True Crime Rocket Science is unique. It is preoccupied with the why of crimes and criminals, and thus is above all focused on the science of man. We find out why people do what they do by finding out who people are. And who is a function of identity, social dynamics and backstory. Through cogent true crime analysis, especially into criminal psychology, we have a unique opportunity to learn to understand those around us, and principally, ourselves.
This page is dedicated to coverage of current crime news, comments, discussions and brief analysis. Use this page for updates on America’s most high-profile criminal cases, as well as to find your way to what’s happening where on True Crime Rocket Science [#tcrs].
Updates include new book releases, news of what’s coming soon, true crime documentary analysis and reviews, interviews and giveaways.
This page also serves as an ongoing archive for true crime news. Your suggestions for true crime news from wherever you are in the world are most welcome.
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Guidelines for users of this site: Commentators are urged to examine and interrogate the merits of the cases covered here, rather than malign or attack one another. Argue the case, argue the criminal, argue the law or argue the facts instead of arguing with each other.
March 18th, 2019
1. Netflix’s ‘The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann’ Backs Sex-Trafficking Ring Theory – The Daily Beast
A highly anticipated eight-part docuseries on the disappearance of 3-year-old Madeleine McCann is gripping if you don’t know the story and a disappointment if you do. Somebody knows exactly what happened to Madeleine McCann, the 3-year-old Briton who disappeared without a trace from her bed in a holiday resort on a family vacation with friends in Praia Da Luz, Portugal, on May 3, 2007. But it clearly isn’t the makers of the new Netflix series The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann.
2. When true crime films prove to be guilty themselves – The Guardian
Unfortunately the writer of this piece cops out on his own premise. There are many bogus documentaries out their claiming to represent the premise of true crime, among them Making A Murderer [both seasons], the Paradise Lost trilogy, and virtually all coverage of the McCanns and the Ramseys, especially coverage in which they voluntarily participate.
3. Police detective testifies in Packham murder trial
March 17th, 2019
Missing Madeleine McCann: Gerry McCann is now a professor at the University of Leicester – The National Student
2. Tortured or Genius: Is Mental Health and Creativity Co-related? – youthincmag
The culture around The Tortured Genius represents that the more mentally ill the artist, the more brilliant his work. The first person that comes to mind is apparently none other than Vincent Van Gogh. His severed ear is part of popular culture parlance. When the gifted artist wasn’t having psychotic episodes or cutting a part of his ear off, he painted exquisite paintings as he transferred his inner anguish on his canvas. Others like Kurt Cobain, Sylvia Plath, Franz Kafka, etc. had similar fates. Their professional lives flourished as they battled mental illness. But the question remains. Is the idea of the Tortured Genius a myth or a reality?
March 16th, 2019
1. Chris Watts Cannot Remember Bella’s Last Words
From the archives:
Made of earthen-color fabric on steel frames up to 32 feet high and 800 feet long, the walls shield industrial machinery from a high school and wetlands greenbelt in Greeley, prairie homes in Windsor, and kids riding bikes and skateboards in Mead.
It is the latest innovation for companies equipped with horizontal drilling technology that are trying to solve a puzzle: how to extract more fossil fuels from under where people are living and minimize impact.
The walls help companies meet Colorado’s noise limits (55-80 decibels during the day and 50-75 at night, and measured 350 feet from the source). Walls also are being considered for wildlife habitat where proposed drilling threatens mating of sage grouse. Previously, oil and gas companies tried to ease impact of industrial operations near people by stacking hay bales and shipping containers around engines. Beyond cutting noise by 20 to 30 decibels, the fabric walls partially block the glare of floodlights and dust clouds during companies’ multimonth period of drilling and hydraulic fracturing.
2. The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann review – a moral failure – The Guardian
It was a simple retelling – in what felt almost like real time, so leadenly was it done – of the story of the three-year-old’s disappearance from the holiday resort of Praia da Luz one terrible night in May 2007. It was a blatant cash-in on the vogue for the true-crime series that have become a staple of Netflix’s output since the success of Making a Murderer a few years ago, but without any of the justifications previous works in the genre have provided. It was not the disinterment of a forgotten case, it was not the re-examination of a suspected miscarriage of justice. It offered no new facts, no new insight. It didn’t even have a point of view.
