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Once Upon A Crime is a weekly true crime podcast that tells “the story behind the story” of real life crime. Told in a storytelling style, host Esther Ludlow digs into the details of each case to bring listeners the facts and information they won’t hear anywhere else. Esther calls on her background in criminal psychology and includes biographical details of both victims and perpetrators to fully explore the circumstances and motivations behind the most heinous crimes.
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This Best Of episode of Once Upon a Crime revisits the mysterious disappearance of Jeanine Sanchez Harms from Campbell, California, in 2001. This case is unique for a number of reasons, including its proximity to my hometown and studio and the shocking, unforeseeable conclusion. It also stands out due to its 'no body murder' status and complex dete…
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This episode of 'Once Upon a Crime' revisits a popular series from Season 1 titled 'The Day the Music Died,' focusing on the tragic endings of musical icons, including Selena Quintanilla Perez. The episode explores Selena's rise to fame as a star in Tejano music, her groundbreaking achievements, and her untimely death at 23. Additionally, it delves…
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In the final series for season eight of Once Upon A Crime, we provide a retrospective look at the most compelling episodes from the show's archive, particularly highlighting those that newer listeners might have missed. This episode revisits the story of Betty Broderick from Season 1, part of the 'A Woman Scorned' series, which delves into crimes c…
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We’re wrapping up Season 8 on the way to Once Upon a Crime’s 9th birthday! We’re sharing six of our “Best Of” Episodes from the archives to celebrate eight years of true crime podcasting. First up, you’ll hear a clip from one of our most popular episodes released as discussions with everyone’s favorite co-host, my sister, Yolanda. We’ll break down …
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In the last chapter of the series “Manipulated to Murder,” I’ll share a story about a predator who hid behind a false identity to manipulate young and impressionable teens into committing the senseless murder of a vulnerable young woman. Sources: https://law.alaska.gov/press/releases/2024/011124-Schilmiller.html https://s3.documentcloud.org/documen…
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Pamela Smart became a household name - not for being the next Barbara Walters as she’d hoped but for orchestrating the cold-blooded murder of her husband - using her teenage lover as the trigger man. The case became a media sensation when it hit the news cycle in 1990. It was such a high-profile case that millions watched the trial unfold live on t…
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In this month’s series, we’ll look at people who were manipulated into committing murder. First up, we’ll take a look at a case where a mother pressures her child to kill his father. That fact alone would make this story truly horrible but it was not the last murder Marie Witte orchestrated. The next one would be as cold-hearted as it was gruesome.…
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In this special bonus episode of Once Upon a Crime, I speak with Michael Wolraich, the author of a new true crime book, The Bishop and the Butterfly: Murder Politics, and the End of the Jazz Age. In 1931, Vivian Gordon’s body was found in a gully in the Bronx’s Van Cortlandt Park. She’d been brutally strangled, her body dumped. The investigation in…
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In this final episode of “Tarnished Hollywood,” I’ll share a story about a promising young actor who ran afoul of the law. His decision to immerse himself in gang culture at the expense of an acting career would lead to a life sentence in a prison cell and a brutal and bizarre end to his life at the age of 36. Sources: https://chicagodefender.com/h…
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Amanda Hayes, an actress known for roles on The Sopranos and The Stepford Wives, was convicted of conspiring with her husband, Grant Hayes, to murder Laura Ackerson, his ex-wife and mother of his two children. The murder and its cover-up would be one of the most grisly crimes investigators had ever encountered. Sources: Bitter Remains, author Diane…
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Danny Masterson is an American actor best known for his role in That 70’s Show. In 2020, he was charged with raping three women in 2001 and 2003. Masterson and his victims were all members of the Church of Scientology. The church’s policies and threats toward the victims caused a 20-year delay in bringing the crimes to justice. Sources: A Timeline …
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...1 historic steam train... ...9 exceptional true crime podcasts... ...9 tales woven with the spirit of Women's Day... ...Will YOU unravel the mysteries aboard? This International Women's Day, join Shane Waters and Wendy Cee on an unprecedented journey through the heart of England to Crimecon UK in London. Mysteries on the True Crime Express is no…
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In this special episode, I speak with author Gareth Russell. His new book, The Palace: From the Tudors to the Windsors, 500 Years of British History at Hampton Court, gives us a look at the storied history of what is called the most beautiful palace in England. But, behind the walls of Hampton Court, true tales of intrigue, sex scandals, assassinat…
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