Top 9 New True Crime Podcast Right Now!
This is the first month for a while that I struggled to keep up with all these new true crime podcast episodes but I got there in the end, I’m up to date and ready for more! Here are my top 9 true crime podcasts for July 2022.
1. Call Bethel - Hosted By Katherine Rushton - The Telegraph.
Call Bethel is a five part investigative series into allegations of child sex abuse in a branch of the Jehovah’s Witnesses (JW). It also uncovers their attempts to hide and protect known abusers within the organisation, enabling them to continue their abuse and prey on new victims.
In episode one we hear from one of the victims (known as anonymous Victim A) who was abused by Peter Stuart. Stuart was a highly regarded senior figure in the JW realm and this afforded him a lot of power and respect. Victim A’s mother was a member of the JW and Stuart offered her and her family spiritual guidance. This guidance enabled him to have close interactions with Victim A as he led her in her religious studies. Stuart was a constant fixture in her life and frequently came to her house to complete her religious studies. It was in her home where Victim A, who was only four years old at the time, was first sexually abused by Stuart. This abuse would continue for years.
This is a gripping and shocking Podcast involving:
“Brave whistleblowers. A trail of data. A secret system for dealing with allegations of child abuse.” (Source here).
The host Katherine Rushton is excellent and there are currently two episodes available.
2. Persona: The French Deception - Hosted By Evan Ratliff - Wondery & Pineapple Street Studios.
This brand new true crime podcast is a Wondery and Pineapple Street Studios collaboration hosted by Evan Ratliff and tells the story of:
“… Gilbert Chikli, one of the greatest con-artists of all time.” (Source here).
Ratliff tries to understand how Chikli managed to trick some of the world’s most powerful people out of their fortunes and how he managed to avoid arrest and imprisonment for years.
“More than just a tale of criminal genius, this is a show about the moment we’re living in right now — the golden age of scammers — and the power of seduction. But what happens when the fantasy we’ve been lured into finally crumbles away?” (Source here).
I would definitely recommend making time to binge the currently available five episodes as once you start listening you will not to be to stop!
3. Smoke Screen: Puppy Kingpin (Season 4) - Hosted By Alex Schuman - Neon Hum Media & Sony Music Entertainment.
I listened to a preview of this podcast a while back and have been waiting for its release ever since. I am already a fan of the previous Smoke Screens series, this latest series (series four) Smoke Screen: Puppy Kingpin focuses on the illegal puppy trade in the USA.
“Puppy Kingpin shines a spotlight on Jolyn Noethe, a secretive businesswoman from Iowa who is accused of laundering puppies much like drug money. Investigative reporter Alex Schuman exposes the scheme and an underground part of the industry bringing us the pets we love.” (Source here).
Through some really in-depth and time consuming investigative work by some very dedicated key people in the US dog breeding world, the many layers of lies and deception surrounding this extensive operation are uncovered. We learn about all the various methods that these puppy farm owners use to continue their operations and manipulate the rules in their favour to avoid prosecution for puppy breeding and laundering. From fake breeders to fake animal rescues there is a whole lot going on in the puppy trading world and it is all exposed in this excellent eye opening podcast that is a must listen for any dog/animal lovers!
There are four episodes available now.
Other Smoke Screen true crime podcasts worth checking out are:
4. X Marks the Spot: The Legend of Forrest Fenn - Hosted By Branden Morgan - Cavalry.
Next up is a new true crime podcast all about a real life treasure hunt, one which “captivated the globe”.
In 2010 an art dealer from New Mexico named Forrest Fenn claimed that he had buried a fifty pound bronze treasure chest containing $2 million USD in gold somewhere in the Rocky Mountains. To help find this treasure, Fenn published an autobiography which handily enough included a six stanza poem filled with clues that when solved would lead you directly to his hidden treasure - what fun!
Literally hundreds of thousands of treasure hunters/searchers from all over the world were hooked from the start. Blogs, discussion boards and online forums were establish as searchers swapped their theories and shared information. Unfortunately, for five people this treasure hunt literally cost them their lives. Yes, five people died while trying to find Fenn’s chest of treasure by getting themselves into dangerous predicaments in the wilderness that is the Rocky Mountains.
Fast forward ten years and Jack Stuef, a 32 year old medical student from Michigan, finally finds Fenn’s treasure chest which apparently contained gold coins, sapphires, diamonds and more! Steuf became known as the “finder” but angered the searchers when he refused to reveal the location where he found the chest. Furthermore, Forrest Fenn also refused to divulge any information about where his treasure was finally uncovered and to complicate matters further, Fenn died three months after the treasure was found. This left a lot of unanswered questions: “The validity of Stuef’s story, of the treasure itself and of the man who hid his treasure” was all now in doubt.
This podcast is absolutely captivating! It contains never before heard interviews with friends of Fenn as well interviews with some of the searchers who spent years hunting for Fenn’s treasure. I loved hearing from the searchers as it helps you to understand why someone/anyone would spend so much time (years) searching for treasure that they really did not know even actually existed. There are five episodes available now, get stuck in!
