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When we get on an airplane, our chances of surviving the trip are almost 100 percent. But if you decide to go over Niagara Falls, the probability you walk away gets pretty low. But those are also risks we choose to take. Today's countdown is about people who didn't make the choice to put their lives at risk, but they did choose to survive.


This episode is all about the victims who faced off with ruthless serial killers, genocide and deranged sexual predators and escaped to tell the tale. They all got away, but just barely. Hailu Weirdo's, welcome to Crime Countdown, a Spotify original from podcast, I'm Ash and Emelina. Every week will highlight 10 fascinating stories of history's most engaging and unsettling crimes, all picked by the podcast Research Gotz.


This episode, we're counting down the top ten victims who barely got away.


So this one made me think immediately about, like, what I would do. Am I a fighter?


Like any giant question that I didn't question it, but I was just like, to what extent?


I'd say all the extents when it comes to being a fighter, I would say I am dormant until pushed and then I will become Muhammad Ali.


Yeah, I think you're just always on. But Ali, I always say that Elena brings like fiery redhead's to a whole nother level.


I bring that energy. Yeah, you definitely do. For me, it takes a lot for me to, like, get upset or want to fight at all. And I usually just avoid all conflict. But I think in a scenario like any of these, I have picked up a few good techniques along the way that would make me like fight like hell. Oh yeah, absolutely. If I'm ever in this kind of situation, I'm at the very least leaving the attacker, like limping on the way out.


I'm going to give it a shot.


At least I tend to be I tend to be like kind of in tune. I'm pretty in tune with my instincts. I would say, like, I always try to follow my gut. I try to listen to it. I can usually tell when someone's, like, not a good guy or girl. Yeah.


For me, I feel like that came with age because the older I get, the better. I'm getting at judging character. But when I was younger, young, I'm like terrified for her at all times, even though she got through it. I'm like, girl, barely. What were you doing when we said you barely. Yeah.


Those are those are stories for another day. Yeah, for sure.


You definitely put yourself in some scary situations. Like you said, a story for another day. What are the scariest situations I ever found myself in. Did and with a man on the floor. So I mean, that's cool.


But that's also another story for another day. It's a really good story. It's a great story, all the stories.


But these ten stories are the most important for today. Olina has five bad ass survivor tales and so do I. But neither of us knows what stories the other one has. Let's start the countdown.


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This episode is brought to you by HBO's Q Into the Storm, a new six part documentary from director Cullen Hoback and executive producer Adam McKay. Q Into the Storm charts a labyrinth journey to unmask the person behind. Q And on the series follows a three year global investigation, revealing how the anonymous character known as Q uses information warfare to manipulate the Internet politics and people's thinking. Q Into the Storm is now streaming on HBO Max. Ten. I'll start us off with number 10, John Wayne Gacy, victim Jeffrey right now, Ragnhild testified that Gacy picked him up in his car, then knocked him out using chloroform when signal regained consciousness.


He was being abused by Gacy and stated that there was another man in the room adding to the theory that John Wayne Gacy had an accomplice. Now, Gacy is one of the most prolific and sadistic serial killers in American history. He killed 33 men and boys.


We did an episode or a few episodes on him. It's like three jewboy.


Yeah, yeah. Like when you say prolific and sadistic that you're not getting and you're like saying the least. Yeah, exactly. And the story of Guignol is will blow your mind. So Ragnar said he was fastened to a torture device called the rack.


Like already.


Yeah. I don't want to take it back to medieval torture. I was going to say, if you listen to our medieval torture episode, there was a medieval torture instrument called the Rack. Yeah, well, he was brutally, brutally tortured, like horrifically, but he escaped. So Gazy later dumped orignal unconscious in a Chicago park. But remember that I think it was like near a statue or something.


It was like a very the whole setting and the whole scene was so messed up.


It sounds like a horror movie. It truly does. It doesn't sound real.


The fact that Gacy would spare someone's life caused skepticism with police who didn't believe Jeffrey Retinol when he reported the crime, which is horrific.


Yeah, it's always great not to believe a potential victim, always awesome, especially because he had gone to the hospital. He had spent days in the hospital because he had, like, internal bleeding. Oh, yeah. Because when we say the torture was bad, the torture was bad. Yeah.


