Episode 11- Finale: Whats Next?


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Take ten percent off your first order with the code. Healthy only at hella whisk dot com. That's hello w. i. s. p. dot com. This is the pipe to massacre returned. Pike county season. Two finale. what's next. I'm courtney armstrong a television producer. Katie studios with stephanie. Lydecker and jeff strong for the finale of season two. We wanted to devote some time to answering listener questions this season. You've really helped lead us down some interesting and unexpected roads. We called through a bunch of submissions and picked out a few questions that we felt needed to be discussed. We also invited group of our regular contributors to join reporters james pilcher and engineer levy as well as forensics expert joseph morgan. Walk into the finale. It's been quite a surprising season. It's been a shocking season. I think i mean we started with a crazy turn of events and now as we're learning more about the accused and the victims themselves. There's never a moment where we're i'm not surprised by this case. And what happened. And i think as we learn more as these trials start to happen. I think that's only going to continue. That is the thing that i think i loved. Most about. This season is some of the unexpected. Turns that we took willie. This show sort of unfolded real time obviously starting with the initial plea with jake wagner but then also we've done a couple of stories that were guided by listeners that we dug into to really look at the area. We really spent a lotta time this week. Digging into questions that we've been following along the way over the course of both seasons the three top things we got were. What are the details of. What happened in alaska where jake's wife elizabeth and who is the informant and those questions drive each of us every day and we do not know the answers and we an journalist and experts have been digging and the answers thus far have been impossible to come by but that will not remain the case forever. We had a conversation today with two people that hopefully we can report back on. That is mind-blowing and a little bit of a piece of the puzzle. Right as we produce this podcast as we produce anything There are certain conversations that happen on the record. There are certain that happened off the record. Obviously legally speaking we have to have perfect releases in order for us to air certain pieces of information. You know gossip conjecture things that are a matter of non fact are not usable and because of the gag order at this exact second. It's maddening because we get to speak to certain people. And we're not able to share that information. Mike from asheville north carolina wrote. Why did you guys do all these break off. Episodes like the michael moran story and the curtis francis story listeners wrote into us and gave us a heads up to be looking into these stories deeper which was fascinating because truthfully. I don't know that we would have gone down. That path had listeners not reached out an alert us to other stories that were happening in the area which really does speak to the totality of crime in a release pacific pocket of the country. They definitely spoke to this theme of injustice in the community. And i mean these were happening in the rodents backyard and so two not mention them would feel like we're not telling the complete story of this community and like the road in case the curtis case is so complicated and so tragic and the benefit of having a season two is really being able to explore some of these stories more in the same. We were able to expand on the in story. The story we were able to do that with curtis francis which is an honor to be able to do that. And so my question to you james. So you reported extensively on mike moran. Why was that important to you. And how if at all does it relate back to the rodent case As i said in the episode. And i still feel this that i feel. I owe these women the truth that you know. There's always a part of me looking at it from my male white privilege perspective. That this stuff didn't really happen. You know i had no idea So i almost didn't believe it at first and so when i found out it was true. Became like almost a mission of mine to say. You know what more people need to know about this kind of thing. So that's for the moran stories specifically in sex trafficking. I've done Subsequent stories about sex trafficking and the numbers state by state. So yeah. that's been a major focus of mine since i started reporting this story as illegal disclaimer. We should note that. Michael moran has been arrested on charges including human trafficking and promoting prostitution. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges and denied any ties to sex trafficking. He's currently awaiting trial howard. Release back you know. I wouldn't say that you know there's not a direct correlation between the wagner's and michael moran or the roads and mike moran. I think it just gets to this aspect of rural america that most people don't see and that law enforcement in that part of the country in these parts of the country just isn't equipped to handle these multifaceted in-depth complicated Investigations and you guys covered it when you covered the hopper road episode. I completely admire. Which rhodie bar did with the hopper road story and how even if they don't get a conviction at least people have an understanding of what might have happened to jodi bar for what he did in that story because he really did. He changed people's lives. You know exactly you know. I saw something today. I won't name the publication but there's a story out there saying that true crime is booming and whatever but it is nothing more than a love letter to law enforcement and i wanna write the author inside. Have you listened to any of this. Have you listened to some of the stuff that you guys have done some other. My colleagues have done no. This is about unsolved. Why isn't this mystery salt. So i completely you know there are people who think ultra crime is nothing more than making the cops look at. Well no i completely disagree with got. It's as much about holding the cop accountable as it is about telling stories of the victim by the way things go away in the night. If nobody's talking about something it just gets swept under the rug and likely when you take a closer look which we get the benefit of doing a podcast of again the totality of the abuse of power or real. Look at how things are being covered in. Are they being covered enough. In our these cases being highlighted enough. You know oftentimes listen. Investigators are investigating as much as they can and as fast as they can. We get the benefit of being a little bit courtside and taking even a closer look with the benefit of tons of time in the hope really always is to hopefully move the needle to either move forward and or to make sure it doesn't happen again. Zack from wilmington delaware asked have there been efforts to reach back out to the wagner. Family members whatever happened to ray the wagner relative from season one. We've spoken to gerais numerous times since the hearing she was one of our first phone calls and is obviously very raw for her. I mean she spent as listeners. Know a lot of time proclaiming. Her family's innocence. And i think is heartbroken and that is the only way to put it and she declined to participate this season because i think she is not sure how to feel and how even if she was sure how to feel how to explain that to the masses. Could you imagine anything more horrifying. Of course we defend families and my understanding was. I'm not sure if durant had had directly spoken to jake. But i know that jake was giving the impression to at least his grandmother that he was innocent and so they shocked that all the sudden. He's in the courtroom saying the opposite of that. So what. I spoke to the day of the hearing. She was confused. Thought did someone put him up to this. is he. not in the right for my mind what. It wasn't sure what was going on because this was not the person that she had known for his entire life. So my question ange net is. What is your experience. Been reaching out to the wagner family members if you have I've only really reached out to the lawyers Philly wagner's lawyer got back me very politely. And just you know said that anytime. There's a crime with multiple defendants. You know that one of them may or may not see. They'll see that there's always that chance and they're gonna look at the case that thing I didn't really reach out to fredrika or anything like that any time. I've done that. It's not been fruitful. So i just didn't see any points. I've restuffed were in the past. And she doesn't say anything for. Greg had been very vocal and speaking to the press and as of today she has not said one thing publicly about her family since jake has played out so i'm curious what's going on with her personally and also what. The implications will be in the upcoming trials. Same with rita joe. Nukem angela's mother. I'm personally fascinated by the grandmothers fritter rica to be a complicated person. I mean frederica. As we know is a staple in the community in terms of her presence with real estate and businesses i just think about the ripple effects of the crime and how it's going to affect my county for years to come and she's from carlsbad new mexico wants to know how covering the story. How has it affected you personally or professionally. I would say. I think it makes me think about trust. Certainly about who you have in your life and the relationships you have because whether it's jake and hannah rodin's relationship or it's now jake wagner and the rest of his family. I think it is a little bit. Be careful who you trust. Yeah this is one of those real cases of the boogeyman is not out there. It's in your circle and not only in your circle. These people that were really close friends. The wagner's and the rodin's we know are extremely tight way more than was earlier reported so i think for all of us. That's been the nauseating element here. That's been the part that you can kind of shake where you think you'd have a sick sense about it or you would meet somebody in. You would know. They're they're bad news. We're going to big very bad things to our family yet. That wasn't the case at all. They were at the same wedding hugging chummy. And you know. Willie shared beautiful times together. So at what point does that tip over. I think has been a real fascination of ours. And then i'd oppose the same thing to you. Joseph let me just say in two thousand sixteen. I've been you know kind of negative and covering crime for a while now on a lot of networks and and what really big cases