Death Dames Podcast
Each week, we cover your favorite dark and creepy stories, and pick apart the weird science and history behind them. True Crime/Science/History/Comedy Podcast. Hosted by Kimberly Baker, Lila Dunk, and Allyson Nemec.
info_outline Episode 54 - The Assassination of Derwin Brown & Puma Roomba 02/19/2020
Episode 54 - The Assassination of Derwin Brown & Puma Roomba Well greetings, creepy friends, and welcome to the Death Dames Podcast! In today's episode, Kim tells us the tragic tale of the assassination of DeKalb County Sheriff Derwin Brown, and Ally teaches us how you, yes you, could become a sheriff! Thanks so much for checking us out, and if you have always wondered the how and why behind your favorite true crime stories, then consider subscribing to Death Dames! And everyone remember, Smart is Sexy!
info_outline Episode 53 - Victorian Morbidity & Chicken the Cat 02/12/2020
Episode 53 - Victorian Morbidity & Chicken the Cat Well greetings, creepy friends, and welcome to the Death Dames Podcast! In today's episode, Kim tells us about some of the weird and quirky ways that Victorian's used to mourn, and Ally teaches us the history of Photography! Thanks so much for checking us out, and if you have always wondered the how and why behind your favorite true crime stories, then consider subscribing to Death Dames! And everyone remember, Smart is Sexy!
info_outline Episode 52 - H. H. Holmes & Our One Year Celebration! 02/05/2020
Episode 52 - H. H. Holmes & Our One Year Celebration! Well greetings, creepy friends, and welcome to our one year celebration! We have been releasing episodes for a year now, and we are blowing up your feeds with a big bad case, the story of H. H. Holmes! Thank you all so much for listening and supporting the show, it means the world!
info_outline Episode 52 - "H. H. Holmes" 02/05/2020
Episode 52 - "H. H. Holmes" Episode 52 - H. H. Holmes Now, in honor of our celebration of an entire year, which is super exciting, I wanted to cover a Big Bad that several people have asked us to cover. Now, before we get into this... I’ll be honest… I’m a little nervous about this episode, because I think I’m actually going to piss some people off, but we’ll get into that a little later. I've done some debunking, and it may bum some people out, but despite all that, I think today is going to be an absolutely awesome episode, and i'm so excited to share today's story with you all! Today we will be covering the story of America's First Urban Serial Killer, H. H. Holmes. Holmes is known to have a confirmed body count of 9, but he confessed to 27, a much larger number for sure, but one that can not be substantiated due to a lack of evidence. This has been requested by David from , and also Helen, Lila's sister! So thank you everyone who sends us in requests, it's really great to hear about what you all want us to cover! I hope I do you all proud. So, without further ado, let us get into the early life of Mr. Holmes, or, by his birth name, Herman Webster Mudgett. Yeah, not an awesome name. Mudgett was born on May 16th, 1861, in New Hampshire. He was born to an affluent family, and was the youngest of three siblings. Unfortunately, we really don't know too much about his early life, but we do know that he was beaten often as a child, but, and this is going to sound kind of harsh, it was no more violent then the normal level of beatings of the time. This was a time when kids were sent to work at like, seven, so regular beatings at home was not a strange occurrence, so Holmes was no more abused then every other child of the mid to late 1800's. Holmes was close to his mother, despite the beatings, but would still fantasize about their deaths, which is totally normal. However, one thing we know, from Holmes' autobiography he would write in prison, is the moment he claimed that everything changed for him. Often, when we cover a serial killer, we can pinpoint one of the days in which things changed to form a killer identity, and in the case of Holmes, he claims that it was a day in which older neighborhood boys (knowing Holmes was terrified of the local doctor’s office.) shoved him in the doctor’s office. At this time period, were particularly horrifying places, this is the time of medical experimentation. We’re definitely in the renaissance of medical study, as this was a sort of in between the use of leeches to the use of like, antibiotics. Now often, in their offices at this time, doctors would have fresh corpses hanging out in a makeshift morgue area, that they would use for dissection, to learn more about what the human body looks like internally, and really, to try to figure out how this engine is run. And often, the bodies would be supplied by local graveyards, where bodies would be dug up and sold in the black market essentially, typically purchased directly from doctors. This is a time, as I said earlier, in which modern medicine was starting to emerge as we know it now. Before this was the time of basic butchery, really, and maybe one day we’ll really dive into an episode on medical treatments of the 17 and 1800's, because it was pretty rough. Due to the overpowering control of religion at the time, autopsies were considered to be a degradation of the human body, a sacrilegious act, so it was illegal to cut open and study the human body. But of course, even from the early renaissance, people were sneakily cutting open bodies to take a peek inside, and that definitely didn’t stop in the 1800's. In fact, it flourished. So, at this time, not long after the civil war, in which many doctors realized that they needed to learn more about the art of healing, that dissections of corpses began. And unfortunately, as it was illegal, doctors and students turned to the only thing they could think of doing… buying illegally stolen corpses. This would go on to be a major part of Holmes’s life, but at this point in his life, a young Holmes was terrified of the skeletons or bodies that were often on display at hospitals or doctors’ offices. Knowing this fear, the local boys dragged Holmes into the doctor’s office late at night, slamming the door shut on him, and leaving him in there alone in the dark. When he looked upon the human remains before him, he was no longer afraid, and instead, what was once a morbid fear was replaced with admiration, and a new found interest in medicine. Now, again, this is all from Holmes’ mouth, so it’s dubious as to whether this is true or not, but it makes for an interesting origin story. From here, at around 11 years old, Holmes would begin a long love affair with the medical sciences, and he began to dissect animals and study every piece of medical literature he could get his creepy little hands on. Now, Holmes was an incredibly intelligent child, and excelled in schooling, so moving forward with medical school was not an astronomical plan for the young Holmes. At this time period, Holmes’ interest in murdering animals was not a sign of a sociopath, like we know of today, but instead, that he had an interest in science, and a passion! I mean, in reality, when you have actual medical professionals cutting up bodies for fun, it’s not really that weird to a person of the times to see a little boy cutting up a mouse. 1800's kind of sucked. [Pictured: H. H. Holmes. Photo Credit: en.wikipedia.org] Now, this next bit is sort of mysterious, and there is a very good chance that around this point in Holmes’ life, he could have performed his first murder… Despite being intelligent, Holmes was not very well liked in school, and was often teased for his smarts, basically the typical nerd trope. But he did have one friend, a young boy named Thomas. However, one day, Thomas and Holmes were playing in an abandoned house, you know, just 1800's things, when Thomas stumbled and fell, dying almost instantly from the fall. It has been theorized that there was a good chance that Holmes had pushed his friend, interested in what would happen when the boy’s body crashed into the ground below. Now, there actually were people suspicious at the time that Holmes had something to do with the boy’s death, but there was never any proof that showed this was a homicide and not just a tragic accident, so Holmes was never in trouble for the death. We don’t know for sure either if he had pushed Thomas or not, but we know from the story of that it’s not unusual for budding serial killers to take their first victims very young, and especially ones at this point in history, where it seemed that everyone was a budding serial killer. Now, dispute the trauma of watching a boyhood friend die, Holmes finished high school early, at the age of 16, and by 18, had already married his first wife, Clara. Now one thing that Holmes never had in shortage was wives, and we’ll cover all of them in a bit, but not long after his first marriage Holmes peaced out and left her to attend medical school. Leaving his wife behind, Holmes began attending school at University of Michigan, and his love of corpses continued. In fact, he used his love of corpses to develop his very first foray into crime, insurance fraud. Teaming up with a friend of his from the school, the pair decided to take out life insurance policies on one another, then use corpses from the college to act as their bodies, to collect on the life insurance policies. I can only imagine how easy it was to get money for a loved ones death at this point in history. Life insurance policies were given out like candy back then, and insurance fraud was often under investigated. Of course, it’s nothing like now, where you pay thousands of dollars a year for insurance but then you can’t even buy a band aid from the pharmacy without a 99% copay. Now, this scheme of Holmes’ would work because what they would do was bring in a badly burned corpse, as of course, at the time, there was no DNA to verify ID of a body. This was the first in what would go on to be a long, long line of fraud using corpses, and later on, Holmes would be the supplying the murdered bodies as well. Holmes finished medical school and moved to Philadelphia where he gained employment at a pharmacy, but soon moved to Chicago, where he would stay for much of the rest of his life, and where to brunt of his murderous rampage would occur. When he arrived to Chicago, he officially changed his name from Mudgett, to H. H. Holmes. Now, at this point, Chicago was a hub of progress, having rebuilt from the great Chicago fire of 1871, and thousands of people were arriving in Chicago by train every week. This of course had a lot to do with the fact that the transcontinental railroad had just been built, and it was now easy for Americans to travel from anywhere in the country with just some money and a whim. Also, we briefly mentioned the creation of the transcontinental railroad way back in episode 18, so if you want a refresher on that, I definitely recommend checking it out, because that history alone is fascinating. Regardless, the fact that people were constantly flowing into Chicago meant that this was the perfect playground for a budding serial killer. Not to mention Chicago at the time, even though it was developing steadily, was still a pretty rough place at the time. On average, at the time that Holmes arrived, two people a day were killed by trains, violence ran rampant due to a struggling police force, and disease was an issue due to a major lack of sanitation, the usual Victorian problems. But despite it all, the American World’s Fair was chosen to be built in Chicago. Now I’m not going to get too into the World’s Fair, but the fact that it was chosen to be held in Chicago was a huge opportunity for Holmes to begin his murderous rampage, as millions of Americans made their way to Chicago in the years leading up to the Fair. In 1888, when Holmes first arrived in Chicago, he found a pharmacy across from a vacant lot, and immediately sparked his interest. Holmes began work at the Pharmacy, soon earning the trust of the Pharmacy owner, who eventually agreed to sell the Pharmacy to Holmes. Now, it’s often stated that Holmes, seeing an opportunity, murdered the two before taking over the Pharmacy, but this is actually unsubstantiated, and in fact, it has been proven that the original owners of the Pharmacy went on to live long lives, unmarred by Holmes’ cruelty. Less than a year after he moved to Chicago, he married a woman named Myrta, from Minneapolis, who moved to Chicago specifically to be with Holmes. However, once she arrived, she realized that Holmes was a notorious ladies man, and a rift formed between the couple. Regardless, she soon became pregnant, but Holmes, not interested in the additional baggage of children, sent her to live with her parents, where she would stay the rest of her life, with Holmes’ child. She would never return to live with Holmes, and she would be one of the few women to survive Holmes’ romantic interest. However, Holmes would occasionally check up on her and his daughter Lucy over the next few years, but he was happy with his new life as a bachelor once more, and decided, with the success of the Pharmacy business he definitely didn’t steal from an old widow and her sick husband, decided to make a purchase of the abandoned lot across the street, with dreams of a massive mansion of his very own dancing in his creepy head. He purchased the land under an alias, and with that acquisition, step one of Operation Murder House was complete. See, Holmes always wanted to be the best, the biggest, the man. And he wanted to be the best at murder. [Pictured: The Murder House. Photo Credit: en.wikipedia.org] Not long after purchasing the land, work began on Holmes’ castle. However, what he would do in order to get the place built, was to hire then fire countless workers, claiming that their work was sub-par, and then never pay them. He did this over and over and over, hiring one person to build a wall, then another to build another wall, collecting a long line of pissed off workers who he never paid. Unfortunately, there were thousands of men looking for work, a huge pool for him to pull from, so he never had to worry about paying for the work being done. But each time, somehow, people would fall for his charm and the work would get done. Now, here is a common question that people have about H. H. Holmes. How did everyone fall for his bullshit? Holmes was a master of conversations, and was considerable charming for the time. He was one of the most proficient con men in history, and it showed. He learned how to accurately manipulate other men into thinking they were friends, he could trick women into thinking he was a charming suitor, he was a professional at harming others. And he used his skills to screw over dozens, from women he tricked into marrying him, from workers he hired then fired to build his house, he was constantly scamming everyone, but they would continue to fall for it because he was just that commanding a personality. Holmes now a days would be a politician, or a car salesman. He was greasy, but coated in a thick layer of charm that disarmed everyone he met. And of course, that included the over 500 workers he hired over the course of the year it took to build his infamous murder castle. And, another person who was unfortunately tricked by Holmes’ charm, was his right hand man, a man named Benjamin Pitezell, who answered a call for a carpenter to Holmes’ new mansion. Holmes, noticing a perfect mark, included Pitezell into his fold almost immediately. Unfortunately, Pitezell had seven children on top of a rampant drinking problem, so he was desperate to do anything for Holmes to keep his family afloat. With his lackey on his side, Holmes officially opened the Mansion, complete with a new pharmacy, and stores on the base floor, and several bedrooms and apartments on the following few floors. Now the mansion itself was massive, obviously, and due to the way it was built, it was almost completely a maze, similar to the Winchester Mystery House, with doorways that opened to nothing, or stairwells which crisscrossed back and forth. Some rooms were incredibly small, and others were completely sound proofed… nothing weird about that. Many of the rooms only had locks from the outside, which is obviously super safe. Allegedly, Holmes would trap women in his hotel, locking them in their rooms, and then, using a system of pipes he had installed in the home, would slowly pump in gas, killing the women as they struggled to escape. Additionally, in his basement, were pools of lime, which he would use to melt down the women’s corpses, to cover up for his crimes. In fact, he created secret passageways with greased trash chutes, which dropped the bodies into the cellar, where he could then carry the battered corpses to the lime pits. Except… that probably never happened. Much of what we know about the murder mansion was recorded in newspapers of the time, or by Holmes’ mouth himself. And frankly, although it is much less exciting then the version that everyone knows, it seems pretty unlikely that Holmes ever killed random strangers who came to stay in his hotel. In fact, in more recent times, that massive number of 200 victims has been completely debunked, as it was determined that the number of 200 didn’t even come from Holmes himself, but instead, had come from a pulp crime novel from the 1940's, that had not been written by anyone even remotely connected to the case. It would be like taking something from the National Enquirer as a legitimate statistic. And on top of that, as we’ll get into in a bit here, they definitely found human remains here… but there was no physical evidence on legitimate record that showed that any random women were murdered. Of the nine confirmed victims of H H Holmes, he knew or was an acquaintance of all of them. There were no sweet naïve single women, trapped in rooms. This is a huge bummer for people, and I have a feeling that people aren’t going to like me very much, but the thing is, one thing we always do on this show is try to bring both sides, fact and fiction, to the table. We did it with , , , history is definitely crazy, but we know for sure that newspapers of the past were not legitimate sources, and should not be treated as such when we’re talking about real history. And this case is no different. And honestly, journalists of the late 1800's were the worst at, quote unquote, “fake news.” In fact, according to Harold Schechter, the author of one of today’s sources, quote, “It’s my belief that probably all those stories about all these visitors to the World’s Fair who were murdered in his quote-unquote ‘Castle’ were just complete sensationalistic fabrication by the yellow press. By the time I reached the end of my book, I kind of realized even a lot of the stuff that I had written was probably exaggerated.” There is a very real, and honestly, more than likely chance that the great murder castle of H. H. Holmes was nothing more than a shitty, rickety mansion full of crappy rooms and shoddy workmanship, and not a massive monolith to the act of murder. So yeah. Now that I’ve disappointed everyone listening, let’s cover the shit we know that actually happened, and trust me, Holmes still was a straight up monster. He just most likely didn’t have a master crafted mansion dedicated to killing. Now, one thing we know that Holmes did, using his advanced medical knowledge, was perform illegal abortions. Naturally, there were women who died during the process, and it is believed that those who died under Holmes’ knife were sold to doctors for study, tying back to the first time that Holmes found himself face to face with a body in the doctor’s office, all those years ago. And while endangering the lives of women all of Chicago, and running his pharmacy, and dodging debtors, Holmes still had a little time to fall in love. Well, as much as he could. A woman named Julia Smythe, the wife of one of Holmes’ employees, found herself charmed by Holmes, and eventually entered into an affair with him, cheating on her husband, Ned Conner. It would take Ned almost a year, but he soon found out that Julia was carrying an affair with Holmes. Frustrated and upset, Ned abandoned his wife and quit his job, leaving Julia with Holmes, along with their daughter, Pearl. Unfortunately for the two, Julia soon became pregnant with Holmes’ child, thus throwing a wrench in Holmes’ plans. See, it was pretty evident that Holmes knew what he wanted, and what he definitely didn’t want was a family to slow him down. So on Christmas Eve, 1891, Holmes convinced Julia to have an abortion, and in turn, he agreed to marry her. Julia agreed, and that night, Pearl and Julia disappeared forever. It’s unknown exactly what happened to them that night, but Holmes claims that he sold Julia’s articulated skeleton to a local doctor, where she was allegedly kept on display. It is unknown what happened to Pearl. The next woman to fall prey to Holmes was Emeline Cigrande, a young woman who began working as Holmes’ personal secretary in May of 1892. By November, he proposed to her, after quickly convincing her to be his romantic partner, despite the fact that he technically already had two abandoned wives and a dead fiancé. As a wedding preparation, Holmes handed Emeline a stack of plain envelopes, and asked her to address them to family and friends, which he would place the invitations in. Of course, instead, Holmes decided to kill her, as he had grown bored, yet again. So, not long after agreeing to marry her, Holmes asked Emeline to go into his safe and collect some business documents for him. Once inside, he closed the...
