Rank #1: Episode 150
Around 1 A.M. on October 15th, 2018, Barron County Sheriff’s Department receives a 911 call. What sounds to be a struggle and screaming on the other end of the line triggers deputies to drive to the home which the number was registered to. Upon arrival, deputies found 56-year-old James Closs and his wife, 46-year-old Denise deceased from apparent gunshot wounds. Quickly, they find out that the Closs’ 13-year-old daughter was missing from the house. Despite all of the searches, rumors and theories, it wouldn’t be until 88 days later when 13-year-old Jayme Closs wandered down a road 70 miles away from her home, finding a Good Samaritan who recognized the young girl and was able to notify law enforcement.
But who was it that took her? And why did they kill her parents? It was a story that shocked the nation and showed that strangers are capable of anything…
Nov 10 2019
Rank #2: Episode 149
In April 2018, Boca Raton Police Department were alerted of a missing person. James Scandirito II was calling to report that his father, 74-year-old James ‘Skip’ Scandirito was missing from his home and that he had not heard from his father in a few days. Concerned friends also had called in to make a report. But quickly, detectives began to keep an eye on James, as he had mad suspicious statements and acted out unusually while they were trying to conduct their investigation. As they surveilled the 49-year-old man, he ended up leading them to a grisly discovery…
Oct 27 2019
Rank #3: Episode 130
On August 13th, 2018, expectant mother Shanann Watts and her daughters Bella and Celeste were reported missing from their home in Frederick, Colorado. As if vanishing into thin air, her vehicle was left locked in the family garage, her purse and wallet remaining on the kitchen counter. Husband and father Christopher Watts was the last to see them alive in the early morning hours, and his claims grew increasingly more bizarre as he spoke openly to the media in the hours and days after their initial disappearance. With every interview given, it became clear that Chris Watts was hiding much more than just their disappearance.
Jan 26 2019
Rank #4: Episode 3
We're joined by Bruce R. Johnson, a local expert on the Belle Gunness story, along with Director/Producer of Belle Gunness: The Movie and The Gunness Mystery, Stephen Ruminski. We also chat with local librarian Mary Hedge about La Porte's unusual relationship with the Gunness case.
Sword and Scale highly encourages you to support our guests. If you're a fan of Sword and Scale, we're certain you'll enjoy The Gunness Mystery on DVD. To order it, please visit http://www.thegunnessmystery.com/. Also, be sure to check out the La Porte County Historical Society's website for all the wicked little details surrounding this story, and if you want to dig deeper there's always our new friend Mary Hedge at The La Porte County Public Library. Also, if you're into that sort of thing, a horrifying collection of photos related to the Belle Gunness case is available at Murderpedia.
If you're interested in the Belle Gunness Story, check out Sword and Scale Staff Writer's profile: Did Belle Get Away With Murder?
Jan 15 2014
Rank #5: Episode 131
Chris Watts is arrested and charged with murder on August 15th, 2018 in the disappearance of his pregnant wife Shanann and their two children, daughters Bella and Celeste. The caring father and husband was the envy of those who followed their success live online for the world to see. But behind the dramatic weight loss, the anticipated birth of their third child - a son, and Chris and Shanann’s thriving professional careers, a much darker truth remained. Chris wanted a new beginning. A new lease at life. And he was willing to do anything for a fresh start with his new love. He was a monster hiding in plain sight, and his actions horrified an entire nation, bringing new meaning to the classic marital vows, “til death, do us part.” (Part 2 of 2)
Feb 11 2019
Rank #6: Episode 42
In this first part of a two-part story, we examine the curious case of Rodney Reed, a man who is currently on death row awaiting his execution. Meanwhile practically everyone who has closely examined this case believes he is not guilty of the crime he is about to be killed for. Not only that, but there's some pretty good evidence we know exactly who is, and the answer may reveal a shady criminal conspiracy by law enforcement officials.
Apr 12 2015
Rank #7: Episode 57
In this two-part story we will cover the trial of this cold-blooded killer with special guest Cathy Russon from courtchatter.com, and get to know the man behind this horror show.
Jan 04 2016
Rank #8: Episode 33
The hell he would unleash online is something that would bring many to tears. He would find a way to reach fame, or infamy, one way or another. Whether it be adult films or the slaughter of animals, Luka was destined for stardom. Unfortunately for the Chinese International Student Jun Lin, who would eventually become a victim of his madness, Magnotta would find the International spotlight he was looking for. His crime, would be one so brutal and so bizarre that it would prompt Canada's largest International manhunt, but would they ever catch this killer, who was a virtual phantom, before it was too late?
