Cameron Todd Willingham woke up to his two-year-old daughter screaming “Daddy, Daddy!” He sat up in bed, but was surrounded by smoke so thick he could barely see. He made his way out of the burning house and yelled for his neighbors to call the fire department. His two-year-old daughter and one-year-old twins were trapped inside the home. Cameron dropped to his knees and cried. Firefighters arrived on the scene, but they couldn’t save the children. All three of the Willingham children died in the fire. It was a tragedy, plain and simple. But a few days later, when arson investigators reviewed the scene, they were certain that the fire was set intentionally. Cameron had set the fire. But years later, certainty waned. Were those arson experts really experts, after all?
Then Brandi tells us a bizarre story about Seventh Heaven star Jeremy London. In 2010, Jeremy claimed that a group of men abducted him after they helped him change his flat tire. They forced him to do drugs and drink alcohol at gunpoint. He told them he was in recovery, but they didn’t care. For twelve hours, they forced him to take drugs. He finally got free when one of the kidnappers took pity on him. Jeremy reported his story to the police, but he faced skepticism -- namely from his mom and twin brother. They thought his story sounded fishy. Perhaps Jeremy made the story up in order to cover up a relapse?
And now for a note about our process. For each episode, Kristin reads a bunch of articles, then spits them back out in her very limited vocabulary. Brandi copies and pastes from the best sources on the web. And sometimes Wikipedia. (No shade, Wikipedia. We love you.) We owe a huge debt of gratitude to the real experts who covered these cases.
In this episode, Kristin pulled from:
The article “Trial by Fire” by David Grann in The New Yorker
The Frontline episode, “Death by Fire”
“Cameron Todd Willingham,” entry on Wikipedia
In this episode, Brandi pulled from:
“Jeremy London: ‘I Was So Scared’” by Michelle Tauber, People
“Jeremy London Survives Bizarre Kidnapping Incident” by Ken Lee, People
“Jeremy London kidnapped, forced to do drugs, buy booze at gunpoint: report” by Michael Sheridan, New York Daily News
“EXCLUSIVE: Hollywood Actor Jeremy London Kidnapped; Held At Gun Point, Robbed & Forced To Smoke Drugs” Radar Online
“Is Jeremy London’s Kidnapping Story Falling Apart?” by Josh Grossberg, E! Online
“Jeremy London’s Mom: I Don’t Want to Bury Another Child” by Natalie Finn and Ken Baker, E! Online
“EXCLUSIVE JAILHOUSE INTERVIEW: Man Accused Of 'Kidnapping' Jeremy London Says 'We Partied All Night' -- He Took Ecstasy and Xanax” Radar Online
“Jeremy London: I’m Vindicated in Kidnapping Case” by Johnny Dodd, People