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Episode 67: Alligator Attack 911 Compilation

1. On June 10 2012, Kaleb Langdale, 17, was swimming with friends in a river by the Gulf Coast of Florida, near Fort Myers, when a 10-foot alligator chomped down on one of his arms, then dragged him into a death roll. Kaleb knew he was about to die, so he put his foot on the gator’s mouth and tugged until his arm ripped off under the elbow, then made his way to the bank as the gator swam off with his arm. When he reached the bank, his friends called 911. The alligator was later shot and killed.

2. In August 2015, Rachael Lilienthal, 37, was swimming away from a crowded beach area near Wekiva Island, Florida, when an alligator clamped its jaws on her right arm and thrashed her around. A couple in a canoe hit the gator with their oars, and it swam off, but when they helped Rachael into their canoe, they saw that her arm had been bitten off just above the elbow. The alligator was shot and killed.

3. On June 2, 2018, Jordan Broderick, 15, was floating on a raft in a river in Florida’s Ocala Forest when a 9-foot alligator began stalking her. Jordan made her way to the shore, but the gator followed her, where it was joined by others. The terrified girl took refuge up a tree while her mother called 911. When the police arrived, they shot and killed the main alligator, and helped the girl, who was unhurt, to safety.

4. On June 8, 2018, at the Silver Lakes Rotary Nature Park, a man called 911 after two loose, anxious pit bulls ran into the parking lot. He recognized them as two of the three dogs belonging to “an oriental lady” he’d seen earlier. The pit bulls led him to the back of the park, where he saw the third dog barking and bleeding, with a large gash in its side, and a 12-foot alligator lurking nearby. “I think an alligator got this lady,” said the caller. He was right. Shizuka Matsuki, 47, who may have been trying to save her dog, had been dragged off by the gator. When it was shot and cut open, Matzuki’s arm was found in its stomach.

Listen to the episode here.

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Episode 66: Kevin Underwood Confession

On April 12, 2006, a ten-year-old girl named Jamie Bolin went missing from her home  in an apartment complex in Purcell, Oklahoma. Five days later, her naked and mutilated body was found in a plastic storage container in the apartment of her downstairs neighbor, 29-year-old Kevin Ray Underwood. After his arrest, Underwood was interviewed by two Oklahoma FBI agents.

His confession is disturbing not only for its bizarre content, but for the nonchalant way in which he recounts the crime. “It started off with cannibalism-the thought of eating someone was appealing to me. It kept evolving from there,” he admits, going on to explain in considerable detail how he attempted to carry out this plan on Jamie Bolin, whom he had decided was a convenient victim.

The FBI interrogators do a fine job of remaining unperturbed while drawing Underwood out and encouraging him to make it clear that he was in his right mind when he committed the crime–he knew right from wrong, and was thinking about how to avoid detection. But, as his confession reveals, his plan went wrong from the first, and his confession belies his claim that he “didn’t, believe in violence, or hurting anyone.”

His plan was to abduct a child, and “while they were still alive and gagged, I was going to drape them over the bathtub and cut off their head, and then hang them and let the body all drain out. I was gonna keep the body around for a couple of days, I was going to set the head on my desk so it could watch me, and keep the corpse in my bed, sleeping with it, having sex with it for a day or two, and then I was going to start butchering them and cooking them.” When asked whether he bought any special equipment for the job, Underwood replies, “Just the barbeque skewers, some meat tenderizer, and a hacksaw to cut open the head to get to the brain, because I wanted to eat the brain and the heart and some of the organs.”

The confession is notable for Underwood’s robotic delivery (he was later diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome), his lack of remorse and empathy, his apparent inability to comprehend the horror or his crime, and, finally, his loud vomiting at the end. On February 29, 2008, Underwood was found guilty of first degree murder and sentenced to death. He is currently on Oklahoma’s Death Row.

Listen to the episode here.

Interview Transcript.

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Episode 65: Raghunandan Yandamuri Confession

On October 22, 2012, 61-year-old Satyavathi Venna was found stabbed to death in her  apartment just outside Philadelphia. Three days later, the body of her 10-month old granddaughter, Saanvi, was found in a bag in the steam room of the apartment complex gym.

On October 25, Raghunandan Yandamuri, 29, an information technology worker who knew the Venna family and lived in the same building, was arrested in connection with the murders.  Two days before the crime, Yandamuri and his wife had attended a party at the Venna family apartment. They had met Chenchu and Venkata Venna, Saanvi’s parents, who mentioned that, since they both work during the day, their daughter would be staying with her grandmother.  Yandamuri held the baby during the party and discussed the gold jewelry she was wearing. On October 26, he was interrogated by police for several hours, and eventually confessed to the murders. Yandamuri says he went to the family’s apartment with the intention of kidnapping Saanvi for a $50,000 ransom, since he believed the family to be wealthy. He fatally stabbed 61-year-old Satyavathi Venna when she confronted him. He claims that he didn’t intend to kill the grandmother, but when he had Saanvi in his arms, Satyavathi lunged at him and he fell backward, cutting her throat with his knife. Yandamuri says he planned on taking good care of the baby, but also on holding her until her parents paid him.

