Stolen identities and a web of deceit: ‘Deep Cover: Never Seen Again’ shares Esther Reed’s story

True Crime February 1, 2023
Listen to ‘Deep Cover: Never Seen Again’

Each season of “Deep Cover,” host and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jake Halpern examines double lives, stolen identities, and the lengths people are willing to go to achieve their desired outcomes. On the podcast, journey through underworlds and thick webs of deceit in conversations with convicted criminals and law enforcement.

Season three, “Never Seen Again,” is just getting started. In 1999, Brooke Henson disappeared from her South Carolina home and was never seen again. Seven years later, police learned that a woman, Esther Reed, assumed Henson’s identity – she was living in New York City and attended Columbia University. When investigators (including Detective Jon Campbell) sought her out, she vanished again. Detective Campbell recruited the Secret Service to gain access to documents, found leads, aliases, and more clues.

In this season, Halpern speaks with Reed, South Carolina detectives, federal investigators, family members, and more guests to share the series of events. We recommend streaming all episodes from the beginning to hear the entire story unfold. It’s a super bingeable series with episodes running less than 40 minutes on average, and Pushkin subscribers get early access to episodes.

By episode three, we learn more about Reed and why she was on the lam. Reed’s disappearance hit the media, and reporters could not wait to break the story of an Ivy League imposter. Called a “brazen brunette beauty” and “klepto brainiac,” Reed hid away in different American motels until the story found her. Reed’s sister searched for her for almost a decade, and then a U.S. Marshal was brought in to find her. Reed had to address her past as South Carolina’s investigators learned what happened to Henson. Halpern uncovered plenty of info and where both of the women’s stories stand today.

Season one of “Deep Cover” covered “The Drug Wars,” exploring a time an FBI agent went undercover with a biker gang. They followed clues, witnessed crimes firsthand, and obtained enough information that unintentionally led the US’ invasion of a foreign country.

Season two, “Mob Land,” revealed Bob Cooley’s story in his own words – a former mob lawyer who switched teams and worked with the feds to take down one of America’s most powerful criminal syndicates.

Tune in for the latest season of “Deep Cover” wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts.

Listen to ‘Deep Cover: Never Seen Again’

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