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Southern Macabre

Southern Macabre

By Aeryn Grey

Three times every week I will tell you about a missing person, true crime, or paranormal story from the South. I encourage listener feedback and if you have a suggestion then I want to hear from you. You will be credited in that episode description.
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Where is Sara Nicole Graham?

Southern MacabreMar 04, 2022

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Missing in Virginia

Missing in Virginia

Today I am going to tell you about a few of the people who have gone missing in Virginia including two young girls who may have been murdered by a friend and about three young people who vanished from one town. Be sure to come back next Monday when I'll tell you about ten others who have disappeared from that small town since 2011.

If you enjoyed today’s episode, please follow so you never miss an episode and leave a review on Apple Podcasts or Goodpods. You can find me on Facebook, Twitter, and now on Instagram! If you want to contact me, my email is If you want to read the transcript, you can do so here.

Thank you so much for listening today! Come back on Wednesday when I’ll tell you a new paranormal story and at the end of the week for True Crime Friday.

I appreciate each and every one of you. I hope y’all have a fantastic week and I look forward to talking to y’all again soon. God bless, y’all!

Mar 14, 202208:20
The Haunted Lorton Reformatory
Mar 10, 202213:19
What Happened to Kaila Morris?
Mar 08, 202211:35
Where is Sara Nicole Graham?

Where is Sara Nicole Graham?

You may remember me talking about Sara in the episode What's Going on in This Town? Part One, but it's okay if you don't. I'll tell you about her and give you the information the FBI recently released. 

You can click here if you would like to read the transcript for this episode or if you would like to see a picture of Sara. If you know anything then you should call the Charlotte FBI at 704-672-6100.

If you want to get in touch with me, my email address is or you can contact me on Facebook and/or Twitter.

Mar 04, 202205:45
Cold Cases Can Be Solved
Mar 04, 202211:40
The Grand Old Lady Inn
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What Happened to Mary and Diane?
Mar 01, 202220:21
February 28, 2022

February 28, 2022

Feb 28, 202200:52
How to Stay Safe in This Digital Age
Feb 25, 202211:09
Haunted Dirt Road in the Middle of Nowhere

Haunted Dirt Road in the Middle of Nowhere

Today's episode takes place in Columbus, Mississippi on a dark, desolate dirt road. The old legend says if you follow three simple rules you will be chased by someone. Who is it? Well, you'll have to listen to find out!

Feb 23, 202208:55
Strange Disappearances in Kentucky

Strange Disappearances in Kentucky

Thank, y'all, so much for listening! If you want to read the transcript, you will find it here. If you want to check out the Facebook page, that link is here. You can email me at or leave me a voice message on my page.

I would love for you to leave me a review on Apple Podcasts or Goodpods letting me know what you like, or don't, about Southern Macabre. I ask you to please stick to constructive criticism and don't just write, "It sucks". 

Make sure you come back for Paranormal Wednesday and True Crime Friday! I hope y'all have a fantastic week! God bless, y'all!

Feb 21, 202216:28
Loved Milo's to Death

Loved Milo's to Death

This is the Southern Macabre Valentine's Day special. A tale of deception, an affair with a pastor, and murder. I'm pretty certain that this is the only case where food counted as evidence to figure out who killed Michael Reese in his home on January 18, 2015.

Feb 18, 202207:56
Missing in Mississippi

Missing in Mississippi

Hey, y’all, and welcome Southern Macabre! I’m Aeryn and I’m so glad you’re here for our weekly Missing Person Monday episode. Even if it is Friday.

I apologize for my mistake yesterday – I deleted Most Haunted in Tennessee and re-uploaded it as Haunted Castle in Tennessee so you can listen to this week’s paranormal episode. I won’t get in a hurry next time because this took me all day to fix.

As usual, I will list the corresponding law enforcement phone number after each story and I will get pictures uploaded to our Facebook page, Southern Macabre, today.

So, without further ado, I present Missing in Mississippi.

In 1960, Columbus, Mississippi was a small town where everyone knew everyone and it was considered a good place to live and raise a family. The lock and dam, Leigh Mall, Walmart, etc. hadn’t been built yet so there wasn’t much apart from Main Street where Mississippi University for Women is located. That’s when it earned its nickname “The Friendly City”. Sadly, that’s not the case today with crime on the rise.

We’re not talking about today, though. Today we’re going to go way back and talk about Lyrian Wyvonne Barry, a 23-year-old mother of an 8-month-old girl who came from a close-knit family that included her parents, three sisters, and four brothers. She was an African American woman who stood 5’ tall and weighed about 150 pounds.

After she graduated in 1956, she met Eulice “Eddie” Stallings from New Orleans. She moved there with him, but a short time later she returned to Columbus, Mississippi with their newborn daughter, Gloria.

Eddie moved back to Columbus so her family assumed that he still had feelings for her. They moved in together, but it wasn’t a good situation. It wasn’t long until she had her family help her move out. Her sister, Betsy Hurt, said he was using and selling drugs, which made Lyrian angry.

Lyrian began seeing him in secret, but he was seeing multiple women until he married a woman because she was pregnant with his child. It was at this time Lyrian connected with her distant cousin, Sonny Lucas, who lived in Columbus and St. Louis, Missouri.

Shortly after Eddie got married, she gave Gloria to Betsy and boarded a Greyhound bus for St. Louis to live with an aunt. Betsy was pregnant and the plan was for her to give birth in Columbus and then Lyrian was going to help her move to St. Louis. She figured that she would have a job and her own place by then.

Sadly, that didn’t happen because she vanished not long after she arrived at her aunt’s home. Her aunt saw that someone was looking for a live-in maid either in Needham, Massachusetts or Bridgeport, Connecticut, she couldn’t remember which. The night she was going to leave for her interview, Lucas’s wife beat her up.

She has never been seen or heard from again.

Unfortunately, her parents, a few siblings, and her daughter passed not knowing what happened to Lyrian. They always hoped that she was still alive, but her social security number has never been used and there isn’t a death certificate anywhere.

If you know anything, call Columbus Police Department at 662-244-3554

This case is crazy! So, on New Year’s Eve in 1986, James Michael Welter gets in a car accident while drinking and driving. He was a 34-year-old Staff sergeant with the U.S. Air Force and was on leave until January 6th and had to be in court in Ocean Springs on the 15th. He didn’t show up for either so he was deemed AWOL (Absent WithOut Leave) by the military and a warrant was issued for his arrest.

In March of that year, they found his 1986 Ford Granada being driven by the arresting officer! He claimed that he had bought it from two unknown individuals at a salvage auction. It was scrapped later.

