She’s gonna blow! The “she” in question is the Best Evidence budget document, which is packed to the brim with links to think pieces, stories, trailers, and podcasts that Sarah or I thought you’d be interested in. Even if I cut all the ones that go into the “what was I thinking?” category, we still have a lot left. Let’s get into it. — EB
Here’s the trailer for Netflix’s A Cop Movie. Logline: “Director Alonso Ruizpalacios takes us deep into the Mexican police force with the story of Teresa and Montoya, together known as ‘the love patrol.’ In this thoroughly original and unpredictable documentary, Ruizpalacios plays with the boundaries of nonfiction and immerses the audience into the human experience of police work within a dysfunctional system.” It drops on Netflix on November 5. You down?
Investigation Discovery is planning an Ed Kemper two-fer. A three-episode series called The Co-Ed Killer: Mind Of A Monster will drop on Investigation Discovery on November 1; it promises to “reveal the untold story of the notorious serial killer, necrophile, cannibal and mother-hater, whose crimes rocked 1970s Santa Cruz.” An 18-ep (18? Geez) podcast called Mind Of A Monster: The Co-Ed Killer And Herbert Mullin will accompany the show, and per this press release it kicked off this week.
“A sketch artist and a grieving mother set out to solve a cold case. The more they dug, the more terrifying the truth became.” That’s the intro line to Nile Cappello’s longread, The Girl in the Picture, a piece from the most recent issue of The Atavist Magazine on the death of 14-year-old Aundria Bowman (news coverage, which “spoils” Cappello’s piece, is here). It is wild. Here’s a snip:
Aundria and the Racine County Jane Doe shared physical characteristics, and their ages aligned: Aundria would have been 25 in 1999, when the Jane Doe was killed. Holland, where Aundria disappeared, sits directly across Lake Michigan from where the Jane Doe was found—it’s just four hours by car from one location to the other, tracing the lake’s southern shoreline and passing through Chicago. To test the possible identification, Koppelman created a composite image, superimposing Aundria’s photo with ones from the Jane Doe’s autopsy. He marked the similarities in red.
Koppelman took his theory to law enforcement, who found it compelling enough to investigate. To determine whether the Jane Doe was Aundria, police would need to compare DNA from the body with that of someone in Aundria’s family. Because Aundria was adopted, authorities had to track down her birth mother. Koppelman knew that could take a while, or that it might never happen, forcing investigators to find other avenues for identification.
As the police did their part, Koppelman kept poking around online, learning what he could about Aundria. One day at the end of 2012, he came across a Classmates.com page for Aundria—the premium kind you have to pay to keep active, in order to connect directly with former school acquaintances. Was this Aundria, alive and well, and trying to find old friends? And if it wasn’t her, who was it?
The Toolbox Killer arrives on Peacock this week. The two-hour doc on Lawrence Bittaker and Roy Norris is built around Bittaker’s interviews with Laura “Siren of San Quentin” Brand, who interviewed the convicted killer from death row over the course of five years, E! reports. For those of us who balk at a Peacock subscription, the show will also air on Oxygen on October 3.
Britni Danielle makes an excellent point. In her seven-year-old piece on the disparity between how we approach the disappearance of Gabby Petito and the disappearance of hundreds of thousands of other folks, she writes about how much harder the families of BIPOC folks who disappear have to work to get police to take them seriously — or any media coverage at all. You can read her report here.
Veteran journalist Jack Epstein just found some letters from the Unabomber. Epstein found the letters when he was cleaning out his attic; Ted Kaczynski read a book Epstein had written about South America and wrote asking where his brother and he might find “a small plot of land, in a location as remote from civilization as possible, on which we would live as self-sufficiently as we are able. By ‘wilderness,’ I mean a place where the nearest neighbor is, say, five miles away and preferably further.” The story is strange, and left me feeling quite sad, as Unabomber stories do more and more often as it becomes clearer and clearer that we have broken the earth. OK, sorry to be a bummer! Read Jack’s piece on the letter, it’s good.
George Holliday has died of complications of COVID-19. In 1991, Holliday filmed the police beating of Rodney King, enabling a (radically unsuccessful) criminal trial against four officers for assault and excessive use of force. (Holliday attempted to auction off that camera last year for $225,000; it’s unclear if he was successful. The AP reports that for whatever reason, Holliday was not vaccinated against the novel coronavirus. He’d been hospitalized for about a month after contracting pneumonia as a result of the virus, and died Sunday at the age of 61.
Cannabis industry insiders have launched a new podcast on weed and crime. The show is called Cannabis Crime Scene and promises weekly episodes. The description for the first one: “Florida Man that claims to be a marijuana entrepreneur gets snared in a sex trafficking case against tax collector and Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz. Reminds us of the case against the Russian spies that were working at a marijuana company in California. This is why we can’t have nice things.”
Dateline is turning 30. Per the Hollywood Reporter, the true crime-centric newsmag launches its pearl anniversary season on September 24. But there’s more! “NBC is planning a cross-platform blitz around its return, including a special podcast episode set for Sept. 22, where anchor Lester Holt and correspondents Canning, Josh Mankiewicz, Natalie Morales, Keith Morrison and Dennis Murphy discuss their favorite episodes; and a weeklong marathon on Peacock, highlighting 30 of the show’s most memorable episodes.”
Hapless lonely hearts have lost $133 million so far this year in online romance scams. So says the FBI by way of CNET, which notes a press release from the federal Internet Crime Complaint Center. From that release:
The scammer's initial contact is typically made via dating apps and other social media sites. The scammer gains the confidence and trust of the victim—through establishing an online relationship—and then claims to have knowledge of cryptocurrency investment or trading opportunities that will result in substantial profits. The scammer directs the victim to a fraudulent website or application for an investment opportunity. After the victim has invested an initial amount on the platform and sees an alleged profit, the scammers allow the victim to withdraw a small amount of money, further gaining the victim's trust.
Y’all. If you have a boyfriend/girlfriend you’ve never met, don’t play crypto games with them without calling Sarah and me first. The number is 919-75-CRIME. We’re serious.
An Indian true-crime show host is now qualified to be a real-life investigator. Vice has the rather delightful tale of actor Anup Soni, who built a robust career in TV and movies before taking a gig hosting Crime Patrol, a very standard old-school true crime investigation show (right down to its more problematic elements).
During the pandemic, Soni went to (online) school to become a crime scene investigator himself. He doesn’t plan on becoming a real detective any time soon — he’s currently acting in Class of ’83 (in the the U.S., it’s on Netflix) and Amazon Prime show Tandav.
Thursday on Best Evidence: Chippendales and serials…but that one’s only for paid subscribers, so if you want those reviews, you know what to do:
And the discussion thread will hit Friday. Sorry for the scheduling madness!