The Generation Why Podcast

The Generation Why Podcast

United States

Unsolved murders, controversies, mysteries, conspiracies, & true crime. Visit for all of our past episodes.


Murder of Elizabeth DeCaro - 251 - Generation Why  

Murder of Elizabeth DeCaro. March 6th, 1992. St. Charles County, Missouri. A parolee by the name of Daniel Anthony Basile murdered Elizabeth DeCaro in her St. Charles County home. Her family had gone on a trip while she stayed behind. Basile had waited in the home for her to return from work and shot her twice from behind. An investigation uncovered a possible motive; money. Her husband was said to have paid Basile to murder her. The couple had been experiencing marital and financial issues. Did Elizabeth's husband, Richard DeCaro, pay to have his wife killed? The details of this case are almost unbelievable, unless you happen to watch a lot of true crime shows. But even then, there are aspects to this case that will make you shake your head. After the episode there is an update on the Holly Bobo case. Zach Adams, the man at the center of the trial, was recently sentenced after being found guilty.

Ryan Widmer - 250 - Generation Why  

Ryan Widmer. August 11, 2008. Morrow, Ohio. A man called 911 to report finding his wife deceased in their bathtub. He said that she had gone upstairs to take a bath, but that she frequently fell asleep and was always worried about her drowning. Detectives would get permission to search the residence and would find apparent contradictions between the man's story and the evidence at the scene. Just hours later, his wife was pronounced dead after nearly an hour of resuscitation attempts and he was arrested. His story was picked up by Dateline and people around the country voiced their support for him after learning about the case and not believing that a crime had even occurred. Prosecutors were so certain of his guilt that they would try him three times to finally get a conviction and put him away. For Ryan Widmer and his supporters, though, the fight is not over. They say that Sarah Widmer's death was accidental and that Ryan had nothing to do with it. When it comes to controversial convictions, this true crime case is one of the most polarizing ones that we have ever discussed.

Ali Kemp - 249 - Generation Why  

Ali Kemp. June 18, 2002. Leawood, Kansas. When a teen shows up to work at a community pool he cannot locate his older sister. She had worked the previous shift and his arrival was supposed to mean that she could head home. A call to his father brought him out to aid in the search and she was finally discovered in the pool house. She had suffered a sustained, violent attack and was barely clinging to life. Soon after arriving at the hospital, the young woman was pronounced dead. She had been beaten and strangled. The family was heartbroken, but Ali Kemp's father came up with a clever plan to bring her killer to justice. This true crime case is a local one to us and Roger Kemp's actions inspired other states to follow his lead which led to more killers getting caught around the United States in a similar fashion.

The Co-Ed Killer - 248 - Generation Why  

The Co-Ed Killer. Santa Cruz, California. In the early 1970's, Santa Cruz, California became the 'murder capital of the world' after several murderers left their mark on the area. One of them, a 6'9" 300lb man by the name of Edmund Kemper began his murderous career by killing his grandparents. After some time and treatment he was released only to begin killing again. This time, young college students seemed to become his targets and his obsession with decapitation and necrophilia meant that his crimes were horrific. Kemper blamed his mother for why he turned out the way that he did and eventually he set his sights on her in a final act of revenge. Was Kemper made a monster due to abuse by his mother? Or was Big Ed destined to become a serial killer no matter how he was raised?

Death of Annie McCann - 247 - Generation Why  

Death of Annie McCann. November 02, 2008. Baltimore, Maryland. A 16 year-old girl from Alexandria, Virginia is found dead behind a dumpster in Baltimore, Maryland. A note left behind in her room indicates that she had considered suicide but instead opted to live by starting over somewhere else. In the note she also asks her parents not to look for her. The parents are devastated and cannot account for why their happy daughter would have run away. An autopsy is performed and the cause of death was lidocaine poisoning. The teen had brought a bottle of Bactine with her which contains lidocaine, but the amount contained in a 5oz bottle may not be enough to cause death. Her car, a white Volvo, was discovered several blocks away. A fingerprint identified inside of the car belonged to a person of interest who would admit to pulling a dead girl out of the car before using it to joyride with friends. As more details emerged the mystery deepened. In a case that is just as perplexing as the disappearance of Maura Murray, we attempt to figure out whether Annie McCann was murdered, took her own life, or accidentally poisoned herself.

