Roger BelAir is a financial whiz whose new mission is to bring the game of pickleball to as many jails and prisons as he can. Roger joins Crime Redefined to tell his story and explain why pickleball is a powerful antidote to the toxicity of incarceration. Hosted by Dion Mitchell and Mehul Anjaria. A Zero Cliff Media production. https://vurbl.com/station/crime-redefined/
Shay Doyle is a former British soldier and Greater Manchester Police Level 1 undercover agent. Shay went head-to-head with the UK’s most dangerous villains, including Paul Massey and Dale Cregan. Shay joins Crime Redefined to discuss his upcoming book Deep Cover: How I Took Down Britain’s Most Dangerous Gangsters. Hosted by Dion Mitchell and Mehul Anjaria. A Zero Cliff Media production.
Deep Cover in the UK With Shay Doyle-Transcript (download PDF)
DEEP COVER IN THE UK WITH SHAY DOYLE
[Intro] [00:00] Welcome to the Crime Redefined Podcast, produced by Zero Cliff Media. Coming to you from the US Bank Tower, high above downtown Los Angeles. In our podcast we drill deep into forensics and criminal investigation from the viewpoint of the defense, as well as explore the intersection of the media and the justice system.
Dion: [00:21] Thanks for joining us on Crime Redefined. We hope everyone is well and enjoying our podcast. Today’s guest is a man of mystery. In fact, Mehul, we don’t even know his real name.
Mehul: [00:32] Yes, we are interviewing a man who goes by the name of Shay Doyle, and the reason he does not use his real name is because he was a high-profile law enforcement agent in the UK who worked deep deep undercover in and around Manchester for a number of years. So, you can only imagine how dangerous that mission was.
Shay’s got a new book coming out entitled “Deep Cover: How I Took Down Britain’s most Dangerous Gangsters.”
Dion: [01:01] Shay wrote this book along with Scott Hesketh, and he was an investigative journalist, TV and radio producer. Scott has written for all the biggies, publications such as The Times, Daily Mail, The Guardian and Vice. He writes about intense topics such as prisons, terrorism, murders, and organized crime.
Mehul: [01:20] Yes, and as such, the pairing of Scott and Shay works wonderfully in this book. This is definitely a book that does not disappoint. It’s just such a very detailed description of what it takes to work deep undercover in the highest stakes policing, you know, just in the most dangerous of situations.
Dion: [01:42] Absolutely, and I’m not going to give anything away, but even more importantly, it sheds light in Shay’s book on the high price that undercover agents pay in terms of their health and well being. These are some things that we just don’t think about.
Shay went through hell for sure. And hopefully this book, it helps in his healing.
Mehul: [02:01] Well, Dion, let’s now go on an adventure into the UK’s most dangerous neighborhoods and the gangsters that operate there.
Dion: [02:09] Shay, thank you so much for joining us on Crime Redefined today.
Shay: [02:13] Yeah, hi great to be here guys. Thank you very much for having me.
Dion: [02:17] You’re welcome. Hey, Mehul and I really enjoyed reading your new book and are excited to talk to you about your incredible, incredible story.
Shay: [02:26] Great, no, great to speak to you. Thanks very much for having me.
Mehul: [02:30] Yeah, so, Shay to kind of get warmed up here, for some of the readers who may not be familiar with some of the UK terminology and slang, or even like police speak, let’s start with having you define a few words if you don’t mind?
Shay: [02:44] Yeah, let’s do it.
Mehul: [02:45] Okay, so when you are conducting an investigation, what is the plot?
Shay: [02:51] So, the plot, when I was working undercover, the plot would be the area of the location where I was operating. So I would refer to it in reports or in debriefs as — when I was on the plot. So, for example, one of the areas I infiltrated was a place called Moss Side in Manchester, and I would refer to it as “the plot.”
Mehul: [03:13] Okay. And what does it mean if somebody is a grasser?
Shay: [03:17] A grass, okay. A grass is an informant. Someone who has a relationship with the police and gives them information.
Mehul: [03:28] Okay. How about a straight-goer?
Shay: [03:31] So a straight-goer is somebody who is not a criminal, a non-criminal.
Dion: [03:35] And then one word that comes up a lot in your book, a punter?
Shay: [03:40] A punter? So a punter might be someone I’m doing a deal with. Some one I’m buying or selling and doing a deal with.
Dion: [03:47] Oh great. How long would you say this book has been in the works? And I’m curious, how did you connect with your co-author?
Shay: [03:56] It’s complete chance. So, well I’ll say complete chance, to be fair Scott who I wrote the book with, he’s sort of a pretty established journalist here in the UK and he did some work where he was embedded with the gang unit in Greater Manchester, the Greater Manchester Police. And someone had told him that there was this mythical person who’d infiltrated Moss Side where the gang unit operated and had basically lived there as a gangster. And so he sort of made some inquiries and I ended at a do where he was. And he tapped me on the shoulder and said — I believe you’re the undercover guy that infiltrated Moss Side. And so I said, yeah, how do you know, kind of thing.
So we got chatting and he said, look, I think you’ve got a fantastic story, I think it would make a great book. And I kind of laughed him out of the building really, thinking, who’s going to be interested in that? He said, look, let me sit down with you for a day, let me put some words together, let me take it to some publishers, let’s see what comes back. What harm can it do?
And two weeks later we had a deal with Penguin. So there you go.
Dion: [05:02] Wow, so really you didn’t really have any designs on or thoughts about doing a book, it was just him approaching you, and then sitting down getting a couple of stories on paper, and then that was that?
Shay: [05:15] Pretty much. I mean, you know, it never entered my head to write a book. And it caused me some sleepless nights at the start because, given the kind of work I was involved in [i didn’t really want to put my]05:28 above the parapet, and sort of show myself, if you like. So it did cause me some sleepless nights, but I weighed it up, and all in all, I think I’ve made the right decision to get the story out there.
Dion: [05:41] Well, we think so, like we’ve said it’s a great read. So we want to establish a little bit of background, tell us about your life growing up in Manchester and what your family dynamic was like and then how all of that prepared you to be an undercover officer?
Shay: [05:57] Yes, so I don’t know what you guys know about Manchester in England, but it’s got a reputation as such. It’s an area that’s historically been connected with a lot of gangs and street gangs and sort of organized criminality, it’s got quite a presence around that. It’s a real melting pot of diverse sort of back grounds, Irish background, you know, lots and lots of diversity.
And I grew up in an area that was a pretty rough part of town. I grew up in a second generation Irish family, My mom was one of nine. She had seven brothers, and all of them were on the periphery of criminality to varying degrees. My uncle was probably much more of an organized criminal, quite a serious sort of criminal, and then her brothers in varying degrees were involved in petty criminality, from shoplifting to you name it.
So I had a sort of upbringing around that sort of thing and criminality. My dad, hard working guy, but he’d been fetched up in the care system and had a tough childhood, so he had his own problems. So yeah, I had a pretty tough chaotic upbringing to a degree, but learned a lot and certainly gathered skills subconsciously, I think at the time that I took into my career later on when I was working undercover.
Mehul: [07:22] Well, Shay I see that you joined the military at the ripe young age of 16 and it seemed like a perfect fit for you. First of all, what year was that?
Shay: [07:31] 1994.
Mehul: [07:33] 1994, okay. So I mean, do you think that had you stayed in the military you could have had a fulfilling life long career?
Shay: [07:42] Yeah, I think to be honest with you, I think what worked against me in the military was joining so young, because I was 16 and I was a child. You know, I look back now, I think I was a bloody child, you know. And I think possibly if I’d joined a little bit maturer I would have had the full career in the military and maybe gone on to do some interesting things in the military. But, you join at 16, you do, you know, I did nearly eight years, you start to think that the grass is greener, you’re going to give other things a go. I met a girl, and life changes, and you think you’re missing something at home. And then unfortunately my dad committed suicide.
So, kind of, the hankering to be near the home and my mom and family became stronger than the military for me.
Dion: [08:24] Sure. You know, let’s move in after the military and you started to get into do undercover work. Can you tell our listeners what is a level one undercover officer and what did you have to endure to become one?
Shay: [08:38] Yeah. So within the UK policing framework there’s level two and level one undercover officers. So level two, as the number of sort of says, it’s the level below level one obviously. And they will sort of do the character of a low level drug user and do small low level drug buys of user amounts of heroin, crack cocaine and that kind of stuff. And they will dress up as a street person who’s addicted to crack or heroin. And they’ll go out and it’s a really dangerous job, and they go out into neighborhoods and they’ll buy crack and heroin all day long. Then they’ll go back, gather their evidence, go back the next day until there’s lots and lots of subjects who need arresting for drug dealing. That’s a typical level two operation. They may last a month, they may last six months.
So level one is the highest level of undercover work that you can do here in the UK. And it basically means that once you’re qualified you can work for any UK police service, any foreign partner such as the FBI for example could utilize a Level one UC from the UK, European police forces as I did do.
And to get there it’s quite a stringent testing selection procedure, takes around nine months from start to finish. And you start off doing psychological testing, psychometric testing, intelligence testing, various role plays. And it all culminates leading to a concentrated course at the end of it, where you are basically put through sleep deprivation, put into really sort of stressful environments and stressful situations to see how you cope and perform.
Sleep deprivation becomes key. I mean you really find out who people are when you strip them back with no sleep and put them in them stressful positions, and can they still think, can they still operate, are they safe to operate when that stress is hitting them? Because level one UCs will do operations sometimes that can last years, you can
go undercover for years. Very much like Donnie Brasco in New York, when he infiltrated the Mafia, I think he did six years. Sometimes it could be up to six, seven years sometimes.
So you have to have somebody that is completely self sufficient, self reliant, self motivated, isn’t going to wilt at the first sign of stress, isn’t going to sort of lay down and die, someone that’s got that motivation to crack on and get the job done.
Mehul: [11:12] So you talked about one night during your training where the superiors kind of said, hey, we’ll get you some beer and some pizza and you don’t have to wake up till nine a.m. the next day. Can you kind of tell us why you thought something was up and then just briefly what happened after that?
Shay: [11:29] Yeah, they’re slowly ramping up the sort of paranoia, they’re trying to make you think that you’re always being watched 24/7. Everything you do is being monitored, and every little thing that you say or do is going to come back and haunt you. And throw in the sleep deprivation, you start to believe it, you know, and I just had this feeling, you know, we may have had four or five days straight sleep deprivation by this point, get a beer, get a pizza and some of the people, some of the candidates dived straight in. And I was just like, this is just too good to be true. We’re not here for fun and pizza, beers and pizza, we’re here for a reason.
So I just thought, you know what, I’m going to get some sleep, grab it where you can. The military thing kicking in I think. The military thing certainly, when you could sleep in the military, you slept, you know, because you never know when you were going to need your energy reserves. So that was just my thinking.
Then sure enough, yeah, tomorrow morning’s a late start, you know, have a beer. Sure enough, two o’clock in the morning, the door goes in and we’re frog marched outside by guys in balaclavas and strips, and, told them we’re back out on a task now. So yeah, it’s all to mess with your mind and play with your resilience.
Mehul: [12:42] So it sounds like the golden ring then to get through all that was to join Omega. So how old were you at that point, and what exactly is Omega and why is that such a distinguished group of folks?
Shay: [12:53] So Omega was the level one undercover unit of Greater Manchester Police. And they were pretty much the sort of real founders and forbears of modern day undercover work in the UK. And they really sort of were the first people out there, along with the Met in London doing infiltrations into the football hooligans and stuff like that. And they had a really forward thinking guy who ran the unit at the time who said, look, this tactic is so successful, that we could use this against serious organized criminals and in counter terror operations.
So he set about redesigning the units to basically select officers who could come in, get through the selection procedure and become part of Omega. So it was a really sort of
prestigious thing to become a member of Omega. And when I did the selection course, there was about 400 people attempted it and three of us passed.
Dion: [13:59] And how old were you when you joined?
Shay: [14:01] I was 26.
Dion: [14:03] You see that was one of the reoccurring kind of like themes as I was reading this, was taking your age at the time to what you were doing. And I kept thinking, wow this guy is 24. Wow this guy is 25, 26 years old. And I’m just like, my head was really exploding trying to take that, marry those two thoughts together.
Shay: [14:24] Yeah. Yeah. I think if you were any older and maturer you wouldn’t do it. [laughter]
Dion: [14:29] Yeah, you’d know better. Sometimes being young and dumb pays off — is that what you’re saying?
Shay: [14:34] Yeah, absolutely.
Dion: [14:36] You know, you drew a really interesting comparison to the movie, “Training Day,” when you were being inaugurated into the UC work. Can you explain why?
Shay: [14:44] Yeah. So, as I started going through the process the main head instructor, who was an ex parachute regiment soldier who was a veteran of the Falklands War, and he’s identified me and basically thought, this lad’s got a bit of talent for this work. He took it upon himself to take me under his wing. And I passed the selection, I passed the course, but that doesn’t mean you’re the finished article. That doesn’t mean you’re ready to throw into an operation. You know, there’s a lot of work to be done and you’ve got to knock the edges off.
So this guy, Christie Vincent as we call him in the book, he grabbed me and he spotted my potential and he really really gave me everything he knew. And he was rough with me, he was tough to me, he sort of really tried to break me down, but I knew it was because he wanted me to be the best at it. And he felt I could, and it really sort of resonated me that line in training day where Denzel Washington says to, is i is Ethan Hawke — “it takes a wolf to catch a wolf.” And that’s exactly what he did to me.
Dion: [15:46] I love that.
Shay: [15:47] He made me more of a criminal than the criminals.
Dion: [15:51] Well let’s talk about when you first put this all into play in your first plot. So who was Mikey O’Brien? What went into creating him and what was his ultimate mission?
Shay: [16:02] So Mikey O’Brien was my alter ego. That was the name of the legend I had when I worked in Moss Side. So we’ll just talk about my side. So Moss Side is an area of
Manchester that has suffered disproportionately with firearms and gang related violence, numerous murders, numerous unsolved murders, gangs firing automatic weapons in the street. You know, I’m sure you guys see a lot of this over in the USA.
And it’s an area that historically was known as Gunchester. It was a real Wild West, if you like, it was the last sort of Wild West. It was probably one of the the worst, roughest gang afflicted places in the UK. And it’s predominantly a black area, and I’m a white guy. So nobody really wanted to do the job because of the dangers and the risks. And it was put around all the undercover sort of network in the UK — we’re looking for somebody to infiltrate Moss Side and the gangs down there. And either they didn’t want it, they felt it was too too risky, too dangerous, because when we work undercover, we’re not armed, you know, we’re not armed over here.
So nobody really wanted it. And then there was, what kind of profile do we need? Do we need a black guy because a lot of the gangs historically were black, albeit don’t get me wrong, they weren’t exclusively black, there was white guys mixed in with the black guys, but historically predominantly black guys. And nobody wanted it. So it was seen as the poisoned chalice of undercover work.
They approached me because I did pretty well on the course, I sort of came top of the course, I’d done some work when I first arrived with Christie where I’d sort of excelled and put some people away and shown that I was the real deal. And they said, would you be interested in doing it? Would you do it? We think you can do it, if anyone can pull it off, we think it would be you.
So being the young and dumb as we said before, thinking that well it’s bounced off me and nothing can hurt me, and I wanted to prove myself and arrogance or whatever, the arrogance of youth or whatever it may be, I decided yeah, I’m going to be the man that does this.
Mehul: [18:23] You know one thing you said that stuck out, for us in the US, the fact that you’re doing this deep undercover work in the most dangerous area and you don’t have a gun just kind of blows our mind.
Dion: [18:36] Mehul, you stole my question.
Mehul: [18:38] Yeah, sorry, about that.
Dion: [18:40] Crazy, when I read that.
Mehul: [18:42] So you described later in other operations that there is a firearms unit that can come in in certain situations, but I mean what is the criteria to actually have armed officers work on something?
Shay: [18:54] Well undercover, you just don’t carry firearms in the UK, it’s as simple as that. It’s just not within our legislative framework, it’s not what we do. Obviously in England we do have access, we do have firearms units that can come in and deal with those
issues, but they just would not have been aware that I was working undercover there. So in the UK you are very much alone. You have a phone and direct line to your cover officer who looks after your welfare while you’re undercover, and he is your direct line to any cavalry that may be coming. But by the time they’ve come it would all be done and over with.
Mehul: [19:30] But just a quick question, I mean if you’re portraying a villain, would it look out of place to not have a gun?
Shay: [19:37] No, because I think the culture here in the UK is very different from the US. A lot of our criminals here who carry firearms, yes, you will get some that carry a firearm daily and routinely, but generally what they’ll do here is they’ll have firearms put down and they will only go and pick them up if they’re going to go and use them, and then they’ll put them back down. Because they don’t want to get caught with a firearm because it’s a mandatory five year sentence.
Dion: [20:03] I noticed that was kind of a reoccurring theme. In fact it’s going to kind of lead into my next comment. Is the scene, the part where you go into the house, you’re in first and you encounter the criminal in the bed with the, I think it was a Benelli 12 gauge or something, and you’ve got no… The guys with the guns are on the outside, you’re charging in and you got to close the distance on him so he doesn’t get it out. But he wasn’t he like a place where they held guns for criminals?
Shay: [20:33] Yeah, that was it. He was the store man. So he was basically a patsy, and they would store firearms there. I mean that was after I was undercover. But yeah, I kind of peeled the duvet back and there he was with a Benelli pump action shotgun and a Glock pistol. So I just jumped on him, instinctively really. And, yeah I later found a Scorpion submachine gun and a Tariq 9mil in the wardrobe, as you do.
Dion: [21:06] You know, it’s kind of a nice little segue to my next question, how did you get around some of the hurdles of undercover work, like not committing any crimes or not using drugs as as part of your cover? I noticed you had some of the I guess workarounds were really clever.
Shay: [21:22] Yeah, I mean, first of all I suppose the level of criminal I was playing, Mikey O’Brien was a professional armed robber. I wasn’t a sort of a down and out criminal, I was a criminal with access to resources, money, nice cars, and somebody like that, you won’t necessarily push around to take drugs. They would have the sort of presence to say I ain’t doing that line of cocaine, I ain’t doing it. So that that was something I always had in my mind. But equally just to stop getting asked to do it…
Dion: [21:55] All the time, right?
Shay: [21:56] — I had a female undercover officer who worked alongside me as my girlfriend, and we used to say that we were trying for IVF to have a baby and that I needed to stay clean, and all that kind of stuff, and I’d done it in the past and been on steroids and
been on coke and what not. And it’s actually quite surprising, when you give that sort of human story to a lot of criminals, they’ll start to protect you — hey, they’re trying for a baby. They’ve actually got a real human side to them, and so it just wasn’t really an issue for me, drugs.
Dion: [22:28] I also thought that there was, Mehul and I thought it was interesting, a high level of fitness involved with criminals. Everybody was into Thai boxing and fitness and working out. That was really interesting.
Shay: [22:39] Well, certainly, at the level I was, a lot of the gang members, a lot of the serious organized criminal guys, your physical capability is your prowess really. Because if you’re going to go on the road and do a bank robbery, or do a cash in transit robbery, you need to be fit and that’s what I was purporting I was, a cash in transit robber, a serious armed robber. So that definitely is a thing here in the UK, that your more organized criminals, they take pride in their appearance and they’re gym rats.
Dion: [23:16] You know what, can you take us to Cambridge? Here in the States, we think of like this glamorous kind of university town, but tell us about Mikey Bulger and why he was sent to Cambridge?
Shay: [23:28] So yeah, I was Mikey Bulger over in Cambridge. So, basically I needed to get out of Manchester, it was close, it was my home city, I was getting compromised all the time there. I’d taken out some really good level players in Moss Side, but it was getting sort of silly me staying there.
So a job was put to me to do in Cambridge. And again, we think of Cambridge as this university town, this pretty place, and that’s how I thought about it to be honest. And then I drove down there thinking this is going to be great. And they took me to the local, as you call them over there projects, the housing estate and it was pretty grim. Everyone was smoking crack, everybody was a thief, everybody was a burglar. There was prostitutes, there was guys up from London taking over houses and selling crack cocaine. It was a pretty rough place.
And so I set myself up there as a hijacker, a lorry hijacker who was involved in buying stolen property. And so I basically integrated myself into the criminal community and ended up buying over £300,000 worth of stolen property from vehicles, motorbikes, jewelry, televisions, you name it. And I spent about 13 months there undercover.
Dion: [24:41] Yeah, you were running a brisk business there.
Shay: [24:43] Oh, yeah, I mean if it had been a real business, I’d have been a rich man.
Dion: [24:47] Could have retired, right?
Shay: [24:49] Absolutely, yeah, I’d be in the Bahamas now. So yeah, it went really well the operation. But it sounds really glamorous doesn’t it? People think about undercover and
the movies and that, but you know what it’s really lonely work. It’s very anxiety inducing. It can play with your psyche, you start to get paranoid. Are people have they caught you? Do they think you’re a cop? And when you start doing it, I was doing it for years at a time, I wasn’t doing it for a week here, a week there. I was doing it for years at a time. So it can play with your psyche, and that’s eventually what it did with me.
Dion: [25:30] It’s astonishing that you were able to keep all of that straight for so long, it really goes to your strength. But before we move on, I got to say I laughed out loud about the CIA laptop being stolen.
Shay: [25:42] Yes, yes.
Dion: [25:44] I mean, you can’t make that up.
Shay: [25:46] No, I know exactly, you couldn’t make it up could you? But, yeah they owe me one, the American government owe me one.
Dion: [25:52] Haha. Play that card if you ever have problems getting into customs, right.
Shay: [25:55] Absolutely.
Mehul: [25:58] Alright Shay, let’s talk about I guess maybe the main villain of the book, Dale Cregan, the one eyed killer. You actually crossed paths with him very early I guess in your career and in his career. Tell us about how you did first cross paths with him and what stuck out to you about Cregan that you knew he would be trouble later on?
Shay: [26:19] So, before I went undercover, I did a couple of years in uniform as a cop doing normal sort of response duties, and then I very quickly got asked to join an organized crime unit, which was plain clothes work do surveillance and stuff like that.
So Cregan and some of his associates were very young at that point, younger than myself, and they were an up and coming crime group and they were very much involved in burglaries and low level drug dealing. But they were violent, they were involved in violent robberies of vehicles and stuff like that, sort of increasing levels of violence used in their offending.
And so they came on my radar. Me and a colleague set up an operation to target them. So as part of that, you want to get to know what their routines are, who they associate with, what vehicles they use. So I really sort of took a really close look and put them under the microscope. So I got to know pretty much about them and their personalities and ways. Lots of criminals you can engage with and they’re quite gregarious and they manage you as we manage them, and you can even have a laugh with some of them. But Cregan and some of his crew, they just weren’t of that ilk, they had a real nasty, malevolent streak to them. And I knew early in my career that they would grow and become much bigger, which is what they did.
Dion: [27:47] You know, you laid some great ground work for this, foundation for this. Can you tell us about the turbulent times in Gangland UK that ultimately led to the murder of the two female officers by Dale Cregan?
Shay: [27:58] Yeah, so, Cregan sort of aligned himself to an East Manchester crime family, like a really established crime family and they were in a dispute with another crime family. And both equally as violent as each other. Both access to guns and both sides had committed serious acts of violence on numerous occasions, involved in drug dealing, loan sharking, you name it. And that had gone on for many, many years.
It culminated in a dispute in a pub. A bit of a fight kicks off, words over nothing really. And then, yeah, someone decides, the opposite side to Cregan have got to go. So the opposite side are in a pub one night, Cregan pulls up in a stolen car with a couple of his guys, he has a balaclava on, walks into the pub and shoots the son of the head of the group dead in the pub, and shoots three others as well. They live, and the son of the head of the organized crime group dies.
So then now we’ve got a situation where you’ve got a very violent man whose son’s just been murdered seeking revenge. Or at least Cregan thought he was seeking revenge. Lots and lots of threats. Lots of now police, we’ve got a serious situation on our hands here that we need to manage. We really do not want these people going out shooting willy nilly.
Mehul: [29:22] And the father and son, that’s the Shorts?
Shay: [29:25] The Short family, yes, that’s correct. Yeah, the Short family. So then, I think it’s about two or three weeks after he kills Mark Short, the son, David Short the father’s in his back garden and Cregan and one of his friends turn up at his back garden and shoot him dead and throw a grenade at him, in his back garden and kill him.
Dion: [29:45] Geez.
Shay: [29:47] And it was the first time in the UK that grenades had been used in anger, if you like, outside Northern Ireland. So we’ve now got a really serious situation.
Mehul: [29:58] Then there was a lot of scrutiny on Cregan obviously, because now you have this escalating gang war, what were some of the tactics used to get at Cregan? And then if you could just tell us at least briefly about the ambush of the two female officers?
Shay: [30:12] Yeah, yeah. So because I’d been involved with investigating his crime group earlier in my career, I was pulled in. And the police were using every covert tactic you can think of, bugs in houses, you name it, they were they were doing it. And I got pulled in and none of it was working. He was a criminal who had access to cash, resources, criminal associates all over the country. So he’s a very difficult person to pin down, plus he was very disciplined about his use of the phone and things like that. So
he was proving quite a difficult person to to house and capture. Plus he had access to firearms and grenades and willing to use them with not a great deal to lose now.
So I was dragged in and said, look we can’t get this guy, we need to sort of go the old fashioned way and get out on the ground and get information off people who may know. A lot of the cops were coming back with their tail between their legs really. I think it takes a certain kind of cop to swim in them circles and get information, and I had a reputation as one who could do that, along with a couple of others.
So they put us together and we got out on the ground and basically did what we do, and started making waves and putting doors in, locking up some of his gangster friends and shaking them down for information. But it wasn’t all sort of enforcement work. We would pay people, we were adept at trying to make friends with people, finding out what their Achilles heel was to get the information. And all we were trying to do effectively was bring the manhunt to a safe closure really, get him in custody with no more killing.
And the night before he killed the two cops, I get a phone call from an informant, and I’m told that he’s in the area, which I report back. I come back into work and I end up sort of monitoring phones overnight to see if I can get more information about where he might be to house him, so we can get firearms unit down there. I think about that morning, no further information comes.
I go out that morning and I put a door in, I put a door through and conduct a warrant 300 meters away from where he actually was, and sort of shake down one of his drug dealer gangster friends and leave there empty handed. He won’t tell me where he is. And the words he said to me was — even if I knew where he was, I wouldn’t tell you because I’m more scared of him than you. So that’s what he said to me that morning, which always resonates with me, stayed with me really.
And then literally a few hours later I get a phone call off my boss, Cregan’s handed himself in at Hyde Police Station. He’s just killed two female officers, and as we know, he fired numerous rounds at them and threw a grenade at them. And then he drove a car down…
The night before — sorry, just going back a bit — he kept a family hostage with children in bed, in this family, he kept them hostage in there overnight until he decided he was going to do, obviously kill the two cops. Lured them on with a phone call saying there’d been a window put through at the address. Killed the two girls unfortunately. And then I got tasked to go and deal with him in the immediate aftermath.
So myself and my colleagues race there and I had to sort of forensically bag his hands after he murdered the two girls, just to make sure that you know, we kept any blood or gunshot residue, stuff like that. I had to carry out an emergency interview about the vehicle he’d arrived in. We suspected it could be booby trapped with a grenade or anything like that. And yeah, unfortunately someone had to do it, and it was me and
Mehul: [33:44] Yeah, so that leads me to my next question. In this case specifically, how in the hell were you able to keep your composure and compartmentalize what you were doing?
Shay: [33:56] I think, at the end of the day, I’d been a soldier and I’d been a cop all my life, so I think I’d become quite adept at compartmentalizing things, up until that point anyway. I don’t know, you’re just almost on autopilot, I was a professional cop. You know, it wasn’t the first time I’d seen gunshot wounds, it wasn’t the first time I’ve seen blood or bodies. Unfortunately, the career choices I’d made, these things were pretty standard and normal. Not that the killing two cops is normal, that isn’t. But, I just was able to switch off that part of my brain and deal with it as a professional police officer, which is what the situation needed.
Mehul: [34:44 And then I assume that requirement of becoming hardened to this stuff, I would assume that that would affect your personal life on some level?
Shay: [34:52] Yeah, well, certainly after Cregan my mental health started to suffer. But it wasn’t just the Cregan and the murder of the two cops. It was everything I’ve done, really. Some of the treatment I’ve had from management as well massively impacted my mental health. And I wasn’t particularly looked after very well by the police after the undercover work. And just slowly, it was a slow dripping tap with me, and my mental health started to really sort of decline.
Being a cop, being an ex soldier, you don’t sort of put your hand up and say, I think I need help. What you do is you throw yourself deeper into work, which is what I did.
Dion: [35:32] You know, that’s a great statement for us to pivot on. How did it all go wrong? Why do you think so many people in the department had it in for you? At least that’s how it reads.
