The entertainment industry is obsessed with true crime stories. From Ted Bundy to the Zodiac Killer and the Night Stalker, Netflix and other streaming platforms have capitalized on these chilling true tales. But what about the other stories of heinous killings? These five lesser-known true crime stories would make for a fascinating docuseries.
Mary Bell, the 11-year-old strangler
Mary Bell’s story dates back to Britain in 1968. The daughter of a teenage sex worker and an active criminal, Bell strangled two young boys in a two-month span. On May 25, 1968, she strangled 4-year-old Martin Brown to death and left a note behind admitting her guilt. Bell didn’t act alone, though. Her friend Norma Joyce Bell (no relation) assisted in these killings. Two months later, the duo strangled 3-year-old Brian Howe to death. Police reported Bell later returned to Howe’s body to carve an “M” into his abdomen. She also cut off some of his hair, scratched his legs, and mutilated his genitals.
The murder of Angela Samota
Angela Samota was a college student in Texas when she was raped and stabbed to death in 1984. With little evidence to go on, her case eventually went cold. But her roommate, Shelia Wysocki, wouldn’t accept that. Years later, during the O.J. Simpson trial, Wysocki saw how DNA could influence a case. After the police refused to look at the blood and semen collected from Samota’s murder, Wyzocki became a private investigator. The authorities finally agreed to work with her in 2006, when they matched the DNA from Samota’s crime scene to Donald Bess, a convicted rapist found guilty for the murder of Samota.
The murder and kidnapping of Baby Lindbergh
In 1932, the son of aviator Charles Lindbergh was kidnapped from their home. Authorities found a ransom note, but a lack of additional evidence made it hard to find Baby Lindbergh. After two months of searching, Charles “Chas” Lindbergh, Jr.’s body was found decomposing. Bruno Richard Hauptmann was the only suspect in the case after police traced some of the ransom money to him, but he never admitted guilt. What’s more, many historians aren’t convinced Hauptmann was responsible for the death of Baby Lindbergh.
Juana Barraza, the ‘Old Lady Killer’
Juana Barraza was a professional wrestler who performed under the name La Dama del Silencio — “The Lady of Silence.” Between 1998 and 2006, Barraza murdered between 42 and 49 elderly women in Mexico. Barraza got away with so many murders because authorities weren’t looking for a woman. While on trial, Barraza’s lawyer cited her childhood traumas, which included regular beatings and rape, as the reason for her crimes. Barraza targeted older women because she identified them with her abusive mother.
Ariel Castro’s kidnappings
Ariel Castro kidnapped Michelle Knight, Amanda Berry, and Georgina DeJesus between 2002 and 2004. Castro would offer his victims a ride, then lure them into his basement and restrain them. He held the three young women captive in his Cleveland, Ohio home until May of 2013, when Berry escaped and contacted police. Castro was charged with four counts of kidnapping — Berry gave birth to her daughter in captivity — and three counts of rape. Later, he was found guilty of over 900 crimes.
Consider this our petition for creatives to get going on bringing these true crime cases to a streaming service soon.