Instead, it was purely a rehashing of everything anyone who was alive at the time, or who has been of an age to understand the periodic appeals on anniversaries, birthdays and other painful dates by the McCanns for more information in the 12 years that have elapsed since, already knew…
3. Michael Jackson’s maid reveals sordid Neverland secrets
5. Amanda Knox Guilty Again
March 15th, 2019
Four people are in custody after 49 people were killed and 20 more were seriously injured in shootings at two mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch.
I’m not going to speculate on the accuracy or otherwise of the two men’s stories. But, true or not, they raise important issues…
5. Burke Ramsey compilation of all police Interviews available
March 14th, 2019
1. Killer dad Chris Watts is on suicide watch and being checked on ‘every 15 minutes’ after claiming that fellow inmates are screaming at him to take his own life for murdering his pregnant wife and two daughters – Daily Mail
3. ‘The Impossible Dream’ Documentary Goes Behind the Canvas of ‘Loving Vincent’ – AnimationMagazine
4. Get your tickets folks, another circus act coming to town.
March 13th, 2019
1. CHRIS WATTS – thoughts on 2/18 jailhouse interview PART 2 + 3
Portuguese asked the group to return to the scene to run through their movements on the night of May 3, 2007. But negotiations with the witnesses allegedly stalled because of disagreements over how it would be managed by investigators.
The reconstruction had been planned for May 2008, six months after Kate and Gerry had been declared arguidos, or official suspects. Their friends raised concerns over the arguido status in emails to police.
They were also said to fear a media frenzy if they flew back to the resort, and questioned the purpose of the re-enactment. One member of the group proposed the police use actors instead, but Portuguese detectives refused.
Police were said to be frustrated the reconstruction did not happen. They shelved the investigation in August 2008 and the McCanns’ arguido status was lifted.
March 12th, 2019
Shan’ann Watts Family Blame Murders on Chris’ Affair
‘I Think The Hardest Part Is Knowing Our Granddaughter Watched Her Sister Die,’ Says Mother-In-Law…
Life-After-Death: Did Spirits Of Shan’ann Watts And Her Daughters Visit Mom After Their Murders?
“Why do you think he’s telling the truth now?” asked host Phil McGraw.
Rzucek said he believed Watts spoke honestly about the killings because “I think it’s eating him up. I think he was more than glad to talk to somebody for five hours, sitting in a box 24/7,” said Rzucek, who was the children’s godfather. “We loved him like a son and Frankie loved him like a brother,” Sandy Rzucek said. “I just don’t understand.”
2. PICTURED: Patrick Frazee picks up supplies just before Kelsey Berreth was beaten to death as it is revealed he contacted THIRD woman after murder – who lives 10 miles from the last location of missing mom’s cell – Daily Mail
Patrick Frazee is pictured checking out baby supplies and formula at a WalMart on Thanksgiving Day in documents from his murder case that were obtained by DailyMail.com. A still from the store’s surveillance system shows Frazee pushing a carriage with a baby seat which is believed to hold his daughter Kaylee just after 1pm.
It was minutes after this that Frazee was seen with a crate in his truck heading back to Berreth’s house, despite telling investigators he went straight home after his fiancee handed over their daughter earlier that afternoon. A neighbor’s surveillance video shows that Frazee was inside the residence for two hours before leaving, during which time authorities now believe he murdered Berreth by bludgeoning her with a bat.
On his way out of the home, Frazee called both his mistress Krystal Jean Kenney and his mother Sheila Frazee, though they were not the only two women the accused killer spoke to over the next few days. Court documents show that Frazee was also in contact with a third woman from Idaho. The relationship between Frazee and that woman is unclear, and she is not a suspect and never been identified as a person of interest in the case.