What you are thinking, it's not at times so much worse than that. Well, he described and this is what blew everyone's mind, he described another man being in the room while he was abused, which opened up investigations into an accomplice.


And nothing ever came of that. They never found who it was.


And it's like, who are you? So the only other thing that I can think of is that he had like mirrors in the room.


I remember people saying, so maybe it was just some kind of reflection, maybe.


But it's like if there was someone else helping him do this. Wow. That's just walking out around town. It's insane. And during the trial, defense attorneys hoped that Rigondeaux description of his experience would help to convince the jurors that Casey was insane and should escape the death penalty.


He also, while he was testifying, like threw up on like he had to throw up on the stand while he was talking to. So upset. So some horrific. Nine number nine on our countdown is Oregon hitchhiker Colleen Stan. In 1977, Colleen was hitchhiking when she was abducted by a sadistic California couple, Cameron and Janice Hooker. They proceeded to keep Colleen locked inside a wooden box for seven years, letting her out only to sexually and physically abused her.


What? This one is so rough.


I've heard of this before. Oh, my God. Hearing about it again.


I needed to take a minute. Yeah, it's a lot to take in. Well, Colleen, Stan thought the couple that picked her up was safe because after all, the wife was holding a baby. OK, let me out. I want tell you maybe want to go now what?


Know, Colleen was manipulated into thinking that a larger organization called the company was after her and was convinced that she should not try to escape. She was so brainwashed to fear the company. She even visited her family with her attacker without them knowing that she was being held against her will.


That kind of stuff I can't wrap my brain around.


That is just bananas. I feel like I've never heard of somebody being, like, abducted and then brought to their family while still in the hole that I've never heard. It's when, like, they they will bring an abducted person out into public and they don't escape because they're so manipulated. Yeah, it's scary. The torture was both psychological and physical as she was in the coffin like box for twenty three hours a day.


Can you imagine my worst? I know. I can't imagine. And the only time that she was removed, her like one hour a day was to be abused and tortured. She suffered chronic back pain and shoulder pain as a result of just the years of confinement. Obviously you don't say and probably a lot of other issues. Yeah, but she did escape in nineteen eighty four because Janice, the wife, actually helped her escape from her husband. What?


Janice ended up getting immunity and Cameron was sentenced to 104 years in prison.


I see. And everybody. Oh my Lord. Eight. Number eight on our countdown of top ten victims who barely got away is Corazón Amaro, who survived an attack by killer Richard Speck in 1966. Richard Speck broke into the Chicago townhouse where 23 year old Corazón lived with other nursing students. He ended up brutally murdering eight of Courtesan's classmates and Cretans. She was the only survivor spek broken, tied up all the girls and one by one led them into another bedroom, assaulted, gagged, strangled, and then stabbed them one one by one.


Can you imagine just sitting there in such fear knowing that like the girls ahead of you are dwindling down and God only knows what's happening to them and then what's going to happen to you? And you're all sitting there trying to figure out, do we do something like what do we do? Is there more than just him out there? You don't know? Right. Somebody standing guard, who knows?


It's this case always is like, hmm. So there was an escape, though. At one point Corazón was able to wiggle under a bed while he was out of the room with the other girls.


So she went to bed, which is always the most terrifying thing when you watch like a scary you because you can see the feet walking the speck either had forgotten one girl or left her there on purpose. No one can.


Who knows? I really knows what's going on. I do too. I feel like he wouldn't have left someone and maybe he left her there because he's like, you just saw everything that happened.


Now you can live with that. Yeah, he he is very stoic guy.


So it's like survivor guilt. Maybe he was trying to inflict that upon her. That's another level you just never know. But he left the house either way.


And after hours of being under the bed because she probably didn't know when she could come out of there, Corazón got out and and called for help. Courtesan's testimony was key in tracking him down in just days and putting him behind bars. So thank goodness she was so quick thinking seriously. Corazón went on to work as a nurse into her late 60s. When she retired, Spek remained in jail until his death. Another see a good bye bye bye or see you never.


Seven at number seven this week, 19 year old Jennifer Espenson, who is the sole survivor of serial killer Andrew Eurodollars, an ex Marine Yorty Alice had already killed four women when he offered Jennifer a ride to and then from work in 1990 to she accepted but soon found herself assaulted and in the trunk of his car.


