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Paper Ghosts

Deep in America’s heartland, on a scorching July 4th weekend in 1981, an alarm went out––the massive farmhouse of an Ohio family was engulfed in flames. All four residents were found dead. But was it the fire that killed them? In season 2 of PAPER GHOSTS, investigative journalist and bestselling true crime author M. William Phelps' search for answers takes a turn after the discovery of declassified documents and a cache of never-before-heard audio tapes help expose the dark truth behind what happened 40 years ago.

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Deep in America’s heartland, on a scorching July 4th weekend in 1981, an alarm went out––the massive farmhouse of an Ohio family was engulfed in flames. All four residents were found dead. But was it the fire that killed them? In season 2 of PAPER GHOSTS, investigative journalist and bestselling true crime author M. William Phelps' search for answers takes a turn after the discovery of declassified documents and a cache of never-before-heard audio tapes help expose the dark truth behind what happened 40 years ago.

Introducing Paper Ghosts

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Four girls go missing, all within miles from one another in neighboring New England towns. And not one arrest is made. Fifty years later, the search for answers is reignited when a call reveals new information that sets the investigation in motion.

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Aug 31 2020

2mins

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The Dead Butterfly

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Janice Pockett was only 7 years old when she went missing during the summer of 1973. She had been given permission for the first time to ride her bike alone, so she made her way down the dirt road near her family’s home. As she turned the corner, it was the last time anybody ever saw her again. For decades, the case has remained unsolved. It was not until recently, when a new piece of information turns the case upside down and shifts the investigation in an entirely new direction.

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Sep 09 2020

35mins

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‘I Wish It Was You That Was Dead'

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One year after Janice Pockett went missing in Tolland, CT, another young girl was abducted just a few miles from where Janice was last seen. Lisa Joy White was 13 when she suddenly vanished on her way home from a friend's house in 1974. Early belief was that Lisa ran away. Police believed her friend knew what happened. Now, for the first time, Lisa's friend is telling her side of the story.

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Sep 09 2020

34mins

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A Hell House

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Susan LaRosa was 20 years old and already a mom to three young children when she disappeared in 1975. She had dark black hair, cut just above her shoulders. She was petite, 95 pounds. Her husband said she left their apartment one evening to get diapers and baby formula and never returned. That’s the extent of what you’d know about Susan LaRosa if you read about her case in the newspapers. But after years of looking into her story, and speaking with family members who are finally ready to talk, the mystery takes a disturbing turn as a person of interest emerges.

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Sep 09 2020

31mins

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'Mommy, Wake Up'

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WARNING: This episode contains material that may be unsuitable and difficult for some to hear.

The story has always been that Susan LaRosa left her apartment to pick up baby supplies and call her mother the night she disappeared. She did this just about every night at the same time at a nearby drug store. Her husband was considered a suspect immediately. More than 40 years later, an eyewitness has come forward with details about what happened the night Susan was murdered.

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Sep 16 2020

32mins

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A Dangerous Man

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All of the missing cases have become like the five points of a star—no matter how you draw it, each point shoots a dotted line back to one person of interest: Bob LaRosa. However, there are far more nefarious secrets buried deep within his family that could lead to another suspect and new answers—starting with yet another missing young woman Bob knew very well. 

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Sep 23 2020

39mins

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A Grave For Many

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A frantic call brings forward a new lead, with new clues and a new person of interest with connections to Bob LaRosa. As local authorities have been focused on a group of violent, sexually perverted men exploiting and violating young women in the area, a surprising connection links this new person of interest back to the water walls where police have been looking.

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Sep 30 2020

34mins

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The Runaway

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The faces of Janice Pockett, Lisa White, and Debbie Spickler appear side by side on one missing persons flier that continues to be posted around town to this day. The public and media have always grouped these cases together. Three young girls, suddenly gone. Yet that is where the similarities stop. Recently uncovered documents help clear up the misinformation that’s been reported on 13-year-old Debbie Spickler’s case for over 50 years, and reveals a whole new web of mysteries that takes us in an entirely new direction.

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Oct 07 2020

30mins

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'Are You Aware of the Ransom Calls?'