Shay: [35:40] Yeah. I think it was just a clash because there was a huge clash of personalities in there. You had management of the undercover unit who had no experience around undercover work. And so when I would…
I was pretty experienced by that point dealing with undercover work and the intricacies of it. They had not been been in that world. They hadn’t been in operative. They hadn’t even been around it as a detective, on the management side of it. They were new into that world.
And when I would tell them no, that’s wrong, you shouldn’t do that — I think it maybe come cross as maybe an arrogant or something. But it certainly wasn’t meant that way. It was because I knew better. I had more experience.
Unfortunately, some management see that as an asset and some see it as a threat. And unfortunately, I think I was seen as a threat.
Mehul: [36:31] Well, Shay, something that happened towards the end of your career, the last few years of your career, was the infamous bombing at the Ariana Grande concert in 2017. Can you tell us a little bit about that, and what role you had in the investigation?
Shay: [36:50] So, obviously, Salman Abedi was the bomber, Libyan bomber, and he took it upon himself to bomb a children’s concert, of the Ariana Grande concert, which was largely attended by young people and children, really. Pretty evil act. Pretty heinous evil act. And I wasn’t involved in the night, but in the immediate aftermath, I was a detective sergeant, now, in the Serious Organized Crime Unit, and we were all made available to the Northwest Counterterrorism Unit.
And I initially led a search for CCTV of the bomber’s approach to the arena, and we were able to locate some of him getting out of a taxi and things like that. And then I was working pretty much 18 hour days doing — it was all hands to the pump, really. It was all hands to the pump. Everyone mucking in, children dead, and just the horrific incident that had gone on. Everybody just wanted to do everything they could and the best they could to find out what had gone on, and just just absolutely abhorrent.
And then I was part of the team that we went through, we went and located two guys that were connected to the bomber. Ended up back in my old stomping ground in Moss Side where I worked undercover, and we went through the door and arrested a couple of guys there who were connected to the bomber.
Dion: [38:13] It sounds like all roads lead back to that plot, as you say.
Shay: [38:20] Yeah, it haunted me, and still does to a degree.
Dion: [38:25] And then it was fascinating to read that you were actually working the memorial site as well, the days after the bombing, correct?
Shay: [38:31] Yeah. The memorial was a really sort of emotional a place called St. Ann’s Square in the center of Manchester. It was like a sea of flowers of well wishers and people grieving. And every night people would come down there and just grieve, and having show of respect and pay silent for those that had lost their lives.
But I was acutely aware that this was a real…
Dion: [38:53] Another opportunity?
Shay: [38:54] A secondary area to hit. If I was a terrorist, I’d be thinking, a great place to hit, you’ve got a large concentration of people. So of course we had firearms and big police presence down there. But I would mingle with the crowd as the other officers covertly, just to look for anything out of the ordinary and make sure that people were safe.
Dion: [39:10] Wow. Shay, what reforms do you think need to be put in place in the UK police system so that others don’t have to go through what you did?
Shay: [39:21] They have to go and see and do things that most people don’t see once in a lifetime. Sometimes two, three times a week. More, sometimes.
And I think management, they’ve got to become more knowledgeable about mental health. I think it’s also going to be a culture that says it’s okay to put your hands up and say, I’m struggling at the moment.
Because there’s a real fear in the police. If you do that, your career is over. You’re not going to let you handle a firearm in firearms again or a specialist department. They’re not going to let you work undercover.
If I’d have put my hand up undercover and said, I’m really struggling, I would have been —
Dion: [39:54] That’s it.
Shay: [39:54] Finished that day.
Dion: [39:55] Yeah.
Shay: [39:56] I think we need to understand that just because someone is going through a period of stress or struggling with their mental health doesn’t necessarily mean they’re useful life is finished.
Dion: [40:05] Right.
Shay: [40:08] I think certainly in America and Canada that the police forces are way ahead of the UK, and we could learn a massive amount from them.
Dion: [40:15] I would’ve thought it would’ve been the other way around, for some reason. I thought that the UK would be out in front of the States as far as having police procedures in place.
Shay: [40:23] Absolutely not. And I think certainly in the UK at the moment, there’s lots of scrutiny as there is in the USA. There’s lots of scrutiny around policing, and a real disconnect between the public and the police. Bit more so than I’ve ever seen in my lifetime, I would say.
And I think you’ve probably been suffering that over in the over in the US, I think, to a degree.
But yeah, I think we need to get back to people-centered management in the police. It’s always been… It’s been very much about processes, procedures, and disciplinary. I think we need to get back to managing cops as people, and managers need to sort of treat people as individuals.
And I think that would achieve, you get more of that individual in the workplace, but also, you know, they may have changed the culture where they feel they can put their hand up and say, you know what, I’m struggling, I’m struggling.
Dion: [41:14] Yeah. You’re just not a tool in the toolbox that you’re actually as a real human being behind this work.
Shay: [41:19] Yeah. Absolutely, absolutely.
Unfortunately, I kind of have a bit of a cynical view now that, you know, I was a number, I was a tool, as you just said. And I just don’t think that should be the case. I think cops are like human beings, like anybody else, and they see and do things — destruction, death — on an almost daily and weekly basis, and we should look after them. That’s my view.
Mehul: [41:45] Absolutely.
Well, Shay, how helpful was writing this book for you to sort of process your trauma, and how are you doing today?
Shay: [41:54] Yeah. Do you know what, Ryan, the book really gave me focus. It gave me something to concentrate on. I was lost after the cops because I’d spent my life either as a soldier or a cop. And you know, 25 years of it, I didn’t know what else to do. You know, I haven’t got any other skills. I was really, really lost, and that really hurt my head for a while.
And then the idea of the book came along and I really threw myself into the book. And I realized that if I can get a platform to talk about mental health, particularly in emergency services and the police, then maybe I can impact change and effect change.
And it was really sort of cathartic writing the book with my co-writer. Looking at really where things had gone wrong, identifying where I could have maybe done some of the things differently, but also looking at where the police got things wrong.
So yeah, my book isn’t about bashing the police. I enjoyed the police. I loved my job at the time. But yeah, we all get things wrong, and I’d love to think that there could be learning from my book.
Dion: [42:59] You know what, it doesn’t read that way, at least not for us, that you were bashing. And I think that it was just kind of a statement of fact of what you went through.
But if some point in the future, if they decide, hey, they want to write some kind of a manual for dealing with this, the book is there. That’s what I would follow. There’s your format of what you need to address, and do something where you’re three months on or three months off.
A Zero Cliff Media production
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I didn’t get a sense there was any decompression time for you, to be able to just relax, put your feet up, and then move on to the next? It just seems like you were always burning at a 9.5 out of 10.
Shay: [43:32] Yeah, absolutely. But equally, that was also my fault, because I wanted to operate at that level. I was always seeking the next big job. And cops will. When you’re a highly motivated individual, you will seek the next biggest thing, the next most high risk operation you can get involved in.
Sometimes you need someone, you know, with more knowledge, seniority to say, let’s just sit this one out. And that not be a punishment. That’d be looking after you.
Dion: [44:00] Would you have listened if someone came? Like, I know there’s a number of —
Shay: [44:03] Without a doubt I would have kicked back from it. But I would have kicked back from it, but with hindsight and with maturity, having gone through what I’ve gone through. I think it’s almost, if we build that into — this is how we operate — you’re not always going to be operating at full tilt. Sometimes you got to take a back seat because it will give you longevity, and it will help your mental health, and your family are important as well as the operations and the jobs. I think that would take the sting out of the tail if you were telling people — you’re going to set this one out.
Mehul: [44:41] Well, Shay, in terms of some of your ex-colleagues that you’re still in touch with, how prevalent are issues with PTSD for some of those folks?
Shay: [44:49] Yeah. I think it’s something that a lot of cops or ex cops unfortunately hide, and lie to themselves about as I did. I lied to myself that I was unwell. I always say I was the last person to know I was unwell. And unfortunately, I think that’s probably the case with a lot of people. They struggle behind closed doors. And that’s what I want my book to do, maybe give people the strength to say, you know what, it’s okay to go and get a bit of help. Don’t get to the point he was, you know, because I lost my job, I lost my house, you know? I had to start again.
But yeah, I do have colleagues who suffer from PTSD from what they’ve done, and they openly talk about it. And not just the work, some of the treatment they’ve had that’s caused PTSD.
A friend of mine who’s an ex undercover officer from Omega, he’s very open about it. He’s wrote a book himself, actually. and he’s very open about his struggles with his mental health and PTSD.
So there are some of us standing up now to talk about it. So I hope it encourages the conversation within the policing in the UK.
Dion: [45:58] Absolutely. And then speaking of that, on your book, how do you hope this book… What do you hope it will do for other people?
Shay: [46:05] Do you know what, I really, really hope that people read it as sort of the public who don’t really understand police, or just think, you know, the police give out parking tickets and are there to annoy people. Kind of read it and go — do you know what? There’s actually some people out there putting themselves on the line to keep you safe in the life you have, without you even knowing it sometimes. And thank God we’ve got them.
And I hope that some people take that from it. Because you know, the police get a bashing sometimes. We will pick up on the one thing that they do wrong, but we never see the 99 other things they’ve done right. And certainly the operational. The operational end cops I work with day to day, in the main, were good people wanting to do right by people.
And I think that’s right, the world across. I think that’s generally the kind of person that wants to join the cops.
Mehul: [46:58] Well, Shay, obviously in the coming months you’ll be busy promoting your book, but what else is next for you?
Shay: [47:05] The book, I’m working on a fiction book, so I’m currently sort of getting my head in the in the laptop writing that, and sort of seeing where I can take that.
Mehul: [47:17] You’ve got the writing bug, it sounds like?
Shay: [47:19] Yeah, definitely, definitely without doubt, I’ve got the writing bug. And I’ve got so much some sort of real life material buzzing around my head that I feel that could be great fiction, sort of realistic fiction.
And there’s talk of maybe the book being turned into a drama or something like that.
Dion: [47:38] Definitely. That’d be awesome.
Shay: [47:40 Yeah, so I’m hoping if that does happen, I could be involved in the production side of that, and advising around it. And pretty much, I’m open to offers. But my big passion is mental health, and guiding young kids away from the stakes like I grew up on. Rough areas, taking, trying to get them away from guns and gangs and stuff like that, and knife crime, which we’re struggling with here in the UK.
A big passion of mine was boxing growing up. I was very much into boxing, and a friend of mine is a professional boxer and we would love to get like a gym going where we could try and get kids away from environments where we grew up.
Dion: [48:16] Excellent. That’s great.
Shay: [48:18] So that would be my passion, really.
Mehul: [48:20] And just out of curiosity, do you do any mentoring of people who are still in the police department or youngsters just starting out?
Shay: [48:28] Well, funny enough, and it’s funny you should say this, because I offered to go back to a police force to speak. I offered my time for free to speak. And they didn’t want me to come in.
Dion: [48:37] You got to be kidding. Wow. The abuse continues. So to this day, they’re still still on it, huh?
Shay: [48:45] Yeah, yeah. They didn’t want me to come in. I think they think I’m a police basher or I hate the police and the organization. But they couldn’t be more wrong. I’ve got so much respect for the boys and girls that go out and put themselves at risk and on the ground every day. But I’d love to stand there and say to them, look, just look after yourself as well, because, you know, don’t end up like me. Don’t be Shay.
Mehul: [49:07] Well, Shay, what a pleasure speaking with you today. We appreciate your time. And we wish you good luck with this book. I mean, we can’t recommend it enough.
Dion: [49:16] Fantastic interview. Really appreciate your time.
Shay: [49:19] Honestly, guys, thank you so much for having me on, and it’s been a pleasure. Thank you.
Mehul: [49:25] A couple of housekeeping points, Dion, before we get into our discussion. First, during the interview, we asked Shay about his thoughts on needed police reforms in the UK. And unfortunately, there was a bit of a technical glitch at the beginning of his answer. But not all was lost, as we still got to hear a lot of his thoughts, so I just cut out the first part of the answer and we’ve got everything else.
Dion: [49:45] I guess that’s to be expected. It was an international interview, and these things happen.
Mehul: [49:49] This is just a hazard of this business. The other thing, Dion, was you had dropped the CIA laptop story from the book. But the thing is, I don’t think that our listeners had a frame of reference what you guys were talking about. Could you just break that down?
Dion: [50:03] Sure. I really thought this was funny when I read the book. But basically, Shay and his team went undercover in Cambridge, and they’re tasked to buy stolen goods, and one of the items that he bought was a CIA laptop that was stolen from an agent that was stationed there. So he was able to buy this laptop, see who the owner was and then return it, and luckily, hopefully, no information was leaked out on it. But this is why he says in our interview with him that the US Government owes him one.
Mehul: [50:34] Yeah. [laughs] No doubt. That could have been a real disaster. And an embarrassment for the CIA agent of course.
There’s a lot of great little stories like that in the book. Just to give you a couple of my thoughts. One thing that I was impressed about is how detailed the setup is for these undercover operations. In other words, what Shay would describe as a legend.
So in other words, what is his back story? Well, you’ve got to give him a criminal record that if people were to look it up, they could see it. You’ve got to give him a new ID. You got to get his fingerprints out of the system, or swap them with someone else. Not only that, but he goes into great detail in the book about how…
Well, part of his backstory was that he had relatives in Ireland and he hung out in a certain area. So what did he do? He went and lived there for a while. And he went to the pubs and he kind of got a feel for it so that he could talk intelligently about it if he was ever pressed. And just things like, you know, he and his partner, they didn’t just get right into busting people, they went to the local pubs, they put out a certain air about themselves. They rode about in their Mercedes. They had a certain attitude. So this is weeks and weeks and weeks of you know getting their rep out there before they actually really did any police work, per se.
And another interesting point, I think, in the book, and actually Shay hit on this, is that it’s just like any other business isn’t it, that sometimes the people who are in charge haven’t done the actual work. And that was really frustrating to see Shay get all of this experience and be such an asset, and then the higher ups who didn’t understand the work he was doing, not taking his advice.
I mean, I’ve actually seen this in crime labs. I’ve worked in crime labs where the person in charge of the lab was not a scientist. So how does that work?
Just one more thought Dion, and then I’ll throw it to you. It was interesting in his book how addictive this undercover work can be. Yes, it’s dangerous. Yes, it’s lonely. But what a thrill. What a rush, particularly for a guy like Shay that excels in that. Why wouldn’t you want to go on to the next case, onto the higher stakes? Much like an addict would.
And he describes in the book that undercover agents did have to check in with psychiatrists quarterly, or something like that, but it was basically a sham. And as Shay said in the interview, there was none of this — someone sitting down with him and…
Dion: [53:12] That was the part that cost him, I think, mentally and physically. This is the part that really took a toll on him.
Mehul: [53:17] Yeah, that’s right. He didn’t have a mentor who sat him down and said, listen man, you’re great at this, but you got to have longevity, you don’t want to burn out — on and on and on.
Well, Dion, give me some of your thoughts.
Dion: [53:30] I’ll try to work in reverse, the last one first.
So one of the things that was really frustrating and extremely disappointing was that he had no support. He was kind of on an island doing all this work, and you’d think that he would be supported at every turn for all of the different busts that he made, high profile busts that he made over the course of the years. And it just seemed like there was so much jealousy.
And he obviously had some support and some some key people that we’re helping him along the way, but it was just amazing how much kind of like, backstabbing and stuff, and how they would really go out of their way to try to take him down. And it just seemed like it was pure spite and jealousy. Because how can you have someone so successful, and then do nothing to support them and then try to just crush them at the same time?
What do you think about that?
Mehul: [54:23] Very true. You know, people sometimes resent you if you are good at your job or knowledgeable, and they just don’t want to have the pride to listen to what you have to say. It’s particularly unfortunately it happens in this kind of business, where really, lives are at stake if you’re not doing the right strategy and operations, or don’t have the right resources. I mean, he describes an example where he had really gotten in good with this villain and he wanted to make a nice drug buy to kind of show him that he was a man, and they wouldn’t front him the cash to do it, which could have put him in danger.
Dion: [55:00] It’s really amazing that he’s had as much success that he did with little or no support at the time. And then as far as his legend goes, it was amazing. Sometimes, while I was reading the book, I thought Shay, his character, was a real person, the way that he talked to him, and then later on when he was talking some of the — I know we’ll touch on this in a bit — some of the mental illness, he was kind of like having like, what would Shay do? And he wanted to go back to that person. Because he knew he’d be strong. That was kind of a little bit sad, I felt sorry for him at the same time, but that’s just kind of where he was, and that goes back to that he had little or no support with these kind of check ups they did for your for your mental status along the way.
I thought that was really hard to listen to, and really telling.
So let me ask you this, how excited would you be to see this as a feature film or a series made from Shay’s book?
Mehul: [55:58] Oh gosh, I’d be all over it. I think I said this earlier. To me it was like watching an action adventure film. Listen, sometimes reading could be boring, let’s face it. This was not. So I would love to see this on the big screen.
Dion: [56:14] “Page turner” is overused, but for me this was a page turner. I mean, I was
really hooked on every event that was taking place. And what’s interesting is the way that he just matter of factly we would state some of this stuff. And I had to keep asking myself, there’s no way, I thought I was reading fiction by some of the stories that he tells.
Mehul: [56:34] Yeah. The book has really, really good pacing. I mean, Shay described that he’s going to write a fiction book next, and it makes perfect sense because like you say, how could this be real, when you when you read it.
Other things that are shocking in the book is this whole business about how the cops in the UK don’t necessarily carry guns unless there’s some big special event. He was talking about one undercover operation where he picked up this villain, and they were riding in a van I think, and he was thinking in his mind, he was concerned about, oh, does this guy have a gun, or whatever? And my thoughts were, well, of course as dangerous. But I was just thinking, well you have a gun too, and what’s the big issue? But I didn’t realize right away when I was reading this book that he didn’t have a gun with him.
And I mean, how different is that just from the US culture, not only of policing, but of the criminals. I mean, it seems like in the US, the criminals aren’t fit, they’re not muscular, they’re not athletic, but they all just wave a gun around.
Dion: [57:35] There’s a couple of thoughts on that. One is that they don’t use the guns. But I was shocked to hear how much hand grenades were used. I mean that was crazy.
Mehul: [57:45] That’s taking it to the next level.
Dion: [57:46] Like, yeah, okay, guns are illegal, but we’re just going to either chop you up or we’re going to throw a hand grenade at you, and I was surprised at how frequent hand grenades were throughout his book with some of the gangsters that were involved.
Mehul: [57:58] Yeah, that’s pretty heavy.
Dion: [57:59] And then there was one particular scene, I got a couple of points to make on that, in this book where he’s going in to bust this guy, and Shay and his partner are the first one through the door, and the guys with the guns were not undercover and clearly defined, like you see those in the crime scene like a big FBI or police on the back, so they were outside, and they had the guns, but they weren’t going through. And Shay and his partner were going through, and they end up meeting someone who’s laying in bed with I think it was a Glock and a 12 gauge pump. And neither one of them had guns.
And I find that this was absolutely insane and takes just a huge pair of you know what, to go through that door knowing that the other people could be armed.
Mehul: [58:46] Fists? Huge fists?
Dion: [58:48] Yeah. [laughs] Huge pair of fists.
And there’s a ton of ammunition and a 50 caliber, and yeah, they’re just going through with their with fists. And I find this absolutely crazy. But also, and we talked about this after the interview, that there was almost like an unspoken rule that the proper villains don’t carry guns, because they’re afraid of what they can be put away for by carrying a gun. So that’s where they were going to bust, was this new kind of industry that had popped up, where he had paid people that stored guns in their home for gangsters.
Mehul: [59:25] Yeah, it’s funny how that seemed to actually be a deterrent, that penalty for the gangsters to be caught with a gun. And seems like there’s some weird sort of etiquette in the UK about like, yeah, we’re going to use them when push comes to shove, but we’re not just waving them around like crazy, willy nilly, because it’s just not worth it. So… Wow, I mean, what a different world.
Another reason that would be great to have this on the big screen to just kind of explore the cultural differences in policing and in crime, I guess.
Dion: [59:53] Absolutely. I mean, yeah, we won’t carry a gun, but we’ll throw a hand grenade at you.
Mehul: [59:58] Well, Shay’s book, again is called Deep Cover, How I Took Down Britain’s Most Dangerous Gangsters, and it will be available on March 3rd, 2022, it’s published by E Berry Press which is a part of Penguin Randomhouse.
And just like anything else, your best bet at ordering the book would be to find it on Amazon.
Dion: [1:00:17] Shay is an incredible man with an incredible story, and this is a riveting book and a must read.
Thanks again to all of our Crime Redefined listeners. Looking forward to bringing you more great episodes like this one. And please be sure to follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. If you’re so inclined, please spread the word about us, and until next time.
Dr. Joni Johnston is a forensic psychologist, private investigator, and crime writer. She joins Crime Redefined to discuss the role of forensic psychology in the criminal justice system and her most recent book, Serial Killers: 101 Questions True Crime Fans Ask. Hosted by Dion Mitchell and Mehul Anjaria. A Zero Cliff Media production. https://vurbl.com/station/crime-redefined/
Mark J. McLaughlin is a prominent digital forensics and police practices expert and founder of Computer Forensics International in Los Angeles. He joins Crime Redefined to discuss electronically stored information and how it can be used in high-profile investigations such as the movie set shooting involving Alec Baldwin. Part 2 of 2. Hosted by Dion Mitchell and Mehul Anjaria. A Zero Cliff Media production. https://vurbl.com/station/crime-redefined/
Mark J. McLaughlin is a prominent digital forensics and police practices expert and founder of Computer Forensics International in Los Angeles. He joins Crime Redefined to discuss electronically stored information and how it can be used in high-profile investigations such as the movie set shooting involving Alec Baldwin. Part 1 of 2. Hosted by Dion Mitchell and Mehul Anjaria. A Zero Cliff Media production.
27-year-old television producer Terrence Woods went missing on October 5, 2018. He was working with a production crew that was filming a television series in mountainous central Idaho. Reportedly he ran down a steep embankment in the Idaho wilderness never to be seen again. Television director Rochelle Newman is a friend and colleague of Terrence Woods in the UK. She joins Crime Redefined to discuss the daunting and surprisingly lonely task of keeping the search for Terrence going. https://www.gofundme.com/f/2hqmj-find-my-missing-son-terrence-woods
Vanished-A Friend’s Lonely Search For The Truth-Transcript (download PDF)
VANISHED: A FRIEND’S LONELY SEARCH FOR THE TRUTH
[00:00:00] Announcer: Welcome to the Crime Redefined Podcast produced by Zero Cliff Media coming to you from the US Bank Tower high above downtown Los Angeles. In our podcast, we drill deep into forensics and criminal investigation from the viewpoint of the defense, as well as explore the intersection of the media and the justice system.
[00:00:21] Dion Mitchell: I’m Dion Mitchell here, once again with my cohost, Mehul Anjaria. We hope all you listeners are doing well and enjoying Crime Redefined. Today, we are going to continue our series on the 2018 disappearance of Terrence Woods.
[00:00:35] Mehul Anjaria: Well, Dion, as this series continues, and the more we learn about this, just the more it boggles the mind as to why Terrence’s story hasn’t received more attention. I mean, as we’ve hit over the head a million times, if there was even some basic investigation, not to say that would was solve it but at the minimum, I mean, my gosh, at least you could eliminate some of the possible scenarios, what may have happened to Terrence, you know, right now, there’s so many possible options, you know, you and I even talk about it all the time. So right now, I mean, all we can do is, for our part is to keep the spotlight on this and so, you know, our request of our listeners and our social media followers, you know, please help spread the word so that as many people as possible can hear this, and hopefully one or more of those people have some great info for Terrence’s family.
[00:01:31] Dion Mitchell: You know, I hate to go, you know, off the rails right off the track but here’s one thing that’s, you can see how conspiracy theories can get started really, really easily, because there’s the basic things in this particular case that weren’t done, or at least as far as we know, weren’t done and so you start asking the question, why, you know, why weren’t these basic, you know, protocols or investigation tools utilized? And then there, it starts to, you know, kind of mount up, man, what, are they hiding? And there could be nothing wrong, they could have done everything great but you can see how this can gain traction.
[00:02:05] Mehul Anjaria: Yeah, you definitely can and I would just say that, as bizarre and scary as the lack of investigation is, I mean, take a look at criminal case investigation, you know, more so old ones that you look at from the cold case or post- conviction that will shock you but even today, I mean, what we think should happen just doesn’t always happen.
[00:02:27] Dion Mitchell: Well, to continue on with our I guess our investigation, we have the pleasure of speaking with Rochelle Newman, who became friends with Terrence in the UK, along with Terrence Woods Senior she has basically headed up an international missing persons campaign.
[00:02:42] Mehul Anjaria: If you happened to see the Dr. Phil episode on Terrence’s disappearance, you’re familiar with Rochelle. She’s also done some excellent work, keeping Terrance’s story alive on social media but as you’ll soon find out, after we talk with her a bit, this whole saga, Dion has really taken quite a bit of a toll on her.
[00:03:02] Dion Mitchell: It sure has, and there’s a real darkness surrounding Terrence’s disappearance and lackluster investigation thereof the show will take us through some of the key issues that have made this missing person case particularly challenging.
[00:03:16] Mehul Anjaria: Yeah, and it’s kind of like a two-person team investigating it. I mean, it seems like Terrence Sr., and Rochelle are the only people who are, you know, really actively pursuing answers, to the extent possible, because things have went cold, people aren’t talking. It’s just sad that we’re now approaching the three year anniversary and you know, these clues are getting colder and colder but, you know, another part of us doing this series, is to talk to people close to Terrence, and we want to put out there, you know, what is the true essence of Terrence, not just what are the hot takes about him, or the loose suggestions that maybe he’s somehow to blame for this or he had mental issues, or any of that. So hopefully, we’re we’re bringing some balance to the story.
[00:04:07] Dion Mitchell: No doubt and when there is limited coverage of a story, it is very, very hard for it to be balanced. I hope we are doing at least some small part to balance it out. As a bit of a tease today’s interview, Rochelle has some new information to share. Let’s see what our take on Terrence himself in the events leading up to his disappearance are.
[00:04:29] Mehul Anjaria: Rochelle, thank you so much for joining us on Crime Redefined today.
[00:04:33] Rochelle Newman: Hi. Hi. Thank you for having me.
[00:04:35] Mehul Anjaria: Great. We’re really looking forward to learning more about Terrence Woods and what can be done to help find him.
[00:04:41] Rochelle Newman: Yes, yes, because it needs to happen now.
[00:04:45] Dion Mitchell: So listen, are you ready to dive in?
[00:04:47] Rochelle Newman: Yeah, I’m ready.
[00:04:48] Dion Mitchell: Okay, so first, let’s start with you. Tell us about what you do for a career.
[00:04:56] Rochelle Newman: At the moment I’m a TV director but for the last five years I’ve been working in true crime. So I’ve been helping I’ve done over 60 murders in the UK and US. I studied criminology and sociology and I’ve always been interested in why people do certain things and the why we act the way we do sometimes. So, yeah, I’ve been doing crime, I’ve come out of crime now since Terrence’s case last year, so since the Black Lives Matter, movement, and all of these things happened, I decided to come out of crime. Because it just got too much it got too overwhelming. I went from helping victims’ family members to become in a victim’s family member. So I found that very difficult. So I decided just to move into children’s TV for a while.
[00:05:42] Dion Mitchell: I could see that but it sounds like you’re one of us.
[00:05:44] Rochelle Newman: Yeah, it does. I am but it’s so difficult. I think in I’ve done the whole international campaign, literally kind of by myself with a few other people but everyone’s so scared to speak up. So I’ve literally put my life and put my career on the line to make sure that Terrence’s story stays relevant that we find out what happens to Terrence and to ensure that it never happens to one of us ever again.
[00:06:11] Dion Mitchell: Absolutely. Just got to go from there. How did you first meet Terrence?
[00:06:16] Rochelle Newman: So this is what is very interesting. We both went, we both started out on a TV production scheme. So Terrence was in the year below me and we met at an event.
[00:06:28] Dion Mitchell: Could you back up for a second a TV production-what?
[00:06:30] Rochelle Newman: A scheme. So it’s a scheme that helps young people get into the TV industry. So that’s where we met Terrence was in the year below me and we met at a couple events and we went out a couple of times, all of us together as young people starting off in the TV industry and that’s how, yeah, that’s how we met.
[00:06:50] Mehul Anjaria: Well, so Rochelle, how is it that you first found out that Terence was missing?
