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In The Dark

Author: The New Yorker

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In the Dark, hosted by Madeleine Baran, is an award-winning investigative-journalism podcast that started in 2016. Its first season looked at the mysterious abduction of Jacob Wetterling in rural Minnesota and the lack of accountability that sheriffs face when they fail to solve cases. Season 2 examined the case of Curtis Flowers, who was tried six times for the same crime. In 2020, In the Dark released a special report on the coronavirus pandemic in the Mississippi Delta. In 2023, In the Dark joined The New Yorker and Condé Nast. “The Runaway Princesses,” a four-part series that asks why the women in Dubai’s royal family keep trying to run away, came out in January. In the Dark is a two-time Peabody Award winner and, in 2019, became the first podcast to win a George Polk Award, one of the top honors in journalism. The program has also received an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award and a Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award.
50 Episodes
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Season One: The Trailer

Season One: The Trailer

2016-08-2904:306

After he disappeared nearly 27 years ago, Jacob Wetterling's remains have been found. Why did it take so long? 
S1 E1: The Crime

S1 E1: The Crime

2016-09-0736:007

The abduction of Jacob Wetterling, which made parents more vigilant and led to the first national requirement that states track sex offenders via registries, took place before moonrise on a warm October night in 1989. 
S1 E2: The Circle

S1 E2: The Circle

2016-09-0739:494

When Jacob Wetterling was taken, authorities launched what would turn into one of the largest searches for any missing person in the history of the United States. But that first night, law enforcement didn't cover all the basics. 
The closest you can get to a conversation with Jacob Wetterling about his abduction is to talk to Jared Scheierl. Scheierl was walking home from an ice skating rink in Cold Spring in January 1989 when a man who turned out to be Danny Heinrich forced him into a car, assaulted him, and let him go, uttering some chilling parting words: "If they come close to finding out who I am, I'll find you and kill you." That was nine months before Jacob's abduction. 
S1 E4: The Circus

S1 E4: The Circus

2016-09-2038:132

The Wetterling abduction story kept getting bigger as the case served as a conduit for public fear and grief. Capitalizing on a growing sense that pedophiles lurked in every shadow, the likes of Maury Povich and Geraldo Rivera joined the cause with sensational retellings of the crime and its consequences.
Dan Rassier now wishes he'd insisted that police search his family's St. Joseph farm top to bottom the night Jacob Wetterling was abducted. That way, they would have known there was nothing to find. And it would have been harder for them to come back 21 years later to search with backhoes and declare him a "person of interest" in the case. 
S1 E6: Stranger Danger

S1 E6: Stranger Danger

2016-10-0438:231

In the 1970s and early '80s, missing children weren't considered a policing priority. You couldn't even enter missing child information into the FBI's national crime database. But that changed quickly. 
S1 E7: This Quiet Place

S1 E7: This Quiet Place

2016-10-1142:002

Soon after the abduction and murder of Jacob Wetterling in 1989, Stearns County sheriff's investigators came face to face with his killer, Danny Heinrich, who would confess to the crime 27 years later. Then they let him go. It wasn't the first time that had happened in Stearns County.
In November 2012, a police officer named Tom Decker was shot and killed in Cold Spring, Minn., after getting out of his car to check on a man who lived above a bar. The man was quickly arrested and held in the Stearns County jail. He was interrogated but then released without charges. The state crime bureau later ruled him out as a suspect. Investigators turned their focus to another man, Eric Thomes, who hanged himself before he could be charged with the crime. Nearly four years after the murder, Sheriff John Sanner has refused to close the case "because we're still hopeful that new information will come in," he said. 
S1 E9: The Truth

S1 E9: The Truth

2016-10-2543:141

When Danny Heinrich confessed in court on Sept. 6 to abducting and murdering Jacob Wetterling and assaulting Jared Scheierl 27 years ago, investigators declared that at last, the public had the truth. But despite Heinrich's excruciatingly detailed accounts, the truth remains elusive. Many questions remain unanswered. 
The sentencing of Danny Heinrich on Nov. 21, 2016, brought to a close the 27-year investigation into the abduction and murder of Jacob Wetterling. But it didn't end the story. 
In Season 1 of our podcast, we reported that the Jacob Wetterling case was a botched investigation. Just yesterday, law enforcement acknowledged it too.
Curtis Flowers has been tried six times for the same crime. For 21 years, Flowers has maintained his innocence. He's won appeal after appeal, but every time, the prosecutor just tries the case again. What does the evidence reveal? And how can the justice system ignore the prosecutor's record and keep Flowers on death row? 
S2 E1: July 16, 1996

