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What's trending in True Crime in February

It’s a new month, which means there’s already a fresh collection of documentaries, podcasts, case updates and more to keep up with. Here are a few of the most newsworthy casFes this month you need to know about.

Danny Schneider

In 1991, 22-year-old Danny Schneider was murdered during a drug deal. His murder and his father’s subsequent attempts to find out who did it is the focus of a new docu-series The Pharmacist, which goes on to document the epidemic Schneider senior uncovered in the process, at a risk to his own life.

Natalie Wood (pictured)

Early this month, the late actress Natalie Wood was trending on Twitter. This had nothing to do with her mysterious death or an update on the case and everything to do with the fact that actor and Woods’ co-star Kirk Douglas had died. For years, there have been persistent and relentless rumours that Douglas was the man who violently raped Woods in a hotel room when she was only 16 and then threatened her life if she ever told anyone. Back to Twitter and people were choosing to share memories of Woods over her alleged attacker. This isn’t the first time celebrations of Douglas have been taken over with mentions of Woods. There was also an outcry at the choice to honour him at the 2018 Golden Globes, in the wake of #MeToo. 

The case of Cara Knott

One of the top posts this month on the True Crime Discussion subreddit is the case of Cara Knott. When you hear the details, you’ll understand why. Knott disappeared in December 1986. Her car was discovered abandoned the next day. Following her death, a news station recorded a ride-along with a California Highway Patrol Officer, who gave tips on what to do if you found yourself stranded on the side of the road. It turned out, that same officer was Knott’s killer. Officer Craig Peyer had a history of harassing female drivers. It’s thought that Knott threatened to report Peyer and he bludgeoned her with his flashlight, strangled her and then threw her body over the edge of a bridge. You can still watch the footage of Peyer instructing other drivers to keep safe.

Anna Delvey

Con woman of the Instagram age, Anna Delvey (AKA Anna Sorokin) is back— in our consciousness at least. At the end of last year, BBC Radio Four released a podcast, Fake Heiress, which explores her rise and fall and now, it’s climbing up the podcast charts. Get reacquainted.

The murder of Stuart Lubbock

Stuart Lubbock’s name might not be as familiar as the man’s it’s permanently tied to, Michael Barrymore, but it’s a case most are familiar with. Lubbock was the man who was found dead in Barrymore’s swimming pool at his mansion in Essex in 2001. At first, it was thought that 31-year-old Lubbock had drowned in the pool, but it was later found that he had been brutally raped earlier—causing fatal internal injuries—and that police believed the drowning had been staged. 19 years later and his death remains unsolved. The case is back in the spotlight, though, thanks to a new documentary released this month, The Body in the Pool.

Murders of Abigail Williams and Liberty German

One of the top new true crime podcasts, whose first episode arrived last month, Down the Hill: the Delphi Murders covers the deaths of Abigail Williams and Liberty German, whose bodies were found on Valentine’s Day in 2017. The two girls, who were 13 and 14 respectively, had gone missing from the Monon High Bridge Trail, part of the Delphi Historic Trails in Indiana the day before. No one has ever been arrested in the case. There is, however, a photo of a man suspected in the case, taken by Liberty on her phone, as well as an audio recording of someone speaking to them.

Aaron Hernandez

One of the latest documentaries from Netflix focuses on Aaron Hernandez: the NFL player who died in 2017 by hanging, after he was convicted of the 2013 murder of Odin Lloyd. Lloyd had been shot multiple times in the chest, but that’s just the start of the story that the documentary explores. Was the murder a part of an alleged double life or could a brain injury caused by playing football have led Hernandez to commit the crime?

Satanic Panic

Another of the top podcasts in the true crime charts is Uncover’s sixth season. This time, the investigative series is focusing on the Satanic panic of the 1980s and the fear that devil-worshipping cults were preying on children. The result? False allegations and even criminal trials. The series focuses on one small town and the continuing consequences.

The Vallows

The subject of much discussion online and in the news is the Lori Vallow case. 17-year-old Tylee Ryan and 7-year-old Joshua Vallow were reported missing by family members in September 2019. Their mother, Lori Vallow, refused to produce them or help police with their investigations and disappeared with her new husband, Chad Daybell. They have since been found in Hawaii, without the children. Footage has also emerged of Vallow using a storage unit, which contains her children’s possessions. On top of that, Daybell allegedly told different witnesses that Vallow had no children and that her daughter had died. It gets more complicated.

Police also believe that the children’s disappearance is connected to the death of Daybell’s late wife Tamara, who died in October, weeks before he married Vallow. It’s believed her death was suspicious. Vallow was also married before she met Daybell, to Charles Vallow. Charles Vallow filed for divorce, stating he was in ‘genuine fear for his life’. While they were separated, Charles was shot and killed by Vallow’s brother, Alex Cox, who claimed it was self-defence, following an argument. Six months after that, Cox was found dead. Adding to the mystery are the theories that the missing children are connected to the ‘doomsday cult’ that Lori joined while still married to Charles.

By Amy Lavelle