in hareb there were a lot of cases in two thousand sixteen. But i have to say when the in case hit. I was actually covering with a chilean and nancy grace. And we've gone on to you know to talk about it. Nancy and i extensively on air and particularly if that. Tom and one of the things that struck me about it being a guy that comes from these rural routes like i do you know country. Mouse comes to the big city kind of thing. I've never seen a heard of anything like that. Non tire life. I was just amazed. And then when you go out to those locations you get out and you look at this property. And i don't know the word emptiness but there's a of vacancy to and you know that you get out there and you see what may have been there and it's no longer there. Isn't that really really something that kinda resonates with you know how. How leaves us this huge scar throughout that community. You know this this vacancy but yet it's on it. It's haunted in you know not. I'm not saying that in the sense of you know some kind of ghost or something. I'm saying it's a haunted place in this sense. This is the kind of vent that years. Now kids are gonna be sitting around campfires fifty years from now and they're going to be saying. Hey you wanna hear go story you wanna hear about the worst thing that ever happened so right now. It's a very urgent thing. They don't trials and all that sort of thing in it it leaves open into into the mythology of a place. And that's going to happen. That will happen. And this'll be something that'll be remember. We're going to take a quick break here. We'll be back in a moment. It's crazy how much we have to pay for outdated impersonal healthcare and even crazier that we all just accept it. It's time to face facts. Healthcare is backwards. Luckily there's forward a new approach to primary care that surprisingly personal and refreshingly straightforward forward never makes you feel like just another patient backed by top rated doctors and the latest tech forward gives you access to personalized care whenever you need it. Using in-depth genetic analysis real time bloodwork forwards top rated doctors provide you with in-depth insights to better understand your genetics mental and physical health. They then create custom easy to understand plans to help guide you to achieving long-term health with forward you get unlimited in person visits with your doctor and access to care anytime via the forward app offer. One flat monthly fee. It's time to stop accepting backwards. Healthcare and start moving. Your health forward visit go forward dot com today to learn more. That's go forward dot com. Remember the saying if you love something. Set it free. If it doesn't come back it was never yours to begin with well when it comes to identity the folks at lifelock totally disagree all those nights working overtime saving up all that money paying off all that debt and now some identity thief wants to try and set it free. They say that's crazy. Talk and we agree. That's why lifelock by norton helps monitor your info and alert you to potential identity threats. And if you do become a victim a dedicated us-based specialist will be there to help fix it. No one can prevent all identity theft or monitor all transactions at all businesses but when identity thieves. Try to take what you were as you don't have to take it lying down. Save up to twenty five percent off your first year by going to lifelock dot com slash. Picton that's lifelock dot com slash piped-in for twenty five percent off has covering this case had an impact on any way you report now or has it affected you personally or professionally. I think that's hard to answer. I think some you know some stories changed the way you report or make you look at things differently kind of approach this like i approached any story. I just wanted to know the truth and figure out what happened and try to help you know if we could bring some light to what happened though i mean i. It was very sad to me. I mean i was just. It's just awful when you watch the family and go to vigils stuff like that and you would see what they were going through. And there was some times where i felt like the family wasn't treated very well by some media. You know. I feel like. I tried to treat them the family the family with kindness as i do everybody on a story with unless they're you know like a politician and then you take them straight or whatever but i i just feel it may be gave me a greater appreciation for the loss that people really suffer just because of the children involved in this of course but just you know. Just the senseless. This is true. You hear people say well. It was senseless will all killing. They're pretty much senseless. But this was really really on another level and so i think The humanity just talking to leonard manly and seeing the pain that it at brought him and his family and things geneva roden and could just see the pain on her face when she would come to court just dutifully coming to court. you know. there's no elevator out there at the pike county courthouse because she has to like walk up the stairs each time with her cane and she has a bad foot and in telling the story. Just really try to focus the best you can on the loss or at least bring that through in the storytelling. I feel like. I learned something from every story cover and it probably changes me. You know in some