[00:06:56] Rochelle Newman: So his Auntie actually was contacting everyone on Facebook saying that Terrence was missing? And also what do you mean Terrence is missing, and she’s a slight, she’s sending us all of this information, these articles and that’s how I found out and that night, I started sending out an email, I’ve never written a press release, release in my life, before Terrence’s story. I was just writing like a crazy woman put a picture of him there put some information about what happened and I sent this out to loads of journalists in the UK, and in the US, and no one got back to me, apart from a journalist who worked for The Guardian and he forwarded it on to another journalist who lived near Idaho, like an hour away from Idaho and I can’t remember his name right now but he said he would be able to help and he spoke to Terrence’s mom and he did nothing after that, because news moves on and that was it.
[00:07:50] Mehul Anjaria: Well, there’s something I have to follow up on and we’ll probably talk about this later on in the interview but you kind of dropped the bomb and you said that you were concerned about your life as you were covering the story. Can you go into a little bit about that about what exactly happened?
[00:08:06] Rochelle Newman: I’m still concerned about my life. I’m still concerned about my life, even till this day. So Terrence has gone missing. He went missing in Idaho, which is obviously a very strange, unusual place. I live in England and I’m a small black woman who’s trying to who’s running an international missing persons campaign and who is black. Yes, do you know what I mean, I’m black. People are going to try and get me and I just know that Discovery Channel, and Raw have a lot of money announcing this on the podcast is going to go out there anyways. They’ve got a lot of money, they can do what they want and I know how it goes, this world is not nice. There’s a lot of horrible people out there and when people have a lot of money, they can do certain things.
[00:08:56] Dion Mitchell: Was there anything specific that you know, through social media that that popped up that made you to be really concerned?
[00:09:01] Rochelle Newman: Um, yes, someone was messaging me asking how long I was on the Dr. Phil show for, random person and people just asking a lot of weird questions and because I started talking to some of the private investigators who weren’t really private investigators about the case. So they obviously found out my name from Dr. Phil when all these articles and so it got to a point was just like I need to kind of step back from this a bit, but my name is already out there. So we just run with it.
[00:09:34] Dion Mitchell: You know, prior to Terrence’s disappearance did you know his father?
[00:09:40] Rochelle Newman: Um, no, no, no.
[00:09:41] Dion Mitchell: So you never talked to him or anything like that?
[00:09:45] Rochelle Newman: I never talked to him, I talked to Mr. T. I call him Mr. T. Because I find it we’re saying Terrence. I talked to Mr. T probably every other day or once a week depending on how busy I am, never.
[00:09:52] Dion Mitchell: So you’re working with him right now. That was my next question. How have you been working with him keeping the story alive. So you guys are in pretty good contact?
[00:10:01] Rochelle Newman: Yeah. All the time. I’m probably the only one that keeps in contact with him all the time and Terence had closer friends in the UK and US and people, I understand that people are scared and all of these things, but there’s a missing person regardless of if he’s a man or a woman, black, white, or Asian, he’s missing. He’s missing full stop but people have just gone on with their normal lives, having kids getting married, all of these things and I’m just like, how can you not say nothing, not continue to put his name out there? Even if it’s a tweet every now and then or something to find out if Mr. Woods is okay, message him find out if I’m okay, message me anything but no, people are just -Okay Terrence has gone missing let’s go on, and I understand that it’s hard for people to understand that he’s gone missing but you need to have a bit of a backbone when it comes to things like this. So that’s my problem with everyone.
[00:10:55] Mehul Anjaria: In terms of publicity, would you say that the Dr. Phil show was was the thing that shone the biggest spotlight on the issue.
[00:11:05] Rochelle Newman: The thing is with the Dr. Phil show is that it showed the biggest spotlight on Terrence’s disappearance and that was the biggest we were gonna get. We realized at the time, because we did have other shows, contacting us looking at my social media, people all over my story messaging me here and there. It got so overwhelming last year, but they weren’t as big as Dr. Phil and I knew that it would have been difficult for us to get on Dr. Phil, because it took two, three months for them to do all the law, all of the go over all of the paperwork because of Discovery Channel and Raw. So we recorded that episode two to three months before it actually went out. Because there were issues there were legal issues but they stuck with it, even though it didn’t come out the best as it could have come out. They stuck with it and they still put it out and from that I have had people contact me about the show and about seeing Terrance in Idaho, not where people assume that he was last seen but a lady did contact me who had seen him in the store apparently does not know what the name of the store is, but she saw him in a store and all of this information. So much. This lady saw him in a store and he was acting very like he needed to get stuff now, sandwiches and everything as you do when your production assistant, then you don’t have time to get anything because no one gives you time. Everyone’s in a hurry when you’re on production. So she was just saying he said he was just in a hurry and he needed to get whatever sandwiches and fruits he needed to get it now
Dion Mitchell: and this was during production?
Rochelle Newman: This was during the production before they say he went to the Penman mines, allegedly.
[00:12:44] Dion Mitchell: Okay and then I just want to make sure, it’s clear that you haven’t had anybody message you or get in contact with you that have seen him post the post missing. This was all during that production correct?
[00:12:57] Rochelle Newman: This is only before so before Yeah, during the production, but before the fifth of October.
[00:13:04] Dion Mitchell: Okay, and this was actually in Idaho.
[00:13:07] Rochelle Newman: This was in Idaho, a lady said she saw him. She served him at the store and what she did say to me whether she’s telling the truth, or not all she said is Rochelle, someone’s hiding something. I don’t know if it’s the production team and I don’t know whether it’s the sheriff’s office, I don’t know but someone’s hiding something and she also mentioned that people go missing in Idaho all the time.
[00:13:33] Dion Mitchell: We’re going to take a deeper dive into the investigation but I want to take a quick little turn and find out more about Terrence the individual, if you don’t mind, please share some stories about him. Maybe some information of like, what he was like, was he in a relationship, what kind of music did he like, hobbies, interests, that type of stuff.
[00:13:50] Rochelle Newman: So I would say Terrence is he’s quiet, a quiet person unless he knows you. So if he knows you, then he’ll open up a bit to you, but he’s very reserved, very quiet, but very loving and caring and he loves traveling, which is the reason why he’s always loved London as well. That’s why he was in London because he just loved it here. I don’t know why. Because I’m trying to get over to LA. I don’t understand it but and he yeah he just loved traveling what he liked to be by himself quite a bit when he was traveling and filming. Kind of a free spirit I would say and he had different groups of friends. So he had like his TV friends and then some people, the majority of his friends were in the TV industry, but he met people through people and that’s how he kind of got along in London.
[00:14:43] Mehul Anjaria: Well, you know, Rochelle, something that was brought up was that before he went missing, the story goes that he was with the crew at a restaurant and he met a young lady and exchanged numbers. What’s your thoughts on that? Is that something that is you know, within Terrence’s character to do?
[00:15:02] Rochelle Newman: I don’t know if Terrence has that kind of like, should I say- game. I don’t know if he has that sort of game or confidence. The only way he would say it with us lot in the TV industry. We all were friends, because we were on the same scheme. So I don’t know if he has that sort of confidence to be oh, yeah, let’s meet up. No, he doesn’t. I’ll be honest, he does not.
[00:15:23] Dion Mitchell: So he wasn’t when he was gone. He was not in a relationship when like in London or in Maryland.
[00:15:29] Rochelle Newman: I think he was seeing someone in London and yeah, he’s seeing someone in London or he was in and out of a relationship in London but I don’t know how serious that was.
[00:15:41] Mehul Anjaria: Rochelle, did you ever know Terrence to have any sort of interesting health issues, whether they be mental or physical?
[00:15:48] Rochelle Newman: No mental, physical, nothing, nothing at all. They say that he had possibly sleeping problems. Sometimes. Not sleeping problems. Sorry, I’m flying. So he had problems like when flying or something like that but anytime I’ve met him or being around him, he’s never mentioned it I’ve never seen anything and any of his close friends who were with him have said that he didn’t. Now this is coming from them and coming from his family. You never really know what’s going on with an individual themselves but from what we know, and his medical stuff, and what his dad said, and his friends who have been with him in London, he didn’t, no.
[00:16:29] Dion Mitchell: Yeah, obviously, that was a big point of the team there. They were saying maybe had some kind of a mental break but usually those don’t come out of the blue. So we had to ask that question.
[00:16:39] Rochelle Newman: Yeah. Yeah, of course. That’s what they’re gonna say. That’s their story.
[00:16:42] Dion Mitchell: Yeah, I want to ask you about this, this text message that he received, that Terrence Senior received from his son, and stated that he’s not sure it came from Terence, what are your thoughts on that?
[00:16:53] Rochelle Newman: I don’t believe anything came from Terrence. Now, the lady who said that she saw Terrence in the supermarket when he looks like when he was in a rush, she said the time when he was there in that part of Idaho, she doesn’t know how he reached to where they said he went missing within that certain amount of time. Now, I don’t know how big Idaho is or anything like that but she said the timings don’t add up. His social media, the pictures that he’s posted on his social media, the last three or two that he’s posted, on, synchronize with the ones that he posted beforehand. So the ones that he was posting while he was away in Montana, or Idaho or wherever they say he is aren’t in the same kind of correlation and I just don’t think it was Terrence from the first time I heard that Terrence sent this text I said that’s not Terrence, because you just I don’t know, there’s something that you just know, he never sent that text message. Someone else sent that from his phone and that’s why they wouldn’t give us the records on his phone.
[00:17:53] Mehul Anjaria: Wow. Rochelle, you’ve kind of touched on this but can you tell us about some of the specific ways that you’ve advocated for Terrence in the last few years, and what the importance or role of social media has been in that process.
[00:18:08] Rochelle Newman: So we have I’ve been posting about Terrence’s disappearance on Twitter since it happened and telling people, even people in the TV industry in the UK and London have said that if it wasn’t for me, they wouldn’t have known about Terrence’s disappearance, Now Raw have said that they let people know that Terrence went missing when it happened. I was like, No, you did not because no one knew about it. So I’ve used Twitter, any moment that I get, whereas for example, there one of the heads of Raw, she went on to the Edinburgh TV Festival, which is like a big festival in the UK, talking about how we need to look after one another and I was just like, Well, you didn’t look after Terrence and no one’s been able to help us find out where he is or what really happened to him. So what we did is kind of use that as a leverage to kind of tweet about his disappearance with the Fox news video and that got like 1000s of retweets, and 1000s of people have viewed that and then unfortunately, when the killing of George Floyd happened last year, I saw that as a way to get Terrence’s story out there, which really helped, because that’s when I was able to send it to Deadline and send it to Vice and then that’s when Dr. Phil got in touch with us and one of the other talk shows in LA got back to us, and we’re wanting to do his story but we stuck out for Dr. Phil because it’s got the biggest reach, which it does have.
[00:19:38] Dion Mitchell: Do you have any more appearances coming up?
[00:19:40] Rochelle Newman: Not at the moment. We don’t have anything can it’s coming up to his third? I don’t even know what to call it anniversary. Yeah, so we haven’t got anything at the moment yet. People don’t really care. That’s totally honest with you in the UK. They’re just like, Oh, this is a US thing. Well not really, because he was with UK production company who were out in the US. Yes, Terrence was a US citizen, but he was present in the UK for five years and he worked here and he went to study his masters here.
[00:20:16] Dion Mitchell: I find it mind boggling that this hasn’t been the torch has been passed to, you know, a big public figure that’s really put some energy behind it and use their brand to to cast a big light on this.
[00:20:27] Rochelle Newman: Apart from Brooke, What was her name? Brooke, one of the celebrities for God, I can’t remember her name. One of the celebrities only Brooke. Hold on guys, Brooke Shields, she posted about it on her Instagram page but other than that, no one else we’ve reached out to so many people sent into all of these big Instagram news publications, specifically the ones that are directed at and for black people. Nobody, not one single person and if you speak to anyone about it no one wants to talk about it.
[00:21:05] Dion Mitchell: That’s, that’s really kind of mind boggling. You know, I understand that you’ve done some investigating yourself about Terrence’s, disappearance and you’ve spoken to some people close to the case. What if anything, can you share that perhaps has not been made public?
[00:21:23] Rochelle Newman: That hasn’t been made public? I think the biggest thing is like the lady that I spoke to, that saw him the day before he disappeared. I’ve had people contact me anonymously, who have worked at Raw TV, and have heard people laughing and joking about Terence’s disappearance, saying that hahaha should we use some of the footage from the day that Terrence disappeared and that has made some people leave Raw TV, because they felt so uncomfortable. So that’s a piece of information that I can share. People are scared to talk up people need to open their mouths, I don’t care what happens in life, what you’re going through at the moment. He’s still missing and that’s what I find so difficult by the fact of that if I came to LA last year, actually, to film True Crime documentaries. Just me and my cameraman and when I was there, one of the district attorney’s there was at sunset drive. He said to me Rochelle be careful out here and I said why? He said Rochelle you need to be careful that he’s a white man and I’m a black woman. He never said that to the my white camera, man and that’s that’s the reality of it and reality of black people in general, which people don’t understand.
[00:22:39] Mehul Anjaria: Wow, so this was a Los Angeles district attorney Who told you that?
[00:02:46] Rochelle Newman: Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Last year, I went to LA and he just told me to be careful.
[00:22:49] Mehul Anjaria: Well, I wanted to ask you, Rochelle about a Twitter exchange that you had recently and not to put anyone on blast here, but just to understand the issue and so specifically, I’m referring to an organization that claims to support TV and film workers. You had a little interchange with them. I think it might have been last week. Can you kind of break that down for us?
[00:23:09] Rochelle Newman: So I’ve contacted them before about help and they contacted me saying oh, Rochelle I’m sorry to say that no one’s helped you. Let’s have a chat. I’ve given you my email address, given you all my information, great and they said we’ll talk but then last week, all of a sudden, its international missing persons day, which I didn’t even know and they’ve tweeted about Terrence’s case, saying, well, we don’t know why Terrence disappeared. However, this amount of people suffer with mental health and I was like hold on a second. Hold on, hold on a second. I haven’t heard anything from you guys but you’re there tweeting about Terrence’s story before talking to myself, but most importantly, his family members, you’re wrong.
[00:2353] Mehul Anjaria: Making inferences.
[00:23:54] Rochelle Newman: Exactly.
[00:23:55] Dion Mitchell: What does mental health have to do with that he’s still missing whether he had mental health issues or not.
[00:23:59] Rochelle Newman: Or not or not. So they have apologized, and they’ve taken down the tweet they are looking for what is it a racism and bullying advisor which people think I should go for. I’ll think about it but am I really going to get to say what I want to say about the TV industry and about the way we’re treated? I don’t know. So that that’s my problem. Even though you know, even the scheme that we were on is one of the biggest organizations in the UK called Pact. That was the scheme that we were all on they said they haven’t mentioned Terrence at all haven’t spoken about him nothing and they’ve received some horrid emails from me just explaining like we are upset we are dealing with a lot of mental health problems at the moment can you help, oh Rochelle we’re busy at the moment or I can talk to you about can’t talk to you about this it’s not good enough.
[00:24:46] Dion Mitchell: No, it sounds kind of crazy if that’s the whole purpose of the organization and yet they’re doing I think lift a finger to help you out.
[00:24:52] Rochelle Newman: Help diversity. Oh, you’re really helping diversity. When someone goes missing, get out of here.
[00:24:59] Dion Mitchell: What do you think? You know, as they say there’s a new Sheriff in town. What do you think about the change in the in Idaho county with the new Sheriff? And what are your thoughts about him being more open to digging deeper into Terrence’s case?
[00:25:09] Rochelle Newman: I haven’t heard anything well I’ve heard is that they’re the guy that did Terrence’s case, he left or they fired him, and that there’s going to be someone more there is someone, but my issue is, is coming up to three years now. The longer it goes on, or the longer it’s gone on already is the less evidence there is, unless one of the people that were with him on the team are going to speak up, then we don’t really have nowhere to go. Where, What is he really going to do? The reason why they won’t give out. They weren’t. So is it closed Terrence’s case is because they know whatever’s happened is very, very, very bad. Because they closed the lady’s case that went missing. Like they said that she’s deceased. Why don’t you just do the same to Terrence? That’s because something more happened.
[00:25:59] Mehul Anjaria: So this leads to really the big question for you, Rochelle, based on everything that you know, and have uncovered, what is your opinion on what most likely happened to Terrence?
[00:26:10] Rochelle Newman: My opinion is that Terrence was being bullied by Simon Gee and whoever else on that team and that he wanted to come home, they probably wouldn’t let him come home because that’s what TV productions like, you know, TV and film, you need to be literally dying. No you literally need to you need to be dead before they can get away with anything and that’s what happened. So they were bullying him. He wanted to come home and then maybe something happened. I don’t know whether they got him to take something or whether he just ran I don’t know but I know for certain that Simon Gee. was bullying him and that crew. They were bullying him and something happened. I don’t think it happened up on the Penman Mines were this as they say he was because I don’t think he was there. I think something happened at the hotel in Idaho, because his dad spoke to him. Was it the night just before he went missing? A couple of hours or the day before? And he spoke to him on the phone. So something happened there after he got off the phone to Mr. T.
[00:27:16] Dion Mitchell: So you don’t actually think that he went missing at the actual locations the shooting site?
[00:27:22] Rochelle Newman: No way
[00:27:24] Dion Mitchell: What are your thoughts on the local hire the transportation lady Sheree, I believe her name was saying that she saw him take off like a rabbit down the hill or something to that effect.
[00:27:34] Rochelle Newman: I think what’s something that’s really important for everyone to know is that all this information that we’ve got about Terrence’s disappearance is coming from their mouths, and we cannot trust these people at all. We don’t know anything about Terrence’s disappearance, let’s say we don’t know anything about Terrence’s disappearance, because we don’t all of this is coming from them. We don’t have the other side. We don’t have nothing at all. I think the only way we can take off this from where Mr. T dropped him at that airport and that’s it. Other than that, do we know that he really arrived in Montana? Yeah, there’s pictures on his Well, yeah, there’s pictures on his Instagram of Montana. So we know that he possibly got there but then after that, what really happened to T? We don’t know.
[00:00:21] Dion Mitchell: So that’s a question actually I’ve had for myself and thinking about this and but you believe that he made it to Idaho?
[00:28:24] Rochelle Newman: Yeah, I think he possibly did make it to Idaho. Yeah, I think he did make it to Idaho. I don’t think he made it up to where they said they were filming. I have spoken to like this Indians, like did you know that real like a real Indians like actually exists, like the ones that pray on the top of the mountains and all of that. So I was searching for Instagram and this man who’s like an Indian type of spiritual man, he went up to the mine where Terrence went missing. He said he didn’t see anything. I think this was 2020. He went up there. Or before that. He said he didn’t see anything, or what he did do is left a prayer at the top of the mountains for Terrence and he said that he had a vision that he might have got stuck in one of the light air vents and stuff but you know, these are just stuff that people say and what they believe. So that’s his belief, which could be possible.
[00:29:26] Dion Mitchell: Okay, so let me let me do a hypothetical with you. I gave you an unlimited budget, and a team. What key things do you think need to be done in the investigation today? What would you do? I say, here we go, Rochelle, boom. Everything you need is at your disposal. What are you doing?
[00:29:40] Rochelle Newman: His phone records I’m gonna look into first of all to find out if we can find out where the phone loss was. I’m bringing in every single person from that crew in for questioning, and no one is leaving until we get a clear timeline of what actually happened to Terrence, we’re going to check his his bank accounts as well check his diaries, his cameras, we’re going to get into that frickin laptop and we want that paperwork from the Sheriff’s department as well and I think that’s all and the CCTV from the hotel he was staying in. Because I don’t know if you guys have seen that motel because we don’t have really motels in the UK. That motel is scary. I wouldn’t stay there. We need everything. Mr. T has Terrence’s camera and the laptop but not a phone. They said the phone is with Terrence allegedly.
[00:30:38] Dion Mitchell: Has anybody made an attempt to sue or one way or another to get to the records on where his phone had been pinged that day and the previous days?
[00:30:49] Rochelle Newman: No, we don’t even know how to do that. We’ve been left out in the open trying to get help from private investigators and the media and we don’t even know where to turn anymore.
[00:30:52] Dion Mitchell: Was his phone, a US phone or UK phone?
[00:30:58] Rochelle Newman: A UK chip. So he has a UK chip number.
[00:31:12] Dion Mitchell: Okay. This area of Idaho will actually all of Idaho unless you’re around Boise is really really remote. So there’s only a few repeaters towers out there where it can ping. So it would be there’s only like a like a handful. So it would be pretty quick, pretty quick. You’d be able to zero in on this previous as well as last location because there’s only a few towers.
[00:31:18] Rochelle Newman: Yeah. see, and they said they couldn’t do that.
[00:31:40] Mehul Anjaria: Like you say like the private investigators have been a bit of a dead end. It seems what Mr. T really needs now is some kind of legal counsel, in other words, advisement and how do you subpoena these phone records? How do you subpoena records? I know that he would we talked to him, he alluded that he has something in the works. So I hope that really is going to come to fruition and I know that’s not easy, either.
[00:32:04] Rochelle Newman: We’ve always had something like in the works or someone said they’re going to help and it doesn’t come to anything, because there’s literally only me, him, his mom and other people when they want to get involved. Other than that, like if people wanted Dr. Phil’s quote, okay, I’ll go on Dr. Phil, other than that you don’t hear from anyone.
[00:32:27] Mehul Anjaria: Now I know that you have a GoFundMe campaign active, how is how is that doing?
[00:32:33] Rochelle Newman: Not good. Not good. We don’t really know how to work these things but even I think Dr. Phil, Vice, Deadline, all of these publications and broadcasters, they’re big things but still, the push for Terrence’s story has not been the same. Because he’s a black man. I’ll tell you guys a story like two black girls got murdered last year in London and literally their case hardly ever received any notice in the news, two they’re sisters.
[00:33:08] Mehul Anjaria: Well, it’s like, you know, the we had the big case few years ago, the Grim Sleeper in LA that was cracked and turned out the cops were saying they used the term no humans involved, in other words, all of the victims were black women.
[00:33:21] Rochelle Newman: Yeah, I was doing that case last year. He died. Yeah, he died. As soon as I got back to London.
[00:33:29] Dion Mitchell: Rochelle, did you hear about this other guy that passed away? Jesse Goins a gold miner who appeared on the same show Terrence as was working? What are your thoughts on that?
[00:33:38] Rochelle Newman: And they put out a big news article and everything about it and then some people who watch Gold Rush they say we’re saying what about Terrence Woods? Why is no one said anything about Terrence Woods?
[00:33:48] Dion Mitchell: Do you think there’s any connection? Or do you think that shows cursed? What do you what do you think that’s about?
[00:33:51] Rochelle Newman: The show is definitely cursed, because I know people who have worked on it and they said it’s got a massive bullying culture, massive mahoosive bullying culture. You’ve got these like big macho man, old school TV directors, who just want to make sure that they’ve got it done. A lot of them have got PTS depression because of how they’ve been treated in the industry and how long they’ve been working in, there for, so it’s got a massive bullying culture and also, one thing that I need to make aware is that Terrence it’s not the first time Terrence has worked for Raw TV. He worked with them in London, and a couple months before he went missing. He worked with them in Alaska and he came home to London, and he was fine and another thing because I listened to Mr. T’s podcast with you guys, in terms of Terrence talking to Simon Gee beforehand, he probably didn’t even speak to Simon Gee beforehand, when you’re on production, it’s just like, Okay, this is who you’re going to be with and you show up.
[00:34:48] Dion Mitchell: Here’s your call time.
[00:34:49] Rochelle Newman: Here’s your call the time right that’s it. So Simon probably didn’t even speak you probably they probably mentioned Okay, we got this guy Terrence Woods he seems great and that’s it, but I highly doubt that they ever had a conversation.
[00:35:04] Mehul Anjaria: Rochelle, we talked a little bit about the media coverage of Terrence’s disappearance in the US and how it really hasn’t been prolific. Yeah, a couple articles here and there but it’s fizzled out. What about in the UK? When it first happened was there coverage? Is there any coverage at all?
[00:35:22] Rochelle Newman: Nothing, no coverage at all about this there’s still no coverage about Terrence in the UK nothing. There’s Vice, okay that’s Vice UKish but Deadline that was still basically American because I never heard of Deadline before my friends brought to my attention, by the way, and Dr. Phil, no show will take it because no broadcaster will take it because he’s a US citizen and it happened in the US. That’s the problem but people fail to understand that it was a UK production company that have done this.
[00:35:57] Dion Mitchell: It seems like there’s like his story is a little bit of a gray area. You know, it’s UK, you can use excuse here, he’s American here and it’s just kind of fallen in between the cracks a little bit.
[00:36:09] Rochelle Newman: Yeah but I’ll tell you something is that Raw and Discovery, they’re very scared. Because they know that Terrence’s case is going to blow up soon and they’re very scared of what’s going to happen. So they should be.
[00:36:18] Dion Mitchell: You know, sooner or later we were talking about this before you jumped on sooner or later, someone’s conscience is gonna come clean and go I can’t deal with this anymore and they’re gonna say something.
[00:36:29] Rochelle Newman: Yeah, because I hope I hope it is killing their conscience right now. Because every bit I put like my whole year last year, I put into practically Terrence’s disappearance where I already got myself into, I nearly had a mental breakdown last year, near Christmas because I was just like, this is just too much because I was trying to do everything. Even now I’ve done everything. And I still don’t feel like I’ve done enough.
[00:36:51] Dion Mitchell: How can our listeners help? how can how can the rest of the public, our listeners help solve the mystery of, of Terrence’s disappearance?
[00:36:59] Rochelle Newman: Try and get people to speak up if you know anyone posts his story. If anyone knows anyone who might be able to help Mr. T with the laptop who lives locally, like any one at all who can help in this case, and think you know what, I’m a genuine person. I could be of any assistance, lawyers, crime experts, anything. We need help with everything. Because we don’t literally you don’t have anything for anyone.
[00:37:27] Mehul Anjaria: Rochelle, what else do we need to know about why it has been so difficult to get more information or to have any breakthroughs on Terrence’s whereabouts mean, just go into maybe some more of the roadblocks that seemed to be unique to this case,
[00:37:41] Rochelle Newman: The TV industry is corrupt first of all, and they it’s just the money, and money is important, but the TV industry is just corrupt and people just don’t care about anyone or anything. I don’t know if you guys have seen on Instagram this page called @ia_stories and people in the TV industry are just talking about their stories and what they’ve been through. They’ve got over 40,000 followers now and people talk about their experiences anonymously, like the industry is is dying, and people are actually dying in the industry. So there’s a big problem. This is a massive problem.
[00:38:26] Dion Mitchell: As you know it’s all about your next job, and people just don’t want to do anything that’s going to rock that opportunity. So it’s it’s rather they would put their head in the sand and move on and you know, be a team player than do the right thing.
[00:38:46] Rochelle Newman: Yeah, and that’s the problem. It doesn’t doesn’t help anyone. I think a lot of people not speaking up about Terrence’s case is causing more harm than good. Because if this was to happen again, then someone else is going to be losing a family member but the thing is, is what people don’t understand is that this is the biggest thing ever in TV and film in the TV and film industry to ever happen. This is the biggest thing to ever happen. Full stop, and look how it’s been treated.
[00:39:15] Dion Mitchell: I agree when I first saw the article in Deadline a number years ago, I was like, why isn’t this on every news channel? I still do not understand and that actually leads me to my next question and you kind of briefly touched on this already, but what individual organization has been the most helpful in spreading the word about Terrence?
[00:39:37] Rochelle Newman: Nothing! No one! Me.
[00:39:41] Mehul Anjaria: Yeah, you know, Mr. T gave the exact same answer. I mean, this is unbelievable.
[00:39:46] Rochelle Newman: Me like Mr. T, if it wasn’t for me actually reaching out to Mr. T and talking to him and actually, you know, Raw. There’s so much more to this and I learned more about Terrence from him and everything about their life and the way they’re living and I can tell you for a fact, if Terrence wanted to disappear, he would have disappeared in the UK, he’s not going to go and disappear in Idaho.
[00:40:07] Dion Mitchell: Yeah, you don’t go home to do it.
[00:40:09] Rochelle Newman: He’s not he’s not going to do that and that’s what I’m saying to people, this is wrong and people are like, Oh, did he have mental health, I don’t give a crap. Even if Terrence did have mental health problems, he’s not at home. That is the biggest problem. He’s not home.
[00:40:23] Mehul Anjaria: Well, Rochelle, as we wrap it up, we just want to give you the floor here at the end to say anything else you’d like to about Terrence and the ongoing efforts to find out what actually happened to him- so take it away.
[00:40:34] Rochelle Newman: I just want to say to the TV industry, and everyone out there is that you guys all need to do more, to help support Terrence’s case and find out what happened to to him but also support one another. For anyone that’s going to be listening from Raw and Discovery because I know they will, your conscience is going to kill you and we will find out what happened to Terrence and I hope anything bad that happens to you will happen to you because it needs to because you’re just a bad person and I’m just so sick and tired of this industry. Although I love what I do, and I love helping people, I won’t be working in the TV industry full time ever again, until I have my own company and my own things, because people are just losing their lives and I will continue to fight for Terrence and to find out what happened to him. That’s it.