S2 E1: July 16, 1996

2018-05-0144:002

On the morning of July 16, 1996, someone walked into a furniture store in downtown Winona, Mississippi, and murdered four employees. Each was shot in the head. It was perhaps the most shocking crime the small town had ever seen. Investigators charged a man named Curtis Flowers with the murders. What followed was a two-decade legal odyssey in which Flowers was tried six times for the same crime. He remains on death row, though some people believe he's innocent. For the second season of In the Dark, we spent a year digging into the Flowers case. We found a town divided by race and a murder conviction supported by questionable evidence. And it all began that summer morning in 1996 with a horrifying crime scene that left investigators puzzled.
S2 E2: The Route

S2 E2: The Route

2018-05-0154:103

The case against Curtis Flowers relies heavily on three threads of evidence: the route he allegedly walked the morning of the murders, the gun that investigators believe he used, and the people he supposedly confessed to in jail. In this episode, we meet the witnesses who said they saw Flowers walking through downtown Winona, Mississippi, the morning of the murders. Some of their stories now waver on key details. 
S2 E3: The Gun

S2 E3: The Gun

2018-05-0848:252

Investigators never found the gun used to kill four people at Tardy Furniture. Yet the gun, and the bullets matched to it, became a key piece of evidence against Curtis Flowers. In this episode, we examine the strange histories of the gun and the man who owned it. 
S2 E4: The Confessions

S2 E4: The Confessions

2018-05-1554:201

Over the years, three inmates have claimed that Curtis Flowers confessed to them that he killed four people at the Tardy Furniture store. But they've all changed their stories at one time or another. In this episode, we investigate who's really telling the truth. 
S2 E5: Privilege

S2 E5: Privilege

2018-05-2249:24

No witness has been more important to the prosecution's case against Curtis Flowers than Odell Hallmon. He testified in four trials that Flowers had confessed to him while the two men were in prison together. Hallmon has an astonishingly long criminal history that includes repeated charges for drug dealing, assault, and robbery. So how reliable is his testimony and did he receive anything in exchange for it? In this episode, we investigate the veracity of the prosecution's star witness. 
S2 E6: Punishment

S2 E6: Punishment

2018-05-2945:162

Odell Hallmon, the state's key witness in the Curtis Flowers case, is serving three consecutive life sentences. We wondered what he might say now that there are no deals to cut, and he will spend the rest of his days in prison. Would he stick to his story that Flowers had confessed to the Tardy Furniture murders? We wrote him letters and sent him a friend request on Facebook. Weeks went by and we heard nothing. And then, one day, he wrote back. 
There's one critical aspect of the Curtis Flowers case that we haven't looked at yet -- the makeup of the juries. Each of the four times Flowers was convicted, the jury was all white or nearly all white. So we decided to look more closely at why so few black jurors had been selected. And it wasn't always happenstance. 
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Comments (559)

Rebecca Butcher

Par for the course for CNN to actually be journalistic.

Jul 22nd
Reply

Larry Martinez

the sheriff thought he was going to be speaking to a dumb kid. little did he know...

Jun 19th
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ID25028872

This is exceptional

Jun 3rd
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Sayda Pervin Nipa

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Apr 19th
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Danielle Beeaff

This story is shocking and extremely upsetting, and I wish there was something I could do to help these women !!

Mar 19th
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Saba Navabi

😍

Mar 14th
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Massi Jaf

It's been great that you are back.

Feb 11th
Reply

Samanta tanzeem

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Jan 27th
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Danielle Beeaff

An amazing story and amazing inspiring man Curtis is 

Dec 16th
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Massi Jaf

Hello dear Madeline, are there going to be any other episodes?

Dec 8th
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ID28811185

Where is the audio script?

Nov 3rd
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Elena

great podcast 👍

Oct 20th
Reply

Elizabeth Lindsey

how is this not double jeopardy?

Sep 18th
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Massi Jaf

a very ironic song

Jul 10th
Reply

Massi Jaf

I am sure if the police dig up that big valley or the previous site where poor Jacob was buried first, other remains will show up!

Jun 19th
Reply

Maz

Evans' attitude speaks volumes.

May 10th
Reply

ID23846960

I heard that when they found Jacob’s remains, his mother asked the Sherrif to call Colleen, the mother of missing girl Morgan Nick, (disappeared in 1995) before she heard it on the news. So thoughtful and caring even thou her world just caved in. 💕

Apr 12th
Reply

Julie Lawr

christians are fkn insane

Apr 10th
Reply

Brandon Nelson

Bro why she had to call that man out for smoking menthols lmaaaao

Feb 10th
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Rayhaneh ghahremane

sooo good

Jan 22nd
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