Criminal is a podcast about crime. Not so much the "if it bleeds, it leads," kind of crime. Something a little more complex. Stories of people who've done wrong, been wronged, and/or gotten caught somewhere in the middle. We're a proud member of Radiotopia, from PRX, a curated network of extraordinary, story-driven shows. Learn more at radiotopia.fm.
The story of a cryptic children’s book, a real-life treasure hunt, and its very mysterious winner: “He refused to be on camera. It’s just his voice. His wife even asks that they disguise his voice, but she asks too late. The interview is already happening. And she faints.”
When Aaron Quinn called the Vallejo police to report that his girlfriend Denise Huskins had been kidnapped, and went into the station for questioning, a detective told Aaron that he didn't believe him. When Denise was released after being held captive for about 48 hours, police didn't believe her either. It soon became clear that the police viewed Denise and Aaron as suspects, not victims.
On November 12th, 2012, the Accomack County volunteer fire departments got a call. An abandoned house had suddenly gone up in flames. And then, just hours later, a second fire was reported. Then a third. Over the next few months, there would be a lot more fires—nearly 90 in all. It was all anyone could talk about in Accomack. Someone was burning down the entire county.
In August 1934, Ann Cooper Hewitt was having lunch with her mother when she suddenly felt pain in her abdomen. When she went to the doctor, he told her she would have to have her appendix removed. He never examined her abdomen. She later told papers that when she woke up from surgery, she heard a nurse saying that Ann “didn’t suspect a thing.”
The Pacific Northwest was said to be terrorized by a serial killer in the early 20th century. A local police chief told reporters that he believed that they were dealing with “the greatest murderer of the age.” But the real story was a lot more complex, and the wealthiest and most influential people in town were interested in keeping it quiet. “They saw him as a thorn in their side and as a person who needed to be removed.”
The song “I Fought the Law” by the Bobby Fuller Four reached number 9 on the Billboard Charts in the week of March 12, 1966. Just months later, Bobby Fuller was found dead. The mystery of what happened to him has been called “the rock and roll version of John F. Kennedy’s assassination.”
When Joan Borsten married actor Oleg Vidov, also known as “the Soviet Robert Redford,” he introduced her to beautiful Soviet animations created in Moscow’s Soyuzmultfilm studio. They eventually acquired the rights to distribute the films outside of the former Soviet Union. One day, Joan realized someone was undercutting their business, and she devised a very Hollywood solution.
In 2010, a $16.5 million Hot Lotto ticket was sold at a gas station in Des Moines, Iowa. At first, no one showed up to claim the prize. And then, a series of lawyers tried to claim the money on behalf of a client they would not name. Things got stranger, and eventually investigators uncovered what has been called the biggest lottery fraud in U.S. history.