Kim Dadou says she wishes she had a nickel for every person who has asked why she didn't leave her abusive boyfriend. They stayed together for four years. And then, in the middle of the night on December 17th, 1991, Kim's entire life changed. This episode contains descriptions of physical...
In 2014, 16-year-old Wildin Acosta left Olancho, Honduras and traveled toward the U.S. border. When he arrived, he turned himself in to border patrol agents. He was one of 68,541 unaccompanied minors who crossed the border into the U.S. that year.
People have faked death to escape criminal convictions, debts, and their spouses. In 2007, a man named Amir Vehabovic faked his death just to see who showed up at the funeral (answer: only his mom). It's an appealing soap-opera fantasy, but actually disappearing requires an incredible amount of planning. How...
In 2005, Teri Knight drove 650 miles on midwestern roads through Ohio, Indiana, Iowa and Illinois, pleading with the public to help her do what law enforcement and the FBI had not been able to: find the remains of her children Sarah and Philip Gehring. An Ohio woman read about...
In 1849, abolitionist and attorney Wendell Phillips wrote: "We should look in vain through the most trying times of our revolutionary history for an incident of courage and noble daring to equal that of the escape of William and Ellen Craft; and future historians and poets would tell this story...
In 2010, Michael McIntosh's son was incarcerated at the Walnut Grove Youth Correctional Facility in the small town of Walnut Grove, Mississippi. One Sunday, McIntosh went to visit his son and was turned away because, he was told, prison officials "did not know" where his son was. He spent the...
To close out 2016, we're bringing you two lighter stories of people exhibiting everyday genius under. . . unusual circumstances. Comedian Dave Holmes' story begins with an upsetting phone call from the IRS. Then we meet a Baton Rouge attorney with a story of wild resourcefulness at Louisiana State Penitentiary,...
Since 1938, a weekly African-American owned newspaper called The Evening Whirl has covered crime in St. Louis with a style all its own, using alliteration and rhyme, and often omitting the usual crime-reporting words like "accused" or "alleged." The paper has been widely criticized for its casual approach to fact-checking and sensational...
The Magic Castle in Hollywood has been a private club for magicians since 1963, and its walls are lined with portraits of magicians past and present. Among them is a portrait of one of the earliest American organized crime bosses and conmen, Jefferson Randolph "Soapy" Smith. And though it may...
SPOILER WARNING: Please listen to Episode 53: Melinda and Judy before you listen to this. This is the second episode of a two-part story. Melinda Dawson found out on the same day in 1998 that her adoptive mother had been killed and that her husband Clarence was being charged with...
When Melinda Dawson was seven years old, she learned that she was adopted under mysterious circumstances. As she got older and had children of her own, she tried to learn something about her biological parents. And when she went to the county courthouse and asked to see a copy of...
SPOILER WARNING: Please listen to Episode 51: Money Tree before you listen to this one. While working on our last episode, we became curious about the nature of psychopathy -- how it is defined, and what to do if someone close to you meets the criteria. We spoke with Dr. Ronald Schouten, author...
When Axton Betz-Hamilton was 11 years old, her parents' identities were stolen, but at that time consumer protection services for identity theft victims were basically non-existent. So the family dealt with the consequences as best they could. But when Axton got to college, she realized that her identity had been...
To celebrate Criminal's 50th episode, we check in with some of our most memorable guests including Fran Schindler from Episode 17: "Final Exit," Dan Stevenson from Episode 15: "He's Neutral," Corporal Scott Foster from Episode 29: "Officer Talon," and Marian Tolan from Episode 18: "695-BGK."
In November of 1988, Robin Woods was sentenced to sixteen years in the notoriously harsh Maryland Correctional Institution. In prison, Robin found himself using a dictionary to work his way through a book for the first time in his life. It was a Mario Puzo novel. While many inmates become...
2008 was an exciting time to be a Harry Potter fan. The final book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, had been released. Movies were on the way. And author Melissa Anelli was at the center of it all, running a popular fan site called The Leaky Caldron and working on a book, Harry,...