if he is alive? Did you see Terri Horman on June 4th, 2010? Have you ever been to Skyline Elementary School?” and she refused to answer any of these questions. DeDe is another reason why so many people suspect that Terri is responsible for Kyron’s disappearance. The day he went missing, DeDe was unaccounted for at her job from about 11 am to 1 pm but her car never left the farm she worked at. A co-worker even tried to call her around lunchtime but she didn’t answer. Dede and Terri used cash to purchase disposable phones to communicate with and also refused to talk to each other inside Terri’s house because they felt they were under surveillance by law enforcement. But if you have nothing to hide, why go to such great lengths to conceal your conversations? The civil suit against Terri was eventually dropped by Desiree who said they needed more evidence before pursuing a lawsuit but dropping the lawsuit didn’t mean that she was giving up.
Terri Horman filed a petition on June 30th, 2014 to change her name to Claire Stella Sullivan because she said she has received death threats, faced difficulty finding work, and wanted to “start over a new life without the stigma of her last name Horman,” but the judge turned down her request because of the ongoing investigation into Kyron’s disappearance. In 2016 she broke her silence by doing interviews with Dr. Phil and People magazine where she maintained her innocence and said she had nothing to do with the disappearance of Kyron. No physical evidence has been found against Terri and she has never been named as an official suspect in Kyron’s disappearance by police. The latest update I could find was she has been in trouble with the law a few times for things like stealing a gun from her roommate and driving a stolen vehicle. The stolen vehicle charge was dropped but I couldn’t find out the result of her other charges so if you guys know, let me know in the comments below. An incident between Terri and an ex-boyfriend of her’s that happened over thirty years ago came to light during the investigation. This ex-boyfriend says that he was having lunch with Terri in a park and a man came out of the bushes with a gun. He says Terri looked at him and said “He is after you.” Shortly after that, the two broke up because he had a feeling that Terri set the attack up.
Desiree remains hopeful that Kyron will come home one day and she says she will never give up fighting to find out what happened to her son. She remains fully confident that Terri Horman is responsible for her son’s disappearance. Sadly, there haven’t been many major updates in Kyron’s case. The latest update I found was from June 4th, 2022 when The Center for Missing and Exploited Children updated his age progression photo, he would be turning 21 years old this year. There is currently a $50,000 reward for any information leading to Kyron Horman. If you have any information concerning this case, please contact the local tip line at (503) 261-2847, or your local FBI office, or the nearest American Embassy or Consulate.
Thank you for reading today’s crime story, my heart goes out to Kyron’s family and I hope he is found safe and happy one day.
The Mallory Beach Story – A Death the Murdaughs Couldn’t Cover Up – The Beginning of the End for the Murdaughs
As you can tell by the title of today’s post, we are going to be talking about just one of the deaths surrounding the Murdaugh family. This family has been making headlines all across the country for awful reasons but today I wanted to focus on the Mallory Beach story. Mallory was just 19 years old when she lost her life at the hands of one of the young Murdaugh family members. I don’t want to give too much away in the beginning, so let’s dive right in. This story is posted on my YouTube Channel if you prefer to watch, scroll to the bottom of this post for the link!
Mallory Beach was born on April 18th, 1999 in Walterboro, South Carolina. She had two sisters and she was the youngest daughter of Phillip and Renee Beach. She was raised in Hampton County, South Carolina, a beautiful part of the south. Hampton County is known for its watermelon festival which they hold every year and it’s a relatively small community where everybody knows everybody. Mallory loved animals and from a young age, she had hopes to be a veterinarian one day. Mallory’s friends and family said she always had a big smile on her face and had an uplifting personality that people just gravitated towards. She had so many people in her life that loved her but there were a handful of people that were lucky enough to be considered her best friends.
She met Miley Altman when they were just in Pre-K. Mallory walked right up to her and called her pretty and from that moment on they were best friends who did everything together. Not only did she have Miley by her side all throughout her childhood, but she also had Anthony Cook. Their older sisters were good friends and Anthony’s father built Mallory’s Dad’s first house so the two families spent a lot of time together. As they got older, Mallory made it clear to Anthony and all their friends that she had strong feelings for Anthony and that she loved him, eventually, Anthony told Mallory he felt the same way and her response was finally. In High School, Mallory and Miley met Morgan Doughty at a party and the three of the hit it off and became extremely close. Miley started dating Anthony’s cousin, Connor Cook and Morgan was dating Paul Murdaugh who was one of Anthony and Connor’s best friends. It seemed like the perfect scenario when it came to a friend group and even after high school, they all stayed close. The three girls worked together at a retail clothing store and the boys would spend time doing typical southern boy things like hunting, fishing, and drinking beer.
On February 23rd, 2019, the six of them were invited to an oyster roast and to make the evening more of an adventure and to avoid traffic stops, they decided to take Paul’s family’s 17-foot boat. Paul purchased alcohol at a local gas station with his older brother’s I.D. because he was still underage. Surveillance footage from that gas station shows Paul not only purchasing the alcohol but as he made his way back to the truck where his friends were waiting, he threw his hands up in the air to celebrate that he had successfully got away with buying it. Before they got in the boat to head to the oyster roast, they started drinking at Paul’s family’s river house where they planned to stay that night. Before Paul got into the boat to drive all of his friends to the oyster roast, he funneled six beers and that would only be the beginning of his drinking for the night. Paul Murdaugh came from an extremely wealthy family and he defiantly had rich-kid syndrome as in he thought that he could do or say whatever he wanted without any consequences because his family would always be there to bail him out. And considering he came from a family full of lawyers it’s not hard to understand why Paul had this mentality.
I know a lot of you have probably heard about the history of the Murdaugh family given recent events but for the sake of this story, here is a quick history lesson on Paul’s family as they become an important part of Mallory’s story. The Murdaugh family is a well-known prominent legal family in Hampton County, South Carolina. Since the 1920s one member of this family served uninterrupted terms as the chief prosecuting attorney for South Carolina’s 14th district which consists of five of the state’s counties. So for the last 85 years or so, the Murdaugh family has been in charge of prosecuting all criminal cases in these five counties which explains why locals refer to this area as “Murdaugh Country.” Not only that, but this family also operated a successful 100-year-old law firm in the area that made millions of dollars each year. There are few people that would want to mess with the Murdaugh family including those trusted to hold people accountable when they broke the law. Paul’s grandfather, Randolph Murdaugh, served as the chief prosecuting attorney from 1987-2005 and Alex, his father, continued the family tradition and volunteered for the prosecuting attorney’s office and was known to be the lawyer to go to for injury and wrongful death lawsuits. These positions allowed them to have close connections with judges, sheriffs, and even patrol officers which made it easy for this family to live a life above the law. Alex married his college sweetheart, Maggie Murdaugh in 1993. In 1996 their first son, Buster was born and three years later, Paul was born. This family enjoyed a luxurious southern lifestyle and Buster and Paul would spend a lot of their time on the family’s 1700-acre hunting property in Moselle with their friends. Unlike most parents, Alex and Maggie didn’t deter their underage son Paul and his friends from drinking. In fact, they would often be the ones supplying them with the alcohol and partying right along with them. This behavior would be the start of the downfall of the Murdaugh family.
When they got to the oyster roast, the drinking continued and eventually it became clear that Paul was too drunk to drive the boat back. Not only that but it was also a very foggy night and the boat didn’t have working lights. A few people from the party offered to drive them home and they suggested that Paul could pick the boat back up in the morning but Paul was adamant that he didn’t want to leave his family’s boat behind and he wanted to be the one to drive his friends back home on the boat. As they were making their way home, Paul and Connor decided that they wanted to make one last pit stop by a local bar called Luther’s. Obviously, this caused some tension within the group because nobody wanted them to have any more to drink but Paul and Connor ended up going inside and taking two shots each. While they were inside the bar, the other four waited for them on the dock. Video footage from the dock captured some of their last moments before all six of their lives would be altered forever.
When Connor and Paul made their way back to the dock, Paul was throwing his hands in the air and seemed a bit aggressive, this was a telltale sign to his friends that Timmy had arrived. Timmy was Paul’s drunk alter ego nickname given to him by his friends and they would call him that when it was clear he had too much to drink. “Timmy” would become aggressive and cocky, and would sometimes even take off all of his clothes. This particular night, Timmy was in full swing and as the night went on Paul became more and more reckless while driving the boat. At one point he kept driving the boat in circles and would sometimes leave the wheel unattended to fight with Morgan while the boat was still moving. His friends witnessed Paul spit on Morgan, call her names, and even made rude comments about how her father didn’t make enough money to support her family, and then he slapped her across the face. Everyone on the boat knew Paul didn’t treat Morgan the way she deserved as she would show up to work crying about things he would do. However, this was the first time they witnessed physical abuse and Mallory and Miley gave Morgan a look like “you can’t hide this from us.” Connor tried to take control of the boat a few times but Paul would yell “I’m the only one that can drive this boat, I know this river better than anyone else” and he said those things multiple times throughout the night. The girls on the boat were scared and at one point Miley yelled at Paul demanding that he take them home but he refused and yelled back at her. His reckless driving continued for a while and I’m sure you could cut the tension on the boat with a knife. Everyone on the boat became scared and Anthony took Mallory into his arms. After about an hour of zig-zagging the boat around on the river and fighting with Morgan, Paul made his way back to the wheel of the boat and slammed the boat into full throttle increasing the boat’s speed. This was roughly around 2:00 am and at this point, they were near Archer’s creek which has been described to be very narrow and windy and there is one bridge in this area. Morgan and Miley were sitting on a cooler at the front of the boat, Mallory was sitting on Anthony’s lap in the back of the boat, and Paul was at the wheel and Connor was standing to his right. The boat hit the bridge going 32-34 MPH and the front of the boat went down and the back of the boat went up. The boat came to a stop at the base of the bridge on some rocks. The impact threw Morgan forward and it crushed her hand between the bridge and the boat and her injury required surgery, Miley had her feet up and she didn’t feel a whole lot of the impact but did suffer injuries to her arm. Connor was thrown into the center console and suffered a deep cut to his jaw and fractured it. Mallory and Anthony were ejected from the boat into the cold water and when everyone came to, they realized Mallory was missing. Miley starts screaming her name and Anthony went back into the water multiple times trying to find her but was unsuccessful because the current was too strong.
At 2:20am Connor called 911 to report the boat accident and about twenty Law Enforcement officers arrived on the scene. Mallory was still missing and Anthony was clearly distraught but Paul’s behavior was as if it was still another night of partying with his friends. He was laughing and carrying on without a care in the world and didn’t seem bothered that Mallory was missing. At one point Anthony calls Paul out on his behavior and he also says to an officer that he will get away with this because of who his Dad is. Paul kept asking to call his grandfather who had close connections to a lot of the officers that responded to the scene. After making it clear to all of his friends the entire night that he was the only person to drive the boat when he got on the phone with his grandfather, he told him that it was Connor who was driving and had crashed the boat. From the moment Law Enforcement stepped on the scene of the crash they mishandled the investigation and gave Paul special treatment because of the connections they had to his family. The lead investigator who was assigned to the case for the first 24 hours, Michael Brock, was a good friend of the Murdaughs and Anthony told Michael that Paul was the one driving and he had killed his girlfriend but of course, the video of that conversation is nowhere to be found. Not a single one of the responding officers thought to give Paul a sobriety test and never thought to put him in one of their cars to question him. They also never contacted Mallory’s parents to inform them that she was missing because they didn’t want them there causing “issues.” In fact, the only reason they found out their daughter had been in a boat accident and was missing was because her grandma heard about the accident that night and contacted her Mom. Nobody from law enforcement ever contacted the Beach family.