ways that you're in love earn evolved a couple of parents and it sounds so cliche but it's so true like even when i have my mind in this case particularly it's really makes you grateful for what you have knowing what can be lost like that. Oh yeah i would agree with you. One hundred percent on that. And i feel for the kids. Obviously i don't know any of these children but just the thought of children throwing up not knowing their parents now because of this. That's going to happen. I try to keep my emotions separate but it's hard you know. Sometimes you come home and you look at your own children and you just thank god. What would happen as my child was left because of that. And you try to really put yourself in that way. And it's just i can't even imagine. I hope this kid know we get up in the morning every day and think about people who've never met and think about families who we never will outside of the interviews that we have the benefit of doing and i can speak for all of us to say if you speak to a person whether it's on the phone or on zoom or ida i in the same room and their entire family has been slaughtered and they can sit before us and tell their tail and have the wherewithal and the composure to be able to push on in their world certainly we can tell their stories and we also can push on in our world and i think that's very inspiring in a way We've been wildly inspired by this. This case in ways. I can't quite describe the rodent. Family has become a piece of dna. Do for short georgia's trial will be next and do we know what the order is yet. All we know is that georgia's trial is the only one who's been scheduled. They might schedule mom and dad earlier than that. They could still do that. They very well could still do but as of right now. The only one we know of is next spring. We're going to have a trial unless there's a plea deal he's prosecutors have been dealing with this case for years so i assume they've got some type of game plan or they think they know who could go next or who they want to potentially offer something to next. I mean i'm sure they have a plan i. I don't know that they have a plan. I'm just kind of surmising. No i'm sure they've thought about this over the years i think it's so compelling to better understand how one trial will influence the other. It is unusual to have four now. Trials of family members back to back so imagine one trial of course impacts the other in the bombs that come along with that particularly jake widener facing off for the first time as now stipulated in his plea agreement that he will testify against his own mother. His brother his own father is mind blowing. There's no way this can play out in any universe that is not shocking. If they are turning on each other that is a a piece of the equation that we really never thought would happen until jake appeared at that hearing. How do you throw your son under the bus in. How does your son's throw his own mother under the legal bus. That is a legal mess. And i'm so curious to see how it plays out. Let's stop here for another quick break. We'll be back in a moment like most people. I barely have time to get everything done. Let alone make a healthy indecent dinner for my family every night. Luckily i found hellofresh. This is not your average meal delivery. Kid hellofresh cuts out stressful meal planning and grocery store trip so you can enjoy cooking and get dinner on the table and just about thirty minutes or less with hellofresh. Making meals with my entire family is a total joy and our hands down favorite recipe is the white cheddar wonder burgers crispy fries on the side. You can enjoy a wide variety of easy delicious options for all three meals a day plus every snack and special treat inbetween within the hellofresh market. And you can even customize your order on the app in minutes so if i feel like steak instead of chicken i can quickly and easily adjust delivery preferences. Don't take my word for it. Chai yourself go to hellofresh dot com slash in fourteen and use the code piked in fourteen for up to fourteen. Free meals. Plus free shipping. That's hellofresh dot com slash in fourteen and use code piped-in fourteen for up to fourteen free meals plus free shipping hellofresh. America's number one meal kit in a rapidly changing world. People wonder more and more about where their food comes from. And how it was grown. Farmers grow america's corn understand. How important this is an wanna share. The stories from our farms of how we are working to grow an incredible crop. That can be an answer to sustainability questions and is grown by men and women who value the air water soil and our natural resources. Just like you to find out more about how corn farmers working to feed and fuel a vibrant economy and healthy planet visit. Cg dot com nc g a commitment to the future colleen from aspen. Colorado asked what do you think is going to be the end result of the case when all is said and done other going to be any more surprises i would predict at this point. They're all found guilty. And i think there's probably no plea deal and we're going to see these. Trials happened one. After the other. Starting with george. I think it will be starting with angela. Wagner and george will follow and angela's trial will set the stage for the remaining two. If jake is lying. Is that a possibility to anybody. That jacobs lie if