In September 1992, Jennifer Espenson missed the bus to work. Andrew Eurodollars offered her a ride and drove her to work totally, just completely safely. Which is.


And that's how it ends. And then it's over next. No, no. Then in a bizarre twist of events, he was waiting for her outside of her work and offered her a ride home. No, again, she accepted, probably thinking, oh, this guy drove me fine to work the first course, but things got bad quickly. He started physically abusing her, attempted to assault her, tied her hands up, and then forced her into the trunk of his car.


A nightmare, nightmare fuel. But she was able to escape in the trunk.


She got her hands free and unlatched the trunk, which is banana. That's the greatest escape.


Seriously, the great escape. When the car stopped, she jumped out and ran down the street. Jennifer Gerdy Alice chased her while yielding a machete. No, again, nightmare fuel. No.


And also just like. Oh, yeah, nothing to see here. Just chasing this woman with a machete. Everybody go about your business. Like, don't look at me. Just got to get my friend here. But she only responds to machetes. It's fine. Luckily, though, Jennifer was able to flag down a passing truck and call the police.


Can you imagine that poor passing truck?


I'd be like, you can get in, but your friend can. You better get it real fast. Yeah, we were leaving.


Your friend Alice went on to kill again. He confessed to killing eight victims. Jennifer bravely testified against him as his sole survivor.


I can't imagine knowing what was in front of you know, I had an escape also.


Sidney Prescott Vibs. That's right. Six more landing at number six is Cynthia Villamil, who escaped from the Toybox killer in 1999.


Cynthia was kidnapped by David Parker Ray and held captive in a remote trailer for three days. Ray, who died in prison in 2002, is believed to have abused and tortured as many as 40 women, many of whom he may have also murdered.


I don't want to do this again. No, I'm so scared right now. This is by far the episode of Morbid that everyone's like, Oh yeah, that's the worst I think everybody remembers. That is the episode that broke me. Yeah, that definitely broke you. Yeah.


David Parker is no joke. Cynthia was a sex worker in Albuquerque, New Mexico, when she was kidnapped on March 19th, 1999 by Rey and a female accomplice. She was taken to a trailer that resembled a torture room with photos of women being tortured, sex toys and a coffin. Don't look it up. No, and I know you're going to go look it up now that I said don't look it up, but don't don't blame me.


Any time there's a coffin in a room just adds a level of scare.


Any time it's a torture room, it's no good. Yeah, don't look at it. No good. David Parker. Ray then played her a tape of his voice, telling her what she's about to go through and what he's going to do to her. Literally like Jigsaw before saw before like before saw. I wonder if this had anything to do with that.


But again, the like the tape transcript is the most horrifying thing you'll ever see.


Cynthia was repeatedly abused for three days straight on the third day.


He took her shackles off but left her tied to the wall while he went to work.


That's the other thing. He like left and went to work and just left them like cuffed or tied up there while he was gone the whole time. Just went to work. No big deal. Terrifying. Well, and obviously, Cynthia escaped.


She untied herself and got into an altercation with the accomplice where they were both stabbed, which go. Cindy. Yeah, go ahead. Go, go. Cynthia Yeah.


Cynthia then ran for it wearing nothing but a dog collar and a chain. Cynthia has since worked with the FBI to identify more of Ray's victims. She is amazing.


What a hero. Also, remember when I think she showed up on somebody's door and we were like, can you imagine that showing up at your doorstep wearing a dog collar? And she was totally naked.


Yeah, so scary. Wow, already this list is stressing me out, but also I'm like, what a bunch of bad asses. I love hearing about these stories, like they're horrifying as they're going and you're like, I can't believe you have to live with that for the rest of your life. But what what it takes to survive things like that, you're like nothing can stop you now. No, nothing. In the fact that David Parker Ray has a survivor is shocking because, you know, he went to his grave, like, so pissed off.


Oh, yeah, it's like that. And John Wayne Gacy having one survivor each is like.


And I knew that you were going to have Richard Speck. Of course, I was like, he's going to be on the list. He's on.