Even though Anthony had an injured shoulder, he refused to be transported to the hospital with the rest of his friends because he didn’t want to leave without Mallory. At the hospital, the chaos and entitled behavior of the Murdaugh family continued. Paul was still acting out and was clearly still very drunk. The hospital staff tested his blood alcohol level and even though some time had passed since he had his last drink, he was still 3x the legal limit. When Alex and Randolph Murdaugh arrived at the hospital, they were going from room to room telling each of them not to say anything to officers because they didn’t want them to figure out who was driving the boat because, at this point, there was some confusion if Paul was driving or it was Connor because Connor had attempted to take the boat over a few times. It was clear to the medical staff that Alex and Randolph were trying to create confusion. Then, when Connor’s parents got there, Alex walked up to his Dad and said “don’t worry we’re going to take care of Connor. I’ve got Connor’s back” implying that Connor was the one driving the boat. Knowing the kind of power this family has, it was no surprise that when asked, Connor said he didn’t know who was driving the boat because that is what Alex Murdaugh told him to say and it’s just an unspoken rule in this community that you don’t mess with the Murdaugh family. But when Connor’s Dad asked Connor if he was driving, Connor told him no and it was clear to Connor’s family that Alex was trying to frame Connor for the boat accident. Alex’s phone records showed that he called Austin Pritcher and other law enforcement officers involved in the investigation of the crash several times on the day of the crash and days after. Austin was not only his brother’s best friend but also the officer who was in charge of questioning the kids at the hospital but he never once called the Beach family because he was more concerned about covering for Paul so he wouldn’t face legal consequences than finding Mallory.
Meanwhile, Mallory’s family held out hope that she would be found alive and Anthony couldn’t bring himself to even leave the area where he last held Mallory in his arms. At one point, Mallory’s mother asked law enforcement if she could go down by the bridge where the boat was still located but the officer informed her, he was given strict instructions to not let anyone through. Not long after Mallory’s Mom was denied access, she watched Randolph and Maggie Murdaugh be waved through the tape to go to the boat. That’s when Mallory’s mother realized they were more concerned about a cover-up than finding her daughter. Then, John Marvin, Paul’s uncle, towed the boat away which essentially was a crime scene because Mallory was still missing. The day after the crash, Miley was interviewed as police tried to determine who was actually driving the boat but even Miley couldn’t say if it was Connor or Paul because her back was towards them when the boat crashed.
On March 3rd, eight days after Mallory went missing, the search team discovered Mallory’s body 5 miles from where she was ejected from the boat. The coroner’s office said that Mallory died from blunt force trauma and drowning.
When the Hampton County community learned of Mallory’s death, they also learned that a Murdaugh was involved and was most likely the one responsible for the accident. Everyone became fearful that the Beach family would never see justice because of the power the Murdaugh family had in the legal system but her family was still going to try. Her parents hired Mark Tinsley as their lawyer so they could file a wrongful death lawsuit against the Murdaughs and the gas station that sold Paul the beer. One of the first things Mark wanted to do was determine who was driving the boat. Based on Connor’s injuries and the damage he did to the boat when he fell, there was no way Connor could have been driving the boat and the only possible person that could have been driving at that time, was Paul. In March 2019, the Beach family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the gas station and against the Murdaughs. Their lawsuit was against Alex and Maggie because they willfully contributed to Paul’s underage drinking. It also included Buster because he gave Paul his I.D. to buy the alcohol.
Then on April 18th, 2019, to the public’s surprise, Paul Murdaugh was indicted on three felony charges including one count of boating under the influence causing death, and two counts of boating under the influence causing bodily injury. This would have also been Mallory’s 20th birthday. Despite the seriousness of the criminal charges Paul was facing, he was still receiving special treatment. He was never formally arrested and wasn’t even brought to the police station for a formal mugshot. The mugshot that you see was taken against the wall in the courthouse on someone’s iPhone. He was given a $50,000 bond and the judge never gave him bond conditions that included no drinking or driving a boat. Paul moved into the family’s hunting cabin and continued drinking, having run-ins with the law, and living his life as if nothing happened. But the boat accident was the last straw for Paul’s friends who were on the boat, including his girlfriend who broke up with him that night. She says in a way, Mallory saved her from that abusive relationship. Mallory and Miley would eventually file injury lawsuits against the Murdaugh family as well as the gas station that sold Paul the alcohol. Anthony saw Paul one last time a few days after the accident and he said he could feel Paul trying to make eye contact with him. When Anthony finally looked at him Paul said “You know I love you and I’m sorry.” Connor had his own reason for cutting Paul off and rightfully so since he tried to blame the boat crash on him. Not only that, Alex Murdaugh told his parents to hire Cory Fleming to represent Connor during the investigation but he failed to mention that Cory was his best friend. It became clear to Connor and his family that the Murdaughs and others were orchestrating a campaign to have Connor held criminally and civilly responsible for the boat accident. Eventually, Connor would file his own lawsuit against the Murdaugh family for that exact reason. He also filed lawsuits against Buster for providing his I.D. to Paul and against the gas station just as Morgan, Miley, and the Beach family did.
On June 4th, 2021, the judge ordered a mandatory mediation between the Beach family and the Murdaugh family for the wrongful death lawsuits but it was unsuccessful which meant they were going to have to go to trial. But before Paul could be held accountable, on June 7th, 2021, Paul and Maggie Murdaugh were murdered at the family’s hunting property in Moselle.
As I’m sure most of you know by now, there are more deaths surrounding the Murdaugh family but today I just wanted to focus on Mallory’s story and the boat accident. The lawsuits against the gas station have still not been settled but just this year on January 25th, a judge approved a settlement for Maggie’s estate which is worth a little over $4.3 million to be divided up between Buster, the Beach family, and the three surviving victims of the boat accident. The Beach family agreed to drop Buster from the lawsuit and they will receive approximately $600,000 for doing so and Buster will receive $530,000. Connor Cook will receive $100,000 and $290,000 will be eaten by legal fees. $275,000 will go towards paying off a mortgage company. The remaining balance will be divided up between Miley Altman, Morgan Doughty, and the Beach Family. The lawsuit will officially be settled once the sale of the 1700-acre Moselle property that was in Maggie’s name is finalized this month.
On March 2nd, Alex Murdaugh was found guilty of murdering his wife Maggie and his son Paul although he claims he is innocent. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. As you probably know by now, there is a lot more to the Murdaughs than what I covered in today’s post. Besides the death of Maggie, Paul, and Mallory there are at least two other deaths that surround this family and I do plan to cover each case and story in separate posts including the murder of Maggie and Paul. But because of the overwhelming amount of crazy details in each case, I didn’t want to attempt to compile them all into one post.
At Mallory’s funeral, hundreds of people showed up to show their respect to her and her family which shows you just how loved she was. It’s Retail Therapy where Mallory worked with her two best friends released the following statement after Mallory’s body was found.
Our sweet Mallory was found on Sunday. Unfortunately, it was not the outcome we were praying for. Our Retail Therapy family is absolutely heartbroken. We are trying to find peace because we know she is in Heaven smiling down on all of us. We will always miss your beautiful smile and personality. It will never be the same without you! Rest In Peace sweet baby girl! We love you Mallory!!
My heart goes out to her family, Anthony, and all of her friends.
An Innocent Man Spent 20 Years In Prison – The Angie Dodge & Chris Tapp Story
Welcome back to Crime Sunday where we talk everything True Crime every single Sunday. Today’s story focuses on the murder of a young innocent woman with her whole life ahead of her and two years after her murder, the family finally saw a glimpse of justice…. or so they thought. In a turn of events, the victim’s mother would find herself fighting for the freedom of the man convicted of her daughter’s murder. This is the Angie Dodge story… as always the link to this week’s story on my YouTube Channel is at the bottom of today’s post.
On December 17th, 1977 Angie Dodge entered the world. She was the youngest of four children and the only daughter of Jack and Carol Dodge so she quickly stole the hearts of her entire family but especially her parents. Those closest to Angie said she was full of life, bubbly, and just an overall joy to be around. One of Angie’s favorite activities was going camping with her family as she was an enthusiast for the outdoors but she also loved getting dressed up and cruising town in her car with all of her friends. As a teenager, she excelled academically and tutored young students in math and English. This was something she really enjoyed doing as she loved children. She graduated from Idaho Falls High School in 1995 with honors and continued her education at Idaho State University.
Angie’s parents were hesitant about Angie moving out on her so quickly after turning 18 but like most young adults, Angie was eager to start a life of her own and after some convincing, Angie got her very own apartment. Just days after she moved out, on the evening of June 12th, 1996 Angie stopped by her parent’s house to visit them before heading back to her new apartment to settle in for the evening. She stayed for about an hour talking to her them about the ups and downs of growing up and being on her own. Her life had only just begun and she was anticipating her future endeavors. As she pulled out of her parent’s driveway, she blew a kiss to her mom and mouthed ‘I love you.” Her Mom said in that moment, she felt as if Angie was moving in slow motion all the while not knowing it would be her last memory with her daughter. The next day on June 13th when Angie didn’t show up for her scheduled shift at the beauty supply shop she worked at, her co-workers became concerned because that was completely out of character for Angie. She was very reliable and wouldn’t just no call no show unless something was wrong and unfortunately something was terribly wrong.
When one of Angie’s co-workers drove to Angie’s apartment to check on her, a gruesome crime scene was discovered. Angie was found half naked on her bedroom floor in a pool of her own blood. Her sweatpants she typically slept in were only halfway on her body and her shirt had been torn off of her. Her favorite teddy bear was found laying next to her which was used to muffle her screams. She had been stabbed at least 16 times and the stab wound to her throat was so severe it left her almost decapitated. Angie’s attacker had forced himself on her and had taken her young life. Her walls, bed, and carpet were covered in blood spatter. The murder weapon was not found but crime scene investigators discovered what seemed to be seman on Angie’s pants and sent it to the Idaho State Crime Lab to be tested.
Idaho Falls is not known for violent crimes such as what happened that fateful night in Angie’s apartment so the community was shaken up, especially her family who had no idea who could have done this to their beautiful daughter. Law Enforcement felt the pressure to get her killer off the streets as soon as possible and since DNA evidence was discovered on Angie’s clothes, the expectation for her murder to be solved quickly was high. Back at the crime scene, there was no sign of forced entry so this led detectives to believe that whoever did this, was someone Angie trusted. They began their investigation by interrogating everyone close to Angie and started with her downstairs elder neighbor who told police that she didn’t hear anything unusual that night. After many interviews with Angie’s family and friends, police were left scrambling to solve this case. The media and Carol were critical of the Idaho Falls Police Department. Carol could tell that the police weren’t experienced enough to handle a case like this because again, nothing like this had happened in the area before. She started showing up to the police station through the back door to catch police officers off guard to make sure they were actually working on her daughter’s case. The police became annoyed with Carol and would refer to her as the “crazy grieving mother” and they didn’t do a great job of keeping her updated with the latest progress in the case. It became clear that the police were in over their heads and it would be six months after Angie’s death before they had a break in the case.
In January of 1997, a man by the name of Benjamin Hobbs was arrested in the neighboring state of Nevada for a crime similar to what happened to Angie. He was accused of threatening a woman with a knife and forcing himself on her but unlike Angie, that woman was left alive. The police circled in on Benjamin and his group of friends because they believed that more than one person was responsible for Angie’s death. They were able to make a connection with Benjamin’s best friend, Christopher Tapp. Chris was from Idaho Falls and was known to run with a young group of kids known as the river rats. This group would spend their summers down at the river drinking and partying and like many people in Idaho Falls, Angie knew a few people in this group including Christopher Tapp. This is how the police were able to connect Christopher to Angie’s unsolved murder.
