7 Best Episodes Of Crime Junkie Podcast

About Crime Junkie

From the opening chords of the theme music, Crime Junkie podcast sets a serious but slightly sassy tone. The primary host, Ashley Flowers, does most of the heavy lifting in terms of research and reporting. 

Brit Prawat, the co-host, is a strong contributor in that she represents the audience’s reaction through her visceral comments and supporting questions. 

Just when you are ready to yell, “But, wait…” that’s when Brit will step in and ask Ashley the exact question you probably had about the case as well.

Before I dive into my choices for the 7 best episodes, I want to point out how refreshing it is to have capable female voices in the genre of true crime podcasting. 

Flowers and Prawat seem to be strong women with a true connection to each other and real respect for all things crime-related. 

Both women report long-time interests in shows like Unsolved Mysteries and America’s Most Wanted which sparked the creation of their podcast.

This true-crime podcast’s first episode aired in December 2017 and, from the start, the ladies stated that they are dedicated supporters of their local chapters of Crime Stoppers. 

So not only do they want to bring the crimes they discuss to a growing audience in an interesting way, but they also value having justice for the victims.

It is estimated that 75-80% of the audience that follows crime podcasts are women, which is another reason that female podcast voices should be well-represented in this arena.

According to July 16, 2019, New York Times’ essay by Kate Tuttle, “a 2010 study found that around 70 percent of Amazon reviews of true-crime books are by women.” I feel fairly certain that the interest of women has only grown since 2010. 

Ms. Tuttle speculates about the many theories around this fascination toward crime by women. Ms. Tuttle hints that women may be drawn to aspects of curiosity, safe-thrill seeking, and survival. 

Whatever the reason, it appears that the true crime podcasts genre is here to stay.

It is now time to review what I believe to be the best 7 episodes of Crime Junkie, in no particular order. I chose these episodes over others because I feel they best represent the style and format of the show. 

Get out your detective gear and let’s dive in.

These are The 7 Best Episodes Of Crime Junkie Podcast:

7. Mysterious Death Of Michelle O’Connell

Ashley and Brit dive deep into the September 2, 2010 death of 24-year-old single mom Michelle O’Connell from St. Augustine, Florida. 

Her boyfriend, Jeremy Banks, claims in his 911 call to have found her shot in the bedroom of their home. 

He further claims that he had been in the garage, sitting on his motorcycle, and heard a gunshot.

On the scene, first responders found Jeremy’s service revolver to the left of Michelle’s body, as well as prescription pills, spilled onto the floor next to her. 

Yes, Jeremy has a service revolver because he is a fellow St. John’s Florida Deputy Sheriff and part of the same department that investigated the shooting.

The St. John’s Sheriff Department fairly quickly rules the death suicide. 

Pills, a gunshot, and a young dead woman would seem to equal suicide, right? Not so fast. There are many irregularities to Jeremy’s story and the investigation.

In light of information about Michelle and Jeremy’s relationship revealed during the investigation, why the rush to establish a suicide determination? This hasty decision only created more questions than answers.

The medical examiner, Dr. Hobin, later changed the death to homicide but never filed an amended death certificate. Hobin was later reprimanded for this action. 

In 2016, after the family exhumed Michelle’s body, a second autopsy found that Michelle had a broken jaw which, most likely, occurred just before the gunshot wound. 

This injury was never mentioned in the original autopsy.

Where do things stand today? Jeremy Banks has never been charged. All in all, the family has lingering doubts and feel that justice has not been served on behalf of their beloved Michelle.

Oh, and one last twist, a citizen sleuth who had been investigating this case was found shot to death in their Florida condo in 2019.

Check out the episode on the Crime Junkie website right here.

6. Missing: DeOrr Kunz, Jr.

I was particularly impressed by Ashley and Britt’s covering of this tragic disappearance. 

I have watched the Dateline and People Magazine pieces on this case, but I learned so much more from the Crime Junkie episode.

