31 episodes

“WTOP’s American Nightmare Series” is a podcast covering true crime stories in the Washington D.C. region. 

Season 3, "Unknown Subject": For 9 years, he terrorized women across the DC region. Breaking into homes and raping his victims before killing a brilliant scientist near the gates of Georgetown University in 1998. And then, it all stopped. Had he died? Was he locked up? Before the FBI would name him the infamous Potomac River Rapist, detectives simply called him their “unknown subject” for years. A man whose DNA linked him to multiple crime scenes but whose name and face remained a mystery to police. For nearly three decades, detectives had no idea who he was until a bike cop named Smugs began connecting the dots.  

Season 2, “Murder in a Safe Place," investigates the vicious rape and murder of 50-year-old nurse Sherry Crandell inside the DC-area hospital where she worked. Her murder has mystified not only the police, but her family and the community for the past two decades. Police have DNA evidence and fingerprints - even a witness to the attack - but no suspect. In “Murder in a Safe Place,” veteran DC reporter Paul Wagner tells a story that, by the final episode, will have you thinking there may be a chance for justice after all.

Season 1, “22 Hours: An American Nightmare,” hosted by WTOP award-winning reporters Megan Cloherty and Jack Moore was named the No. 2 Podcast of the Year by The Associated Press and was listed among Apple Podcasts’ Most Popular New Shows of 2019. “22 Hours: An American Nightmare” chronicles the case that became known nationwide as the “DC Mansion Murders” – the horrific killing of a DC power couple, their 10-year-old son, and housekeeper – in a way no one has covered it before. 

WTOP’s American Nightmare Series WTOP | Hubbard Radio

    • True Crime
    • 4.6 • 10.2K Ratings

“WTOP’s American Nightmare Series” is a podcast covering true crime stories in the Washington D.C. region. 

Season 3, "Unknown Subject": For 9 years, he terrorized women across the DC region. Breaking into homes and raping his victims before killing a brilliant scientist near the gates of Georgetown University in 1998. And then, it all stopped. Had he died? Was he locked up? Before the FBI would name him the infamous Potomac River Rapist, detectives simply called him their “unknown subject” for years. A man whose DNA linked him to multiple crime scenes but whose name and face remained a mystery to police. For nearly three decades, detectives had no idea who he was until a bike cop named Smugs began connecting the dots.  

Season 2, “Murder in a Safe Place," investigates the vicious rape and murder of 50-year-old nurse Sherry Crandell inside the DC-area hospital where she worked. Her murder has mystified not only the police, but her family and the community for the past two decades. Police have DNA evidence and fingerprints - even a witness to the attack - but no suspect. In “Murder in a Safe Place,” veteran DC reporter Paul Wagner tells a story that, by the final episode, will have you thinking there may be a chance for justice after all.

Season 1, “22 Hours: An American Nightmare,” hosted by WTOP award-winning reporters Megan Cloherty and Jack Moore was named the No. 2 Podcast of the Year by The Associated Press and was listed among Apple Podcasts’ Most Popular New Shows of 2019. “22 Hours: An American Nightmare” chronicles the case that became known nationwide as the “DC Mansion Murders” – the horrific killing of a DC power couple, their 10-year-old son, and housekeeper – in a way no one has covered it before. 

    S3 EP1 - A Murder In Georgetown

    S3 EP1 - A Murder In Georgetown

    In the summer of 1998, a brilliant scientist walking home from a party is grabbed off the street and killed. Her body is found the next day in a wooded area just steps from the Georgetown University campus. It was a gruesome scene. DC Police had no witnesses and no suspects, but they did have a valuable clue: a key piece of evidence the killer left behind.
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    • 51 min
    S3 - E2 - Kelly's Story

    S3 - E2 - Kelly's Story

    Seven years before Christine Mirzayan was murdered in Georgetown, a man cut the phone lines to a house miles outside the city and raped a teenage baby sitter. The first in a string of similar attacks spread out over several years. Kelly survived that awful night and in this episode tells her harrowing story. A crime that was nothing like the murder in Georgetown.
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    • 37 min
    S3 EP3 - The Case That Wouldn't Break

    S3 EP3 - The Case That Wouldn't Break

    In the early to mid nineties, Montgomery County Police Detective Joe Mudano knew he had a ruthless rapist preying on women but he had no idea who he was. DNA linked a number of cases, but a clear description remained elusive. More maddening for Mudano was the fact the Unknown Subject seemed to have inside information. But how?
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    • 49 min
    S3 EP4 - A Cold Hit

    S3 EP4 - A Cold Hit

    As the nineties turned into Y2K Detectives Dean Combee and Joe Mudano were still trying to solve their cases. Years of investigating had gotten them nowhere until the FBI called with stunning news. DNA from all of the attacks had been linked to one man. A fact that floored the veteran investigators who never saw it coming.
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    • 49 min
    S3 EP 5 - Going Down the Rabbit Hole

    S3 EP 5 - Going Down the Rabbit Hole

    By 2018, investigators had tired of waiting for another DNA cold hit and decided to hand the case to a cop named 'Smugs.' A young Montgomery County police officer who had already used genealogy to solve several high profile rape and murder cases. Crimes that had stumped detectives for years. Could 'Smugs' be the one to finally give a name to the Unknown Subject?
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    • 46 min
    S3 EP6 - Unmasked

    S3 EP6 - Unmasked

    In November 2019, detectives from Montgomery County, Maryland, and Washington, D.C., make their way to Conway, South Carolina, where investigators are certain they will find their "unknown subject." They head to a ranch house on a rural country road where a 60-year-old man is living with his girlfriend. But, what will they find when they knock on the door?
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    • 1 hr

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5
10.2K Ratings

10.2K Ratings

Jordenne_G ,

Excellent listen!

Well written and researched. I enjoyed listening to this and was glad that they caught the guy.

Ray0fSunshine ,

Very well written, professional, and respectful

I listen and watch a lot of true crime content. This is an amazing example of a top tier investigative journalist. The context provided when referring to the investigations and the science available during each step of the investigation is in depth and allows you to really connect to the story. The victims are represented so respectfully. The sensitivity and care taken with witnesses, professionals, and the family/ friends of the victims is honestly unparalleled compared to all the other true crime content I listen and watch. It’s honestly so refreshing to have victims of violent crimes being treated like humans, while not mocking them or insinuating they brought their deaths on themselves. You can tell everyone who works on this really care about what they’re doing.

Ggggajdbcjc ,

What’s with the ads?

I enjoyed listening to season one but for whatever reason season 2 had ads like every 2 min. It stops mid sentence for an ad. It was so jarring I thought it was a big but it seems like it’s a common issue. I couldn’t listen anymore.

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