info_outline Episode 51 - "Our Case Updates" 01/29/2020
Episode 51 - "Our Case Updates" Episode 51 - Our Case Updates Episode 1 Update - : Episode 2 Update - : For more information: Episode 7 Update - : Episode 14 Update - : Episode 24 Update - s: The experience: Episode 30 Update - : Episode 31 Update - Episode 41 Update - : Episode 42 Update - : Episode 47 Update - :
info_outline Episode 51 - Our Case Updates & Find What Makes You Smile 01/29/2020
Episode 51 - Our Case Updates & Find What Makes You Smile Well greetings, creepy friends! This is a bit of a different episode for today, as, unfortunately, 2 out of 3 co-hosts are plague stricken! Okay, they don't have the plague, but this is a solo Kim episode, where she catches us up on all the updates on the cases we have covered in the past year. Thanks so much for checking us out, and if you have always wondered the how and why behind your favorite true crime stories, then consider subscribing to Death Dames! And everyone remember, Smart is Sexy!
info_outline Episode 50 - The Caffey Family Massacre & The Saga of Chick Norris 01/22/2020
Episode 50 - The Caffey Family Massacre & The Saga of Chick Norris Well greetings, creepy friends! The newest episode of Death Dames is here! Today, Kim tells us about the tragic murder of most of the Caffey family, and for research, Ally teaches us about the stages of blood loss. Topics include chickens, chonky pets, and much more! Thanks so much for checking us out, and if you have always wondered the how and why behind your favorite true crime stories, then consider subscribing to Death Dames! And everyone remember, Smart is Sexy!
info_outline Episode 50 - "The Caffey Family Massacre" 01/22/2020
Episode 50 - "The Caffey Family Massacre" Episode 50 – The Caffey Family Massacre We are sitting pretty at 50 episodes today, which I can’t even think about because it honestly feels like we started this show like, two months ago, but here we are! Now, we have something special planned for our one year episode in two weeks, but for today’s episode, I wanted to cover a pretty heavy true crime case that I learned about from my local library, where I sometimes troll for True Crime books or cases to cover. This case is depressing, brutal, and has violence against children, so I want to make those listening aware, if you are uncomfortable with those topics. Today, we will be covering the murder of most of the Caffey family, a religious, middle class family from Texas who were abruptly murdered one night in a horrible twist that shocked everyone in their small town. Now, before we get started on the story, I want to acknowledge my main source for this episode, which was the book Terror by Night written by Terry Caffey, the patriarch of the family, and the only survivor of the night of violence which took his wife and three children from him. The book details what events lead up to the crime, his experiences on that night, and how he learned to forgive those who killed his family. It’s a powerful piece, and, although it is very religious, if that bothers you, I do still recommend checking out the book because it is such a fascinating case. So without further ado, we begin on the night of March 1st, 2008, when the Caffey family would change forever. [Pictured: The Caffey Family. Photo Credit: murderpedia.org] In a small home in Alba, Texas, surrounded by 20 acres of remote, pine filled forests, slept the members of the Caffey family. There was Terry, the father, and his wife Penny, the mother. Sleeping in their rooms were their two sons, Matthew, 13, and Tyler, 8. Finally, there was their daughter, 16 year old Erin. At around 3 am, there was a slam in Terry and Penny’s bedroom, which woke the couple up. It was the sound of a door knob slamming into the dryer in their laundry room, which was connected to the master bedroom in which they slept. Almost a second later, two gunmen entered the room and began firing on the couple. Terry was shot around eleven times, taking several bullets in the arm and shoulder. A bullet entered in his right cheek which blew out his left ear. The gunmen then turned to his wife, Penny, and shot her several times. At this point, Terry had fallen out of bed and was lying on the floor of his bedroom when they returned, to shoot him three more times in the back, and once in the back of his leg. After that, the two men pulled out a samurai sword and used it to nearly decapitate Penny, killing her instantly. She was 37 years old. Terry appeared dead to the killers, so they left the room, heading to Tyler and Matthew. Around this time, Terry regained consciousness, as he heard his son Matthew pleading with the killer, saying, quote, “No, Charlie, no!” before Terry heard another smattering of gunfire, ending Matthew’s sentence. Terry lost consciousness once more, and would not awaken until a few moments later, when the smell of smoke reached his nose. The killers had set his house on fire. Even though he was riddled with bullets, Terry knew he had to get out, and try to save his family. He crawled over to Penny, but knew almost immediately that there was no point in trying to save her. Her blood was everywhere. He began to try to stand up to go to find his sons and daughter, who were still in the house, but the fire had been set in those areas, so Terry had to turn back to his bedroom. He dragged himself to the master bathroom, and crawled out the window, landing on the soft earth beneath. He made his way to the front door of the house, but by the time he did, he saw the full extent of the fire, and he knew it was too late. There was no way his family was still alive. Terry, seriously injured, began to crawl. And crawl. It took him almost two hours after the first round of gunfire to make it 400 yards to his neighbor’s house to ask for help. At one point, exhausted, he stopped to die, but then thought to himself that if died, no one would know what had happened to his family, so he pushed himself forward. When he got to his neighbors home, owned by a man named Tommy Gaston, they found Terry and were stunned by his appearance. He was so covered in soot, blood, and dirt that they couldn’t tell where his wounds even were. They carried him inside and called 911. During the 911 call, the operator asked where Terry was bleeding from. Gaston replied, quote, “Where isn’t he bleeding from?” Charles Dickerson was the officer who took the call about the crime that had been committed at the Caffey house. He immediately drove towards the modest two story cabin, in the woods, which lay at the end of a one-lane gravel road. The Caffey house was definitely remote, but Dickerson could still see the hazy glow of something in the distance. When his car drove by the Caffey home, he could clearly see that it was on fire, and burning steadily. It was completely engulfed with flames, and the roof had begun collapsing in. There was little chance of saving it, but Dickerson made the call to the fire department as he headed in the direction of the Gastons' home, where Terry lay dying. When Dickerson pulled in, he was immediately met by Gaston, and he took the officer inside to see Terry, who was lying on their living room floor. Dickerson leaned over the injured man, who managed to speak, though his words were weak with strain. "They're all gone," Caffey said to Officer Dickerson. Then he said, quote, "Charlie Wilkinson shot my family." The ambulance arrived and loaded Terry onto the gurney. He was in terrible shape. Overall, he was covered in injuries. He had been shot twice in the back, and had a bullet lodged in his shoulder. Another was located in his rotator cuff. One of the shots had damaged a nerve in his arm, which had left it completely numb and limp. The most serious appeared to be the bullet which had entered his face, but miraculously, it had travelled through his sinus cavity, broke both cheekbones, but had exited out his left ear canal, leaving his hearing completely undamaged. But he had still lost a considerable amount of blood, so the EMT's on the scene carefully placed him in the ambulance to rush him to the hospital. As he was loaded into the ambulance, he panicked, and began to say he didn’t think that he would make it. He tried to make sure everyone around him heard who had committed these crimes. His daughter's 19 year old boyfriend, Charlie. [Pictured: Charlie Wilkinson. Photo Credit: murderpedia.org] Caffey was rushed to the local hospital and was in critical condition. Almost immediately, however, police rushed into action. There had not been a murder in the small town for over 18 years, so there was a concern that the police were not equipped to deal with the case, but to their credit, they went to work immediately. While the police sped to find Charlie Wilkinson, the fire department attempted to save what was left of the Caffey home, but it was no use. Later in the day, firefighters sifted through the remains. All that was left was a pile of ash, metal, and debris. But they did find the charred remains of three people, Penny, Matthew, and Tyler. All had been shot, stabbed, and finally, burned. There would end up being no way to determine if the gunshots, or the fire, had killed them. But there was hope. There were only three bodies. Erin Caffey had survived. But now, police had another concern... where was 16 year old Erin? [Pictured: Erin Caffey. Photo Credit: murderpedia.org] When Terry regained consciousness later that day, he was greeted by the face of his sister, Mary. She was happy to see him awake, and she told him good news, that his daughter Erin, had escaped the blaze unharmed. Police had found her later in the day, and told Mary that Erin had escaped by jumping out her second story bedroom window to the ground below. But, as Terry lay there thinking, his joy began to sour. There was only one window in Erin's bedroom, and there was an air conditioning unit in it. The unit was screwed in. How did she climb out the window? However, he brushed off the concern, and asked where she was. Mary told him that Erin was safe, with her grandparents. She would come visit him in a day's time. However, the next day, Erin never showed. Confused and frustrated, Terry asked where his daughter was, and why she had not come to visit him in the hospital. Mary looked away from him, avoiding the question, until finally, she broke down and told him. Erin, you see, had been arrested. Police believed she was an accomplice in the murder of her family. The Caffey family were known around their town as being the perfect family. Penny and Terry had met when they were both very young, and met at church. Penny, a beautiful young blonde of 17, had met Terry and thought he was handsome, so a family friend sneakily acted on their behalf and set them up. They were married just 8 months after their first date. At the time of her death, Penny and Terry had been married 19 years. Penny was a loving mother, who played piano at the local church, and spent her days volunteering to . While Penny played piano, Matthew and Tyler played guitar and harmonica, all while Erin sang. Erin was a pretty, shy blonde, like her mother had been, and had a singing voice that could fill the church pews. In fact, their pastor once joked that, quote, "if I had five more of her, I could fill church on Sundays." Erin, as she grew older, began to bring in a different sort of attention, however, most notably, that of the gaze of young men. Terry and Penny were somewhat protective parents, and definitely bordered on the side of overprotective. Erin was taken out of public school when she had been caught kissing a girl at the age of thirteen, and from then on, was to be home schooled by Penny to ensure that she would be taught their religious values. I mean, I'm not a parent, so I can't say anything about this, but Erin had been taken from public school at a very formative time in her young life, a period when teenagers, especially girls, really benefit from learning social experiences they can only have with their peers. However, Erin, now home-schooled, did not have those experiences. And that might have helped to lead her into the arms of her first boyfriend, a young man named Charlie. When Erin turned 16, she got her license and was given an old Chevy pickup, with the understanding from her parents that she was to get a job, which she quickly did. This was a whole new world for her, considering she had lived an extremely sheltered life for the past 13 years. Like many young people who are suddenly released from the control of their parents, Erin began rebelling almost immediately. While at a church meeting for the youth group, one of the adults in charge found Erin making out with Charlie while he felt her up under her shirt. Her parents were called over, and were the ones to separate them. Infuriated, Terry told Erin that she was not to see Charlie again. But of course, that's not what you say to your teenage daughter. Charlie himself was not exactly a catch. Unemployed and lazy, Charlie dressed and acted like a stereotypical hillbilly (even calling himself that on his Facebook page.) He drove a beat up truck, and always wore Wrangler brand jeans, work cowboy boots, and a big black Western hat. He did, however, claim to truly love Erin, and was attracted to her immediately when they first met. [Pictured: Caffey with Wilkenson. Photo Credit: murderpedia.org] When Charlie and Erin began dating, Charlie had just returned from boot camp with the Texas National Guard, where he had been sent in an attempt to straighten out his behavior. He was going into his senior year when he went to the Sonic in which Erin worked. She brought him his food order, and the pair immediately clicked. Charlie spent much of his free time hunting, which lead him to develop a great deal of skill with guns. He didn’t have a history of crime, but he was known to get into fights at school, as he was apparently very easy to piss off. But when he met Erin, he considered her his soulmate. Eventually, the two began spending significant time together, and Terry and Penny relented to their wishes, allowing them to date seriously. Charlie was frequently invited over for dinner, and, although Terry and Penny did not approve of him dating their daughter, they knew that it was likely that Erin would continue to date him with or without their permission. Charlie had begun to attend their church with them on Sundays to spend more time with Erin, but soon his admiration and love for her bordered on reverence. It was around this time that the Caffeys, after months of harassment from Erin, agreed to let her return to public school so she could spend even more time with Charlie. From here, the relationship escalated. Around Christmas time, 2007, the couple had sex for the first time. Then, a few nights later, Charlie dropped to one knee and presented Erin with a promise ring. At this point, once Penny noticed the ring on her daughter’s finger, they decided to intervene. The two teenagers had only been together for a few months, but they were already agreeing to one day marry. Penny told Erin to give the ring back to Charlie, and Terry pulled Charlie aside one day at church to tell him that Charlie had to wait to promise himself to Erin, as she was only 16 years old. Terry also made the choice to pump the brakes on the relationship, and Erin and Charlie’s time together was limited to once a week under parental supervision. Erin was furious, and began talking about running away. By early February, 2008, less than a month before the murders, Erin was caught talking on her phone to Charlie after curfew. She was grounded, her car was taken away, and Charlie’s weekly visits to the house were stopped. And by Feb 27th, the Caffey’s would confront Erin over her Myspace profile. Apparently, Erin and Charlie had been communicating on Myspace (this was before everyone and their mother had a Facebook account, so you could actually do stuff on social media profiles without your parents finding out) and were openly commenting on each other’s profiles about sex, alcohol, and drugs. This was three days before the murder. By the time Erin came home from school, both Terry and Penny were waiting for her. Terry told Erin that her relationship with Charlie was over, as of that day. Surprising both her parents, however, Erin broke into tears and told them that she had wanted to end things with Charlie for a while now, but didn’t know how. She promised that she would end things with Charlie. The family then went to Bible study, and it seemed that everything was looking up. The day of the murder, the whole family gathered together for a spaghetti dinner. At one point while cooking, Terry dropped some sauce on the floor and proceeded to slip on it, tumbling to his rear in front of his three children. They all began to laugh, Terry, Erin, Matthew, and Tyler, and then broke into a pillow fight. All three of the children played together, laughing and screaming as siblings do. Hours later, Matthew and Tyler would be dead. [Pictured: The remains of the Caffey Home. Photo Credit: murderpedia.org] On the night of the murder, after Terry had been taken to the hospital, police looked into his claim that Charlie had killed Penny, Matthew, and Tyler. The chief deputy Kurt Fischer was shocked, and didn’t think it was possible that Charlie, who was friends with his sons, could have done something as brutal as the murder. Luckily, however, Fischer had seen Charlies truck parked in front of his friend’s trailer on the way to the scene of the crime, so he knew exactly where Charlie was. Fischer drove to Matthew Waid’s trailer, where a young man answered the door. He let Fischer inside, where Waid and his girlfriend were found sleeping. Fischer woke Waid up and asked where Charlie was. The found Charlie lying on a mattress on the floor, sleeping. Fischer told him to move slowly and show his hands, as lying next to Charlie on the mattress, was a gun. Charlie went willingly though, and they went outside to the porch, where Charlie was placed in handcuffs. He was told that the Caffey family had been killed, and at that moment, Charlie hung his head in silence. When police got Charlie’s clothing from inside, they found that his shirt and cowboy boots were covered in blood. Charlie was taken in to the police station for questioning. Fischer then returned to Waid’s trailer to collect evidence. He found a box of ammunition on the floor next to the mattress, and beneath a shirt, he found a used condom. However, it wasn’t until he lifted up a blanket which had been in a pile on the floor that he found, what he thought originally, was a life sized doll. But once it’s eyes opened, he realized it was the sleeping form of Erin Caffey. Fischer pulled out his gun and commanded her to show her hands, but she looked at him, dumbfounded. When asked what she was doing here, she looked around confused and said, “Where am I?” Fischer wondered if she had been drugged due to her state. Fischer asked her what happened, and she whispered, “Fire.” Fischer called for an ambulance and Erin was taken in, to see if she had been drugged, and to treat her for what they assumed to be shock. At this point, police believed that she had been kidnapped. Once she was lying in her hospital bed, police gently asked her to tell her story. She spoke in a small, meek voice, and told them that she was fourteen years old, that she had woken up to the smell of smoke, and that two men with swords had ordered her to get down on the floor. She said she tried calling her friend Charlie, but that he didn’t answer. She showed little emotion, but she did seem afraid. However, Erin didn’t smell like smoke. And while she lay in the hospital, then at her grandparents’ house once she was discharged, the pieces started to fall into place. Charlie was being interrogated by a Detective when he mumbled to himself, saying, quote, “I’m in a lot of trouble.” Charlie talked quickly and openly, however, and told detectives that he had done the murder, with the help of Waid and Waid’s girlfriend Bobbi Johnson. The two were taken into custody hours after Charlie was, and eventually, all three of them confessed. According to Charlie, himself, Waid, and Johnson parked their car in front of the Caffey home at midnight, where they were met by Erin, clad in her pajamas. She sat in the car with Bobbi Johnson while Charlie and Waid entered the house. Charlie had gotten Waid involved when he offered to give him $2,000 to help kill the Caffeys. Waid agreed, as he wanted to use the money from the hit to gain custody of his kids back… Let that sink in. Once inside, Charlie crept inside the parent’s bedroom, where he fired his .22 caliber pistol until it jammed. Once they believed both parents to be dead, Waid said to Charlie that they had to, quote, “go get the kids because little ones talk.” Charlie didn’t think he could kill the two children, but Waid took care of it, shooting Matthew in the face before Charlie could stop him. Apparently, over his apprehension, Charlie and Waid then took turns stabbing Tyler, who had been hiding in a closet when they found him. Once complete, they grabbed a suitcase that Erin had packed of belongings she wanted to save from the fire, then took money from the family’s safe, which Erin knew the combination to, and took money from Penny’s purse and Terry wallet. They then began setting things in the house on fire. One thing that all their stories had in common was who had planned the murder. Erin Caffey was the...
