1. Little girl died. Her mom had her in a hotel room and shot up with heroin. Tried to give her a bath while she was intoxicated and little girl drowned.
I went to the perp walk/bail hearing to photograph and write up a 300 word article. The little girl’s dad was there crying the entire time. He had been trying to gain full custody.
None of that was the creepy part. The creepy part was the mom sitting there in handcuffs. I had shot her photo as she was walking in but I wasn’t allowed my camera in the courtroom so I was sitting there talking notes. She was smiling. She was on trial for manslaughter and she couldn’t stop smiling. It wasn’t a giggly high type of smiling. It was a sick dead eye smile.
It was creepy.
2. Amish buggy with a huge family (5 kids, only one was over 10) got hit by a minivan on the highway. Only the dad survived. The horse died too. The mom went through the van’s windshield after they hit her, and the bodies were spattered everywhere on the road. Luckily despite being a highway it’s not a high traffic area, so not many people were exposed to it. I knew the guy driving the minivan and he was, obviously, traumatized by it. The family had a baby whose remains couldn’t really be identified because I guess she was just crushed so completely by the tires.
3. A guy was arrested after holding someone against their will in an abandoned residence and raping them. Cops finally showed up when she silently got out of the bed he forced her to sleep in with him and called police quietly while he was asleep, across the room from her.
Once he was caught, he confessed to and was prosecuted for a number of other rapes and murders around the area and through several nearby counties. He tortured women he captured for several days with homemade “sex devices” made from tree branches with condoms wrapped around them before murdering them and dumping the bodies in secluded locations. He received the penalty of death in the county he was tried in and will be entering his next trial in the adjoining county. They don’t know how many people he’s killed. He doesn’t remember where a lot of the remains are.
Some of his victims were misidentified as being overdose victims because of their known drug habits. The families had made their peace with knowing their loved ones died from drugs, but this is a new, fresh wound. I can only imagine how painful that must be.
4. Military town here. Did not directly have to write the stories for these but in a newsroom you learn them.
There have been 3+ mass shootings perpetuated by soldiers in this town for a variety of reasons. But those aren’t the ones that stuck out in my mind when I saw this question.
The one that is haunting is the story about a soldier who by all accounts was a kind, responsible man both inside and outside. He suffered from PTSD after a deployment, and was doing “everything right”: therapy, medication, the works.
One day he blacked out from his PTSD, and woke up to find out he had shot his neighbors and their dogs to death.
He had no recollection of the event or why he did it. It just was. Mental health is no joke.
5. One day, we got a story about an amber alert. A pregnant mom and her 2 daughters go missing. Day 2: we interview the dad outside their house. Day 3: Police are still searching and we were doing a story on how the whole community is helping find the missing family members. Night of day 3, the police arrest the dad. Turns out- he “allegedly” (still ongoing) killed them and dumped their bodies in the oil field he worked at. They recovered the bodies a few days later. The creepiest part is he gave a lengthy interview and talked about how he “hopes their safe” and “come home soon.” Extra creepy factor: dad was having an affair with a co-worker who had a history of dating criminals.
This was about a week after a kid went missing. Police searched the house, found nothing. Police felt like something wasnt right so they came back. They found his body “hidden.” His cousin “accidentally” killed him while she was trying to make him leave her room.
Yeah. Working in the news is not as fun as people think.
6. I worked for a local paper for a while. I had a story that would have been the pinnacle of my career if it did’nt get squashed. One day a former coworker told me he heard about the local college’s Women’s Golf coach having molested a girl. Gave me the name of the coach. Within a half hour of my pounding the pavement at the school, i got pulled into the head of athletic’s office who gave me the name of the girl. She was in the running to be state champion in her division.
By the next day, I’ve contacted her and met her at a starbucks where she told me everything on tape,confirming what i’d heard and more. I encouraged her to go to the police and she said it was ok if i used her name in the article. Wrote the article, sent it to my editor.
The media relations guy for the school contacted my boss asking if it was true because he’d gotten wind of it. He’d been out of the office and his assistant gave me a no comment. Unfortunately the evidence against the coach was solid.
We publish the article online, it quickly becomes our third most viewed for the year, but within a day the coach has resigned, he’s filed suit against the paper, and gotten the local masons sending death threats to my boss. Someone left a dead raccoon on his porch.
