Paper Ghosts

Paper Ghosts

Deep in America’s heartland, on a scorching July 4th weekend in 1981, an alarm went out––the massive farmhouse of an Ohio family was engulfed in flames. All four residents were found dead. But was it the fire that killed them? In season 2 of PAPER GHOSTS, investigative journalist and bestselling true crime author M. William Phelps' search for answers takes a turn after the discovery of declassified documents and a cache of never-before-heard audio tapes help expose the dark truth behind what happened 40 years ago.

Episodes

August 31, 2020 2 min

Four girls go missing, all within miles from one another in neighboring New England towns. And not one arrest is made. Fifty years later, the search for answers is reignited when a call reveals new information that sets the investigation in motion.

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Janice Pockett was only 7 years old when she went missing during the summer of 1973. She had been given permission for the first time to ride her bike alone, so she made her way down the dirt road near her family’s home. As she turned the corner, it was the last time anybody ever saw her again. For decades, the case has remained unsolved. It was not until recently, when a new piece of information turns the case upside down and shif...

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September 9, 2020 34 min

One year after Janice Pockett went missing in Tolland, CT, another young girl was abducted just a few miles from where Janice was last seen. Lisa Joy White was 13 when she suddenly vanished on her way home from a friend's house in 1974. Early belief was that Lisa ran away. Police believed her friend knew what happened. Now, for the first time, Lisa's friend is telling her side of the story.

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September 9, 2020 31 min

Susan LaRosa was 20 years old and already a mom to three young children when she disappeared in 1975. She had dark black hair, cut just above her shoulders. She was petite, 95 pounds. Her husband said she left their apartment one evening to get diapers and baby formula and never returned. That’s the extent of what you’d know about Susan LaRosa if you read about her case in the newspapers. But after years of looking into her story, ...

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September 16, 2020 32 min

WARNING: This episode contains material that may be unsuitable and difficult for some to hear.

The story has always been that Susan LaRosa left her apartment to pick up baby supplies and call her mother the night she disappeared. She did this just about every night at the same time at a nearby drug store. Her husband was considered a suspect immediately. More than 40 years later, an eyewitness has come forward with details about wha...

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September 23, 2020 39 min

All of the missing cases have become like the five points of a star—no matter how you draw it, each point shoots a dotted line back to one person of interest: Bob LaRosa. However, there are far more nefarious secrets buried deep within his family that could lead to another suspect and new answers—starting with yet another missing young woman Bob knew very well. 

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September 30, 2020 34 min

A frantic call brings forward a new lead, with new clues and a new person of interest with connections to Bob LaRosa. As local authorities have been focused on a group of violent, sexually perverted men exploiting and violating young women in the area, a surprising connection links this new person of interest back to the water walls where police have been looking.

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October 7, 2020 30 min

The faces of Janice Pockett, Lisa White, and Debbie Spickler appear side by side on one missing persons flier that continues to be posted around town to this day. The public and media have always grouped these cases together. Three young girls, suddenly gone. Yet that is where the similarities stop. Recently uncovered documents help clear up the misinformation that’s been reported on 13-year-old Debbie Spickler’s case for over 50 y...

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October 14, 2020 26 min

For just a moment in 2013, there was a glint of hope that the remains of one of the missing girls had been discovered. For their families, it was a discovery that finally felt like there would be answers. As the investigation heats up, a new source comes forward and flips the entire investigation upside down.

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October 21, 2020 24 min

He was best friends with Bob LaRosa. His ex-wife has described him as violent. And he’s been talking about bodies being buried in local water wells. It’s time for the Witness to speak.

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October 28, 2020 25 min

As far as the investigation into the five cases has gone, a major piece of the puzzle always felt missing. The victims' families have long asked the State Police to bring search dogs out to the biggest points of interest where the bodies of the missing girls may be buried. Those requests have been ignored ... until now.


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June 16, 2021 2 min

During the 1981 Fourth of July weekend, four people were found dead inside a massive farmhouse that belonged to a wealthy Ohio family. Desperate to find answers, surviving family members reached out to M. William Phelps for help. After a years-long investigation, new developments help track the movements of a new suspect and uncover a series of mysterious deaths that could expose what really happened that terrible night 40 years ag...

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June 23, 2021 28 min

Everyone in Bethel, Ohio, has a theory about what happened to the Stevenson family on July 6, 1981. They were one of the town’s most popular, wealthiest families and operated a number of lucrative firework stands in high demand each summer. But when their house is burned to the ground and everyone inside is found dead, long buried secrets of the past are exposed.

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June 30, 2021 34 min

Police quickly learn that what was initially considered a deadly accident inside the Stevenson home was actually the scene of a quadruple homicide. Was it retribution from a business deal gone wrong? Had Billy shown off his money to the wrong person? An incident that takes place at one of the family's fireworks stands just days before the murders becomes an eerie prelude as the suspect list begins to grow.

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July 7, 2021 25 min

As the focus starts to shift towards the mystery man who visited the Stevensons just hours before the murders, unique investigative techniques are implemented by law enforcement in an effort to find answers. Forty years later, those tactics are revealed when a cache of never-before-heard recordings are discovered and reveal a puzzle of new information.

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July 14, 2021 27 min

In light of all the discoveries made during the investigation, authorities still don’t have tangible evidence leading to who is responsible for the murders. Yet, as it feels like the case is beginning to run cold, Detective Cooper finds a new person of interest with connections that are hard to ignore – a man many warn is not someone to tangle with or upset.

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July 21, 2021 34 min

Dick Weston is the key to the Stevenson murders. As the Sheriff’s Department and FBI begin to build a case against the former convict, their investigative aim steers toward the two women who alibied him. 

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July 28, 2021 26 min

As Dick Weston remains the prime suspect in the Stevenson murders, one question keeps coming up: Where is family friend Ron Thomas? Meanwhile, an unlikely source surfaces with new information that adds weight to a possible motive.

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August 4, 2021 32 min

Is Ron Thomas a cold-blooded killer, or misunderstood? To really understand Ron, one needs to look at his life before the Stevenson murders. A detective helps reveal where the Stevenson family friend had been hiding every time he evaded cops and fled town–and introduces a woman with a dangerous past.

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August 11, 2021 26 min

In the months after the Stevenson murders, Dick Weston and Drucilla Merida were indicted by a federal grand jury–but not for murder. Ron Thomas, on the other hand, was no longer the Fed's priority. This didn't go over too well with Carol Thompson. So she decided to do something about it herself.

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