Several mysterious disappearances, violent crimes, and unsolved murders baffled the greatest minds. Indeed, the most brilliant police officers, detectives, and sleuths couldn’t put these deadly puzzles together. Luckily, Ashley Flowers and Brit Prawat created the true-crime podcast Crime Junkie to tackle these notorious cold cases. Flowers came up with the idea for the true-crime podcast while working at Crime Stoppers. It’s not a surprise that Flowers and Prawat are true crime obsessed. Flowers was a huge Agatha Christie, and Nancy Drew fan as a child. Crime Junkie has covered so many incredible stories it’s hard to know where to start. Well, here’s a guide to the best Crime Junkie episodes.
These excellent episodes have helped make Crime Junkie one of the best podcasts. It often rivals The Joe Rogan Experience for the number one spot. It’s easy to see why the podcast is so popular after listening to the best Crime Junkie episodes.
1. Missing: Relisha Rudd/Unique Harris
Crime Junkie has a reputation for bringing attention to cases that go unreported. The episode Missing: Relisha Rudd/Unique Harris covers the separate disappearances of eight-year-old Relisha Rudd and 24-year-old Unique Harris. Critics feel the cases received little to no news coverage because they involved poor African-American women.
In 2014, a 51-year-old janitor and former felon Khali Tatum likely kidnapped Rudd from the D.C. General Shelter. Later, police discovered the bodies of Tatum and his wife in an apparent murder-suicide. Rudd is still missing.
Harris went missing in October 2010 after witnessing a murder outside her building. At the time, Harris lived in a bad part of Washington, D.C. In December 2020, police arrested a man in connection with her disappearance. Harris is still missing.
2. Murdered: The Powell Family
This is a gripping tale that takes listeners on a detailed journey covering every aspect of the crimes. It started in 2009 with the disappearance of Susan Powell. It didn’t take long for the police to begin to suspect her husband, Joshua Powell. Several clues pointed at Joshua, including comments from his two young sons and a letter written by Susan before her death. However, in 2012, the plot thickened when Joshua killed himself and his two sons. It’s easily one of the most heartbreaking and best Crime Junkie episodes.
3. Murdered: Shawn Edwards
On a cold morning in 1986, the Middletown High School janitor discovered the dead body of 14-year-old Shawn Edwards in front of the school. The killer stabbed Edwards repeatedly and left him to die. Edwards’s story gained renewed interest because of the incredible Crime Junkie episodes Murdered: Shawn Edwards. The true-crime podcast digs deep into the story going over old facts while discovering new evidence. It’s a gripping story that’ll have the listener guessing to the very end.
4. Captured: Ashley Freeman & Lauria Bible’s Killer
In 1999, firefighters arrived at the Freeman house and promptly put out a raging fire. However, they soon discovered they had more than just a fire. They found the bodies of Danny and Kathy Freeman. They soon realized that teenagers Ashley Freeman and her friend Lauria Bible were also missing.
A perpetrator abducted them in the early morning around the time of Danny and Kathy’s deaths. The mystery went unsolved for decades until new DNA evidence surfaced. In 2018, investigators arrested and charged Ronnie Busick. The Crime Junkie episode Captured: Ashley Freeman & Lauria Bible’s Killer covers Busick’s initial crime, the investigation, and his arrest.
5. Infamous: Las Cruces Bowling Alley Massacre
In 1990, Las Cruces Bowling alley employees were preparing to open on a February morning when two robbers broke into the building. They shot all seven victims, including young children and toddlers. Only two of the seven victims managed to survive. The killer’s identity remains a mystery to this day.
The Crime Junkie episode Infamous: Las Cruces Bowling Alley Massacre covers every detail of the unsolved crime, including the victims involved and the chain of events that led to the tragic deaths of five innocent people.
6. Murdered: Kacie Woody
Crime Junkie covers the tragic slaying of Kacie Woody in the episode Murdered: Kacie Woody. In 2002, 47-year-old David Leslie Fuller posed as a 17-year-old teenager in a Yahoo Christian chat room and catfished Kacie. Eventually, Fuller travelled to Arkansas, kidnapped Kacie, and killed her. The gruesome murder gained national attention and became a big news story. This Crime Junkie episode tracks the events leading to the abduction, the aftermath, and the dangers of social media.
7. Murdered: Laci Peterson
The murder of Laci Peterson is the type of crime everyone has heard of but might not know all the details about the case. Crime Junkie covers it in the excellent episode Murdered: Laci Peterson. In December 2002, Laci disappeared while eight months pregnant.