Also, at the time of his disappearance, he was purchasing a timeshare through Dixie Resort Corporation, Indian Point Resort, in Gautier, M

Feb 18, 202213:18
Haunted Castle in Tennessee

Haunted Castle in Tennessee

Hey, y’all and welcome to Southern Macabre! I’m Aeryn and I’m so glad that you could join me for Paranormal Wednesday. I always do a lot of research for an episode, but it is so difficult to find stories that haven’t been told a hundred times.


I don’t usually let y’all into my process, but today I’d like to. For Valentine’s Day, my husband bought me a bottle of Choco-Vine, Dutch chocolate red wine. I can’t recommend it enough, it’s like chocolate milk with a fiery finish. What I can not recommend is drinking Choco-Vine while watching hauntings on YouTube as you fall asleep. Good dreams do not follow, I can assure you!



So today we’re going to head north to Nashville, Tennessee, the state capital. Visitors go there to see the famous recording studios on Music Row and to hear live music. Country music and bluegrass trace their roots to this metropolis along with R&B. 


We’re not going to head into the heart of the city, even though we could. No, we’re going to head seven and a half miles away to a massive castle-like building that was opened on February 12, 1898 and closed in 1992. I’m going to tell y’all about Tennessee State Prison, or the Castle, as it is often referred to.


The Castle is a large ominous structure that has been featured in a few music videos, including Lightning and Homeboy by Eric Church and movies, including The Green Mile. It’s built of white stone and has beautiful turrets on the roof, giving it a Medieval look. For those interested, it cost $500,000 then not including the land. Or about $12.3 million in today’s economy. It was built by prisoners being held in the old prison that this one was replacing.


It was designed to house 800 inmates, but on the first day, they accepted 1,403. Overcrowding was always a problem and is part of the reason the imposing prison closed. It housed men, women, and children together at times because of the overcrowding. At one point, they were housing 4,000 inmates!


All of them lived in small cells with no heating or ventilation. That means they froze in winter, got hot in the summer, the smell of B.O. and other unsavory odors would have been overpowering.


I tried to find a list of infamous prisoners housed there, but could only find one. James Earl Ray, who assassinated Martin Luther King, Jr. served a portion of his prison sentence here before being moved to Brushy Mountain Penitentiary, another prison in Tennessee that is said to be haunted.


A few big singers performed here for the inmates, like Johnny and June Cash, Loretta Lynn, and even Elvis. Johnny Cash even recorded a live album here and Elvis would visit Johnny Bragg, frontman of the Blue’s group The Prisonaires. The group sold tens of thousands of records and were often requested to play at the governor’s mansion. Johnny Bragg was incarcerated on six counts of rape and his bandmates were serving life sentences for murder.


I would like to say at this point that I have had two close relatives who worked in maximum security prisons in different states and both of them said the inmates were very respectful and were kind to them. They both left due to administration that resembled Percy Whetmore in The Green Mile. I may tell you about one of those prisons in a future episode because it was definitely haunted.


In addition to the cells, there were factories, warehouses, and farms inside the prison walls where the inmates worked to pay for their stay. They would also lease all of the inmates to local businesses to bring in even more money. The inmates were then fed meager rations unless they ran out - then they got nothing. A riot broke out because a number of inmates didn’t get pork chops because they ran out.


I think a lot of us would be pretty mad if we worked sixteen hours only to find out that we would n

Feb 17, 202211:45
The Texas Candy Man

The Texas Candy Man

Hey, y’all, and welcome to Southern Macabre! Thank y’all so much for tuning in today for True Crime Friday. Today I’m going to tell y’all about a solved case from Texas. I’m going to try to spare y’all the graphic details, but y’all may not want your young’uns listening in.

* While I was recording, I got a notification on my tablet that I have set to say, "I'm your Huckleberry" an infamous line from the movie Tombstone. Due to when it occurred, I left it as it seemed fitting to me. There is a note in the transcript when it happens on the recording. *


Dean Arnold Corll was born December 24, 1939 in Fort Wayne, Indiana, but moved to Memphis, Tennessee after his parents, Arnold and Mary Corll, divorced. His father was stationed there with the U.S. Air Force and his mother wanted him to still have contact with both of his sons, Corll, and his younger brother, Stanley Wayne Corll.


His parents reconciled, remarried, and moved to Pasadena, Texas. It didn’t last long and they divorced on good terms and Arnold maintained contact with his boys.


After this divorce, Mary married a traveling clock salesman named Jake West. They moved to Vidor, Texas where his half-sister, Joyce, was born. Mary and Jake started a family-owned candy company in their garage and Jake would sell it to his clients. Corll worked in the candy kitchen all of the time, even though he was still in school. He and his brother were responsible for the candy-making machines and packaging.


The family moved just outside Houston in 1958, when Corll graduated, to help the popular candy company, Pecan Prince, grow. In 1960, Mary asked Corll to move in with his elderly grandmother, which he did.


During this time, he became friends with a local girl. She proposed marriage to him in 1962, but he turned her down. He returned to Houston in 1962 to help with the candy shop that had moved to Houston Heights by then. He moved into an apartment above the store.


Mary divorced Jack in 1963 and opened Corll Candy Shop. Corll was appointed vice-president and Stanley was secretary-treasurer. That year, one of the teenaged male employees told Mary that Corll had made sexual advances towards him, so she fired the employee.


On August 10, 1964, Corll went to Fort Polk, Louisiana after being drafted by the U.S. Army. He was then assigned to Fort Benning, Georgia where he was trained to fix radios. His permanent assignment was Fort Hood, Texas. He was honorably discharged after ten months of service so he could go back to Houston to help with Corll Candy Company.


Corll reportedly told close friends that it was during his time in the Army that he realized he was a homosexual and had had his first homosexual experiences during that time. Others noticed how he acted around teenaged boys after he came home and wondered if he was a homosexual.


He returned to a fierce competition between Pecan Prince, his former stepfather’s company, and Corll Candy Company, his mother’s business. He increased the number of hours he worked in order to meet the demand for his family’s candy.


In 1965, Corll Candy Company relocated across the street from an elementary school. Corll earned the nickname “ The Candy Man '' and “Pied Piper '' because he would give free candy to children, especially teenage boys.


The “Pied Piper” title was a bit prophetic as the legend says that the Pied Piper lured children to their deaths and their families never saw them again.


Only a few people worked in the candy store and he was seen to behave inappropriately with several teenage male employees. He bought a pool table which he set up at the back of the store where employees and young people would hang out.