Christopher, Benjamin, and several of their close friends provided their DNA samples so police could compare theirs’ to the DNA found at the crime scene. Over the course of three weeks, 19-year-old Christopher was interrogated nine times and given seven lie detector tests as police were trying to prove his involvement in Angie’s murder. At first, the police made it seem like they were just interviewing Christopher to get him to give up information about Benjamin but in reality, they were building a case against Christopher, and eventually, their focus turned solely onto him. The entire time Christopher was cooperative with the police as they lied to him and used manipulative tactics to somehow prove Christopher was involved in Angie’s murder. Police lied to Christopher by saying that Benjamin had already confessed and told them everything but even when police offered Christopher full immunity to give up information about Benjamin he still denied having any involvement or information about Angie’s death. As the interrogations became more intense and draining, Christoper knew that if he didn’t give the police what they wanted, it would never end. After failing a lie detector test, Christopher told police that Benjamin was responsible for Angie’s murder and that he was there that night as a witness. Finally, the police had Christopher right where they wanted him but there was a problem because the DNA found at the crime scene didn’t match Christoper’s, Benjamin’s, or any of their friends that provide their DNA samples. The police were desperate as they felt the pressure from the community to close this case so there was no way there were letting Christopher go. They interrogated Christopher again and got him to say that a third person was involved in Angie’s murder which would explain why the DNA found at the crime scene didn’t match him or any of his friends. Christoper named Jeremy Sargis as the third person involved in Angie’s attack but of course, his DNA didn’t match either.
The same day that Jeremy’s DNA results came back, police took Christopher to Angie’s apartment so they could basically coach Christopher so he would be able to provide the perfect confession. Police coerced Christopher to confess that he participated in attacking Angie by arguing that he had lied to them about Jeremy’s involvement, which…I mean he did lie but only because he was scared and since when does lying make someone a murderer? The police told Christopher, who was very scared and nervous, that because he lied, the deal for full immunity was off the table but if he confessed to having some involvement with Angie’s murder then they would be able to get him life in prison instead of capital punishment. Christopher who was more desperate than ever to save his own life gave a “full confession” to the police. He told them that he had slashed Angie across her breast and another friend of Benjamin’s was there, he called him “Mike” but said he didn’t really know him. Of course, “Mike” was put into the mix to excuse away the DNA from the semen found at the scene that the police didn’t have a match for. Finally, police had constructed the perfect “confession” from Christopher and he was arrested on February 3rd, 1997, and was charged with first-degree murder, rape, and the use of a deadly weapon. The charges against Benjamin and Jeremy were dropped in Angie’s case but Benjamin was convicted of the charges he was facing back in Nevada.
In May of 1998, Christopher found himself in a courtroom with a room full of people who looked at him like he was a monster. Angie’s mother, Carol, attended every single day of the trial and listened to the details of what happened to her beautiful daughter. A witness for the defense testified that there was no way Christopher could have committed this crime because the night Angie was murdered, he was on a date with someone he shouldn’t have been, and his girlfriend at the time caught them in bed together which caused a huge fight that he witnessed. However, the prosecution convinced the jury that this witness simply had the date of that event wrong and it wasn’t the date Angie was murdered. Christopher’s attorney tried hard to get the judge to squash Christopher’s confession tape to be used as evidence in court because he said that Christopher was coerced to confess to any involvement. But he was unsuccessful and the Judge allowed the tape to be played in court to the jury. Along with the confession tape, the prosecution introduced a key witness, Destiny Osburne, who said she was at a party a few days after Angie was murdered and she overheard Christopher and Benjamin talking about the crime. Destiny did acknowledge that she was high on drugs at the party but said that she heard them talk about killing Angie because she owed Benjamin money for methamphetamine. Which her story doesn’t make a lot of sense since Angie’s toxicology reported that no drugs were found in her system. Despite the fact that Christopher’s DNA wasn’t found anywhere at the crime scene and despite a witness providing an alibi for him, the jury found him guilty of three charges on May 28th, 1998 and later that year he was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum sentence of 30 years served for the murder conviction and 10 years for the rape conviction. He would be about 60 years old by the time he was eligible for parole.
You would think that Angie’s family would be relieved that the person responsible for Angie’s death was finally sent away to prison but it was quite the opposite for Angie’s mother. In fact, Carol was quite furious and she couldn’t understand why Christopher would not give up the other person whose DNA was found at the crime scene. Remember, police still hadn’t found a match for the semen found on Angie’s pants. She even wrote Christopher letters begging him to give this person up because she wanted to know the full story of why her daughter had to die that night. As years passed, Carol replayed the trial over and over again in her head and the longer time went on without anyone else being arrested, she began to think that maybe Christopher was innocent. She requested to see Christopher’s full interrogation videos and was shocked by the way police handled these interrogations and it only furthered the feeling she had that Christopher was innocent. The fight for Christopher’s freedom began in 2001 through several appeals but it seemed like there wasn’t much luck until 2007 when the Idaho Innocence Project took on Christopher’s case. Carol stood by Christopher’s side as he fought to prove his innocence. Which you would think having the victim’s mother say that she believed they had the wrong man would be a significant help in Christopher’s defense. However, despite their best efforts, it would take several years for Christopher to see a light at the end of a very very dark tunnel.
In 2017 it became more clear that Christopher was innocent when Destiny Osborne recanted her statement about the conversation she heard at the party between Christopher and Benjamin. She said she didn’t even know them and she also said the police had threatened to arrest her on drug charges if she didn’t give this statement. On March 22, 2017, their efforts finally started to pay off. Christopher’s legal team made a deal with Bonneville County District Attorney Danny Clark: Christopher’s rape conviction was vacated, and the sentence for his murder conviction was reduced to time served. Christopher was released from prison but the fight was not over yet as the person who was responsible for Angie’s murder was still free.
In 2008 Christopher’s new team requested DNA testing on hairs that were found on Angie. The hairs had originally only been visually inspected. Mitochondrial DNA testing performed at the regional laboratory of the Federal Bureau of Investigation showed that the DNA on the hair was a match for the semen found on Angie’s pants which didn’t match Christopher’s DNA. Christopher’s legal team continued to push for further DNA testing and at the end of 2012 limited DNA testing that was done on Angie’s shirt, sweatpants, and her teddy bear did not match Christopher either which further proved that he was never near the crime scene. In 2013 Carol contacted Steven Drizin, one of the nation’s leading experts in false confessions. Steven had already been in communication with Christopher’s legal team since 2012 and he agreed to investigate the case pro bono. The report he published in 2014 concluded that Christopher’s confession was coerced, produced through deceit and pressure, and then enhanced by the officers supplying him with sufficient details to lend credibility to his statements. Steven helped recruit the Innocence Project of New York to work with the Idaho Innocence Project and Judges for Justice to work together to secure Christopher’s freedom.
After Christopher’s release, the Idaho Falls police began working with the Idaho Innocence Project and a technology company called Parabon Nanolabs in an effort to identify the source of the DNA sample. After creating a genetic profile from the sample, Parabon compared it with profiles submitted to genetic databases by people looking to identify relatives or discover their ancestry. Starting with profiles in the database, Parabon was able to use other records to build a family tree through the use of genetic genealogy. DNA samples were obtained from six people of interest which included men who were roughly the right age and lived in or around Idaho Falls at the time of the murder. All were eliminated as the sources of the semen.
Then, the analysts learned that there was a seventh person of interest, a man named Brian Dripps. He had lived across the street from Angie and been questioned by police early in the investigation before the focus turned to Christopher. Since Angie’s murder, Brian had moved to Caldwell, Idaho which was on the other side of the state. The Idaho Falls police watched Brian closely, waiting for him to leave a DNA sample through a discarded cigarette. Eventually, they recovered a cigarette butt, which allowed Parabon to compare Dripps’s DNA with the sample from the crime scene which came back a match. Brian was brought in for questioning and after five hours of being integrated by police, he confessed to the murder and rape of Angie Dodge. He said he acted alone and did not know Christopher. He said he had no intentions of killing Angie, that he only planned to rape her. Not only did he take Angie’s life but he let an innocent man go to prison for over 20 years for a crime that he committed. He was arrested on May 15, 2019, for the murder and rape of Angie Dodge. On June 8th, 2021, nearly 25 years after Angie’s murder, Brian Dripp was sentenced to twenty years in prison which doesn’t sound like the right amount of time for murdering an innocent young woman who had her whole life ahead of her but both the prosecution and defense agreed that due to his poor health, 20 years was effectively a life sentence and that he would likely die in prison.
On July 17, 2019, Christopher’s murder conviction was finally overturned. Christopher said “I’m so thankful that I’ve been given this second chance at life. I’ve wasted 20 years of my life for something I never did, but I also grew up over those 20 years.” In June of 2022, the city of Idaho Falls agreed to pay Christopher Tapp $11.7 million for the 20 years he served in prison for the murder and rape he did not commit.
In a letter from Mayor Rebecca Casper, she apologized to Christopher for the city’s role in his conviction and incarceration and she hoped that the settlement and apology would help bring closure. She also stated, “In addition to the settlement, the city pledges to review its policies, procedures, and training (especially related to custodial interrogations) and to revise them, as needed, to prevent any recurrence of what happened in your case.” Christopher made the following statement to the press – “No dollar amount could ever make up for the over 20 years of my life I spent in prison for crimes I did not commit. However, the settlement will help me move forward with my life.”
I want to end this post with some final thoughts about the Dodge family. Angie’s father, unfortunately, passed away in 2004 but during Brian Dripp’s sentencing hearing, Angie’s brothers and her mother gave powerful victim impact statements. Her murder is something they will never get over and something they will never forgive Brian for. Carol never stopped fighting for the truth and she never stopped seeking true justice for her daughter. She is a perfect example of a mother who sees no limit when it comes to how far some will go for their children and my heart goes out to Angie’s family and friends.
Idaho Innocence Project
Have a case you would like to suggest? Leave it in the comments!
https://www.angiedodge.com/tribute/ https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/story-behind-angie-dodge-murder-mystery-jared-bradley-mba https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2019/05/17/police-twice-targeted-wrong-men-brutal-killing-cigarette-butt-changed-everything/ https://innocenceproject.org/cases/christopher-tapp-has-murder-conviction-vacated-after-serving-21-years/ https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/maven-user-documents/pinacnews/eye-on-government/LhlGTxQVnU-jb5b_cF6-uA/fcTxVzno80OqrUm5wsRSwQ/323413303-Steve-Moore-Report.pdf https://www.nytimes.com/2022/06/10/us/idaho-falls-christopher-tapp-settlement.html https://www.idahopress.com/news/local/brian-dripps-sentenced-to-life-for-angie-dodge-murder/article_bfb0a7cf-3ea3-5b0a-99a4-0fd5068e7fe6.html https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQn8pYF2_uA https://ktla.com/news/nexstar-media-wire/nationworld/man-gets-life-in-prison-for-1996-cold-case-murder-rape-of-18-year-old-angie-dodge-in-idaho-falls/ https://magicvalley.com/twenty-years-of-mourning/article_118857cf-434c-5c46-8fc2-b33c2e5ed3ad.html https://abcnews.go.com/US/mothers-pursuit-justice-overturns-wrongful-conviction-catches-true/story?id=76392277 https://www.kmvt.com/video/2020/06/29/hours-twisted-case-angie-dodge/ https://abc11.com https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8cAZRVKsPIQ&t=113s
Mother Of Two Missing After Car Accident – Where Is Alyssa Taylor?
The family of missing 25-year-old Alyssa Taylor is still searching for answers nearly six months after they last heard from her. Alyssa texted her mom on September 13th to inform her of her plans to tag along on a two-day delivery trip with her truck driver friend but that trip ended tragically and left her family searching for clues to find out where Alyssa is or what happened to her. I don’t want to give the full story away just yet so let’s start at the very beginning.