what takes over that ten to eighteen hour confession if that's indeed you know the story. And he said it was all true and he led them to murder weapons and vehicle used But some pretty compelling evidence so you know there may be another domino or to to fall and maybe there will be somebody that fix it out and says now i'm gonna roll the day and go to trial but it before they're either. You know with jake steal the death penalty bafta table so you either plead guilty and get life in prison or you roll the dice and get convicted and get life in prison or you. Roll the dice and get a hung jury. So that's kind of how i look at it jeans. Will there be any more surprises. Well i think it depends on your definition of surprise jake pleading guilty a few months ago. That was a surprise us at this point with that on the table. I don't think anything would be surprised. I don't necessarily think someone deciding to stick it out to say yeah. I'm going to go to trial. Would be surprising or pleading out would be surprising. I think it's gonna depend on how hard in which weak link the prosecutors decide to push on where they see the weak links if they see a weak link. I mean they're all being kept in separate prisons and they're all being kept with separate council now. Those council can talk to each other. But the wagner's can't so. I i don't know at this point. Nothing surpr- would surprise me in this case anymore. Apart from they went to trial and got a not guilty verdict. That would be a shocker. A really really sincere. Thanks for your time information. Passion all of it really on behalf of kt studios. Just thank you to the listeners. You know we. We hit number one in all categories because people kept in and as we talked about lettuce in the right direction in terms of other things to be discussing packing. So thank you. As we bring season to close one piece of the puzzle has been solved. Jack wagner changes pleaded guilty and said he was responsible for five of the eight rodent family member deaths here can guilty. Jake wagner faces life behind bars and has disclosed details of the plot to kill the rodent family to authorities tortoise evidence specifically weapons that were using offenses. He's also implicated his family. In the gruesome murders her angela wagner and george wagner the fourth allsteel face charges including aggravated murder jake wagner has actually agreed to testify against his mother his father and his older brother well angela billion george wagner continue to maintain their innocence questions remain the wagner is the suspected mastermind the conspiracy to kill eight members of the rodent and gilly family prosecutors. Say the wagner's lived in insular life focused on control of children and the young women who entered their lives but with judgment day for accused brother george wagner the fourth just around the corner trial date has been set for april. Four hundred thousand twenty two. What will happen in. The meantime is anyone's guess. Will there be another plea deal to see where this case goes from here. Now they have someone who is cooperating. They have someone who can give them specific evidence. What exactly is jake gonna say understand what happened with the you could grandmother renuka make an appearance on the witness stand notary and prosecutors say she forged guardianship documents three weeks before the rodents were murdered defined details of this plea. Agreement are under seal with the court. So it's still a question about whether or not new come will be required to testify in the trial. Or we'll grandmother federico adner end up back in court the seventy seven year old wagner face two felony charges of obstructing justice and perjury. I never lied about anything. I was innocent. They had no evidence against she can be charged again. In this case later perhaps most importantly will the victims families finally see closure and the case our family will never stop trying to bring whoever did this to justice. One thing is for sure. There's much more on the horizon in this case it just keeps on coming. I still wonder if there was much more to this that we don't know what would drive someone to do what happened here. Still to me a whole lot of questions here more on next season but check in next week when we'll be bringing you a special bonus episode before the break for more information on the case and relevant photos follow us on instagram at kt underscore studios the piped-in massacre returned by county is executive produced by stephanie. Lie decker and me. Courtney armstrong editing and sound designed by executive producer. Jared aston additional producing by jeff. Shane andrew becker and chris graves. The pike massacre returned to pay. County is a production of i heart. Radio and k studios for more podcasts from iheartradio visit the iheartradio app apple podcasts. Or wherever you listen to your favorite shows switching to gyco is a good idea especially when you consider everything first off gyco makes it easy to switch. They have licensed agents available twenty four seven online or over the phone. If it's so easy you might start thinking everything is easy even big wave surfing and it's not as actually quite difficult. Well if you switch to geico you could save hundreds on car insurance and you can keep saving by bundling your motorcycle. 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