She was however just a few miles away from where Berreth’s phone pinged in Idaho on November 25, and contacted Frazee at the exact time the missing mother’s cellular was registered by a nearby tower. The woman, 39, has also been employed in the medical field, so there is a chance she may have been a friend of Frazee’s mistress, Kenney.
Search warrants released in Kelsey Berreth murder case – The Gazette
March 11th, 2019
1. TCRS blows by 2 million page impressions five months after launching in mid-October 2018. Thank you to all the regular visitors, commenters and readers in the TCRS community.
Father Of Murder Victim Shan’ann Watts Reveals What He’d Say To Son-In-Law, Chris, If Given The Chance – Dr. Phil
“Knowing what you now know, what would you say to him?” asks Dr. Phil of the grieving family.
“The same question I’ve had – Why?” responds Frank Sr. adding, “There’s nothing that I can imagine why you would do that to your family. You want another life? Go. Open the door and leave.”
“He could have just gotten a divorce,” says Sandy. Calling her daughter and granddaughters’ deaths “inhumane” she says, “I think the hardest thing for me right now is the way they died.”
“I think the hardest part is knowing our granddaughter watched her sister die and then begged for her life,” says Shan’ann’s mother, Sandy Rzucek, reacting to what the family has been told about her son-in-law’s description of the last words spoken to him by Bella.
“I felt my daughter’s spirit, the moment she died,” says Shan’ann’s mother, Sandy Rzucek, who lives in North Carolina. She describes waking up everyone in her house the morning her daughter and grandchildren were killed to tell family members that she felt something was wrong with Shan’ann.
“We didn’t even know she was missing yet,” says Shan’ann’s brother, Frankie, confirming his mother’s account.
After authorities found her daughter’s body, a few days after her and the girls’ disappearance, Sandy says she felt Shan’ann’s presence in her home. “I felt her, and I heard her say, ‘I love you, Mommy, and I’m sorry.’”
Sandy claims she received another visitation from Shan’ann and her children after Celeste and Bella’s bodies were recovered.
The Reason for Chris Watts Prison Confession
3. I’m shocked by those who still won’t accept Michael Jackson as abuser – The Guardian
4. The astonishing life of Johan van Gogh: Vincent’s great-nephew dies aged 96 – The Art Newspaper
March 10th, 2019
“He had no empathy for life,” Curie said about Frazee, in an exclusive interview with NBC’s “Dateline.” Curie said she and Frazee started dating in 2010.
“I was attracted to his sharp wit and he had a very explorative mind. He contemplated everything. And he was excellent at reading people,” Curie told “Dateline” correspondent Andrea Canning. But, four months into their relationship, Curie said Frazee started playing mind games on her.
“He began not calling me for days, and then calling me in the middle of the night telling me he had visions of me in a wedding dress. And we’d talk and argue for hours. And we’d end up winding right back into each other.”
The emotional abuse, as she described it, went on for a year. She said Frazee would put her on a pedestal, then tear her down. But, she said, she continued to be drawn to him. As their relationship continued, Curie said she observed Frazee, a rancher and popular farrier, hit his dogs.
“Dateline” interviewed a man who knew another side of Frazee. Clint Cline said Frazee worked with his donkeys, and describes him as a “nice guy, very conscientious about his work, very concerned about the health and well-being of our animals, very great with his daughter.”
Curie and Frazee’s on-again, off-again relationship ended in 2014, when Curie said she came across the definition of a psychopath online. “He fit the bill to a T. And that’s when I left him.”
March 9th, 2019
1. ‘It’s worse than we ever thought’: Shanann Watts’ family react to Chris Watts’ disturbing confession as to how he killed her and their children – with one of his daughters screaming ‘Daddy, no!’ – Daily Mail
In an interview with Dr. Phil that will air on Monday, Sandra and Frank Rzucek were joined by their son to share their grief over the deaths of their daughter, her two children Bella and Cece, and her unborn son.