[00:41:24] Dion Mitchell: That’s a great statement. We really appreciate your unique insight on this disturbing mystery and we of course, hope that Terrence’s family gets some answers and relief very soon and we want to thank you so much for taking the time,we know it’s late there, for joining us today on Crime Redefined.
[00:41:41] Rochelle Newman: Thank you guys, thank you so much for what you’re doing.
[00:41:45] Dion Mitchell: I’m so glad we talked to Rochelle, she really helps fill in some of the blanks. She has been really an excellent soldier for the Woods family and it’s sad to see how she’s been so negatively affected by all of this.
[00:41:58] Mehul Anjaria: Well, you know, I would say it’s definitely one thing to be sort of passively involved in crime research and journalism but man, it’s a whole different emotional level when the case you’re working in, you know, is close to you and involves a loved one but you know, even if you don’t know parties involved in a case, I think this is an excellent reminder to anybody working in the criminal justice system, whether you’re a detective or you’re working in the crime lab, or you’re just even doing True Crime podcasts, you know, you can be deeply affected by these kinds of things and I can tell you, Dion that I routinely see absolutely horrifying images and I read detailed case accounts of some of the worst things imaginable. It’s just unbelievable what people can do to each other and I think that when you do this type of work, you have to be mindful of the cumulative effect of these things. Almost like like a poison, you might say, well, this doesn’t bug me, this doesn’t affect me but after doing it for months, and months, and years and years.
[00:42:59] Dion Mitchell: And actually subconsciously, you don’t know how it’s stacking up on you.
[00:43:02] Mehul Anjaria: Exactly, it seems like it was starting to catch up with with Rochelle.
[00:43:05] Dion Mitchell: Yeah, almost to where it sounded at the end of the conversation, like she wanted to tap out, she just didn’t have any more left in the tank but right now she’s a she’s a soldier, she’s gonna keep moving forward. I think she also laid out a good reminder about the entertainment industry, and the sometimes dark side of it. You know, after spending years and years on set, you know, there’s a lot of great people. So let me start there. There’s, you know, I’ve been, I’ve been really fortunate to know some really nice and really kind people, but, you know, these sets can be very cliquish, you know, very territorial and there can be some some ugliness to it and, you know, hopefully, that’s not the case but I’ve seen, I’ve seen both sides of it and it’s a shame that the other one goes on, but I’m sure that you have that in every workplace.
[00:43:58] Mehul Anjaria: Yeah and I think in the entertainment industry, you know, it’s one thing if it’s like, hahaha, the PA has to get everybody’s coffee order right or whatever but when it gets to that next level of essentially, bullying or something like that, that’s just unacceptable anywhere.
[00:44:13] Dion Mitchell: No, I couldn’t agree more and hopefully, you know, by us, you know, talking about it, and just putting more out in the Zeitgeist and people are paying attention to, you know, the less of that will, will take place. In other words, you know, you shine a spotlight on it, people aren’t going to do it and that’s just, you know, what we need to do
[00:44:29] Mehul Anjaria: Yeah, well, you know, when you compare Terrence’s case, to, say, a cold case, or a post-conviction case, you know, if you don’t have any new physical evidence that turns up, which we don’t seem to have in this case, well, the next best thing would be to develop new witnesses and so what I thought was really remarkable is you know, how Rochelle said that there was a lady who saw Terrance in the supermarket, and that’s huge because that then seemed to disrupt the timeline of when he went missing, because the implication was that from the time that she saw him in the supermarket to the time he went missing, he couldn’t have possibly gotten up the hill in that time period.
[00:45:10] Dion Mitchell: That was really riveting to listen to for the first time. You know, it’s our hope that by us, staying involved in keeping Terrence’s story alive that somehow some way, even more people will come forward and all it takes is a small kernel of information to snowball into something bigger and I truly believe we discussed this with with Rochelle, that’s, you know, sooner or later, someone’s going to want to clear their conscience on this good, bad or ugly, whatever the information is, they’re going to want to get it off their chest.
[00:45:37] Mehul Anjaria: Yeah and also, I would say in terms of, you know, the possibility of people like attorneys or experts jumping in to help on the case, it may seem from the outside now that it’s overwhelming that there’s kind of nothing to work with, right? but when you start to get more and more new leads, like the lady in the supermarket, I mean, that hope that some of the rocks have been unturned, and there’s new info out there that might actually ignite someone to get off the sidelines and help get involved in the investigation.
[00:46:10] Dion Mitchell: Or just or maybe just help someone remember, Hey, you know what, maybe I did see that guy. Um, it was pretty hard to hear that Rochelle concerned not just about her career, but even her life. I mean, no one should have to go through that when you’re trying to, find a missing friend, you know, but it shows that you can never be too careful when you start turning over rocks and stirring up things in whatever industry, not just entertainment but she’s shown such a loyalty and bravery and like she says, If she doesn’t do it, who will?
[00:46:40] Mehul Anjaria: Yeah, and then this whole next level, the fact that this is basically an international case, on one hand, the key witnesses are now in the UK but basically this is played out and portrayed as a US case and I think Rochelle hit it on the head when she labeled this as an international missing persons investigation and my gosh, Dion, that sounds daunting, especially if two people are working on it and I wanted to ask you as as our entertainment guy, you know, what are your thoughts on this suggestion that maybe Terence his disappearance is one of the biggest mysteries ever, you know, on a production set or in the entertainment industry?
[00:47:24] Dion Mitchell: Well, there’s obviously been some big ones like Natalie Wood, and some other cases like that but that wasn’t on a set. So as far as a set goes, it’s that I can think of right now, It’s funny, because it’s definitely the biggest, but it’s also the least well known, which is what we’ve been kind of going harping on from the beginning.
[00:47:46] Mehul Anjaria: Most mysterious yeah, because of the lack of coverage.
[00:47:48] Dion Mitchell: Which in itself is a mystery and that also leads to, you know, kind of a conspiracy, you know, for conspiracies to pop up but I agree, I think it’s one of the biggest ones, because this was directly on a set, you just don’t walk off a set and never be heard or seen from again, it just does not happen but I think the problem is what you just laid out and what Rochelle laid out, was the gray area with this is that one country saying oh, he’s a UK guy, and another one saying, oh, it’s a US deal, and then all it does is fall through the cracks.
[00:48:20] Mehul Anjaria: Yeah, that’s exactly the word I was gonna use falling through the cracks. So Crime Redefined’s call to action for our wonderful listeners and social media followers is, you know, please get the word out about our episodes and about Terrence Woods, you know, tell a friend, let people know about this mystery one way or the other and of course, if anybody out there has any info, or can provide any technical assistance, please let us know, or Rochelle know or Terrence Woods, Sr.
[00:48:51] Dion Mitchell: Yeah, not only that, but give us your take, you know, I know that there’s a lot of amateur sleuths out there. Listen to our podcasts, listen to some of the experts do your own investigation, and then, send us a message, send Rochelle a message, send Terrence Sr. a message and give us your take so maybe, there’s some some cloud investigation we could put together and maybe that helps us put these these these pieces together where we try to get a better idea of what happened to Terrence.
[00:49:21] Mehul Anjaria: Yeah, and to that end, you know, maybe there’s somebody else we should interview on Crime Redefined.
[00:49:27] Dion Mitchell: Who did we miss? Thats a great point.
[00:49:29] Mehul Anjaria: And should should we keep going? Can we offer value here? It’ll be interesting to see how this evolves. So yeah, please let us know.
[00:49:32] Dion Mitchell: Then definitely like, like Rochelle says, news moves on so hopefully Terrence’s story can gain some real momentum now. Rochelle’s Twitter handle is @rochellesnewman. There’s also a Twitter account for Find Terrance Woods which is at @findterrencewds and there is also a hashtag at #findterrencewoods. Also, if you can please contribute to the GoFundMe set up for Terrence Woods the campaign is entitled Find My Missing Son Terrance Woods. It’s actually looks like the goal of funding the campaign is in sight, so if you can even a $1 would be great. I’m sure that Terrence Sr. would appreciate it and once again, we hope all our listeners and followers are finding the saga interesting and as always, we truly appreciate all the support we have received worldwide. Until next time, be well.
[00:50:43] Announcer: Thank you for listening to the Crime Redefined Podcast, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @crimeredefined. Please send us your comments and questions and join us for the next episode.
27-year-old Terrence Woods went missing on October 5, 2018. He was working with a production crew that was filming a TV series in mountainous central Idaho. Reportedly he ran down a steep embankment in the Idaho wilderness never to be seen again. His father Terrence Woods, Sr. joins Crime Redefined to set the record straight on what may have happened and how he feels the investigation has been handled and portrayed in the media. Part 2 of 2 of our interview with Terrence Woods, Sr. https://www.gofundme.com/f/2hqmj-find-my-missing-son-terrence-woods
[00:00:00] Announcer: Welcome to the Crime Redefined Podcast produced by Zero Cliff Media coming to you from the US Bank Tower high above downtown Los Angeles. In our podcast, we drill deep into forensics and criminal investigation from the viewpoint of the defense, as well as explore the intersection of the media and the justice system.
[00:00:22] Mehul Anjaria: Thanks so much for listening to crime redefined. This is co host Mehul Anjaria We hope you enjoyed part one of our interview with Terrence Woods Sr. Now we present the conclusion of this gripping interview. Let’s hope that Terrence gets some good news about his son very soon.
(Interview resumes) Yeah, it seems like basic investigation would have been to figure out were multiple keys to Terrence’s hotel room given out and you know, was there a surveillance camera, there probably was I don’t know what kind of hotel room it is, but that’s just investigation 101?
[00:00:54] Terrence Woods Sr.: There we go. You say the same thing the same time. Come on. First thing is, let’s see the cameras for from the day he came into the day that morning when he led me left to go wherever. Let’s see them cameras. Now. Just give it up. That’s that first? That’s Elementary.
[00:01:10] Mehul Anjaria: Yeah. Something else that was put out there was this assertion that the night before he went missing that Terrence, I guess was out at a bar a restaurant met a young lady and exchanged numbers. Do you think that even happened? And is that something? I mean, if it did, that should have been followed up on that. It’s, again, is key, but I would assume that there’s been no further follow up on that.
[00:01:32] Terrence Woods Sr.: First of all, you know, I’m saying my son is very, very proud. You gotta be close close to him. You know, I’m saying and he’s, but when he’s close you when he’s with his friends, they have fun, but as far as now he’s with a bunch of people, and now he sees this young lady whoever and he tries to rap there and give a number. Okay, well, okay who is this young lady, is miss this mysterious person now. mysterious person, anything pertaining to who he’s seen, or somebody that came in contact with, we can find out who they are.
[00:02:10] Mehul Anjaria: Yeah. Or is it? Is it another ruse put out there to suggest that yes, he was in the area? I mean, we just don’t know. Well, I was gonna, I was gonna ask you a question, but this is something more I want you to comment on. Okay. So obviously, you’ve talked about this already, that there’s one theory that Terrance wanted to fall off the grid, or ghost himself, whether or not that’s even possible in the terrain and all of that. I mean, as you thought about this over the months, is there any reason whatsoever Terrence would have to want to disappear?
[00:02:46] Terrence Woods Sr.: No. I my son have a very good life. That’s just like, originally, I told him when he told me what he was going to do this last shoot, I said man, you really can go. He said, Dad, I really don’t wanna go, he said, but I already committed myself, as I was saying, you pretty committed yourself one outside of him going to school. My son, I gave both of my sons my son, I didn’t matter of fact, just two weeks ago, I want to put this car in the shop as it sat been sitting for last two and a half years. I gave my son an RT Hemi sunroof fully loaded, paid for, in my son’s bedroom. I see pictures. He has a 56 inch flat screen screen TV, A fireplace, you know? Oak wood stuff he liked, in him and his brothers bathroom they got a Jacuzzi flat screen TV on the wall. You know, the marble sink. That’s their bathroom. You know, in our house, they have an office in our office in the house. They have an elliptical, punching bag, weights, everything. You know, we live a very, very, very comfortable life, and the thing is this, even by my son not working he didn’t have to pay no bills. So money, it wasn’t like, you gotta go get a job, man. You gotta go get a job. Sad to say, I still buy my kid. My kids are grown, and I have female friends and will be like, you know, you still buy clothes for your kids you still cook food for them? Those are my kids. You know, I’m saying. So no, they are hard life out of my life at all. That’s like my youngest son gave him a vehicle. He want a new vehicle he traded and I said well, that’s your condo. He’s still living home though. No, you know, in a very comfortable house. No, you don’t even have to. He’s on wanting to let me come upstairs. He don’t even have to see me. He have his own bathroom everything. So no, they live a very comfortable life.
[00:04:44] Dion Mitchell: So it sounds like there’s absolutely no reason that he’d want to you know, fall off the grid for any reason. If it sounds like he’s got a really…You’re a fantastic father. He’s had a great life.
[00:04:52] Terrence Woods Sr.: got a great life and see that’s the thing if you speak to his friends, I don’t know if you spoke to Rochelle. If you speak to his friends friends that knew him from London, and he, he always had fun man. He always told me can’t wait to go home with his dad. You know, I’d send you pictures me and then when he was home and I’m hanging out every Tuesday me and I’m sitting room, he got my room sitting in my room, in the recliner, I fall asleep. He watching we will watch a watch this show called The Purge. We watch that, you know I’m saying or I will come in he come my room. I fall asleep or go in his brothers and his brother get home from work. He in his brother’s room, downstairs. They cousin come over they downstairs playing Monopoly together. No, I’m saying Christmas time. Me and him we go downstairs he put up the Christmas tree. You know I’m saying so, and the fourth of July. He came on fourth July 2018. That was the first 4th of July he was home in seven years since he moved away to go to school. He came finally came home. When he came on June 29, he was home. He mailed all his stuff here paid for all his stuff, we had a big Fourth of July run around the house him his cousin with water gun I’m on the grill, and I’m saying we had fun, we had fun.
[00:06:02] Dion Mitchell: Alright, then let’s, let’s move. Let’s put that theory aside then. So what I want to get into I’ve got a couple of questions that I want to get into. Okay, like just the rumor type stuff that I wanted, like make I want I want to make sure our audience can put this nonsense aside because there’s so many like you said, there’s so many people that didn’t even talk to you writing stories, and so I want to get it from from you. So what is your best theory on what happened to him? And then has that changed over the last three years?
[00:06:46] Terrence Woods Sr.: My best theory is okay, when Simon told me this, he said when I spoke to your son, he said he was highly recommended, and over the phone when I spoke to him, he said I knew we had the right person. He said then when I met your son, he said all that went out the door. Okay, great. So now when you spoke to my son, when you speak to my son, my son speak? Well, I mean, he would get on me sometime dad. You don’t say that with that? You don’t, you know, my spoke my son speak very, very, very proper.
[00:07:20] Dion Mitchell: Can I want to stop you there? I want to. I want to ask you a question. Something just popped up. So did Simon, do you know if Simon ever saw your son before he spoke to him?
[00:07:33] Terrence Woods Sr.: No, that’s the that’s what I’m dwelling on. That’s what I’m speaking on now.
[00:07:36] Dion Mitchell: So he never saw we never saw him. It was just phone calls. Until he actually showed up in set in Montana.
[00:07:42] Terrence Woods Sr.: Emails, no emails, emails, you know, I’m saying and phone conversation. That’s the best point I’m making. So so you ask that and that’s where I was going. That’s the road I was going down. So you just spoke to him. speaks proper, you know, I’m saying he was highly recommended, you know, man, that is person come and get off. You meet at the airport. This is a person of color.
[00:08:08] Dion Mitchell: That’s actually popped up that he had talked to him and no one ever said, and you probably lived in England for a while. Yeah, And a little bit of a British accent or something and didn’t sound like he would thought and then when he saw him get off the plane.
[00:08:23] Terrence Woods Sr.: Hes this dark complexion person as you all say, you know, I’m saying, you know, he’s highly recommended. Then when you check in his portfolio, and he graduated from university of Maryland, you got a double master’s degree from Richmond College in London. He has this after portfolio banging. Wow, but then you see this person, your whole crew, your whole staff, all of you are white people. Now you see this a young black man, and now you tell me when he was there, I told sent him to the store to get me some fruit, and he couldn’t even get the right fruit for me. What the hell? He didn’t come here to be your maid.
[00:09:10] Dion Mitchell: So let me let me ask the question again. What do you what do you think happened then?
[00:09:12] Terrence Woods Sr.: I think that something was going on. My son wasn’t really feeling it wasn’t really going for it, and if they said he said he wanted to leave, he told them. My mother’s having a surgery, thinking they would say okay, you can leave on the airport when he told me he told them on Thursday that his mother was having surgery Saturday, but they couldn’t get him a flight until next Wednesday, but when I got there it was before when it was no snow on the ground was no bad weather like that, so why would he have to wait from Thursday to Wednesday. I still haven’t seen no canceled flight ticket. Nothing from the airport saying it was even a flight there for him. This is all once again word of mouth that what you are telling me took place.
[00:09:56] Dion Mitchell: So you think there’s like maybe a fight that got out of hand or something?
[00:10:01] Terrence Woods Sr.: I think maybe somebody wanted him to do something that he didn’t want to do. Maybe he seen, he saw something that he should not have seen, and he was afraid. He wasn’t one of the guys, one of the people one of the crew, and he would say something about it, and maybe he could have been pushed up and got on the hand and someone wrong, went totally left field, and they had to clean it up.
[00:10:27] Dion Mitchell: Yeah, there’s a there’s a risk to that, because if these guys were all British Nationals, the last thing they want to do is get into an American court system.
[00:10:35] Terrence Woods Sr.: You all out, you got all of them out of here.
[00:10:38] Dion Mitchell: You know, I want to ask you something. It because there was a, I remember the interview that podcast interview, and that was then and this is obviously three years, almost three years later, two and half years later, have you? Have you gone to the location where he physically went missing yet?
[00:10:53] Terrence Woods Sr.: No, to be honest with you. Only way I will go to Idaho I have to have a bunch of family members and bunch of people with me, I will not go to that place by myself with just me and my ex-wife, if you paid to take it and put me in a best hotel out there, because I’m not gonna disappear like that.
[00:11:13] Dion Mitchell: No, no I can can. I want to in the, so there’s no way of you knowing I want to ask them that stuck out to me watching the Dr. Phil. So they show a number of photographs of the area and the Penman Mine, right? Yeah, and then one of the areas one of the images that they kept showing the number of times, we actually have the video of it, of the show, and they kept showing a cliff like they didn’t actually say this was it, but they kept showing something that had a drop off. Is there any way did your did your investigator, I have 2 questions. Did your investigator went to the location physically to the location?
[00:11:51] Terrence Woods Sr.: He told me he did, I don’t have no proof of that.
[00:11:54] Dion Mitchell: Is there any way that you say, can you Is there a way to follow up and see if the look, the photograph that they kept showing in the Dr. Phil that looked like a kind of a cliff is actually the area where he went missing, and the reason I’m saying that is because I’m familiar with this area, and it is heavily heavily forested. I mean, it’s, like if someone takes off, within three or four minutes, they’re they’re going to be into the woods and you’re not going to be able to see them, but the photograph that they kept showing, if you go back and you look at it, it’s bald, looking like it had been clear cut, and so if it had been clear cut, then someone could run down that hill and you’d be able to see him for miles, right? Or at least not miles, but at least three and see him for three or 400 yards, if there’s no trees to obstruct your view. So I’m trying to know if that that photograph that they kept using for the so called, you know, cliff was actually the actual photograph from the area where he went, went missing because I keep hearing this term, this phrase, he ran down a cliff and to my knowledge, you cannot run down a cliff and anything probably over you know, eight feet, you’re gonna twist if not break your ankles. So I’m trying to figure out
[00:13:09] Terrence Woods Sr.: and also sorry to cut you off, they said it was a 70 degree angle cliff.
[00:13:15] Dion Mitchell: Well, that’s almost vertical. So you can’t still you still you can’t run down that you know.
[00:13:20] Terrence Woods Sr.: Exactly, a 70-degree angle cliff and let’s put this on the place to, at night. Come on. Come on, man. Okay, yeah, okay. Okay. My son was never there, man. Yeah, that’s the thing is that’s great to play. First of all, and in this, I’m gonna jump back to go forward. He allegedly disappeared on the fifth, I didn’t get a call till 7:20 on the sixth.
[00:13:56] Dion Mitchell: That’s new, we didn’t know that.
[00:13:59] Mehul Anjaria: You know, Terrence, as you laid this out. This is so bizarre and mysterious. If you believe a lot of this, that you would almost have to believe that Terrence was abducted by UFO to buy this story, it has that sort of ring to it.
[00:14:13] Terrence Woods Sr.: So you must have read the story that they said he was abducted by aliens. You know? I thought you’re being sarcastic. Yeah, that’s out there too. Yeah, that’s out there too.
[00:14:26] Dion Mitchell: So the last person to to supposedly air quotes here to see and to speak and see Terrence was Sheree. Right, and have you? I think you already answered this. Have you or your investigator spoken with her directly?
[00:14:43] Terrence Woods Sr.: Who’s Sheree?
[00:14:44] Dion Mitchell: Sheree, the transportation local transportation she was…
[00:14:49] Terrence Woods Sr.: He was supposed to be getting to her, Yeah, and she was telling us how badly he’s treated by my family right now. I don’t know you from a can of paint, just met you. Now almost it and then they said first he said he was having a nice time, and she said he was having a nice conversation, everything. Then he said he had to go relieve himself, and that’s when he leapt off the cliff, but before you’re putting him leap off the cliff, let’s put this story out here. He said he’s mistreated by his family, his dad never. So we already build up BS to come up whatever took place. It’s like you built up his story, his hype story with just one woman that I’ve never spoken to don’t know from a can of paint, and now after she said he was talking to her, and he was together all day to day that day, and then he was telling all this now all of a sudden, he had to relieve himself and go leap off the cliff. Wow.
[00:15:46] Dion Mitchell: And you say your investigator never followed up with her?
[00:15:49] Terrence Woods Sr.: Man, this guy took money, and he told me spoke to her never gave me anything in detail in writing I mean, I don’t all I had was money taken out my account. I don’t have the so called pictures I paid for, documented phone conversation, another thing that’s rewind, they said, did you did you see where the guy was talking? The guy who lived in the woods? And that’s the guy who house they went to?
[00:16:17] Dion Mitchell: Yeah, the guy that so that’s the guy that lives if I remember correctly, kind of at the top of the hill, he was retired a government law enforcement like ATF or something like that.
[00:16:26] Terrence Woods Sr.: And they went to his house. They went originally, they said, they said that they weren’t just because now this is a professional company. What do you call it? Gold Mine, whatever name you all out? You, this is what you’re doing this what you do? You’re going to Woods all the time. Right? You all don’t have your own satellite phone? Come on. Okay. Really, really, but so y’all say they didn’t have a satellite phone. So they had to go to this person’s house. It had the satellite phone, and this person is the one, it was called the 911, and made the accusations of my son being dark complexion and all this. Why would I knock on your door right now? And we’re in a country where we all speak the same language? And how can you let me in your house, sir its an emergency? Why would you interpret what I’m saying telling to the police of what happened? And you weren’t there? knocking on your door to use the phone, have an emergency okay heres that phone. Now I’m gonna tell him X, Y and Z. Why would you now say no, that was the man who lived in a house, and he was one telling the story.
[00:17:38] Dion Mitchell: I just want to clarify something real quick. So what you’re saying is, if they didn’t have a satellite phone, this guy did, which makes sense because of the remoteness. There’s no towers out there. So why wouldn’t the guy the ATF or whatever it was it was retired, just hand Simon or someone from the crew, the phone and let them say what happened is what you’re saying is it sounds like they just fed him what had happened, and he was relaying what they said.
[00:18:04] Terrence Woods Sr.: that’s what they want us to believe. You know, which, why would that make sense? Like I said, we all speak the same language. So it’s not like, you know,
[00:18:13] Dion Mitchell: You would say, Hey, can I use your phone? There’s been emergency, right?
[00:18:15] Terrence Woods Sr.: Right. isn’t a human we don’t need an interpreter. So emergency, sir. Right?
[00:18:21] Dion Mitchell: Oh, there’s my phone, of course,
[00:18:22] Terrence Woods Sr.: My crew member fell off a cliff around, then you get the phone. Now I want it now I want. I want our crew member bah bah, bah, bah, bah, bah. Then okay, but you say this person you knocked on his door, but now, if you also read and you also heard what the person said, he said, when they came to his house, he said immediately, he called when his friends or whomever went back to the area they said was a red ribbon solely on a tree. What happened? He said when he got there, he said there’s no way in the world he came down there. He said I was out in my tent. He said I sleep out in my tent. He said no one came through here that night. That’s what he said.
[00:19:00] Mehul Anjaria: Terrence, you said something very briefly, and it was very interesting on the Dr. Phil interview, and again, there was no real follow up, but I believe you said that you learned from an investigator that there was a professional basketball player staying in the area where Terrence disappeared, and then something happened to where his sons then had to have counseling. Can you break it out a little bit more?
[00:19:17] Terrence Woods Sr.: So this is the second private investigator, who was once we found out he was working with the sheriff’s department. He called he called me that’s I found Oh, he was I don’t know he, okay. He got my number and stuff off. He said, You know, I’m private, basically, I get any information. So this how I got your information. Okay, fine. So, he’s telling me man, I know about this case. I’ve been out there. He said, You know, it was two professional basketball. It was two people out there whose father is a professional basketball player. They were there as well. He said one of the young men after what took place out there, he’s now getting counseling, and everyone’s up to the second I don’t have this young man’s name, but I say that to say, no one mentioned anything about no other two people being there that were from this from from here, about no basketball player, none of that’s mentioned and nothing. Not mentioned and no paperwork.
[00:20:26] Mehul Anjaria: Yeah, and along those lines, what do you make of the other lady who went missing the same day that Terrence went missing? The Sheriff’s department was very quick to say that there’s no connection between the two. We can maybe read between lines is why they might say that based on what you said, but what are your thoughts on that?
[00:20:44] Terrence Woods Sr.: Okay, well, that lady went missing the same day. They said, What, 15, 20 miles away from where he was and a dog, they found a dog never found a lady. Okay, that’s her You know, it was another young man, the young man that went missing, and they said him and his friend drove the car in a lake, and when the father got out there, and went to Lake the lake wasn’t taped off or nothing, and they still haven’t found him. Now, a woman who went missing there was also a man that went missing, but they allegedly found him. The so called man, but now, do you remember when that was send to the sheriff? And Dr. Phil asked the sheriff. Do a lot of people go missing in your town? The sheriff quote said, it depends, if you’re not from here, you may go missing. That came out of the Sheriff’s mouth and that’s what he said, especially if you’re from the city.
[00:21:43] Mehul Anjaria: That sounds ominous. To me. That sounds ominous.
[00:21:46] Terrence Woods Sr.: You know, that come out of the Sheriff’s mouth.
[00:21:50] Dion Mitchell: I’m not sure what to make of him. You know, I really I don’t know. It’s it’s hard. I’m trying to figure out like, what would his motivation be? But at the same time, it doesn’t seem like any of his answers or responses are clean.
[00:22:05] Terrence Woods Sr.: Do you remember when did you hear when I was on a talk show and a lady Miss Judy called the talk show, and she lived there in Idaho, and she said her nephew got killed in the store out there. The Sheriff’s Department, they shot him and killed them, because they thought he was robbing the store some Indian dude, and she said they killed him, and they said he said her two daughters. The day that my son went missing, her two daughters was in town, and they said these big trucks came and went up in the mountain area and then left. Did you ever hear that story?
[00:22:41] Dion Mitchell: No. No?
[00:22:43] Terrence Woods Sr.: Yeah. Yep. Miss Judy. I can send you a name or phone number everything.
[00:22:50] Dion Mitchell: Yeah, Yeah, that’d be great.
[00:22:52] Terrence Woods Sr.: She said on what so you didn’t you didn’t here a radio show that I was on, um, Phocuz Phil, and he was on he said his blood on the sheriff’s hands. I know for a fact his blood on his hands. My nephew was killed. If you pull up Phocuz Phil, when I was on that radio show, and you had a lady live in Idaho, and he talked about it and say I had two daughters was there a day my son went missing? These two big trailers went up to the mountain and came back and left. Yep.
[00:23:24] Dion Mitchell: So beyond the investigators, what other avenues have you been able to to try to utilize to find terrorists?