In 1967, he befriended a sixth grader named David Owen Brooks, one of the many who rece

Feb 11, 202215:27
Haunted Ship of Alabama

Haunted Ship of Alabama

Hey y’all and welcome to Southern Macabre! I’m Aeryn and I am so glad y’all are listening today. Before I tell you today’s paranormal story, I have a couple of announcements to make. First, Southern Macabre is officially a month old! It happened Monday, but I didn’t realize it until, well, let me make the second announcement. So, we are the #74 Independent True Crime Podcast out of 100 on Goodpods – that is because of YOU! So, thank YOU for listening and telling your friends about this podcast. I never would have thought anything like this would happen, especially not this quickly. Y’all are awesome and I love y’all!

The problem with this accomplishment is I wanted something unique for this episode. Something unexpected. It took a lot of time, but I think it was worth it. Today I’m going to bring y’all down to my neck of the woods, kind of. Same state, just a lot further south.


Our story takes place in Mobile, Alabama, a fascinating city filled with rich history and beloved southern traditions. Did y’all know you can hop on a boat to watch the Moon Pie drop at the Moon Pie Factory on New Years Eve? Or that the very first Mardi Gras parade happened here and not in New Orleans? It’s true. Or that Carnival Cruise Line and Naval Ships are built here? You can see some of their daily operations from that boat tour I mentioned before.

Speaking of ships, today’s story is about the 680-foot battleship, the USS Alabama BB-60 that rests in Mobile, Alabama. My family and I visited the battleship back in 2015, so I will post some of our pictures on the website and our Facebook page. Unfortunately, none of us experienced anything paranormal, but none of us were brave enough to go down the steep, narrow stairs. My oldest is clumsy, I was wearing my daughter in a baby carrier on my chest, and my husband…well, he has his reasons. Here’s a hint: Swannanoa. If you aren’t familiar with that episode, please listen to The Blue Dog Ghost after I get done telling you today’s story. We southerners don’t like being interrupted when we’re telling a story.

The ship is awesome, and so is the military museum next door, so you should definitely visit if you ever get the chance. Unless you are physically looking at her, you can’t understand how enormous this ship really is! As we were driving up to her, we were impressed, but once we parked and started walking towards her we were awestruck!

So, the USS Alabama was ordered in 1939 and was built at the Norfolk Naval Yard in Norfolk, Virginia. She was the fourth and last member of the South Dakota class of battleships built for the United States. She was launched on February 16, 1942 and sent to strengthen the British Home Fleet during World War II. Her primary use was to protect air craft carriers from surface and air attacks.

After the war, she brought about 700 people home from the war zone. She was decommissioned in 1947 having never seen a casualty caused by enemy fire. That’s impressive! So, then, how is she haunted?

We’ll get to that in a moment, I want to tell you more about her and her history first. Just be patient.

When she was decommissioned, she was assigned to the Pacific Reserve Fleet until 1962 when she was set to be destroyed. A campaign to save her was launched and enough funds were raised that she was brought to Mobile to act as a museum.

The USS Alabama had guns upon guns on board and a technologically superior radar system. She was designed well to do her job, protect our men so they could kill the bad guys.

Anyway, on to the reason y’all are here. So, while she was being built, two men died and some people claim to hear them still working on her to this day.

Also, I said no one was killed by enemy fire. I didn’t say anything about friendly fire. The guns onboard were supposed to have safety features that would prevent turrets firing on each other, but they failed and eight men died.

Feb 09, 202215:45
Murder and Mayhem

Murder and Mayhem

Hey, y’all, and welcome to Southern Macabre! I’m Aeryn and I am so glad you could join me for Missing Person Monday. I’ve got a crazy episode for you today and I would love to read your comments. I was planning to tell you about five or more cases like I usually do, but this case took hold and so I’m just going to tell you about Ms. Audrey Alta Moate today.


Audrey Alta Moate, age 31, was picked up by her “friend”, 46-year-old Thomas Hotard, at a café near Laplace, Louisiana. She rode with him in his blue, four door 1953 Nash Rambler until he parked about five yards from Lake Pontchartrain. One of them had brought along a picnic basket for their weekly Saturday meetup. They both worked at Kaiser Construction Company in Gramercy.

Thomas lay the front seat down until it met the back seat, forming a bed. Then the two spread out a sleeping bag and pillows, making a cozy spot in the back of his huge car. A hunter saw the two of them in the backseat that morning, startling Thomas, but didn’t think much of it at that time.

You see, it was 1956 and Thomas Hotard, Sr. was married with two children and Audrey was a divorced single mother with three children herself. One child, Jacqueline, was actually their child. No one knew this until after November 24, 1956, though. So, Thomas told his wife that he had to work every Saturday so the two of them could spend time together.

A different hunter than the one who had seen the two of them that morning, passed by the car that afternoon. He saw a man, “sleeping in a strange position” in the backseat and noticed the rear passenger door was open, but he didn’t check it out. He decided to just go home.

The next morning around 10:30, the first hunter started to pass the car again, but he decided to stop and investigate. He found Thomas laying on the sleeping bag and pillows. He had been shot through the rear window with birdshot and had been dead for 7-30 hours when he was discovered. He still had his wallet with his ID, a credit card, and a small amount of money.

They found the partial contents of a woman’s purse, a woman’s clothing, a woman’s shoes and Audrey’s eyeglasses inside the car. Small footprints, like a woman’s bare feet, lead from the car to the woods nearby. They were spaced far apart, indicating that she was running.

Let me take a moment to break this down for y’all. So, they’re both in the backseat, she’s naked and he probably is, too, when someone presses a shotgun to the back glass and pulls the trigger.  She probably realized quickly that Thomas was dead and fled – not caring that she’s as naked as a newborn baby. She tries to run, but this person is wearing boots and catches her before she can get away.

Okay, so some of this is speculation, but they did see a set of men’s boot prints behind her bare ones and a single tire tread – like a motorcycle would make. Also, there was evidence of a struggle five feet away from the car. This was where police discovered the keys to Audrey’s 1949 Oldsmobile, which was still parked at the café where she had met Thomas the day before.

So, this is the time Thomas and Audrey’s family tell police that the two were only friends and Audrey’s mother brings up that a couple of years prior, Audrey had gone to Missouri because of a nervous breakdown.

In fact, she was living in an apartment one mile away from her mother in Baton Rouge. She gave birth to Jacqueline at a local hospital, naming Thomas as the baby girl’s father. She told her mother a year later that she had adopted a one-year-old in Missouri while recovering from her nervous breakdown. We know all of this because Audrey had Jacqueline’s birth certificate in a safe deposit box, which police gained access to seven years after Audrey’s disappearance.