My boss brokered a deal with the coach to pull the article and disavow all knowledge of it if he dropped the suit and called off the masons. Last i heard the coach was getting divorced and moved out of state.
I quit after that. Some scary people out there.
7. Personally, had a gun pulled on me. Hammer back, finger on trigger, about six feet away pointed at my head.
Nearly had the RAF up my ass in a bad way once, too. Just woulda meant loads of “meetings without tea” aka interrogation and probably would have compromised my dual-citizenship in a very uncomfortable way.
8. While an intern in Vancouver, BC, I was sent to a press briefing about how a body was found in Stanley Park. A well off Asian woman.
Usual stuff is said and happens, police investigating, no need to panic, etc. Then one guy pipes up and asks if she is related to the Vancouver Club and some cops brush him off, he asks again and two cops pull him aside and tell him to knock it off, quit talking about the Vancouver Club and how it’s just all conspiracy kinda shit.
After the presser I go over and talk to him, he seemed pretty coherent and said the woman and her husband are rich chinese real estate types (par for the course in Vancouver) and are big people at the Vancouver Club, he also mentions at that club people fuck children there, and he knows a lawyer that was disbarred because all of high societies elites go to this club.
I never brought it up at the paper because it’s got some pretty heavy conspiracy vibes but it was an interesting experience to say the least.
9. Basically, this dude was in massive gambling debt despite the fact that he had made not an insignificant amount of money in his life and his wife had a six figure salary job. So he decided he’d hire an assassin to kill his wife so he could collect on her life insurance. Fortunately, the first man he went to talk to about it (his best friend at the time) was a sane human being and immediately contacted the police. They set up a sting and the best friend wore a wire while he talked to the husband about an “assassin” that the best friend had found.
There was a lot of disturbing talk on that tape, such as how the fee for this fictitious assassin was actually more than the husband had, so he suggested that this assassin just take his wife’s jewelry as payment after she was dead.
There was another point in the video where the best friend asked the husband why he wasn’t just divorcing his wife to take half of her assets. His response: “Who the fuck wants half?”
10. Once I was taking notes on a dangerous offender hearing, which is basically the government arguing that the person shouldn’t ever be released for the good of society.
The testifying psychologist basically just went down a laundry list of psychopathic traits and marked them down one by one. Sexual deviance, problems with non-romantic relationships, escalation of sexual violence…
That was basically what it was like the whole time I was there. I was sitting only a few meters away from the guy. He looked almost bored with the whole hearing, just had his feet crossed, reading along with the proceedings.
One of the people I was there with said they felt like they had to take a shower, like they were that disturbed. I personally wasn’t that bothered, but it was still unnerving being that close to the guy.
11. Covered a trial of a man who beat his 1-year-old child to death. He was scary. His family started following me around town making threats for about a month.
Busted a puppy mill. I hate dogs, but these things had never seen the outside of a cage, much less sunlight. Woman was selling them for $2,000 as “hand-raised Yorkies.” I typically never get involved with stuff like this, but her punishment was so light, I called every dog selling website I could find, sent them the story, and blackballed her from all of them.
So much child abuse and kiddie porn. Why the fuck do people like doing that shit so much.
Wrote about a case of animal abuse by a worker at a dairy farm. The guy’s main job was to care for the newborn baby calves. They get bottle fed and are usually born toothless. Well, after the bottle was empty he would stick his penis in their mouths for a quick blowjob. He was probably doing it for years. He disappeared before his trial, but I so wanted them to bring the cow into the courtroom.
12. I was a student intern for a non-profit that ran stories on government corruption and forced disappearances. We did stories on a few activists who’d gone missing, my focus was on a new law that would allow gov’t and gov’t officials to be named as respondents in missing people cases.
Two of the missing activists were young female university students. One of the leads we got was that they had been taken by military personnel and that they were being made to act as their “wives” at a barracks somewhere.
13. Haven’t been a journalist long, only started a year ago, but I’ve attended some criminal court and coroner’s court cases which turned my stomach. Strap yourselves in, this is gonna be long.
One example is the 16 year old girl who jumped in front of a train and killed herself because her stepdad was sexually abusing her. There was another victim in the trial too, who we couldn’t identify due to laws around identifying victims of sex crimes. He was found guilty of 13 out of 16 charges, and as the judge read out his sentence his face was so calm and devoid of any emotion, it was very unsettling to look at him.
