Ep. 8: Gordon Semple, Erica Parsons, Sarah DeLeon, Paradise Torso Case


Thanks to these folks for offering kind words on Facebook and iTunes:

  • Carol
  • Laura
  • Dianne
  • FernandaMe
  • Jayne
  • blondesx40x

I updated the big giant enormous list of true crime podcasts at truecrimereview.net/the-list. There are more than 100 true crime podcasts on that list, and it’s growing all the time. Which leads me to…

Podcast Recommendation

There’s no excuse for me not to tell you about a new podcast on every episode I do, considering I could do a recommendation every week for almost two and a half years without repeating myself.

Sooo this week I’m recommending you add Curiosity Kills (RSS link) to your listening rotation. Two intelligent, irreverent, funny women taking advantage of the acoustic enclosure of an automobile to record great conversations about true crime. The Facebook fan group is also awesome so consider joining that, too.

It’s a closed group but that’s just for the privacy of the members (aka so your friends and family on’t know you study murder). They’ll let you in with the quickness, just ask.

Now for the News.


The Murder of Gordon Semple

50-year-old Stefano Brizzi is on trial for the murder of 59-year-old Metropolitan Police Constable Gordon Semple, whom he met through the gay dating app Grindr. Brizzi is accused of strangling Semple to death before attempting to dispose of, and possible eat, the victim’s body.

BBC News reports Semple’s DNA was located on a blender blade, a cooking pot and other kitchen items. Authorities found bite marks on a bone fragment retrieved from Brizzi’s kitchen trash can.

Police discovered the gruesome scene on April 7, 2016 following complaints by neighbors of a revolting smell. The prosecutor said during the trial, which is ongoing, that responding officers found “bottles of chemicals scattered in the hall and “blue-green liquid” in the bath with “flesh-coloured globules floating in the water.”

Brizzi says he did not intentionally kill Semple, instead telling authorities his death was accidental, as a result of a “sex game gone wrong.” But I find it hard to believe someone who can say the following about someone would pass up the opportunity to kill:

As you can see, this man was a very big man and all I have left is two buckets.

Follow the BBC’s coverage of the ongoing trial by searching “BBC gordon semple” on your search engine of choice.

Words from Semple’s family and friends on his death, as published by KentNews.co.uk:

In a statement, Pc Semple’s brother, Ronnie Semple, said: “On behalf of Gordon’s partner Gary, my wife Maureen, Gordon’s nephew Paul, niece Kerry and I, I would like to thank everyone for their kind thoughts during the past dreadful week. It has been a terrible time for us all, especially Gary.”

He added: “Gordon will be sadly missed by all of his immediate family, his colleagues in the Met Police, former Bank of Scotland colleagues in Inverness and London, friends from his ‘Tartan Army’ days, but most of all the hardest loss is for Gary at this time.

“Gordon was a much-loved partner, brother, brother-in-law, uncle and cousin, and our world will be a worse place without him.”

Friends remembered Pc Semple as a “great character” and and “old-school cop”.

Kevin Holland said: “RIP Gordon. Was there in my hour of need, sorry I couldn’t be there in his. Missed by many. One of life’s great characters taken”, while Kristina Radu recalled him as a “very happy, smiley man”.

Paul Hutchinson said: “Wish I could have been there for you at your time in need; my utmost pleasure to have known you. My thoughts to your family”, while Rona Tynan wrote: “Have heard he was a great cop old school. Very very sad reading this news. Deepest sympathies to the family and I hope justice is served at the highest order.”

And Andrew Crooke added: “Rest peacefully brother. You’ve booked off your last shift here and I know you are starting rest days in a better place.”

Update on the Murder of Erica Parsons

WCCB Charlotte report on October 13 that authorities will not release Erica’s body for two or three months while the investigation into her death continues. The girls’ adoptive father led police to her body on September 27 and they have been with the Rowan County Medical Examiner since. Donors have already paid for her burial, but funeral arrangements will not be announced until the body is released by the ME. Prevent Child Abuse Rowan continues to accept donations in Erica’s name.