[00:23:31] Terrence Woods Sr.: None, I’ve been trying to get in touch to FBI. We’re gonna have a field officer, we got to give the story to know, and then once they look over it, and field officer they feel it is something they’ll call you. I have 4 case numbers that I called in four different times. In the last two and a half years. I aint hear from that field officer yet, obviously get the local police Sheriff’s Department police stuff here. That’s an Idaho. We can’t get in touch with people in London that’s out of the country. Now and then you asked me about his bank accounts and stuff. His bank accounts is London bank accounts. So I called and tried to get information off his London bank accounts of course they said they can’t give me no information, and like I told the person I have all everything bank account number. I told the person who worked in bank I said, Sir, my son is missing. I don’t want to know the dollar amount in that account. One, he said they paid him. So they paid and that money should have went out account. I know that me and my father we put money in his account. The day that he left. I knew I gave him in cash. This was pocket $150 in cash. I just want to know, no dollar amount if the account is empty if money had been taken out of the account, now you say from November 5,4,3rd, has that account not been touched. Okay as the dollar amount in it. Good. Right. Cool. I know what have to do to try to take it out, but just leave me here to the tip of the iceberg and saying no money has been taken out of that account. You know, but if I know money was supposed to be put in that account, and you show a zero balance on that account, tell me the last time money was taken out of that account. I don’t care dollar amount, once again, the best time to withdraw was on XYZ date.
[00:25:15] Mehul Anjaria: Yeah, that’s, that seems like a vague enough inquiry that they should be able to handle coming directly from a family member in a publicized, you know, missing persons case.
[00:25:27] Terrence Woods Sr.: So, like I said, I don’t want to know the dollar amount, but I know it should be dollars in here. It should be dollars in it. The company said they paid him to that account his London account. That money should be in it if they paid him. No, so that, you know, I’m saying so like I said, I’m not an investigator. You know, I’m saying, I have very good common sense, and certain things that are 101. Yeah, Hey, man, check his bank accounts. Next thing I asked a private investigator to do is flag is flag his passport. who’s is moving on his passport. Private Investigator never got me that information. I asked the sheriff’s department. I told the FBI about flag his passport, any movement on that passport, because if he’s out of the country, whatever, even moving on a passport, right? And then I’m gonna just throw this out there. You say? He had to fake, he goes somewhere you’ve never been before. He wants to get off the grid. So we got it run through woods, wherever he has a passport. He’s been to Africa, he’s been to Rome. If you want to disappear, disappear. He would disappear. You need some type of money or plan to disappear. So I’m not gonna go to somewhere I don’t know leap down a cliff and have a nervous breakdown this morning, whatever, whatever. To do all that, and like I said, Just going back from the start, let’s not even get to the finish line. Go to the start. If you’re at work right now, and you are having some abnormal reactions, or you’re going through some your company, which your company’s responsibility that you’re on the clock of that company is to seek for medical assistance,
[00:27:12] Mehul Anjaria: I should hope so.
[00:27:15] Terrence Woods Sr.: You know, so he had this mental breakdown, and you all detained him not restrained, but detained, and now after he allegedly got his self together. Now you still allowed him to go to work. Now he’s out there and he’s acting strange. You say get this battery Terrence. They said he didn’t know what battery to get, get your shirt Terrence, and he didn’t know what shirt to get, and finally, he tried to grab a drone out the sky. That could cut your fingers off. Pause, and now one time did you say we made the call for medical assistance. We immediately put him back in the truck, the van, the Jeep and took him back to the hotel. Not once was that said.
[00:27:52] Mehul Anjaria: Terrence I, I had heard at one point that the sheriff’s department basically got pissed at you, because they thought you had made some kind of comment in an interview that essentially that they were racist. Can you shed a little bit light on you know how they shut you down after they heard that?
[00:28:12] Terrence Woods Sr.: Yes. We are gonna rewind to a lady called Miss Judy. Miss Judy came on a radio station. Miss Judy said on a radio station, they are racist and has blood on their hands. This lady from their town. They said her nephew got she said that on a radio station. Like I said if you try to pull up Phocuz Phil and pull up the day that I was on a radio station, Terrence Woods and listen to it. Listen to it. This lady call from from Idaho. He’s going off on them. He called them racist. Next thing I know, the sheriff said I called him a racist. I never called you a racist. Somebody in your town called you that now you put it out there that I called you a racist. Now these idiotic people is making these fake stories up. Taking negative piece of this negative piece of that and creating their own story, and never once spoke to me. Never once spoke to his family never once spoke to his friends, as with Fox Five, everything Fox Five if you watch the whole six part podcast, they speak of everything the Sheriff said everything Idaho said. They have nothing on a six part podcast, doing no interviews on his grandfather, his grandmother, his colleagues at school when he went missing and a professor from the University of Maryland went on TV, the professor from University of Maryland on Channel Nine said when Terrence walked in the room, the whole room lit up, I always wanted him in my room, anybody speak about him that worked with him other than to say, crew here speak highly of him, but you don’t see it on none of those shows. It’s all negative stuff, any of these little documentaries, you see nothing on here have anything with his family or his friends, everything on there they dwell on. It’s what Idaho, Idaho, Idaho said. They say, Oh, he had all his friends. Even on Dr. Phil. He had Rochelle on their friends on there. They had everything good to say about it. Rochelle she started crying almost. She got in tears. She said I don’t care if I lose my job. You know? So these are people that he know, he stayed with, you know, one young lady. He’s in, I got him his job. I got him his first job. So these are people we know, but any you know, negative stories out there. See if they have any those people in a story only have what came out of Idaho. It’s not a story out there. Like I said, Dr. Phil did a little some, but he didn’t do what he supposed to do, but any other story out there. You don’t see none of those stories with, oh, we spoke to a family member. We spoke to a neighbor. We got paperwork and documentation from his doctor’s office where’s all that, but you’re creating this here, this picture, an image of this person that have two, two Grammy Awards, three books out 10 productions of his own graduated top of his class University of Maryland, got two master’s degrees, and then and I’m bringing the math degrees. Even Simon said, they said he was in a little report police report they said he’s someone that never been in the woods before. He’s green in the woods that’s in a police report today is that he never been in the woods. Wow.
[00:31:58] Dion Mitchell: Yeah, it seems like they’re trying to paint paint a narrative. I’m curious, after you, you’re on Dr. Phil. I was wondering if if you start to receive any tips or if there was any nontraditional tools like if psychics start reaching out to you to shed some light on the mystery of what happened to them
[00:32:21] Terrence Woods Sr.: Had psychics reach out to me and people would say what you know, just give us a minute. Do you want to try this and I just don’t get stuff. I know a lot of that stuff, man. I got to the point where you know if you can’t show me no credentials, man, and I was reluctant as hell to deal with you, but it’s like, I gotta try to deal with somebody you know, I’m saying and, um, but just Joe Blow I mean, I get emails with people. Oh, we this person or that person? We can help you and I don’t even respond to some of this stuff, man. You know, cuz like I said, you put my son’s name in there, you see a million stories.
[00:33:03] Mehul Anjaria: So I mean, at this point, you know what do you have left to play? I mean, if you went to the top to the FBI, is there any of that? Yeah, I was just gonna say is there any kind of like civil action like a lawsuit that it’s you can file to get more information?
[00:33:20] Terrence Woods Sr.: I can’t go into details with that but that’s the avenue I’m looking at now because like I said, If I go to work, and I’m at work my company have while I’m working on a clock with them, they have a great deal of responsibility for my safety this is a company that’s doing shows they have episodes of such as what’s his name Dave some goldmine. They have episodes of they, go all over the world doing this and you won’t tell me a million dollar operation might be more than that you under Raw which is under Discovery you all out in a wooded area doing it and you all don’t have no god dern satellite phones, you don’t have proper Get out of here. Come on. Come on. Come on man.
[00:34:10] Dion Mitchell: Well, I’ll say this about as far as the production side goes if when Terrence took the job, right they offered it to him and they and that the that franchise the gold rush is a huge franchise there’s not too many people that that don’t know what that is. So he knew going in that where the locations were going to be so it doesn’t make a difference of whether or not he ever was in the woods he he knew where he was going it’s not like right no so he would I’m sure as a seasoned producer and a world traveler that he is he can handle going out to a place where a little bit elevation with with some trees so that does that just doesn’t really make a lot of sense to me
[00:34:48] Terrence Woods Sr.: Because he’s been in places I have pictures of him and wooded areas and is the moose over there pictures with them. You know, right with animals out there. You don’t say that you don’t see in our neighborhood, as they said. Get out of here, man.
[00:35:02] Dion Mitchell: You know, I want to ask you a question now that you’ve been through this or going through it, you’re not been through it, but you’re, you’re still going through it. What advice would you have to other families? Who are who have missing loved ones like this? What would you what would be the one thing that they could take away?
[00:35:19] Terrence Woods Sr.: I mean, to be honest, and I was on a show, and they asked the same exact question. I can’t give you advice, because I can’t tell you how to deal with your feelings, and there’s no advice to give to the unknown. So you could pray for your children, you wish your children do well, as I told my son, if you don’t feel comfortable, don’t go. So you’re just going to go to work right here, around the corner from you, and your same city state town, your child, your son, daughter, and you pray to come home safe. You never know in your wildest dreams, something like this is gonna happen. So you give them a cell phone. You give them a cell phone, tell me call me as soon as you get there. They call you when they get there, and then they go blank, So it’s no way no way, and this is no way in a situation I’m in. I can tell you how to prepare for the unknown, because this is the unknown. Okay? Even if I got a call, and they said something bad happened to my son, if a person die, I tell everybody that when it comes to death, you have closure and healing, and if you believe in God, you pray to God that your loved one, go visit him. You know what? You got closue and healing you put them in a casket a box, however. But you know, something bad could happen, but you have closure. I don’t know right now. If I’m watching TV now and I see a show. Come on with somebody running through the woods I will not watch it. If I see a show right now to have something with kidnapping I do not watch it. I don’t know if my son and I prayed He’s not I don’t know if he’s in a cage somewhere. I don’t know if my son was being tortured. You know, I’m saying so I can’t go to sleep every night and say I know he passed on, we had this service and we had his homecoming and God is gonna make it better and hes with God. No, I can’t say that. I can’t say he’s with God right now. He could be in the Devil’s Den, and that’s the part that hurt the most every day. I pull home in my driveway. Sometimes I just sit in my driveway. driveway because I don’t want to come in a house yet, because so much of my house remind me about my sons both my sons pictures in my house. So as you come in, you know I’m saying you’re going to garage, they had a water guns in in it’s all going to need this in their bedrooms upstairs, the same way it was the day he left. Only thing get done in that room it get dusted. Other than that, nothing else get touched I got his face tattooed on his on my arm. I got a portrait of him tattooed on my arm. Me and him have the same name. So anytime someone say my name they say in his name family members would tell me, you got to be around more family, more family, because I shied away. We used to have all big family events in my house. Like I said, my son and him put up the tree. I do all the cooking. They have great time, but I said it to my family. I say this to people, even co workers and stuff that it bothers me and I move away from a lot of people and shelter myself because I have co workers and they talk about you know, summertime and me and my boy, man, he’s varsity man. You know, I’m saying damn, I only had to say about my son right now. You know, and then when I go around family, you know baby T is missed you know we miss baby T and we love him, but yeah, still, you’re going home with your kids. You’re going home with your daughters, you’re going home with your family. You’re gonna hug your family at night If I want, I look at my son’s room, sit on his bed or sit in the chair and I don’t have my son at home tonight. I don’t have my son to make funny faces with my son and come in my room and sit in a recliner and watch me fall asleep. Know what I’m saying I don’t have that I don’t have that, you know what I’m saying? Yeah, like I said even with death if I know I close the box on him I know hes with God cause he was a good person, but right now, like I said, If I see a show with some goddamn woods, or somebody kidnapped, I don’t want to see that crap. I don’t wanna see that crap.
[00:39:34] Dion Mitchell: You mentioned like all the people that have reached out, you know, reach out to you, you know, a lot of nonsense and things like that, but part of the reason that we wanted to bring you on was to help get the word out. So I know how we came in contact with you, but is there anything you want to share with us right now on where if anybody has any information or wants to share it anonymously or whatever? How do how would they tell what help find your son? How would who would and where should they contact you.
[00:40:01] Terrence Woods Sr.: If, if anyone have any information you can contact me at TWOODS0129.firstname.lastname@example.org. That’s my direct email address.
[00:40:24] Dion Mitchell: That’s great. Well, we’ll make sure that we publicize that because you know what, sometimes when time, time passes and locals up there, they may have, you know, whatever reason, have a come to Jesus moment or something and you know, want to send an email or do a call to want to make sure that we have a way that they can get get in touch with you.
[00:40:43] Mehul Anjaria: Well, Terrence, as we have followed your deal, we’ve just really been shocked and disappointed about the lack of developments. You know, I think I told you that we were looking into the story quite a bit about a year ago, and, you know, looked recently, and it seems like there’s no updates. So you know, one thing Terrence is, you know, we don’t want your son to be known as the guy who ran down the hill and disappeared. So just at the end here, we just want to kind of give you the floor. You know, is there anything else that people should know about Terrence, or about the case that you know, maybe hasn’t been put out there or anything else you want to set the record straight on?
[00:41:20] Terrence Woods Sr.: Yes, Terrance was a fun going person. He liked having fun, and like I said, if these people just put in his false information out, speak to his friends, speak to his family, not take bits and pieces of mess that other people are putting out there that didn’t speak to his friends and family, you know, stop doing it. Stop doing that. That’s not good. You know, I’m saying, That’s not my son. These people don’t even know my son, you know, I’m saying so don’t do that. My son didn’t jump off a cliff to kill himself to disappear. Something happened to my son, and as the sheriff said, out of out of his own mouth, when the cadaver dogs got there, they did not smell a scent of my son. When the helicopters got there, they could not find no heat trace of my son. So, you know, even a man at the local man whose house they went to said when him and his friends went back up there he said no way in the world my son could have went off a cliff, you know, but no one is dwelling everybody, do people just put these little sidebar stories out there dwelling on stuff that they get from the sheriff’s department? stuff do they get from people that made a story out of only what they got from a one sided story? None of these stories say we spoke to his family, his friends, his school colleagues, his professors, everything is what the Sheriff said, what Idaho said, how can you know a person if you only been with him less than 24 hours?
[00:42:47] Dion Mitchell: That narrative gets out there, and then people just kind of just recycle it over and over again, and that becomes what happened.
[00:42:54] Terrence Woods Sr.: Right? You run with it.You’re trying to tarnish a good young man’s name and legacy over something you are clueless Of, to make a story to think you selling a story, and you’re selling nothing but you know, lies, and somebody that’s out there, and I pray like I pray every night, that wherever my son is, I just hold God and say stay strong enough. So we get home, I don’t think my son is gone that he fell off the face of the earth. I think he’s in a situation, because like I said, rewinding real quick you as an individual make a statement to me that my son had a mental breakdown and didn’t say you had to detain him, detain means hold against your will, restrain means to hold down if he had his so called anxiety attack. What did you have detained him? Some go wrong when you all detained him? Come on, people stop, stop reading lies people.
[00:43:58] Dion Mitchell: You know, Terrence. It’s been really just an incredible conversation and I hear your passion, and I hope that if any, a first of all, there’s anything that we can do, whether there’s any new developments, you’ll contact us right away and let us know how we how we can help, and because we’re willing to do whatever we can on our end to help out and spread the word or, or referrals, whatever the case is, and I wish we had more time but it’s absolutely been a pleasure speaking with you, and we really appreciate you joining us today on Crime Redefined.
[00:44:30] Terrence Woods Sr.: I deeply appreciate you having me I deeply appreciate that, and I hope that this gets outr and like you said someone maybe you call it a Jesus moment, a true moment and bow down and if you know something and
[00:44:46] Dion Mitchell: Sooner or later someone will, they always do.
[00:44:50] Terrence Woods Sr.: don’t don’t hide it, because whatever happened to my son, whoever you are out there it could happen to one of your family members.
[00:44:57] Dion Mitchell: Wow, really heartbreaking, this poor man is suffering perhaps more now than he was the day that he got the news that Terrence Jr. went missing. It’s really hard to understand why this case hasn’t gotten more attention and a proper investigation from our point of view.
[00:45:15] Mehul Anjaria: Yeah, I mean, yeah, there’s stuff out there. There’s Dr. Phil, but you know, I don’t you just like maybe some celebrities would jump on this and bigger organizations, but you know, it hasn’t happened, and I’m really shocked at how Terence Sr. has essentially been re victimized in this process. I mean, from the way he describes it, he’s been mistreated by Terrence’s co-workers who were on the set, the sheriff’s department, the media, and even the investigators that he hired, that were supposed to be on his side.
[00:45:48] Dion Mitchell: It was hard to listen to.
[00:45:49] Mehul Anjaria: Yeah, so what why is this such an uphill climb? And, you know, as you probably have to take into consideration some topics that some people don’t want to talk about? What about the power and influence of Hollywood? And what about the potential role of race and all of this? So on this podcast, we talk a lot about wrongful convictions, and, you know, what are the root causes of them, you know, whether it’s lousy investigation, maybe out and out bias, or corruption, and listening to Terrence, his interview, you can see how there’s at least a potential for that type of injustice in the way that his son’s case is being handled primarily by the things that aren’t being done, you know, by the just the suppositions that are left out there without that kind of hard evidence.
[00:46:32] Dion Mitchell: He’s got he’s definitely has a good argument for that. Just based on what he told us and what we’ve seen in the media on our own, , but let’s be clear, we’re not experts on Terrence’s disappearance, it’s something that we are now striving for, and we certainly want to hear all sides of the issue, but on balance, it seems like the media is just going with the status quo of what the Sheriff’s Department and the production company had to say.
[00:46:58] Mehul Anjaria: Yeah, like you say, I think talking to Terrence is part of our evolution in becoming an expert on this. I mean, you have to go to the source. That’s number one, and again, drawing a parallel to criminal investigation, and status quo, what maybe what law enforcement found, I mean, if you read in any one of my cases, you know, you read the police reports, you would say, well, geez, case closed, I mean, this sounds bad for the defendant, right? Well, of course, otherwise he wouldn’t be incarcerated. Right, but we don’t take that as gospel, and because there has to be, you know, you go to a doctor, you get a second opinion, right. So these things need to be independently investigated. Not that it’s all completely wrong, but investigations are complicated. Did you look at alternate explanations? Did you follow every thread? Did you look at this piece of evidence? Well, wait a minute, the results in this analysis? Are you sure about that? Is there something else that that could mean? So none of that has happened here yet. So we really don’t have an investigation? Or like we said facts that have been mutually agreed on?
[00:48:04] Dion Mitchell: You know, I agree, and I mean, can you really use the word even investigate at this point? I mean, I wonder with the private investigators Terrence had were simply subpar, inept, or did they just meet with abnormally high resistance due to the nature of the case and potentially the location? It was a very interesting how, Terrence Sr, described the small town in Idaho, how everyone instantly knew who he was, that was a little, you know, a little Twilight Zoneish.
[00:48:32] Mehul Anjaria: That was Twilight Zone and creepy for sure, and then you start thinking about if there is a cover up conspiracy, you know, this kind of environment maybe is the best place for that, you know, but again, because it is that type of environment that that doesn’t mean it happened, but I think Terrence is best private investigator was actually that employee at the police department, who surreptitiously gave him the copy of the 911 call. I mean, it seems like that’s the only hard piece of evidence that Terence really has and that was, you know, kind of ill-gotten actually, but, you know, there’s still a lot that can be done here. So for one.
[00:49:10] Dion Mitchell: There’s tons, I mean, yeah, it’s, like I said, if you can, can you really even say that this has been investigated yet. I mean, it’s just, it’s almost like a minimum just day to an investigation, even though we’re almost three years later.
[00:49:23] Mehul Anjaria: Yeah. Which is sad because you know, the old thing about 48 hoursthe trail goes cold, but having said that, there’s still a lot that can be done. So, I think, you know, Terrence needs some muscle on his side, but by that I mean probably like a pit bull attorney, who can really get in there and make things happen, and it sounds like he made some reference to that there’s something in the works because I don’t know what could be done in the civil you know, we talked about FOIA, you know, information release and is there something civilly that can be done, but, you know, he it man he just needs an investigator just to do the basics as well. That’s really sad that he had a bad experience and, and I see that too in the criminal investigation world, and, man, those investigators, they are key pieces, because they’re the ones that collect the evidence help get the experts all of that if they’re no good, you can’t get anywhere, and so well, what do we have? Well, Terrence Sr. has Terrence’s laptop, my gosh, which is huge, what a treasure trove of information could be in there. Even if that had been altered along the way, there’s no doubt that, you know, a competent computer forensics experts could get in there and find out what manipulations have been made. There’s all kinds of metadata in there that even if things were deleted, there’s still some kind of trace. You know, what about maybe there’s a record of his bank account? Dion, I think when we were talking, you’re saying he might even have his login information right stored on that computer, or there may be a way to get it. So that’s probably number one. Well, how about this? What if Terrence had an iPhone? And if you connect your iPhone, like to your iPad, or your laptop or something like that, you might even see the phone messages? That’s right on your laptop as well. So I think the possibilities are endless, also, you talk to Terrence a lot with the camera, and yeah, you’re right. There’s the basics of just what are the dates of the photographs, but there’s all kinds of metadata in any kind of digital evidence that could be looked at, you know, including on the camera. So those are definitely two good starting points, and again, just somebody to lean on people to try to get some of this investigative material, and what are the all the legalities here if the case is open case is closed, you know, can get the sheriff’s hand be forced basically?
[00:51:41] Dion Mitchell: Well, I think the key phrase you mentioned a couple times is just the basics. I don’t even feel based on what I’ve read and heard from Terrence Sr., that even the basics have been met. Yeah, there was the initial search in the area, but I mean, you got to spiral out from there. Right. So you’ve checked that box. Okay, we’ve searched the area, but then you got to start working backwards and right. You know, this right, doesn’t seem like that’s been done.
[00:52:06] Mehul Anjaria: No. So I mean, again, like I said earlier, you know, what are all the reasons that maybe you, you wouldn’t detect Terrence? You know, one is that he was never there. You know? So, I mean, how do you look at that analytically and say, well, it could have been because of this,that, the other but I mean, certainly, again, tunnel vision, I think and then oh, let’s do Yeah, I do remember the sheriff. There was another incident in Idaho where I think some kids they flipped there SUV into a river. Yeah, and again, there was some discussion about how poorly the family was treated, and I remember that there was a quote from the Sheriff like, Oh, the river will spit him out eventually. It’s like, you know, this is this is 2021. You know, it’s like we we don’t do that. We don’t let things you know just become mysteries. We we have the technology now.
[00:52:57] Dion Mitchell: Yeah, it definitely It was hard to when listening to his interviews, it was hard to determine whether or not he was just flippant about it and city folks come up here and bad things happen and they kind of get what they deserve or actually being resistant to doing a real investigation for me, I still don’t have I haven’t made up my mind on that. You know, just, it’s crazy. So at this point, we just have no idea what types of resistance and motivations are out there against having the truth come out and hopefully we’ll learn that soon. So let’s hope that these Crime Redefined episodes will will make a difference and really have an impact on this, on finding Terrence.
[00:53:40] Mehul Anjaria: Yes, our wonderful listeners, please please contact Mr. Woods with any information you might have, and you know, please share this episode with people who you think might be interested in it or know something about some of the areas we’ve talked about, and so let me repeat Mr. Woods’ email address, because it’s a little tricky TWoods0129.email@example.com, and also, there’s a GoFundMe page out there called: Find my Missing Son, Terrence Woods. Terrence Woods Sr. has a Facebook page that’s very easy to find. There’s a Twitter account the handle is @findterrencewds, the woods is abbreviated wds, so @findterrencewds, and there’s also an Instagram account @ findterrencewoods. So hit up all those sites.
[00:54:37] Dion Mitchell: Make a donation.
[00:54:38] Mehul Anjaria: Sure contact us you know if you’ve got information that’s right, pass it along we are easy to find. Yeah, come on,. Let’s see what we can do.
[00:54:46] Dion Mitchell: So we really hope that this episode is helpful to the Woods family, we really do, and thanks so much to all of our awesome listeners and social media connections. We would love to hear your feedback on this episode, and we look forward to seeing you on the next episode of Crime Redefined.
[00:55:01] Announcer: Thank you for listening to the Crime Redefined podcast, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @ Crime Redefined. Please send us your comments and questions and join us for the next episode.
27-year-old Terrence Woods went missing on October 5, 2018. He was working with a production crew that was filming a TV series in mountainous central Idaho. Reportedly he ran down a steep embankment in the Idaho wilderness never to be seen again. His father Terrence Woods, Sr. joins Crime Redefined to set the record straight on what may have happened and how he feels the investigation has been handled and portrayed in the media. Part 1 of 2 of our interview with Terrence Woods, Sr. https://www.gofundme.com/f/2hqmj-find-my-missing-son-terrence-woods
[00:00:00] Announcer: Welcome to the Crime Redefined Podcast produced by Zero Cliff Media coming to you from the US Bank Tower high above downtown Los Angeles. In our podcast, we drill deep into forensics and criminal investigation from the viewpoint of the defense, as well as explore the intersection of the media and the justice system.
[00:00:21] Dion Mitchell: Thanks for joining us on Crime Redefined today. I’m Dion Mitchell here with my Crime Redefined cohost Mehul Anjaria. We truly appreciate you taking the time to listen to our episodes and interact with us on social media.
[00:00:33] Mehul Anjaria: Please keep the comments coming on Twitter and Instagram and all of that, we like to hear your feedback and commentary on how we’re doing. So today we have the honor of talking to Terrence Woods Sr. whose son Terrence Jr., mysteriously disappeared almost three years ago on October 5th, 2018 to this day there are no real substantial leads as to what may have happened to him. So needless to say, this has been a very grueling and long ordeal for our special guest today.
[00:01:06] Dion Mitchell: We just felt it was important to give Terrence Senior another platform to get his perspective on his son’s disappearance out there, just like in a cold case investigation, the more, the story is told, the more likely it is that someone will come forward with new information, ideas, or resources to help solve this mystery. So today we’re going to take a little bit of time and we’re going to set this up for you with all the details that we have and where things stand as of today.
[00:01:35] Mehul Anjaria: Yeah. This will be brief, I mean, certainly you can read a lot about the case and we’ll, after we talked to Terrence, we can all decide what are established facts and what are in question, but it goes like this Terrence Jr. was part of a 12 person crew from a London based production company and they were on site in Idaho working on a TV show in the Orogrande area of Central Idaho.
[00:02:01] Dion Mitchell: Now another kind of full disclosure, I’m familiar with this area and it is heavily forested and it’s also at elevation of about 4,500 feet. It is truly a no man’s land where the Penman mine is located as you’ll hear from Terrence, even the basic facts surrounding his son’s disappearance are not necessarily agreed on.
[00:02:22] Mehul Anjaria: Right. So let’s go with again, just what’s been reported kind of universally, so it was reported that on the evening of October 5th, 2018, again, almost three years ago that Terrence, all of a sudden said that he needed to go to the bathroom and he put down his handheld radio and proceeded to run extremely fast down a very steep embankment into treacherous terrain and from that point supposedly crew members ran down this embankment after him basically didn’t see him, I guess they couldn’t catch up to him. Didn’t find a trace of him and it was claimed that when these crew members then came back up the embankment, that because of the terrain and all the trees, their clothes were torn and they were actually scraped up
[00:03:09] Dion Mitchell: As they should be. Like I said, this is heavily forested and most of the ground there is either, what’s the word for it? Where branches and stuff come down and it’s a lot of shale rock. So it’s slippery going and I believe there was snow on the ground at the time, or at least some moisture, which would have made it even more treacherous, Mehul.
[00:03:29] Mehul Anjaria: Yeah. We’ll get into this, but it’s worth noting that Terrence was not known as a mountain man or anything like that.
[00:03:36] Dion Mitchell: I think it’s fair to say he’s a city guy for the most part.
[00:03:38] Mehul Anjaria: And there were descriptions. Yeah. Him running like, like a hare or something very fast down the steep embankment. So we’ll get into that with Terrence.
[00:03:46] Dion Mitchell: So anyway, the crew now, did what they needed to do and a put out the call and a search ensued for Terrence Jr. In this harsh terrain, including scent dogs, helicopters with thermal imaging equipment and a search and rescue team. There was no evidence developed that Terrence had been in the area it was claimed that he ran to.
[00:04:08] Mehul Anjaria: So now this is an interesting development. I think this would depend on what filter, you’re looking at the facts through. So what you described can mean one or two things, basically, right? This is a mystery. This guy ran down and there’s this no sight of him. What, what the hell happened, or if you want to play devil’s advocate, you might look at this and say, well, wait a minute. They threw everything they could and there’s no sign that he ever ran down that embankment, so did that even happen? So, of course, Terrence Senior and Terrence’s mom wanted to get out to Idaho as soon as possible, find out what the heck was going on and when they did that, they expected to meet with the Sheriff of Idaho county, as well as the TV crew that Terrence was with on the shoot, because obviously they would be the best witness, but when they got to the Sheriff’s department, there was only one crew member left at the meeting and apparently the rest had already returned to London, and this episode that they were all filming actually never made it to the air.