I interviewed the girl’s grandmother outside the courtroom about how they felt about the verdict. Approaching her was horrible because I just knew I was the last person in the world she’d want to talk to. I also attended the inquest into the girl’s death, where it was officially ruled a suicide, and the details of her final hours were heartbreaking.
Then there was the case of a 17 year old boy who was stabbed to death on his best friend’s doorstep. I never saw the autopsy pictures, but I was sat across from the jury as they looked through them and half of the jury looked like they wanted to cry.
There were five teenagers up for his murder, and in the end they were all found guilty of murder. It was probably gang motivated. During the trial a couple of the defendants laughed and joked with each other in the dock, which was so bizarre to witness because I don’t know if they truly understood what a serious situation they were in.
Then, there was the case at coroner’s court which still upsets me if I think about it in too much detail. This woman was found dead in the bath by her husband after she’d taken an unknown amount of drugs. She fell unconscious while the hot water was still running, and she was found hours later, so the blistering boiling water completely ruined her body, and the coroner went into graphic detail. So graphic one of her (adult) children ran out of the courtroom sobbing. I’ll spare you the details.
In the end an open verdict was ruled because the coroner couldn’t say with 100% certainty that she intended to take her own life. Afterwards the family were arguing with the police liaison about whether she should have been prescribed the drugs she was given and presumably took, and while I’m a little ashamed to say it, I couldn’t bring myself to approach the family and ask if they wanted to write a tribute for their mother, as is protocol when covering inquests at my company. They were all so distraught and I couldn’t handle the idea of that being turned on me. Thankfully my editor was sympathetic.
14. A disturbed sexual predator violating his parole by camping out in the woods of a college campus. I found the incident in the police logs and campus safety refused to release the name. I nearly had to FOIA, but they caved at the last minute. As it turns out he was camped out right by the on-campus daycare, and the reason they wouldn’t realize the name was that it showed they weren’t following procedure and checking all areas of the campus. His camp was basically a drug and porn dungeon.
15. I went out to cover a single-vehicle crash where an SUV laid sideways with a wooden telephone pole threaded through the driver and passenger side windows. The pole was still in the ground but the top was broken about 30 feet up, apparently where the airborne SUV slammed into it. The driver wasn’t wearing her seat belt and thrown into the back during the initial crash, so she missed being impaled by the pole as it came through. No serious injuries amazingly.
16. The amount of suicides, overdoses, accidental deaths, and missing people that are really homicides would make you squirm.
All the profiling we’ve done on serial killers, whether it’s animal cruelty, collecting trophies, physically abusive childhood, etc. These common traits all come from profiles of serial killers who get caught.
We have no earthly idea what the common traits on the profile of a serial killer who DOESNT get caught would be like. And frankly we never will. We can infer they would be organized, have financial security, and contrary to popular belief, they can live normal lives with zero psychiatric history. The higher their income, the more unlikely it is they’ll ever be caught.
This was a rabbit hole nobody should go down.
17. Shot a story on a woman who was living in her own filth and junk. She piled it up 2 meters high. A hoarder. I went into her house an hour before she was evicted and she showed me how she lived. I tripped over a kiddies rollerskate. It belonged to her son who was now 40 years old.
She didn’t only hoard things. She also kept 19 chickens in her bedroom. But she kept losing track of them, so for convenience sake they where kept in cardboard boxes that where never cleaned.
I have seen some nasty things in my life, but the stench of this house was unbearable.
I filmed how she was evicted. She then decided to spend the night in the trash container that the goverment used to emtpy her house. The next day I filmed how she was evicted from a container… creepy, but also sad.
18. These two are mostly hearsay, but I’ve been digging into them for a while and there’s at least some evidence to it:
That DB Cooper was involved in a cocaine smuggling operation. The people with the evidence aren’t willing to go on the record until certain people who would be implicated in wrongdoing finally kick the bucket, but that would also include his identity and the identity of his accomplice (who there was never a theory on).
Another, even more far-fetched one: human and drug trafficking within the LDS church. An anonymous friend of the family (I don’t know who but they knew things about my parents and siblings that only someone who had known us for a long time) tipped it to me and has some crazy stories that I can’t confirm but circumstantial evidence seem to point to there being some truth to it.
19. The journalism department at my community college did a story a few years ago where they found out that everyone’s ID numbers were based on their social security numbers.