info_outline Episode 49 -Roxana Druse & "Make Us Less Happy" 01/15/2020
Episode 49 -Roxana Druse & "Make Us Less Happy" Well greetings, creepy friends! The newest episode of Death Dames is here! Today, Kim tells us about killer Roxana Druse, the last woman to be hanged in New York, and for research, Ally teaches us about the history of the Telegram! Thanks so much for checking us out, and if you have always wondered the how and why behind your favorite true crime stories, then consider subscribing to Death Dames! And everyone remember, Smart is Sexy!
info_outline Episode 49 - "Roxana Druse" 01/15/2020
Episode 49 - "Roxana Druse" Episode 49 – Roxana Druse Today is a special day, because we’re hopping in the time machine back to the turn of the century in America, for a good old fashioned historical murder! It’s been some time since we really dug deep into the dark history of this country, and I was super interested in this case as I did more research into it, as it has everything. It’s a tale of murder, of dark family secrets, town gossip, and finally, an execution which was screwed up so badly that it completely changed the way the death penalty was handled in the entire state. This is the story of Roxana Druse, a middle aged woman who, after decades of abuse from her husband, snapped and killed him, with the help of her whole family. Roxana, also known as Roxy, and also known as Roxalana, was the last woman to be hanged in New York State, and the shit job that was done during her hanging, which we’ll get into later, was a major part in New York State’s replacement of the gallows with the far more humane and “user friendly” execution method; the electric chair. Now, before we get into the story, I want to thank listener Marion Dunk for the recommendation on this topic! And you may say, hey, Dunk, that last name sounds familiar! Well that’s because this topic recommendation comes courtesy of Lila’s Mom herself! Thanks Momma Dunk! And also, I want to try to get through our backlog of listener recommended topics, so if you have a story or topic you want us to do an episode on, please reach out to us on social media, or by emailing us at DeathDamesPodcast@gmail.com! But with that, let’s get into the marriage, and abrupt end to the marriage, of Roxy and William Druse. Now, we’re talking mid 1800's at the point of the couple’s marriage, so unfortunately, little is known about the pair before their blessed union. We do know that prior to her marriage, Roxy lived and worked in New Hartford, New York, where she was employed at a Mill. She was a perfectly normal girl, with no history of violence that was ever reported, at least. As for her husband William, well I know less about him. However, at the time the couple was married, Roxy was in her late teens, and William was around 20 years older than her, in his late 30's, early 40's. I do wish I had exact timelines for these things, but this was around 1860, so they didn’t have a Facebook I could look up. The newly married couple moved from New Hartford, NY, to a small, dirty, yellow farmhouse in Herkimer, NY, where the pair intended to work the farm to make a living together. The pair soon grew pregnant, and their first daughter Mary, was born around 1865. To follow Mary was born a son, named George, born 9 years after Mary. There was also another child born of Roxy and William, but the child died around 1872. At the time of the child’s death, the people of Herkimer were suspicious, and rumors began to circulate that Mrs. Druse had had something to do with the tragedy. However, no investigation was launched into the death, so life resumed as normal for the family. Now, unfortunately, normal life for the Druse family was anything but normal, as tensions were constantly on high in the home. William was known throughout town for being a lazy farmer, and was considered useless by many, as he gave up fairly quickly on properly tending to their land, which therefore meant that the family barely made enough money to scrape by. It was also well known that William was a violent man, who would often scream and abuse his family when his short fuse would blow, and that Roxy and William were always at odds with one another. Neighbors would constantly complain of the couple, who would get into screaming matches at all hours of the day and night. And as for Roxy, despite the fact that William was pretty disinterested in making a comfortable living for the family, she was not allowed to leave the farmhouse to seek work, as William had purposely chosen to keep his wife in the farmhouse, rarely letting her leave for trips to see family, or to do the shopping. He wanted her kept locked in their home, at his beck and call. This, as we have seen before, is a telltale mark of an abuser, and it was well known that William was frequently verbally and physically abusive to his wife. Looking for more help on the farm, however, Roxy was able to convince William to hire on a nephew, Frank Gates, to work on the farm in exchange for room and board. Frank agreed, and thus one more family member was crammed into the small farmhouse. [Pictured: Roxana Druse. Photo Credit: murderpedia.org] By 1884, tensions had risen to catastrophic levels. Roxy, at this point a tired old woman of 37, had grown exhausted by her marriage of around 20 years to the violent William, who was, at this point, 60 years old. They lived in the home with their daughter Mary, who was 18 or 19 (different sources say different things), their son George, who was 10, and their nephew Frank, who was 14. And by December of 1884, William would disappear completely from the house. By December 16th, people around town began to notice that William was missing from his usual spots at the local bar. It didn’t take long for a theory to form, but ironically, people of the town who had noticed Williams disappearance were worried that William had actually gone mad and murdered his whole family, and then skipped town. They were close, of course. But not quite right. By the 18th, concerned citizens made their way to the old townhouse, hoping to find out what had happened to the Druse family. When there, the visitors were greeted by the sight of thick black smoke billowing from the chimney, and a horrible, acrid smell, like that of charred meat. The odor was stifling, and the people visiting the home had to cover their faces to breath. The door to the house was locked, which, at the time, was extremely odd. When they tried to peek into the windows for any sign of life, they were startled to see that all the windows of the house had been completely covered with newspaper, making any line of sight within the home completely impossible. Rumors began to spread, and it didn’t take long for Roxy herself to show up in town, acting as if nothing was amiss. Roxy, when asked about her husband’s disappearance, simply shrugged it off, saying that William had simply unexpectedly left to visit her brother in New York City, who worked as a grocer. He had needed some help, and apparently, William, the lazy asshole who didn’t even like to work on his own land, had volunteered to help out. Roxy also claimed that she had even sent out several telegraphs to find out when he would be coming home, but never heard back from him. People began to put pressure on the police, suggesting that something had happened to William, and that Roxy had done it. Whenever Roxy heard whispers of the murder of her husband, she would apparently go into a wild rage, and tell who ever had spread the rumor that she would sue them for slander, and that she would sue anyone who repeated the story that she had killed her husband. Super normal reaction, there, Rox. Smooth. Unsurprisingly, it didn’t take long for police, receiving tips and concerns from multiple citizens and neighbors, began to take notice of William’s disappearance. In fact, the neighbors on either side of the Druse home, Charles Pett to the west and the Eckler family to the east, had both begun their own investigations. The two families firmly believed that William had met with foul play, and were the first to notice the black smoke on the 18th. Both Mr. Eckler and Charles Pett decided that the answer would lie with the children. Naturally, this is before we had those silly things like rights for children, so the two grown men, over the course of several days, interrogated the children of the house, but specifically, Frank, the 14 year old nephew of Roxy, who was, they believed, the weakest link in the family. Eventually, Frank, afraid of the pressure he was receiving, cracked, and told Pett and Eckler that he was ready to tell his story. The police were called, and District Attorney A.B Steele arrived, ready to put the squeeze to a 14 year old boy, placed Frank under arrest. And this is around the point where I start to have doubts about literally everything. Frank was placed under police arrest, and was aggressively questioned by police. Now, I’m going to say this again. Frank was 14. He was living away from his parents, away from siblings, friends, he was living with an abusive family member in a small town where he didn’t really know anyone. And now he was under arrest, and being questioned by police about his Uncle’s murder. And after several hours of intense questioning, Frank told a story. So we’re going to do something a little different than usual. When I was looking through my research, I found Frank’s actual words recorded in his confession, so instead of paraphrasing, I’m going to read his words directly. This was the story that Frank told police about the murder of William Druse. “My name is Frank Gates. I live in Warren. I have lived for the past five or six weeks with my aunt Mrs. William Druse. I did chores for my board and went to school. My uncle was killed the Thursday before Christmas. I helped to kill him and depose of the remains. Last summer my aunt wanted to hire me to shoot Uncle William. She said she would give me a good many dollars for doing it. I told her I would not do it. There was nothing more said then, but this winter my aunt and Uncle Bill had a good many words. On Thursday before Christmas in the morning, Uncle Bill asked me to get up and build the fire. I did so. Aunt Roxy and Mary, her daughter, got up. Uncle Bill went and did the chores. I asked if I should help him, and he said 'No.' He said he would rather do them himself. When he came into his breakfast he sat down to the table. I had nearly finished mine. My aunt told me to hurry up. I asked her what she wanted. She then told me and George to go out of doors, but not to go far from the house. I heard a noise three or four times. Then she called us. She had a revolver. She handed it to me and told me to shoot Uncle Bill or she would shoot me. She put the revolver up to my nose when she said this. I then fired at Uncle William. He was sitting in a chair or on the floor. I was so excited I could not say which. Then she took the revolver and fired at him until the revolver was empty. Then she took the axe and pounded him on the head. Uncle Bill said 'Oh Roxy, don't.' She then chopped his head off and sent me and George upstairs after a straw tick which was filled. She dragged him onto the tick and told me I should help drag him into the parlor... She built up a hot fire in both stoves, and then had me watch at the north window and Mary watch at the south window. Then she took a block and a board into the parlor and chopped him up, and then put the pieces in the fire. She told me to crowd the kitchen stove with shingles. Next day all I saw of him was a large bone. Mary had that and put it in the other stove. It had flesh on each end. Next morning she took up the ashes from the stoves, put some in a bag and some in a tin box. She told me to hitch up the horse, as she was going to my father's... I took the ashes and threw them on the ground. We then went to father's, and I was taken sick and had to stay home a few days... When we were on our way back she threw the ax into the pond as we passed over the bridge. There was a newspaper wrapped around the ax... She said I must do it or I would be sorry." From this point in his confession, Frank went on to implicate everyone else in the house, claiming that 18 year old Mary was present when William was first shot by Roxy, and that Mary actually held him in place with a rope while Roxy shot him. Of George, Frank claimed that the 10 year old boy seemed completely unaffected by the violent crime which took place, and that, while Roxy dismembered the corpse of her husband, George gleefully sat in an adjacent room, playing checkers. He also began to escalate the story with each retelling, soon claiming that Roxy boiled the body and fed the flesh to their pigs, and that the head was cooked in the oven. There was no outright mention of cannibalism, but it was heavily implied. But this story was definitely enough for police to move forward with a case against Roxy, so the whole family was arrested, including George and Mary. Using Frank’s confession, police attempted to find proof of the crime, and to find the remains of William Druse. Police did eventually find a frozen lump of bone and ash. It consisted of about 18 to 20 tony pieces of bone, two knee caps, and the upper end of the left tibia. Although it was not much, the coroner seemed sure enough that it was human. Of course, this is before DNA, but the coroner was sure that it was William. Near the remains, the paper wrapped ax was also found where Frank claimed he had thrown it. At this point, the case was heating up. The police set up an inquest on January 17th, to find out exactly what had happened, in Roxana’s words. At the official inquest, police brought in several neighbors and local friends of the family to testify about the black smoke, about the tumultuous relationship between the couple. Some mentioned that after William’s disappearance, they went to visit the Druse home and noticed that all the wooden surfaces in the kitchen had been repainted recently. Frank was again put on the stand and he repeated his elaborate story. When George was placed on the stand, however, he had something a little different to say. George did say that most of what Frank had said was true, but he had omitted one detail that was crucially important. Frank’s father, Roxana’s brother, was also there. According to George, his uncle, Charley Gates, was actually the one who originally handed the revolver to Roxy, and that the murder was all his idea. After everyone else had spoken, the main event was sworn in. Roxana Druse sat on the stand. Now, once Roxy was in custody, she was not particularly interested in being involved in the entire process. When she was questioned, she answered honestly, however, but when asked if anyone was present at the time of her husband’s death, Roxy replied that yes, there were two others there. Frank Gates, and his father, Charles. Once stating this, Roxy refused to give any additional information, afraid of incriminating her children in error. She did, however, say that it was Charles, who had fired several shots into William’s body, while she did as well. And that he was the mastermind behind the murder. Also, she stated that Gates was there throughout the whole process of disposing of the corpse, and that he helped with the burning process as well. When asked about her marriage, Roxy explained that her husband was not a good man. In fact, she specifically stated that the only time in their marriage that William treated her kindly was on their wedding day. Almost immediately into the marriage, his darkness began to show. When asked what would happen if she was found guilty, Roxy flippantly responded that whether she was sentenced to life in prison or hanging, she would never have to live with the abuse from William Druse again. When she was placed in her jail cell, she said, quote, “Well, I hope I may be able to procure tonight what I have not had before in two years, a good night’s rest.” The official trial of Roxana Druse began on September 24th, 1885, and would go on to last two weeks. Not much changed from the formal inquest, other than the fact that some of the kitchen floorboards had been pried up and they were coated with blood. Roxy never took the stand herself, but her defense team attempted to claim that she had taken her husband’s life in self dense, after two long decades of abuse. Regardless, with the evidence placed forward by Frank, and the brutality of the murder