Rodney Reed - 246 - Generation Why  

Rodney Reed. April 23, 1996. Bastrop County, Texas. Nineteen year-old Stacey Stites was found dead on the side of a road. She had been engaged to a police officer named Jimmy Fennell and had been working hard at her job to pay for the upcoming wedding. After a brief investigation into Fennell, detectives would later focus their attention on a man named Rodney Reed after his dna was proven to be in and on the victim. After Reed is convicted and sentenced to death, in what appeared to be an open and shut case, a more capable attorney as well as forensic experts have revealed major issues with the investigation and its conclusions. Did Rodney Reed murder Stites? Or could she have been killed by her fiance? This controversial true crime case has divided many people across the nation.

The Acid Bath Murderer - 245 - Generation Why  

The Acid Bath Murderer. 1944-49. United Kingdom. A man discovered that his talent for forgery could make him wealthy without having to work for a living. Funding his high class lifestyle and his love for cars was all the motivation he needed. Unfortunately for him, his crimes were reported and he did several stints in prison. Having had enough of that, he decided that all he needed to do was to make his victims disappear. No bodies, he figured, meant that there could be no convictions. From fraudster to murderer, John George Haigh murdered people, dissolved their bodies in drums of acid, and went about the process of absorbing and profiting from their assets. But John Haigh didn't fully understand the law and the law would come down on the head of The Acid Bath Murderer.

Timmothy Pitzen - 244 - Generation Why  

Timmothy Pitzen. May 11, 2011. Aurora, Illinois. A mother contacts her son's elementary school to say that there is a family emergency and that she is going to pick him up. After she leaves with him, they go to the zoo as well as some water parks in Illinois and Wisconsin. She embarked on this trip without the knowledge of her husband who thought that she was possibly just taking some time out as their marriage had been experiencing difficulties. After several days, though, his wife's body was discovered in a motel room in Rockford, Illinois. She had taken her own life. Also troubling was that their son, Timmothy Pitzen, was nowhere to be found. Amy Pitzen had written three notes before her death; leaving one behind in the room with her and the other two were mailed out to her mother and a friend of hers. Within these notes she indicates that Timmothy was being cared for and that "there were just too many pieces to pick up". Did she hand her son over to someone else? Or could she have done the unthinkable before ending her own life?

2012 Aurora Shooting - 243 - Generation Why  

2012 Aurora Shooting. July 20, 2012. Aurora, Colorado. At the midnight premiere of The Dark Knight Rises, the last in a trilogy of Batman films by director Christopher Nolan, an armored man opened fire into the hundreds seated in theater 9 at the Century 16 theater in Aurora, Colorado. After the shooting ended, seventy people had been injured and twelve were dead. Law enforcement responded quickly and the suspect was arrested just after he left the complex. The question of who was responsible was not really in question, but whether or not James Holmes, 24, was fit to stand trial or not was. Mental health experts and lawyers argued over Holmes' mental illness and whether or not he understood that what he was doing at the time was wrong. Murder has a devastating effect on families and communities. This is never more evident than when murder is as a result of a mass shooting.

Missing 411 - 242 - Generation Why  

Missing 411. North America. One man's research shows that for more than a century, people have been disappearing under mysterious circumstances across North America. Now, author David Paulides brings some of these cases, previously recounted in his series of books, to living rooms in the form of his Missing 411 documentary. Made with the help of his son, Benjamin, they profile five separate, mysterious incidents involving children. When a person goes missing there is a search effort to locate them. But national parks and even forests can make such searches difficult. Adding to these difficulties are the questions that remain long after a person's remains are located. How did a child disappear when surrounded by family? How and why did they end up 12 miles away and a half a day later with no explanation of how they could have traversed such difficult, mountainous terrain on their own? We interview David about why he got involved in researching these disappearances as well as what can be done to understand why they are happening and possibly prevent them.

