Midwest true crime as well as stories of the unexplained, obscure, peculiar and down right scary Prairietales sent in by our listeners. We focus on Midwest cases, but a good story is a good story! Hope you join us! Listen, like, subscribe and follow us on FB (Little Crimes on The Prairie) and Twitter (@crimeslittle). Send us your stories! firstname.lastname@example.org
Episode #112 - The Victor Newberry Affair
You’d be surprised at small town America and the stories you might hear if you spend some time at a local watering hole. We know, you’re likely on your way to almost anywhere else. Our little home towns with our single stoplights, and noon special diners are rarely the desired destinations for travelers.
Except for maybe once a year, when any Midwest town worth driving to, has it’s annual celebration. Where I’m from we will celebrate anything in the summer!
We celebrate water towers, chislic, flowers, outlaws, quarries.. Literally anything… We also have Pow Wows, All kinds of Reunions, Centennials, Sesquicentennials for those fancier towns established before statehood in the Dakotas.
The highlight of these small town celebrations is people show up… Sons, daughters, cousins and friends come home to visit, because if we don’t celebrate Jesse James, who will???
Most of these celebrations are capped with a street dance, and if you’ve never attended one I highly recommend it! If you don’t like drinking and dancing on Main Street to a cover band playing Don’t Stop Believing, I still 10/10 would recommend going just to people watch. Or listen.
I have heard some of the wildest stories (probably starred in a few as well) at gatherings like these. The story will be told, and you’ll be as confused as a fart in a fan factory. Oh but not for long! There will be a guy who won’t say names, but he’ll tell you all about the “cover-up”... Could be a murder, could be a robbery, could be a story about someone breaking into cars stealing change, maybe poachers… It doesn’t have to be sensational, it just has to be unsolved, or at least without a clearly defined sequence of events.
It wasn’t until I started listening to Dakota Spotlight this past spring, that I discovered I wasn’t alone! I wasn’t the only one who refused to accept one of these conspiracy theories without a second thought.
I wasn’t the only one who was irritated hearing a whale of a tale with no facts. I was no longer alone in my search for some damn answers, and mostly, I wasn’t alone in my disappointment. The kind of disappointment you feel when society feels like sandpaper against the grain of your morality. Angry after you hear a story about a teenage girl found dead in the creek on the edge of a town you practically grew up in, but would barely tell you her name. Or when it happened. Yet, somehow, all of them knew with alarming confidence who was responsible, and why…
It wasn’t until I heard James Wolner tell the story of Viktor Newberry, that I finally felt like I wasn’t the only one pissed off at all these people who seem to know it all, but have never thought to do anything, other than gossip, about it…. This wasn’t poachers, or a change thief. This was a young lady who these people claim was murdered. Why in the hell isn’t anyone raising hell about this?? Alas, across the prairie in Glen Ullin North Dakota the story of Viktor Newberry’s death and the cover up that followed was told to James. Unacceptable without facts, finally someone set out to find some.
Last spring I was sick of hearing about quid pro quo, conspiracies, cover ups, collusion, but mostly I was sick of hearing about “fake news”... James so accurately described what I was feeling I had to add a little snippet!
The thing about conspiracies, is that they’re supposed to be secret… If a whole town knows about it, it’s not much of a conspiracy. If the allegations of a cover up were true, and everyone knows about it, aaannnddd nobody does anything about it? That’s not a conspiracy, that’s b******t. That’s blatant abuse of power, and a bunch of dumbasses who allow it to happen.
I don’t even think I was through the first episode of Dakota Spotlight before I was emailing James. It felt like I had a kindred spirit
Episode #111 - Prairietales #2 - Blizzard 1975
When we talk about the midwest sometimes we forget to mention the weather. The climate in the midwest is pretty much as you might guess, warm in the summer and cold in the winter.
There’s a phenomenon in the midwest where the weather changes very quickly. I’ve seen the temperature shift almost 100 degrees in 24 hours. In January 1943 in Spearfish, SD the temperature increased 49 degrees in 2 minutes from 4 below zero to a sunny 45 degrees. 2 minutes.