and disposal of the body that he had described, their defense had no chance. Roxana was found guilty of murder in the first degree when the Jury agreed unanimously. The courtroom was filled with visitors from all over New York, desperate to see the outcome of one of the most vicious crimes perpetrated by a woman in many years. Roxana, when she heard the finding of guilty, grew pale but showed no emotion. However Mary, upon hearing her mother’s fate, began to weep loudly and openly. The judge stated that, due to the fact that she had caused her husband’s death, in front of his children, the way she had dismembered his remains, the jury had been shocked and appalled by her acts. They seemed most upset, ironically, by the inclusion of George, her 10 year old son. She was then brought in several days later to learn her sentence. The judge asked her to rise while he stated that she will be hung by the neck until dead. She was to be executed on November 24th, 1885, just a few weeks after her sentencing. Roxana again showed no emotion when she learned of her fate, but when she was removed from the courtroom, she burst into tears, covering her face while her body shook with sobs. No woman had been executed in this area of New York for over 40 years, so everyone was in shock that Roxana would be executed. [Pictured: Roxy in her cell Photo Credit: murderpedia.org] After the trial of Roxana Druse, the family was not done yet. Mary Druse, the daughter of Roxy and William, was found guilty of murder in the second degree and sentenced to life in prison. George and Frank were both released, and as for Charles Gates, he was never arrested for his involvement, despite the fact that Mary, George, and Roxy all stated he was present. His involvement was never investigated. Many people of New York and beyond were not happy with how this trial had gone, and there was an influx of pleas and requests from women’s rights activists, and clergymen from all of the country. The requests were to either push the execution of Roxana, or, more likely to remove the sentence of execution and instead give her life in prison, due to the circumstances of the murder. Many claimed that, since she had been a long time sufferer of domestic abuse, that it was unfair to condemn her to death. Also, there was the fact that her jury consisted of exclusively male jurors, therefore she had not been tried by a jury of her peers, as is required by law. Her execution date was eventually pushed until February 28th, 1887, and the local government even considered changing the laws regarding capital punishment in special cases, such as when the accused was a victim of abuse, as in this case, but regardless, after a lengthy appeal process, the Governor in charge of her case refused to alter her sentence, and instead, stated that he would see her hang for her crime. [Pictured: Recreation of a news article. Photo Credit: UnknownMisandry.blogspot.com] The day before her execution, Roxana Druse made a confession to her spiritual adviser, a man named Dr. Powell. During this confession, she told him, once more, that Charles Gates was the one responsible for William Druses’ death, and that he was present and aided her in the murder. She confessed to having shot William once, and then claimed that Charles took his own gun out shot three times into William’s body. She did confess to chopping up his body, but that Charles had been the one to burn it. She also requested a chance to clear her daughter’s name, so Roxy wrote an affidavit which stated that Mary Druse had nothing to do with the murder or disposition of his body. She stayed up late the night before, but eventually slept only a few hours before waking up with a scream. She was calmed...
info_outline Episode 48 - Randy Kraft, The Scorecard Killer & some Animal Influencers 01/08/2020
Episode 48 - Randy Kraft, The Scorecard Killer & some Animal Influencers Well greetings, creepy friends! The newest episode of Death Dames is here! Today, Kim tells us about the seriously upsetting crimes of Randy Kraft, the Scorecard Killer, and for research, Ally teaches us about how Sobriety Tests work. Thanks so much for checking us out, and if you have always wondered the how and why behind your favorite true crime stories, then consider subscribing to Death Dames! And everyone remember, Smart is Sexy!
info_outline Episode 48 - "Randy Kraft, The Scorecard Killer" 01/08/2020
Episode 48 - "Randy Kraft, The Scorecard Killer" Episode 48 – The Scorecard Killer It’s a New Year, a new decade, so I thought we should usher in 2020 with a good, old fashioned, big bad episode. Now, the interesting thing is that today we’re covering a killer who I had not heard of until I stumbled upon his story while looking for topics to cover. I haven’t heard him covered on other podcasts, and he is similar to some of the other more obscure serial killers we’ve covered, like , or . But when reading more about his crimes, I was shocked that more people don’t talk about Randy Steven Kraft, aka, the Scorecard Killer. Kraft raped, murdered and mutilated between 16 to 67 victims, mostly young men, from 1971 to 1983, when he was caught by police and his reign of terror ended. However, his murders had a little catch to them, one that we’ll discuss in a little bit. But for now, let’s get into the early life of Randy Kraft, the man who would be known as the Southern California Strangler, the Freeway Killer, and most famously, the Scorecard Killer. Also, as a trigger warning, this one gets pretty rough at times with a lot of genital mutilation and sexual violence. Kraft was born on March 19th, 1945, in Long Beach California. He was one of four other children, but grew up with only sisters, along with his parents, Harold Kraft and Opal Lee. The couple had just moved to California at the Outbreak of World War 2, and the pair were hard workers in difficult production jobs. Because both parents worked, the family did not live in poverty, but there was a strain on the family due to the fact that both parents worked. Again, this is normal now, but we’re talking in the late 1940's, a time when women were really just starting to come into their own in the workplace. Regardless as her position as a worker, Opal always tried to keep her children a priority, spending time with them and bringing them to social gatherings. Harold, however, did not spend too much time with his family, and was known to be distant and standoffish to them. But despite this, Randy would have a fairly normal childhood, receiving love from his sisters and mother. This is surprising, considering the fact that most serial killers came from troubled backgrounds, but Kraft had a fairly normal upbringing. However, there was one little bump in the road when he was a child, as Kraft fell down the stairs and received head trauma at the time. As we have mentioned previously, head trauma is often a trigger for sociopathic behavior in the future, but in this case, we don’t know for sure if it was related. Regardless of his head injury, he excelled in school so much that he was able to begin accelerated classes at the Junior High School level when Kraft was only 12 years old. By the time he was enrolled in High School, he had developed a love of politics, and routinely achieved top grades in all his classes. However, with puberty, Randy Kraft would learn something about himself that would begin to shift his world perspective. Kraft suspected that he was homosexual. [Pictured: Randy Kraft, Age 9. Photo Credit: murderpedia.org] Now, we’re talking about homosexuality in the 1960's in a very traditional part of California. To this day it is still not easy to come out as gay to your family, or to the world, and to a young boy in the 1960's, it was an impossibility. Due to the social stigma he would undoubtedly face, Kraft kept his sexual orientation a secret, and he focused instead on his education. On top of being an excellent student, Kraft was sociable with his fellow classmates, and he played saxophone in the school band, and even started a Republican Club at his school. In June of 1963, Kraft graduated 10th in his class, and then began attending Claremont Men’s College in California on a full scholarship, where he majored in Economics. Declaring himself a staunch Republican, Kraft has aspirations to become involved with government, similar to Ted Bundy. While in college, Kraft decided to join the Claremont Reserve Officers Training Corps and continued to follow Republican demonstration groups who supported the Vietnam War at the time. However, as many do in college, Kraft soon began to find his perceptions shift through time, and he eventually would abandon his conservative leaning views by his second year of college. It was also around this time that Kraft would begin dating men. He also began working at a local gay bar called “The Mug”, and he also brought home several different male “friends” to meet his family, but they remained oblivious to his sexuality, consciously or otherwise. It was around this time that Kraft was arrested and charged with lewd conduct in 1966 when he attempted to pick up an undercover police officer for sex. However, Kraft had no previous criminal record, so he was let go. But this slight would not go unnoticed by Kraft, and it was the last straw for him, as he cut all ties with the Republican party and instead embraced the ideologies of the Democratic party, even going so far as to campaign for the election of Senator Robert Kennedy. [Pictured: Kraft in 1963. Photo Credit: murderpedia.org] At around this time in his life, however, things began to spiral out of control for Kraft. In his senior year at Claremont, Kraft began heavily drinking, taking drugs, and developed an addiction to gambling, which would take up most of his nights. He began to fail his courses, and eventually, he would repeat several courses that he had failed. He did eventually graduate, however, in February of 1968. Not long after finishing college, Kraft found himself in a sort of limbo period in his life, and he decided that he wanted to give some structure to a life that he felt was beginning to spiral out of control. Four months after finishing college, Kraft enlisted in the U.S Air Force. He would rise in status fairly quickly, soon earning the rank of Airman First class. However, this was not going to last too long, as this was the time that Kraft chose to come out to his family, and eventually, the Air Force. When Kraft came home to his family and told them that he was homosexual, his mother, although she did not understand or agree with his quote unquote “choice,” she was somewhat supportive. His father, however, in typical 1960's dad fashion, did not take the news well. According to Kraft, his father flew into a violent rage. Because of this reaction, Kraft slowly began to distance himself from his family over time. The final blow for him, however, was when, not long after announcing his sexuality to his superiors at the Air Force, he was discharged from the Air Force for “medical reasons.” Kraft would fight the finding, but the Air Force remained firm on their stance. With no job any longer, Kraft was forced to move back in with his parents, and began work as a bartender. Now, I’m not going to blame anyone but Kraft for what he was about to go on to do. He made the choices he made which lead him to become a rapist and a murderer. But I will say that the constant judgement and erasure he received once coming out as gay definitely didn’t help his simmering sociopathic tendencies. Again, it’s not the Air Force’s fault, or his father’s fault, nor the rest of his family, for that matter. But in Kraft’s eyes, the world had abandoned him, pushed him aside, tried to smother him. And it would pay for that. Not long after he was terminated from the Air Force, Kraft moved into his own apartment, and his criminal tendencies would begin with an abrupt crash. In March of 1970, Kraft brought a 13 year old boy named Joseph Gerald Fancher home with him, where he drugged and raped him. The boy managed to escape, and was found wandering on the street, obviously drugged. The police were summoned, and Fancher was taken to the hospital, where his stomach was pumped. He then told police that Kraft had drugged and beaten him, but at the time, afraid of the backlash he would receive, Fancher was too ashamed to tell police that he had also been sexually assaulted. However, Fancher told police that he had taken the pills willingly, and without the added knowledge of the sexual abuse, no charges against Kraft were filed. This was all the encouragement that Kraft needed. By 1971, Kraft decided to improve his career prospects, so he enrolled at Long Beach State University, where he hoped to become a teacher. It was here that Kraft met a man named Jeff Graves, who would become Kraft’s boyfriend. It was while the pair was dating, from 1971 to 1976, that Kraft would go on to murder at least 16 victims. There has been some speculation that Graves was involved in the crimes I will go on to detail here, but his connection was never confirmed, as Graves passed away in 1987. Before his death, Graves had told investigators, quote, “I’m really not going to pay for it, you know.” What we do know for certain, however, is that during their relationship, Graves taught Kraft about bondage, the effects of drugs on sexual intercourse, and the wonderful world of orgies. The pair enjoyed an open relationship for many years, but as the couple grew older, the free lifestyle began to turn sour, and their relationship grew volatile. And while the fights in the home grew, Kraft would begin to seek companionship elsewhere, hunting not just for a one night stand, but also, for a victim. This all began on October 5th, 1971, when police found the nude body of 30-year-old Wayne Dukette. Dukette, in life, had been a bartender at a local Long Beach gay bar known as “The Stable.” His body was found off the Ortega Highway, and was in such a bad state of decay that police could not find signs of foul play. What the coroner did find, however, was an exceedingly high level of alcohol in his blood. Police claimed that this death was an accident due to alcohol poisoning. Dukette would not be linked to Kraft until his capture, in 1983. But we’ll get to that later. The first confirmed murder that can definitively be attributed to Kraft, however, was Edward Daniel Moore. Moore was a 20 year old Marine who lived at the barracks of Camp Pendleton. He was last seen alive on Christmas Eve, 1972, but it wouldn’t be until two days later that his body would be found alongside the 405 Freeway in Seal Beach. His body showed severe trauma, including something that would become a signature of Kraft’s crimes, genital and rectal abuse. Moore’s body showed signs that prior to his death, he had been tied up at the wrists and ankles, and beaten badly in the face. His body was covered in deep bite marks, and a bundled up sock had been forcibly inserted into his rectum. His cause of death, however, was strangulation, with the use of a garrote. Now again, we will mention that this doesn’t feel like a first kill, honestly. This feels likes escalation on a massive scale. The degradation of the victims rectum, the biting, the use of a garrote, those things are all extremely violent and personal, and don’t seem like a first murder to me. But regardless, this murder was the start of a rampage that would only get worse as time went on. Now, we’re going to cover a large number of victims in rapid succession, because honestly, there are a lot of victims. And also, unfortunately, we don’t know a ton about them. It’s sad, but some of his victims are even still unidentified. Just like the body of an unidentified male, age estimated around 17 to 25, who was found off a Freeway in Los Angeles several weeks after Moore was found. This John Doe was strangled with a garrote, and also had the telltale sock in his rectum. Two months later, 17 year old Kevin Clark Bailey was found murdered, on April 9th. Bailey was murdered in a similar way to the two others, but he marked the first example of genital mutilation performed by Kraft. Bailey’s genitalia had been removed, and he had been raped prior to his death. Not long after Bailey, two other bodies were discovered; an unidentified male victim until 18 was found dismembered on April 22nd, and on July 30th, 20-year-old Ronnie Gene Wiebe was found, strangled. Kraft’s final victim of 1973 was a young man