No one should have to experience what these journalists from Ask Reddit have! These are their personal stories.
One day, we got a story about an amber alert. A pregnant mom and her 2 daughters went missing. Day 2: we interviewed the dad outside their house. Day 3: Police are still searching, and we were doing a story on how the whole community is helping find the missing family members. Night of day 3, the police arrest the dad. Turns out he "allegedly" (still ongoing) killed them and dumped their bodies in the oil field he worked at. They recovered the bodies a few days later. The creepiest part is he gave a lengthy interview and talked about how he "hopes they're safe" and "come home soon." Extra creepy factor: the dad was having an affair with a co-worker who had a history of dating criminals.
This was about a week after a kid went missing. Police searched the house, found nothing. Police felt like something wasn't right, so they came back. They found his body "hidden." His cousin "accidentally" killed him while she was trying to make him leave her room.
Yeah. Working in the news is not as fun as people think.
While an intern in Vancouver, BC, I was sent to a press briefing about how a body was found in Stanley Park. A well-off Asian woman.
The usual stuff is said and happens, police investigating, no need to panic, etc. Then one guy pipes up and asks if she is related to the Vancouver Club and some cops brush him off, he asks again, and two cops pull him aside and tell him to knock it off, quit talking about the Vancouver Club and how it's just all conspiracy kinda shit.
After the presser I go over and talk to him, he seemed pretty coherent and said the woman and her husband are rich Chinese real estate types (par for the course in Vancouver) and are big people at the Vancouver Club, he also mentions at the club people fuck children there, and he knows a lawyer that was disbarred because all of high societies elites go to this club.
I never brought it up at the paper because it's got some pretty heavy conspiracy vibes but it was an interesting experience, to say the least.
I covered a trial of a man who beat his 1-year-old child to death. He was scary. His family started following me around town making threats for about a month.
I busted a puppy mill. I hate dogs, but these things had never seen the outside of a cage, much less sunlight. The woman was selling them for $2,000 as "hand-raised Yorkies." I typically never get involved with stuff like this, but her punishment was so light, I called every dog selling website I could find, sent them the story, and blackballed her from all of them.
So much child abuse and kiddie porn. Why the fuck do people like doing that shit so much.
Wrote about a case of animal abuse by a worker at a dairy farm. The guy's main job was to care for the newborn baby calves. They get bottle-fed and are usually born toothless. Well, after the bottle was empty, he would stick his penis in their mouths for a quick blowjob. He was probably doing it for years. He disappeared before his trial, but I so wanted them to bring the cow into the courtroom.
An Amish buggy with a huge family (5 kids, only one was over 10) got hit by a minivan on the highway. Just the dad survived. The horse died too. The mom went through the van's windshield after they hit her, and the bodies were spattered everywhere on the road. Luckily despite being a highway, it's not a high traffic area, so not many people were exposed to it. I knew the guy driving the minivan, and he was, obviously, traumatized by it. The family had a baby whose remains couldn't really be identified because I guess she was just crushed so completely by the tires.
I haven't been a journalist long, only started a year ago, but I've attended some criminal court and coroner's court cases which turned my stomach. Strap yourselves in, this is gonna be long.
One example is the 16-year-old girl who jumped in front of a train and killed herself because her stepdad was sexually abusing her. There was another victim in the trial too, who we couldn't identify due to laws around identifying victims of sex crimes. He was found guilty of 13 out of 16 charges, and as the judge read out his sentence his face was so calm and devoid of any emotion, it was very unsettling to look at him.
I interviewed the girl's grandmother outside the courtroom about how they felt about the verdict. Approaching her was horrible because I just knew I was the last person in the world she'd want to talk to. I also attended the inquest into the girl's death, where it was officially ruled a suicide, and the details of her final hours were heartbreaking.
Then there was the case of a 17-year-old boy who was stabbed to death on his best friend's doorstep. I never saw the autopsy pictures, but I was sat across from the jury as they looked through them and half of the jury looked like they wanted to cry.
There were five teenagers up for his murder, and in the end, they were all found guilty of murder. It was probably gang-motivated. During the trial, a couple of the defendants laughed and joked with each other in the dock, which was so bizarre to witness because I don't know if they truly understood what a dangerous situation they were in.
