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Unravel True Crime: Snowball
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Unravel True Crime: Snowball

Author: ABC Radio

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Unravel True Crime is a podcast where, each season, some of Australia's best journalists investigate unsolved crimes.

Season 4: Snowball tells how an average family's encounter with a charismatic Californian con woman cost them everything.
33 Episodes
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Snowball host Ollie Wards has, for now, officially given up his pursuit of Lezlie Manukian, the Californian conwoman who married his brother and cleaned out the family finances. Instead, he has a recommendation for a new podcast series... a political thriller about the day that broke democracy in Australia. November 11, 1975... the day Prime Minister Gough Whitlam was sacked. It's called The Eleventh and comes via the core team behind Unravel True Crime. Follow this link to Episode One: http://bit.ly/2vCW2ak Or check out the show's website: https://abc.net.au/TheEleventh
S4 07 | The Morning After

S4 07 | The Morning After

2019-09-0223:5231

After the confrontation in the supermarket carpark, Ollie is left feeling confused — has he been charmed just like everyone else in this story? Will Lezlie fail to keep her promises to Ollie or leave him and his family hanging?
S4 06 | Stakeout

S4 06 | Stakeout

2019-09-0241:5322

Ollie and Simon have criss-crossed California to find themselves parked in a supermarket car park staking out where Lezlie supposedly works. They may only have one shot to talk to her and finally get some answers. It doesn't go the way Ollie imagined.
S4 05 | Black Widow

S4 05 | Black Widow

2019-09-0244:2322

Ollie and his brother Simon follow the trail of broken dreams and failed restaurants to Paso Robles, California. It's apparent Lezlie's exploits didn't stop when she left New Zealand. Ollie discovers his former sister-in-law had manufactured an image of a successful restaurateur in Hawaii, Lake Tahoe and New Zealand. Her exotic CV and exciting stories pull a new family into her web — with disastrous consequences.
S4 04 | Charmed

S4 04 | Charmed

2019-09-0241:0227

Following the trail to Lezlie Manukian, Ollie and his other brother Simon end up in California. With a muscle car and loud Hawaiian shirts, the brothers look every bit like '80s TV detectives as they head off on their very first stakeout. But, when the trail runs cold, they decide to chase down a lead at Lezlie's first restaurant in the resort town of Lake Tahoe. Meanwhile, Lezlie's emails become stranger than fiction.
Lezlie Manukian's stories about her time in Hawaii usually ended with murderous local mobsters running her off the island. So, to track down his brother Greg's ex-wife, Ollie Wards needs to understand her past. What really happened according to "the coconut wireless"?
S4 02 | The Great Houdini

S4 02 | The Great Houdini

2019-09-0243:3429

Ollie and Greg's dad, David Wards, picks through the clues left behind by Greg's American wife, Lezlie. He realises that the entire family may have been victims of an elaborate con job. David is obsessed with finding answers, launching his own investigations and even becoming a 60-something computer hacker.
When Ollie Wards' brother Greg marries his American dream girl in New Zealand and they go into business together, it seems like a perfect start to a new life. But only a few months later, Greg is heartbroken, the family home is gone — and so is Lezlie.
In 2006, Greg Wards was your average Kiwi backpacker on an overseas adventure in the UK, working hard, playing harder — and falling head-over-heels in love. After a whirlwind international romance, Greg married Lezlie Manukian in New Zealand. Their new life started out by setting up a small business north of Auckland. But a snowball had started to roll the day Greg met Lezlie Manukian. It wasn't long before this ball of chaos gathered pace and crushed Greg and his family. Ten years on, Greg's younger brother Ollie takes up the case begun by his amateur PI Dad and goes on the hunt. Across three continents and over seven episodes — with many twists, turns and WTF moments — Ollie goes on a mission to unravel a quirky and baffling love fraud. Who is Lezlie Manukian — and why did she con his family? Is this the first time this has happened? Can he track her down and finally get some answers? This series of Unravel is released on September 3.
Host Gina McKeon interviews film-maker Helen Barrow about her coverage of Belinda Peisley’s inquest and the behind-the-scenes moments that we can’t hear in the audio. Helen’s one-hour tv documentary WHO KILLED BELINDA PEISLEY? is available on the streaming platform ABC iView. Download the app or visit the website: https://iview.abc.net.au/show/who-killed-belinda-peisley
S3 05 | The Visitor