named Vincent Cruz Mestas. Vincent was a 23-year-old art student whose body was found on December 29th, his hands cut off from his wrists, and like the earlier victims, a sock was again shoved in his rectum. In 1974, Kraft murdered, at minimum, three other victims, all linked to highways or freeways in California, and most of them were found with some object inserted into their bodies, a tell of Kraft’s. The victims were 20 year old Malcolm Eugene Little, 19 year old James Dale Reeves, and 18 year old Roger Edward Dickerson. But unfortunately, Kraft would aim younger for his next victim. On January 4th, 1975, just after the New Year, 17 year old John Leras was found strangled and dumped at the Sunset Beach. He had still been in high school, and had last been seen boarding a bus. At this point, however, Kraft was escalating, and not about two weeks later, he struck again, this time strangling 21 year old Craig Jonaitis. But, as we’ll cover in a little bit, Kraft was nowhere near done with his rampage. And unfortunately, the police had no leads, and could not put a stop to his murders. Even though they had tried, and had even taken him in for questioning for yet another murder… On March 29th, 1975, Keith Crotwell and his friend, Kent May, were hanging out in a parking lot in Long Beach, when they were approached by a man driving a Ford Mustang. The man, appearing to be harmless and just looking to party, asked the two young men if they wanted to hop in his car, where they could drink all the beer they wanted, and they could even dabble with Valium as well. The two agreed, interested in having a good time, and got in the car. The car, of course, belonged to Kraft. While the two young men drank and took drugs, Kraft drove around instead of bringing them to a party, and it did not take long for the two to pass out from the drug and alcohol cocktail. This was exactly what Kraft had been hoping for. For some reason, however, Kraft decided that Kent May was not his intended victim, so Kraft drove back to the parking lot from where he picked the pair up, and unceremoniously dumped May out of the car, leaving him there, unconscious. Kraft then drove away with his prize, the unconscious Crotwell. No one would ever see Keith Crotwell again, at least, not until his skull was found a month and a half later. The rest of his body would be found at the end of 1975. However, he had made a crucial mistake; he had left a victim alive. May, although understandable scarred by his experience, remembered enough about the car that he could tell his friends about the distinctive Ford Mustang that Kraft drove. Apparently, it was painted in a very distinct black and white pattern, so, when May told his friends about the paint, the pair took it upon themselves to search the neighborhood in which the duo was kidnapped to try to find the car. They were successful, and wrote down the license plate, bringing it to police. This brought the police to Kraft’s door. Kraft was brought in for questioning, where Kraft eventually admitted that he had picked up the two young men, and that he dropped May back off at the parking lot, but he and Crotwell decided to stay together, but while they were driving, Kraft had crashed his car in an embankment. He told police that he had instructed Crotwell to stay in the car while he went to get a tow truck, but by the time he returned, Crotwell had left, walking off into the night. Police, understandably, thought that Kraft was full of shit, and two detectives decided to file homicide charges against Kraft, but, unfortunately, the District’s Attorney’s Office dismissed the request, as the coroner had not stated that Crotwell was not a victim of hominid, but instead, that his death had been an accident, as there was not adequate flesh left on the body to give a decisive cause of death. The charges were dropped, and Kraft was once more free. It would only be 8 months after Crotwells murder that Kraft would strike again. On December 31st, 1975, Kraft performed what some to believe was his “worst” murder. This one is rough, as a heads up. On New Year’s Eve, Kraft abducted Mark Hall, and drove him to a remote canyon in San Juan Capistrano. Hall was taken out of Kraft’s car, and tied to a tree, his back and rectum exposed. Kraft sliced off Hall’s genitals, and shoved them into his own rectum. Kraft also, dabbling into new realms of torture, covered Hall’s chest, nose, cheeks, and scrotum with small circular burns, done using the cigarette lighter from his car. He also used the same lighter to completely burn both of Hall’s eyes. There were also a large number of slices all along the insides of his thighs. His cause of death, however, was asphyxiation. He had suffocated to death from various leaves and dirt that his face was shoved into, during the course of his torture. The autopsy performed on Hall showed that he was alive throughout most of his torture. Now, in between all of these murders, Kraft was still maintaining a relationship with Graves, but the couple ended up breaking up in 1976, as the pair had begun to violently dislike one another. It wasn’t long after their separation that Kraft laid eyes on 19 year old Jeff Seelig at a party. Seelig was a baker who was almost instantly smitten with Kraft, who was 31 at the time, and the couple moved in together very quickly. The couple dabbled in threesomes, but Seelig seemed comfortable in the relationship, and Kraft did as well, as there was a lull in his murders in 1976, until December 10th, when Kraft murdered 19 year old Paul Fuchs. His body has never been found. But after this murder, Kraft would not strike again for almost a year and a half. Unfortunately, however, this would not be the end for Kraft, as, in 1978, he went on another rampage which would last until his capture years later. [Pictured: Victim Paul Joseph Fuchs. Photo Credit: en.wikipedia.org] On April 16th, 1978, Kraft found Scott Hughes, an 18 year old Marine. He abducted him, drugged him with Valium, then sliced open his scrotum, cutting out one of his testicles. Kraft then strangled Hughes to heath and dumping him beside a freeway. In June of that same year, Roland Young was found dead, his genitals cut off and his body covered in stab marks. Just over a week later, 20 year old Richard Keith was found strangled. He had been drugged at the time of his death as well. Then, three weeks later, Kraft killed again, this time picking up a 23 year old hitchhiker named Keith Klingbeil. Klingbeil was, again, drugged, then strangled. During the autopsy, it was found that his left nipple had been badly burned with the use of a car cigarette lighter. The final of Kraft’s 1978 victims was a young man named Michael Inderbieten. He was found off the freeway on November 19th, 1978. Now, Inderbierten is the last of the confirmed murders, as Kraft was not charged with every murder he was believed to have done. But, in 1979 alone, it was believed that he murdered Donnie Crisel, 20 year old Gregory Jolley, an unidentified man between the age of 18 and 30 who was found dismembered, and 15 year old Jeffrey Sayre. In February of 1980, the decapitated body of a 19 year old named Mark Marsh was found, you guessed it, off a highway. Most of the above victims had similar marks on their bodies that seemed to correlate with Kraft’s previous murders, and some were even found with socks placed in their rectums as well. [Pictured: Victim Keith Klingbeil. Photo Credit: en.wikipedia.org] Now, for much of 1980, Kraft did a little traveling for work, which brought him to a whole new playground, namely Portland, Oregon. While here, Kraft would continue on his rampage, taking the lives of two more victims, 17 year old Michael O’Fallon, and an...
info_outline Episode 47 Part 2 - Our "Best Of" 2019 01/01/2020
Episode 47 Part 2 - Our "Best Of" 2019 Well greetings, creepy friends, and Happy New Year to all! The newest episode of Death Dames is here! Today all three of us talk about things that made us happy this year! Special guest is Sarah, Ally's little sister! Thanks so much for checking us out, and if you have always wondered the how and why behind your favorite true crime stories, then consider subscribing to Death Dames! And everyone remember, Smart is Sexy!
info_outline Episode 47 - This Year in Crime, 2019 01/01/2020
Episode 47 - This Year in Crime, 2019 Well greetings, creepy friends, and Happy New Year to all! The newest episode of Death Dames is here! Today all three of us cover several big things that happened this year in the realm of True Crime! Subjects include The Allenstown 4, a lead on Jack the Ripper, and more! Thanks so much for checking us out, and if you have always wondered the how and why behind your favorite true crime stories, then consider subscribing to Death Dames! And everyone remember, Smart is Sexy!
info_outline Episode 46 - Creepy Christmas & the Sausage Swiper 12/25/2019
Episode 46 - Creepy Christmas & the Sausage Swiper Well greetings, creepy friends, and Happy Holidays to all! The newest episode of Death Dames is here! Today, Kim tells us about some of the weirdest and creepiest holiday traditions around the world, and Ally teaches us about the Belsnickel! Thanks so much for checking us out, and if you have always wondered the how and why behind your favorite true crime stories, then consider subscribing to Death Dames! And everyone remember, Smart is Sexy!
info_outline Episode 45 - The Mysterious Death of Dora Kent & an At Home Autopsy 12/18/2019
Episode 45 - The Mysterious Death of Dora Kent & an At Home Autopsy Well greetings, creepy friends! The newest episode of Death Dames is here, and we're celebrating week two of Ally's birthday celebration! Today, Kim tells us about the mysterious death of Dora Kent and her cryogenically preserved head, and for research, Ally teaches us about metabolites. Thanks so much for checking us out, and if you have always wondered the how and why behind your favorite true crime stories, then consider subscribing to Death Dames! And everyone remember, Smart is Sexy!
info_outline Episode 44 - The Tylenol Murders & Accidental Clink 12/11/2019
Episode 44 - The Tylenol Murders & Accidental Clink Well greetings, creepy friends! The newest episode of Death Dames is here, and we're celebrating week one of Ally's birthday celebration! Today, Kim tells us about the unsolved Tylenol Poison Murders, and for research, Ally teaches us about Cyanide. Thanks so much for checking us out, and if you have always wondered the how and why behind your favorite true crime stories, then consider subscribing to Death Dames! And everyone remember, Smart is Sexy!
info_outline Episode 43 - "The Murder of Steven Davis" 12/04/2019
Episode 43 - "The Murder of Steven Davis" Episode 43 – The Murder of Steven Davis Today’s case, although it does cover a murder, which is inherently sad, has a particularly satisfying ending to it. This case deals with money, intrigue, an unfaithful lover, and a mother’s revenge. This is the case of the murder of Steven Davis, a brilliant computer programmer living abroad in The Philippines. His life was abruptly ended when, sitting in his apartment, three gunmen entered and shot him in cold blood. His case grew cold, until, through the dedication and determination of his mother, who launched her own investigation into his assassination, was able to solve the crime, and bring his killers to justice… even the one responsible, who no one believed could have done the crime. Now, this episode sort of ties in with last weeks, in some respect, because I’ve been enjoying looking up cases that were cold and then were solved through DNA, like with , or, in this case, cases that were solved by unusual means, namely, a mother’s desire for justice. Now, none of us are parents, but I can absolutely see how a mother, mourning the mysterious death of her child, would dedicate much of her life, time, and finances to solving a case, and I give a lot of respect to Steven’s mother, Margaret Davis. She took his crime into her own hands, and went from an average grandmother to a full time detective. And that is why I wanted to tell this story. Because justice is within the reach of anyone who has the courage to pursue it. [Pictured: Steven Davis, with one of his children. Photo Credit: www.stevenalstondavis.co.uk] Steven Davis was a 32 year old man who lived in the Philippines, where he established a software company. He was born in March of 1970 and grew up in England, specifically in Nottingham, which, as an American, sounds like a fairy-tale place. He was the only son born to his parents, but he had two sisters. Unfortunately, Steven lost his father very, young, at the age of 14, and he spent much of the rest of his childhood taking on a care-taking role for his mother and sisters. He was responsible, studios man, who worked hard to ensure that he could financially assist with his families bills. By the time he had turned 21, he had already excelled considerably in his job to the point that he accepted a position which paid triple the salary he was receiving in England. With this new job, Davis moved to Hong Kong. Not long after, he made the choice to move to The Philippines, where he branched out on his own and started his own software developing company. He was handsome, tall and blond, and charismatic. And he enjoyed spending time with friends made through work, including the quintessential 90’s young man’s hobby of hanging out in night clubs and strip clubs. It was there at a club that Steven met Evelyn, his future wife. [Pictured: Evelyn Davis. Photo Credit: www.stevenalstondavis.co.uk] Evelyn came from a poor family, and in order to help pay for the family’s finances, she had been forced to work as a sex worker at starting at the age of 13. When she first met Steve, she was 15 years old, stuck in a difficult and dangerous life working for the club as a sex worker. She was very beautiful and looked a bit older than she was, so she convinced Steven that she was several years older. The two began dating, and after a few years of dating, Steven married Evelyn when she was 17. He believed however, that she was 21 at the time they got married, and Evelyn even went so far as to use her older sisters ID to get married legally... He was 26. Once married, Steven paid the club owner 500 pounds to quote unquote buy her freedom from the club, and he promised Evelyn that she would never have to go back to the life of a sex worker. He would protect her, just like he had his mother and sisters after the death of his father. Evelyn was grateful, as she was embarrassed that she had had to work in the business, and she had long told her friends and family that she prayed that one day, a rich man would rescue her. By the way, I don’t want anyone to think that this is a shot on people who chose the life of a sex worker, as those who chose it are one thing. But she was 13. She had no choice in the matter. The club essentially owned her, and I can’t blame Evelyn for wanting an out, and unfortunately, at that time in The Philippines, the only way out was a husband. Not everyone was happy with the new nuptials, however. Steven’s mother, Margaret, was not particularly happy that her son had married a sex worker, particularly one that no one in the family had ever met. However, when Margaret ended up meeting Evelyn, she was pleased to find that Evelyn was a polite and sweet young woman, and Steven seemed to really love her. Eventually, as time went on, the couple would go on to have two children. They first had a daughter, Jessica, and the family was so excited that such a beautiful child had been born to them. Once Jessica was born, Steven began providing his wife with a regular allowance, so that she could have her own money and autonomy. She would then, in turn, send the money she received from him to her family, who desperately needed the income. Steven also like to give her family gifts whenever they visited, hoping to win them over as well. Overall, Steven wanted to make his wife happy. Not long before his murder, Evelyn gave birth to their second child, a handsome son, who they named Joshua. Margaret, and her new husband Alan, grew to accept the relationship, and often traveled to visit their grandchildren. Margaret even invested quite a bit of her own money into Steven’s business, making her a part shareholder. She wanted to ensure that her son and his family would be secure, and that his business would thrive. On the outside, Evelyn and Steven