On July 10, 2015, two-year-old DeOrr Kunz, Jr. went missing from his parent’s campsite at the Timber Creek Campground in Idaho. 

On the trip were DeOrr’s parents, Jessica Mitchell and Vernal DeOrr Kunz along with Robert Walton, DeOrr’s great-grandfather, and Robert’s friend, Isaac Reinwand. 

Little DeOrr was reported by Jessica as missing at around 2:28 PM.

The 911 call immediately initiated a large-scale search by the Lemhi County Sheriff’s Office.

On July 11 and 12, searching continued aided by an additional 200 volunteers. A dive team was sent to search in a nearby reservoir to rule out all possibilities.

As of Monday, July 16, DeOrr’s parents began claiming that DeOrr must have been abducted. This seems unlikely to law enforcement because the remote campground has only one access road.

After extensive national exposure and many search attempts, DeOrr’s disappearance remained a mystery as 2015 continues. 

What is the status of DeOrr’s case today? He is still missing and law enforcement is still seeking information. 

While the parents remain persons of interest, no one has been charged due to a lack of viable evidence. 

This case, for me, is very similar to the cases of little Caylee Anthony and Haleigh Cummings of Florida. 

All involve chaotic situations, inconsistent stories from parents and caregivers, as well as, little to no resolution.

Check out the episode on the Crime Junkie website right here.

5. MISSING: Misty Copsey

Last on my 5 best CJ episodes list is the case of Misty Copsey. Misty was a young teenager who went missing from a fairground in Puyallup, Washington in September of 1992. 

I chose this case for the best episode list because it is a great reminder of how many cases have fallen from the public interest. 

Misty came from a struggling family and was being raised by a single mother who greatly loved Misty and still misses her. The case was complicated by an obsessed “helper” and weak police action.

Again, Flowers and Prawat make clear their empathy and heartbreak for Misty’s mother. They are equally clear about their outrage around how the case was handled, or better yet, not handled. 

This case is also a stark lesson in how easily the missing can be forgotten or dismissed. Flowers and Prawat consistently remind the audience to stay involved with cases by encouraging their listeners to show support for the families of the victims.

Check out the episode on the Crime Junkie website right here.

4. MURDERED: Kara, Kelsey and Jessica

This episode of Crime Junkie follows the case of three young women murdered in Kansas over a 10-year period. 

Kara Kopetsky disappeared in May 2007 from her high school. Kelsey Smith disappeared on June 2, 2007, after running an errand at Target. Jessica Runions went missing on September 8, 2016, after a party. 

Although at one point it was thought the three murders were all committed by one murderer, Kelsey Smith’s killer, who confessed, was separate from Kara and Jessica’s. Kara and Jessica’s killer has a trial date for November 2019.

All of these cases have been covered, separately, by various true crime shows and podcasts. However, Flowers and Prawat bring much greater detail that helps the listener understand why the cases were thought to be linked. 

I placed this on the best list because of the attention to detail, the emphasis on each victim as an individual, and the follow-up with the various activism that has developed on the part of the families.

Check out the episode on the Crime Junkie website right here.

3. WANTED: Monster in Fort Wayne, Indiana

Ashley Marie Tinsley is a little girl who goes missing in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and is found deceased in a brutal way, days later, in an area about 20 minutes away. 

A bit of a warning around this episode, the details are horrific, and they involve a young child. If you listen to this episode, you must make sure to listen to the update. 

I have listened to many true crime podcasts and this episode is not only on my top 5 best list here but would rank for the entire true crime genre overall.

The reason this I chose this episode, released on April 1, 2018, and updated on July 15, 2018, for this best-of list is because of how clearly invested Flowers is in the case. I could immediately feel her care, concern, and heartbreak for the family of this little girl. 

As difficult as it was to listen to the episode, I felt compelled to keep listening out of respect for the family because of Flowers’ reporting. 

This episode highlights the style that makes Crime Junkie a consistently highly rated podcast week after week on Apple Podcast, the review chart that all podcasts strive to conquer.