Then, there was the case at coroner's court which still upsets me if I think about it in too much detail. This woman was found dead in the bath by her husband after she'd taken an unknown amount of drugs. She fell unconscious while the hot water was still running, and she was found hours later, so the blistering boiling water completely ruined her body, and the coroner went into graphic detail. So graphic one of her (adult) children ran out of the courtroom sobbing. I'll spare you the details.
In the end, an open verdict was ruled because the coroner couldn't say with 100% certainty that she intended to take her own life. Afterward, the family was arguing with the police liaison about whether she should have been prescribed the drugs she was given and presumably took, and while I'm a little ashamed to say it, I couldn't bring myself to approach the family and ask if they wanted to write a tribute for their mother, as is protocol when covering inquests at my company. They were all so distraught, and I couldn't handle the idea of that being turned on me. Thankfully my editor was sympathetic.
I shot a story on a woman who was living in her own filth and junk. She piled it up 2 meters high. A hoarder. I went into her house an hour before she was evicted and she showed me how she lived. I tripped over a kiddie's rollerskate. It belonged to her son who was now 40 years old.
She didn't only hoard things. She also kept 19 chickens in her bedroom. But she kept losing track of them, so for convenience's sake, they were kept in cardboard boxes that were never cleaned.
I have seen some nasty things in my life, but the stench of this house was unbearable.
I filmed how she was evicted. She then decided to spend the night in the trash container that the government used to empty her house. The next day I filmed how she was evicted from a container… creepy, but also sad.
Basically, this dude was in massive gambling debt even though he had made not an insignificant amount of money in his life and his wife had a six-figure salary job. So he decided he'd hire an assassin to kill his wife so he could collect on her life insurance. Fortunately, the first man he went to talk to about it (his best friend at the time) was a sane human being and immediately contacted the police. They set up a sting, and the best friend wore a wire while he talked to the husband about an "assassin" that the best friend had found.
There was a lot of disturbing talk on that tape, such as how the fee for this fictitious assassin was actually more than the husband had, so he suggested that this assassin just take his wife's jewelry as payment after she was dead.
There was another point in the video where the best friend asked the husband why he wasn't just divorcing his wife to take half of her assets. His response: "Who the fuck wants half?"
These two are mostly hearsay, but I've been digging into them for a while, and there's at least some evidence to it:
That DB Cooper was involved in a cocaine smuggling operation. The people with the evidence aren't willing to go on the record until certain people who would be implicated in wrongdoing finally kick the bucket, but that would also include his identity and the identity of his accomplice (who there was never a theory on).
Another, even more, far-fetched one: human and drug trafficking within the LDS church. An anonymous friend of the family (I don't know who but they knew things about my parents and siblings that only someone who had known us for a long time) tipped it to me and has some crazy stories that I can't confirm but circumstantial evidence seem to point to there being some truth to it.
A disturbed sexual predator was violating his parole by camping out in the woods outside of a college campus. I found the incident in the police logs and campus safety refused to release the name. I nearly had to FOIA, but they caved at the last minute. As it turns out he was camped outright by the on-campus daycare, and the reason they wouldn't realize the name was that it showed they weren't following procedure and checking all areas of the campus. His camp was basically a drug and porn dungeon.
I worked for a local paper for a while. I had a story that would have been the pinnacle of my career if it didn't get squashed. One day a former co-worker told me he heard about the local college's Women's Golf coach having molested a girl. Gave me the name of the coach. Within a half-hour of my pounding the pavement at the school, I got pulled into the head of the athletic's office who gave me the name of the girl. She was in the running to be state champion in her division.
By the next day, I've contacted her and met her at a Starbucks where she told me everything on tape, confirming what I'd heard and more. I encouraged her to go to the police and she said it was ok if I used her name in the article. I wrote the article and sent it to my editor.
The media relations guy for the school contacted my boss asking if it was true because he'd gotten wind of it. He'd been out of the office and his assistant gave me a no comment. Unfortunately, the evidence against the coach was solid.
We publish the article online, it quickly becomes our third most viewed for the year, but within a day the coach has resigned, he's filed suit against the paper, and gotten the local masons sending death suit against the paper, and death threats to my boss. Someone left a dead raccoon on his porch.
My boss brokered a deal with the coach to pull the article and disavow all knowledge of it if he dropped the suit and called off the masons. Last I heard the coach was getting divorced and moved out of state.
I quit after that. Some scary people out there.