seemed a perfectly happy couple, a shining example of the opposites attract theory. However that would all come crashing down when, on a late night in the hot summer of 2002, Steven’s life would be taken from him. [Pictured: Steven Davis. Photo Credit: www.stevenalstondavis.co.uk] It was late at night on July 17th, 2002, when Steven worked late with his co-worker and friend Martin. To be closer to the financial center of The Philippines, Martin and Steven rented an apartment together in Makati, which they used as an unofficial work space. It was not unusual for the pair to stay there during the week, as they would often go out to dinner or go bar hopping with business associates. When not working, Steven would return to the house he owned with Evelyn in Angeles, which was about three hours away from his work apartment. That night, in a moment of silence, there was a loud crash, and the front door to the apartment sprang open. Three men ran inside, holding guns in their hands. Martin sat in the main room, and the men raised their guns, aimed them at him, and asked if he was Steven. Martin told them he was not, and the trio then moved on to the next room, where, after a pause, Martin heard a barrage of shots, about 3 or 4 booms. They then ran out of the apartment. Martin immediately rushed to the aid of his co-worker and friend, but Steven lay in his bed, seemingly unresponsive. He had been shot several times in the chest. Martin immediately called police, but by the time Steven arrived at the hospital, he was dead. It would be two days until Margaret received the call that no mother ever wants to hear. However, the caller was surprising. Evelyn had not called her late husband’s family to inform them of his death. In fact, it was Martin, who called Margaret. She was devastated, but even more so, she wanted answers. [Pictured: Steven and Evelyn Davis. Photo Credit: www.stevenalstondavis.co.uk] Police began investigating the murder right away, as there was a concern that the murder of an English citizen on their soil could potentially cause international issues that they wanted to avoid. Unfortunately, thought the police moved slowly, believing the motive for the murder to be related to business. Originally, the suspicion was placed on Steven’s co-workers, including Martin, who was there at the scene. Police investigated their theory, however it did not sit right with Margaret that business was the motive. While the police investigated their theory, Margaret grew impatient. Her son had been killed, and no one was listening to her. If this assassination was motivated by a rival business partner, then why not kill Martin too? Why only Steven? After all, they even left a witness alive who was a member of Steven’s business. This, to Margaret, seemed personal. Steven was obviously their only target. Margaret had to get to where her son had been murdered if she wanted answers. So Margaret and her husband, Alan, made plans to travel to be with Evelyn and their grandchildren, and eventually, bring home their son for burial. They arrived less than a week after the murder. While there, they also wanted to keep an eye on the investigation. Which, thankfully, was the saving grace in solving this murder. See, right away, from the first moment that Margaret had learned of her son’s murder, something had not felt right to her. Why did Evelyn not call her? Surely, if her son was murdered, his wife should have been the one to call, not his friend. Originally, Margaret suspected Martin as being involved, as she wanted to know how the killers got into the apartment without having to break in, and the fact that Martin was left alive. But, when she landed in the Philippines, Martin was her first stop. She sat down with him and spoke to him, and once doing so, realized that he was telling the truth. Martin was suffering from extreme PTSD related to the trauma he had endured at the hands of Steven’s killers. He was skittish and frightened, and according to Martha, he would not stop looking over his shoulder, always afraid that the door would burst and it would be his time instead. Martin was clearly a victim of the murder, just in a different way. After meeting with Martin, Margaret and Alan met up with Evelyn, who was at the funeral parlor, setting up arrangements. Margaret, expecting a weeping widow, prepared herself to console Evelyn, but was stunned when, upon walking into the funeral parlor, Evelyn was cold and distant. She did not shed a tear for Steven. In fact, the first thing that Evelyn said to Margaret, was that she needed money. Margaret, stunned, obliged, and when she asked if she and Alan could stay at their house, instead of a hotel, as Margaret wanted to be with her grandchildren, Evelyn said no. According to her, Evelyn’s family was staying with her at their home in Angeles, so there would be no room for her in laws. At this point, Margaret’s suspicions began to grow. Thinking something seemed off, the following day, Margaret went to her son’s home, and was surprised to find that only Evelyn, the children, and several of the houses maids were present. There was no family. Also, while speaking with the family, Evelyn said that the killers had been in the apartment for about 20 minutes, but Margaret wondered how Evelyn knew that, since Martin had not said anything about the length of time the killers had been in the apartment to her. At this point, Margaret had begun to form an opinion on the murder of her son, and she believed that Evelyn had something to do with it. So, she began to dig. Margaret voiced her concerns to the police handling the investigation, but they did not listen, as they still believed that this was a business related crime, and not a spousal disagreement. Due to their unwillingness to listen to any other suggestions, the case went cold. Frustrated, Margaret made her decision, and hired a private detective. Once she had help on her side, a lot of things began to emerge, dark little tidbits of information about her son’s marriage, and his wife’s behavior. [Pictured: Margaret Davis. Photo Credit: RealStories/Youtube] Margaret had known from conversations she had had with Steven prior to his death that the marriage was going through a rough patch. She had told her that the family was having financial troubles, and that they were having trouble paying their bills. At the time, Steven had mused aloud that the missing money may have been related to Evelyn. He had wondered if she was stealing from him. In fact, he also mentioned that he had recently cut her allowance, something that did not go over particularly well. In fact, while going through her sons things after his murder, she found a discarded receipt from a pawn shop. It was for Evelyn’s ring. She had pawned it off, several days before his murder. From here, Margaret and her investigator had a theory, and they began questioning people who knew the couple. Margaret was so determined to get answers that she temporarily moved to The Philippines full time so she could work more closely with her investigator to get answers. And they found a lot… rather quickly. Apparently, for several months leading up to Steven’s murder, Evelyn began to behave… strangely. She would disappear from the house at random hours, leaving the children alone or with housekeepers. She would constantly be glued to her cell phone, talking on it or texting, and rarely wanted to be in the room with Steven. She refused to sleep with him, and several of Steven’s friends confided to Margaret that during the time that Steven was at his work apartment, Evelyn would often entertain various male suitors. Eventually, the truth came to light. Evelyn had a boyfriend. And apparently, Steven had learned about his existence just prior to the murder. Steven had his suspicions that his wife was being unfaithful, but he found out exactly what was going on one day when he took his daughter to school. Apparently, when he arrived at the school to drop off Jessica, he was told by the employees of the school that his daughter was not even enrolled there. However, he distinctly remembered arranging the enrollment with Evelyn, and even, gave her the large sum required to pay the school tuition. Evelyn had spent the money given to her for their daughter’s education on her boyfriend. At this point, Steven was done. He cut off Evelyn’s allowance, and told her that she would need to get a job or go to college to further her education and of course, to ditch the boyfriend. However, here was motive. Evelyn stood to inherit everything if Steven died. Sure that they were on the right track, Margaret and the investigator began surveillance on Evelyn, following her in the hops of photographing some evidence which they could bring to police to convince them to look into their theory. Eventually, the pair compiled a list of names and photographs of the people that Evelyn routinely spent time with, and brought them to Martin’s home, hoping he could positively identify the killers who had assassinated Steven. Martin held the pictures in his hands, staring at them, and they knew in an instant that he had seen these men before. Martin pointed to three of the pictures, to three men. One of the men was Arnold Adoray… Evelyn’s boyfriend. This, to Margaret, was proof enough that Evelyn was related to this whole thing. She believed that Evelyn planned on getting rid of her husband so that she could inherit his business, sell it, and enjoy a blissful life, wealthy and comfortable, with her boyfriend and her two children. Considering the gunmen did not break into the home, but used a key, Margaret believed that Evelyn had been the ringleader, giving the key to her boyfriend and his team. And what was worse, Margaret believed that this may have been planned for some time. Before his death, Margaret and Alan had visited Steven and Evelyn, and on their last day, Evelyn kept pushing them to spend as much time as possible with their son, and even urged them to say goodbye to him multiple times. It was as though she had known, even at that point, that they would never see their son alive again. Now that they had a positive ID from Martin, the police had no choice but to shift gears in their investigation, and to focus on the trio that Martin had identified. Police arrested two of the three men, Arnold Adoray, Evelyn’s boyfriend and a security guard named Alexander Dagami. The men were questioned by police, and when Margaret was asked about these men, she stated she didn’t know them, nor had she ever met them before. This of course was ludicrous, as the detective had photographic proof that Evelyn was seen with the group. Unfortunately, however, once the men were in custody, the police finally began to realize the scale of this crime, and were worried that Margaret, Alan, and Stevens’s two children were not safe in the Philippines, as they had not found all of the killers. The British Embassy was asked to intervene, and the family was forced back to England, as there was a legitimate concern that there would be retaliations against Margaret due to the arrest of the men. Unfortunately, however, baby Joshua was still with Evelyn when Margaret received the visit from the Embassy. At this point, a violent legal battle began, with Margaret trying desperately to save Joshua and bring him home to England, where his older sister was living safely. Unfortunately, this could not legally be done without his mother’s permission, so Margaret once more went on the warpath. After six weeks of tough negotiations, Margaret was eventually able to pay off Evelyn enough money that she allowed Joshua to live with his grandmother in England. When the workers from the Embassy came to collect Joshua, he had been severely abused by Evelyn and her family. He was suffering from sever malnutrition, and had several internal infections. When asked what had happened, they learned that Evelyn had tied her son to a tree to ensure he didn’t run away. Unfortunately, Evelyn went into hiding immediately after her son was taken, so police could not investigate her for the child abuse, nor for her part in Steven’s murder. [Pictured L-R: Evelyn, Steven, and Margaret Davis. Photo Credit: www.stevenalstondavis.co.uk] While all of this was going on within the family, the three men were formally charged with the murder of Steven Davis. Martin afraid for his life, had also gone into hiding, so there was a chance that he would be too afraid to testify as a witness, so now came a new issue. With no physical evidence to bring to trial, there was a good chance that the charges of murder would not stick. But finally, the third shooter, a man named Robin Butas, had been tracked down. He had been in hiding in the jungle, for months after the murder, and had only been found when, Margaret, once more, had stepped in and actually paid for the airfare so the police could afford to travel to his location, as they were not able to without her input. But it was well worth the investment, as Butas was ready to talk. And in exchange for a lesser sentence, Butas not only confessed and confirmed that the two men in custody were his cohort, but also, the theory that Margaret had been suggesting for all this time… Evelyn was the ringleader. According to Butas, who, by the way, was Evelyn’s brother in law, Evelyn was desperate, and needed help. She convinced the three men that, once her husband was dead, she would be extremely wealthy, and they could afford a better life, free from the binds of poverty. When the men agreed, Evelyn handed the key to the apartment to Butas. She even drove the men to the apartment herself, and sat downstairs, in her car and waited, when her husband was brutally murdered in the apartment above her. Finally, after over a year of investigating, and pursuing justice, Evelyn was found and arrested. In February of 2004, 18 months after the murder of Steven Davis, Alexander Dagami and Arnold Adoray, were found guilty at their murder trials, and were sentenced to 30 years in prison each. Butas was...
info_outline Episode 43 - The Murder of Steven Davis & This One's for Moms! 12/04/2019
Episode 43 - The Murder of Steven Davis & This One's for Moms! Well greetings, creepy friends! The newest episode of Death Dames is here! Today, Kim tells us about the mother who turned into a detective to solve the murder of her son, Steven Davis, and for research, Ally teaches us about the science behind Mother's Intuition! Thanks so much for checking us out, and if you have always wondered the how and why behind your favorite true crime stories, then consider subscribing to Death Dames! And everyone remember, Smart is Sexy!
info_outline Episode 42 -The Murder of Sophie Sergie & Bear Eating Birds 11/27/2019
Episode 42 -The Murder of Sophie Sergie & Bear Eating Birds Well greetings, creepy friends! The newest episode of Death Dames is here! Today, Kim tells us about the murder of Sophie Sergie, which was cold for 25 years until it was solved in 2019! And for research, Ally teaches us some of the marine life that is found in Alaska. We promise, it's related. Thanks so much for checking us out, and if you have always wondered the how and why behind your favorite true crime stories, then consider subscribing to Death Dames! And everyone remember, Smart is Sexy!
info_outline Episode 41 - Musical Murders & Surprise Cannibalism 11/20/2019
Episode 41 - Musical Murders & Surprise Cannibalism Well greetings, creepy friends! The newest episode of Death Dames is here! Today, Kim tells us about two songs which were influenced by real life cases, namely, the cannibal Armin Meiwes and the "Preppy Killer." And for research, Ally teaches us about the effects of Cocaine on the human brain. Thanks so much for checking us out, and if you have always wondered the how and why behind your favorite true crime stories, then consider subscribing to Death Dames! And everyone remember, Smart is Sexy!
info_outline Episode 40 - The Waverly Hills Death Chute & Rats with Cars 11/13/2019
Episode 40 - The Waverly Hills Death Chute & Rats with Cars Greetings, creepy friends! The newest episode of Death Dames is here! Today, Kim tells the history of the Waverly Hills Sanatorium and it's "Death Chute", and Ally teaches us something extremely topical going into the winter months... how airborne illness is spread! Also, more mooing from Jax the dog! Thanks so much for checking us out, and please consider subscribing to Death Dames! And everyone remember, Smart is Sexy!