Audrey’s two older children went to live with their dad’s mom, Norma O’Reilly Moate, in New Orleans. Jacqueline stayed with Audrey’s mother in B

Feb 07, 202212:35
The Elkwallow Madman Murder

The Elkwallow Madman Murder

Hey, y’all, and welcome to Southern Macabre! I’m Aeryn and I’m so glad that y’all could join me for True Crime Friday! Today’s case is crazy and it took me a long time to actually find information about it, even though I know this case well. Stick around for the surprise ending!




It was July 2, 2006, which was a Sunday. My husband and I were going to a small Baptist church in Sperryville, Virginia with a couple of our friends who were newlyweds. I worked with them in Shenandoah National Park and my husband and I would spend every evening with them. Anyway, as soon as we parked, we heard murmurs about a murderer on the loose in the area.


A man had gone crazy and stabbed his roommate to death at a house in Sperryville that morning and fled into Shenandoah National Park. Shenandoah National Park is massive and the Appalachian Trail, which stretches from Georgia to Maine, runs through it. Many people said that he was headed straight for Elkwallow Wayside, off Skyline Drive. Skyline Drive is part of the Blue Ridge Parkway, a scenic road with beautiful overlooks and waterfalls that stretches for hundreds of miles. Now for those unfamiliar with Elkwallow, it’s a gas station, convenience store, gift shop, and lunch counter heading north on Skyline Drive. It’s not a big building and it’s remote. You will see more deer, bears, and squirrels than people when you take a right instead of heading straight towards Skyland Lodge and Big Meadows Lodge.


Seriously, if you dream of seeing black bears, this is the place to go. Just remember that you can’t touch the adorable cubs or Mama Bear will eat you. There’s a trail that starts at the edge of Elkwallow’s parking lot and I remember one day a group of hikers ran in, slamming the door behind them. They were oohing and ahhing over three cubs when they noticed mama on the other side of the trail, putting them in the middle. That is not where you want to be!


Getting back to our story, the two friends I mentioned worked with me at Elkwallow at the time so we were on high alert. We pretty much stayed inside unless we needed the restroom, which was on the other side of the parking lot by the gas pumps. Fortunately, that’s where my friend’s husband worked so he kept an eye on things for everyone.


We were all wondering if this “kid” would turn out to be a serial killer and who his next victim might be. Should we stop hikers from entering the woods? Or maybe close the Park down until this madman was arrested? It was terrifying!


With it almost being Independence Day, there were a lot of hikers and campers in the area. Some knew about the murderer in the woods, but we warned several who didn’t. The crazy thing was, that none of us knew what the guy looked like, we just knew he was like a nineteen-year-old kid who had lost his mind. The four of us were young, basically broke, and preferred to have beer and gas money over TV. All of our information came from others who watched or read the weekly newspaper.


Within a few days, we heard about a naked, wild man living off squirrels and road kill off one of the hiking trails near Elkwallow. Several hikers told our manager who would call the ranger’s station, but the man was gone by the time they got there. There were K-9 units, helicopters, FBI agents, U.S. Marshalls, and the Park Rangers all searching for this guy from day one.


It seemed like a lot of time passed, but I think it was actually that Wednesday when the manager of Elkwallow, Mike, was making his rounds outside and found a knife on the ground. I had the day off, but my friend said the assistant manager stood guard over the knife while Mike went inside to call the Rangers. The knife was bagged by law enforcement, but the man still wasn’t found.


Just down the mountain lay the small town of Luray, known for Luray Cavern

Feb 04, 202218:06
When True Crime Meets Paranormal

When True Crime Meets Paranormal

Hey, y’all and welcome to Southern Macabre! I’m Aeryn and today I have a very special guest joining me. I’ll let him introduce himself and today’s free sponsor. [Remy introduces himself and ItsRemyTime on YouTube]


My husband and I bought our first piece of land and our first home shortly after our first child was born. Our credit was horrible and we didn’t have a lot of money, so my parents helped us with a small loan. I found a 1986 trailer with two bedrooms and a bathroom in our price range, but it had to be moved. It took weeks, but we bought a half-acre of land exactly where we wanted to be, the middle of nowhere.

We got the trailer moved and setup on our land, but we were responsible for hooking up the electricity and water, which took months. It seemed like everything was working against and we couldn’t figure out why. We both got an uneasy feeling from the trailer at the beginning, but we had already paid for it and I felt anything was better as long as we were in our own home.

One Saturday when my husband was running the electrical from the pole to the trailer, I was inside “piddlin’”. Remy was with his grandparents. I went outside to check on Hubby and he was not in a good mood! I happened to notice a little metal plate on the side of the trailer and the build date was ten years prior to when the seller said it was built.

For those wondering, our state doesn’t require titles once a vehicle or trailer reaches a certain age. The trailer was supposed to be a 1986 so we just got a bill of sale. Instead it was a 1976 which meant the electrical in the walls was old and the insulation had fallen down into the walls.

We called the seller and a lawyer, but we were basically told that if we wanted to fight and sell the trailer back we could. The problem was we may never get our money back and we would have to live with family again. We love them, but that wasn’t working for any of us.

It took five months, but we were finally able to move in.

The trailer ran north to south so all of the windows faced east and should have provided tons of natural light, which they did. Except the “master bedroom” at the back. It stayed dark no matter how bright the sun shone and required the light be turned on during the day. Weird and unexplainable considering there were no large trees or bushes around the trailer.

Also, the closet in our room gave me the creeps, I felt like someone was hiding in there, so it stayed empty with the door closed. Or at least I tried to keep it closed. It seemed like every time I closed it and left the room, it was open again. Adding to its creepiness.


So, we moved into the trailer in March of 2008 and we were excited to be in our own place, but we already had a bad taste in our mouths over this trailer. Not long after we moved in, I literally fell through the kitchen floor because the seller put new linoleum over a rotted subfloor.

This was when my husband learned how to build from a good friend who helped him put in a brand new, solid subfloor. Then I got to pick out new flooring, which was awesome. This was when I started to love our little place.

We had a dog at the time, a rescued mutt named Ronnie. He was my child for three years until Remy came along so in 2008 he was only four. He loved going outside to play with the neighbor’s dog, but he didn’t like the trailer much.

He was about 25 pounds and loved to run up or down the hallway and slam into us, causing us to fall. He didn’t do this to Remy, just me and Hubby. He would also trip us to get to Remy if he so much as whimpered. He rarely left his side and would wake him when he was sleeping, like he was making sure he was okay.

Ronnie died in June of that year because of a freak accident.

Not long after we buried him out back, I was going to the master bedroom and I felt him slam into me! Of course, I hollered at him,

Feb 03, 202223:47
Do You Know Any of This Serial Killer’s Victims?