Chris’ recent chilling “confession” gives us even more insight into his perverted mind. He shared the tale of heartlessly killing Shanann after making love to her, then telling her he didn’t love her and wanted to leave her before finally strangling her to death. He claims she didn’t even struggle and said It was like Shanann was praying, thinking of scripture and forgave him for doing it.
He also described being overtaken by an outside power that got him to compulsively kill his family; he retells the moment as if he was powerless over his impulses to overcome this heinous crime.
Chris Watts may not have been able to find his relevance in the real world, but seems to have found it in prison. In prison, Chris feels like an important man; the man he always thought he should be. He gets fan mail and love letters. His newly revealed confessions, after “finding God” are making him even more of a global star, albeit a notorious one. He is making his mark on history, so he thinks. His egotistical plan and sick need for distinction and recognition are finally being met. Criminality led to his celebrity.
Madeleine McCann’s parents have slammed a new Netflix movie about their daughter’s kidnap fearing it could hinder the painstaking police search for her.
According to The Sun, Kate and Gerry McCann have revealed they had been asked to take part in the documentary but “want nothing to do with it”.
Oscar-winning Netflix boasts the documentary has “riveting” new interviews with key investigators as the 12th anniversary of Maddie’s disappearance approaches.
The streaming giant is set to release more details and the launch date of the movie The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann in the coming weeks.
March 8th, 2019
Rourke told the Coloradoan on Thursday he was surprised to hear how forthcoming Watts was when investigators from the FBI, Colorado Bureau of Investigation and Frederick Police Department unexpectedly came to the Wisconsin prison and asked to speak with him Feb. 18.
Throughout their investigation and prosecution of this case, Rourke said they tried to figure out what happened, but he told the Coloradoan that “reality turns out to be much worse than anything any of us surmised from the evidence we had … about the worst you could imagine.”
After Watts was sentenced to three consecutive life terms in prison, Rourke said he doubted Watts would ever give an honest account of the killings. But on Thursday, Rourke said he believes Watts’ recent confession to investigators is a “truthful, credible account” of the killings.
“I’m assuming what he is telling is truthful,” Rourke said, adding that the skilled investigators who interviewed Watts also believe he was honest in his most recent confession. “I don’t think that everything that came out of his mouth during those interviews was the truth because I honestly don’t believe that this monster has the ability to have remorse at all.”
Rourke said some pieces of evidence match Watts’ most recent confession, including footage from a neighbor’s security camera that shows another shadow aside from Watts’ by his truck when he was loading Shanann’s body into the back seat.
In the video released by the Weld County District Attorney’s Office, Watts is seen standing by his work truck when another shadow appears to be moving toward him, and Watts leans down to pick something up, likely one of the girls.
That video “would be consistent with his statements that the girls were alive when they left the house and walked out to the truck,” Rourke said.
3. An intimate brush with Van Gogh – Strait Times
NOTE: I will be doing an analysis of the film At Eternity’s Gate, and explain how my research challenges the popular myth of the great artist.
March 7th, 2019
BREAKING: CBI 34 Page Release [“Second Confession”] – TCRS
1. BREAKING: CBI releases records from Chris Watts’ Feb. 18 post-conviction confession at Wisconsin prison – Greeley Tribune
The Colorado Bureau of Investigation released this morning records pertaining to Chris Watts’ Feb. 18 confession to law enforcement about how and why he killed his pregnant wife, Shanann, and their two daughters, Bella and Celeste.
The records released at 8 a.m. include two audio files documenting Watts’ five-hour long interview with CBI, FBI and Frederick police, two images of Watts, a 37-page CBI report, and a letter from Colorado Department of Public Safety Executive Director Stan Hilkey.
The Tribune has accessed the records and reporters are reviewing them.
One of the commenters on TCRS has established when and how the next [and probably final] tranche of audio and reports related to Chris Watts’ Second Confession will be released by Weld County. Thanks Sylvester.What Drives a Man to Kill His Own Family? Inside the Psychology of Family Annihilators – Rolling Stone
Michael Jackson’s estate is engaged in a campaign of adverts, lawsuits and interviews in an attempt to salvage his image after the screening of Channel 4’s documentary Leaving Neverland, which details years of alleged grooming and child abuse.
