Amityville Murders, cold cases, and hostage situations: 9 of this spring’s best true crime podcasts to stream
Several new shows top our must-listen true crime podcast list this spring. This nightmarish selection of podcasts covers murders, conspiracies, cults, kidnappings, and more worst case scenarios. Donnie Wahlberg guides listeners through the Amityville Murders in 6 episodes. Another new show features audio from one of America’s most infamous hostage situations, catalyzed by a drug kingpin. The 4th season of “Hell and Gone” travels to Arkansas to investigate an unsolved death.
There is a series all about Southern true crime and the justice system. If your true crime focus is on cold cases and missing persons, there are a few series for you. Some of these podcasts dig into cases from history and contemplate if criminals have gotten better or worse at committing crimes over time.
Very Scary People
In 1974, the DeFeo family was found dead in their suburban New York home. The only surviving family member was their eldest son, Ron DeFeo Jr. In HLN’s “Very Scary People,” host Donnie Wahlberg (New Kids on the Block, Saw films, The Sixth Sense) unravels the complex story around the Amityville Murders in 6 episodes. This series features officers involved in the case, journalists who reported from the crime scene, authors, and more.
Fred Gómez Carrasco was a drug cartel kingpin who infamously directed 1974’s prison siege in Huntsville, Texas. This scenario stretched over 11 days and became one of the worst hostage crises in American history. Actual audio footage from the crisis and hostage negotiations lead the story as told in Imperative Media’s “Standoff.”
Hell and Gone
Writer and private investigator Catherine Townsend covers a different case each season on “Hell and Gone.” Season 4 just started this March and examines an unsolved case in Arkansas. In 2015, 18-year-old Ebby Steppach’s abandoned vehicle was found with her phone and personal belongings inside. The keys were still in the ignition, and the car was out of gas as if it was left running. Later, her dead body was found. This season, Catherine is heading to Arkansas to find out what happened.
Shondaland Audio presents “Criminalia,” a weekly true crime podcast uncovering cases and what we can learn from criminals and past crimes. This series explores if humans have gotten better or worse at committing crimes. Recent episodes discussed alchemist Dr. William Butler and polymath al-Fārābī. On the Agnes Sampson episode, we heard about her alleged witchcraft and plot to kill the Scottish king. Her interrogation and torture-driven confession is credited with starting North Berwick’s witch trials.
The First Degree
Alexis Linkletter, Jac Vanek, and Billy Jensen present “The First Degree,” bringing y’all on a “chilling ride into the darkest corners of your worst nightmares.” Each episode, hear about cults, conspiracies, kidnappings, murders, and more from guests close to the stories they’re sharing. Their “Killing Time” after-show episodes are true crime-adjacent.
Law enforcement has issued playing card decks to inmates, replacing the graphics with missing and murdered people’s pictures in hopes they’ll come forward with information. This audiochuck series speaks with investigators and families to learn new details of cold cases and bring victims justice.
30 Morbid Minutes
“30 Morbid Minutes” digs into current events and scary historical mentions with hosts Jessica Vasami and Elyse Willems. If you want to learn about creepy topics like medieval torture devices, grave robbers, and necrocannibalism, this podcast is for you. This new series is brought to you by Rooster Teeth.
Southern Fried True Crime
Tennessee native Erica Kelley delves into historical and contemporary cases in “Southern Fried True Crime.” Hear about twisted murders like 1999’s Phillips Family Massacre in North Carolina, Darlie Routier’s conviction, and more on how “fried” the justice system can get down South.
Steven Pacheco’s “Trace Evidence” investigates unsolved cases in weekly episodes. Steven deep dives into murder cases and missing persons. He unpacks evidence and theories for each case and wants to find answers, occasionally posting update episodes on previously-covered cases. Check out this series’ archive of over 200 episodes.