Todd Kendhammer - 241 - Generation Why  

Todd Kendhammer. September 16th, 2016. West Salem, Wisconsin. A man and his wife drive out early one morning so that he can take a look at a truck that had a cracked windshield. He said that he was asked to repair it. On the way, though, tragedy strikes. His wife of 25 years is gravely injured when a 53" galvanized steel pipe from a passing truck on the highway flies off and strikes her through the windshield. She will die the next day from her injuries. The husband seems helpful and assists investigators. But as they look to match his statements against the evidence they discover that Todd Kendhammer doesn't seem to be telling them the truth about what happened to his wife Barbara.

Murder Of Kelsey Smith - 240 -Generation Why  

Murder Of Kelsey Smith. June 2nd, 2007. Overland Park, Kansas. A young woman walked around a department store trying to decide on a gift for her boyfriend. Also in the store was a man who started following her. He really liked her legs and youthful appearance. After paying for her items, she walked out to her car to leave. The man suddenly appeared and forced her into her own car. The woman's family mounted a campaign to locate her with the help of the public, the police, and the media. Despite their best efforts, terrible news would reach them. Kelsey Smith's body was located in a wooded area near a lake about 20 miles East of the store she had been at prior to her abduction. The investigation into her murder is aided by a married couple who lived near the suspect. As evidence mounted against Edwin Hall, many in the public wondered why he chose to kill Kelsey Smith.

The Backpacker Killer - 239 - Generation Why  

The Backpacker Killer. November, 1993. New South Wales, Australia. Three more bodies are recovered from the NSW Belanglo State Forest, bringing the count to seven. Now the police had to admit that a serial killer was abducting and murdering backpackers. The killer was dubbed The Backpacker Killer. His modus operandi was to take his victims to the forest where he disabled them by severing their spinal cords then murdered them in various ways. Because of this, police considered that there may have been more than one person involved. But a man named Paul Onions would contact authorities to tell them of his abduction story. This would focus the investigation on a single person Onions identified in a video lineup; Ivan Milat. Ivan owned many firearms, was very strong, and came from a large, tight-knit family. A raid on the Milat properties in 1994 would produce 100s of items of evidence and yet he denied any involvement.

The Butcher Of Kansas City - 238 - Generation Why  

The Butcher Of Kansas City. April 2nd, 1988. Kansas City, Missouri. Police are called after a man is discovered hiding on a porch wearing nothing but a dog collar. His story struck law enforcement as fantastic. He claimed to have been captive by another man who tortured him. A visit to the home revealed the terrible truth. Pictures and diaries kept by the homeowner documented the abduction, torture and sometimes deaths of different young men. In all, nineteen young men were photographed. Unfortunately, the killer had disposed of all of his victims so investigators needed to get the answers from Robert Berdella himself. "Bob" was a sexual psychopath who took great pleasure in exercising power over his victims and putting them through the worst tortures imaginable. These included injections of bleach and drain cleaner into the eyes and voice box, wrapping hands and feet in piano wire, being beaten, raped, and given electric shocks to sensitive areas of their bodies. Before Jeffrey Dahmer made the headlines there was Robert Berdella; The Butcher of Kansas City.

Robin Abrams - 237 - Generation Why  

Robin Abrams. October 4th, 1990. Will County, Illinois. A 28 year-old woman passes her father as she drives her '89 Dodge Daytona down Goodenow Road. They wave at each other. This is the last time he will ever see his daughter. Her disappearance is suspected to be tied to her boyfriend. They had worked together at the Will County Sheriff's Office and dated for less than six months before she learned that he was married and then she wanted to break things off. They would both claim harassment by the other which would culminate in her filing lawsuits, being fired and his having her arrested many times. While her family wanted the boyfriend, Tony Marquez, investigated, they were met with resistance. Both by law enforcement and by the court. A witness who saw two men using a tow truck to drop off the woman's car seemed to hold the key to her disappearance, but without charges being brought against the boyfriend and his stepbrother, the case could not move forward. Some said that perhaps she disappeared to get away from the situation and to spite her ex-boyfriend. But friends and family contend that Robin Abrams was murdered and that the Will County Sheriff's Office was looking out for their own. Where is Robin Abrams?