Jan 04 2015
Rank #9: Episode 5
In this episode of Sword and Scale, we'll delve into Part 1 of a series titled The Massive Cover-Up one of the strangest and most outrageous criminal conspiracy theories ever told, including audio from many of those who witnessed the story unfolding firsthand. We're also delve into all the bizarre side-stories that spin off like fractals into their own mysterious endings.
The show concludes with a viral video that made headlines last week. In keeping with the theme, it is that of a sexual abuse victim named Jamie that decided that if the law wasn't going to help her, perhaps YouTube and the outrage of millions could. You won't want to miss this clip.
Jan 29 2014
Rank #10: Episode 87
Over the course of a normal school day, a mystery unravels. At first there is chaos, confusion and much worry, but soon all of that anxiety melts into a river of loss and agony as friends and family members find out the truth. This first part of a two-part story is sure to keep you riveted, at the edge of your seat, and pulling your hair out waiting for the next part.
Apr 08 2017
Rank #11: Episode 4
We also examine how common child abductions are in the United States and cover some of the week's most eye-catching headlines.
Jan 22 2014
Rank #12: Episode 80
This is part two of the two part story of Phillip Markoff, a young and handsome Med student from New England, who came to be known as The Craigslist Killer.
Nov 20 2016
Rank #13: Episode 43
While Reed rotted away in a Texas jail cell, Jimmy Fennel and other cops who were allegedly involved in the coverup went on with their lives. Until an event in 2007, washing over Fennell like a Karmic wave, exposed the truth behind his real character. Despite this, appeal after appeal has failed and Rodney Reed's fate now lies in the hands of a few powerful people and listeners like you who have the power to change the course of events by standing up and demanding true justice.
Apr 19 2015
Rank #14: Episode 64
Apr 02 2016
Rank #15: Episode 62
When her mother Barbara and her father Buddy, and ex-WW2 POW, get involved the online attacks turn deadly. Jenelle uses a fake identity to coerce her own father into killing innocent people, simply because of her jealousy and bitterness to the outside world.
We're joined this week by Assistant District Attorney Dennis Brooks, author of the book Too Pretty To Live: The Catfishing Murders of East Tennessee.
Mar 13 2016
Rank #16: Episode 100
For our landmark hundredth episode we cover a story that has all the elements our listeners love to hear. A graphic and gory case of body parts being found
scattered across a roadway, and the unbelievable tale of how the case then unfolds from there will leave you scratching your head.
Oct 01 2017
Rank #17: Episode 34
Magnotta's evil wasn't limited to humanity, he also tortured animals. The kind of animals that are so adorable, innocent, and unable to defend themselves that it literablly makes you sink to even think about it. But Magnotta wanted fame, so he wasn't content with having you think about it. He wanted you to see it, as many did, including young children who will undoubtedly be scarred for the rest of their lives.
Jan 11 2015
Rank #18: Episode 75
None of of the Gainesville Ripper story makes much sense, but it made an entire university of 30,000+ students panic and leave their studies and futures behind, for the sake of their personal safety.
This story also challenges our ideas of what crime-journalism is and should be. "Guilty until proven innocent?" ...that's not a well-recognized concept these days. And the media and public are quick to judge those on the periphery of the story as well. Sometimes their judgements are right, but sometimes they can equally be misguided.
Sep 12 2016
Rank #19: Episode 63
This is the story of Martin Macneill, and his late wife Michelle.
Mar 27 2016
Rank #20: Episode 88
When a 14 year old boy named Philip Chism goes missing in the middle of a school day, his mother thinks the worst and calls 911. Little does she know, that her son isn't the only missing person from Danvers High School that day. A 24-year-old math teacher is missing also. She is Phillip's teacher which raises some immediate questions, but after finally solving a mishap with the school's 140-camera security system, police are able to come up with a theory as to what happened that day. Another big clue, of course, is the body in the woods. Colleen E. Ritzer was a 24-year-old math teacher at Danvers High School. She had a warm smile and love of teaching. Some of her friends would later say that she was "born to do this job." However, no one could have imaged the darkness that would shroud the school on that particular day, and when all is said and done we are all left with the nagging question of "why?"
Apr 24 2017