Eventually, her lifeless body washed up on shore, and the investigation zeroed in on Laci’s husband, Scott Peterson. The Crime Junkie episode accurately recounts the mysterious disappearance and investigation that revealed Scott Peterson as the murderer. It’s easily one of the best Crime Junkie episodes.
8. Murdered: Kathy Page
In 1991, Kathy Page was found dead in an apparent car accident. However, once investigators looked closer, they realized that someone had killed her and staged the scene. Soon, the investigation focused on Kathy’s husband, Steve. It turned out that Kathy and Steve’s marriage had fallen apart.
In her opinion, the marriage was over, and she had moved on with a new boyfriend. This famous Crime Junkie episode dives deep into the strange murder and aftermath. They follow the evidence that points to Steve, however, 30 years after the murder, Steve is still a free man.
9. Infamous: What Serial Didn’t Tell You
In 2014, the popular podcast Serial bought attention to the murder of Hae Min Lee in 1999. Lee’s ex-boyfriend Adnan Syed was found guilty of her murder and sentenced to life in prison. Serial host Sarah Koenig just scratched the surface of this complex mystery. The Crime Junkie episode Infamous: What Serial Didn’t Tell You continues where Serial left off. The true-crime podcast reveals much more and digs deep into this puzzling crime.
10. Missing: Jamie Fraley
The disappearance of Jamie Farley is a complex mystery that might remain unsolved forever. The Crime Junkie episode Missing: Jamie Fraley dissects the mystery and Fraley’s last few hours. In April 2008, Fraley struggled with the stomach flu and needed a ride to the hospital. She ended up calling her fiance’s father, Ricky Simonds Sr. All theories point to Simonds Sr. being behind her disappearance and presumably her death. However, Simonds Sr. was found dead in the back of his ex-girlfriend’s car in June 2008.
11. Murdered: Ruby J. Doss
The 1986 murder of Ruby J. Doss remains a gripping mystery that continues to unravel. Ruby was a young mother and sex worker brutally beaten to death. The case remained cold for years until new DNA evidence pointed at former police officer Richard Aguirre.
Aguirre went on trial for the murder, but the prosecutor dropped the charges. The Crime Junkie episode Murdered: Ruby J. Doss dives deep into the case and brings renewed attention to the brutal murder.
12. Survived: Elizabeth Smart
This episode details the incredible and painful story of Elizabeth Smart. In 2003, Brian David Mitchell and Wanda Barzee abducted Smart from her home in Utah. They held her captive for nine months until the police rescued her. Crime Junkie does an excellent job reviewing the timeline and examining every detail of the case.
Ashley discusses both solved and unsolved cases on Crime Junkie, so here is a list of the best of both, allowing you to enjoy whatever your preference.
As with most true crime and serial killer podcasts, you can expect some pretty grizzly details regarding violence, murder, and sexual assault, as well as some homophobia, racism, and other potential triggers. Always take care of yourself and listen responsibly.
In July 2022, we were researching episodes to add more favourites to this list and stumbled across a story. It came to light in 2019 that some stories the host of Crime Junkie covered were plagiarized. Some content creators and journalists have stated that Ashley and Brit copied content verbatim without giving them credit. According to a Crime Junkie Podcast post on social media dated 8/15/2019, “The Crime Junkie episodes that were recently taken down are now again available in the main feed, with all sources comprehensively cited on the blog”
The Mysterious Death Of Kendrick Johnson
Back in 2013, a body was discovered in the gym of Lowndes High School, located in Valdosta, Georgia. The victim had been wrapped in a gym mat and stood vertically, but law enforcement judged it an accident almost immediately, which given the circumstances, seems incredibly misguided.
As you can probably imagine, the family remains adamant that their successful, happy-go-lucky son, brother, and loved one, Kendrick Johnson, was murdered.
Given the third autopsy decided that the initial proclamation of accidental death and positional asphyxia was apparent non-accidental blunt force trauma, they’re probably right. Right?
The Mysterious Death Of Holly Bartlett
One cold morning in March of 2010, a woman was found unconscious beneath Canada’s MacKay Bridge in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Unfortunately, doctors failed to save her, as she was barely hanging on to life when discovered.
After a brief investigation of the circumstances, police investigating the scene ruled Holly Bartlett’s death an accident. Apparently, she walked from her condo for a quarter-mile, snuck through a barbed fence, and then climbed to the top of a twenty-foot cable, only to fall to her death when meeting the hard floor below.
But this story from law enforcement doesn’t make sense to her family and friends. Ashley lays everything out crystal clear for you in this episode, so see what you think about these incredibly suspicious circumstances.
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