Check out the episode on the Crime Junkie website right here.

2. MISSING: Women of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside

This case, presented in two parts, examines the disappearance of a large group of women from a section of Vancouver, British Columbia known as the Downtown Eastside. 

Most all of the missing women were “necessity sex workers”, meaning their addictions took them to the streets to earn money in, often, the only way they could.

Eventually, Robert William Pickton, a Canadian pig farmer, was arrested and convicted for a few murders related to the missing women. It is estimated that he was actively hunting and killing women from the DE from around 1983 to 2002 when he was arrested. 

He claimed to a cell-mate that he murdered 49 women. The victims were most likely disposed of on his farm.

This case is fairly well known in true crime circles and there is a conviction, so what makes Crime Junkie’s version different from others? The main standout about their presentation is the level of detail around the victims. 

I have followed this case casually and have listened to a couple of other podcasts, but I learned a lot from these episodes that I didn’t know. Also, while the case is certainly horrific, Flowers and Prawat go out of their way not to add any sensational aspects. 

They remain respectful throughout the episodes and always bring the listener back to empathy for all the victims.

Check out the episode on the Crime Junkie website right here.

1. MISSING: Niqui McCown

The case of Niqui McCown’s disappearance was the first episode covered by the Junkies. I feel that this episode is a good starting point for any new listeners not just because it was the first but because it sets up the consistent tone of the podcast.

Aired on December 17, 2017, Flowers and Prawat cover the case of a missing single mother, Niqui McCown, an Indiana woman who was three weeks away from her wedding. 

McCown went missing from a laundromat after returning there to pick up some laundry. Before going back to pick up her clothes, she had told her mother that some guys had been pestering her at the laundromat. 

Her fiancée was initially a person of interest due to some odd behavior, but eventually, the suspect list settled on one of her exes. The podcast does have an update to this episode with McCown’s daughter, as well, which is always a plus for me as a listener.

Other than saying that McCown has never been found, there will not be any spoilers disclosed here. 

In this episode, it becomes evident that Flowers and Prawat do solid research and are very empathetic to the victims they are discussing. Also, the hosts quickly establish their relationship with the listeners so that the buy-in from the audience is immediate.

Check out the episode on the Crime Junkie website right here.

The Takeaway

So, what makes one crime podcast different from another? For me, as a listener, I want a crime podcast that is going to do more than re-tell a case. I want details that are different. 

Primarily, however, I want to know that the presenters care about the victims in a case and want to see justice. I want to know that I am not alone in wanting information that can either provide a lesson or push for action in some way. 

Now, go make a drink and cuddle up with your podcast app and The 7 Best Episodes Of Crime Junkie Podcast.

5 Best Episodes Of My Favorite Murder

Witty and unique, the podcast My Favorite Murder by Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark is a great choice for any lover of true crime. 

The breadth and scope of the crimes they cover are quite impressive.

The women are not hesitant to cover disappearances, solved murders, odd crime cases, and much more. Be warned, the language is unapologetically salty and uber adult-oriented.

We have also compiled for you the very best true crime podcast content that My Favorite Murder has to offer.

These are the 5 Best Episodes Of My Favorite Murder:

1. Any Minisode

I am lumping all the minisodes as one favorite show because they are all short, usually around 20 minutes, and consist of Kilgariff and Hardstark reading murder stories emailed from fans, aka Murderinos, that took place in the fans’ hometowns. 

Many of these stories can be even wilder than the main podcast episodes. Some of the stories have included a fan’s grandmother who had murdered her husband, ghost stories and a tale about a teacher who had survived a brutal neck slashing at the hands of her husband.

The minisodes are just long enough for a lunch-hour listen or an extended break. I like listening to them on errand days when I am in and out of the car a lot. 

They make me feel like I am having coffee with a friend and having a meandering conversation about something we both love. (Side-note: I need to remember to mail them my own story from my hometown.) 

Go check out the full article and list of the 5 Best Episodes of My Favorite Murder right here!

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