Do You Know Any of This Serial Killer’s Victims?

Hey, y’all, and welcome to Southern Macabre! My name’s Aeryn and I’m so glad you decided to listen today. Today’s Missing Person Monday is different because we are talking about victims of a serial killer who have never been found or haven’t been identified.

For those who don’t know, Samuel Little confessed to murdering 93 people all over the United States between 1970 and 2005! More than 60 of his confessions have been matched to victims through DNA evidence and/or extensively corroborated interviews.

Little had a photographic memory and could accurately describe his victims and where he met them. I will be reading Little’s descriptions of his victims and they’re not always flattering, but if he saw them that way others may have as well so I’m including it. I would never refer to a victim as ugly, fat, etc.

However, his dates and physical locations can be off by more than ten years and forty miles. Keep this in mind as I tell you about the victims who have still not been named and whose families still don’t have answers.

He was adamant that he never shot or stabbed his victims. He claimed that he strangled them, but prosecutors say it was more like suffocation because the hyoid bones weren’t fractured or broken. Multiple victims' ​deaths were misclassified in autopsy reports and listed as drug overdoses or natural deaths.

All unmatched murders occurred between 1970 and 1997. If you have any information, please call the Texas Rangers or the FBI. Their numbers will be in the credits at the end of the transcript.


Due to the number of cases, I’m only going to talk about the ones from the south, but there are a lot in other states as well. Little drew pictures of many of his victims and they are on the Texas Department of Public Safety website. Just scroll down to Florida if you want to see the victim’s I talked about today. Or you can scroll the entire website.




We’re going to start with Little’s missing victims in Florida. The first victim was not using their legal name and may have used several names, which is why I put their name in italics on the blog and transcript.


In 1971 or 1972, Little claimed to have met an 18 or 19-year-old, good-looking, African American man in Miami. He said he was about 5’6” to 5’7” tall and weighed around 140 pounds. He said the man presented himself as a woman and was wearing women’s clothing. This individual asked Little to call them Marianne. Little first met Marianne at a bar called the Pool Palace near 17th Avenue in Miami, Florida.


Marianne allegedly told Little that they had an ex-boyfriend named Wes. Little said that Marianne lived with several other “drag queens” between Brownsville and Liberty City. When they arrived at the apartment, one of the roommates asked the two of them to pick him up a can of “Magic Shave” shaving cream. He was a transvestite with a long, hooked nose like a hawk. The roommates called this individual “Billy”.


The pair got back in Little’s gold four-door Pontiac and headed down Highway 27 until he pulled over in a driveway and choked Marianne to death in his car. He drove Marianne into the Everglades where he drug the body 200 yards into the thick muddy water. Little didn’t believe the body was ever found.


Later he stated Marianne hung out with a long-necked transvestite and he knew the person from the county jail. He claimed to have seen this person with Marianne at a bar on “Second Avenue”.




In 1971 to 1972 or 1978 to 1979, Little stated he met an, “ugly dark-skinned Haitian woman” in Miami. She was between 26 and 28 years old, between 5’6” and 5’8” tall, and weighed around 120/130 pounds.


Little described her hair as being in a knot-style, “platted up”, short, “kinda braided”, and “straight…stiff”.


He couldn’t reme

Feb 03, 202227:15
The National Park Killer

The National Park Killer

Hey, y’all, and welcome to Southern Macabre! I’m Aeryn and I’m so glad that you could join me for True Crime Friday. Today we’re going to talk about the victims, and possible victims, of a southern serial killer. You may remember I mentioned one of his possible victims two weeks ago. If not, that’s fine because I’m going to talk about her again today.


The National Park Killer was Gary Michael Hilton. He was born November 22, 1946 in Atlanta, Georgia. He was arrested January 5, 2008 and is currently waiting to be put to death in Florida for his crimes. He was sentenced to life in prison in North Carolina and Georgia.

As I said, he was born in Atlanta, Georgia and the earliest account we have of him is when he was thirteen and he shot his stepfather, Nilo DeBag, in the abdomen. I triple checked that that was his real name cause I wasn’t familiar with it in that sense.

Anyway, Hilton was sent to a mental institution when his stepdad didn’t press charges. Understandably, his mom didn’t want him in the house when he got out so he went to live with Dawn and Mark Jeffers. I think they were foster parents, but I couldn’t find anything to confirm or deny it.

When he was about seventeen years old he enlisted in the Army where he got his GED. Different sources say different things. One says he was a paratrooper while another says he was part of a small group in charge of a specialized missile that would kill all of them if it was ever used. Either way, it was during his Army career that he was diagnosed with schizophrenia and admitted to a military mental hospital. Afterwards he was honorably discharged.

Between his discharge and 2008, he was arrested for drugs, theft, possession of a firearm without a license, and DUIs, but never served time. He also got married, and divorced, three times. He was arrested in 2008, bringing his killing days to an end.

Hilton had a higher-than-average IQ of 120, and he either had attention deficit disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Different sources say different things, but he was on Ritalin for the disorder. For those who are not familiar, ADD is often classified as the inability to focus, but most people with it actually hyperfocus. We’re the best multitaskers you will ever see. ADHD is like ADD, except you tend to be more energetic. You might drum your fingers on the table or tap your foot while listening to a lecture, as an example.

I’m bringing these things up because they were a part of Hilton, but he didn’t commit these crimes because of this disorder or even because of the Ritalin. His untreated schizophrenia may have played a part, but he has never blamed that. I haven’t found anything where he has ever said why he did what he did, but maybe it doesn’t really matter. I know a lot of people are interested in the psychology behind serial killers, or there wouldn’t be so many documentaries about it.


Hilton’s first victim was Rossana Miliani. She had traveled from Miami, Florida to Cherokee, North Carolina on vacation in December 2005. She was 29 years old at that time.

She spoke of hiking the Appalachian Trail and spoke to her father that day. She then went to Bryson City, North Carolina where she rented a small storage unit.

In 2009, a store clerk saw an article about Rossana and remembered selling her a backpack around the time she disappeared. She remembered seeing a man appearing to be in his sixties with her and she appeared nervous. Hilton told the store clerk that he was a traveling preacher, which is what made him memorable to her.

Hilton resembles the sketch a private investigator made and according to, Hilton admitted to beating Rossana to death. Police have evidence that he used her debit card after she went missing.

Unfortunately, Rossana’s body has never been found.


On December 1, 2006, Hilton came across

Jan 28, 202212:45
The Blue Dog Ghost

The Blue Dog Ghost

Hey, y’all, and welcome to Southern Macabre! I’m Aeryn and I am so glad you’re joining me for Paranormal Wednesday. Today’s episode is a story my husband has told for years, much longer than we’ve been together. I am going to do my best to describe this place to you, but since I can’t do it justice there will be links to pictures and video tours.