Hi, listeners, it's Vanessa from podcast. If you haven't had a chance to check out my series mythology, you don't know what you're missing. Heroes, Gods, Monsters and Mayhem. This podcast has it all every Tuesday. Take a deep dive back in time exploring the history, origins and meaning behind the myths that have shaped the Earth. Each episode of mythology dramatizes a story pulled from beliefs from around the world, giving insight into how our ancestors saw the universe and how those stories resonate in our lives today.


Recent episodes include the epic battle between Hercules and Theseus, the grieving spirit known as Ladona, and A Treacherous Journey to the Land of the Dead. Catch new episodes every Tuesday and binge the classics any time. Follow mythology free on Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.


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See Sportsbook Doug Faneuil Dotcom four terms and restrictions. Gambling problem call one 800 gambler. Five. All right, let's jump back in with number five on our countdown of victims who barely got away. Starting off the second half of our list is Amanda Berry, Amanda Berry and two other women.


Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight were held captive by Cleveland area man Ariel Castro before their dramatic rescue in 2013, thanks to the bravery of Amanda Berry. In this case, this case will ruin you.


Between 2002 to 2004, Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight were kidnapped by Ariel Castro.


Castro was an elementary school bus driver.


So let that sink in. And also. And there's more. But wait. And the father of Berry's friend, which is how he was able to lure her into his house to visit his daughter, who was not home, by the way. It's just not true. So their lives. It is. It is so their lives in the house of horrors consisted of being locked in their rooms, being abused by Castro and just doing chores. Amanda even gave birth to a daughter after being assaulted by Castro.


Oh, it's horrific what they went through. It's absolutely horrific.


Luckily, the three of them were able to escape because the escape went down on May 6th, 2013. For some reason, Castro left the house that day and left Amanda's bedroom door unlocked, which some people wonder if that was like some kind of test.


They I don't know if they failed or passed it, but I would say they failed it in his eyes, but passed it and all over everybody else's. This escape is harrowing, to say the least, nuts.


So Amanda took the chance, even though the front door had an alarm and the storm door was padlocked shut. She flagged down a neighbor who helped her and her daughter squeeze through the door and they ran to a phone and called 911 one her call to 911. One said this, quote, I've been kidnapped and been missing for ten years. I'm here. I'm free now.


That just gave me chills to hear it again. As I said it, I was like tangling every time. Castro's house, thankfully, was demolished and turned into a garden. Something beautiful came of it. For. Landing at number four this week is a survivor of Cambodia's genocide, Chummy Chummy was one of very few people to escape Cambodia's Tuol Sleng prison, where roughly 17000 people, adults and children were imprisoned, tortured and murdered by Khmer Rouge. The Khmer Rouge, basically the Communist Party, won the Cambodian civil war and started evacuating major cities in 1975.


They turned to former school into the Tuol Sleng prison, where they tortured for confessions to whatever crimes they were charging, like an example, being a spy, which probably weren't even real things that had happened.


Yeah, exactly. Very medieval meets paranoia. Like thousands of people died. Oh, no, not good. Jianmei was locked in a small brick cell, blindfolded and shackled to the floor. My God, he believes he stayed alive because he could fix things as a mechanic.


And in 1979, Vietnamese troops captured the city from the Khmer Rouge and the prison staff fled with prisoners, including Chimay, at gunpoint. So now he's a hostage. Wow.


This is this is happening quickly. So things are not getting better. They're not getting worse.


I don't know if it's a lateral move. I'm not real sure. Yeah. Whoknows they reunited him with his wife and baby, though, and then ordered them to walk into a paddy fields where they opened fire on them, killing his wife and baby. OK, so we got worse.


Way worse. Oh no. But there is an escape for some may Chummy ran and hid in a forest and he would be one of only seven adults to survive the Khmer Rouge and the Tuol Sleng prison.


The prison was later turned into the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, where Xiaomei has shared his story with tourists.


Wow, how brave of him. I can't even. Can you imagine the PTSD that would come along with that? And he's like, let me share and educate. I don't even think the PTSD can be quantified.


It would be so massive. Well, he says, quote, I come every day to tell the world the truth about the Tuol Sleng prison so that none of these crimes are ever repeated anywhere in the world. That makes me want to let out a very large SOB like so noble. I love him. After all, he lost his wife and baby in the most horrific way possible after being tortured and imprisoned for years. Right. And he probably was like, OK, like we can get out of this, like, let's just go.