Let’s not forget the wind…. There’s so much damn wind here, there are wind turbines all over in the southwestern corner of Minnesota and Eastern South Dakota. It seems like it is always windy here.. Chinook winds from the southwest bring warm winds and Alberta Clippers bring the cold arctic wind.
The I-90 and I-29 corridors in Western MN, Eastern SD, Northern IA is where I’m from. There’s The Buffalo Ridge in Southwest MN, which turns into the Coteau Ridge as it runs north just past the North Dakota border. This is known as the Coteau de Prairies, a flatiron plateau where the wind builds strength before it rolls down the plateau and across the prairie, spinning the wind turbines like a child’s pinwheel.
We don’t hear enough about the blizzards. The wind is what separates a snowfall from a blizzard. Not a winter storm, but the full on, you better have your shit together, for real or you could die f*****g blizzards.
Since we just had a blizzard I figured I would tell you a story about my mom and one of the worst blizzards on record.
There’s probably a lot of people listening that don’t know what a blizzard is like. I’m gonna do my best to describe it..
Let me paint you a picture, it’s white….. And I slap you in the face with it a hundred times while your extremities freeze and you can’t see.
The blizzard I’m gonna tell you about started on January 9th, 1975. This particular blizzard had winds sustained at 45-55 mph and gusts up to 80 miles per hour. Yes. 80. Imagine freeway fast snow, ice and debris coming at you as the wind takes your breath away. You can only breathe if you don’t bury your head in your coat or scarf. The wind shapes the drifts that can drastically change the landscape. You can’t tell which way you are going, in the upper midwest if you are stuck you never leave your vehicle to walk somewhere.
Obviously, that was more important back before cell phones, but still sometimes out here (Yes even now) there’s dead zones. Calls are dropped and texts just sit there half sent.. That’s not where you want to be when the wind picks up and the snow starts flying.
Episode #110 - Duct Tape Killer - Robert LeRoy Anderson
The murders of Larissa Dumansky and Piper Streyle
Sioux Falls, SD is the largest city in South Dakota, snuggled near the eastern border with Minnesota and Iowa’s northeast corner. You can often find it on some list of the Best Places to live. Almost 30% of the state’s population can be found in the Sioux Falls “Metro” Area. (yes I used airquotes)
Over 2 decades has passed since the confusion, worry and ultimately the realization of the predator that lurked among South Dakota’s east river metropolis.
Hunting and studying women from all over the areas in and outside of Sioux Falls. A predator that was insidiously astute, patient and decisive preyed upon unsuspecting women. A creature lived beneath an exterior that was dangerously unnoticeable.
In August, 1994 Larisa Dumansky disappeared after a long night at work. The night shift at the John Morrell’s meat packing plant was hard work, but Larisa was up for the task. She and her husband Bill immigrated from Ukraine in 1991, determined to create a better life for their growing family. The mother of 2 girls was 6 weeks pregnant. Larisa’s van sat parked in the same spot she parked before walking into work that night.
The disappearance of the doting mother and loving wife left investigators frustrated, her family devastated and a burgeoning city shaking its head at the lack of leads. Weeks turned into months, and then years as the Dumansky family remained hopeful, although knowing Larisa would never leave her life voluntarily. Larisa’s husband Bill and their children held on to hope, and for 3 years that was all they had. The answers they ultimately received were nothing short of unimaginable.
In July of 1996 Piper Streyle’s disappearance was the catalyst that set off a chain of events, uncovering the sort of depravity that deserved to be kept in the dark recesses of a foul mind without context or a story to tell.
But, I’ll tell the story, not to give fame or glory to this depraved man, but to educate. Trust your gut, and if it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.
It was the situation mothers have nightmares about. The paralyzing idea of being taken from your children in a manner that leaves them scarred as witnesses.
