#SundayScaries: ‘Families Who Kill’ investigates the McCrarys’ chilling crimes from the 1970s

True Crime January 9, 2022
Listen to ‘Families Who Kill’

Wondery presents “Families Who Kill,” an investigative true crime series all about the serial killing family, the McCrarys. Since its release on January 4, 2022, this podcast has been trending and climbing the podcasting charts. The notoriously psychopathic brood, led by the father and son-in-law, robbed, abducted, raped, and killed at least 20 victims from cafes and donut shops across America at night.

Start “Families Who Kill” at episode one to hear the disturbing tale from the very beginning. The average length of episodes is 45 minutes long, with a total of six episodes this season. Later in the series, episodes play the actual confession tapes from one of the family members, recorded in a Colorado jail where he was locked up for life. Listeners will also hear from law enforcement and prosecutors who worked the case.

The McCrarys killed in the 1970s, the same era that criminals like Charles Manson, Ted Bundy, and the Zodiac Killer were active. This podcast shares never-before-heard details of the crimes committed and how they managed to slither away from law enforcement for years due to lagging police forensics. Episodes unpack how additional family members participated in the crimes, and listeners learn that family crime ringleaders, Carl Taylor and Sherman McCrary, were petty thieves long before their crimes escalated.

Episode 1 centers on their first victim’s story, 17-year-old Sheri Martin, killed in Nevada after getting abducted from a donut shop. Police were alerted when Leora Looney was killed, and law enforcement began investigating the McCrarys, who fled to Texas. In episode 3, listeners learn Carl’s son Danny joined in kidnapping Forrest and Jena Cove from a grocery store, and later killed them. Carl’s testimony was shared, and this episode found parallels between the McCrarys’ methods of operation to the 19th century killing family, the Bloody Benders.

By the fourth episode, experts debate if the serial killer definition can be applied to the McCrarys, or if they were crime spree-ers instead? John Wayne Gacy, Ted Bundy, and Andrew Cunanan’s crimes were compared to the McCrarys’ killings. Next, this family killed across the Pacific Northwest, moved to Santa Barbara, CA, and suddenly stopped. But the story was far from its conclusion.

Sherman fell further into alcoholism, Carl attempted to rob a market and shot an officer, and Texas issued a “Traveling Criminals Bulletin” since the family evaded arrest. We also learned how the eager detective, Joe Fanciulli, began cracking the case. The last episode revealed the details of their trial – how Carl claimed an insanity defense and the two suddenly turned on each other.

All episodes of “Families Who Kill” are available to stream now for Wondery+ members. For non-subscribers, new episodes are available every Tuesday through February 2, 2022.

Listen to ‘Families Who Kill’

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