[00:05:08] Dion Mitchell: So it just kind of, just ups, the level of the mystery, right?
[00:05:12] Mehul Anjaria: Yeah, it sure does. Is there a reason that they weren’t at the Sheriff’s department?
[00:05:17] Dion Mitchell: If anything it just doesn’t look right. So although Terrence has spent some time in London working in production, he’d been living with Terrance senior in Maryland when he agreed to the goldmine shoot. When Terrance left home for the shoot, the first stop he made with the crew was actually, and I believe he was picked up in the, in an airport in Montana , it was not in Idaho. So as you will hear from Terrence Senior, the overall investigation is sadly lacking. Which in my opinion is kind of a mystery there another mystery in itself, there does not seem to even be definitive evidence that Terrence ever made it to Idaho from Montana.
[00:05:58] Mehul Anjaria: Yeah, Dion I have to admit, I really hadn’t heard of this case until you brought it to my attention year and a half ago and I know you kept pushing me. Hey, check this out and then when I finally did.
[00:06:09] Dion Mitchell: I know you love a good mystery.
[00:06:10] Mehul Anjaria: Absolutely, and you were right so, you know, to kind of study up on the case. I think we both read the articles that were out there. There’s one on Deadline, there’s one on Vice, I think those are the major ones anyway and then there’s a six-part Fox Five podcast called Missing Pieces: Into the Woods and then finally at the end of 2020 there was a Dr. Phil episode dedicated to the disappearance of Terrence and yeah. I have to say, I tuned out a little bit after Dr. Phil and I sort of just assumed that, well, after the Dr. Phil episode, there’s going to be a big break. That’s going to solve it. That’s the publicity, it needed a, there’s going to be some new leads and all of that and then, just, I don’t know, a few weeks ago, poking around on the internet. I couldn’t find one development in that case, or any evidence of any leads that came from the Dr. Phil Show and I was kind of shocked because, isn’t that the thing now in cold case investigation, that you get it on a podcast, you get it on, somebody and it just shakes it up.
[00:07:14] Dion Mitchell: I mean, come on. This is Dr. Phil. That’s a lot of eyeballs.
[00:07:16] Mehul Anjaria: Yeah. I mean, how are you going to reach more people? In fact, we talked to Lindsey Wade about that too, about rewarming these cold cases and that something always shakes out in this day and age of social media and all that didn’t happen here.
[00:07:31] Dion Mitchell: Yeah. So instead of rehashing the prevailing narrative on what happened at Terrence Jr and pretending we were experts on this case, we wanted to speak directly to Terrence Sr, to get a more well-rounded view of some of the puzzling, assertions and facts surrounding the investigation.
[00:07:48] Mehul Anjaria: Yeah it’s frustrating that there’s just a lot of speculation out there. There’s a lot of connecting the dots, maybe prematurely without the hard evidence or without that what I want to see. I want to see that physical evidence, show me some DNA, I just, when I’m involved in post conviction investigations. The re-investigation is so thorough, people are knocking on doors and looking at reports and as we’re going to find out, there’s really a dearth of reports and stuff because of the status of the case and so now we’re left with a bunch of theories that are all over the place. So, some would say that well, Terrence he wanted to get off the grid and he wanted to disappear or ghost himself, or maybe there was foul play by somebody, maybe it was his coworkers did Terrence fall into mine shaft? Did he succumb to the elements or to a bear or something like that? There’s also rumor that Terrence had a mental breakdown and there’s probably a whole bunch more. So, our feeling here is let’s kind of get to the closest source we can which is Terrence Jr’s dad Terrence and in the end, as you’ll hear, we had a very poignant and I would say long discussion with Terrence. We’re gonna break this into a two-part episode, and we’re also working on potentially speaking to another person who’s very close to the case and may have some information. So here’s part one of our interview with Terrence Woods Sr. Terrence we’re honored to have you on Crime Redefined today.
[00:09:18] Terrence Woods Sr.: I thank you for having me as well.
[00:09:20] Mehul Anjaria: Yeah. Thank you so much for taking some time out of an evening and Terrence, it’s our hope that today’s interview will move that needle forward in the long process of getting some answers about your son.
[00:09:30] Terrence Woods Sr.: We definitely need the answers. It’s going on three years and every time I think I’m getting closer to something and get knocked back 25 feet. I’ve been on Dr. Phil I’ve been on talk shows, Fox Five other radio shows and, spoken to a lot of people in the, in the beginning, everybody, oh, we want to help, we can help X, Y, and Z and the next thing is a dead end.
[00:09:52] Dion Mitchell: Yeah, we’re going to try to do everything we can to just get more information out there and spread the word, but you know, my first question for you is how are you and how are your family? You just mentioned it’s coming up on three years. I’m just wondering how are you doing? And how’s your family doing?
[00:10:04] Terrence Woods Sr.: It’s real rough. I mean, because my two sons Terrance is my oldest and he’s 29 now my youngest son is 25. I’ve been raising my kids for over 18 years by myself although their mothers in their life, we’re not together and I, they’ve always been with me. So it was kinda rough because the day that I took my son to the airport, September 30th, 2018, his bedroom is the same exact way it was the day I took him to the airport. So I don’t know about anyone else, but it’s real difficult on me.
[00:10:32] Dion Mitchell: There was no way that I think that’s that you, anybody can possibly imagine, you know what you’re going through until you actually go through it. We just wanted to kind of see how you were doing and how you’re doing now. Compared to how you were when you first found the news, those first couple of weeks.
[00:10:47] Terrence Woods Sr.: The first couple of weeks were a shock and it was, denial that this can’t be happening. This can’t be happening, this can’t be happening. We are going to find him and he’s going to come home now, are we going over two and a half years. And you would think it would get better, but it’s getting worse because after two and a half years with no answers still, it’s not a good feeling. I try to go to sleep some nights and my son said dad help me dad help me and I just sit up and go sit in his room on the bed and say, man, I ain’t gonna forget about you. I’m gonna find you. I’m fine, and by the time I know it’s four o’clock I got to go to work. I ain’t been asleep all night. I got to go to work and put on a $9 smile and act like, Hey, what’s going on? and inside of me is like upside down.
[00:11:30] Mehul Anjaria: Well, Terrence, let’s get into some of the reasons why you don’t have any answers. So can you explain for our listeners why it is that the Idaho County Sheriff’s office considers Terrence’s disappearance, an open case? And then how that designation hinders you from collecting more information or, doing your own investigation?
[00:11:55] Terrence Woods Sr.: Well, the sad thing with the Idaho Sheriff’s department is I don’t know what’s going on with them. Right, but to say the least, but if they close the case, then the records become public records. So anyone could get the information. Now, I don’t know if you seen the Dr. Phil show when I was on the Dr. Phil show and when Dr. Phil asked the sheriff, well, why don’t you close the case? So the family can get, information. He said, I’m not closing the case. Well if you don’t close the case, then are you going to still work it? No, we’re not actively looking as well. So if you’re not going to close the case, you’re not going to look for him. Then what’s the hard part about closing it, why don’t you want us to see what you have not really done, and the lies that you all have told people.
[00:12:45] Dion Mitchell: I was going to say, what’s your gut feeling of why he would be holding this up and when it just makes no sense logical sense of why he would be kind of working against you?
[00:12:51] Terrence Woods Sr.: Because it’s more behind it, then he’s admitting to, and that he wanted anyone to know. They know they dropped the ball. If they didn’t have something to do with the ball from day one, when I got to Idaho, when I went to Sheriff’s department, this young man that worked there, he said, and this is the person I spoke to on the phone. He worked in the Sheriff department. He’s the one that took the 911 call when he took the 911 call and I spoke, he said, Mr. Woods, something’s not right about it. Something is not right. He said, when you get to Idaho, make sure you see me. When I got Idaho went to the Sheriff’s department and I seen this person gave me an envelope. He said, whatever you do don’t tell anybody I gave just to you and don’t show it to anybody. No problem. I go back to the hotel room. I opened the envelope up. It’s the original police report. It was called in and it’s police report is saying detail for detail what quote unquote was said when they called this in one, they said my son was a dark complexion person. I don’t know if you seen pictures of my son?
[00:13:52] Dion Mitchell: Yeah. He doesn’t fit that description.
[00:13:54] Terrence Woods Sr.: Not dark at all. Right. Okay. Moving along then. You also. That morning, he had an anxiety attack. Okay. Well, if he had an anxiety attack, did you all call professional medical assistance and no report that you would hear or read or anything No one ever once up to this second, then they call for professional medical assistance, but you told me, oh, we had to detain him. Oh, you said he had an anxiety attack. So do you mean restrain? No. Well, detain mean to hold against your will, detain mean to hold down. If he had an anxiety attack, why would you have to detain him somewhere? No, but everything worked out. You still didn’t answer that question. Well, everything worked out and then we went on out and the day was going along well. Okay, Now everything worked out from him having this anxiety attack. Now mind you, if you look at any of your reports, listen to anything. You don’t hear anyone dwell on Montana. Well, Montana, that’s the place he first went to on September 30th, which was that Sunday. Well, if he was in Montana from Sunday to Thursday, which was the 4th of October now, woke up on the fifth, which was that Friday. No one speak nothing about from Sunday to Thursday, no one say in Montana, he allegedly had an anxiety attack. He was tripping and you had no conversation about Montana. Now he’s in Idaho, but less than 24 hours, the day he wake up that Friday from that Thursday, getting there, he has an anxiety attack. Wow. Out of the clear, but four days he’d been in Montana. We speak nothing of that. No one even shows, there is no pictures of him in Montana you don’t even see any pictures up in Idaho. Okay. So nevertheless, that day going to the fifth. Now you say you’re out on the shoot and he has, this relapse he’s acting strange. He tries to grab a drone out of the sky, still no one sat him down and put them in a car, truck, whatever, and got professional medical assistance. If I go to work right now, if you go to work and your coworkers, see you acting strange out of the norm, whoa, man, let’s call some help for him. No one, not once said they call for professional medical assistance where this person who was at work with 10 other people grown people, you will read nothing no one ever said they call for a professional medical. No one even said they called for medical assistance. Not even putting the word professional in front of it but you all determined that this young man who’d been all over the world, never had an issue. Nowhere before he’s with you over this one trip and it’s one morning, although he was with you four days prior in Montana, which you speak nothing of, but just one morning in Idaho, he wake up that morning, have a mental breakdown, starting the morning off and just lose it in the evening and leap off a cliff and run like a hare.
[00:17:11] Mehul Anjaria: I want to follow up on something you said Terrence, other than, I guess the lucky break of that one police officer handing you that envelope, have you seen any type of official reports on the investigation?
[00:17:24] Terrence Woods Sr.: No, nothing. They will not, they will not give anything. That’s just like when originally, when I spoke to him on the phone, I was supposed to speak to the whole crew, by the time I got there, it was only one person there. There’s no reason for me to speak to anyone else. Once again, I asked a simple question, If you go to work today, I go to work. Then I’m with coworkers, God forbid something happens the first thing your family’s going to say, who was he with? Who was she with? And they went, if nothing’s funny, nothing’s out of line. He is with Joe Blow Mike, Sally, because your family want to ask, but when you say no, you can not speak to them and you get everyone out of the country. Really, really? Because guess what? 10 people can’t tell the same lie and if its all the truth all of us can say the same story if it’s all true, but if we got 10 people and we know something shady online, everybody ain’t gonna tell the same lie. So how do you cover a lie? Getting nine of the ten people out of here, we got one host here to talk, come on man. Up to this day, they won’t give anyone the other people’s information. Come on.
[00:18:37] Dion Mitchell: So you actually have the original report that the original report that came from the 911 operator.
[00:18:42] Terrence Woods Sr.: I have the original 911 call and that’s another thing that took place with the sheriff department when I was out there. So the guy, Simon, the one person that was allegedly that’s the person they stated did not get along with my son and he told me out his own mouth, then when he first met my son, he had high standards of my son, but all of a sudden those standards dropped and he don’t know what was wrong with my son because my son didn’t know what type of fruit to give him when he told him to go get his fruit. My son don’t know you why would he know what kind of fruit to get you, sir?
[00:19:13] Mehul Anjaria: It’s almost like shifting the blame is kind of what that sounds like. Why is it the first thing? Here’s some parents who were upset. Why is it the first thing that you tell them is that you essentially dis their son. It’s crazy.
[00:19:24] Terrence Woods Sr.: Exactly and I spoke to this dude on the phone prior to even going at that morning and this guy is saying all this negative stuff about my son, although my son is the one that’s missing and you were the one that was supposed to be with him and your telling him you were uncomfortable. He disappointed you, you all just told me my son is missing and you tell me about my son disappointed you and did not stand up to your standards, really?
[00:19:49] Dion Mitchell: Do you think he came out of Montana? Do you ever think that he was actually in Idaho? Do you have actually people that you spoke with.
[00:19:54] Terrence Woods Sr.: You have a couple of locals, which I have not actually physically seen or spoke to it’s word of mouth. That said they saw him. They were up on the mountain top when they spoke with them. Well, this place had 200, the population is 200, 206 people. It’s one way in and one way out. They knew who I was when I walked into the gas station, supermarket all that. They knew who I was. Oh, you must be the young man’s father, who disappeared here. So you all know who I am, but nobody know what happened to my son, but moving quick forward and then we can rewind. So when I’m in the sheriff department that morning now they don’t know I have this paperwork. So then speaking, so I said let me why did you all say, my son had a mental breakdown and leaped off a cliff and this dude Simon said, no one ever said that. I said, well, why did you all say my son was dark complexion, no one said that. I said that was said the sheriff looks down and he said, Mr. Woods, I have the 911 report right here in front of me he opens up a yellow manila folder looks down. No, no one said anything like that. I have the 911 report also, right and I read it last night, but I never said nothing to them at that time. I said, man, I got to get out of here, cause I might disappear. He lied to me and looked down at the paper. No one said that no one said anything like that Mr. Woods, where would you get something like that from?
[00:21:21] Dion Mitchell: Definitely sounds like they’re trying to cover something there for the life of me I can’t figure out what it would be.
[00:21:28] Terrence Woods Sr.: I’ll say this. I don’t know even if my son made it to Idaho, but my thing is this, When my son texted well, when I got the text from my son’s phone, I don’t even know if it was him texted, but I got a text when I got the text from his phone and it said ‘dad I’m coming home’ so I’m not knowing that anything was wrong. I’m like, good. Make sure you bring me my shot glasses because everywhere he goes, that’s the only thing I don’t want nothing, but the shot glass goes in the cabinet. So I’m thinking I’m gonna talk to him later on because I get this text, on Friday. So I’m say, well, later on, he’s gonna tell me, why he cut it short? Why are you coming home? I’m thinking I’m going to talk to my son later on now, not knowing that if that was him that sent the text. So could text came from his phone, whatever happened, cause I didn’t verbally speak to him. This is a text coming to me.
[00:22:19] Mehul Anjaria: Yeah. That’s a great point. Terrence and I know much was made of, I think it was on Dr. Phil. They made it seem like a mystery why Terrence left early yet in other media coverage, like a podcast, the claim was that his mother was having medical tests and that’s why he wanted to leave early, but you bring up a great point and it we’ll get to this, but in any good investigation, you look at the cell phone evidence, all that, but we don’t know that those messages are coming from Terrence and so what’s your take on why he would leave the set early?
[00:22:54] Terrence Woods Sr.: Well, he’s never left a set early. That’s first and foremost, okay. First and foremost, he’s never left a set early. Secondly, they were in Montana, they have pictures of it on a Facebook page with all of them in Montana. My son is in none of the pictures. They have pictures of them in Idaho. My son is in none of the pictures. Well, when I had the private investigator, before he started stealing money. He claimed, which I never got that I paid for, that he had the footage from the hotel. Well, you would, if I’m a sheriff, whatever, why don’t they have the footage from the hotel? So show me some pictures of my son walking in a hotel, walking out the hotel. I have not seen any of that yet. No one, you know what I’m saying? So where’s that at? No, I haven’t seen no footage of proof, other than word of mouth. Some couple of locals. that you all could have paid money to say anything. You know what I’m saying? You were in this little, small town, somebody tell you I’m gonna give you 50, $50,000 and that’s more than three, four years of salary to you, You can say anything.
[00:23:58] Dion Mitchell: Yeah. We have those questions, the questions that you have and your statements that you’re making we have those exact same ones. I mean, this stuff screamed at us when we were watching all this in the interviews.
[00:24:06] Terrence Woods Sr.: You know what I’m saying? And they make them like, okay, you had this quote unquote mental breakdown. Okay, you all keep saying he had a mental breakdown. So what doctor professional medical assistant person documented that and said that, so what happened in Montana first? They started this from four days Sunday to Thursday, y’all on the trip on to Idaho. No one say nothing about no funny behavior from Sunday. There’s no one is nothing you won’t pick up any information from Sunday to Thursday. Only thing you hear about is this team on Friday, he had a mental nervous breakdown, et cetera, et cetera, and all hell broke loose and went zero for my son. What? No one is leading up to this. Come on.
[00:24:52] Dion Mitchell: You mentioned the private investigators that you hired. How was it working with them?
[00:24:58] Terrence Woods Sr.: It was terrible, it was terrible, I was shocked, I was vulnerable. Don’t get me wrong. When I met the first guy, he talked real good, sounded real slick, my son missing. So I’m just trying to find somebody to help me find my son. So I gave him my bank account, man, what you need take this money? Just send me the bill, tell me what you are taking it for. I get a bill, a phone call to London, I gave him a friend of my son’s phone number, he called that person and charged me $600 for a phone call, and I gave you the person name and phone number and I got a $600 London phone call.
[00:25:33] Mehul Anjaria: As far as, Terrence the investigators that you dealt with, the private investigators were, they like licensed people that would appear reputable?
[00:25:42] Terrence Woods Sr.: Well on the internet, the one I found that he was supposedly, he had some good stuff on the internet, and it caught my eye. You know what I’m saying? So, I, at the time I was just trying to find some, I went to several people in this guy’s little biography sound real good. So I’m like, oh yeah, he talked a good game. So, all right, well, what we got to do get started and haven’t seen paperwork is here and we signed this and we’re going to get started. So I’m thinking, okay, man, I’m trying to find my son, you know what I’m saying. I ain’t nothing like this never happened to anyone. I know, so I don’t know who to ask to give me advice to tell me don’t do that don’t do this, man, my son is missing.
[00:26:22] Dion Mitchell: So basically, well, it sounds like you didn’t get a lot from them and they just blew your cash.
[00:26:26] Terrence Woods Sr.: Oh, I mean, I got them money taken from me then I had to close to cut cancel that debit card and then I’ve got the next guy and this guy found out he was working with the damn Sheriff’s department in Idaho. Yeah, so it hadn’t been happening and I thank God that I believe in God, man. Cause that’s the only way to keep you strong, man, because I gotta stay strong. For my youngest son, he won’t even talk about, he don’t, he didn’t want him to talk about his brother and he’s 25 years old. He’s the banker at PNC bank. He owns a wedding planning company, so he’s doing great, but he’s on, he’s staying strong, but he won’t talk about his brother. He don’t even want to talk. So right now it’s just me and him home now, cause both of my sons still live with me.
[00:27:05] Mehul Anjaria: Well, let me ask you this so far, we’ve talked about how you weren’t treated right by the cops. You weren’t treated right by the private investigators. How do you feel that the media has treated you and the story of Terrence’s disappearance?
[00:27:19] Terrence Woods Sr.: I think the media I’m not, I’m not going to get political right now. I’m not a Donald Trump follower. If you are, that’s your business, but, and what’d he say, fake media? Yeah, shit fake media, because I read some stories, man and I’m like, where the hell are these people get this story from? These people never contact me. I don’t know who they spoke to. So people grabbing stuff that Idaho put out this person and then they put in these stories, oh, he disappeared on his own. Oh, he didn’t get along with his family. Did you speak to his family? How you create these stories? I look at these stories, I’m like, well, who did these people speak to and get this information? I never spoke to this person, I had never gave this person permission. You know what I’m saying? So we’re, I put in my son’s name and see all these stories come up missing, missing and I read a little. Wow really what the hell.
[00:28:11] Dion Mitchell: That’s actually one of the reasons why we wanted to speak with you because so many of the, so much of the media that we read and watch, you can see that everything was slanted for a narrative to for clicks and we could not understand why and my next question is, and I think you’ve already answered is do you feel there’s been enough national exposure. I don’t understand after, when I first came in contact with this, why like Hollywood and why everybody, sports athletes, everyone is just not talking about this kids just don’t disappear.
[00:28:45] Terrence Woods Sr.: I’ve tried to get in touch with Tyler Perry. I tried to Jennifer Hudson. He worked with Jennifer Hudson on the Voice. My son worked on the Voice with Jennifer Hudson, Will I Am, Tom Jones, all of that, got pictures with them, all of that. I don’t know, I’m sure all of them, people read their mail and see what they’re going to give them and all this stuff. So, I don’t have no direct line. So I sent stuff to Tyler Perry, Jennifer Hudson Will I Am, President Obama, Mrs. Obama. You know what I’m saying? And it’s like, damn.,
[00:29:19] Dion Mitchell: And no one would touch it.
[00:29:22] Terrence Woods Sr.: No replies from nobody and then the people that do say, oh yeah. Oh man, there’s something wrong with this. We going to get all of it and suddenly they go dead. Like, somebody say, leave it alone. You know what I’m saying? That’s like in London, I spoken to several people in London in the journalism field and they say, man, they would blackball you out here. If you mentioned your son thing, like what.. I ain’t going to talk about that. Is Raw TV, too powerful? They said, man, we trying to get into business. You can’t bring up that story. Well, that alone saying, why would I blackball someone if you’re not doing nothing wrong? What are y’all what big picture y’all trying to cover? Because my thing is this if there was a text from my son and like you said, people were saying, oh, he told him that his mother was having an operation. If he told them this because his mother was not having an operation, then maybe he told him that because he saw something, heard something, he wasn’t comfortable with something and he felt he had to say something that might make them, allow him to get the hell out of it without the eyebrows going up, but my thing is this, If I get a text from you on Friday saying that you coming home and 7:20 AM, Saturday morning, I get a call, saying you leaped off a cliff when no one could find a trace of you, as you heard the Sheriff say on Dr. Phil, your dogs went to the area where they said, quote, unquote, my son went off, couldn’t find a trace and smelled nothing of him helicopters up in the air, couldn’t find no heat detection of him or he was not there.
[00:31:09] Dion Mitchell: Yeah. I’m wondering that as well.
[00:31:11] Terrence Woods Sr.: Yeah, my son didn’t go over 70 degree angle cliff and like I told you, I said, first of all, my son had $300 inserts in his shoes. He’s flat foot, my son trips, walking up the steps. Now you all want to say in the evening that he dropped his radio in the evening, in the woods, and then he had a car waiting, so this boy never been here in his life, but he had a car to wait on the road and he’s going to run, drop your radio drop, don’t have a flashlight left your book bag with your light in it. In his bag, he had a stun gun in his bag and he had a pocket knife in his bag, he left his bag with a stun gun, pocketknife, everything, the leap down a cliff at night in the dark and you’re going to make it in the dark through the woods that you never been in, get your room and make it to the destination. They said when he was running, we sent one of the vehicles to the road, by the time the vehicle got there, he never crossed it cause he ain’t never go down there, but then they said when they went after him, as he was running like a hare. They came back up, they clothes was ripped and they were bleeding. Well, y’all came back up with ripped clothing and bleeding, but he didn’t lose a drop of blood for a dog to smell a piece of his clothes didn’t get ripped. So he flew down the cliff, get the hell out of here.
[00:32:25] Dion Mitchell: You mentioned Raw TV, obviously, Raw TV is a part of Discovery, which has got pretty long arms in the entertainment industry and I was wondering at the end of the Dr. Phil Show they finished up with, they said Raw TV had reached out to you and offered to meet with you and the Idaho Sheriff’s department. Did that follow up meeting ever occur?
[00:32:44] Terrence Woods Sr.: First of all, Raw TV and this is only hearsay, that’s only what they told us, no one reached out to me. Right? So Raw TV. Why do I have to come back to Idaho for you to meet up with me? We could do a zoom meeting, I don’t want to come back to Idaho. Why do you want to get me back there? So now I can disappear? My son disappeared out there. The sheriff showed me he was up to something shady, when he sat up and looked down and read a piece of paper and told me I was wrong and I got the same paper in my pocket and now you’re going to tell me we can meet up in Idaho. Hell no
[00:33:21] Dion Mitchell: So that meeting never took place that follow up that they threw on it.
[00:33:24] Terrence Woods Sr.: Raw TV haven’t offered me a penny to get a lawyer. They didn’t offer me a private investigator. Didn’t offer no help. Now y’all want to get me back in Idaho. The Idaho Sheriff’s department said, they’re not looking for my son.
[00:33:42] Mehul Anjaria: Well, let me ask you this Terrence.
[00:33:43] Terrence Woods Sr.: I’m listening.
[00:33:44] Mehul Anjaria: What person or organization in your opinion has actually been the biggest help to you as you sought to find some answers?
[00:33:53] Terrence Woods Sr.: No one as of yet. I thought Dr. Phil was going to be a plus, and I followed Dr. Phil show. When you go on these TV shows 99.9% of the time. If you have a drug problem, oh, we are going to put you in counseling marriage problem. We going to get you help with that at the end of that show, they offer you help towards whatever the reason you come on Dr. Phil didn’t offer me nothing. They ain’t saying, well, we can get you a private investigator. We can No!, well, one when you first took the case, the show, it took you over two months to actually air the show. You asked me to do it, then when you finally aired it, it was a put together show. You took what I told you and what my ex-wife said and we said, and then you spoke to the Sheriff Department totally separately and then you put that together. I wasn’t on the show where I could say, hold up, Sheriff, you’re lying about it and about people talking back and forth.
[00:34:57] Mehul Anjaria: Yeah, we were talking about this before we got on and the editing is crazy. It is so chopped up. Yeah.
[00:35:05] Terrence Woods Sr.: Come on, man. Man. Come on, man. Yeah, exactly. Dr. Phil show, normally Dr. Phil, he come at you. You know what I’m saying? As you know, he come at you, he tap danced on that show, he didn’t eat him up, he tap danced. Then when he asked the Sheriff, so why don’t you give the family, then we’re not doing a follow and we’re not giving them no information. Okay. If you look at Dr. Phil show at the end of any show, they offer a drug addict, counseling, marriage people, counseling. They offer you something to help you at the end of that show, the show was over. Cut. I ain’t never hear from them yet since it was a wrap.
[00:35:52] Mehul Anjaria: Yeah, you’re right. Terrence. That’s the formula. Dr. Phil is supposed to be aggressive and get the answers and not just sit in the chair.
[00:35:58] Terrence Woods Sr.: Resolution, what was the resolution? If you watched it, what resolution you seen there? Like I said, his show revolves around everybody’s asking questions. If you cheat on your wife, your wife’s there, whatever it is then you had us and then you had the sheriff, you did a separate interview with him and whatever you felt made him look good, you put that in and then you made the show together. Sheriff your lying, Sheriff, I know I had a copy. I have a copy of the original report. I couldn’t say that, and so that was his background and everything, but I feel he’s under Oprah Winfrey, and she has a partnership with Discovery.
[00:36:43] Dion Mitchell: There you go. Good point
[00:36:46] Terrence Woods Sr.: Big situation. No.
[00:36:50] Dion Mitchell: You think that she would pick it up?
[00:36:51] Terrence Woods Sr.: Oprah Winfrey have ownership with Discovery, Dr. Phil is under Oprah Winfrey right before all this went out. Oh, well, no, you can’t, you can’t step hard on this one. You told him he was going to do it, you made yourself obligated. Okay, we’ll put it up there, but doctor it up and you don’t fuck with them.
[00:37:09] Dion Mitchell: I want to get into some of the investigation stuff and I was wondering has anybody I probably know the this answer as well, checked his Terrence’s electronic footprint, like his cell, any social media before and after the computer bank records, et cetera, is any of that investigated?