Honestly, I don’t think pictures and videos can do a place like this justice. You have to visit a place like this in person to see just how incredible it is. I’ve never been there myself, as I already said, but it’s definitely on my bucket list.


I think most of us interested in the paranormal are also interested in the history of the place that is supposedly haunted. If you’re not into history then you’ll just have to bear with me for a few minutes while I entertain those who are. Don’t skip because I’ll also be describing the palace in as much detail as I can. You see, once a “house” has 52 rooms it is no longer a house. It is a palace, a lavish abode the average millionaire can’t even afford.

Major William Dooley, a millionaire lawyer and financial genius, was an executive with the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad Company. He and his wife, Sally, had a home built near Richmond in 1886 that combined Romanesque and Queen Anne architecture. That home, a 12,000 square foot, 33 room mansion was named Maymont and it is open for tours in 2022.

Maymont was one of the first homes in the area to have central heat, indoor plumbing, telephone service, and an elevator in the 1890s!

Around 1904, the childless Dooley’s decided to build a summer home somewhere quieter than Richmond. Major Dooley purchased land on Afton Mountain and began building the palace that would be Swannanoa.

Swannanoa is an Italian Renaissance Revival-style mansion completed in 1912. It reportedly took 300 artisans eight years to build the structure with Georgian marble imported from Italy, a 4,000-piece Tiffany window crafted in Ms. Sally’s likeness, and terraced gardens. It cost Mr. Dooley $1 million then to build the elaborate palace. Today it could cost as much as $50 million!

Ms. Sally named the estate for a Native American tribe. It means, “Land of Beauty”, which is certainly fitting of the palace as well as the area it dominates.

The palace is 21,215 square feet with twelve bedrooms, seven full baths, and two half baths. There are 52 rooms in total. The taxes run about $22,000 every year; in case you were wondering. This means their vacation home was nearly twice the size of their regular home!

Not only is the exterior marble, but so are the walls, floors, and fireplaces inside this 52-room mansion. The red marble is my favorite as I imagine it must have been Ms. Sally’s. She adored swans, so you will find them throughout the house and gardens as well.

In addition to this, the home had electricity and air conditioning in 1912! These things were unheard of in the area at that time when most people were lucky to have indoor plumbing and not require shoes and a flashlight to use the bathroom in the middle of the night. The Dooley’s had their own power plant on site! There was also an elevator and a dumbwaiter used to bring food from the kitchen in the basement up to the first floor.

The Dooley’s were extremely generous and upon their deaths, Maymont was given to the City of Richmond to be used as a museum, $3 million was donated to an orphanage, and when Ms. Sally passed she donated money to build the Richmond city library in her husband’s memory.


Swannanoa wasn’t made into a museum like Maymont, probably because it was so secluded. Several attempts were made to turn it into a country club, but those plans were dashed when the Great Depression struck the area. There is a golf course there today, however.

It was bought by Dr. Walter Russell and his wife, Lao, in the early 1940s. Twenty years o

Jan 26, 202213:15
Missing in Florida

Missing in Florida

Hey, y’all and welcome to Southern Macabre! I’m Aeryn and today is Missing Persons Monday. Since it’s so dang cold in most of the south, I thought we would travel down to the Sunshine State, known for its citrus, Disney World, and the Golden Girls. I’m not going in any particular order with these cases and all of their pictures will be on our Facebook page like last week.

There are a lot of missing people in Florida, about 1,600. Obviously I can’t talk about all of them in one episode, I wish I could. I chose eight cases where foul play is suspected and, at times, proven.

Several of these cases are old, but they still have family waiting for answers. I pray that each of these, and all of the cases I couldn’t cover, are solved.


Yessenia Ivette Suarez, twenty-eight years old, and her two children, nine-year-old Thalia Ivette and eight-year-old Michael Elijah Otto, were last seen on October 22, 2013. She had gotten into a fight with her husband, Luis Toledo, that day and took the kids to her mom’s.

It’s assumed that her husband, Luis Toledo, murdered Yessenia, Thalia, and Elijah that night. It is known that he murdered the three of them brutally and coerced a neighbor into helping him clean up the crime scene. He attempted to blame the neighbor for the three murders, but that didn’t go anywhere.

He is serving a life sentence for murdering his wife and two step-children, but refuses to tell anyone where he hid their bodies. The four of them lived in Deltona, Florida, about thirty minutes north of Orlando.

He may have sent a letter to a friend stating that he sent Yessenia’s body to Mexico, but didn’t hurt the children. However, he didn’t say where he may have sent them.

If you think you may know something, please call the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office. (386) 254-1537


On August 20, 1974, Teresa Armanda Alfonso and Cynthia Gooding were dropped off at the Marathon Movie Theater in Marathon, Florida. They had planned to hitchhike to a party, but neither of them showed up. Teresa was twelve and Cynthia was sixteen.

If you think you may know something, call the Marathon County Sheriff’s Office at (305) 296-2424


Yalitza Garcia was last seen at work on July 2, 2009. She was twenty-four years old and lived in Deerfield Beach, in Southeastern Florida. When she didn’t show up for work on July 5th, her co-workers went to her apartment where her live-in boyfriend told them she wasn’t home. Her co-workers reported her missing on July 7th. Yalitza left all of her belongings in the apartment and her boyfriend used her credit and debit cards after she went missing.

Yalitza was living with her boyfriend, Jason Allen, their young son, and Jason’s mother. Yalitza had just deposited a $20,000 insurance settlement in her bank. Jason admitted to withdrawing $1,400 himself.

When police searched the apartment, they found a large amount of her blood in one room and evidence that someone had attempted to clean it. Her boyfriend was arrested and charged with first degree murder in May 2010. He was convicted of second-degree murder in 2013.

If you think you may know something, you should call Broward County Sheriff’s Office at (954) 321-4268


Susan Basile was only twelve years old when she was abducted by serial killer, Gerald Stano, on June 10, 1975. She had just gotten off her school bus and was walking up a long, deserted road to her house. She usually had a friend with her, but was alone this day.

Gerald claimed, in 1982, that he offered her a ride to the skating rink they both frequented and she climbed into his van. Once inside, he strangled her and dumped her body. Police looked in the area, but it has been built over.

