True Crime Factor Interview: Matthew Lysiak

newtown_coverOn December 14, 2012, 20-year-old former student Adam Lanza walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut minutes after fatally shooting his mother, Nancy, at the lavish home the two shared on the outskirts of town. Armed with a Bushmaster XM 15-E2S rifle, the reclusive and disturbed Lanza opened fire in the building – leaving 26 people dead, including 20 children aged between 6 and 7 years old and 6 faculty members – before turning the gun on himself.

The Sandy Hook murders devastated the Newtown community and left an entire nation in shock and mourning. In the days and months ahead, any possible motive or cause for Lanza’s homicidal actions – including mental illness, parental responsibility, gun control (or lack thereof) and even entertainment – would be examined under a public microscope.

Matthew Lysiak covered the Newtown tragedy as a reporter for the New York Daily News shortly after news of the killings broke. One year later, Lysiak’s book, Newtown: An American Tragedy documenting the events at Sandy Hook, was released under the Gallery Books banner.

Lysiak kindly spoke with me on the afternoon of November 29 to discuss Newtown and numerous details surrounding the Sandy Hook Elementary School incident.

You can visit Matthew Lysiak online at and follow him on Twitter under the handle @MatthewLysiak.

Purchasing information for Newtown: An American Tragedy is available here.

(Special thanks to Theresa Dooley at Gallery Books)

Please click on the “Play” icon below to hear the interview:

California Mother Found Alive, Abductors at Large

sherri_papiniA California wife and mother has been located alive after vanishing early this month, reports

Shasta County police say 34-year-old Sherri Papini was released by captors on Interstate 5 early Thanksgiving Day. Bound by restraints, Papini flagged down a passing motorist for help.

The suspects in Papini’s abduction are still at large. Police are searching for a dark colored SUV with two Hispanic females armed with a handgun.

Authorities are not aware of a motive for the kidnapping.

Please visit the above link to read more.

Missing Ontario Woman Focus of CBC Radio Podcast

sheryl_sheppardSheryl Sheppard, a Hamilton, Ontario native who disappeared in January 1998, will be the focus of the second season of CBC Radio’s Someone Knows Something podcast.

Sheppard’s fiancé, Michael Lavoie, said he last saw the 29-year-old after dropping her off at work in Niagara Falls. Lavoie had proposed to Sheppard only days earlier during a televised New Year’s Eve celebration.

Someone Knows Something is hosted, written and produced by David Ridgen. The first episode of the second season – featuring an interview with Sheryl’s mother, Odette Fisher – dropped yesterday and is available here.

Police Locate Vehicle Connected to Kansas Newborn’s Disappearance (Updated)

sofia_abarcaWichita police have located a purple Cadillac they believe is connected to the disappearance of six-day-old Sofia Albarca and have made contact with the occupant, reports FOX 4.

Sofia is believed to have been taken after her mother, Laura Abarca-Nogueda, was fatally shot at her home Thursday afternoon.

There has been no Amber Alert issued for Sofia, as police do not have a suspect in her vanishing.

Please visit KWCH here for continued updates.

(Update: reports that Sofia has been located alive and safe in Dallas, Texas.  Wichita police said suspects in the mother’s death took the child and fled.  Two people are currently in custody)

Judge Orders Release of “Making a Murderer” Subject Brendan Dassey (Updated)

(Photo Credit: Eric Young/Herald Times Reporter, via Associated Press)
(Photo Credit: Eric Young/Herald Times Reporter, via Associated Press)

A federal judge has ordered that Brendan Dassey, one of the subjects of the popular Netflix docu-series Making a Murderer, be released from prison while state prosecutors appeal his overturned murder conviction, reports WDJT.

Dassey was jailed in 2007 for the murder of photographer Teresa Halbach after being found guilty of the crime along with his uncle, Steven Avery. Dassey’s conviction was overturned in August.

U.S. Magistrate Judge William Duffin ordered yesterday that Dassey should be supervised by probation officials and provide his intended residence by noon today.

Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel said in a statement Monday that he intended to file a motion with 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to block Dassey’s release.

Should he be freed, Dassey would be barred from having any contact with Avery and would also be prohibited from possessing weapons and using controlled substances.

Please visit the above link to read more.

(Update: reports that a federal appeals court has ruled Dassey should remain in prison pending the resolution of the appeal)