It was Christmas Eve, 1985. Seattle attorney Charles Goldmark was at home with his wife, Annie, and their two children, 10-year-old Colin and 12-year-old Derek; all were eagerly anticipating the festive holiday dinner to come. But a murderous, hate-filled stranger would put an end to all of their plans.
This time of year, nothing goes better with too much eggnog than grim tales of murder. (That’s how we roll at True Crime, anyway.) The first in our series takes place in 1929, on a farm outside Germanton, North Carolina—where on Christmas Day, Charlie Lawson murdered his family before taking his own life.
Even people who don’t follow crime know the name Andrea Yates. On June 20, 2001—six months after giving birth to her fifth baby in seven years—the former nurse, who suffered from severe postpartum depression, drowned each child in the family bathtub. Then, she called 911: “I just killed my kids.”
Murder and mayhem can happen any time of year—even during the holidays (for some, especially during the holidays). For one Florida family, Thanksgiving joy turned to the ultimate horror. And it didn’t end there.
Eighteen-year-old Brian Blackwell was so bright his nickname was “Brains.” But that intelligence, which earned him top marks in school, also enabled him to craft an elaborate fantasy world—one he needed his parents’ money to sustain, and one he was willing to kill for.
On June 17, 1939, Eugen Weidmann—a slick, handsome 31-year-old German—became the last person to be publicly executed via guillotine in France. His journey toward being a trivia-question answer started with a kidnapping gone awry, and spiraled into a deadly crime spree that spanned half of 1937.
Last week, we learned about a group of Texas youths who decided killing one young man’s parents was the best get-rich-quick plan. It ended badly for everyone—as does the tale of Manchester, England’s Stephen Seddon, who was more than old enough to know better.
For this tragic tale of youth, greed, and murder, we head to the Dallas-Fort Worth suburb of Mansfield, Texas. Specifically, we head to the town’s local IHOP, where dark schemes were plotted alongside vats of syrup and stacks of breakfast meats.
There are plenty of things to worry about while traveling, without adding being brutally murdered into the mix. But it happens more often than you’d think, even in places that seem like paradise. Read on for terrible tales of vacations gone nightmarishly wrong.
The victim was a seamstress, found dead in a bean patch, strangled by her own scarf. The suspect was a local creep who insisted he had nothing to do with the crime and was far away when it occurred. How did one detective prove what really happened? With dirt.
To outsiders, 17-year-old Gladys MacKnight seemed an unlikely killer, as did her boyfriend, 18-year-old Donald Wightman. But to those who knew the high school sweethearts, the death of Gladys’ mother, Helen, wasn’t entirely shocking. (Though being hacked to death in one’s own kitchen certainly is.)
I’m covered in flop sweat, my hands are shaking, and an itchy flush in my cheeks hints that tears are just moments away. While the Lizzie Borden Bed and Breakfast is a mere 20 miles from the Providence Amtrak station, I’ve been lost for 30 minutes and it feels like a bad sign.
Jose Ferreira was 16 when 13-year-old Carrie Ann Jopek went missing from a Milwaukee house party they both attended in 1982; her body was found 17 months later buried beneath the home’s porch. Though he was considered a suspect at the time, he denied any knowledge of her death. Until now.
It was an unbelievably monstrous crime: a three-year-old who was in the hospital recovering from pneumonia was snatched from her bed in the middle of the night, sexually assaulted, and murdered. It appeared the girl had been held by her legs and swung skull-first into a wall until she died.
In May 1980, Taiwan-born, Minnesota-raised Ming Sen Shiue acted on a sick fantasy he’d been having for 15 years, kidnapping and sexually assaulting his former high-school math teacher, Mary Stauffer. The crime would have been nightmarish enough with just those facts ... but it was worse.
The year was 1972; the place, suburban Springfield, New Jersey. One September day, a bizarre murder shattered the town’s sense of safety, and set in motion a cult-tinged mystery that’s become a local legend—and now, the subject of a new true-crime book.
Nearly every town’s got a ghost story. Far more rare is when a ghost story can be traced back to one specific, legally documented criminal case. Still, they do exist, and the stories they spawn are even scarier with real-life context. Here are five horrifying murders that created five spooky legends.
The bare-bones facts would be disturbing enough on their own: in June 1977, three Girl Scouts—ages 8, 9, and 10—sharing the most remote tent at summer camp were found raped and brutally murdered. It’s the stuff of nightmares and horror movies. But the story got even worse.
On March 10, 1928, 9-year-old Walter Collins disappeared from his home in Los Angeles, California. His believed abduction triggered a massive manhunt—yet police were unable to find the boy. That is, until a mysterious child appeared five months later in DeKalb, Illinois, claiming to be Walter.
Here are the known facts: on May 18, 2014, 20-month-old Anna Bell died of a fractured skull in her Norfolk, Virginia home. Her lifeless body was found at the bottom of a staircase. Was it an accident, or was someone else responsible? And was that someone an adult ... or another child?