S3 05 | The Visitor

2019-03-0439:1122

Some of the most explosive moments in Belinda Peisley’s inquest happen between lawyer Phil Strickland and the man we’re calling Luke. Luke admits to using heroin and to staying on Belinda’s floor from time to time, like a lot of their crowd in Katoomba at the time. He’s got a violent past and a long rap sheet, but denies being a standover man or ever demanding money from Belinda. In the coroner’s court, Luke is grilled about an alleged conversation he had in jail with a fellow prisoner who remembers Luke bragging about smashing Belinda’s head with a rock. Luke denies all these accusations.
Jeremy Ward Douglas was going out with Belinda Peisley’s best friend, Heidi Wailes, at the time Belinda disappeared. The inquest into her death heard Jeremy had a reputation around town as a violent and controlling guy with a short temper who would hang around Belinda’s house, often against her wishes. Heidi says that, after Belinda disappeared, she remembers Jeremy behaving like he knew she wasn’t coming back. The court hears stories from others of Jeremy’s rage and that he allegedly had ideas about where Belinda’s body might be.
S3 03 | The Best Friend

S3 03 | The Best Friend

2019-02-1835:4225

Heidi Wailes was close to Belinda and says she looked out for Belinda like an older sister would. But a break-in at Belinda’s house just days before she disappeared suggests Heidi might not have always been the friend she claimed to be. Many, including the coroner at Belinda’s inquest, believe Heidi may know more about what happened to Belinda than she is revealing. As pressure mounts in the courtroom, cracks begin to show. We also hear from another person in Belinda’s friendship circle, Wanda Loynds (aka "Storm") who admits to punching Belinda on the last day she was seen alive.
S3 02 | The Boyfriend

S3 02 | The Boyfriend

2019-02-1138:2025

We go inside the courtroom at Belinda Peisley's inquest to hear firsthand the arguments, phone taps and witness testimony. Jason*, Belinda's boyfriend at the time, says he met up with her on the night she disappeared. They had an argument at her house and he left. It's the last time he ever saw her. Jason is from a footy family in the Mountains and his father John* wasn't impressed his son was going out with someone from the so-called 'junkie' crowd. Hear the inquest testimony from Jason and his father as they answer questions about Belinda's disappearance. *We've changed their names for legal reasons.
S3 01 | Belinda

S3 01 | Belinda

2019-02-0431:5538

Belinda Peisley's life descended into chaos after her 18th birthday when she received a big inheritance and bought her own place in Katoomba. Her family hoped the house would set her up for life but, instead, her new address became a magnet for a world of drugs and crowd of people who’d turn up at all hours. Six months later, Belinda disappeared. In the months before she vanished, Belinda told her family she was scared — even that she wanted to change her identity and leave town — but they couldn’t imagine why anyone would want to hurt her. Join reporter Gina McKeon as she travels to Katoomba to begin to understand what happened to Belinda Peisley.
19-year-old Belinda Peisley vanished after she left a Blue Mountains hospital on September 26, 1998. The single mum-of-two disappeared within a year of inheriting a significant sum of money from a relative and buying a house in Katoomba. The first episode of Unravel Season 3 lands on February 5.
In the Season 2 finale, Ruby and Neil get the lead they have hoped for — a tip-off from an old law enforcement source about a potential burial site for Trudie Adams.
Investigating the link between a career criminal, Trudie ... and a corrupt cop.
S2 05 | The Big Bad Wolf

S2 05 | The Big Bad Wolf

2018-10-2933:5519

Hear the voice of criminal monster, Neville Tween.
A completely new theory on what happened to Trudie Adams
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Comments (52)

Megan Langreck

Aw, damnit Greg ......