Alyssa Taylor was born on June 2nd, 1997 in Oak Hall, Virginia where she lived her entire life. Her mother, who was just 14 years old when she gave birth to Alyssa, said they were very close and were more like sisters than mother and daughter. She was your typical teenager who enjoyed having her friends over for sleepovers, makeup, and she really loved dressing up for Halloween because it was her favorite Holiday. She would go all out for it every year. When she was around 19, she gave birth to her first son, Samuel, and about a year and a half later she gave birth to her second son, Julian. Her relationship with their father did not work out and because Samuel and Julian’s father could provide a more stable home for them, they did live with him the majority of the time but that didn’t stop Alyssa from being the best mother she could be. She loved taking them to see new places and doing arts and crafts with them. She especially loved dressing them up for Halloween and taking them trick-or-treating.
Alyssa surrounded herself with as many friends as possible over the years and those closest to her said she is the type of person who would give her shirt off of her back if you asked her for it. In 2022, Alyssa had fallen on hard times and was currently homeless. She was staying at her Mom’s house until her mom went out of town then she started staying at her grandma’s house. That living situation didn’t last very long as she and her grandma got into an argument. Alyssa found herself without a home again. She reached out to one of her truck driver friends, Danny Mcneal, to see if he could pick her up. Danny had a semi-truck with a cab in the back with a bed where Alyssa could hang out until she found a place to stay. Danny agreed to pick her up and said she could accompany him on a two-day trip to North Carolina. She was still very close to her mom and would talk to her every single day. On September 13th, 2022, Alyssa’s texted her Mom and said that she planned on riding with Danny from Oak Hall to Delaware to pick up a delivery that had to go to North Carolina. She let her Mom know she would be gone for the next two days. Sadly, this trip would turn into a journey full of mystery and would leave Alyssa’s family with nothing but questions.
From what I gathered, Danny and Alyssa were just friends at the time but they did have a history of hooking up. He was 51 years old, she was just 25, and he was in a relationship at the time so although they had been together in the past, nothing suggests there was more going on between them at this time. Everyone says Danny was a nice guy that Alyssa got along with very well and this wasn’t the first time she had accompanied him on one of his deliveries. Danny picked Alyssa up from her family’s home in Oak Hall then they headed North to Delaware to pick up a trailer full of frozen chickens. The GPS tracker in Danny’s truck and Alyssa’s cell phone both pinged the same location near Oak Hall, Virginia, so we do know for sure that he did in fact pick her up and Alyssa had texted Danny confirming the pickup location to be the same house he picked her up at in the past. Before they headed to North Carolina, they traveled back toward Exmore, VA which is only about 30 miles from Oak Hall, so Danny could have dinner with a friend. It has been said this friend he was having dinner with was someone Danny had a sexual relationship with so Alyssa stayed in the semi while they visited with each other. Around 8:00pm law enforcement approached Danny’s semi for being illegally parked in Exmore. The body cam footage from this stop, showed a woman speaking to police officers, and several minutes later Danny returned to the truck. The officer recognized Danny from High School so they chatted for a bit before he let them off with a warning and he watched them as they drove away safely. Alyssa’s family has since viewed the camera footage and confirmed that it was Alyssa’s voice but the footage was too grainy to identify her face.
At 10:18 pm Danny receives a call from his girlfriend and this call lasted for over two hours. Around midnight, his girlfriend said while she was still on the phone with Danny, she heard a woman’s voice ask “Where are we?” Danny responded and said “Emporia.” His girlfriend asked Danny who he was talking to and according to her, Danny said it was his CB radio. However, if it was his CB radio it doesn’t make sense that the woman asked where are we instead of where are you? I assume that Danny was lying to his girlfriend about having Alyssa with him on this trip so she wouldn’t get upset with him. Around this time, Danny was stopped at a gas station at 1001 Pleasant Shade, Emporia, VA for just a few minutes. Another interesting factor, in this case, is at 10:10 pm on September 13th, Alyssa missed a call from Danny but nobody knows what the reason for this call was since they were most likely still traveling together. Could it have been that she lost her phone in the cab of the truck and Danny was helping her find it? Did Danny drop Alyssa off somewhere? Did they stop at a gas station and Danny was calling to see if she needed anything from inside? It has been reported that around the time of this missed call, Danny was seen on camera entering and exiting a gas station but Alyssa was not seen on camera. Alyssa’s last phone ping was at 1:09 am when she logged into Facebook. It pinged between Emporia, VA, and Hillsborough, NC so this confirms that she was with Danny or at least in the same proximity as him.
About an hour after her last cell phone ping, at 2:13 am on September 14th, 2022 a 911 call was placed to report that the semi-truck that Danny and Alyssa had been traveling in had crashed and had burst into flames on I-85 in Hillsborough, North Carolina. The accident reports stated the truck was traveling west and ran off the road to the right, struck a guardrail, then overturned and rested on the right shoulder facing west. The fire was so aggressive, there was barely anything left of Danny’s truck and sadly it took his life. His dog, Blu, was also found deceased on the scene but according to the Orange County Sheriff’s office and Highway Patrol, nobody else was found at the scene. As you can imagine, that has been hard to believe for a lot of people but especially for Alyssa’s family since she was supposed to be traveling with Danny, and her cell phone last pinged in this area. The last time her family had heard from her was on September 13th when she texted her Mom about her plans to tag along with Danny. Alyssa’s family couldn’t accept that her possible death wasn’t being handled properly so they visited the crime scene and what they discovered only furthered their doubt in the law enforcement that handled the scene. They found one of Alyssa’s earrings in a storm drain near the crash scene, they also found her pink camouflage blanket and an Old Navy flipflop that was her size. Of course, finding those things doesn’t necessarily mean Alyssa was in the truck when it crashed but she was in the truck at some point. They stayed a week talking to different people trying to get more information but to this day, Law Enforcement is adamant that Alyssa was not in the truck when it crashed.
When the Sheriff’s office was asked about Alyssa they said:
“We are aware of it and I feel awful for the family. The Highway Patrol investigated the crash. Further efforts to see if anything was overlooked at the scene have turned up no evidence that she was still with him at the time of the wreck. The Accomack County Sheriff’s Office in Virginia is in charge of the missing person case.”ALICIA STEMPER, ORANGE COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE
Because the fire was so aggressive, some speculate that her body was cremated in the fire and her bones were overlooked because they were mixed up with the frozen chickens that Danny was on his way to deliver. Is it possible that her remains were overlooked but Danny’s dog’s weren’t? They used a backhoe to clear the chicken remains and towed the truck away.
Another theory is that Danny hurt Alyssa. His autopsy reported that his cause of death was multiple blunt force injuries and his toxicology reported that his blood alcohol level was at 0.32% which was 8x the legal limit for someone with their CDL which he had. That level would have sent a normal person to the hospital with alcohol poisoning. Why was he drinking and driving so heavily? Some speculate that he was remorseful for hurting Alyssa and he was drinking away the emotion but his GPS tracker never showed that he stopped long enough to do something with her body so to some, that theory seems highly unlikely.
So where is Alyssa Taylor?
Did Alyssa ask Danny to drop her off with someone along the way who had bad intentions? Did some evil person come across the crash before law enforcement and took Alyssa against her will? There are so many possibilities to consider in this case but Alyssa’s family is sure of one thing. That is she didn’t run away to start a new life, they say she wouldn’t do that to her sons or her mother.
Alyssa’s family says that the North Carolina Highway Patrol and the Orange Country Sherriff’s Office have put little to no effort into helping them find Alyssa. This family has begged for them to get the FBI involved, they have asked for landfills to be searched, and for the truck remains to be searched again but little has been done. Her family says they don’t know whether to keep looking for her or grieve for her because they haven’t gotten many answers. Not only that, Danny’s girlfriend and her family claim that the blanket they found didn’t belong to Alyssa, and her earring that was found near the crash scene was planted by her family. Those are major accusations but I also understand that they don’t want anyone speculating about Danny. However, Alyssa’s family deserves to know what happened to her or where she is.
This case is full of mystery and questions – I really want to know what you think of this case and if you have any information that can help law enforcement find Alyssa I highly encourage you to come forward. Please call the Accomack County Sheriff’s Office at 1-757-787-1131 or 1-757-824-5666. The family also invites the public to join their Facebook page “Help Us Find Alyssa Taylor.”
A Christmas Eve Nightmare – Six Family Members Murdered in 2007
Hey guys! Welcome back to Crime Sunday, I hope you and your loved ones had a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays and I hope 2023 is treating you well so far! I am so happy to be back on my True Crime blog and YouTube Channel after a busy holiday season! —– Today’s story will show you just how dangerous someone can be once they have decided the whole world is against them and they have nothing to lose. This story will also be up on my YouTube if you prefer to listen to it, linked below!
Just 25 miles east of Seattle in the charming town of Carnation, WA, lived the Anderson family. Wayne and Judy Anderson were high school sweethearts from California who relocated to the state of Washington for Wayne’s new engineering job at an aerospace company. Carnation was a safe town filled with comfort and tradition, and since it offered a short commute to Seattle where Wayne’s new job was, he and Judy thought this town would be the perfect place to raise their family. They lived on a decent-sized piece of land in a rural area giving their children plenty of space to grow up. Judy became a well-loved mail carrier for the town and always looked out for the residents on her route. Judy and Wayne had three children; Mary, Scott, and Michele. Judy’s children were her entire world and overall the Andersons seemed to be a very close family.
Mary, their eldest child, left the family home after high school and began a life of her own. I couldn’t find many details about what she did after leaving, but I do know she eventually became a mother and settled in North Bend, WA, which is only a 25-minute drive from her parent’s house. Despite being several years older than Scott and Michele, she adored and cared for them as well as her parents, so she remained close to the entire family and visited frequently. She was especially close to her mother and the two spoke almost every day.
During high school, Scott, the middle child, was quite the athlete. He was a valued member of the football team and he also participated in wrestling, baseball, and track. Track is where he met his high school sweetheart, Erica Mantle. Erica was a sweet down to earth girl who was also very driven. Not only was she involved in track but she was also on the school’s drill team and worked a few different jobs all throughout high school. Scott and Erica were best friends and did everything together. After high school, Scott was offered a full-ride football scholarship to the University of Washington where he obtained a degree in business. Erica studied culinary arts at Lake Washington Institute of Technology while working at Pine Lake store as an Assistant Bakery Manager with hopes of opening her own bakery in the future. On October 24th, 1999 shortly after they both graduated college, Scott and Erica got married in Las Vegas. Scott worked for his father-in-law’s construction business for several years before getting hired on with Mid Mountain Contractors as a foreman and where the work was more steady. When their daughter, Olivia, was born in 2002, Erica became a stay-at-home Mom and in 2004 their son Nathan was born. Erica was a devoted mother who would do anything for her two children. Both Scott and Erica’s families were proud of the life they created together and both of their parents enjoyed spending time with Olivia and Nathan and being hands-on grandparents. However, there was one person in the Anderson family that didn’t seem all that thrilled for Scott and Erica.
Michele, the youngest child, was described by former classmates as a sweet shy artistic girl who hung out with the outcasts in High School. Michele would often refer to herself as the black sheep of her family and also made some serious abuse allegations against her parents. Michele told her friends at school that her parents were physically abusive and said when she was just six years old, her Mom tried to kill her by forcing her to fall out of a moving vehicle. However, Mary said that even though Michele was much younger than her, she always had to be in control, was very bossy, and was spoiled by their parents. I’m not sure if Michele’s parents were aware of the abuse allegations but you would think if the allegations had any truth to them, Michele would want to get away from them as soon as possible. However, after High School, Michele continued to live with her parents and appeared to be drifting through life with no plans for her future, working dead-end jobs, and complaining about everything. A lot of people say that Michele became very angry at the world after High School and often expressed how she felt like the world was against her and overall was a very negative person to be around.