And then that happens. Yeah. Wow. Yeah. When he's that he's noble.


Three number three on our countdown of victims who barely got away is the woman who escaped from Ted Bundy Carol Ranch.


Carol was just 18 years old in 1974 when Ted Bundy approached her outside a shopping mall in Utah. He impersonated a police officer to lure her into his Volkswagen, where he planned to eventually murder her. Carrolls escape was crucial in taking Ted Bundy down for good.


Carol, with the good hair. Oh, I like her hair. Is I'm so envious. Iconic. Well, victims who encountered Bundy were generally persuaded by his looks and his charm. You want to speak on that? I don't want to speak. Don't speak on it.


Carol claims she wanted to be helpful to an authority figure like most people do, of course. But once she was in the car, Bundy quickly attacked her. But she was not going down without a fight. Not Carol. Not Carol. With the good hair. No way. Bundy tried to handcuff both of her wrists, but he failed. And luckily, Carol also didn't put on her seatbelt, which, like, totally helped her. Good move.


So the escape happened about half a mile away from the mall when Carol was able to open the door and dive out. Yes, Carol. Wow. Diving out of a car is just like a lot of people have to do that sometimes. And I don't want to think about doing that. You have to be in, like, severe peril to jump out of a car to get your body to actually jump out of a car. Yeah, because, you know, when you're driving and you're like, oh, my God, what if I open the door?


I know. Yeah, I'm not gonna, but I won't. Anyways, Bundy lunged at her over the seat and he had a crowbar and a gun and they ended up fighting outside of the car as he tried to beat her unconscious, wanted to use. But just like another one of my stories, another car came up on them and Carol was able to get away from him and into that car still with the handcuffs dangling on her wrists. So spooky.


That's like just cinematic and cinematic. She later testified against Bundy in his 1976 conviction for aggravated kidnapping was the first nail in the coffin that brought Ted Bundy down. Carol told People magazine, quote, It's still really scary to me that I survived, that I was even able to survive.


It's one thing to be a survivor of like any of these people or any of these situations saying you survived Ted Bundy. Yeah. Wow.


Well, that's also terrifying because like with some of these other people, like John Wayne Gacy, that's just wondering what could have happened. Well, the mind of your life must constantly be filling in the blanks, which is horrible. I hated it. Yeah, I hate that a lot.


I'm really glad that Carol was on the list, though. I'm so glad Carol was glad to see her. There's one person that I'm waiting for that you must have. There's one person I'm waiting for that you must have. I hope it's not the same person, because if this person is not on the list, we've got to do some yelling.


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To. We're down to the final two spots on our countdown of victims who barely got away. And number two is Kate Moyer, the only survivor of the deranged Australian serial killer couple, David and Catherine Burney in 1986. Kate was only 17 when she escaped after being kidnapped, assaulted and held captive by the couple in Perth, Australia.


She was able to not only give Perth police David Burnie's name, she'd also left clues behind to prove she wasn't lying.


Wow, this girl is a plus seriously human baby.


Plus, her brain is just working on a level none of us can understand. That's something I always think of if I ever get, you know, like kidnapped or whatever. Oh, yeah.


Like I'm going to rip out my hair and leave it behind, you know, like spit on the floor every time you're sitting in an uber gistaro some hair and sprinkle it around like this is for you, buddy.


Yeah. You just got to make sure and make sure they know that look what I'm doing and look at them in the rearview, make some eye contact. A lot of DNA here. Well, David and Catherine Berney kidnapped Kate Moyer at knifepoint. Kate was going to be their fifth victim. They were a scary, scary guy. Yeah.


Kate was repeatedly assaulted and kept chained to the couple's bed.


Sometimes she was even chained to David. Bernie himself hate that more than I've ever hated anything to which I say you.


Kate took note of things around the house and the movie Rocky was in the VCR. Dire Straits was also in the cassette player with her to remember that.


What a scene like. What a what a setting.


Because we are in dire straits. We are in dire straits here. She also noticed a medicine bottle with David Burnie's real name on it.


Again, so smart that she was looking for these things because the couple had used fake names in front of her and she's like, gotcha.


But she was smart enough to be looking at these things to check. Kate also befriended Catherine and made sure to really get along with her.