Something so f*****g terrifying you can only hope your 2 and 3 year old will be safe long enough for you to endure whatever this is, you’d do anything to get back to them. Hoping only they understand that the only thing that could have taken you is the fear of them being killed or death itself .. Every mother I know would gladly stare death in the face if it meant putting distance between a monster and her children. You pray for your family as it all fades to black and honestly, at this point you’re probably welcoming death after what he’s done to you.
Sexually Violent Predators most commonly use violence as a means to gain and maintain control of a nonconsenting party. We all know and understand that sexually motivated assaults are difficult to endure, difficult to prove and difficult to prosecute. This is likely why only 230 out of 1000 sexual assaults are reported, out of 1000 sexual assaults 995 perpetrators will walk free.
Marquis de Sade was a French author and sexual deviant, from whom we derived the word Sadist. He was a pedophile, rapist and a sexual terrorist. He is the father of the modern day sexual sadist. Sexual Sadists make up a small percentage of perpetrators, not all rapists are sadists.
Sexual sadists get sexual pleasure from the pain, suffering and/ or humiliation of their victims. Of course all predators are terrifying, but there is something about these crimes that I find exceptionally horrifying. I think it’s the pleasure they get from your suffering. They are unlikely to have empathy for you in any capacity, their ultimate satisfaction comes with watching you suffer a
Episode #109 - Fate of Fortune Part #2 - Gaston Means
Fate of Fortune - Gaston Means Part #2
If you haven’t listened to Part 1 of Fate of Fortune, please do before you continue with this episode! It will make so much more sense, I promise!
Hey there! Welcome to Little Crimes on the Prairie… I don’t think I have any business to blab about today - It’s been like 2 days since Part 1 came out, so no new business today! We get to just dive right back in! So we’ll recap Part 1 a bit…
We learned a little about James King and his self made millions. I’m not going to say he never took advantage of anyone, but there is a clear cut contrast if you look back at the 20 year old versions of them. When James was 20 he left Vermont for Illinois, both parents already deceased and $270 to build his life on.
When Gaston was 20 he was gearing up to drop out of the University of North Carolina, and take a job his father got him. Gaston manipulated people and things, James seemed to be honestly familiar with serendipity.
When James lost his first wife Sarah he remained single for over 10 years and seemed to enjoy himself and everything around him. He eventually met 28 year old Maude Robinson and married her. Although, not exactly chomping at the bit, he first had her sign a prenup. He died in 1905 (I’d like to see his death certificate, even though nothing suspicious about that has been raised) Later, in court to contest James’ will, Maude claimed that the marriage wasn’t consummated until he showed that he added her to his will. Which he did, she was to receive $100,000 upon his death and he’d already given her $200,000. So $300,000 for some 1900’s booty, seems a little steep.
Northern Trust settled with Maude for a million bucks, and she heads to Europe to waste some of her hard earned money.
Eventually, Maude’s sister Mazie hired Gaston Means to help look after Maude’s affairs and money. In just 2 years Gaston had lost her fortune in stocks, and decided what everyone needed was a trip to his hometown, for some good ol’ southern hospitality and rabbit huntin’...
Gaston’s family played host to a grand ol time. Maude even planned a good ol fashioned BBQ wishing to invite the whole town!
Gaston was sure to get Maude a new pistol, becuse she didn’t care for the one she was using. She’d never had an inclination to hunt anything prior and Maude’s mother Ana testified that Maude was scared of guns and had refused to ever touch one. Not that it really matters, because during some moonlight target practice Maude get’s dead in the most totally believable, not at all predictable gun accident.
Could happen to anyone in a remote area, shooting targets in the dark, with the person who manages your entire life and has nothing to gain by you totally shooting yourself…. Accidentally, though. Behind the left ear. With a Colt .25. With a palm pressure safety…. Well, the “jury” for the inquest in Concord agreed with Gaston. Immediately following the “inquest” Means, Mazie and the undertaker hightailed it back to Chicago to get her in the ground.
Word made the rounds to NYC and Chicago about the suspicious circumstances, and Maude was exhumed and re examined by a pathologist. Wouldn’t you know it, he determined her death to be a homicide!