Growing up, Michele was super close with her brother Scott but when Erica came into Scott’s life, Michele felt like Erica had replaced her as Scott’s best friend which made Michele resent Erica and caused some tension between all three of them. Erica made many attempts to form a friendship with Michele but all her attempts failed and it seemed like the further Scott and Erica’s lives progressed together, the more Michele’s hatred for both of them grew. She would often make comments about Erica’s appearance and say things like “My brother works hard all day long and deserves to come home to someone who takes better care of themselves.” Not only was Michele attacking Erica, but she also claimed that Scott used her for money and said she loaned him over $40,000 since she was in High School. Michele says she was the one that paid Scott and Erica’s down payment for their house and would often pay for their groceries and clothes for their children. She said Scott was the type of person who had to have the best of the best and fooled everyone into thinking he was a good person. Michelle tried to take credit for all of her brother’s accomplishments as if lending him money for so long was the sole reason for his success and also the reason for her life not turning out as great as his because she took on a huge financial burden to help him out. Michele is the only person to ever make these kinds of allegations about Scott and her parents.
In 2002, Michele met her long-term boyfriend, Joseph McEnroe, through an online writing form where strangers on the internet could come together and write fantasy stories. Joseph was an introvert who spent most of his free time on the internet talking to strangers through online chat services and writing forms because he was very insecure about a speech impediment that he has so he was never comfortable socializing in person. He was the oldest of four and they were raised by a single mom who had special needs. His Mom says she did her best to give her children a good life but because of her disabilities, she was only able to obtain jobs at fast food restaurants or gas stations which made it really hard for her to make ends meet on her own. She really wanted to find a partner in life to help her raise her four children but all the men she dated turned out to be one loser after another and Joseph says he did experience some abuse from her boyfriends. She would move Joseph and his siblings all over the United States so she could pursue these relationships that ultimately always failed. It seemed like Joseph was following in his mother’s footsteps because after talking online for just six months, Michele invited Joseph to move to Washington to be with her and he accepted. When he left the state of Arizona, he told his family he wanted to marry Michele and start a family with her.
Joseph says at first, the relationship with Michele was great and she was very loving. But it didn’t take long before Michele started to show some pretty obvious red flags. Michele convinced Joseph to cut ties with his entire family after Joseph’s mom broke the lease agreement at the apartment they had lived at together prior to his move to Washington and also made him cut ties with all of the friends he had made online before he met Michele. At one point, Joseph and Michele were living at the Spring Glen Mobile Home Park in Fall City and this is where the relationship really turned toxic. The property manager said the couple was quiet, paid their rent on time, and never really gave him any issues. However, neighbors described the couple to be paranoid and isolated. They had placed black trash bags over all their windows and neighbors witnessed Judy bringing the groceries and other household goods at least once a month. They said when the couple would talk to them, they expressed how they were fearful for their lives and Michele would always bring up the fact that she and Joseph were struggling financially but her family had a lot of money. They also said it was clear Michele was the one in control of the relationship because she would always speak for Joseph even if he was present for the conversation. One neighbor said he would hear Michele yelling and belittling Joseph from inside their trailer for hours. Joseph said his main goal every day was to stay out of Michele’s way and not get yelled at. He said when they did fight, the fights would always end with him curled up in the corner while Michele yelled at him for hours and she just couldn’t let it go if Joseph said or did anything she didn’t like.
Michele continued to think the whole world and family were against her. She would come home almost every day from her job as security at a Nintendo store expressing to Joseph how much her co-workers didn’t respect her and how she wished she could kill them. She also told Joseph how horrible her family was to her and starting express to him how she wished she could kill them as well. She told Joseph that Scott and Erica were abusive towards Olivia and Nathan and that she felt they would be better off dead. Joseph says Michele had become so manipulative and controlling that he believed everything she said even though he admitted he never witnessed her family treating her badly.
Because Joseph and Michele were unemployed and became so paranoid that the neighbors were out to get them, they moved into a trailer that was on Judy and Wayne’s property. The relationship between Michele and her family started to go downhill when the topic of Michele and Joseph paying rent came up from everyone in the family. Mary felt that her parents were getting older and it was time for Michele to get off the free ride that she had been riding her entire life. Michele asked her parents if they would allow her and Joseph one year to get on their feet before they started paying rent but Wayne and Judy refused to help Michele because they had helped her for years before this. This really upset Michele, she felt really entitled to her parent’s money for whatever reason. This caused a lot of tension between Michele and her family though it was all one-sided. Things got even worse when Michele’s parents took Scott’s side when Michele accused him of taking money she had given him to buy parts for her car that had broken down. She said Scott told her he would fix the car but he spent the money on himself. Wayne and Judy took Scott’s side and basically told Michele she had no right to question Scott financially when she was living on their property for free. One day Michele was venting to Mary about her parents and Scott and she was so full of anger and rage that she told Mary she wished she could just kill them. Mary didn’t take that as a threat to her parents and thought her sister was just emotional.
For about three months before Christmas in the year of 2007, Michele completely cut off communication with her family. Mary said that when she would try to go to her trailer to visit her, Michele wouldn’t answer the door. Judy was hopeful that by Christmas Eve, the tension between Michele and the rest of the family had calmed down because she and Wayne really wanted to have all their children and grandchildren over for their Christmas Eve family get-together as they had done for many many years in the past. Judy reached out to all of her children about Christmas Eve plans and they all said they would be there for dinner but nobody could have ever imagined what Michele was planning.
On December 23rd 2007, Mary calls her Mom to confirm Christmas Eve plans. She said when she called her Mom, she could hear Michele in the background asking her if Mary was going to be at the Christmas Eve Dinner and Mary told her yes and they exchanged “I love you and Im sorry” to each other before the call ended. Judy and Michele were out Christmas shopping that day and Judy had bought Michele a movie for Christmas and she bought Joseph some cologne. It seemed like Michele had let everything go and it was going to be a successful Christmas Eve dinner for the Anderson family.
Warning – Details of the crime are next and maybe hard to read.
On December 24th, 2007, Michele and Joseph show up early at Wayne and Judy’s home because they wanted to help wrap presents. When they arrived, Michele went into the kitchen to help her Mom make a green bean casserole and Joseph sat in the living room with Wayne watching TV and making small talk. About 45 minutes later, Wayne asks Michele and Joseph to move their truck out of the driveway because Scott and Erica would be arriving soon and the truck was in the way. Joseph says he walks up to Michele and said “if you are going to do this, you need to do it now, or let’s just leave.” He then goes into the craft room with Judy to help wrap presents and a few minutes later, they hear a gun fire from the living room. Joseph says he ran back to the kitchen and living room area and sees Michele pointing her gun at Wayne. However she missed Wayne and when Wayne turned around to see Michele pointing a gun at him, he starts to charge toward her. Joseph said Michele told him that he wouldn’t have to kill anyone, that he was just there to protect her and Joseph claims he didn’t want to kill anyone but in that moment, Michele’s gun had actually jammed. Joseph pulls out his gun and fires at Wayne, killing him. At this point, Judy walked in to see what was going on and she witnessed Joseph killing her husband so she starts screaming “no no no.” Joseph then turns to Judy and shoots her causing her to fall, then he walks up to her and says “I’m sorry” and shoots her in the head.
After killing Michele’s parents, Joseph and Michele drag their bodies into the backyard and clean up the blood then they wait for Scott and Erica to arrive. Joseph tells Michele he doesn’t want to kill anyone else and he fixes her gun and Michele tells Joseph he doesn’t have to kill anyone else. When Scott and Erica arrive with their two children, Joseph makes small talk with Scott about his job and Erica sits on the living room couch to help her two children take off their shoes. Michele then comes into the living and starts asking Scott where her money is and Scott tells her he doesn’t know what she is talking about. Then Michele pulls out her gun and fires a round at Scott. Scott then tackles Michele to the ground to try to get the gun away from her and that’s when Joseph steps in. He said he tried to pull Scott off of Michele but he wasn’t strong enough. He shoots Scott killing him and Michele is able to get out from underneath him. At this point, Erica made her way to Judy and Wayne’s home telephone and called 911. However, she wasn’t able to speak to the 911 operator because Joseph had walked over, took the phone from her, and removed the batteries from the phone. Erica goes back over to her children and puts her arms around them and that’s when Michele walks over in front of them. Erica asks Michele “why are you doing this?” and Michele says “Because you hate me, you’ve always hated me.” and Erica says “No we don’t! We love you, we have always loved you.” Michele then fires several shots toward Erica and her children but it doesn’t kill them. Joesph then loads the last three bullets into his gun, walks over to Erica and her children, and shoots Erica in the head first so she doesn’t have to watch her children die. Then he kills 5-year-old Olivia by shooting her in the head and does the same to 3-year-old Nathan.
Even though Joseph claims he didn’t plan to kill anyone, it was clear that Michele did the planning and attacking but in the end, he was the one to take all six of their lives.
After Michele and Joseph killed her entire family, they planned to run away to Canada but somehow they got lost and ended up in Morton, WA which was the complete opposite direction of Canada. After purchasing a map and still failing to find their way, they threw the guns off of a bridge and decided to go back home to shower and sleep. It didn’t seem like the two had a plan on what to do next. The next day, which was Christmas, they drove around throwing more evidence into dumpsters, going to a bank ATM so Michele could pay her car payment, and Michele wanted to get the car’s oil changed but it was Christmas so they couldn’t.
When Judy didn’t show up to work on December 26th at the postal office, her best friend and co-worker, Linda became worried because Judy always showed up on time and wouldn’t miss the day after Christmas as it was one of the post offices’ busiest days. Linda goes to Wayne and Judy’s home to check on her but what she discovered was so much worse than what she expected to find. She discovered the bodies of Scott, Erica, Olivia, and Nathan and made her way to Judy and Wayne’s bedroom to call 911. When police got there, they located Judy and Wayne’s bodies in the backyard. This crime scene was a shock to police as Carnation was a safe small town. At first, they had no idea who would want to kill an entire family until Michele and Joseph showed up to the crime scene.
When Detective Scott Tompkins starts speaking with Michele he notices that Michele never once asked him why there were so many cops and helicopters flying around her parent’s property. When he asks Michele when was the last time she saw her parents, she told him that it was Christmas Eve morning and that her Joseph had just returned from attempting to drive to Las Vegas to get married but because they got lost and they got a flat tire, they decided to come home and fly to Vegas instead. When the decretive asks Michele, why she thought Law Enforcement was at the property Michele first said because she thought her parent’s home was on fire, then asks if her Dad had a heart attack, and then she asked if someone stole her truck. The detective wasn’t buying it and asked Michele if she would ever harm or family. At first, Michele says no but then follows that up with “it’s all my fault” and confesses to killing her family. Michele was also very adamant that she made Joseph kill her family and it wasn’t his fault at all. When police speak with Joseph he is still in protective mode and tries to deny everything until he learns that Michele had confessed to the crime.
It took almost eight years for this case to go to trial because the courts were trying to decide if Michele and Joseph should be tried together or separately, they also had to go through mental evaluations, and Michele made things difficult for her defense team as she expressed many times she wanted the death penalty but her lawyers told her they were going to save her life. During Michele’s trial, her sister Mary testified that she and her son became ill Christmas Eve so they weren’t able to make it to the Christmas Eve dinner and it made her sick to her stomach that her own sister would have killed her if she had shown up that evening. Erica’s Mom also testified and told the court how amazing Erica and Scott both were. She also confronted Michele during her sentencing trial and called her a bully and told her Erica only ever tried to be her friend.