[00:37:25] Terrence Woods Sr.: Now let’s go with that one cell phone. Of course, we don’t have a cell phone. The cell phone quote unquote was with him. Supposedly he couldn’t ping it. Cause the first thing I said, well, why don’t you ping his phone? Well, we’re in the woods and we have Satellite phones cause there’s no service. Well ping his phone to see where the last service was when It took place, nothing happens. You know what I’m saying? Don’t exist. Now as far as this laptop, mind you. When I got there, the Sheriff department had everything. They gave me his laptop. They said you can’t get in, we tried to get into it, but he had a triple firewall in it and if you go into there and you do something, it’s going to burn everything up. We doubt if you can get into it, I brought it home, gave it to somebody and said, man, I don’t know what kind of firewall they have. I say that to say, I don’t know if people did whatever they wanted to do to it and then they put the firewall in there. I don’t know. I know his diary that came back home, I know pages are ripped out of that, that I never received. I know in his camera I have his camera. You would think as soon as I opened up, you can think all the pictures that I would see would be the first pictures of whatever he took while he was in Idaho and Montana. I couldn’t find new pictures until midway flipping through the pictures.
[00:38:51] Dion Mitchell: That’s a great point because I noticed that with your son, he was really big on either video or photographs, diaries, documenting everything he did and there would be a photograph trail.
[00:39:07] Terrence Woods Sr.: Anywhere my son go, he going to take pictures. He gonna make it, he going to take pictures of himself. He is no nothing, not nothing on it with my son, physical body.
[00:39:19] Mehul Anjaria: A quick question on that point. Have you ever considered, or have you ever talked to a computer forensics expert who could go in and trace what some of the deletions and editing and tampering might have.
[00:39:31] Terrence Woods Sr.: I’ve been trying to find such a person. I have people to say, oh, I know this person and get that person and I don’t know, I can’t get there. Oh, I know this person or I can do it. It’s going to cost you $2,500 though. You know what I’m saying? Oh, now you’re putting a price on it. You’re going to go pimp me for money. Huh? I’m a working person. I’ve been working all my life work now to take care of my kids. Both of my kids went to college, we live very comfortable and it’s just the three of us. I never got remarried, no other woman ever lived in my house, their relationship with their mother, It is what it is. You know what I’m saying? That’s their mother, you know what I’m saying? She loved him. They love her, but they always live with me. Dr. Phil, Terrence was in Montana from Sunday y’all left, arrived in Idaho on Thursday as you, if you seen, when I opened up his suitcase with his clothes, all his clothes are neatly, folded up brand new underwear tags still on socks, still rolled up pants, not worn shirts, but he got one pair of muddy, dirty boots and with all these clean clothes where are his dirty clothes for the last five days?
[00:40:51] Dion Mitchell: A side question. Terrence, did he, and this is just kind of standard they ask about when they do search and rescue, did they just does Terrance aside from, you mentioned the $300 inserts, which I have as well for my flat feet. So I can relate to that any medical issues of, heart lungs, like headaches or anything like that?
[00:41:09] Terrence Woods Sr.: No, I told them they could get his doctor records from his doctor. You know what I’m saying? He has a regular primary doctor at Kaiser Permanente . We have insurance, we have doctors. We go to see the dentist. We go get physicals, get his doc, everybody talking about he had, okay, first now you’re saying the young man had a mental breakdown. Now you’re trying to say. yeah, I’ve found pills, that’s called hearsay. Show me evidence that you went to his primary doctor where his physicals are his lab work is then just go to, if you got work from, give me some of that and you show me one, one physical, one thing from any of his doctors that said he was coming in for anything. Show me some proof from a professional person not of created word of mouth trying to down talk to the person, or make this person look like the enemy, so people say, oh, he had mental problems, all the hell with him. That’s just, I guess the Sheriff said, oh, he from the city? We don’t even live in the city. My son was never even brought up in the city. You know what I’m saying? So well, because he’s black. He’s from the city?
[00:42:25] Mehul Anjaria: Yeah that’s kind of the inference. You might draw by what he said and it’s funny when you said that 911 caller said Terrence had a dark complexion. Well, compared to everybody else in Idaho. Yeah.
[00:42:36] Terrence Woods Sr.: But even from some of the people, not who he looked like, some of them.
[00:42:41] Mehul Anjaria: Well, let me go back to Raw TV real quick and I think I know the answer to this question, but again, another claim on Dr. Phil by the Sheriff, I believe. He said that you had the names of every one of the crew numbers members. Now, is that true or is Simon the only name that you have?
[00:43:00] Terrence Woods Sr.: Simon is the only name that they would give me, Simon is the only person I met and only name they would give. Raw TV would not, they said there was no criminal investigation and there was no need to give anyone else’s name not up to this day, even when Fox Five, that’s another joke of a newscast story they did a six-part podcast on my son, terrible, because it was totally one sided, everything that Melanie did was what the sheriff department said, what the sheriff department said. There is nothing in a six-part podcast that this lady did on my son where she had people that he knows people that he went to school with family members, the thing is what they said. Wow. Then the last one was, my son was with the lady that owned the RV company and told her, he don’t get along with his father, him and his brother fight. He don’t love his mother.
[00:44:02] Dion Mitchell: And none of that’s true?
[00:44:04] Terrence Woods Sr.: Hell no. Like I said, my son lived with me, his bedroom, very comfortable.
[00:44:12] Dion Mitchell: You mentioned, you mentioned a couple of pieces of evidence and stuff and I was just wondering, what do you think what’s the one most important piece of evidence or piece of the puzzle that you don’t have that might kind of blow this open or reignite it?
[00:44:25] Terrence Woods Sr.: One, if we could get in that computer to see, like you said, what was all deleted? And two, like I said, in his camera, if right now you take a bunch of pictures. So now get your camera, the pictures that you. Should not be, it shouldn’t be 200 pictures in front of them, 50 pictures in front of them. That means somebody went through them and you know what I’m saying? Scattered them around or whatever. Someone went through that.
[00:44:53] Dion Mitchell: Well, that’s it easy to figure out. So, I’m assuming since Terrence was a pro he’s probably using a pretty nice 35 millimeter camera, correct?
[00:45:01] Terrence Woods Sr.: Yes.
[00:45:02] Dion Mitchell: Okay. So that means that you can download all the pictures off the camera, via USB into a computer, and then you should be able to see each picture is timestamped. There’s no way around that and then it also should be in synchronicity. So it should be like depending how many photos is taken. It would be, 1000, 1001, 1002, 1003 and then you can look at the timestamps. So that’s fairly easy and that’s something that you can actually do right now and that’s just hook that 35 up to a PC.
[00:45:30] Terrence Woods Sr.: Okay. Well, I was I looked at, I was looking at him, through the little scan on them and I could see dates and stuff on them.
[00:45:39] Dion Mitchell: So right there. Yeah, exactly. So right there that would tell you because you get it
[00:45:43] Terrence Woods Sr.: Right. So that’s my point.
[00:45:46] Dion Mitchell: Terrence was really good he was taking all these pictures. So if there was a gap, of more than 24 hours, that would be odd.
[00:45:57] Terrence Woods Sr.: Exactly. That’s my point. Okay. So that’s my point. So I’m looking at pictures, but I’m looking at pictures. Okay. Like I said, he was just in Idaho. So those should be the first pictures then to be Montana pictures, those pictures are from when he was in Rome, I had the wrong pictures show up before the Idaho pictures.
[00:46:18] Dion Mitchell: Yeah, that’s not right.
[00:46:19] Terrence Woods Sr.: Come on.
[00:46:19] Dion Mitchell: You mentioned Terrance’s suitcase. When did you come in contact with it? And then how long did it take you to actually open it up?
[00:46:26] Terrence Woods Sr.: They gave it to me the day after I got there.
[00:46:31] Dion Mitchell: And you opened it up right away.
[00:46:32] Terrence Woods Sr.: No I looked in his backpack, his suitcase, I didn’t wanna open it up for months and then I finally opened it up and that’s when I seen everything easily folded up. That’s like they said it was 30, it was 32 degrees the night they did the shoot.
[00:46:52] Dion Mitchell: Was there snow, is there snow on the ground up there?
[00:46:56] Terrence Woods Sr.: Yes.
[00:46:56] Dion Mitchell: Was there a lot or little?
[00:46:58] Terrence Woods Sr.: In the mountains, It was, that’s why they had to stop because of the weather. So mind you, it’s 32 degrees. He runs down this hill well, what did he have? Oh, he had on, we believe a light jacket and some pants, one light jacket. Well, 32 degrees. The snow suit that I bought him before he left that’s at home with me. He didn’t have his snow suit on his secondary coat. Heavy coat I brought home with me. So he’s out, out in the woods. Y’all all got on winter coats, everything, but he’s out there with a little jacket on it. Snow coat, snow pants he doesn’t wear none of that. His boots, he didn’t have boots. He got muddy pair of shoes where these shoes are muddy, I mean, I don’t know if you’ve seen the Dr. Phil show, you’ll see the shoes. So why would he be out in that type of, and I know he took, he wouldn’t, he loves Doc Martens. So I know he had Doc Martens, I guess he might’ve had those on that day. Cause they didn’t come back, sneakers still in his bag. Like I said, no dirty clothes, no dirty underwear, no dirty t-shirts, no dirty socks. If those boots, those shoes is in there muddy, there should be some muddy pants around, should be some pants around with bottom of the pants would be muddy too, but nothing else is dirty.
[00:48:18] Dion Mitchell: Yeah. I got hung up on that pretty early as to where where were the clothes? I’ve just no, full disclosure here, I’ve worked in production for a really long time, 20 years on a set and when you get done at the end of the day, you’re not putting those clothes back on, there’s a pile of dirty clothes and you move on. So clearly he’s worked on enough sets that he knows that you pack accordingly because basically you wear something it’s done until you bring it home and you wash it. So where do you think that his dirty clothes went?
[00:48:48] Terrence Woods Sr.: Who’s to say how many days he really was there, who’s to say his dirty clothes wasn’t a part of some type of evidence and y’all got rid of them, not you all meaning you, but they got rid of them, come on, man.
[00:48:59] Mehul Anjaria: Well, then that leads into my next question. Obviously that hotel room is a very important piece of evidence and now did you say that the private investigator, the only thing he or she did was give you a photograph of the hallway of the hotel?
[00:49:13] Terrence Woods Sr.: No, I said they didn’t give me anything. They told me they have it. I have no evidence.
[00:49:18] Mehul Anjaria: That’s right. You haven’t seen it.
[00:49:19] Terrence Woods Sr.: Oh, No one will, let me see anything and remember this, I don’t know if you heard in the interview where they said the crew quote, unquote, went back to his room and went into his room and then they taped his room off and locked his room, so no one else could get in it. So the crew went back in the room before the Sheriff’s department or anyone even got there.
[00:49:40] Mehul Anjaria: You now have multiple instances where people, if they wanted to, could have tampered with evidence.
[00:49:46] Terrence Woods Sr.: Could have done anything, man. Yeah. That’s my point.
[00:49:48] Announcer: Thank you for listening to the Crime Redefined podcast, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter at Crime Redefined. Please send us your comments and questions and join us for the next episode.
Aleida K. Wahn (aleidalaw.com) is an attorney, award-winning true crime writer, and legal analyst of criminal cases. She has provided commentary on Court TV and the Law & Crime Trial Network, and authored the book, Judging Winslow Jr.-From NFL Star to Serial Rapist? Inside the Shocking Rape Trial of Kellen Boswell Winslow II. Aleida joins Crime Redefined to discuss her career trajectory, the intersection of the media and the justice system, and a disturbing stalking case she has been following. Hosted by Dion Mitchell and Mehul Anjaria. A Zero Cliff Media production.
Lindsey Wade (lindseywade.org) has just authored a book about her incredible career as a cold case detective with the Tacoma Police Department where she masterfully leveraged the latest advances in DNA technology to solve cases decades old. She now works tirelessly with the Washington State Attorney General’s Office on a sexual assault kit initiative that strives to resolve even more cases with DNA technology. Lindsey joins Crime Redefined to discuss her fascinating career. Hosted by Dion Mitchell and Mehul Anjaria. A Zero Cliff Media production.
Lindsey Wade-DNA Detective
DM=Dion Mitchell, Co-host
MA=Mehul Anjaria, Co-host
Welcome to the crime redefined podcast produced by Zero Cliff Media coming to you from the US Bank tower high above downtown Los Angeles. In our podcast, we drill deep into forensics and criminal investigation from the viewpoint of the defense as well as explore the intersection of the media and the justice system.
Hey, crime redefined fans. I’m Dion Mitchell and with me is my co-host, Mehul Anjaria. On this episode of Crime Redefined we are joined by Lindsey Wade, who retired from the Tacoma police department as a cold case detective in 2018, after an illustrious 21 year career, Pretty cool, huh, Mehul?
Yeah, but you know, she didn’t really retire. As soon as she was done with Tacoma police department, she immediately started writing a book. And she also began working with the Washington State Attorney General’s office, and she was working on their sexual assault kit initiative. And that’s because it’s it’s pretty clear that her passion is using DNA to solve cold cases. And as a matter of fact, she was instrumental in the 2019 passage of the so-called Jennifer and Michella’s law, which served to expand the types of samples that could be placed into the DNA database, aka CODIS.
That’s right. And I guess I’m always impressed when I hear 21 years at anything. It sounds like part of her retirement is she has a new book that’s going to be available soon. And it will be a glimpse into the mind of a brilliant detective and her persistence in solving the most difficult and hideous crimes. Her signature case, if you will, is the disturbing sexual assault and murder of Michella Welch and Jennifer Bastian in 1986. in Tacoma, Washington, they were only 12 and 13 years old, respectively. And at the time, Lindsey Wade was just 11 years old.
This is a disturbing and fascinating case. And it’s very cool how it got solved eventually, with DNA technology. So we’re going to talk about the case with Lindsey, of course, but we’re not going to necessarily go through the nuts and bolts of it. So I would recommend listeners that after this episode, check out the Dateline episode, entitled, ‘evil was watching’. And it’s all about this case, I think it was from 2019. Lindsay’s in it. And so you could actually go to Lindsay’s website, which is Lindseywade.org, that’s Lindseywade.org. And she has a link to the full episode. And also on her site, you can see her appearance on ‘on the case with Paula Zahn’, and she’s been on a number of news stories as well.
You know, her work was really familiar to me, not necessarily her work, but the case that she was involved in having lived in the northwest for a number of years myself, I’m particularly interested in hearing about Lindsey’s thoughts on Ted Bundy and how she tracked down his DNA. And I’m sure that’s going to be fascinating. As you will hear, Lindsey has been at the forefront of DNA technology using many of the techniques we have discussed on past Crime Redefined episodes.
Yeah, it’s definitely going to be this interview will be a good rehash of some of the themes we’ve hit on in the past, but
Well, it’s just like real world application type stuff, right? Hey, here’s a, you know, 21 years career, here’s a person who’s on the forefront, you know, the things we’re talking about, boom, here they are using it.
Right, this is how to use it in the field. And, you know, along those lines, we haven’t really talked to many detectives on this podcast. So it’s going to be, you know, really cool to hear Lindsey’s take on how the system works, how it doesn’t work, and how she does her job and what her part in this this whole system is. So, I really think that you know, whether listeners, you’re a criminal justice practitioner, or maybe you’re just a fan of true crime and want to know how things are really done, you know, how how investigations are conducted, how DNA and other science is used. I mean, I think you’re really going to enjoy this interview and learn a lot from it. So let’s get to it.
Hey, Lindsey, welcome to Crime Redefined today.
Thanks for having me.
Mehul and I are excited to speak with you and hear about your interesting cases and amazing career.
Yes, well. It’s been interesting, to say the least
Lindsey, let’s kind of go go way back. Take us back to 1986. When you first heard about the murders of Michella Welch and Jennifer Bastian, what kind of effect did that have on you personally, when you were a young girl, and you know what kind of effect did that have on the community you know, these terrible murders?
Well, you know, I was a young girl, you know, elementary school, I think I was 11 at the time. And so, you know, it’s pretty shocking. And it was, it was pretty terrifying for kids and adults, it really had a pretty significant impact on the community, not just, you know, the, the city of Tacoma, but kind of the surrounding communities as well. And it lasted a very long time. That, you know, the cases went unsolved for over 30 years. So they really, you know, became almost like, urban legend in this area. And, you know, most people that have lived here, for any length of time, you know, knew something about the cases or, you know, had heard about them, and, you know, everybody, and I have their own take on, you know, what kind of an effect the cases have on them personally.
Tell us about what were the big factors in those two cases that led everyone to believe that they must have been committed by the same perpetrator?
So unfortunately, I can’t talk about the Michella Welch case. At this point. I agreed with the prosecutors that I won’t do any interviews on that case, until it’s resolved. That offender is awaiting trial. You know, I’m sure you guys can piece together the information that’s already out there in the media, about, you know, why we thought the cases were related. But I just, I can’t speak about her case at this point.
Yeah, yeah. Fair enough. And we’ll come back to that case a little bit, you know, in in general terms, but I want to pick up Lindsey on your trajectory towards a career in law enforcement. Tell us a little bit about where you were in life when you first picked up the stranger beside me by Anne Rule. And, you know, what drew you to that book? What did you take from that? And, you know, what did that book mean to you?
Well, I was in high school, and, you know, when I read that book, it, it definitely kind of set me on my path towards becoming a police officer, and eventually a detective. You know, that book really scared the shit out of me to be I, it was just unbelievable. And the fact that it, you know, a lot of it happened near where I lived, and you know, that Ted Bundy was from Tacoma, and, you know, all these things were just so fascinating to me. And, you know, that was the first time that I really read about, you know, police investigations, and I was just absolutely fascinated. And not only was I fascinated with the investigative part, you know, it also just absolutely floored me that, you know, somebody like him could be so successful and, you know, operate for as long as he did, and, you know, that he just pulled the wool over everyone’s eyes. And, you know, people just absolutely could not believe that he would be capable of the crimes that he committed. And, and so, you know, I just think there were so many different elements about that book that stuck with me. And really, you know, from from that point on, I just kind of knew that, you know, that’s what I wanted to do with my life was, you know, be a detective.
Let me build on that a little bit, tell us about your career in law enforcement. But what were your first impressions of the job? While you’re at the academy? And then when you first went on patrol?
Oh, okay. So the police academy was, you know, that’s your first stop. And so that was, at that time, a three-month period. And, you know, really, the police academy is like drinking from a firehose, I mean, you’re trying to learn everything, you’re trying to learn laws, and you’re trying to learn, you know, Criminal Procedure, and how to do traffic stops, and how to, you know, how to handcuff somebody. And, you know, there’s just so much that, you know, when you get out of the Academy, and, I mean, I can clearly remember my first day on the street. And, you know, just, I was 22 years old by that point. And I just, I just remember thinking, this is crazy, like, I, I mean, I really have no idea what I’m doing. And, I mean, honestly, nobody does when they come out of the Academy, you know, and that’s why you have a training officer and, you know, you you ride with a training officer for several months before you’re on your own and, you know, even then, I mean, I think for most officers, you know, it takes several years before you really, you know, feel confident in yourself. In your abilities, you know, to handle pretty much any situation that gets thrown at you. I mean, when you think about most jobs, you have kind of a set parameter and set parameters of what your duties are. When you’re a police officer. I mean, it’s like anything goes, I mean, you know, your day is not dictated by you, you have no control over what happens. And you’re expected to be an expert in about 100 different things. And so it’s, it’s challenging. And it’s, you know, it’s an exciting job. It’s a job like, no other I would say. But, you know, I did enjoy my time as a patrol officer, I spent about five years in patrol, and then made a short transfer to narcotics, I spent about a year there. And I was on the detective list when I was in narcotics. And so I ended up getting promoted. A little after a year of being there to detective.
Did that switch to narcotics, Was that something you wanted to do? Or just came organically?
It was something I wanted to do. I knew it was a good steppingstone for becoming a detective.
Which is which that was your obviously your endgame. And the other quick follow up question. You mentioned the Academy is, was your training that was three months? correct?
Is that something just that you feel? having gone through it that should be longer? You know, four months, five months, six months, or longer
Now it is actually six months currently, but you know, when I went through, it was three months.
So I want to go back to Ted Bundy. So once you became a detective, I understand that you were interested in getting Ted Bundy’s DNA profile into CODIS, could you walk us through a little bit about how you went about doing that, and what some of the roadblocks were?
Sure. So in 2011, I was working with my then partner, Gene Miller, and he was the cold case detective for our agency at that time. And we had been discussing the Ann Marie Burr case, which is the oldest cold case, in Tacoma. It happened in 1961. And, you know, a lot of people have believed over the years that perhaps, Ann Marie Burr might be, you know, Ted Bundy’s, first victim. And so, you know, we knew that, but at the same time, there was really nothing in the case that linked him to the crime. And so, kind of, during our early discussions about the case, we started talking about suspects. And, of course, Bundy’s name came up and, and I started, you know, kind of wondering, Well, you know, if, in fact, we do you have any testable evidence in this case, are we going to have anybody to compare it to, and so that kind of started me on my journey of researching, Bundy, and, you know, striking out all over the place when I was searching for his DNA. And, you know, it wasn’t in Washington, I couldn’t find it at the medical examiner’s office where he was executed, and finally ended up getting in contact with the Florida Department of law enforcement crime lab and talking to their CODIS manager. And, you know, he, and I just sort of put our heads together, because, you know, he had been asked the same question multiple times. And, you know, the answer was always No, you know, we don’t have it. And so, you know, we kind of brainstormed and thought about, well, you know, how could we find his DNA? And so I kind of went on my journey in Washington, tracking down leads, which, you know, ultimately led me to an Ann Rule. And, you know, she was able to provide me with some letters and envelopes from letters that he had written to her when he was in jail, and prison. And so I thought, well, you know, maybe there’s a possibility I could get his DNA from the stamps on the letters. And so that was kind of one avenue of investigation. And then David Coffman, the CODIS manager down in Florida. He kind of went on his own path. And so I guess they have kind of a Bundy Museum at the crime lab down there. And so he looked at some items that were in the lab. But you know, couldn’t get a usable profile. And so, he could, you know, continued on with his search and he actually ended up finding I think it was two blood vials in the I believe it was the Columbia County Clerk’s office. And these vials had been collected from Bundy in 1978. Shortly after he was arrested, and, you know, the vial the blood itself, the liquid blood was no good. It was, you know, completely putrified. Luckily, there was dried blood on the lid of the the vials. And so he was able to his lab was able to generate a full profile from that and get it uploaded into Florida’s DNA database, which was a great start, but then that’s, you know, I was told that’s where it was gonna stay, because Bundy didn’t meet the criteria to go into the national database. And I was like, wait a minute.
After all that,
yeah, like, I mean, it’s great that he’s going into Florida. I mean, right? murders across the country, how can his DNA only reside in Florida’s database, that makes no sense. And so there was a conversation that took place with the NDIS custodian, that, you know, the FBI to try to figure out how to rectify the situation. And eventually, it was decided that he would go into national in the legal index. And so that’s where he sits currently. And so now his profile, you know, can be searched against profiles from, you know, all the other state databases as well.
That’s a good segue to my next question. And besides the case that you just mentioned, are there other murders you’re convinced Bundy is responsible for? And if so, Which ones?
I can’t say I’m convinced of any, because I know there aren’t any that it’s just like, Oh, for sure. There’s so much evidence overwhelmingly, it’s him. Not one that I know of. I know that there are, you know, certainly cases that people suspect him of. And I have no doubt that he’s committed way more murders than we know about. You know, he confessed to 30 right before he was executed. And 11 of those were in Washington, but only eight of those victims have been identified. So, I mean, we know he committed more murders. But, you know, I don’t know, you know, if we’ll ever link him to those cases, I hope, I hope this at some point, he is linked by, you know, scientific methods, but at this point, you know, there are, it’s hard to say,
yeah, it was that was my next question is what do you think just personally, what do you think his real number is?
I don’t know. Um, you know, I’ve heard all the, you know, triple digit stuff. And I mean, I don’t know, it’s hard to say, I mean, it is strange, that he would have, you know, starting his killing career in his 20s, it seems, you know, pretty late for somebody like him to have started killing. But I just don’t think that we’ll ever know, why , I know we won’t ever know his history or number. But I think it’s, you know, far more than 30.
Well, Lindsey, in researching your career, I learned about, I think, for the first time, the phenomenon of these so-called civil commitment centers, such as the one on McNeil Island on Puget Sound. And I actually had never heard of this concept before. Can you explain to our listeners a little bit about the history of these centers, what their purpose is, and then, you know, moving into what your specific interest was, with regards to them and collecting DNA?
Sure. So there are 22 states in the United States that have civil commitment laws. And what that means is, an offender who is deemed to be a sexually violent predator can be detained civilly for an indeterminate amount of time after they serve their prison sentence. So basically, the state deems them too dangerous to be released out into the community when they’re done with prison, and so instead of being released, they get detained. And then they go through a trial. And then well, you know, if they’re, if they are found to meet the definition of being a sexually violent predator than they are detained at this facility, and so in Washington, we have a place called the special commitment center, and it’s on McNeil Island, and offenders who are found to be sexually violent predators and those who are pending trial. So those that are just detained waiting to be tried for this can be held out there and it’s a secured facility. You know, they can’t leave If so, you know, since the program started, I believe they’ve had well over 400 sexually violent predators that have gone through the island. The program started in 1990, I believe, here in Washington and back again, 2011. It was my year, I guess. 2011, I was working on a cold case. And I was in contact with Department of Corrections on a pretty regular basis, because, you know, get records from them on different things. And I started asking some questions about the special commitment center. And specifically about, you know, whether or not all the sex predators on the island had their DNA in CODIS. And I never really, you know, got an answer initially. And once they did some research, they figured out that actually, no, the answer is no. And a lot of the offenders out there had never had their DNA collected. So I was, it ended up being over 40. people out there who had not had their DNA collected. And so that was a, you know, a well over a year, probably closer to two-year long project, working with the special commitment center staff, and the State Patrol crime lab, to get those individuals DNA collected. And then, you know, there was one person who refused, and so we had to take them to court. And so it took a while, but eventually, all the samples were collected from these guys, and some of them had been out there since the 90s. And probably would never be released, you know, because of their history. And so once all the samples were collected and uploaded into CODIS, they ended up actually getting a hit on one of the guys. And his name is Michael Halgren. And he was I think at the special commitment center since 2001. And he and he had come there from prison. And he hit to a 1980 murder case, and have a like a 19 year old woman in Bellevue, Washington, which is a city north of Tacoma. And so that was really exciting. Because I mean, I really thought, oh, gosh, you know, that we’re going to like, there’s going to be some CODIS hits out of this, for sure, these guys are the worst of the worst in Washington. And, you know, sure enough, one of them hit to this, this murder case. And when I spoke to the detective, who was investigating that case, he had been investigating that case for 12 years, you know, dozens of DNA samples from suspects, and you know, never made any headway on the case. And then one day, he comes into work, and he’s got this crime lab report in his box that says, there’s a hit on this cold case, you know, and he had no idea why they had came in. And so when I called them up and told him about the project, and he was, he was pretty excited.
I can’t imagine what that feeling must be like, as, you know, if you’re working a cold case, like all of a sudden, you’re like you said you’ve been, you know, putting in the time and energy in. And then he walks in, and then like, boom, it’s laying on his desk.
Yeah, yeah. And a name that he had never heard before. I mean, he was not in the case file. He wasn’t, you know, a person of interest. And so, you know, it was it was a shock. But, you know, it was it was just amazing. And he was, he was kind enough to let me go with him to make the arrest out on the Island and bring the guy back to be booked in for the murder.
I guess however gets done. Right. No matter how you get there, as long as you get there, right?
You know, going back to the Michella and Welch in the Jennifer Bastian cases. And it seems like you’re really on the forefront of a lot of this tech DNA technology. There was such an interesting use of everything new in DNA techniques, such as early genetic genealogy, DNA phenotyping, and, of course, more advanced genetic genealogy. When you were a detective, how did that how is it that you became aware of these tools and that you stayed on top of all of them, especially since they were kind of like growing really by the day?