If you think you know where he may have left her, please call the Port Orange Police Department at (386) 506-5894


Harry Lewis Isr

Jan 24, 202213:00
What is Going on in This Town? Part Two

What is Going on in This Town? Part Two

Return to Robeson County


Hey, y’all, and welcome to Southern Macabre! I’m your host, Aeryn, and I’m so excited to have you join me for True Crime Friday! Today we’re going to return to Robeson County, North Carolina because there is so much going on there that I just wasn’t ready to pack up and leave. Today I’m going to tell you about cold cases and true crime.


I’m going to warn you, today’s episode may be a bit graphic for some listeners, but I feel the details are important. Also, here in the south, it’s a sign of respect to put a Mr. or Mrs. in front of a person’s first name. That’s important because of the people I’m talking about in this episode and most of my listeners ain’t from around here.


Also, I’m going to stay out of Robeson County for a while after today. I’ve become pretty obsessed with what’s going on there and I could talk about it every week. However, this is Southern Macabre not Robeson County Macabre. Or more appropriately, What the Heck is Going on in Robeson County?. I don’t know what case or cases I’m going to do next, but it probably won’t be in North Carolina either.



After speaking to a Lumberton local, I learned of two other women who were found naked and murdered in East Lumberton, but in 2003 instead of 2017.


Lisa Hardin was thirty-six years old when she initially went missing. Her mother said that she knew something was wrong when Lisa didn’t come home. Her body was found in the woods on the east side of Lumberton, around the same area as Kristin, Rhonda, and Megan. Her orange Harley Davidson t-shirt was pulled up around her neck and her underwear was twisted around her ankle. She had been strangled.


Four months earlier, police found twenty-three-year-old Michelle Ann Driggers’s naked, decomposed body in a cemetery in east Lumberton. Less than a mile from where Lisa would later be found.


Also, like Rhonda and Megan, they were both members of the Lumbee tribe. I tried to find where they were murdered, to see if it was that same block, but I couldn’t find an exact location for Lisa or Michelle.


Sadly, none of these cases have been solved yet. I ask that if you are listening today, please pray for the victim’s families. I have spoken to some of them and you can hear the pain in their voices so strongly that you can almost feel it yourself.




I learned of this case last week and it’s a big part of why I wanted to talk about Robeson County, and Lumberton, again this week. Julian Pierce was one of thirteen children in his family and he was born in 1946. He graduated high school at the age of sixteen and went to the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. He had a full scholarship and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry. So, he was an extremely smart man.


He started his career at the Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company in Newport News, Virginia. He later worked for the Navy shipyard in Norfolk, Virginia as a chemist. There he developed an award-winning chemical process for decontamination of nuclear reactors. So, Mr. Julian wasn’t just smart – he was a genius!


After working as a chemist for several years, he attended the law school at North Carolina Central University School of Law in Durham, North Carolina. After graduating in 1976, he accepted a position with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission in Washington, D.C. While working there, Mr. Julian attended Georgetown School of Law to earn his Master of Laws in Taxation.


In 1978, he returned to North Carolina to become the first director of the Lumbee River Legal Services, a poverty law office in Pembroke. He helped merge the tri-school board into one school board so every school got equal funding. He was also part of the group who attempted to get the Lumbee tribe fed

Jan 21, 202218:28
Southern Cryptids

Southern Cryptids

Hey, y’all, and welcome to Southern Macabre! I’m Aeryn and I’m so glad you tuned in today! This episode was a lot of fun to research and write so I think you’re going to enjoy it. It may even be a little bit educational, but in a fun way.



Are cryptids paranormal? Absolutely! A cryptid is a creature whose existence has been suggested, but lacks scientific fact. The definition of paranormal is denoting events or phenomena such as telekinesis or clairvoyance that are beyond the scope of normal scientific understanding. Each of these creatures, like haints and ghosts, make amazing camping stories – especially in the south.


Before I tell you about southern cryptids, I want to point out that these creatures were often used to keep children from exploring the woods. Over time, people would tell of blood thirsty creatures lurking just beyond their tent on camping trips.


I’m going to start with the most famous, or is it infamous?, cryptid. Bigfoot. Of course, Bigfoot sightings aren’t just in the south. There is a Bigfoot statue in Shawnee National Forest in Herod, Illinois. Lots of drunks out in the woods have seen a tall ape man with large feet all over the world. Okay, maybe not just drunks.


Bigfoot, also known as Sasquatch, has been spoken of in the United States for centuries and was a popular tale among Native Americans, loggers, miners, fur trappers, prospectors, and others far braver than I. There are even cave paintings in California resembling this biped.


Bigfoot is said to be a biped (he walks on two feet like most humans), he’s between six and nine feet tall, and is covered in black, brown, or reddish colored hair. He is typically described as broad shouldered, with no neck, and long arms.


Michael Rugg, owner of the Bigfoot Discovery Museum in Northern California, claims to have smelled Bigfoot, stating, "Imagine a skunk that had rolled around in dead animals and had hung around the garbage pits".


I have actually had encounters with Sasquatch and asked him to be a guest, but my teenage son doesn’t think I’m funny and refused. This guy is fourteen with longish hair, a moustache, he’s 6’5” tall, and weighs 205 pounds. Also, when he’s in his, “I don’t need to shower” mood he has an odor similar to what Michael Rugg described. What does that sound like to y’all?


In all seriousness, below the Mason-Dixon line you often here Sasquatch referred to as the Skunk Ape because of that smell Mr. Rugg described. A lot of people have claimed to encounter that smell before fleeing from the area it was coming from.


Other names for Sasquatch/Bigfoot in the south are the Alabama Screamer (apparently he screams ‘round these parts), Skunk Ape (mainly in Florida and other southern states), Wood Booger in Virginia, and Honey Island Swamp Monster in Louisiana. I’ve called him Sasquatch for as long as I’ve been able to pronounce it.


The Alabama Screamer has helped us get our kids out of their swimming pool late at night more times than I can remember. For some reason if it’s completely silent they get even more scared and bolt for the house faster. Simply telling them to get out never works, but tell them you see glowing red eyes or you heard something does the trick. Even my youngest who calls my bluff and isn’t afraid of anything gets out and heads inside with the others.


Here in Alabama we have the Bankhead National Forest and it is massive! Lots of people visit to bird watch, camp, and hike the many miles of trails. My family and I wanted to camp there, but most Bigfoot sightings seem to occur in Bankhead National Forest. I’m a sceptic, but I don’t really want to be proven wrong. If that makes sense.


My husband was traveling through Bankhead National Forest at night a whi

Jan 19, 202213:38
Missing in the South

Missing in the South

Hey y’all and welcome to Southern Macabre! A true crime, missing person, and paranormal podcast and blog set in the south. Today is the first episode of Missing Person Monday and I decided to choose one person from each southern state to tell you about.

