True crime has never been more popular than it is now, as proven by the staggering number of podcasts, television shows, and documentaries devoted to the topic. And it is not surprising, because the genre of true crime raises the interest of viewers in documentary filmmaking, and also makes them look differently at the problems of violence in the media and culture.
The definition of True Crime is really easy. True Crime is a genre of cinema and literature, in which the author analyzes a real crime and the actions of people associated with it. The popularity of this genre is explained by its uniqueness and the opportunity for the reader to plunge into the past, dive into the underworld, and imagine themselves as a real detective.
Let me introduce you to 10 of my favorite True Crime stories that I was hooked on and I hope you will binge these winter evenings.
1. Frog Boys – 5 Kids Who Never Came Back
On March 26, 1991, five young Korean boys went for a walk in the forest to enjoy the warm spring sun and catch frogs (this activity was popular among boys of their age). But none of them returned home. Not that day. Not the next day. Not in a week. Their bodies were found on September 26, 2002, 11 years after their disappearance.
When the sun had already set on March 26, U Cheol-won, Jo Ho-Yeon, Kim Yeong-Gyu, Park Chan-in, and Kim Jong-Sik did not return from the walk, their parents got worried and went in search of them, but to no avail. The disappearance of 5 children at once in South Korea, where crime and disappearances of people were rare, caused great resonance throughout the country. Soon, many police, military, and local residents were looking for the “frog boys”. Despite all the efforts, the missing boy could not be found. Finally, on September 23, 1993, the parents of all five boys announced that they were stopping searching.
On September 26, 2002, a resident of Daegu went up the mountain to pick chestnuts. In one of the ravines, he found the remains of all five missing boys. It remains a mystery why thousands of people who participated in the search operation could not find them before, and who committed this terrible crime, and for what purpose.
2. Dorothy Arnold – Disappeared In Front Of Everyone
On the morning of December 12, 1910, Dorothy informed her mother that she was going shopping to buy a dress for her little sister’s party. After leaving the house, she went to the bakery where she bought a half-pound box of chocolates and then went to the bookstore where she bought Engaged Girl Sketches, a book of humorous essays by Emily Calvin Blake Arnold ran encountered a friend called Gladys King outside the bookstore. Arnold appeared to be in excellent spirits, according to King, and the two spoke briefly about Marjorie’s approaching debutante celebration.
Dorothy does not appear to have shopped for the intended gown, according to published sources. She had not returned home for dinner by early evening.
The Arnolds were concerned, since she never skipped meals without alerting her family. They started calling Arnold’s pals to see if they had seen her, but no one had. Elsie Henry, one of Arnold’s acquaintances, called the family home shortly after midnight on December 13 to see if Dorothy had returned. But she had not. A young lady disappeared in front of everyone.
3. Isabella Guzman – TikTok’s New Star
Video from Isabella Guzman’s trial went viral on TikTok in a very short period of time. It shows a girl who was accused of a brutal murder, smiling at the camera and showing not a single drop of regret and remorse for what she had done.
18-year-old Denver resident Isabella Guzman is accused of murdering her own mother. According to The West, the girl inflicted 79 knife wounds on her victim. According to the girl’s stepfather, Ryan Hoy, the woman and her daughter often quarreled, but lately, Isabella has been especially disrespectful towards her mother and often threatened her. Family quarrels did not raise suspicions or thoughts of such a terrible end in anyone – after all, who has ideal family relationships?
Her stepfather, Richard, once had a serious talk with Isabella about her behavior. The next morning, there was a loud scream from the first floor. Isabella stabbed her mother 79 times before Richard called the police. During the investigation, Isabella was diagnosed with schizophrenia. She told investigators that a voice in her head guided her and convinced her to kill her mother in order to save her.
4. Rhonda Hinson – Christmas Case
On December 22, 1981, 19-year-old Rhonda Hinson went to a Christmas party from the house where she still lived with her parents – Bobby and Judy. The girl had just graduated from high school and tripled to work as a clerical worker for a local steel company. At midnight, she and two friends of hers left the party and headed home. It was previously planned that Rhonda would stay at her friend`s house till the morning but she changed her mind so she dropped her friends off and began the drive back home.
At 1am her mother suddenly woke up with a very strange feeling: she believed that Rhonda was hurt or even dead. Her husband awoke as well and decided to check his police scanner to see if there had been any accidents. They then heard about a homicide, with Rhonda as the victim.
Rhonda’s car was recovered just a half-mile from her home on Mineral Springs Mountain Road. The driver’s side door was open, and she was discovered dead just a few feet away. Her arms were positioned at her sides, and she was laying on her back. She was killed by a bullet fired from a high-powered gun.
She started acting strangely a few weeks before the accident. She began to ask her father to join her on trips into town, despite the fact that she was generally comfortable driving alone. Once, she asked a mother if it was okay to date a married man. She often woke up at night to take a shower because, as she said, she felt “dirty”. It is unknown if this has anything to do with the murder, but this case is definitely not devoid of oddities.
5. Trenny Lynn Gibson – What Secrets Does The Forest Hide?
A walk in the autumn forest is a great opportunity to communicate with classmates and have a good time. But not for Trenny Gibson. On October 8, 1976, a 16-year-old high school sophomore, Trenny Lynn Gibson, went on a field trip to the national park with 40 of her classmates. The students walked from the parking lot to an area called Andrew’s Bald and immediately split into several groups for convenience. It was an old and well-worn route, on which it was difficult to get lost, but at some point in the group Trenni was in, they noticed that the girls were no longer with them.