info_outline Episode 40 – "Waverly Hills Sanatorium and the Death Tunnel" 11/13/2019
Episode 40 – "Waverly Hills Sanatorium and the Death Tunnel" Episode 40 – Waverly Hills Sanatorium and the Death Tunnel Today’s episode is a history episode for all you history buffs out there, but I think the paranormal fans will enjoy it too, because the location we’ll be discussing today is an extremely well known location with a great deal of spooks and creeps for those who believe in ghosts and such. We don’t really deal in the paranormal here, but I do want to talk about this place because I think the stain that it, and places like it, have left on the mentality of the modern world needs to be scrubbed away. Also, as a bit of a personal note, when I was much younger like, 13-15ish, I saw a ghost hunting team visit this location on a television show, and the story impressed upon me so much that I still remember to this day. Today, we are going to talk about the Waverly Hills Sanatorium, and its tunnel of death. So before I start, yes, Lila, we did watch the AWESOMELY bad movie which was based on this story, back when we were in high school, or just out of high school. Of course it wasn’t as good as resident favorite horror movie of the podcast, which is cinematic genius, but it was still painfully terrible and wonderful. However, the real story behind the Waverly Hills Sanatorium is just as horrible as the plot from any horror movie. So, hold on to your strait jackets, because here we go. In the early 1900s, the state of Kentucky, and most of the country, was undergoing a rampant outbreak of tuberculosis which was decimating the population. Tuberculosis was known at the time as the “White Plague” and was highly contagious and often fatal, especially at the turn of the Century. However, in this area of Kentucky, it was believed that so many of these cases began due to the Ohio River wetlands, which acted perfectly as a breeding ground for the bacteria which caused TB. Many different cities and towns, spurred on by public fear of the disease, were working on methods to contain the spread of the disease, and in the city of Louisville, the solution was believed to be the creation of a hospital, where the dying could be kept separate from the rest of the population in a sort of disease induced exile. To house these victims, a two story wooden sanatorium was created which held about 20 patients, and was to be used for the treatment of “early cases,” in an attempt to save lives. In 1911, the city began preparations for the new Louisville City Hospital, which would be a brand new hospital which would treat the people of the city. However, there was a caveat… it was decided that no patients with tuberculosis would be admitted. Considering how widespread the disease was, the people of Louisville were concerned. Where would people go? Sure it was most likely a death sentence, but people still needed somewhere to be treated. The city decided that a small sanatorium would be built specifically for the treatment of advanced pulmonary tuberculosis, and the city gave $25,000, which would be around $650,000 in today’s money. A substantial amount, but considering the money that is required for building a hospital, even in 1911, they would need to use all of it. [Pictured: Interior Today. Photo Credit: tripadvisor.com] The location for this new Sanitarium was up for debate as well, and ultimately, the Board of Tuberculosis Hospital found a plot of land that was for sale, named Waverly Hill. Waverly Hill was originally purchased by Major Thomas H Hays in 1883, where he set up his family’s home. Hays had two young daughters who attended class taught by a woman named Lizzie Lee Harris, and apparently, Harris had a fondness for Walter Scott’s Waverly novels, so she chose the name Waverley School for the small, brand new schoolhouse. Hays liked the sound of it, so he swiped the name and decided to call his swath of land Waverley Hill. After the Board of Tuberculosis Hospital purchased the land, they decided they too liked the name, so they decided to name their new Sanitarium, Waverly Hills. Once completed the Waverly Hills Sanatorium was a stately building, and to this day is listed as being a beautiful example of early 20th century early Tudor Gothic Revival style. It was stunning, ominous, and looked like the archetypal haunted house, which is indicative of the future it would go on to have. The need for a place to keep patients was immediate, and even though the building was not complete at the time, all the Tuberculosis patients were kicked out of the City Hospital on August 31st, 1912, and they were kept in tents on the Waverly Hills grounds until the building was complete. I’m sure this was totally healthy for people suffering from an extremely violent disease to be kept out in the open late summer air in Kentucky, with all manners of bugs, sunshine, and heat to help the bacteria kill them quickly. Waverly Hills Sanitarium opened soon after, however, and its maximum capacity was 20 patients. However, by December of that same year, they took in an additional 40 patients, due to the demand for housing for people suffering from the disease. But, as the outbreak took hold over the course of the next 2 years, they were forced to create a new wing, the children’s pavilion, which added another 50 beds. The children’s pavilion was not only for sick children, but also for the children of tuberculosis patients who had no one else to care for them. I can’t get over how depressing that must be to be a patients child, knowing that your mother or father was struggling with the same disease that other children around you were dying of, not to mention the risk of exposure for the patients children being stashed in the same room as those with TB. [Pictured: Overcrowded Patients. Photo Credit: courier-journal.com] However, due to the disease reaching epidemic proportions, Waverly Hills became increasingly overcrowded, and room once more became sparse. Additions and additions and additions were added to the original structure, eventually creating a massive expansion, consisting of a five story building that could hold more than 400 patients, which opened in 1926. Eventually, Waverly Hills became a self-contained community, and was a city in itself. Waverly Hills had its own zip code, post office, water treatment facility, and even had food production methods used, including the growing of fruits and vegetables, and even domesticating animals to be slaughtered for meat. The point was to keep as many outside people from coming within the Waverly walls as they could, to ensure that spread of the disease would be down. In effect, this created an entirely alienated city with a heavy shadow of death and disease. Patients, nurses, doctors, and other workers pretty much had to cut ties with their former lives, knowing that there was a pretty significant chance that they would never make it out to see them again. Unfortunately, however, they still had “visiting day” occasionally, in which patients would receive visits from loved ones who would come to visit, spend the day, and then just saunter on out, none the wiser, undoubtedly carrying the disease on their skin. At the time of construction of this new massive sanitarium, a tunnel was constructed as well, which acted as an entrance and exit for the workers of the Sanatorium. Connecting to the first floor, the corridor was over 500 feet to the bottom of the large hill that the Sanatorium was built upon. The tunnel connected to a cart which moved up and down the stair case which would be used to transport supplies and other necessaries, which could be brought in this way to reduce contamination from the infected patients within the sanitariums walls. Also, the tunnel was completely finished, with flooring, and was made out of concrete, making it extremely sturdy and long lasting. Ironically, even to this day, it remains one of the least damaged parts of the former hospital. But we’ll talk more about the tunnel in a bit. Tuberculosis treatment itself at the time was… not great. This was, of course, a time before we had antibiotics and other modern medicines, so desperate doctors and nurses used anything they could find to alleviate the pain and suffering of their charges. This included the use of heat lamps to burn out the fever. Now, anyone who has had a serious flu, pneumonia, etc, you know how horrible it is to be hot when you’re sick, but in this case, it was believed that the Tuberculosis patients needed the heat to fight the illness. Of course, this did not work. Another popular treatment method of the time was the use of fresh air. Yup. Oh, you’re dying slowly and horribly? Coughing up blood? You need a nice breath of air. In fact, at this point in history, Tuberculosis patients were encouraged to go areas with thinner air, to get away from stuffy or humid air and breathe air which was, in their mind, fresher? A lot of sufferers of Tuberculosis actually would travel to the Rocky Mountains, as it was believed to be the place for people with TB. Unfortunately, fresh air was also not a cure. Some days, nurses would just desperately try positive reassurance to improve morale, thinking if the sufferers did not dwell on their diseases, they would feel better. Of course, these treatments sound silly, but they were a hell of a lot better than the actual treatments being done by the doctors at Waverly. One of the medical procedures attempted was the surgery called Artificial Pneumothorax. In this, patients would have their lungs collapsed in the hope that the holes being caused by TB would heal if the lungs were collapsed. This was not particularly helpful, as those suffering from the disease already could not breath very well, so purposely altering the lungs did not help. Another procedure attempted was the Thoracoplasty. This surgery is pretty bad. Also, keep in mind, there was no anesthesia, just morphine to numb pain, and the patient would be awake the whole time. Patients would be cut open on the front and the back of their chests. Doctors would then remove up to 8 ribs. However, and here is the kicker, you could only remove 3 ribs at a time, so this would have to have been done over the course of multiple procedures. After the procedure was done, a Lobectomy would be performed to remove damaged tissues. But, despite everyone’s best efforts, there came a big concern that had to be dealt with. The numbers of the dead were rising each day, and there was a pretty heavy hit on morale when the patients were forced to witness the piling up of the dead from the very disease they were afflicted with. At this point, TB was killing a patient per day, and a negative outlook on life was the last thing that the patients needed, as, although it may sound foolish or blissfully optimistic, it did help out the patients if they weren’t obsessing over their impeding demise. In fact, death rates began to rise as morale fell. And it wasn’t just the patients who were being affected. There were rumors that some of the staff and nurses suffered from Post-Traumatic stress, depression, and anxiety, and there was one story which, although unsubstantiated, could potentially be believed. Apparently, so upset with the constant death she was surrounded with daily, and afraid for her own mortality, a nurse allegedly leapt from the tower of the Sanitarium to her death. At this point, the numbers of dead were overwhelming the staff. The sanatorium had to do something. So they did. [Pictured: In the Death Chute. Photo Credit: onlyinyourstate.com] In an attempt to minimize the spread of the disease, on top of a desire to remove the overwhelming numbers of the dead without further upsetting the living patients, the staff began carrying the bodies of the dead underground, in the tunnel system created leading to and from the hospital. This is where the infamous tunnel would get its future name, the Death Chute. The dead would be transported to the end of the tunnel, where they would be left there, unceremoniously dumped. Workers would then collet the bodies from outside the tunnel, where they would be burned, buried, or sent elsewhere to be processed. For many patients of the hospital, the tunnel was a one way trip. Removing the bodies in a more secretive manner did help to ensure that patients were not constantly faced with their own morbidity, but it did not really help the numbers, as it is estimated that the Death Chute had seen more dead than most modern hospitals do in their first 3 years, and were talking massive hospitals. Fewer than 5% of those admitted to Waverly Hills would survive their illnesses. It didn’t help, of course, when, in moments when patients were dying at a rapid rate, and the workers could not keep up, even with the use of the tunnel, corpses would be stored in the food storage rooms to keep them cold, which again, undoubtedly helped to spread disease. However, the end was in sight, because a medical breakthrough happened in 1944 which ultimately stopped the spread of TB in its tracks. Streptomycin, an antibiotic treatment was discovered which successfully treated and cured TB, which meant that at this point, thousands of people would no longer needlessly die and suffer. Because of this, the numbers of patients slowly began to trickle down, and medical equipment was sold, nurses and doctors numbers dwindled, and the massive halls soon emptied. The number of cases steadily lowered over the years, and eventually Waverly Hills closed in 1961, when the need for such a massive hospital was no more. From this point, the remaining buildings of the Waverly Hills Sanatorium became a ghost town. Understandably still scarred form the long reign of Tuberculosis on patients, the empty buildings were quarantined for years, until they were eventually renovated into the Woodhaven Medical Services, which was a facility specifically for the treatment and housing of elderly patients. [Pictured: The Face of the Sanitarium. Photo Credit: paranormalresearchsociety.org] Many of the patients at the time were sufferers of dementia, or were intellectually disabled. Some were wheelchair users, or were confined to their beds due to result of their age or illnesses. Unfortunately, the absence of Tuberculosis in this new hospital did nothing to stop the dark cloud that seemed to permeate over the buildings. Rumors began to spread of the use of cruel methods of treatment being performed on the patients of Woodhaven, and, as many of you may remember from our episode on Poveglia Island in Italy, experimentation, particularly ones of a violent or cruel nature, were not uncommon at this time in asylums all over the globe. Electrotherapy, electric shock therapy, lobotomies, all manner of traumatic and painful surgeries were rumored to be occurring on patients, all of this often effecting the mental state of the staff as well, who had to see the results of this testing and have it weigh on their minds. There were many recorded suicides, sometimes the patients, and often times of the staff who saw horrible things in their day to day jobs. Despite this, there was no one to help the people trapped within, and the experiments continued on until 1981, when Woodhaven was finally closed, when the state of Kentucky launched an investigation and the huge amount of patient neglect was reported to them. 1981 is disgustingly and embarrassingly late, and was too little too late for potentially thousands of victims who lost their lives on the premises. According to Dr. J Frank Stewart, a previous Medical Director of Woodhaven, he believed that over 8,000 people had died on Waverly’s property, including employees who took their own lives. [Pictured: Interior Today. Photo Credit: tripadvisor.com] Once the hospital shuttered its doors for good, because there wasn’t enough terrible things being done on the land, a man named J. Clifford Todd made a purchase of the land. Spending just over three million dollars, Todd aimed to convert the building into the only possible thing that could be worse and more violent than a hospital or sanitarium. Care to guess? Yeah, they wanted to make it a prison. Eventually however, the plans to construct a prison were abandoned when neighbors of the area protested. Apparently they were okay with a Tuberculosis Hospital and then a sanitarium where patients were abused, but a prison was too far. They then proposed the location be converted into apartments, but it ended up staying empty, until, in March of 1996, a man named Robert Alberhasky purchased the site. Alberhasky was a religious man, and was the leader of a foundation called Christ the Redeemer Foundation. Using their funds, they planned to build a worship center on this site, and right next to it, they planned on building the largest statue of Jesus in the entire world, which definitely sounds like something Jesus would have been on board with! Sorry, I won’t get into my thoughts on mega churches, not the place for that. On the plus side though, along with giganto-Jesus, the foundation had plans to use the site for an arts center, which is pretty cool. Overall, the conversion of the location into a chapel, theater, and *ahem* gift shop would have ended up costing the Foundation around $12 Million dollars. Ironically, the people of the foundation did not believe in mega Jesus, and after a year of accepting donations, a whopping $3,000 was raised to put towards the creation of the massive religious tourist destination. Despite the Foundation’s efforts in reaching out all over the globe, giganto-Jesus wasn’t meant to be, and the project was canceled in December of 1997. [Pictured: Waverly Hills today. Photo Credit: Kris Arnold - http://www.krisarnold.com] From here, the former Waverly Place sanatorium began to rot away, with no inhabitants but the shadows of its former life, and local fauna which lived within the walls. The owner has since tried to destroy the former hospital, first attempting to have it declared condemned, which was denied. The owner then decided to give the old insurance fraud scheme a try by crashing a bulldozer into the southeast side, hoping that the damage would weaken the buildings structure and it would collapse on itself, so he could collect the insurance money. This, thankfully, did not work, but it definitely didn’t help the decaying condition of the building. But finally, in 2001, the Waverly was sold to Tina and Charles Mattingly, who were the owners that the building needed. They began the massive task of restoring the windows and the interior, stabilize the shell, removed the asbestos insulation, and in 2007 they replaced the entire roof. To afford the renovations, they opened the Waverly up for tours and a haunted house attraction each Halloween, which is a brilliant idea. Why pay to make a new house look creepy when you could just use a preexisting one? With the efforts of the Mattingly’s, Waverly Hills was added to the National Historic Register and a non-profit organization, the Waverly Hills Historical Society was formed in 2003 to save the building. Ultimately, the goal of the Society is to completely fix and restore Waverly Hills and turn it into a destination hotel and museum, which will enable it to educate the public of the devastating effect Tuberculosis had on people of this time period, and just how many lives were lost or forever altered in the massive building. The total cost of renovations are expected to cost around $45 million, but they have already made great improvements on the building in the years they have owned it. It seems that, through the efforts of those looking to keep history alive, the Waverly Hills Sanitorium, and its long, dark, and sordid history, will be around for a long time, reminding us of how far we have come. It reminds us of the dark corners of history, that we as human beings have fought perilous monsters which tried to destroy us from within, microscopic beings intent on...