During Joseph’s trial, his Mom testified that she hadn’t heard from her son in five years but when she saw him after he was arrested, he looked like a completely different person. She said he normally would keep himself clean-shaved but all of his hair was grown out and his Mom almost didn’t recognize him. She told the court about Joseph’s childhood and how she did her best to raise him. She said if Joseph never met Michele, he would have never done what he did and it was hard for her to believe. Joseph also took to the witness stand to tell the court that Michele controlled him and turned him into her attack dog. When he was asked why he didn’t just leave, he said he felt like Michele was emotionally unstable and he didn’t want to abandon her. He also detailed the crime to the courtroom and at one point he completely broke down. He said he would never make an excuse for what he did and took full responsibility. I’m some people watching his testimony may feel sorry for him but there is no excuse for killing innocent people, especially young children.
Michele Anderson and Joesph McEnroe were both given six life sentences without the possibility of parole for the murder of Wayne, Judy, Scott, Erica, Olivia, and Nathan Anderson.
Toxic Relationship Turns Deadly – Killer Husband Could Be Released From Prison
Welcome back to Crime Sunday! I hope you guys are doing well! If you don’t know who I am, Hi! My name is Megan and every Sunday I post a new True Crime Story here on my Blog and on my YouTube! I am glad you are here, there is a comment box at the end of this post so you can talk with me about this case! Today I am bringing you the murder story of Lynsey Wilson Quy.
Lynsey Wilson was born in February of 1978 to Pete and Linda Wilson in Southport in Merseyside, England. She was the youngest of their six children. She was very close to her father when she was younger and he described her as shy as a child, but as she grew older and started gaining more confidence, she opened up and was quite a bubbly teenager. Her mom said she was outgoing and had a dazzling smile. She loved music, makeup, and hanging out with her friends.
When Lynsey was just 17 years old, she got into her first serious relationship however she was more into the relationship than he was and when she got pregnant he was hoping she would end the pregnancy. Lynsey’s father, however, said that was not an option and Lynsey never saw terminating the pregnancy as an option so she was happy to have her father’s support. Lynsey and her boyfriend did end up getting engaged for sake of the baby but the Lynsey ended the relationship when she was five months pregnant because she had doubts about him.
Lynsey was experiencing loneliness and she wasn’t hopeful she would meet someone soon as she was five months pregnant. However not long after she ended things with the father of her unborn child, she met a man by the name of Mitchell Quy who worked at the casino as a croupier. Mitchell was three years older than Lynsey and being young and pregnant made her vulnerable to the idea of a new relationship. From their first date, Mitchell and Lynsey were infatuated with each other. Mitchell would spoil Lynsey with flowers and cards and would dote on Lynsey every day. Lynsey felt lucky that she even found someone who wanted to date her when she was expecting a baby, let alone someone who treated her so nicely given her situation. Mitchell seemed like the kind of man who would step up and raise Lynsey’s daughter as his own. She felt relieved and happy that she wasn’t going to have to go through the pregnancy alone.
Since the day they met, Lynsey and Mitchell spent every day together and after only knowing Lynsey for one week, he asked her to marry him. Lynsey said yes and after only knowing each other for five weeks, they two got married on August 1st, 1995. Mitchell did not have many close family members or friends, the only person from his side of his family that showed up, was his brother, Elliot. Lynsey’s family had a bad feeling about Mitchell although they couldn’t explain why they said there was just something off about him. They wanted Lynsey to be happy so they did their best to be supportive. On their wedding day, Mitchell showed a side of him that Lynsey had never seen before by having a violent outburst. Lynsey’s father says this was the first sign of what was to come. Lynsey told Mitchell that he ruined what was supposed to be the happiest day of her life and when Mitchell realized how upset Lynsey was, he convinced her to still go through with the wedding by apologizing and saying that this wasn’t who he truly is, he was just feeling stressed because of the wedding.
The newlyweds rented their own apartment in Southport, England and Lynsey gave birth to her daughter, Robin, just six months after the wedding. Soon after the birth of her daughter, Lynsey’s fairytale which she thought she was so lucky to find started to unravel. Mitchell started having more violent outbursts where he would hit Lynsey, he became controlling of Lynsey by hardly letting her talk to or see her friends and family, and he was emotionally abusive as well. Not only was he treating Lynsey horribly, but he was also cheating on her and sleeping with multiple women around Southport. Many times when they were fighting, Mitchell would actually pack his bags and move out of their apartment, and in just the span of four months Mitchell had moved out seven times.
Lynsey became pregnant with Mitchell’s child but she was worried about bringing another child into the nightmare that she was now living in so she decided to get an abortion. When Mitchell found out about the abortion, he told Lynsey he would never forgive her for killing their child, and beat her one more time before packing his bags and moving out. Lynsey and Mitchell were broken up for five months before the loneliness of being a single mother set in, she started to miss Mitchell and Mitchell was already saying all the right things to convince her to give him a second chance. This was really hard for Lynsey’s friends and family to understand why she wanted to let him back into her life but going against everyone’s advice, she took him back and Mitchell moved back into their home. It was clear that Mitchell had some sort of emotional hold over Lynsey which happens often in abusive relationships.
Shortly after they rekindled their marriage, Lynsey became pregnant with Mitchell’s son, and this time she decided to go through with the pregnancy. About halfway through the pregnancy, Lynsey left her home, and when she returned a huge mess was waiting for her. Mitchell had another violent outburst but this was the craziest outburst he had in the relationship so far. Thankfully she wasn’t home when it happened. Mitchell had trashed their entire apartment. Doors were ripped off of the hinges, he smashed windows, he ruined furniture, he threw their TV out of a window, and even went outside and smashed the windows of their car. During his outburst, he cut himself and there were blood stains all over the walls, this was by far his most violent outburst and they were both evicted from the apartment.
In October 1997, Lynsey gave birth to their son, Jack. Lynsey adored her children and despite the horrible marriage she was in, she really was a great mother. She would do anything to make sure her children were happy as they were her entire world.
By April of 1998, Lynsey and Mitchell’s marriage had come to an end for what everyone thought would be the last time. Lynsey was so terrified of Mitchell that she would have to carry a panic button everywhere in fear he would try to attack her because at this point he had threatened to kill her multiple times. Her family really thought she was going to stay away from him for good. Lynsey contacted Sefton’s Women’s and Children’s Aid who helped her get her own home in Birkdale so she and her two children could have a fresh start and for once, she was doing very well for herself. Mitchell was not made aware of where Lynsey was living for obvious reasons and she qualified for welfare so she was able to support her children on her own.
To cope with the trauma that Lynsey was dealing with, she decided to start writing in a journal. She dedicated this journal to her children to let them know how hard her life was, how hard she tried to bring them up on her own, and how she hoped they never had to go through what she did. Shortly after Mitchell moved out in April she wrote the following:
“This time he is gone for good, I’ve had it with him.” “Everything is great, never been better and I don’t miss Mitch at all.”
Lynsey’s mother said that at this point, Lynsey made her children her top priority. She said their home was spotless and the children had many toys to play with, they seemed really happy. However, Mitchell found a way to get in touch with Lynsey around October of 1998 and convinced her to let him see his son for his 1st birthday. From that point on, Mitchell somehow weaseled his way back into Lynsey’s life and they rekindled their marriage once again. Deep down she knew this wasn’t the right thing to do so Lynsey tried to hide their relationship from her family as long as possible. They eventually found out and were so disappointed but also they weren’t surprised. Her family decided to distance themselves from Lynsey and let her live her own life. They still talked to her, saw her, and were there for her but Mitchell made them uncomfortable so they backed off for a while.
On October 22nd of 1998, Lynsey and her sister Paula went out for a drink. They had a really great time together and when Paula dropped Lynsey off at home, Lynsey begged her to come inside for coffee and to continue chatting. Paula at first refused to go inside because she knew Mitchell was there and she didn’t want to see him but eventually she gave in and went inside for a while. Paula said the whole time she was visiting with her sister, Mitchell was sitting in the living room drinking a beer just glaring at her and making it obvious that she wasn’t welcome in their home. When Lynsey walked her to the door, she slipped Paula a note but Paula didn’t read the note until she got home and the note said “Please help me get out of here.”Paula did nothing in response to the note and did nothing to assist her sister. I can only assume that’s because she had repeatedly gone through this with Lynsey many times before and perhaps she didn’t think she would ever genuinely leave him. It seems like at this point, her family had given up on her.
In December 1998, Lynsey is so excited to celebrate Christmas with her family and children. She decorates her house for the holiday to help give her children a very festive Christmas despite what was going on in their home. On the 11th of December, Lynsey went to visit with her family and everyone said Lynsey was in really good spirits that day and seemed happy. Her mother dropped her off at home not knowing that would be the last time she saw her daughter. The last time anyone saw Lynsey alive was on the 15th of December when she went to the post office to try to find a welfare check she hadn’t received. Later she learned that Mitchell had stolen the check from her.
On the 24th of December, Linda, Lynsey’s mother, tried getting in contact with her daughter about when would be the best time for them to get together so they could celebrate Christmas and so she could give her grandchildren their gifts. She never heard back from her daughter but Mitchell showed up at her doorstep claiming Lynsey had left to party with her friends and she had gone “psycho.: He also said he was afraid she was out having an affair. Linda didn’t think much of it even though she hadn’t heard from Lynsey, she just took his word for it and gave the Christmas gifts for the children to Mitchell.
53 days later, Lynsey was reported missing by a concerned social worker who hadn’t been able to get a hold of her. When the police went to question Mitchell about where Lynsey is and why he hadn’t reported her missing, he say he didn’t report her missing because she had left on her own. He claimed that Lynsey went out with friends on Christmas Eve, came home at 7:00 am hungover, took a nap and a shower, packed a bag, and left without saying a word to him or her children. Which is not like Lynsey, she was so looking forward to giving her children a magical Christmas, there is no way she would have left them on that day, let alone not even acknowledge them. Another reason he didn’t report her missing is because he claimed he saw her multiple times around town and driving past the house in a black Mercedes car but nobody else has reported seeing Lynsey.
The police search all over for Lynsey or her body and they come up completely empty-handed, they feel at this point Lynsey is not alive. Quickly into the investigation, police knew something was off with Mitchell as his story wasn’t adding up but unfortunately they didn’t have any evidence to arrest him. Over the next 18 months while police were searching for Lynsey Mitchell kept himself busy in the media. He loved the attention he was getting so much that he invited journalists, news reporters, and even a documentary film crew into his home. He tried to convince everyone that he is the real victim in this situation by trying to paint the picture that his wife abandoned him and their children. He was eating up all the attention that this was getting him, he never once seemed heartbroken that his wife was missing and he also seemed to have a smirk on his face during interviews. He was asked at one point “Did you kill your wife?” and he said, “that is a stupid question and I don’t have to answer it.” The interviewer said “that is not a stupid question. Did you kill your wife?” and he responded and said, “Watch and find out.” He also seemed to play mind games with police, he would send them greeting cards and even sent the lead detective on the case, hair dye to “help him with his gray hair” which really creeped the detective out. People involved said Mitchell was disrespectful throughout the entire investigation despite him trying to come across as a grieving husband.
Lynsey’s family was also talking to reporters and they were very open with the public about their feelings. They said they were convinced Mitchell had killed Lynsey. Her father even put up Lynsey’s missing person flyer right in front of Mitchell’s home so he would have to look at it every day. In response, Mitchell says “one day he will be on my doorstep apologizing” like a true narcissist. He was always smiling and laughing in interviews and that is how he got his nickname “The Smiling Killer.” In one interview, he is laughing and going on about how the police were interviewing past women he had relationships with and said “What do they think, I shagged her to death or something.” What an odd thing to say.
In February of 2000, Mitchell was arrested for fraud when police became aware that he was forging Lynsey’s signature on welfare checks. Mitchell was very smug about the fraud charges and admitted to it because he felt entitled to the money. He had to serve community service which really upset him and he said he wouldn’t piss on Lynsey if she were on fire because he wouldn’t have to do community service if she never “abandoned” him. He was always upset with the media because they were not portraying him as a murderer and said he deserved an apology or compensation knowing the whole time what they were saying about him was true.