Using that trust, she was able to have Catherine untie her like untie me before let's get Mani.


She convinced her to untie her. I love that. So now she's untied.


And Kate, when she was untied, would hide pictures she had drawn. So no matter what, people would know she was there. That is. Wow.


Next level, seriously, she's like she's like Kincumber at the end. Like she is the boss. She needs to write a book on how to survive. She really does. Well, here's the escape.


At one point, David had gone to work because all of these crazy monsters just go to work during the day. They're just out Walgreen's checking up in their bedroom. It's insane. I'm scared Catherine wasn't paying attention. So Kate escaped through a window, ran down the street, found help, and then she led police to the house and gave them all the specific details, including her drawing. She's like, listen, you're not even going to have to do much work.


You just got to let me show you where everything is.


I literally have given you the entire investigation on a silver platter.


I investigated for you. Yes. One. And that brings us to number one on our countdown of the top ten victims who barely got away, John Milpark, who fled North Korea in 2007 but went through a very tough journey to get to safety on me, was just 13 when she fled North Korea with her mother. However, when they reached China, they became victims of human trafficking. But Yomi wasn't about to stop there.


There is a reason she's number one on the list who I actually didn't know. I don't know this either. Like most citizens of North Korea, Yomi followed orders and didn't really get to have a mind of her own. Her childhood was so deprived that when the lights were turned on in their home, it was like a holiday.


Oh, that makes me want to cry. So because there's two escapes here. Let's talk about the first one. It happened in two thousand seven. Myanmar's older sister actually escaped first to China. Then Yomi and her mother decided to do the same. But once they were across the border in China, she and her mother became victims of human trafficking and they were separated. Oh, just knife to the heart right there, like every mother's worst nightmare. Eventually, her smuggler made a deal with her, which is so crazy.


Yeah. And he bought back her mother just so they could be together. And yes, I said bought. But that other person horrific. Well, then they made a plan to escape together one more time for old time's sake. Here's another one. Escaped number two happened in 2009 with the help of Christian missionaries after walking across the Gobi Desert to Mongolia. They made it to South Korea and then they were given refugee status. Myanmar was also reunited with her sister in South Korea after seven years spent apart.


Oh, eventually she made her way to America. And she has made it her life to disrupt North Korea and draw attention to their human rights violations on me.


There's a reason she's No one like Sansing. Seriously.


Wow. Right. All right, that deserved No one it did, I will say that, but I have another one that's can we say it like at the same time?


Because I think we're we're thinking of the same person. Yes. One, two, three.


Oh oh oh. We're not. Wow, that's crazy. Susan Cnossen. Oh, Susan Cownose.


Susan Coonhound was the nurse whose ex-husband hired a hitman to kill her in their home and then end up killing the hitman.




I forgot about how did I'm like ashamed to admit that I forgot about the strangled him with their bare hands. She did. She's awesome.


And then for the win. And she had just gotten her hair done that day. That's why I remember that story. But Mary Vincent married Vincent is also wow.


Her attacker cut off both of her arms and she packed them with mud and like climbed up a cliff to safety because he cut off her arms after abusing her for hours and threw her down a 30 foot embankment.


Yeah. Which she climbed back up to get help with no arms in.


Her reasoning for it was that she said she didn't want anyone else because it was Lawrence Sigger Singleton who did it. She didn't want him to hurt anyone else. So she was like, I have to get out of here to get police. And she then testified against him. Yes. And now she does art.


Susan and Mary. Gosh. Oh, thanks for listening.


We'll be back next week with another great episode. Remember to follow Crime Countdown on Spotify to get a brand new episode delivered. Every week you can find all episodes of Crime Countdown and all other PAKHI shows for free on Spotify. Spotify has all your favorite music and podcasts all in one place. They're making it easier to listen to whatever you want to hear for free on your phone, computer or smart speaker.


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Please do.


Crime Countdown is a Spotify original from podcast. It is executive produced by Max Cuddler Sound Design by Kristen Acevedo with Associate Sound Design by Anthony Vasic, produced by Jon Cohen, an associate produced by Jonathan Rateliff.


Fact Checking by Car Magazine. Research by Ambika Chautara, Jay Caillaux and Mikki Taylor. Crime Countdown Stars Ashkali and Lena Urca.