Jackson’s estate – which has made $2.1bn (£1.6bn) since his death in 2009 and is run by John McClain, a co-executor with Jackson’s former lawyer John Branca – originally tried to block the release of the documentary by contacting Channel 4 and issuing a $100m lawsuit against HBO, which broadcast Dan Reed’s film last weekend in the US.
The estate said the documentary, which premiered at Sundance in January, is “the kind of tabloid character assassination Michael Jackson endured in life, and now in death”, and added that “the film takes uncorroborated allegations that supposedly happened 20 years ago and treats them as fact”.
Eamonn Forde, a music industry expert, said the estate was engaged in an unprecedented containment and damage-limitation exercise to attempt to preserve the most lucrative posthumous fortune in the history of music.
“This is a new era for artist estate management, because this is about containment rather than maximising the profile of a deceased artist,” said Forde. “To an extent, estate management is about building a narrative around an artist; they are the directors of the narrative.”
On Dec. 15, authorities filed a search warrant executed on Frazee’s home, which listed 67 seized items. Police took possession of Frazee’s financial records, five pairs of his wrangler blue jeans, a Verizon tablet, his boots, a tan baseball cap and 50 9 mm bullets and two casings. They also wanted items that could provide DNA samples of the suspect and victim.
They also found “four teeth in a small envelope” and a fifth tooth held separately. One of Berreth’s teeth became a gruesome point of discussion during a recent hearing involving Frazee’s alleged accomplice, Krystal Jean Kenney Lee, an Idaho nurse.
Lee told investigators that Frazee had her clean up “a mess” at Berreth’s townhome after he killed her, the affidavit says. Frazee specifically asked her to look for a tooth that may have fallen down an air vent. Lee found a tooth inside the apartment that included the full root.
From the Archives [Kelsey Berreth Case]:
March 6th, 2019
Frederick, Colo. – Four-year-old Bella Watts pleaded for her life, just moments after she watched her father kill her younger sister “CeCe,” according to lawyer Steven Lambert. Lambert, of the Grant & Hoffman Law Firm, represents murder victim CBS Denver reports. The law firm shared new details about the murder with Dr. Phil in an exclusive interview.‘ parents Frank and Sandy Rzucek,
According to lawyer Thomas Grant, Chris Watts confessed new details to investigators after finding faith in prison. Watts spoke for hours with police on Feb. 18 from a prison in Wisconsin.
“He is claiming that he is remorseful, and he has found God,” Grant told Dr. Phil.
Lawyers confirmed Sandy Rzucek was not given access to the audio recording in advance, but was briefed on the discussion by law enforcement. Rzucek wished to share the information with the public, prior to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation releasing the redacted audio recording on Thursday.The Rzuceks hoped sharing the story would help clear their daughter’s name, after some believed Chris Watts’ original story that she killed the children.
4. TV Review: HBO’s ‘The Case Against Adnan Syed’ – Variety
March 5th, 2019
Chris Watts had just strangled his wife Shan’ann and was wrapping her in a sheet to dispose of her body when their daughter Bella walked into the room. “What are you doing with mommy?” the 4-year-old asked her father. As Watts began to wrap her body up in a sheet, Bella walked in and asked about her mother, Lambert said.
“She’s four, what we’ve been told she’s quite smart — was quite smart — and knew something likely was up. And what he said was that, ‘Mommy is sick, we need to take her to the hospital to make her better,'” Lambert said.
A spokeswoman from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation [Susan Medina] tells PEOPLE the office plans to release more information on the case Thursday, adding that the office was taken by surprise by the Dr. Phil interview.
‘What are you doing to mommy?’: Chris Watts murdered his four-year-old daughter Bella after she walked in on him strangling his pregnant wife Shanann – and begged her father to stop, reveals family lawyer – Daily Mail
Chris Watts murdered his elder daughter after she witnessed him killing her mother according to an interview that will air Tuesday on The Dr Phil Show. Steven Lambert, the lawyer who is representing the family of Shanann Watts in their wrongful death lawsuit, claims that his clients were informed of just how Watts carried out the brutal murders.
