For some reason, I’ve been more in the mood for podcasts the past couple of weeks. And I’ve been having better luck finding ones that are really engaging stories and relevant to my interests. Here are some I recommend:
- 18 Days (WUSA): 18 Days follows the disappearance of Relisha Rudd, an eight-year-old girl from Washington D.C. This case is maddening and so sad. Relisha was either given to or taken by a janitor at the homeless shelter she lived at with her family. She was not reported missing by her family for 18 days. Instead, she was reported missing by people at her school who realized that the “doctor” that was excusing her absences was not a doctor at all but the janitor, Khalil Tatum. In this three-part series you learn what police know (which is not much) and you hear from Relisha’s mother and grandmother. The saddest thing is that the people who would know where Relisha is are gone.
- Dr. Death (Wondery): What a podcast. In the same vain as Dirty John, Dr. Death follows a charismatic man who should’ve been stopped before he continued to hurt people. Unlike Dirty John though, Christopher Duntsch was not a fraud, he was an actual neurosurgeon. The host focuses not just on the doctor’s behavior, but also how the medical establishment let this doctor keep moving from hospital to hospital, continuing to hurt, maim, and kill patients. The podcast gives victims and doctors who stepped in a voice. It will be a six-part series total… currently there are four episodes out.
- In The Dark (APM Reports): Probably the best podcast I’ve listened to in a good while. There are currently two seasons and each season follows a separate case. Season one is about the abduction of a young boy from Minnesota whose case goes unsolved for 27 years. The investigative journalists discover problems with the police investigation and why the killer evaded prosecution for so long. The second season is about Curtis Flowers, a man from Mississippi who has been tried for the same crime six times for the past 21 years, winning his appeal each time. The podcast focuses on the evidence and the District Attorney’s handling of the case. The reporting in season two is incredible.
- The Pope’s Long Con (Louisville Public Media): I was so sucked into this podcast. It’s only six parts and each episode is about 20 minutes. Plus, this podcast follows a bonkers story and a peculiar man, Danny Ray Johnson. He was an elected public official in Kentucky who lied about many of his qualifications and life experiences. He was a pastor of a biker church that illegally sold alcohol and where congregants could bring their guns. And that’s just the beginning. Hearing his tearful sermon stating that we must elect Donald Trump or face the worst America possible; hearing his sexual assault accuser who was 17 at the time speak her truth; and hearing how this story ends will have you on the edge of your seat. How could this man have been elected to public office?
- Septic (Roanoke Times): Septic is a seven-part podcast about the death of Noah Thomas, a five-year-old boy who was found inside of the family septic tank four days after he went missing. His mother, Ashley White, left her children unattended while she slept. Soon, everyone in the area accused Ashley’s negligence as the sole reason Noah died. This podcast is thoughtful and compassionate, taking into account the steps Ashley took to be a better mother and questioning the town’s social media reactions to her after the tragedy.
On my radar next:
- 16 Shots (WBEZ / Chicago Tribune): About Laquan McDonald’s death at the hands of a police officer.
- Missing Alissa: Looks at the unsolved case of a missing teen from Arizona. She’s been missing for 17 years.
- The Teacher’s Pet (The Australian): About the disappearance of a housewife and mother in Australia. I started this one a few weeks ago but didn’t get too far.