Cold Case Solved: The Murder of Sarah DeLeon

Sarah DeLeon was murdered on December 29, 1989 in Kansas City, Kansas. She had been stabbed, dealt a head wound, and left to die along some railroad tracks. She was 18 years old and decades passed without significant activity on the case.

Then Carolyn J. Heckert, arrested only 20 miles from Kansas City, was charged earlier this month with Sarah’s murder. Authorities suspect Sarah DeLeon’s murder may be related to a 1987 abduction and a 1994 homicide.

You can find the link to a Facebook page called Justice For Sarah in the show notes.

As for the words of Sarah’s family, I’m going to read a post from that page that infuriated me. I’ll it speak for itself:


It is with sadness that we must even post this. It has come to our attention that representatives from the TV show “48 hours” have been deceiving people to gain interviews on Sarah and Diana’s cold cases. We have heard from many people that these representatives are dropping the names of family members from both families in order to secure quick interviews for this story and beat other networks in airing it.

To be clear… we are NOT working with the TV show “48 hours” and have admonished them to stop using these deceptive tactics for their own competitive interests.

Again, it is sad that we even have to announce this, but we do not want any self serving interests to potentially jeapordize all of the hard work put in to seeing justice done for these girls. Neither do we want anyone to misrepresent the family’s stories and fight for justice.

Thank you

On to the Resource…


I’m going to say right now that this section is not an advertisement, it just kind of sounds like one.

There are many kinds of armchair detective. Some study the history and there’s no better podcast for those folks than Richard O. Jones’ True Crime Historian.

Others study criminology and behavioral analysis, probably listening to Real Crime Profile with Jim Clemente, Laura Richards and Lisa Zambetti.

Then there are those of us who can stomach the autopsy reports, crime scene photos and other ways you can attempt to recreate not only a crime scene but the actual timeline of the crime itself. For people like us, the Atlas of Forensic Pathology is a macabre treasure.

The tome, by Doctors Charles V. Wetli, Roger E. Mittleman, and Valerie J. Rao, is nothing less than a textbook for what to expect when performing a forensic autopsy. And, in true textbook fashion, it usually costs more than one hundred dollars. But the publisher, the American Society for Clinical Pathology, is selling the Atlas for 75 percent off the list price. I ordered my copy today for thirty five dollars plus shipping, coming in at just under forty dollars total.

I’m sure parts of this thing will be a bit over the head of a lay person like myself, but that’s a good problem to have when it comes to information on complex topics. Can you find a lot of this stuff around the internet? I’m sure you can. But there’s something to be said for having it all compiled into a researched, organized textbook format.

You can still get one as of this recording. I helped you out by making an easy-to-remember short url: go to bitly.com/ forensic-atlas to order yours.

And now this episode’s cold case:

Cold Case

Monday, December 26, 2011, around 2:30 PM in Paradise Township, Monroe County, Pennsylvania. The torso of a man was found in a garbage bag. No head, no legs, no arms.

A driver on Route 191 spotted the black garbage bag. An autopsy by the Monroe County Coroner’s office determined the victim was a male between 45 and 60 years old. The Coroner also said the man had been dead anywhere from two weeks to two months.
And while the Coroner did say the manner of death was homicide, he would not comment on whether he had determined cause of death, or on the method of dismemberment.

Fast forward to 2016. A Virginia laboratory used ancestry information gleaned from rib DNA to produce a composite portrait of what the man’s face may have looked like.

State Trooper Craig Vanlouvender is a state police criminal investigator at the Swiftwater barracks. He told local ABC affiliate Newswatch 16:

They believe that we should be looking maybe in the area south of Pennsylvania, in the states of Tennessee, Kentucky but also isotope readings were consistent with people who might be living in coastal California. They also believed the victim was subsiding on a rice-based diet more than a corn-based diet.

Look at the composite portrait in the show notes, and if you recognize the man in the sketch, call the Pennsylvania State Police tip hotline at 1-800-4PA-TIPS.


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Thanks for listening to this episode of True Crime Review and remember, families deserve truth, and victims deserve voices.

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