Murder charge looming in his home county, the world learned about a second will of James King! WHAT?!? Ya don’t say??
This will Gaston claimed to have found in mid August of 1915, and with Maude totally aware of this new will, Gaston set off to have it verified by experts for 2 years!!
Apparently the Violet King had a literal last minute change of heart. Screw the old men’s home and the rest; it should all go to Maude it said.
Conveniently, witnessed by Mazie Melvin herself, her husband and the president of Northern Trust (who held James King’s estate in trust) Byron Smith.. Of the 3 witnesses only Mazie
Episode #108 - Fate of Fortune - Gaston Means
Long ago, in a place named Serendippo, a King had the highest of hopes his 3 princes would have the best of everything. However, He couldn’t just simply leave his sons with power and wealth, he must also instill the virtues important to the delicate balance such a position requires. Education being the most important of these virtues.
The 3 princes excelled academically and the royal tutors were pleased. The King tested his sons and proposed he live in the shadows and relinquish his throne. Each prince declined, praising the King’s wisdom and ability to rule. While it pleased The King, he felt the princes’ education may have been entirely privileged and sheltered.
Or maybe he figured they were full of shit, I mean not one wanted to take his throne? Either way. The King pretended to be angry and cast the Princes away from Serendippo for some real life experience…
The 3 Princes were indeed wise, but it was their skills in observation that had served them well thus far. The 3 Princes knew how important education was to their father, but they also knew of his desire for perfection. The Princes observed The King’s penchant for vanity and saw how their father could never admit failure or fault. The Prince’s knew if one had accepted the offer of the Throne from The King he would have been insulted, instead they received a free vacation. Simply by attention paid to the world around them.
After a long voyage, The 3 Princes arrived in a foreign land and became keenly aware and familiar with their environment. Taking it all in; from the dirt beneath their feet to the air above them. They walked and watched, listened and smelled.
The Princes saw a merchant who said he lost his camel. The Princes asked if the camel was lame, blind in one eye, missing a tooth, carrying honey, butter and a pregnant woman. The hopeful merchant asked where they saw his camel. The Princes said they had not seen the camel or the woman. Thieves! the Merchant charged and brought them before the Emperor. The Emperor demands to know how they can give such an accurate description despite having never seen the animal.
Each Prince explained: Grass was eaten from the side of the road that was less green, the camel must be blind in one eye and unable to see the lush grass just steps away... Bits of grass littered the road, the camel had clearly lost some of his meal through the gap from a missing tooth…. 3 feet made prints, the fourth made a path; flies on one side and ants on the other could be from none other than a lame camel dripping butter for the ants and honey for the flies. Nearby was a wet patch of dirt near footprints and a handprint. It was urine where a pregnant woman must have used her hand to get back up after relieving herself. Unbelievable!
Just then the trial was interrupted by a traveler who had found an old lame camel wandering the desert and the pregnant woman nearby. The Emperor spared the Princes and made them his advisors, lavishing them with riches.
The Princes lived an adventurous life and enjoyed many fortuitous endeavors. Opportunistic observations? Or just damn lucky?
Serendipity was the word Horace Walpole wrote, in search of a word to describe a fortuitous accident. A description of accidentally finding something amazingly beneficial, while looking for something else completely. Serendipitous fortune.
Is it just Lucky in Life or Make your own Luck? Coincidence? Fate? Or could it be manifested through clever and acute observations?
Some may say it’s intuition, and intuition can’t really be separated from general observation. At least not scientifically.
Observation can be tuned and learned, but can Intuition? Even the best poker players rely on a little luck as well as their observations and acting.
Reading people isn’t just for cards. Sometimes it’s a seemingly natural skill that you can find in peop
Episode #107 - Psychic Suzie
Kristi interviewed Psychic Suzie to see what is going on over on the other side of the veil. Suzie explains how she helped turn Carrie Nelson's cold case into a closed case.
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Good job ladies this is really cool. Only critique is the background music is way to loud it makes it hard to focus on what your saying