On June 7th, 2000, the police decide to bring Mitchell in for questioning as they have no doubt he murdered Lynsey. They question him for 36 hours. and for the first 36 hours, he just says “no comment” over and over again. Eventually, he breaks and confesses to murdering his 21-year-old wife, Lynsey Wilson Quy on June 8th, 2000. He said that on December 16th, Lynsey told him she had made an appointment with a lawyer to go through with divorce proceedings, and this enraged Mitchell. He said he strangled her for over 20-minutes while the children were in the home until she was dead then laid her body in their bed. He blocked the bottom gap of the door with towels so the children wouldn’t smell their mother’s decaying body. He then called his brother, Elliot who was a butcher, to come help him get rid of her body. He said the two of them dismembered her body in the bathtub and scattered her body parts all over Southport. After he confessed he lead police to a rollercoaster where he placed her torso and they said he was laughing and joking around the entire time. He had no remorse for the crime he committed and it was like he was out of touch with reality. He would only refer to Lynsey or her torso as a “carcass.” Lynsey’s arms and legs were found near a railroad track the next day but her head and hands were never found. Mitchell said he just threw them into the trash.
Elliot Quy was sentenced to just even years for assisting Mitchell in dismembering Lynsey’s body and is now a free man.
Mitchell Quy was convicted of 1st-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison but was eligible for parole after serving just 17 years.
Linda Wilson says not only did Mitchell take their daughter away but he took away a mother from children she loved more than anything.
In 2017, Mitchell became eligible for parole and has since applied three times, and each time he was denied. He does not deserve to be a free man and I have no doubt that another vulnerable woman could be his next victim if he is released from prison. Not only that, Lynsey’s father says he has no doubt that if he was paroled Mitchell would go back to Southport and try to contact them and he fears for his family’s safety. You can help keep Mitchell in prison by signing the petition in the link below.
If you are anyone you know feels stuck in an abusive relationship, help is waiting for you. The National Domestic Violence Hotline is open 24/7 and their # is 800-799-7233. You can even chat with someone on their website if you don’t feel safe calling.
Thank you for reading, I hope none of you have experienced a relationship like this but if you have, I hope you are able to escape without it costing your life. <3
Who is Lucy Letby? Nurse Accused of Killing Seven Babies While Working In A Neonatal Care Unit
Hello Crime Sunday Readers, hope you are having a great day so far. Today’s case is slightly different from the ones I have done in the past because it is still ongoing and there is no verdict yet. I will be sure to post updates for you guys on my YouTube channel. Today I am bringing you the case of Lucy Letby, a nurse accused of killing seven babies and attempting to kill ten more. As there is little information given to the public, there is still a lot we don’t know. I will keep you updated.
Lucy Letby was born in Hereford, England in 1990 to Susan and David Letby. She was their first and only child. Susan and David have been described as very loving parents who had a close relationship with Lucy and are still married to this day. They have owned the same home for over 25 years in a really nice neighborhood. A neighbor who lived next door to the Letbys for decades said she watched Lucy grow up. She said she was sweet and grew up to be a very lovely lady, she also said this news is utterly shocking and she can’t fathom it. Lucy had a few close friends who described her as sweet but a bit socially awkward at times. Her friends have been reported to say that they can’t believe what is happening and don’t know what to believe. She enjoyed her going out with her small circle of close friends but Lucy had a clean record and has no past mental health concerns. She could easily be described as the girl next door.
In 2011, at age twenty-one, Lucy graduated from Chester University with honors in Pediatric Nursing, a degree specializing in the care of newborns and children. Her parents were so proud of her that they published a new article about her accomplishments along with her graduation photo. During nursing school, Lucy worked at Countess of Chester Hospital as she was required to gain work experience to obtain her Degree. They were so impressed that after obtaining her degree, they offered her a position in the neonatal unit. According to her friends, Lucy landed her dream job caring for babies. Her coworkers would go on to say that Lucy was a reliable hard worker.
In 2011 the hospital started the “Baby Grow Campaign” which was put into place to raise 3 million dollars for a new neonatal care wing as their current unit was outdated and cramped. In 2013, Lucy was the face of this campaign and in one interview she said “My role involves caring for a wide range of babies that require various levels of care. Some are here for a few days and some are here for a few months. I enjoy seeing them progress and supporting their families.” The new wing was completed in the year 2020 after the funds were successfully raised.
In 2013, it was reported that the hospital only had two infant deaths; in 2014 there were only three. However, in 2015, they saw a drastic change in those numbers when eight babies died under the care of this hospital. By June 2016, it was reported that they already had six infant deaths. This was 10% over the national average of infant loss in England. It was reported that this hospital did have more premature babies born at a lower weight than the average hospital but this still did not explain the increase in infant loss. These deaths were reported to be sudden, unexplained, and they did not react to treatments that ordinarily succeeded in saving the lives of infants.
Concerns grew for Ian Harvey, the Medical Director of Countess of Chester Hospital, so he approached the Royal College of Pediatric and Child Health to invite them to review their care routine. At this time, he decided, along with the Nursing Director and Trust Board, to drop from a level two neonatal care unit to a level one. This means they would no longer care for babies born before 32 weeks or care for babies who required intensive care or ventilation. The review took place in September of 2016 and all that was said was the care wasn’t ideal but wasn’t out of the ordinary and that there are many neonatal units functioning like this. They also noted that the area had a high number of substance abuse and domestic issues in the area. There were many times when the hospital would find themselves short staff so they often relied on staffing agencies to fully staff shifts but employees said they were happy with those who came to work with them through these agencies and expressed no concerns about them. New staff members said there were communication issues as they felt like they couldn’t approach senior staff members with concerns. It was clear this hospital was not perfect but many hospitals face staffing and communication issues, and this still did not explain the increased number of infant deaths. They also concluded that the investigation for infant deaths had to be strengthened.
In May 2017, the hospital contacted their local police force to investigate fifteen infant deaths that took place between June 2015 and June 2016. Ian said this was not a decision that he made lightly, but he wanted to make sure he did everything he could to understand what was happening and to get the families the answers they were desperately searching for. The Hospital became a huge media story in the UK and articles came out stating that they had the highest number of infant deaths in the country.
After a year-long investigation, Lucy Letby was suspended from the hospital in 2018. Lucy was held on suspicion of the murder of eight babies and the attempted murder of six others. She was not yet charged but was held for three days for questioning before she was bailed out. During that time, Police searched the outside of Lucy’s home and conducted forensic examinations. They searched her gardens, drains, and garage. It was unclear what the police were looking for.
Lucy was rearrested in connection with the attempted murder of three additional babies in June 2019.
Fast forward to November 2020, Lucy was arrested again for the murder of eight infants and the attempted murder of ten more infants. She was accused of injecting infants’ bloodstream with air, insulin, and milk. This was three years since the police first launched their investigation into the high number of infant deaths at the hospital.
At this point, there was little to no information on what evidence they had against Lucy but as the trial goes on more information has been released. This is what we know so far.
One of Lucy’s colleagues came forward as a witness and said he walked in on Lucy alone with a premature baby who was born twelve weeks early. He said seeing her alone with a newborn made him uncomfortable because he had started to notice a coincidence between unexplained deaths and serious collapses in the presence of Lucy Letby. He said that when he walked in, he noticed the infant’s oxygen levels had dropped to dangerously low levels, Lucy was doing nothing to assist the infant, and the alarm that ought to have been sounding to notify the nursing staff of the infant’s condition had been silenced.
This was one of many colleagues of Lucy’s that came forward and said they witnessed Lucy standing over incubators when alarms would sound to alert them of a baby’s life-threatening condition.
On many occasions, Lucy had been seen by colleagues standing in the doorway just staring at babies who were clearly in distress.
Police searched Lucy’s house and found medical records of twins that she attempted to kill. When they asked her about this, she said they weren’t souvenirs and she must have taken them home by mistake. They also found a photo she kept on her phone of a sympathy card she sent to one family after their baby died. She said she grew attached to this family but sending sympathy cards was not something she did often. They also found a very disturbing sticky note that Lucy had written on and it said things like
“I am evil. I killed them on purpose because I am not good enough. I don’t deserve to live. I will never marry and have children. I feel very alone and scared.” It also had words like “hate, panic, fear, and lost” written out on it. Her lawyer says this was not a confession note but her way of venting when she learned what she is being accused of.
During the search, investigators also found on Lucy’s computer that she would “stalk” families after their baby had passed away on social media platforms like Facebook multiple times to see if they were still grieving. It was always stated that she looked up other parents of babies she cared for as well.
Lucy texted one of her friends saying that “it was fate that some babies grew unwell sometimes.”
Another strange thing about this case is nobody in Lucy’s life has come forward to say “I thought there was something off about that girl.” Anyone who has spoken has only had positive things to say about her.
I have researched this case for days and have to say that not everyone thinks she is guilty. Her loving parents have been seen in court mouthing “I love you” to their daughter and some people think she is being framed. Many people who knew Lucy are shocked and are having a hard time believing she could do such a thing. How well do we really know our friends? Our Co-workers? I have researched many True Crime cases and know that evil like this does exist but also know that some people have been accused of crimes they didn’t commit. I am going to keep my opinion to myself until this trial is over as there is still so much we don’t know. Please feel free to leave your opinions in the comments below. If you would like to stay updated on this case, make sure you subscribe to my YouTube channel as I probably won’t update on my blog until the trial is over. It has been said the trial will last at least six months.
Thank you for reading! I hope you guys have a great Sunday!
The Girl Next Door’s Life Was Taken By A Convicted Kidnapper: The Murder of Sierah Joughin
Hi Crime Sunday Readers, I hope you guys are doing really well! I started a YouTube channel last week and I am really loving making true crime videos along with writing here on my blog! You may notice I also have ads on my site as it was approved by Google AdSense! I know ads can be annoying but it helps me support my family and I promise to keep ads at a minimum. Thank you for your support and being here. Today’s story is similar to the Sydney Sutherland case that I covered a couple of weeks ago. Today I am bringing you the murder story of Sierah Joughin.
TRIGGER WARNING: This post contains sensitive content that maybe triggering to some readers.
Sierah “Ce” Catherine Joughin was born February 11, 1996, in Sylvania, Ohio, and was your typical girl next door. In High School, she played volleyball, acted in school plays, and was a part of the National Honors Society. Sierah was described by her loved ones to be full of life and had a terrific sense of humor. She loved traveling the world and her tour across Italy was one of the most memorable trips she had taken. She cherished both city and country life and had a love for horses. Family was very important to her, she had two sisters and two brothers, and her parents, Sheila and Tom, had a close relationship with all of their children. Sierah loved spending time with her family at Coldwater Lake, a family tradition.
Sierah graduated from Evergreen High School in 2014 and continued her relationship with her high school sweetheart, Josh Kolasinski, even though the two attended different colleges. Sierah planned on starting a career in Human Resources after graduating with a business degree from The University of Toledo. She moved in with her grandparents during college and completed most of her schoolwork from home. They lived in a very rural area with endless rows of cornfields.
Josh lived close to Sierah so the two spent a lot of quality time together and on July 19th, Sierah decided to ride her new bike to his house so she could meet him for a bike ride. She was really excited about purchasing her new bicycle so she looked for any excuse to ride it. Josh took a photo of Sierah and posted it on his Snapchat story, not knowing this would be the last photo taken of Sierah. Sierah and Josh parted ways off of county road 6 to head back home as they lived in opposite directions.
Around 9:30 pm that night, Sheila, Sierah’s mom, arrived at the grandparent’s house and realized Sierah still wasn’t home. She tried calling her daughter and when she got no answer she started to worry. Sierah was really good about keeping in touch with her family so not answering her phone was not like her. Sheila really started to worry when Josh called her and asked if Sierah was there because he had sent her a couple of text messages but she hadn’t responded to him either. Sheila reported her daughter missing and the search for Sierah began.