5. The Execution of Bonny Lee Bakley - Hosted By Tracy Pattin & Josh Lucas - Wondery.
The Execution of Bonny Lee Bakley is a six part true crime podcast series about “love, obsession and fame gone wrong” (Wondery). While this is a true crime story, this podcast is a dramatised version (based on fact) and very entertaining.
Bonny Lee Bakley was a long time con-artist who later married a famous actor named Robert Blake:
“By 1998 when she met Robert Blake, Bonny had collected ten ex-husbands, fourteen aliases and five hundred thousand dollars in real estate investments.” (Quote from Episode 1).
On May 4th 2001, Bonny was found dead in a car in North Hollywood, she had been fatally shot. While her husband was the prime suspect, Bonny had also made plenty of enemies through her past illegal actives and scams:
“The search for Bonny’s killer took detectives on an eleven-month odyssey across the country and through Hollywood’s underbelly of hustlers, drug addicts, and would-be hitmen. It would be the most expensive murder investigation in LAPD history to date.” (Source here).
I don’t want to give away the whole story so I will leave it there. There are three episodes available now.
6. The Seduction - Hosted By Keith Morrison - NBC News.
The Seduction is a brand new true crime podcast from Dateline about the 2008 murder of 54 year old businessman Ron Presba in El Dorado County, California. Ron’s wife Patty and her much younger lover Jaime Ramos were later charged with and pleaded guilty to the murder of Ron. Now Ramos is telling his side of the story.
Ramos claims that he was so besotted with Patty, this older woman who seduced him, that he was willing to kill for her:
“… the troubled mind of a young man, and the cold heart of a woman who needed her husband dead. If only she could find someone “man enough” to do the deed…” (Source here).
Ramos also claims that Patty portrayed her husband as “horribly abusive” and “a rapist” which Ramos now believes were all lies. Ramos alleges that these lies were all part of Patty’s plan, a plan designed to poison Ramos’ opinion of Ron and manipulate him into helping her kill her husband so that she could claim his life insurance policy.
While I was familiar with this story, I never knew all the facts that are presented in this series. Additionally we hear directly from Jaime Ramos and get the full background into his childhood and his life before Patty and how their relationship later developed. There are four episodes available now.
7. Blood Money - Hosted By Catherine Townsend.
Catherine Townsend is no stranger to true crime podcasts, she is the host of the very popular true crime Hell & Gone podcast from iHeartPodcasts. Blood Money is her newly launched true crime podcast which focuses on red collar crime and con artists who kill.
This is a great podcast if you have limited time as each stand alone episode is approximately 45 minutes long. So far there are six episodes available. Episode three Blood Brothers: Robert and Andrew Kissel is one hell of a crazy story!
If you like this podcast and want to check out another true crime podcast from Catherine then I definitely recommend Hell & Gone: Ebby Steppach (Season 4).
8. Witnessed: Friendly Fire - Hosted By Sean Flynn - Campside Media.
Another great new true crime podcast from Campside Media, Witnessed: Friendly Fire investigates the killing of a K-9 officer in Scott County, Tennessee during a drugs bust and tells the story of the tireless efforts of his distraught widows attempts to uncover the truth about her husbands untimely death.
“When a K-9 officer in the Scott County, Tennessee, Sheriff’s Department winds up dead at the hands of his partner, a grieving widow takes it upon herself to untangle the truth from the lies. Was it just a catastrophic accident? Or an intentional killing?” (Source here).
This is the story of:
“… one woman’s pursuit of justice—and one community’s enduring reckoning with the fallout” (Source here).
There are four episodes available now and you may want to clear your diary before you start listening!
9. Hot Money: Who Rules Porn? - Hosted By Patricia Nilsson & Alex Barker - The Financial Times & Pushkin Industries.
In short, this podcast investigates the “world of porn” but more specifically, it tracks the money side of porn.
In the first episode we hear from a woman named Stoya who has vast knowledge and experience in the porn industry and gives the hosts their initial insight into this industry. However what Stoya advises them is far more important, she reminds them “You are The Financial Times, I suggest that you stay in your lane”. And by this, what Stoya means is that they should focus on their area of expertise - finances and money! Stoya states: “… focus on the business aspect, finances, who got what investment money? who’s in how much debt? how much profit is actually happening? what the legal standing of the free tube sites should be?”. So this is where the hosts began their true investigation. They are given six months off their normal day jobs to focus solely on the world of porn and follow the money. This investigative podcast series reveals all that they have uncovered over eight episodes, five of which are now available.
While this podcast also classifies as a business podcast there are elements of crime present throughout. Beginning with the illegal distribution of porn in the past and now presently, to the unconventional and not totally legal way that money was sourced to fund the porn industry many times over. It doesn’t stop there either as it becomes obvious that the various techniques used to keep the porn industry afloat at different stages were very much in a grey area between legal and illegal. I am really enjoying the insights that this podcast offers into the porn industry and its key players.