info_outline Episode 39 - "The Murder of Tynesha Stewart" 11/06/2019
Episode 39 - "The Murder of Tynesha Stewart" Episode 39 - Tynesha Stewart Well, here we are, back again to regular episodes after our Halloween season. I hope everyone enjoyed the themed episodes, and all the horrible stories, but of course, the horrible stories aren’t going to stop because Halloween is over… this is a podcast about death so… I mean, that’s why you’re here though, so with that, let’s cover a seriously upsetting story about the murder of a brilliant young woman, whose promising life was ended by a monster possessed by his jealousy. Today we will cover the murder of Tynesha Stewart, a university student who had just started her journey into the world of education. This case is pretty under covered, so I wanted to shed some light on it. Before we get started however, I do want to preface this by saying this case deals with domestic abuse, so if that is something that you’re uncomfortable with, I would recommend skipping this story section. But with that, let’s get into this depressing case, which echoes the stories of so many people all over the world who find themselves stuck in abusive relationships. On March 19th, Gale Shields called police. Shields had not heard from her daughter, 19 year old Tynesha Stewart, which was unusual for the young girl not to be in touch with her mother. Shields, growing concerned, reported her daughter missing. That same day, a deputy from the Harris County Sheriff’s office went to Shields home to interview her and find out more. There they learned that last thing anyone knew, Tynesha had gone to her ex-boyfriend’s house. Tynesha’s mother told police something else that made them worried… This ex had a history of violent, possessive behavior to her daughter, and that he had once held Tynesha hostage in his apartment during a fight. Police, armed with this knowledge, immediately went to the apartment of 27 year old Timothy Wayne Shepherd to find out what he may know of the young woman’s disappearance. Shepherd was surprisingly welcome to give information, and allowed the deputy to walk his apartment, and gave him permission to look at his car as well. [Pictured: Tynesha Stewart's 2006 School Photo. Photo Credit: The family via the Houston Chronicle] Shepherd confirmed that he had seen Tynesha on March 15th, telling them that between 3 and 4 am that morning, he had gone to pick up Tynesha from a friend’s house where the pair returned to his apartment. While there, Tynesha and Shepherd got into an argument, and that she had stormed out in a rage, carrying her cell phone with her. Shepherd claimed that this was the last time he had heard from her. Police, finding no obvious signs of criminal activity in their initial investigation, left Shepherd’s home and entered Tynesha’s name into the missing person’s database. However, the next day, March 20th, the county homicide detectives would join the investigation, and the case would heat up. Tynesha Stewart was born in 1988, as one of six children. She grew up in Aldine, Texas, a poor community in the Houston area. Her father died when she was very young, just six years old, but Tynesha would go on to show her brilliance in school despite the adversities she faced growing up. Through high school, Tynesha managed the girls’ basketball team, while juggling a part time job for almost all 4 years of school. She also participated in other extracurricular activities at school, but that didn’t stop her from excelling in her classes, as when she graduated from Nimitz High School, Tynesha was in the top ten percent of her class. In 2005, she won a scholarship in which she was one of 15 students chosen from a pool of hundreds of applicants. With the help of this scholarship, Tynesha was able to follow her dream and began her freshman year at Texas A&M University, where she studied Civil and Chemical Engineering. Her family was incredibly proud of her and it was believed that she would go on to have an extremely bright future, having overcoming such hurdles and hardships in her young life. Unfortunately, her killer thought otherwise. [Pictured: Tynesha Stewart. Photo Credit: en.wikipedia.org] On March 20th, investigators, along with the help of the Texas EquuSearch team, began searing the woods around Shepherds apartment, hoping for some clues as to where she went after leaving his apartment. Tynesha’s friends and family pooled together to search, and students at Texas A&M organized a prayer vigil. Dogs were used to canvas the area, but nothing was discovered. It was as though Tynesha had never left Shepherds home… On Wednesday, March 21st, Shepherd was taken in for questioning. He was interviewed for 10 hours, but stuck to his story, and investigators were unable to get anything else from him. They let him go again, but luckily, Shepherd reached out to a man named Quanell X, who was a local community activist and the leader of the Black Panther Party in Houston. Quanell X frequently helped police with cases that involved the African-American community in Houston, and in this case as well, his assistance was the key to solving the murder. Although often a polarizing figure in the media due to the way he works with people, but regardless of his image, Quanell X had helped around 25 fugitives, including murder suspects, surrender to police. Understandably, many members of the African-American community in Houston were afraid of police, but Quanell X has assisted in many cases, as he was able to work as an intermediary between the police and the community. And in the case of the murder of Tynesha, his help was vital, as Quanell X was able to convince Shepherd to confess. After breaking down in tears to Quanell X, Shepherd was convinced to call police. Upon their arrival, Shepherd lead police to a dumpster near his apartment. Unfortunately, the dumpster had been emptied. It was there he claimed to have dumped her body, but all police could find was blood on the bottom of the dumpster. [Pictured: Activist Quanell X. Photo Credit: The Houston Chronicle] Shepherd was arrested, and police began a thorough investigation into his home. After a clean sweep of the apartment, police found that it had been heavily cleaned with ammonia and bleach, and that some areas of the apartment had been freshly painted. Regardless, police were able to find a few specks of blood, on the bathroom light switch, on the edge of the bathtub, and at the base of the toilet. Shepherd’s confession almost immediately sounded dubious to police. According to Shepherd, Tynesha’s death was an accident, which was done in self-defense. While at his apartment, Shepherd had begun to pressure Tynesha about someone she had reportedly begun seeing romantically. Their breakup was volatile, so Tynesha did not want to get into a conversation about her new partner, but Shepherd would not let it go, instead pressuring her and pushing her. According to Shepherd, at this point Tynesha grabbed a knife from the table and brandished it at him, swinging it at him in anger. Allegedly, she managed to slice his fingers, and with that small wound, Shepherd, terrified she would stab him, allegedly, grabbed the young woman and choked her to death out of anger and "self-defense." Shepherd would later say that there was blood pouring from Tynesha’s mouth. It was then he realized he had killed her. From here, Shepherd had a decision to make, and he decided that his best course of action was a cover up. He left his apartment and went to a hardware store where he purchased a jigsaw and some other tools, which he then returned to his apartment with. From here, he undressed Tynesha’s body and dumped her in the bathtub, where he began to dismember her. He then claimed he put the body parts in plastic bags, which he then transported to the dumpster. He had, in his words, simply snapped. However, as time went on and police continued their investigation, a much more sinister story began to form. Unfortunately, the events of the couple’s relationship seemed to lead up to this murder, and many members of Tynesha’s family had worried that something like this would happen with the two. It was known by several members of Stewart’s family that Tynesha was afraid of her boyfriend. They began dating when Tynesha was in high school, a young woman of 16, and Shepherd was 24. Not long into the relationship, Shepherd became jealous, possessive, and controlling. At one point, Shepherd had choked Tynesha and threatened to kill her, but then let her go. He had also apparently once violently shaken Tynesha when she answered a cell phone call from someone that Shepherd did not want her to speak to, and this was done in front of Tynesha’s sister. The relationship broke apart when Tynesha left for college, however, Shepherd was still possessive of her, and would call Tynesha several times a day during her first semester. Eventually he stopped once he got word that she had begun seeing someone else, but by February of 2007, Shepherd had gone back to calling Tynesha daily. According to Stewart’s roommate, things had gotten so bad that Tynesha was crying almost every day because of Shepherd’s stalking, and that she was terrified to go back home for spring break, worried she would bump into him. Despite her reservations about Spring Break, Tynesha still decided to come home, and it was there that, just as she predicted, Shepherd’s predatory stalking resumed. The fact of the body remained. Where was the body of Tynesha Stewart? The public believed that a search should have been done on the local landfills in the area, as, according to Shepherd, he had disposed of her body that way, but, shocking the public, the Harris County Sheriff announced the Saturday after Shepherds arrest that no search for Tynesha’s body would continue. The Sheriff stated that they had done everything they could, and that they did not believe there were any remaining body parts of Stewart remaining, and therefore, there would be no further search. This understandably outraged many members of the public, as there was some concern that the search was being called off due in part to the victim’s skin color, which was definitely understandable, given the relationship of the police to the local African-American community. However, one thing police had figured out at this point was that Shepherd had not been honest about his disposal methods. In fact, they had learned something far more brutal had occurred. And the story had been pieced together using the evidence from his home, and several testimonies from some friends of Shepherds, and his neighbors. On March 16th, at around 7:45 pm. just a day after Tynesha disappeared, firefighters arrived at Shepherd’s apartment. They knocked on his door, and Shepherd greeted them, wondering why they had been called. Apparently, one of Shepherd’s neighbors had called 911 when he saw flames climbing out of a grill that Shepherd had been cooking at on his patio. The caller had watched the flames, massive ones, almost catch the roof of the balcony aflame. The caller was terrified that Shepherd would catch the whole apartment complex on fire, so they had called 911. By the time the firefighters arrived, however, the flames had gotten under control, but they still wanted to enter the apartment and make sure there was no fire anywhere. Shepherd had argued with them, but eventually he allowed them inside. The firefighters walked the apartment, but ultimately ended up leaving, stating they had not seen anything they considered strange. However, they did state that they saw several pieces of meat, including rib bones, floating in the bathtub. They also said they saw some charred chunks of what they believed to be meat on the stove in the kitchen. So you know, nothing strange... After Shepherd was arrested, his neighbors and friends came forward, telling a terrifying story. For two to three days, neighbors of Shepherd were overcome by the acrid smell of burning. The smell was coming from Timothy Shepherd’s apartment, where he had begun systematically burning the body of Tynesha Stewart. Black smoke and flames were coming from two barbeque grills he had on the balcony of his apartment, where he was cooking something for over two days. It was not the smell of cooking meat, but of burning food. Shepherd was on the patio cooking day and night, thick black smoke pouring out of the cookers. It was seasonably cool those few days, but neighbors noticed that Shepherd had all his windows open, fans running inside, and his air conditioner was on blast. Neighbors also noticed that there was a constant sound of running water for two days as well, and there would be moments when his garbage disposal would be run for several minutes at a time. One of the two grills belonged to a man named James Hebert, an 18 year old neighbor of Shepherds. The pair often hung out together, playing video games, or barbequing together. They did that so often that James simply kept his smoker on Shepherd’s patio. Interested in the strange behavior of his friend, and wondering why he had not been invited to this mass barbeque, James visited with Shepherd and asked him what was going on. Shepherd replied that he was cooking food for an entire wedding, and that he needed to save every bit of meat he was preparing. That was why he could not share any of the meat with James. When another neighbor asked about the smell, Shepherd simply told her that it was due to the spices that was on the meat, per the request of the wedding party. Also, a family member came forward to the police about something that had been said to him by Shepherd. Apparently, Shepherd told his cousin before the disappearance of Tynesha that he could “get away with killing someone” and that he would just “boil someone and eat them.” It is unknown if Shepherd ever consumed any of Tynesha’s remains. A neighbor, a woman names Dionne Whitaker, testified that she saw Shepherd carry the grill and smoker, which he had been using nonstop for days, to the garbage bin after he had finished cooking. She thought this was suspicious, considering he had just been cooking for a wedding, as he had claimed. These two items were never recovered. Shepherd had undoubtedly discarded the grills so he would not be linked to the crime. After throwing the two away, Shepherd met a friend for dinner. Somehow, he still had an appetite after what he had done. During the investigation, police would find over 100 items from the home that they would use as evidence in his trial, including a sink plunger, a bath knob, a mop, two hammers, a vacuum cleaner, and empty bottle of ammonia, and cans of paint he had used to cover up blood. That was not all that was found, unfortunately. When investigating the garbage disposal, police found several human teeth and some fragments of bone. Also, on the patio, police found several burned bone fragments with jagged cut marks on them. All in all, 30 pieces of bone were found. DNA on the teeth confirmed what police had suspected. It matched Tynesha. [Pictured: Shepherd at his Trial. Photo Credit: The Houston Chronicle] Shepherd’s trial began in late 2008, and during the course of the trial, more information came to light, most notably, that Shepherd had little remorse for his murder and subsequent disposal of the body. Shepherd believed that he had a license to kill Tynesha because she had, quote, disrespected him, by moving on from their violent relationship. When asked why he had not called police after he had accidentally killed Tynesha, Shepherd claimed that he had panicked and did not think that police would believe his self-defense story. So he instead dismembered and burnt the woman’s remains for days. When asked about this, Shepherd simply replied, “I decided I had to cover my tracks.” He also said that he did not want to be caught through dental records, so before cooking, he had removed her teeth with pliers and dumped them down his garbage disposal. However, most damning, were the recordings that had been made during jailhouse phone calls. While speaking on the prison phone, Shepherd said, according to prosecutors, “The bitch is going to make me money from the grave. I’ll just write a book about it.” While on the stand, Shepherd claimed he said no such thing, but the prosecution had the jailhouse recordings. Lawyers on the side of the defense claimed, infuriatingly, that Tynesha clearly loved Shepherd, and that she actively pursued a relationship with him. Basically, that it was her choice to stay with him. However, prosecutors argued that this was a textbook domestic abuse case, and that she stayed with him because she was afraid to leave. Citing the age difference, her youth and inexperience in relationships, the recorded acts of violent and controlling behavior against Tynesha, and not to mention, the fact that he killed her, the defense’s “she had it coming” angle failed miserably, and on October 9th, 2008, after the jurors deliberated for just four hours, Timothy Shepherd was found guilty and given the maximum sentence of 99 years in prison. He showed no emotion, but members of Tynesha Stewart’s family broke down in tears. [Pictured: Shepherd, demonstrating how he murdered Tynesha. Photo Credit: The Houston Chronicle] This story is really hard. Domestic violence is one of those topics where, we all know it happens, but so many people turn a blind eye on it. Or, as the defense did, they simply blame the victim, saying that if she was so unhappy she should have left, etc. Those who think this way have a blissful ignorance about the way that domestic abuse works on a victim. The practitioners are master con-men (and women) who are able to manipulate and alter a person’s thoughts, making the victim think they deserve the treatment, or that the abuser will change. If it was so simple, then the numbers would not be as high as they are. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 1 in 4 women experience severe intimate partner physical violence. 1 in 4. And it’s not just women. 1 in 9 men experience the same, which, although it is not as high, is still a startlingly large number. In American, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner, on average. That is horrible. To put that in perspective, I’ve been talking for about 20-30 minutes. That means in the time I’ve told this story, 400 - 600 people have been abused by a partner. And, unfortunately, this abuse often turns to murder. 40% of female murder victims are killed by their intimate partners. And in the case of Tynesha Stewart, she became one of these numbers, of victims who live in fear from a person they were supposed to trust the most. For those of you listening who think that people in these situations should just get out, I urge you to look into the , and read about the real people who live through this every day. We need to get these numbers down, because no one should ever have their lives stolen, just like what was done to Tynesha Stewart. [Pictured: Domestic Abuse Statistics. Photo Credit: NCADV.org] Sources for the Story Portion: Research Topic - Chemical Engineering Sources: Article for Bitch Banter Dozens of People Volunteer to Entertain Lonely Shelter Pets for the Holidays - Maybe You Can Do It For Thanksgiving!
info_outline Episode 39 - The Murder of Tynesha Stewart & "Gergle Scherler" 11/06/2019
Episode 39 - The Murder of Tynesha Stewart & "Gergle Scherler" [Content Warning: Discussions of domestic violence] Greetings, creepy friends! The newest episode of Death Dames is here! Today, Kim tells us the tragic murder of Tynesha Stewart, and Ally teaches us about Chemical Engineering. This episode gets pretty heavy and personal, but is absolutely important to learn about, as the numbers behind domestic violence are infuriatingly large... Thanks so much for checking us out, and please consider subscribing to Death Dames! And everyone remember, Smart is Sexy!
info_outline Dame Discussion - Our Ghost Experiences Part 2 11/01/2019
Dame Discussion - Our Ghost Experiences Part 2 Greetings, halloweenies! That's right, today is Dame Discussion day! For this weeks bonus episode, we cover some ghost investigations that we have done in our lives! Sadly, this is our last Halloween discussion, but we hope you had fun! Please send us your own ghost stories at our email, DeathDamesPodcast@gmail.com! Enjoy, and stay creepy! If you have always wondered the how and why behind your favorite true crime stories, then consider subscribing to Death Dames! And everyone remember, Smart is Sexy!
info_outline Spooky Story Time - Sleepy Hollow 10/31/2019
Spooky Story Time - Sleepy Hollow Greetings, creepy friends! Get under a cozy blanket, grab your hot beverage of preference, and get ready for a Halloween story time! For today's bonus episode, co-host Kim reads an excerpt from the short story, "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow," written by Washington Irving. Enjoy, and stay creepy! If you have always wondered the how and why behind your favorite true crime stories, then consider subscribing to Death Dames! And everyone remember, Smart is Sexy!
info_outline Episode 38 - Issei Sagawa & Family Cookout Day 10/30/2019
Episode 38 - Issei Sagawa & Family Cookout Day Greetings, Halloweenies! The newest episode of Death Dames is here! Today, Kim tells us about the very upsetting story of the cannibal Issei Sagawa, and Ally teaches us about the disease Kuru, which can be caused by cannibalism. This is a rough one, as a warning... Thanks so much for checking us out, and if you have always wondered the how and why behind your favorite true crime stories, then consider subscribing to Death Dames! And everyone remember, Smart is Sexy!
info_outline Dame Discussion - Kim's Halloween Video Game Picks 10/25/2019
Dame Discussion - Kim's Halloween Video Game Picks Greetings, halloweenies! That's right, today is Dame Discussion day! For this weeks bonus episode, Kim lists some of her video game recommendations for those of you who want to get their Halloween game on! Enjoy, and stay creepy! If you have always wondered the how and why behind your favorite true crime stories, then consider subscribing to Death Dames! And everyone remember, Smart is Sexy!
info_outline Episode 37 - The Keddie Murders & a Feline Best Man 10/23/2019
Episode 37 - The Keddie Murders & a Feline Best Man Greetings, Halloweenies! Get ready to hide in a cabin in the woods, because the newest episode of Death Dames is here! Today, Kim tells us about the unsolved Keddie Murders, and Ally teaches us basics of Blood Spatter Analysis. Thanks for checking us out, and if you have always wondered the how and why behind your favorite true crime stories, then give us a follow!