Since Josh was the last known person Sierah was with, it was no surprise that he was the first person police wanted to speak with. His story added up and the police quickly cleared him as a suspect. Josh told police about a suspicious white van he saw on the bike ride. He was able to give the police the last three characters of the license plate and the police tracked it back to a woman. The woman’s van was searched for blood and DNA but nothing came back so that lead became dead pretty quickly as well.
The police used GPS tracking information they gathered from Sierah’s Fitbit and iPhone to expand their search once again. On county road 6, they came across a disturbed area of cornfields where they found Sierah’s bike, two pairs of sunglasses, and a motorcycle helmet. Sierah’s bike had blood on it and the scene made it clear there was a struggle. A reward of $100,000 was released for any information leading to Sierah’s whereabouts. The police expanded their search again as they thought maybe Sierah was kidnapped and being held by someone in the area.
At this point, investigators had no solid leads so they started to look into sex offenders that lived in the area and they came across an “interesting” man by the name of James Worley. There was also a witness that came forward in the middle of the investigation that saw a van driving recklessly close to where Sierah’s bike was found the same night she was last seen. They thought it was so strange that they actually wrote down the license plate # and gave it to the police. Sure enough, it came back to be registered in James’s name. James was born on April 8th, 1959, and graduated from Evergreen High School with a 1.9 GPA which he blamed on his marijuana addiction. In 1990, he attempted to kidnap a woman by the name of Robin Gardner and served three years in prison. He was clearly a person that the police needed to question. As soon as they arrived at his house to talk to him he said “I ain’t out here killing chicks” before the police even asked him anything. He appeared to be very offended that the police wanted to talk to him about Sierah and claimed he could never be capable of doing anything to her. He had a bit of word vomit and he told police how his motorcycle broke down and the helmet and sunglasses found by Sierah’s bike were his… interesting. He also had markings on his face and bruises on his arms that looked like they happened recently. All of this set off alarm bells for the police and they detained James while they searched his house.
James lived on a three-acre property with his brother and mother. During the search, they found ropes, tape, zip ties, weapons, ammo, handcuffs, and video equipment. Inside of James’s van, they found a ski mask, duct tape, more zip ties, and mace. In a barn on the property that James claimed as his, they also found what seemed to be a homemade dungeon. Inside this secret room, they found an air mattress with restraints near it, multiple pairs of women’s underwear, one pair with blood on them, a nanny cam, and a fridge with blood stains on the inside. They continued to search all over the Worley’s property but they never found Sierah.
Investigators bring James to the police station for more questioning and they ask him about this secret room. James tries to explain away this secret dungeon by stating he is starting a pornography production company but the police didn’t buy it, they were certain they found Jame’s torture room. Quickly into his questioning, he refused to speak to the police any further or admit to where Sierah was.
On July 22nd on county road 7, just 12 miles from Jame’s house, police find the body of Sierah Joughin in a shallow grave. Her body was found hogtied, bound, and gagged. She was found only wearing an adult diaper. The medical examiner concluded that she died of asphyxiation and it took her approximately 10 minutes to suffocate to death. She also had a hairline fracture in the back of her skull and a cut on her forehead. There was no indication that any sexual assault happened. My heart goes out to Sierah’s loved ones, I am so sorry for your loss.
After her body was found, James was arrested for aggravated murder, kidnapping, tampering with evidence, assault, and possession of a firearm and criminal tools. He entered a non-guilty plea and his jury trial began in March of 2018. During the trial, the prosecuting attorney presented that Sierah’s DNA was found on a piece of duct tape, on the air mattress, on his bike helmet, ski mask, zip ties, and a pair of woman’s underwear all found on Jame’s property. He also presented Jame’s search history from his computer that included porn sites in which he searched the R-word, forced, hitchhiker, helpless, and gagged. He explained that after watching porn all day he went for a ride on his motorcycle, saw Sierah riding her bike home, and intentionally hit her, knocking her over. He then hit her in the head with his bike helmet, knocking her out, and kept her there until dark. He then went back to get his van and took her to his dungeon where he hogtied her and gagged her with a dog toy which caused her to suffocate to death. He then buried her in a cornfield.
The defense did their best to prove his innocence by saying James didn’t know Sierah and the reason his belongings were by her bicycle is because his motorcycle broke down. The defense failed because after just six hours of deliberation, the jury found him guilty.
James spoke to the court during his sentencing hearing, attempting to maintain his innocence and stating that Sierah was a “beautiful girl” and that her murder had caused him and his family great harm. He spoke for almost 45 minutes during this time Sierah’s family exited the courtroom. The judge sentenced him to death, and his execution is set for May 20, 2025.
Sierah was murdered by a violent repeat offender and Sierah’s family and community want to do everything they can to make sure this doesn’t happen again. They fought for Sierah’s law which passed unanimously in 2018 in the state of Ohio. This law created a database that can now be used by law enforcement and citizens to find out where violent offenders live in our communities. Sierah Strong is a self-awareness and defense program that provides to the community free of charge. They teach young people ages 6-16 how to defend themselves in dangerous situations and provide laminated KidPrint IDs that feature the child’s photo, fingerprint, and vital statistics to help find a missing child. To donate to this program, click here!
I applaud the investigators on this case. I think they did a phenomenal job handling the investigation and how quickly they found out who took Sierah’s life. I have no doubt that if James wasn’t caught, he would have done this again. My heart breaks for her family and it just isn’t fair that Sierah’s life ended in such a horribly violent way. James is still fighting for his innocence and is a classic narcissist in my opinion. What are your thoughts?
Thank you guys for reading! Be sure to check out my YouTube channel as well! Thank you for your support!
Kaylee-Jayde Priest – Tiktok Mom Beats Three Year Old Daughter to Death
Welcome back to Crime Sunday! I hope you guys had a great week! I have been posting on Tiktok which has been fun and exciting that more people have heard the victim’s stories that I share! Today’s story makes me wonder why some woman are blessed with motherhood in the first place.
On January 31st, 2017 Nicola Priest, 20, gave birth to her daughter Kaylee-Jayde Priest. Kaylee’s biological father was not in the picture but Nicola began dating another man by the name of Daniel Gregory and in 2019 it was reported that the three of them were living in a two-bedroom apartment in Kingshurst, Birmingham. Kaylee attended preschool and was known to be a very happy child and rarely got upset. Nicola was active on Tiktok and posted quite a few dance videos of herself and some of her and Kaylee. If you saw these videos, you would think they had a fun mother-daughter relationship but soon you will learn that was not the case. In March 2020, Kaylee gave birth to Daniel’s son but soon after that, the two ended their relationship.
Nicola wasted no time moving on and by April 2020 she had a very serious relationship with a 22-year-old man by the name of Callum Redfern. It has been reported that Nicola was more interested in Callum than he was in her and it seems like Callum was just using Nicola. She begged her new boyfriend to move in with her but he refused and her apartment was more of a place for him to party with his friends and hook up with Nicola.
It got to a point where Callum was spending almost every night at Nicola’s apartment and neighbors reported hearing parties going on well into the late night hours. They also reported hearing both Callum and Nicola yelling at Kaylee all the time. It seems like Nicola didn’t prioritize Kaylee and wasn’t giving her the care a 3-year-old needs from her mother. One friend said he came to a party at the apartment and Kaylee had fallen asleep on the floor and Nicola just left her there while they partied late, she couldn’t even be bothered to put her daughter in her bed.
Nicola was a stay-at-home mom and she received government assistance to help pay for her apartment, food, and clothes. She had saved £900(about $1400) and she gave it all to Callum so he could purchase a car. She gave him this money because she was under the impression that this would make it easier for him to travel to her apartment to spend time with her. Callum never insured the vehicle and the car was impounded just a week later by police who ended up crushing the car. The car only cost Callum £600 and he blew the remaining £300 on himself.
Friends did have the best things to say about Nicola as a parent. They said she would hit Kaylee upside the head when she asked her Mom for food, she would refer to her as an “effing brat,” and her apartment was unkempt. Even Callum threatened Kaylee in front of their friends and would talk harshly toward her. If they could do this in front of people, it makes you wonder what they did when nobody else was around. It was also made known that Kaylee’s bedroom was just four walls as it didn’t have proper flooring, it didn’t have lights or hardly any toys for Kaylee. You would think if Nicola could save up to buy her boyfriend a car, she could buy her daughter a proper bedroom set up but Nicola just didn’t care.
Text messages exchanged between Nicola and Callum showed their true colors. Nicola texted Callum the following about Kaylee:
“I’m gonna kill her… because she keeps leaving the living room or going in the kitchen, so I’ve paled (hit) her one and smacked her for shitting in her nappy.” – Nicola
“Good – give her one for me.” – Callum
” I will babe.” – Nicola
A few days later Callum texted Nicola this.
“I’m going to keep the little brat away from me… sick of your spunking daughter.” – Callum
These messages make it seem as if the two were bonding over abusing Kaylee and encouraging each other to treat Kaylee in a horrific way.
On August 8th, 2020 Nicola and Callum had a few friends over to drink and she also posted on her Snapchat that she was “buzzing” from vodka. Kaylee was eating chicken and waffles when their friends arrived and went to bed around 7:30 but was having trouble falling asleep. Friends say Nicola and Callum went into her bedroom to hook up and Kaylee walked in on them which really upset them so they took their anger out on Kaylee. What exactly happened next is truly unknown, only Nicola and Callum know the answer to that but whatever happened caused Kaylee to vomit profusely and because neither one of them called the police until the next day, this beating ultimately cost Kaylee her life. Her injuries were so severe the medical examiner compared them to car crash injuries of 40mph or hitting concrete after falling from a three-story building. She also had old bruising and injuries which proved Kaylee was being physically abused by someone.
There is video footage from Nicola’s apartment that showed Nicola with her walking to the park and riding in an elevator. In these videos you can see that Nicola is not paying attention to Kaylee, instead keeps checking her own appearance in the mirror. The whole time Kaylee is looking up at her mom and never once does Nicola look at her daughter, hold her hand, or make sure she is keeping up with her. The whole time she is walking in front of Kaylee and there is no interaction between this mother and daughter. When this footage was brought up in court, Nicola used the excuse that she was tired. This is also the last known video of Kaylee, taken the day before she died.
Nicola and Callum were both arrested for willful neglect against a child and ill-treatment of a child. They were bonded out and Nicole continued to post on TikTok trying to portray herself as a grieving mother and being upset but it came across fake and not genuine.
During the trial, Nicola and Callum put the blame on each other for abusing Kaylee-Jade, neither one of them owned up to anything they put Kaylee through. Callum showed no remorse and even said because Kaylee wasn’t his child her death didn’t affect him. They were both found guilty of manslaughter. Nicola was sentenced to 15 years and Callum was sentenced to 14 years. This doesn’t seem like enough time for taking Kaylee’s life and all the abuse these two put her through during her short time on earth.
Nicola’s mom had called child services to check on the well-being of Kaylee but nothing was ever done. She is now grieving the loss of her granddaughter because of the actions of her daughter. Nicola’s other child is well taken care of by his father and I’m assuming he spent most of his time with his father before Kaylee’s murder because there wasn’t much information about how Nicola treated him in reports.
It seems as if the system failed to protect Kaylee as they have many other children in the past. I can’t imagine a child going through what Kaylee went through in her short life, some people don’t deserve to be blessed with children. A mother should never hurt her child! Nicola’s 15-year sentence isn’t justice in my eyes, she deserves to spend the rest of her life in there. Thank you for reading today’s true crime story, I am curious what you think of the guilty verdict, do you think justice was served?