The weirdest thing was that she was not seen by the other kids that were walking behind the group she was in. So, if Trenny had just fallen behind, she would have immediately been noticed. In addition, this area is very popular among tourists and there are always a lot of people, but no one has seen the girl anywhere else. Despite intense searches that followed, no sign of Trenny Gibson was found. She simply disappeared without a trace right under everyone’s noses.
Interesting fact – Trenny Gibson was not the first and not the last one who disappeared in that forest. The search for Dennis Martin was the largest in the history of this park, involving about 1,400 people and covering an area of 56 square miles. But we’ll talk about him further.
6. Dennis Martin – Another Prisoner Of Great Smoky Mountains Park
On June 14, 1969, on the occasion of Father’s Day weekend, the Martin family went on a picnic hike to the park. They have been doing this for several years now and everything has been going okay. On this day, the family camped in Spence’s Field on the soft grass of the meadow near the Appalachian Trail. As the adults sat on the grass and chatted, Dennis, his brother, and two boys from other families, taken by Martin with them, decided to have fun and scare Dennis’s parents.
The three boys went one way, and Dennis, who was the youngest, went the other. Then everything went as planned. Three boys jumped out screaming and frightened the adults, but then people asked where Dennis was. Since the other boys had only seen him a few minutes ago, they assumed that he simply missed his exit, and so they sat down to wait for him to jump out from behind the trees. But Dennis never showed up.
In the following days, an intensified search for the child also yielded nothing, although the park was searched far and wide by hundreds of people, including volunteers, FBI officers, the National Guard, green berets, and even psychics. There were also people with dogs and several helicopters. All the newspapers wrote about the disappearance of Dennis Martin. No one saw him, either alive or dead.
7. Friedrich Haarmann – Werewolf of Hanover
Fritz Haarmann is a German vampire assassin with uncommon cruelty and cynicism. Haarmann met his first victim just on the street. It was a seventeen-year-old boy, Friedel Rote, whom the murderer had invited to live in the apartment with him. The boy, before his death, managed to send a letter to his mother, where he said that he had settled with a good man. It happened in 1918. No one yet knew that Fritz was an irrepressible psychopath.
As soon as the letter came to the boy’s mother, she went to the police station and the officers of that station went in search of the woman’s son straight to Haarman. Once they got into his house, the police saw a mountain of meat, which Fritz called beef. No one could have thought that it was Friedel.
His military background helped Haarmann become a freelance police officer. Using this position, the man often went to the central station of the city to look for victims. Almost all of them were homeless boys between 13 and 20 years old. Due to their social status, no one really looked for them.
8. The Dyatlov Pass Incident – What Actually Happened To Russian Hikers?
In the winter of 1959, nine tourists disappeared in the mountains of the Northern Urals. They went to the mountains under the guidance of a fifth-year student of the Ural Polytechnic Institute, Igor Dyatlov.
For 18 days, the group had to ski 300 kilometers in the north of the Sverdlovsk region, climbing two peaks. The hike belonged to the highest difficulty category according to the 1950s classification. A month after the disappearance of tourists, rescuers found a cut tent and five frozen bodies within a radius of one and a half kilometers on the slope of an unnamed pass.
The bodies of the rest were found in May. The investigation found that some of the tourists died from the cold, but some of them were found to have fatal injuries of unknown origin. What exactly happened to the Dyatlov group is still unknown.
9. Dahlia Yehia – Scandalous Story Of A Volunteer
Dahlia Yehia, 25, traveled to Nepal on July 20 to help earthquake victims in the popular tourist city of Pokhara. She was going to stay with the man she found on the CouchSerfing app. Before that, she had repeatedly used this service and always, with great care, selected the people with whom she stayed. Teacher Narayan Paudel with a high score looked like a great option, so the girl felt safe on her way to a man. Three days after arriving at the place, Dahlia stopped keeping in touch with relatives and friends.
Family and friends were so frantic to find her that they started a Facebook group called “Find Dahlia.” The page posted the heartbreaking news that she had been murdered by her host. Narayan Prasad Paudel, who allegedly admitted to killing his visitor in order to steal her iPhone and money, has been apprehended by police.
10. Frederick Valentich – Ufo Stolen Man
Frederick Valentich’s life was actually restored minute by minute on October 21, 1978. Breakfast at home in the morning, then work at the store from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., then transfer to Moorabbin airfield outside Melbourne, which serves flights to King Island, for theoretical lectures until 17:00. Valentich registered his flight plan for the island at 17:23, with a departure time of 17:45. In fact, his Cessna 182L took off 34 minutes later, giving the pilot enough time to grab a bite to eat at the nearby McDonald’s. As a result of the delay, the final leg of the journey will take place at twilight.
Valentich took off from Melbourne’s Moorabbin Airport at 18:19. Furthermore, the flight passed over the water in a westerly direction along Australia’s coast for nearly 40 minutes before turning south towards King Island. The pilot contacts dispatcher Steve Robie shortly after this turn, at 19:06, to check whether he is aware of any traffic below 5,000 feet. Valentich states that he is sighting a “big plane” at this height after the dispatcher responds in the negative. Fred observes “four bright spots that appear like landing lights” and this plane flies over the Cessna, according to the radio transmission.
When the plane does not arrive at the destination airport at the appointed time (19:33), the search begins. Despite the onset of darkness, a plane was sent along Valentich’s route; in the Bass Strait, the situation was reported to the ship passing in the area where communications were cut off. In the next three days, the area of work is expanding, new ships, air, and water are connected to them. On October 25, the operation was officially terminated. No trace of the Cessna 182L or its pilot has been found. Valentich disappeared without a trace.
I hope you enjoyed reading this article and analyzing these stories will make you rethink your life as it did for me.