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For just a moment in 2013, there was a glint of hope that the remains of one of the missing girls had been discovered. For their families, it was a discovery that finally felt like there would be answers. As the investigation heats up, a new source comes forward and flips the entire investigation upside down.

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Oct 14 2020

26mins

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The Witness

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He was best friends with Bob LaRosa. His ex-wife has described him as violent. And he’s been talking about bodies being buried in local water wells. It’s time for the Witness to speak.

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Oct 21 2020

24mins

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The Last Remains

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As far as the investigation into the five cases has gone, a major piece of the puzzle always felt missing. The victims' families have long asked the State Police to bring search dogs out to the biggest points of interest where the bodies of the missing girls may be buried. Those requests have been ignored ... until now.


If you have any information regarding the cases involving Janice Pockett, Lisa White, Debbie Spickler, Susan LaRosa, or Irene LaRosa, please contact the law enforcement hotline at 860-870-3228. Or, you can send a direct message to M. William Phelps on Facebook or email him personally at mwilliamphelps@comcast.net. Any tip or bit of information can be helpful and all of it is kept completely confidential.


Thank you for listening to Paper Ghosts. Stay tuned and subscribed for season 2.

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Oct 28 2020

25mins

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Introducing Paper Ghosts Season 2

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During the 1981 Fourth of July weekend, four people were found dead inside a massive farmhouse that belonged to a wealthy Ohio family. Desperate to find answers, surviving family members reached out to M. William Phelps for help. After a years-long investigation, new developments help track the movements of a new suspect and uncover a series of mysterious deaths that could expose what really happened that terrible night 40 years ago.

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Jun 16 2021

2mins

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Four Coffins

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Everyone in Bethel, Ohio, has a theory about what happened to the Stevenson family on July 6, 1981. They were one of the town’s most popular, wealthiest families and operated a number of lucrative firework stands in high demand each summer. But when their house is burned to the ground and everyone inside is found dead, long buried secrets of the past are exposed.

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Jun 23 2021

28mins

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The Rival

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Police quickly learn that what was initially considered a deadly accident inside the Stevenson home was actually the scene of a quadruple homicide. Was it retribution from a business deal gone wrong? Had Billy shown off his money to the wrong person? An incident that takes place at one of the family's fireworks stands just days before the murders becomes an eerie prelude as the suspect list begins to grow.

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Jun 30 2021

34mins

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Brookville

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As the focus starts to shift towards the mystery man who visited the Stevensons just hours before the murders, unique investigative techniques are implemented by law enforcement in an effort to find answers. Forty years later, those tactics are revealed when a cache of never-before-heard recordings are discovered and reveal a puzzle of new information.

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Jul 07 2021

25mins

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Dick and Dru

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In light of all the discoveries made during the investigation, authorities still don’t have tangible evidence leading to who is responsible for the murders. Yet, as it feels like the case is beginning to run cold, Detective Cooper finds a new person of interest with connections that are hard to ignore – a man many warn is not someone to tangle with or upset.

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Jul 14 2021

27mins

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Checkmate

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Dick Weston is the key to the Stevenson murders. As the Sheriff’s Department and FBI begin to build a case against the former convict, their investigative aim steers toward the two women who alibied him. 

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Jul 21 2021

34mins

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Killing Carol

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As Dick Weston remains the prime suspect in the Stevenson murders, one question keeps coming up: Where is family friend Ron Thomas? Meanwhile, an unlikely source surfaces with new information that adds weight to a possible motive.

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Jul 28 2021

26mins

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‘The Lincoln Has Been Sold’

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Is Ron Thomas a cold-blooded killer, or misunderstood? To really understand Ron, one needs to look at his life before the Stevenson murders. A detective helps reveal where the Stevenson family friend had been hiding every time he evaded cops and fled town–and introduces a woman with a dangerous past.

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Aug 04 2021

32mins

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Ron Returns

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In the months after the Stevenson murders, Dick Weston and Drucilla Merida were indicted by a federal grand jury–but not for murder. Ron Thomas, on the other hand, was no longer the Fed's priority. This didn't go over too well with Carol Thompson. So she decided to do something about it herself.

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Aug 11 2021

26mins

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