8 Crazy Real-Life Stories That Need To Get The True-Crime Treatment

8 Crazy Real-Life Stories That Need To Get The True-Crime Treatment

With Netflix’s new highly anticipated true crime doc Evil Genius released today, it got us thinking: What other strange-but-true tales would we like to see get the true-crime treatment? Which stories are just crying out for a docu-series adaptation? Here, we list the ones we’d like to see come to fruition on the small screen…

The Golden State Killer

Fresh off the capture of Joseph James DeAngelo in April, we’re pretty convinced the whole Golden State Killer story needs to be covered in a hefty Netflix series. DeAngelo is believed to have committed at least 12 murders, more than 50 rapes, and over 100 burglaries in California between 1974 and 1986. To make things worse, the now 72-year-old would call his victims after his attacks and taunt them. A 30-year manhunt proved fruitless, with no leads – until now. After authorities submitted DNA collected from a 1978 crime scene to new-fangled genealogy websites such as Ancestry.com and 23andme.com, DeAngelo proved to be a match.

What makes the story even sadder is that the police would have likely not caught DeAngelo without Michelle McNamara’s book I’ll Be Gone In The Dark, the New York Times bestseller that investigated the case. McNamara tragically died in April 2017 from a mixture of drugs in her system along with a medical condition. She is survived by her husband, comedian Patton Oswalt, who has endlessly praised her efforts in the wake of recent developments.

Get your true-crime fix now: You can buy Michelle McNamara's book I'll Be Gone In The Dark from Amazon.co.uk.

Aaron Hernandez

Between 2007 and 2013, NFL New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez was implicated, investigated or prosecuted for a number of violent crimes, which included many gunshot victims. During the football off-season in 2013, he was arrested for shooting dead his friend and semi-professional player Odin Lloyd. He was found guilty of the murder in 2015 and sentenced to life in prison.
Up until the murder, Hernandez had been a star athlete, recognised as an all-American player at the University of Florida, before dropping out in his senior year to join the Patriots. In April 2017, Hernandez committed suicide, hanging by his bedsheets from the window of his cell.

After Henandez’s death, his family donated his brain to specialists at Boston University. Doctors said it was the most severe case of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) ever discovered in a person of his age, with significant impact to the frontal lobe, which moderates behaviour and impacts the ability to make decisions. Many professional athletes, including football players, are believed to contract this from the repeated concussions they get on the playing field.

There’s plenty to unpack in this story – the crimes, Hernandez’s fall from grace, his suicide. But what’s most interesting is the discovery that his sporting injury could have affected his violent actions. There’s so much to cover when it comes to CTE – the story of Zac Easter is another fascinating and tragic look into the issue – that it demands a docu-series.

Get your true-crime fix now: You can read more about the life of Aaron Hernandez here.

Janet Leach

Once made into a miniseries starring Emily Watson and Dominic West, we think this crazy real-life drama begs for a documentary adaptation. Trainee social worker Janet Leach was assigned as an appropriate adult for notorious serial killer Fred West after his arrest in 1994. Appropriate adults are responsible for safeguarding the interest of children under 18 or vulnerable adults, and due to West’s illiteracy and the severity of the crimes against him (multiple counts of murder, including his own children), Leach was required to sit in on his questioning.

Leach didn’t know of West’s crimes before sitting in on the interrogation and ended up building something of a rapport with West – so much so that he confessed to the murder of his daughter, Heather, to Leach, but due to a confidentiality agreement, she couldn’t inform police. Leach’s son Paul said his mother had “fallen under West’s spell” and was visibly distressed when she found out West had killed himself. A one-off documentary special about Leach and her relationship with West is something we’re desperate to see.

Get your true-crime fix now: You can buy the drama mini-series of Janet Leach's story, Appropriate Adult, from Amazon.co.uk.

The Blue Whale Suicide Game

The Blue Whale Game is a social network phenomenon that started in 2016. The ‘game’ supposedly consists of a series of tasks assigned to ‘players’ over a 50-day period, that start with acts of self-harm and ends with their suicide. It first appeared in a Russian newspaper and sparked nationwide panic, but the piece was soon criticised for lack of credible data.

But the legend of the game lives on and claims of suicides connected to it have been widely reported but never proved. Philipp Budeikin, a 21-year-old former psychology student, claimed that he invented the game in 2013 and in May 2016 pled guilty to "inciting at least 16 teenage girls to commit suicide." As Vice reported, the whole thing seemed like “a perfect storm of internet creepypasta, media hysteria, and the very real and serious issue teenage suicide”. The whole thing is reminiscent of the Slender Man case, in two 12-year-old girls stabbed their friend 19 times to impress the fictional creepypasta character Slender Man.

Get your true crime fix now: You can read more about the Blue Whale Game here.

Patient H.M.

Released by former Esquire editor Luke Dittrich in 2016, this book covers the tragic case of Henry Molaison who, after experiencing epilepsy caused by a bicycle accident at the age of seven, was lobotomised as a potential cure. But while the procedure was partially successful in controlling his epilepsy, it caused his memory to last around seven seconds, meaning he couldn’t form any new memories. He played an important role into the development of knowledge around memory and brain function. But the crux of Dittrich’s story comes from the fact that it was his grandfather, William Beecher Scoville, who had originally operated on Molaison, and was a big believer in the now-banned practice.

The details of Patient HM are shrouded in plenty of mystery – some of his documents were destroyed by his primary scientist for no known reason – but the more Dittrich discovers about his well-to-do grandfather, the more sinister the story becomes, with a huge twist at the end.

Get your true-crime fix now: You can buy Luke Dittrich's Patient H.M. from Amazon.co.uk.

Otto Warmbier

Otto Warmbier was an American college student from Cincinnati, Ohio, who was arrested in North Korea in January 2016 for the attempted theft of a propaganda poster. He was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment with hard labour, but around one month after his sentencing, he fell into a coma from an unknown cause. His condition was not revealed by North Korea until June 2017, when they claimed his coma was a result of botulism (a rare and potentially fatal illness caused by a toxin produced by Clostridium botulinum bacteria) and a sleeping pill.

Warmbier was freed in June 2017 but was still in a comatose state. He was taken to the University of Cincinnati Medical Centre where they found no evidence of botulism. Warmbier never regained consciousness and died six days after returning to the United States.

Get your true-crime fix now: You can read more about Otto Warmbier's story here.

The Salisbury Spy Poisoning

No doubt fresh in everyone’s mind is the case of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, who were poisoned on a park bench in the small town of Salisbury earlier this year. While this in itself was enough to send shockwaves through the nation, as the pair remained in comas and police began attempting to trace the toxic nerve agent to find a culprit, more suspicious details of Sergei’s life began to come to light. Two close family members had died since he had taken refuge in the UK – neighbours claimed his wife Lyudmila was killed in a car crash, but her death certificate allegedly says disseminated endometrial carcinoma, a form of cancer. And although it was reported his son died in a car crash in St Petersburg last year, the family’s cleaner claims he died as a result of liver problems. Were they part of a hit job, too?

Soon even more details, that were far bigger than just Sergei and Yulia, began to emerge. BuzzFeed published an article listing eight wealthy friends with ties to Russia who died under suspicious circumstances – including property developer Scot Young, whose death made national news. His gruesome end is thought to be one of 14 that US spy agencies believe is linked to Russia – but UK police has shut down every single case. This story is just too strange not to be given at least a six-parter.

Get your true-crime fix now: You can read more about the Sergei Skripal here.

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