Jul 13th
Reply

lizzyb

Love all the "Flight of the Concords" references! I am an American who loves that show!! Great podcasting..i am binging..been listening since midnight. it is now 3:30am...lol

Mar 7th
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Feb 10th
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Xaine Kane

lol, you think she's really going to meet with you??? it's no wonder you were all taken in 🤦‍♀️ You are all so nice, which is why the Lezlie Manukians of the world can operate as they do. She is clearly a narcissist with sociopathic tendencies! Her tears were so fake, did you really think she meant that? she has no empathy for anyone. Ugh..... How could you even feel a second of sadness for her? she brought it all on herself, and fucked everyone over to do it.

Feb 6th
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deborah cassidy

Can’t make a word out when his voice is disguised

Feb 2nd
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Alaskan Brighteyes

What is the warning at the beginning of the episodes for season 1? I can't make out what she is saying.

Jan 31st
Reply

Yvette Muir

Really loved it. Thanks for sharing your story in such an enjoyable way. That light-hearted, compassionate Kiwi attitude really shines through.

Jan 27th
Reply

Deb Kühl

Snowball is the BEST podcast ever!! Nice job Ollie. You're thorough and interesting and flippin' hilarious! This NZ family are the coolest, nicest people and I wish them the very best in their future!!

Jan 24th
Reply

Taryn-Lee Biggar

this just reminded me of American crime story Versace. Andrew Cunanan all over again🤦🏾‍♀️

Jan 22nd
Reply

ANDREA BRUNSKILL

the8

Jan 7th
Reply

Brandon Butler

this episode... 1. a so-called law enforcement officer had a lead on where the body might be and never told anyone for years and years and the hosts never asked or mentioned this. 2. the movie supposedly shows Trudie on a dinner date with a creek where her body might be in the background yet they just described it as remote, extremely rugged and hard to search and in a national park. okay. makes perfect sense. 3. yeah, oh no. the remains might be wrapped in chicken wire in the water. oh well, nothing we can do. (except maybe cadaver dogs, excavation, metal detectors, etc). other podcasts have gone to great expense on their own dime but these guys just tell the police and walk away. I don't get it.

Jan 5th
Reply

Malinda Smith

really well done Ollie & team. Having been conned myself by another person I think u did justice to telling both sides

Jan 1st
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Caroline Usher

💥👍🏻Brilliant show guys. Thank you! What an absolute 'mare for your fam & so many ppl. Leopards don't change spots and she's been totally aware of her actions throughout. Histrionic, narcissistic sociopath. She needs to be put away for a long time. What on earth has she done with all that money. 😱

Dec 10th
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Shaun Pett

Brilliant podcast couldn't stop listening

Nov 14th
Reply

Jerry Johnson

These guys hate Americans . Sorry some lady fucked you over, but all Americans aren’t like her. And actually most people in America hate con artists like that just as much as you guys do.

Nov 12th
Reply (1)

Jeneane Bilman

Really enjoyed the season, thank you

Oct 12th
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Jenny X

Ollie, Greg & family, what a beautiful tight & strong loving bond you all have through everything you've been through & can still have empathy for this woman that turned your lives upside down. Big ups yo you & I thoroughly enjoyed your telling of this story 👍

Oct 2nd
Reply

Holly Benstead

Love Triple J, love Ollie. Excellent podcast!!

Sep 20th
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A Gannon

I am SCREECHING. The American actors. Hyst-uh-RECKtummy. Holy ffffffff I can't handle this. It's so wonderful. They aren't native USians, though; if given a written script to read containing "NZ", no American would say "En Zed." It's "En Zee." Just a note to the producers. We literally don't say Zed.

Sep 17th
Reply (1)

A Gannon

I am HOWLING at their choice of American accented actresses and actors.🤣🤣🤣

Sep 17th
Reply
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