5 Times Idaho Was Featured in True Crime TV Shows
When the search for Tylee Ryan and JJ Vallow made national headlines in December 2019, all eyes were on Rexburg, Idaho.
NBC's Keith Morrison became very invested in the case and has featured it five different times on Dateline. His most recent episode, The Doomsday Files, aired on November 12 and included the first interviews with the brothers of Charles Vallow, one of Lori's ex-husbands who was shot and killed by Lori's brother. It also included new audio recordings, text messages and other updates on the case.
The Chad Daybell and Lori Vallow case may be one of the most well-known true crime stories in Idaho, but it's certainly not the only one that's been the center of a television show or documentary. There are five other times that crimes tied to Idaho were in the spotlight.
Author's Note: Idaho's appeared on true crime shows far more than five times...but if the author had kept writing, she would've overslept being on the radio with you guys the next morning. Feel free to post comments about other cases you remember showing up on a show or documentary.
Abducted in Plain Sight
Originally released in 2017, this documentary became the "WTF" moment that everyone in the Gem State was talking about around in February 2019. The documentary examines the events surrounding Jan Broberg being abducted from her Pocatello home not once, but twice, by the same man. After watching it, many people pointed fingers at the Broberg parents for enabling some really twisted things to happen. At the same time, you feel a little bad for them because they are uncomfortably raw and honest throughout their interviews in the documentary. They were just as brainwashed as their little girl. This one is too bizarre to spoil. If you haven't watched it yet, it's still available on Netflix.
Conversations With a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes
Released just days before Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile, the film in which Zac Efron portrayed one of America's most notorious serial killers, this Netflix docuseries briefly mentions Idaho as a state where Ted Bundy committed one of his homicides. We had to do a little digging to find out more. According to a 1989 article from the Orlando Sentinel, Bundy confessed to killing a 12 year-old girl who went missing while walking from from Almeda Junior High in Pocatello. Bundy wasn't able to give investigators the girl's name, but Idaho authorities confirmed that the victim's name was Lynette Culver. They were able to narrow it down because Bundy could clearly recall the details of a conversation with his victim like where her parents worked and how the family had recently relocated from the other side of town. Culver's body was never found, but Bundy claims to have thrown it in the Snake River.
Dateline: The Confession and ID's Who Killed Angie Dodge?
In 2012, Keith Morrison traveled to Idaho Falls to take a deeper look at the 1996 murder of 18 year-old, Angie Dodge. After she failed to show up at work, two of her co-workers stopped by her apartment to check on her only to find her dead body on the bedroom floor. Months later, an acquaintance by the name of Chris Tapp confessed to Dodge's sexual assault and murder. He was sentenced to 40 years in prison, despite the fact that there was no DNA evidence linking Tapp to the crime. Tapp later rescinded his confession and Angie's own mother was a major player in fighting for his release from prison. She, like many others, believed that his confession was coerced by police. After this original episode aired, Morrison did a follow-up special called "Who Killed Angie Dodge?" for ID showing an agreement leading to Tapp's release after more than 7,000 days in prison and Carol Dodge's continued search for her daughter's killer. In 2019, 53 year-old Brian Leigh Dripps of Caldwell was arrested and charged with Angie's murder. His DNA did indeed match the DNA left at the crime scene decades ago.
Dateline: The Family Secret
Keith Morrison sat down with Judy Gough's daughter, Kim, to discuss a horrific crime she dragged the 12 year-old into in 1980. While Kim's siblings were at school, her mother had her stay behind to assist in the murder of Gough's husband, Lloyd Ford. Gough drugged her husband by sprinkling powder from sleeping pills into his favorite dessert and then had her daughter cover her ears as she pulled the trigger on the rifle, shooting Ford in the chest. She then asked her daughter to help stuff the body in a truck. When her son came home from school, she had him carry it to a hole in the backyard of their Boise Bench home. She told the family that Ford had left her for another woman and abandoned the family. Decades later, Kim came forward and tipped police off to the crime. Once they found Ford's bones in the backyard of the Clark Street home, Gough, then 62, was arrested and was eventually sentenced to 10 years in prison for second-degree murder. According to the Ada County Assessor's website, someone new purchased the property in 2019. We can't help but wonder if they know what happened there all those years ago.
Real Life Nightmare: Horror at the Campground
In November 2019, the HLN series dove into the 2015 disappearance of 2 year-old DeOrr Kunz Jr. Kunz was last seen on a camping trip at the Timber Creek Campground with his parents, great-grandfather and a family friend. At this point investigators don't believe the child wandered off or was abducted. They believe that they're investigating a homicide. It's been almost five years and no one has been charged in connection with Kunz's disappearance and they've never found a body.