On October 8, 2014, Yandamuri was found guilty of the murders, and sentenced to death. However, on February 13, 2015, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf announced a moratorium on executions in the state.

Listen to the episode here.

Episode 64: Dellen Millard Police Interview

In November 2012, wealthy businessman Wayne Millard, 71, was found shot dead in his Ontario home. His son, Dellen, 30, a fun-loving party guy who inherited his father’s multi-million dollar aviation business, was interviewed by the police about the incident. Although he seemed unusually emotionless during the interview, the death was ruled a suicide.

On May 6, 2013, Dellen Millard and his friend Mark Smich answered an ad placed by a man named Tim Bosma, 32, who wanted to sell his pickup truck. The three men went for a drive, and Bosma never returned. When his remains were found on an incinerator on Millard’s farm. Millard and Smich were arrested, and on June 17, 2016, they were sentenced to life in prison. In 2017, the two men were also convicted of the murder of Laura Babcock, Dellen Millard’s ex-girlfriend, who went missing in July 2012. Her body was never found.

Two years after Wayne Millard’s death was ruled a suicide, Dellen Millard was charged with his father’s murder.

Listen to the episode here.

Episode 63: Loyta Sloley 911 calls

At 8:15 a.m. on January 27, 2009, Loyta Sloley, 34, an Orlando hospital technician, calls in sick. Speaking quietly and in an odd tone of voice, she tells her supervisor that she’s dropping off her son at school. Her supervisor knows Ms. Sloley is having trouble with her ex-boyfriend, James Clayton, and she calls 911 to say Sloley may have been kidnapped. The 911 dispatcher, Alan Ballard, does not enter the call into the system for 23 minutes, and when he does, it is as a “suspicious incident” rather than a kidnapping.

Around 8.45am, Ballard calls Ms. Sloley’s father, who first says nothing is wrong. He then calls back to say Clayton was drunk that weekend and threatened to “kill them all.” About 9:45 a.m., the dispatcher manages to reach Loyta Sloley, who confirms she’s being held against her will. Ballard pressures her to give her location by saying the search is “taking up police resources.” He adds, “You’re going to be in some serious trouble if you don’t cooperate.” Sloley tells him she doesn’t need help. Clayton then comes to the phone, and is chastised by Ballard. Then the line goes dead.

By 11:30 a.m., police had traced signals from Ms. Sloley’s phone to a Marriott hotel, and learn that she and Clayton had checked in 2 1/2 hours earlier. When they knocked down the door to their room, they find Ms. Sloley dead from four gunshot wounds to the body, and Clayton dead from a single shot to the head. The 911 dispatcher, Alan Ballard, was dismissed from his job.

Listen to the episode here.

Episode 62: Larry Nassar Police Interview

In the years leading up to his indictment for criminal sexual conduct and federal child pornography charges, sports medicine physician Larry Nassar fell under increasing suspicion. As the doctor for the USA Gymnastics team, Nassar had always been known as a well-connected and talented physician, but there had also been rumors about his unusual medical “procedures.”

In 2014, Michigan State University launched a Title IX investigation into Nassar after a recent graduate reported that she had visited his clinic for hip pain, and he had massaged her breasts and vaginal area and had a visible erection. Nassar was interviewed for over two hours by campus police, who wanted to press charges, but the prosecutor denied the request, and the university closed the investigation in July 2014 after three months. It dismissed the woman’s claim, concluding that she hadn’t understood the “nuanced difference” between sexual assault and an appropriate medical procedure.

   In September 2015, Nassar abruptly “retired” from USA Gymnastics. This episode contains his next interview with campus police, in August 2016. “Has there been another complaint?” Nassar asks the detective, who confirms that another complaint has indeed been filed.

Nassar, who swings between bravado and fits of nerves, is an unimpressive figure. He admits that patients have questioned his “special technique,” but he’s brought his laptop with him, to show the detective his lectures on his “procedures”. He says, “this is how I make my living, this is what I do. I have helped scores of people”, but also says he’s sorry that he missed signs that patients were uncomfortable. He fails to explain why he might have had an erection during his medical “procedures”, other than to say, “If there was arousal it’s, it’s, it’s you know what I mean? It would be because of, whatever, I don’t know.”

“Well, what do you mean, ‘whatever’?” asks the detective.

“When you’re a guy sometimes you get an erection,” is all Nassar can say in reply.

Listen to the episode here.

Episode 61: Tex McIver Trial Testimony

Atlanta attorney Claud “Tex” McIver shot and killed his wife, businesswoman Diane McIver, in September 2017, as they were driving with a friend from their ranch to their condo in Buckhead, Atlanta. The friend, Dani Jo Carter, was at the wheel, Diana McIver in the passenger seat, and Tex in the back. He has maintained the shooting was an accident. Prosecutors claimed he had been arguing with his wife, who had recently changed her will. In terms of income, Tex McIver was apparently worth a lot less than Diane.