The Beltway Snipers - 236 - Generation Why  

The Beltway Snipers. Washington, D.C. October, 2002. Fear grips the beltway as random people are shot dead in public by a hidden shooter. Parking lots and gas stations were no longer safe. A single gunshot would be heard and then someone would fall. Five were shot dead on October 3rd alone. The threat caused people to look around and to be on guard. Men, women, and even kids were targets for whoever was behind the attacks. For more than 20 days the attacks and even taunts from the killer continued until a call from a man alerted authorities to the location of the two responsible for the crimes. But the Beltway attacks were not the whole story. The pair had shot others before October and the reason behind the spree killings seemed to be rage. John Allen Muhammad and his teenage co-conspirator Lee Boyd Malvo wanted to terrorize the public and bring the system down. For Muhammad, losing his children in a custody battle with his ex-wife may have been the last straw.

The Boston Boy Fiend - 235 - Generation Why  

The Boston Boy Fiend. South Boston, Massachusetts. Beginning in late 1871, a series of abductions and beatings occur that leave parents worried about what is happening to young children in the Chelsea, Massachusetts area. Later, the attacks will move to South Boston and the victims there will suffer even more brutal attacks. A suspect is identified and sentenced to the House of Reformation. In less than two years, far less than the sentence given, the young teenager is released due to his good behavior. Little did anyone suspect that young Jesse Pomeroy would quickly graduate to being a murderer. He would earn the nickname, The Boston Boy Fiend.

Dee Dee & Gypsy Blancharde - 234 - Generation Why  

Dee Dee & Gypsy Blancharde. Springfield, Missouri. Dee Dee Blancharde was murdered in June of 2015. Her daughter, Gypsy, had been kept in a childlike state since she was young and made to take medicine and undergo surgeries in order for Dee Dee to get gifts and money. In a bid to free herself from the isolated and abusive life her mother had created for her, Gypsy recruited her boyfriend to kill her mother Dee Dee by stabbing her to death. After our discussion, stay tuned as director Erin Lee Carr is interviewed by Justin about her new HBO documentary, Mommy Dead And Dearest, that takes a look at this bizarre case of Munchausen by proxy syndrome and murder.

The Shoemaker - 233 - Generation Why  

The Shoemaker. January 8th, 1975. Leonia, New Jersey. A man and his young son posed as salesmen to gain entrance to a New Jersey home. They attacked the people inside. One of them, a woman who lived nearby, was taken to the basement and her throat was slit. This was the last in a series of attacks by a man who believed that he was instructed to do these things. The ultimate goal; the deaths of three billion people. With all killers a question seems to come up. Was it nature or nurture? In Joseph Kallinger's case, the answer seems to be nurture. His abusive and isolated upbringing by Stephen and Anna Kallinger may have triggered paranoid schizophrenia in a young boy who would go on to have dark fantasies that involved women and knives. 

The A6 Murder - 232 - Generation Why  

The A6 Murder. August 23rd, 1961. Bedfordshire, UK. A couple parks off road in Dorney Reach to spend time together. It is late in the evening. A man with a gun will get their attention by tapping a window with his .38 Enfield revolver. For hours the gunman, who holds a scarf over much of his face, talks with them then has them go on a drive. Finally, in a cockney accent, he says that he is tired and wants a kip (a nap). It is after the car pulls off near Deadman's Hill that things go from bad to worse. He shoots the man. Killing him. Then he rapes the woman. Just when it seems like he may be leaving, he turns, and fires off seven shots. The woman is hit with five bullets and will pretend to be dead in a bid to survive. The gunman drives away. Police will identify two suspects. The first was Peter Alphon. The second, James Hanratty. Witnesses provide two different identikits matching both men. Figuring out which of the men were responsible for this crime was no easy task. And some believe that the wrong man was hanged.

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