It started with Shanann threatening to keep their children from him after she learned of his affair, and ended with the mom and both daughters dead. Bella reportedly spent her final moments begging her father to spare her life.
‘The night in question Shanann came home. She and Chris had got into a fight. They made up. They were getting along really well,’ Lambert tells Dr Phil in a clip obtained by DailyMail.com. ‘Later on, they got into a fight again. In that fight he essentially confessed to having an affair, that he wanted a divorce. That it was pretty much over between them, and she had said something to the effect of, “well you’re not going to see the kids again.”‘
Lambert then adds: ‘As a consequence of that conversation he strangled her to death.’ The clip ends with Lambert revealing: ‘Bella walked in and asked what are you doing to mommy.’ The interview was conducted at the Dodge Correctional Institution in Waupun, Wisconsin, where Watts was transferred back in December. It is unclear however if he is still there, or if he may have leveraged his interview with authorities to be moved to another facility.
Authorities do not believe that Watts ever gave a factual account of what happened the night of the murders. The release last week of doorbell footage that showed Shanann arriving home on the night she was murdered also suggests that the Weld County District Attorney may have come across new video evidence.
[This last sentence is patently incorrect. Law enforcement had the doorbell footage by as early as November 2018, although curiously the exact date when the footage was viewed is not provided].
3. Listen to the latest Maddie episodes – 9News
March 4th, 2019
More Chris Watts conspiracy mythbusting [for kindergarten level true crime crime buffs].
Kelsey Berreth’s fiance due back in court – The Gazette
3. Michael Jackson – Child Molester or just plain Whacko?
Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch in California is back on the market for $31m, a steep cut from the $100m asking price four years ago. The dramatic price cut for the iconic property is partly due to years of drought in the region that affected the real estate market, Kyle Forsyth, one of the listing agents, told US media.Jackson reportedly paid $19.5m for the property in the 1980s but a real estate investment firm bought it in 2008 for $22.5m after the singer defaulted on a loan.
His ranch was raided in 2003 as part of a child molestation case against him and police at the time seized a large collection of pornography and images of nude children.
Jackson was acquitted in the case in 2005.
4. Impeachment looking more possible – CNN
Once Trump is impeached, we as a community need to impeach the idiots who defended him daily for over two years. After lying on a daily basis on national and international television, and in spite of his lies and deceits receiving national attention and consistent analysis in the media, Trump’s supporters nevertheless continued to actively defend him. This defense is indefensible.
I would like to see the Trump supporters who are active in true crime put up their hands and admit to enabling a serial liar and deceiver, while simultaneously campaigning against injustice. I’d like to see those supporters do the one thing Trump can’t, and won’t. Admit your mistake and apologize.
“I made a mistake.”
I won’t hold my breath.
For the rest, this is the TCRS take of Trump [published in July 2017].
March 2nd, 2019
1. Frankie Rzucek’s response to announcement of Watts’ “second confession”:
Investigators “interviewed Christopher Watts for the purpose of developing further insight into the case,” the statement reads.
“Watts provided investigators with additional information about the murders of Shanann, Bella, and Celeste during the interview,” it continues.
2. Latest review of SLAUGHTER
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Latest review of SLAUGHTER, my book profiling mass shooters including #StevenPaddock #adamlanza #nikolascruz #parkland #shooting #marjorystonemandouglas #msd. Good to see this reader really gets it. I see this book as one of my greatest contributions to the True Crime genre along with The Murder of Vincent van Gogh. #KindleUnlimited #amreading #TrueCrime #booksofinstagram #indieauthor https://www.amazon.com/Slaughter-Profiles-Deadliest-Massacres-Shooters-ebook/dp/B07BMNQ7YT/ref=redir_mobile_desktop?_encoding=UTF8&ref_=dbs_a_w_dp_b07bmnq7yt