This excerpt includes the testimony of family friend and publicity expert Bill Crane. In the immediate aftermath of the shooting, according to Crane Tex McIver allegedly asked him, acting as a family spokesman to retract a statement made to the media on McIver’s behalf. Crane told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in September that Tex pulled out his gun because he was worried about unrest surrounding possible Black Lives Matter protests in the area where they had pulled off the interstate. McIver’s attorney would later step away from the claim that the couple was worried about Black Lives Matter, but Crane told McIver that he could not lie on his friend’s behalf.

McIver was found guilt of murder, and sentenced to life without parole.

Listen to the episode here.

Episode 60: Jack McCullough Polygraph

On the evening of December 3, 1957, in Chicago, 11-year-old Maria Ridulph begged to be allowed to go outside as it had started to snow. She never came back. It was reported that she’d been approached by a man named “Johnny” who wanted to give her a piggyback ride. Almost six months later, in April 26, 1958, Maria Ridulph’s partially clothed body was discovered by mushroom hunters in a wooded area in northwestern Illinois. The case was closely  investigated but unsolved, and eventually closed. It was reopened in 2009, with a neighbor of the Ridulph family was arrested as a suspect in the murder. He was a 72-year-old man named Jack McCullough, formerly known as John Tessier. McCullough was arrested after a tip from his sister, who related a deathbed conversation with her mother in which her mother implicated Jack in Maria’s murder. On June 29, 2011, McCullough was arrested, and interrogated. He agreed to take a polygraph–even though he’d already taken and passed one in 1957– as long as it related to Maria, but quits when he realizes the examiner intends to ask him about his relationship with his sister, and other matters unrelated to the Ridulph murder.

In March 2016, the DeKalb County State’s Attorney announced that a post-conviction review of available evidence showed McCullough could not have been present at the place and time of Maria Ridulph’s likely abduction. McCullough was released from prison on April 15, 2016 and the charges against him were dismissed on April 22, 2016. The following year, McCullough was declared actually innocent of the crime by the DeKalb County Circuit Court.

Listen to the episode here.

Episode 59: Four Mayday Calls

  (1) On December 20, 2010, rescue crews were called in to search for Casey Speed, 28, who fell off a sailboat when drunk into the San Francisco Bay. The search was suspended after eight hours. The water was 50 degrees  and Mr. Speed was not wearing a life jacket.

(2) On May 9, 1980, the southbound span of the Skyway Summit bridge over Tampa Bay, Florida was destroyed when the freighter Summit Venture collided with a pier during a thunderstorm. The collision caused six cars, a truck, and a Greyhound bus to fall 150 feet into the water, killing 35 people. The pilot of the ship was cleared of wrongdoing by both a grand jury and a Coast Guard investigation.

(3) On August 14, 2013, UPS flight 1354, crashed upon landing at Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport, in Alabama. The captain and first officer were killed and the airplane was destroyed. The accident was caused by the flight crew’s failure to monitor the aircraft’s altitude during landing.

(4) January 31, 2000, Alaska Airlines 261 crashed into the Pacific Ocean about 2.7 miles north of Anacapa Island, California. The accident was caused by faulty mechanical equipment. The 2 pilots, 3 cabin crew members, and 83 passengers on board were killed, and the airplane was destroyed.

Listen to the episode here.

Episode 58: Shawn Grate 911 call and trial testimony

On September 13 2016, a 911 dispatch operator in Ashland, Ohio received a call from a woman who had being held captive and sexually assaulted for three days by a male acquaintance. The woman, Laurie Scihlik, 38, whispered to the dispatecher that Shawn Grate, 40, had tied her up and would not let her leave the room. She is still partially tied up, and calling on Grate’s phone. The recording is punctuated by periods of silence, as Scihlik is terrified of waking up her abductor.

A little over a year later, on the fourth day of testimony in Grate’s capital murder trial, Scihlik testified about her ordeal for almost two hours, most of it on direct examination from Ashland County Prosecutor Chris Tunnell. Dressed in a blue blouse and dark, loose-fitting pants, she never looked in the direction of the defendant, who sat impassively at the defense table. During her testimony,  Tunnell stood only a few feet from Scihlik as if to reassure her. Both here and in the 911 call, Scihlik maintains her composure admirably.

Scihlik said she was reading Bible passages while Grate went to the kitchen of his house at 363 Covert Court. She said his demeanor changed when he returned.”He started pulling the Bible out of my hand,” she said. “I looked up at him, and that’s when he said, ‘You’re not going anywhere.'”

She says she looked on Grate as an “older brother,” believed him to be “kind,” and thought he shared her interest in reading the Bible. Grate claims he did not plan to kill Scihlik, and that they were going to get married. He pleaded insanity, a grand jury indicted him on two counts of aggravated murder in the deaths of two women, and he is believed to be responsible for the deaths of at least three others.

Listen to the episode here.