Some are people who left their homes and vanished, while others may just send a chill up your spine. One is actually a dangerous wanted fugitive!

Photos of the missing will be on the Southern Macabre Podcast and Blog Facebook page. You will find the transcript for this episode along with the police department you should reach if you recognize anyone from today’s episode on the blog.



The first missing person I want to talk about vanished 37 years ago from Greenville, Alabama. Her name was Sherry Lynn Marler and she was only twelve years old that day when she and her step-dad, Raymond Stringfellow, went to the bank and he gave her $1 to grab a soda from the gas station across the street. This was 1984 so a drink was less than a dollar, for those too young to know that.

Her step-dad maintained his innocence until he passed away in 2003, he was inside the bank so he had a solid alibi.

Since 1984, people have reported seeing Sherry with a man in his fifties who was about 5’8” with a weathered looking face. Like someone who spends their whole life working outdoors. She was seen in Conley, Georgia, and New Orleans.

Sherry was white with brown hair and brown eyes.

Greenville PD (334) 382-3107

Agency Case # 8415816


Esterlyne Delmas was twenty-three years old when she walked away from her home in Immokalee, Florida on August 3, 2013. She didn’t take her keys, purse, or ID so it is assumed she didn’t intend to be gone long. She was never seen or heard from again.

Esterlyne had moved to Florida from Haiti years before, but there’s not a lot of information about her or her disappearance. She is listed as African American/Latino. She was 5’1” and had black-brown hair and brown eyes.

Collier County Sheriff's Office (239) 252-0080

Case # 13-18797


42 year old Matilde Hernandez Gonzalez went missing from Powder Springs, Georgia on October 11, 2019. According to WSB-TV 2 there are “suspicious circumstances” related to her disappearance.

Matilde was Latina, 4’11” tall, and weighed about 130 pounds. She had brown hair, brown eyes, and her eyebrows are tattooed.

Paulding County Sheriff's Office (770) 443-3010

Case # 20191043402


This story is different from the last three. Austin Douglas Gamez (not Gomez) left with his friend, Teressa McCoy on December 27, 2017 to look at a house. They lived in Louisville, Kentucky.

At 7pm the couple’s rented black GMC Yukon was found in a part’s store parking lot with Teressa’s body inside. She was still wearing her seatbelt, but had been shot.

Larry Sauer was arrested in December 2019 for Teressa’s murder and Austin’s presumed murder. He killed the couple at his home and then dumped the truck with Teressa inside afterwards.

Police found evidence through warrants, witness statements, phone records, and audio recordings identifying Sauer’s involvement in both murders. Austin’s remains were never located.

Police found half a pound of methamphetamines and some drug paraphernalia inside Sauer’s home when they arrested him.

Charges were dropped two months later because of a misread DNA analysis report, but he was charged with complicity to murder and tampering with physical evidence.

Austin’s family would like his body found so they can give him a proper burial. He was white/Latino, 5’11”-6’1”, 170-185 pounds, and he had a rosary tattoo on his chest and many tattoos on his arms.

Louisville Metro PD (502) 574-7111

Case # 80-17-104905



(Gee-ang Thai Than Phan) If I mispronounce this man’s name I ap

Jan 17, 202215:33
What’s Going on in This Town? Part One
Jan 14, 202220:26
Haint Blue and Other Southern Paranormal Superstitions
Jan 12, 202205:03
Serial Killer in a Small Town

Serial Killer in a Small Town

Welcome to the very first episode of Southern Macabre. I am your host; Aeryn and I am so glad you tuned in today! Southern Macabre is a podcast about true crime, missing persons, and paranormal stories in the south. Being a Southern gal in Alabama I have noticed that you rarely hear or see these stories from this region and many cases go unseen and unsolved. I want to change that by bringing these stories to your attention.


Today’s story is a solved case from my hometown and it’s what got me interested in true crime. You see, I grew up near Fredericksburg, Virginia in the nineties. If you lived there then you probably remember Sofia Silva and Kristin and Kati Lisk. If not, then listen up cause I’m going to tell you all about them.


So that you understand the area I’m talking about, I’ll describe them to you. Fredericksburg is located in Spotsylvania County which is 412 square miles. It is known for the Civil War battles that took place there and the battlefields and a hospital still remain along with the infamous Sunken Road.


 The “town” of Spotsylvania is where the courthouse is located along with schools and a few small businesses. Downtown Fredericksburg, located in Spotsylvania County, is filled with businesses that have been open for fifty to one hundred years, antique stores, and a few local businesses that have sprung up in recent years.


The other side of Fredericksburg has a mall that was built in the 1970s and the first Walmart in the area. There was also a Kmart, Giant foods, some law offices, churches, a small college, a community college, and restaurants scattered around town. Once you got out of town there were miles and miles of farmland as well as the four battlefields.




On September 9, 1996 Sofia went inside her home near Spotsylvania Courthouse, where her older sister was. She talked to a friend on the phone for about thirty minutes. They considered attending the first football game of the season that evening, but decided to skip it. After hanging up, Sofia grabbed a soda and headed outside to do her homework. It was a beautiful sunny day and she didn’t want to be cooped up inside. Her sister didn’t see or hear anything when a man stopped and got Sofia in his car. When she went outside to check on her sister, all she found was an open can of grape soda and Sofia’s class notes.


Despite being in a neighborhood where the houses were relatively close together, her neighbors didn’t notice anything suspicious. Police searched nearby Loriella Park and a pond behind her house, but didn’t see any signs of her.


Her body was found five weeks later by men removing a beaver dam about twenty miles from her home in King George, Virginia. Her body was wrapped in a blue moving blanket, bound with rope, and partially submerged in a creek. King George is across the bridge from Downtown Fredericksburg.


An FBI profiler estimated that they were dealing with a pedophile who would likely do this again. Police began questioning locals and several people told them about Karl Michael Roush. Neighbors had seen him sitting in his van watching children getting on and off their school buses. He lived in a basement apartment a few houses down from Sofia and her family. When police talked to his employer they found rope, similar to what had been used on Sofia. His employer also told police that several blue moving blankets they used for work were missing.


Mr. Roush moved to Florida soon after Sofia went missing to start his own business. He returned to Spotsylvania as soon as his ex-wife informed him that police wanted to speak with him.


He was arrested, but maintained his innocence while he awaited trial. Meanwhile, the state crime lab in Richmond, Virginia matched carpet fibers from his van to the ones on Sofia’s body.



Jan 07, 202216:42


Are you looking for a new podcast about true crime, missing persons, and the paranormal with a Southern twist? Then you'll want to check out Southern Macabre! I can be reached at

Dec 26, 202100:47