Right? I just I made it a point to really try to stay on top of anything, any kind of forensic technology. I’ve always been really interested in DNA. And so I just kind of made it my mission to build relationships. with people that are much smarter than me, and so, you know, So it’s like I, you know, just sort of have created this network of people that I really was able to learn from over the years and ask a ton of questions. Whether it was, you know, with somebody from the crime lab, or, you know, forensic anthropologist, or, you know, I’ve got a good friend who’s a, you know, a DNA expert. And so, it’s, you know, it’s been helpful to cultivate those relationships, and then, you know, stay on top of it by going to trainings and talking with detectives. And really, you know, that’s how I first learned about genetic genealogy was talking to a detective in Phoenix, who, you know, told me about the canal murders and the surname search that Colleen Fitzpatrick had done. And, and that was in 2015. And, you know, when I heard that, I was like, Oh, I got to do this. And so, you know, ultimately, that’s what led to the arrest. And then the Jennifer Bastian case, of course, was that surname. And, you know, that was, you know, one of the surnames that Colleen had provided me with Washburn, and that turned out to be, you know, my suspect’s last name. So, um, you know, just, it’s amazing how fast just from 2015 to 20, you know, well, even Yeah, to now to 2021, how quickly the technology has changed, and the M-Vac, I mean, I thought, and that was, like, you know, the next coming of Christ. And then, you know, all of a sudden, you know, now there’s genetic genealogy, and you know, that, you know, it’s been one thing after the other, and it’s just such an exciting time for anyone working cold cases, because, I mean, I can remember for years, I, there are so many cases that I worked on for years. And I mean, I, I mean, I spent hundreds of hours on these cases, I submitted, you know, dozens and dozens of pieces of evidence to the crime lab, to the point where I’m sure the lab was so tired of me calling. And never made a dent, you know, never advanced the cases forward. And it was so frustrating. And, you know, as a cold case, Detective, that’s the majority of your day, that’s the majority of your week, and your month, and your year is, it’s like swimming upstream. And so when this new technology came along, at least for those cases, where there is DNA, it’s been a game changer, as you know, these cases that were previously thought to be unsolvable, you know, now, you know, you can get answers. It’s, it doesn’t help for those cases where you don’t have DNA. And I would say, most cold cases do not have DNA. And so it’s, it’s still really hard for those families that are waiting for answers. And they, you know, their case doesn’t have, you know, can’t be worked with genetic genealogy, or, you know, people think it’s kind of like, a slot machine, or like the magic button, right? It really isn’t. You know, those cases are few and far between. And so that, you know, I think that right now, there seems to be such a great interest in, in the public with cold cases. And so I think that’s really great. Because I’m, you know, I think that’s going to help kind of keep that energy going and help kind of keep the momentum. And, you know, a lot of agencies don’t have resources, and they don’t have people to work. They’re cold cases. And so they just are, you know, they’re languishing. They’re sitting on a shelf collecting dust. And so I think that because of all the interest that’s out there, you know, I think that it will help to, you know, also, hopefully, have these agencies put some resources towards it, right.
You must really think, like, for the cases where there is DNA, you must look back and go, Oh, my God, what were we doing before these technologies? Were here? I mean, you were literally feeling around the dark.
Did this make you because of you are really staying on top of us within the department. Did this kind of making you use kind of a baseball term, like a closer was like, like a rock star, everybody that had a DNA in their case where they all coming to you for your, for your help, and for your input?
Not really, no Yeah, I wouldn’t. I wouldn’t say that. I mean, people would ask me questions, but I no, I don’t think so. It wasn’t that way, although now working at the attorney general’s office, and, you know, of course, now I have access to cases statewide. And so, you know, I have done some case reviews for other agencies and, you know, looked at their cold cases. And so, you know, I am able to kind of utilize those skills and to help people, you know, other than just Tacoma cases, but cases all around the state of Washington, which has been nice.
Well, Lindsay, other than the the almighty gold standard that DNA is, what would you say, is the most the the next most powerful tool that you would have is a cold case detective?
Time, I mean, you have time, and you know, relationships change. And, you know, this, that person that might not have wanted to talk 20 years ago, because of a relationship they had, that relationship may no longer be in existence. So, or, you know, their, their life has changed. And, and so they, you know, they just feel differently about the situation. So I think time is a benefit, and it’s something that can help with cold cases. And the fact that you have time as a detective, you know, when you’re working a fresh murder case, you you’re on the clock, you’re, you know, the clock is ticking, there’s a lot of pressure to solve the case quickly. But with a cold case, you don’t have that pressure, you have time to sit back and focus and come up with a game plan and look at the case from different angles. And that’s not a luxury that you have with a fresh case.
Yeah, and then I suppose another emerging tool is actually the media and podcasts, you know, just kind of waking people up to getting interested in it. And maybe people are crawling out of the woodwork. And we hear how that is now invigorating, a lot of these investigations. It’s almost like a crowdsourcing approach to it.
Yeah. Yeah. I mean, people are interested. And you know, they’re talking about these cases. And they’re, you know, you’ve got the web sleuth community and, you know, people doing their own research and, you know, it’s, there’s just, it’s a lot more visible than it used to be.
Yeah, you’ve just got a lot of eyeballs, you know, looking at these cases now. Tell us about the time period around your retirement from Tacoma PD, what was the status of the Bastian-Welch investigation? And then kind of walk us through the case breakthrough that happened shortly after your retirement?
Yeah. So I, you know, 20, kind of the beginning of 2018, I had been approached by the attorney general’s office, about a grant that they had received, and this position that was going to be coming available as an investigator working on the statewide sexual assault kit initiative. And, you know, at that point, I, you know, I gave it a lot of thought, and, you know, I decided that I was ready to make a change and do something different, and, you know, to be to retire from law enforcement, you know, by that point, I’ve been on for 21 years. And so, I decided that I was going to go ahead and do it. And I had been, you know, in the years, couple years prior to that, doing a ton of work on those cases. And it collected about 160 DNA samples from, you know, potential suspects. And those cases, you know, those samples were being sent off to the lab in small batches, for testing, and so January of 2018, I had sent off the last batch of samples to the crime lab, knowing full well, you know, it’d be a few months before they the results came back. But I really, I mean, I had no hope at that point that, you know, any of them were going to result in a hit, you know, all of the ones in my mind that I thought looked really good, had already come back, not a match. And so, you know, when I left, I had kind of this To Do List of, you know, all these different things that were pending at the lab that I had handed off to my coworker that took over for me, and it just, you know, I was, I was sad, in a sense to be leaving and, and really that, you know, one of the hardest things was was telling Jennifer Bastian’s mom that I was leaving, because we’d become really close. And, you know, she knew that I had put a lot of time into working on her daughter’s case. So that was one of the hardest things. But you know, I kind of in the back of my mind was thinking, Well, I’m going to be doing all this work with DNA for the the Attorney General’s office. And so, you know, I think there’s still hope that at some point, you know, these cases will still be solved, you know, maybe it’ll be as a result of, you know, the sexual assault kit, testing, who knows? So that was sort of, you know, that was it for me. I mean, I left, retired in April of 2018. And went to work for the attorney general’s office. And it was less than a month later, I think it was, like, 25 days later, I get a call from the detective who replaced me in the cold case unit, telling me that he had gotten a hit on the Jennifer Bastian case. And it was, you know, one of the last one of the guys that was in that last batch of samples that I had submitted in January. And so, you know, it was, it was overwhelming.
Well, do you mind if I ask where you were at, or what you were doing when you got the call?
Yeah, I was at home, I was working from home. And, you know, when he called me, you know, I just, I couldn’t even respond initially, I was just so overwhelmed. And then, you know, I asked him who, you know, what’s the name? Who is it, and he told me, and then, you know, I knew exactly who it was when he told me the name Washburn, but, you know, Washburn, he wasn’t really, he didn’t look like a really good suspect. On paper. He, the only reason that I even included him in my list of people to get samples from was because of his last name. But you know, everybody else that I had collected from at that point, were people that I had kind of deemed higher priority based on, you know, their criminal history, mainly, and this guy, you know, he really didn’t have anything that stood out at all. And he really was only, you know, collected from because of his last name. So anyway, it was, it was just overwhelming. And even more difficult was that I had to wait two days to tell Patty Bastian about the hit, because of course, we wanted to keep it under wraps until he was in custody. And he was out of state. And so detectives had to fly to Illinois to arrest him. And then as soon as he was in custody, then I got to go knock on Patti’s door, and tell her the news. And so that was pretty, it was the best day of my career without a doubt hands down.
You know, and I guess along those lines, Lindsay, you probably never can truly retire. Because this is going to continue to happen, that cases that you worked 20 or 30 years ago, whatever, they’re gonna continue to get solved and suck you back in and and i’m sure along those lines, you’ve built other relationships with family members, and it just would imagine it’s gonna stay a part of you for the rest of your days.
Yeah, I mean, it’s, you know, it’s hard. Because, you know, this the cases, I think, I think more about the cases that I didn’t solve more than the cases that I that I did solve, and, you know, this this case is, I mean, they keep me up at night. Because, you know, as a detective, I mean, you take those cases, personally, and, you know, you, you do build a relationship with family members. And but you also, you know, have just a personal stake in the case. And so, it is hard. And, you know, for ask any homicide detective, and when they retire, you know, the hardest thing for them to do when they retire is to have any open cases left, because it’s just, you know, you feel like you just didn’t do your job.
Well, kind of continuing with the more personal questions. I read a fantastic blog post on your website, entitled, ‘I am me’. Can you tell us a little bit about what inspired you to write that, and what its meaning is, particularly through the lens of today, you know, with the tough times for race relations, and of course, police-community relations.
Yeah, you know, I mean, I, when I wrote that it was, you know, kind of, I think, maybe it was right after George Floyd, but, you know, things have just become just so polarizing. And I kind of feel like I’m sort of stuck in the middle, you know, because I am a black female, but I’m also, you know, a former police officer, you know, my husband’s a police officer. And, you know, it’s, I understand both sides. And so I, you know, sometimes feel like I’m sort of stuck in the middle, and so that’s, that’s kind of where that poem came from as is, you know, I just had all these thoughts and all these feelings. And, you know, for me, the way that I like to express my feelings is to write things. And so, you know, that’s, that’s where that came from.
I guess it’s kind of a good segue, I want to wish you congratulations, I understand that you’re a new author.
Yes. So I, I started writing my book shortly after I retired. And, at this point, just working with my, my agent on a, you know, trying to figure out how we’re going to get it published. So it’s been a very long road, I know nothing about, you know, the publishing industry or the literary world. And so it’s been a huge learning curve for me. You know, I’m used to writing police reports, where it’s like, who, when, what, where, you know, why, and how, and that’s it, you don’t add your, your opinion. And you don’t add your feelings, for sure. And so, writing a book that somebody wants to read, is quite different than, you know, the style of writing that I’m used to. So it’s been challenging, but also a lot of fun, to be able to actually, you know, get my thoughts and feelings down on paper and, and to share, you know, some of the interesting cases that I worked on in my career,
that’s really interesting, and makes me think, tell us, can you tell me just share with our listeners just a little bit about the process? Because that’s a, that’s a big transition that you just mentioned. So how do you go from reports to basically entertainment? So how did you like, you carve out a space in your house? And how did you make that transition?
So I, I think, when I was writing the book for print, most of the time, I literally just, you know, had a desk in my living room. And I would write after my family went to bed. So I just had, you know, peace and quiet. It, you know, early on, I actually hired a book coach, and that was the best thing I could have done, because she really helped kind of shape the way that I was writing and, and move it from, okay, just, you know, getting all the facts down, versus, you know, What did it look like? What did it smell like? What did it feel like?, you know, let’s add some color, you know, all the things that I was that, you know, it was like, beat into me, as a, you know, a police officer, you know, you don’t write that stuff. It just took a long time to write it, even though I was used to reading books, and I knew what I liked to read, it was hard to write it. And so, you know, it took it took a lot of editing a lot of back and forth, a lot of track changes with my book coach, but she really did help push me to get add more of that flavor. And, you know, add the life into the story. And, and then when I found my agent, you know, she also helped me with that considerably. And so, you know, it’s been great working with people that are professional writers. And you know, I am not a professional writer, I am, you know, I’m, I guess I’m a subject matter expert that’s writing about my subject matter. And so, it’s been great to have those people that are experts in that, and their craft helped me along the way.
Lindsay, you’ve also been a very strong and excellent advocate for the expansion of these DNA databases. Can you describe for us a little bit about the work you did in developing, promoting and eventually executing Jennifer and Michella’s law?
Yeah, so um, I worked really closely with Washington State Representative Tina Orwall. And she’s been a big proponent of sexual assault reform and a lot of the legislation that’s occurred in Washington since 2015 related to sexual assaults, and, you know, victims of sexual assault and really, you know, helping survivors get justice. And so I was able to work with her and, gosh, we went, I think it took four years of advocating before we finally got that bill passed into law. And it was it was hard. You know, Patti Bastian was a huge advocate. And she would come down to Olympia and testify. I would go down and testify. And it was finally you know, in 2019, and we finally had enough backing and support to get that law passed. And, you know, it was fantastic, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s much needed, and I think it’s so great to have you know, something -a law. especially related to DNA, you know, in the name of those two girls, because, you know, they should never be forgotten. And I think, you know, DNA is such a powerful tool. And we assume, I think a lot of people assume that because the DNA laws have been around for so long, that the system really works, and that people’s DNA does actually get collected when they go to prison, and it gets put into CODIS. But, you know, it’s, that’s not always the case. And so, you know, for me, and I’m always looking for ways to kind of fix some of the loopholes, when it comes to DNA related laws.
You know, I want to take advantage, Lindsey, of our unique opportunity to speak with you. And your background, you’re such an accomplished detective, and I really excited to kind of ask this question, walk us through, what are the initial steps in a cold case investigation? So a detective picks up a binder on a case and he or she is hoping to rekindle. What are those first steps out of the gate to kind of fire things up?
Read the case, you know, the first thing you want to do is, you know, I guess even before you read it is you want to look to make sure you have everything and you know, with cold cases, especially, you know, you’ll find that there might be documents at the prosecutor’s office, or the crime lab or the medical examiner’s office, or the property room that are not in the binder. So, it’s really important to make sure you have everything to start with. And then to read it over. And you know, usually more than once, and I’m a big sticky note, component or proponent. And so, you know, I, for me, I would read through the book first just and then go back a second time and read it and make sticky note. And, you know, make notes for myself on things that I found interesting things I wanted to go back to things I wanted to look into. And then, you know, you kind of have to figure out, Where’s everybody at? You’ve got all these people listed in the in the case? Are they alive? Are they dead? Are they in prison? Did they move to Oklahoma? You know, you got to figure out where these people are? And you know, are you going to be able to locate them? And then, you know, really, really importantly, for me, especially since I always kind of focused on the forensic side was, what about the evidence? You know, what kind of evidence was collected? Is it still maintained? And what can we do with that evidence today that couldn’t, you know, that couldn’t have been done when the crime was committed? And so, you know, one of the things that I always find interesting is, sometimes I’ll hear, you know, detectives say, Well, you know, yeah, they did DNA testing already. And they didn’t find anything. Okay, well, if they didn’t do DNA testing within the last, like, five years, they need, So I, when people tell me that I just like, yeah, okay, I’m gonna, let’s take another look. But, you know, and, you know, it’s not just DNA, I mean, heck, you know, with next generation fingerprinting, they’re solving all kinds of cases now, with, with that technology, because a lot of these fingerprints haven’t been looked at in these cases for decades. And so, you know, that’s really been a game changer for some of these cold cases. But I think it’s, you know, just important to look at everything, you know, and because with cold cases, you weren’t there, you weren’t part of the investigation originally, you know, it’s important to go back to the crime scene, it’s important to talk to everybody. And you know, in some cases, you know, I’ll even go back and talk to the medical examiner, and have them really explain to me like, how did you come up with this? You know, or how did the medical examiner from that time, come up with this determination? Because I don’t really understand it. I think the biggest mistake that a detective can make is not asking questions. And I think sometimes people hesitate to ask questions because they feel like it, you know, might undermine them somehow, or, you know, make it seem like they don’t know what they’re doing. But I think it’s the complete opposite. You got to you know, you got to ask questions and keep asking questions, because that’s how you learn.
Well, interestingly, in some of the missing persons cases, it seems like at least on rare occasion, the individual is actually missing on purpose. And I think there is a term like runner or ghosting or something like that. When you have that type of situation, what are some of the telltale signs that someone who is labeled as a missing person actually intended to fall off the grid and disappear?
Um,gosh, you know, I mean, I had a few cases where, you know, someone intentionally took off and actually committed suicide. But they just were, you know, kind of identified as a missing person for a long period of time until they were found. I can’t say that I’ve had any experience with somebody that just decided, like, I’m going to start a new life and go move to, you know, some other place and change my identity. So I haven’t dealt with that myself. But, I mean, it certainly happens.
So it truly, truly is a rare phenomenon.
I think so yeah. I mean, I did, I worked missing persons for quite a few years. And I mean, I can’t say that I ever came across that there were definitely people that got reported missing, who, I mean, they weren’t intending to, like, hide from people, but they just, you know, they lived a lifestyle that didn’t really like, they just, you know, sometimes people don’t keep in contact with their relatives or their or their, you know, their loved ones, because of their lifestyle, especially if they’re living a high-risk lifestyle. Or, you know, if they’re in a relationship that doesn’t allow for that. So, you know, there certainly are times when people get reported missing, that, you know, they just, they’re fine. You know, once once they’re, they’re located but they just intentionally weren’t keeping in contact.
But you, but you think it’s a kind of a rare, like, if someone you know, ghosting themselves, you think it’s actually pretty rare.
I have not seen that, personally.
Well, so we’ll I guess we’ll start to wrap it up a little bit. It’s only fair that we ask you to tell us about your podcast, and to talk about the, your cold case podcast.
Yeah, so we haven’t recorded a new episode in in quite a while. But I started the podcast with a friend of mine named Mike McCann, who is also working on a book about Ted Bundy. And so we decided to kind of focus on cold cases, both solved and unsolved. And to, you know, try to focus on, you know, interviewing some of the experts within the field. So, you know, we interviewed Colleen Fitzpatrick in one episode, and we interviewed our state forensic anthropologist, and, you know, we just thought the listeners, aside from just, you know, telling stories about cases would be interested to hear from, you know, some of the really phenomenal people that do the work, oftentimes behind the scenes on some of these cases.
We enjoyed it. I enjoyed listening to it. Where can they? Where can our listeners find it?
And so it’s the podcast is called ‘anatomy of a cold case’, and it’s on Apple, , Spotify, Anchor, and I don’t know, wherever you find your podcasts.
That’s enough places I think.
Well, Lindsey, we learned a lot today. Thank you so much for your time. We really appreciate it.
Yes, well, thank you. appreciate you having me on.
Yeah, you bet. And, you know, best of luck to you with the book and you know, whatever it is, whatever else it is you decide to conquer.
Well, Dion, I get the feeling that now that Ted Bundy’s DNA is in the database that eventually he’s going to be linked, you know, with DNA to many more cases. And obviously, the the evidence is quite old in those cases from the 70s. But people aren’t gonna lose interest in them. And if some of that evidence still exists, you know, now that the DNA testing methods are improving, there’s going to be a greater and greater chance that they can get usable DNA. And there’s just bound to be more hits. And, you know, I wanted to touch on something I want to get technical here just for a minute, but Lindsey was talking about how it was very hard to get a sample of Ted Bundy’s DNA, and eventually they found this vial of blood in the court clerk’s office. Well, guess what, if it’s at the court clerk’s office, it’s not refrigerated obviously. So as she said, you know, the DNA from the liquid blood was no good, it was all putrefied but there was dried blood still somewhere on that vial. And that gave a full profile. So you know, dried blood stains, even if they’re stored at room temperature, or even worse, they’re gonna give you DNA for years and years and years. This is precisely why this is the preferred method of storing DNA from blood, you put it onto a card, you make a dried stain and you freeze it. So Dion, did you get your Ted Bundy questions answered?
Yes, no and maybe well, I tried it a couple of times to get her to bite on a couple of questions. But she being a smart detective….didn’t bite
She’s still a detective after all…
One quick comment is that I found her or her comment was interesting about the Ted Bundy shrine. But the the Florida the Florida was it Dade County?
The Ted Bundy Museum?
Yeah, the museum actually had like a sign or a shrine or a museum setup for him because there was so much material, which goes to actually my comment, one of the questions I couldn’t get her to bite on is, what’s his real number? I mean, I don’t think it’s 30, or whatever she mentioned. It was I think it’s a lot more I was having deja vu visions of H. H. Holmes, that I think that there’s no incentive for Ted Bundy to give any kind of a real number, but I would guess it’s at least well over 50 you can’t be doing what he was doing for that long across the United States in that time period without DNA, and these other forensic techniques, and have the number. You know, be in my opinion, unfortunately, that that low? I think it’s a lot more, I think, yeah.
Yeah. And as a serial killer. You know, you’re constantly trying to deceive the cops. So when you get caught, you know, I don’t think that ends, you know, you’re still gonna toy with them. Oh, was it 30 people? Was it 100?
Look, we’re still keeping the legacy living on? We’re still talking about him. Right.?
You know what, dummies like us are still talking about it. Right?
We are still making movies about Ted Bundy, perhaps he is getting the last laugh.
You’re right. Right, exactly. But, you know, she was very dogged with DNA in all her cases, you know, historical ones, Ted Bundy, and current ones. And it was really great to see detective who’s so up to date on the latest DNA trends. And she gave the example when she you know, would when she cracks open a cold case, first thing to do is go talk to the people who worked at originally go talk to the medical examiner…
I love that breakdown that was inside baseball for me. hey, how do you? What do you do to get started on this? you know, some of that stuff is logical, hey, do this. But I was really cool to hear it right from a veteran detective, you know
What struck me is that it’s essentially the same operation, when you’re looking at a case post-conviction, because you’re looking at it with the eyes that they did not convict the right person. So it’s now a cold case again. So if you’re trying to exonerate somebody, it’s obviously best to solve the case at the same time. So all these steps she was talking about, sounded very familiar to me looking at cases from a post-conviction posture. So it’s kind of funny how the two worlds in that regard intersect.
But it’s a goal in mind. You may be on different teams. It’s the same get the right guy or girl,
It’s an unsolved case. Anyway you, look at it. what struck me is she was talking about she went and talked to the detective. In this one particular case. He said, Oh, yeah, we tried DNA. And you know, it was a dead end. And she asked, Well, how long ago, you know, five years? Well, Gosh, that’s ancient history now in, DNA technology. So there’s the Lindsey’s out there. But I think the detective that she described, you know, just saying, Hey, we did DNA, and that’s enough, that’s probably more reflective, where most law enforcement is actually
I checked a DNA box there’s nothing to see here. Let’s move along on to something else, you know, something that maybe they unfortunately, you know, I don’t mean this as a dig that they understand. Right?
Well, yeah, yeah, for sure. And, of course, when DNA was brand new, it was just over everybody’s had. And we can’t really say that DNA is a new technology, but the way that it’s used is constantly new, every two years or something, we have these dramatic breakthroughs. So I don’t know how many Lindsey’s there are out there.
Well, let’s also break that down even further. So let’s say there. Let’s say there’s a new DNA technique doesn’t come up for a number of years, but let’s just stay with genetic genealogy. there’s going to be more people uploading it. So even for that alone, you need to keep going back and tasting it because you may get a familial hit, right? Or, because every year those that database is expanding.
Well, it’s true and even and I’ll kind of run a parallel with attorneys. You know, a lot of attorneys they might have went 10, 15,20 years without ever seeing DNA in a case. Part of that is because when DNA was first used, it was clunky and expensive. It was only used in the most serious cases. Well, now I mean, if it’s a you know, somebody who’s jaywalking and dropped a piece of gum, they they might use DNA in it. More attorneys, more detectives are going to have to deal with this is going to be right in their face.
Yeah, it’s I think it’s truly incredible how the technologies like genetic genealogy are closing these cases, one after another.
So I mean, there’s no doubt that genetic genealogy is like you say, in the baseball parlance that that it’s the closer, but I think one thing we’ve got to remember is that, although you know, it looks like genetic genealogy quickly solves a case and maybe easily solves case, you’ve got to kind of understand how that sausage is actually made. So getting the DNA sample, in a lot of cases might be the easy part. And then just uploading it into this open access genealogy, that database, that’s probably the the easy part, it’s what happens after that to actually get the lead, that can be extremely labor intensive. And that’s why you can’t throw this at every case, even if you have a DNA sample, because it’s gonna take months of hard work, and probably numerous individuals working together to refine this genealogy research. In other words, to look at documents track down leads, interview, people maybe perform additional DNA testing. So to get to that magic moment of cuffing the perp, and say, DNA did it that takes a lot of time and effort. And you know, like Lindsey said, most of the cold cases don’t even have DNA evidence. So we hear about the genetic genealogy, but it’s really just a drop in the bucket of the cold cases, they’re there, and it’s not available for most of them.
Yeah, unfortunately, there is going to be a little bit of a, I guess, a time stamp cut off. So everything after this date, DNA will have an impact, because they just weren’t collecting it, or knew to collect it. Or this. And let’s say, you know, something falls out of the sky, and they’re able to, to link it to somebody that could be a potential suspect or witness in a case.
I mean, if you don’t have it, you can’t test it.. That’s all there is to it. And a lot of times people are it was collected, maybe in the 80s, but it could have been destroyed, it could have been damaged. Believe it or not, these things get lost. You know, for example, like the, the Ted Bundy blood vial in the clerk’s office, seemed like Lindsey and other people had to go through a lot of work to even locate it. You know, where was that? Where’s the evidence tracking system in the 70s? And 80s? You know, it was it was probably written on a cocktail napkin.
Yeah, that was a little bit of a jaw drop for me. It just should haven’t been that she had to go through that much work. And here it was sitting in a lab. There was a and there was a shrine, you know, it just,
Yeah, that was one. And then then the, you know, the clerk’s office? Like I said before, it’s like, well, that’s, you know, I mean, you’re not looking to preserve evidence there. It’s just that it was probably a court exhibit, you have to hold on to that stuff. So it was just thrown in a box somewhere.
Well, I guess that kind of a positive side to that, that that Lindsey raised, that it’s that time is on the cold case Detective’s side. that there’s, there’s no, you know, there’s not so much pressure, timing, pressure, and that they’ll get there when they get there. And then also, now departments have dedicated Cold Case units. This way, they’re not taking it away from resources from from current cases, which I thought was also smart, I think you’re going to see a lot more of, I guess, compartmentalizing, in, I think medium to large forces just for that, because I think as we keep moving forward with the DNA, they’re gonna be able to really go back and like, like we just talked about, and start applying some of this DNA that’s sitting on a shelf somewhere to these cold cases
Well, when you think about the amount of material that has to be reviewed on a cold case, you really can’t be pulled in 25 different directions, doing other cases. So these dedicated cold case units are a great idea. Because you think about a brand new case, there’s only so much evidence, so many police reports only so much has been done. But if you’re looking at a cold case, there might be 40 years of people investigating this and researching it. And you have to plow through all of that. So you really have to be focused on it. And it seems to me that, you know, Lindsey is really, really cut out for this job. And I suppose to the outside world, it sounds like she just sort of sailed through her career was continually promoted and excelled. But I’m sure Dion it wasn’t that easy. And, you know, maybe we should have asked her more about some of the challenges that she faced, and hopefully we can talk to her again, down the road, you know, particularly when her book comes out. And, you know, even just the fact that in this, you know, in the business she’s in I mean, she’s, she’s a woman, and she’s biracial at that. So what challenges must that have brought onto her? And I bet we’ll hear about that in her book.
Yeah, I hope so. I still go back to how rewarding it must be. When a detective finally solves a mystery that’s, that’s decades old, you know? Like, how cool is it that cases Lindsey worked on for years will likely end up being solved in the future and she’ll continue to celebrate them? I think that’s, I think that’s why you get into the business and why she works so hard to become a detective.
Well, you know what else? The more complicated these cases are, the longer they’re going to live on. Because some of the cases that Lindsey thought were solved, are going to come back on appeal, convictions might be overturned. And so you never get away from these cases, particularly the complicated murder cases.
I agree. But I also there’s another thing I took away from, I guess, from her, her spirit on this is that, obviously, she loves bringing closure to the family, you can tell by that part of the discussion. I don’t want to, you know, go too much in that because it just spoke for itself. But I’m sure that she also is always, you know, spending a lot of time focused on the cases that she couldn’t solve during her career, I bet you that probably really eats her up.
Yeah, that’s, that’s definitely a tough side effect to this line of work. And I mean, just to kind of close out here, I think that this interview was a great lesson and how it’s not really the DNA technology that solves the case, it’s the detective who put the work in, to first of all, find the DNA, and then make sure that it can be compared to as many people as possible. If you’re suspect is, not in a database, somewhere there, there’s just not going to be a hit. So, you know, for example, I was really impressed with how Lindsey thought about these civil commitment centers, and had the idea that, hey, we don’t know that their DNA profiles are necessarily in a database. So she went and wasn’t easy, but ended up getting those guys tested. And lo and behold, she solved a case that way.
Well, it’s that kind of out of the box thinkingI think it’s gonna keep the, you know, I hate to keep using sports analogies, but the ball, you know, moving down the field, you know, it’s like, Okay, well, we tried this. We’ve been doing it this way. How much success? What else can we try?
So we look forward to talking with Lindsey again in the near future. And of course, reading a book, it seems like there’s so many questions we could have asked her but we only had a short amount of time. To learn more about Lindsey, check out our website at lindseywade.org . And also check her out on Twitter @elledubb7. And we want to say hey, thanks again for listening and for interacting with us on social media. keep those questions coming. We love it. We like to play you know, stump the DNA expert when we get every chance we get. We hope everyone is doing better now that the pandemic is subsiding a little bit, and make sure you check out all of our past episodes at crime redefined.com be well everyone.
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