Pushing Up Lilies

Buried Secrets: Stories of Suitcase Killers

Episode Summary

Welcome to Pushing Up Lilies. I'm your host Julie Mattson. On today's episode, I take you into a gripping sequel to "Lurking in Luggage," where we continue our exploration into the shadowy realm of suitcase killers. Join me as we delve deeper into the chilling tales of crimes where victims meet their tragic fate inside suitcases. Prepare yourself for a riveting journey as we uncover buried secrets and unmask the perpetrators behind these haunting crimes.

Episode Notes


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Episode Transcription

0:06 Welcome to Pushing Up Lilies.

0:08 I'm your host, Julie Mattson.

0:10 Pushing Up Lilies is a weekly True crime podcast with spine tingling, unusual and terrifyingly true stories from my perspective as a forensic death investigator and a sexual assault nurse examiner.

0:24 Do I have some stories for you?
0:26 Are you ready?
0:31 Hey, guys, I hope that every one of you had as good of a vision of the solar eclipse as we had today.

0:41 We went outside our office.

0:43 There's a nice little courtyard between our office and the courthouse at the medical examiner's office and we were provided glasses by the county, and we were able to go out and watch the eclipse as it took place.

1:00 It was such a cool sight to see, and it'll be years and years and years before that happens again.

1:06 Who knows if we'll be here or not?

1:09 I think it was very special to get to watch it with my husband and my coworkers and I hope that everyone had a good view, or at least we're able to see photos online of it because it was kind of neat.

1:24 It was strange too because we were talking about how it kind of confuses animals, you know, because it's unusual for it to get dark like that during the day.

1:34 And while we were sitting out there, we heard the cricket start chirping literally as soon as it got dark and we heard Locusts as soon as it got dark, as soon as the brightness started coming back into the sky, they stopped.

1:50 It was kind of weird and eerie to hear that anyway, a day in history and I then went on a death scene.

2:01 And so I'm glad that the police were able to wait for me so that I could see the eclipse before I took off, went to a death at a hotel appeared to be natural and didn't take too long.

2:17 I guess the eclipse was the highlight of our day for sure.

2:21 Other than that, not a super, super busy day, I got it by myself tomorrow.

2:26 I kind of hope that everyone behaves, but on the same topic as last week, I wanted to talk a little bit about murderers who put their victims in suitcases.

2:41 I don't know why I suddenly found this interesting.

2:44 There's a lot of stories about this happening.

2:46 Obviously, it makes it easy to facilitate disposal or obscure the identity of the person if they are dismembered.

2:56 And you know, the hope of most people when they throw them in the water is that I guess everything disintegrates and that they're never found and of course, most of the suitcases are going to contain something heavy so that they'll sink to the bottom.

3:11 But this is a kind of weird case of a man who died in a plane crash about 16 years ago.

3:19 And he's been identified as a suspected serial killer who stuffed bodies into suitcases after he murdered people.

3:28 Robert Wagner Fernandez is believed to have killed three women in Florida between June of 2000 and August of 2001.

3:36 And there could be more victims.

3:39 They exhumed his body in Brazil and were able to match his DNA to the crimes.

3:46 Now, you know, we all know that since DNA came along and advanced techniques, a lot of people have been released from prison that were innocent and put in prison that were found to be guilty.

4:01 His first victim was Kimberly Dietz-Livesey, and she was beaten to death and stuffed in a suitcase.

4:09 The second victim SIA Deus was killed and stuffed in a duffel bag.

4:15 And the third victim, Jessica Goode was found in the Biscayne Bay.

4:22 Now following the death of the third victim, he fled Miami and returned to Brazil because he landed on the radar.

4:31 Police began to kind of suspect him and so he split now the cases remained cold until DNA from a murder in Miami matched the unknown suspect profile collected from the murders in Florida.

4:49 Years earlier, fingerprints taken from Fernandez following his wife's death years earlier actually matched the prints at the crime scenes.

5:00 Then investigators traveled to Brazil to get DNA evidence.

5:04 Now Fernandez died in a plane crash in five.

5:09 He had worked for a tour company in Miami and was also a flight attendant.

5:14 So it's believed that he was responsible for many more murders.

5:18 Here we are 16 years later, and he was identified as the killer, but he was already dead.

5:28 He had passed away in the plane crash.

5:30 Kind of a weird different story.

5:32 It's really interesting to see how DNA can be matched years later and someone can be convicted of a crime that no one even suspected them of before.

5:43 Now, another case on May 5th of 2004, 2 fishermen found a Kenneth Cole suitcase floating near the Chesapeake Bay bridge tunnel and called police inside the suitcase was a set of human legs cut off at the knees and wrapped in blue towels and trash bags.

6:03 Six days later, a matching suitcase washed ashore 16 miles away.

6:10 Now most of the rest of the body, the head arms and torso detached at the waist were in the matching suitcase.

6:19 Now on May 16th, 1 more, Kenneth Cole suitcase was found floating containing the victim's midsection.

6:28 On May 21st, a few days later, Virginia Beach, Virginia police released a composite sketch of the victim.

6:38 A woman in Chesapeake identified the victim as her husband's friend.

6:42 39-year-old William Bill McGuire of Woodbridge Township, New Jersey.

6:49 Now, Bill or William and his wife, Melanie had been married for five years and they had two Children who were four and two and Bill was a computer programmer and Melanie was a nurse at a fertility clinic.

7:05 The day before Bill disappeared, the couple closed on a $450,000 brand new house and they seem to be extremely happy.

7:16 By the time the police spoke to Melanie, it had been a month since she had last seen Bill.

7:22 Now Melanie stated back in April on the 29th that the two got into a furious argument and she claimed that he slapped her and stuffed a dryer sheet in her mouth.

7:35 She locked herself in the bathroom with the kids and heard him pack his bags and he left and the following day, she applied for a restraining order.

7:45 So this is her story.

7:47 Bill and her had got into a fight, she hid in the bathroom with the kids, he packed his bags and left.

7:53 Now, Bill's car was located in a police impound lot on May 8th of 2004.

8:01 The car was towed after being found abandoned at the Flamingo motel in Atlantic City about 100 miles from his home.

8:11 Now, Bill reportedly had a gambling problem and would go there frequently to play Blackjack.

8:17 Bill had not checked in and security footage from April 30th showed someone park the car and walk away.

8:25 The police checked all the toll roads and Melanie's car was charged 90 cents on the Atlantic City Expressway on the day, her husband disappeared.

8:35 Someone called in twice to try to have those charges removed, which we know how suspicious that looks.

8:43 We also know that toll employees hate their jobs as a general rule and are not really the friendliest people to talk to.

8:52 And I don't know if yours are like ours.

8:54 But the North Texas Tollway Authority finds great joy in charging you fees and even putting a hold on your registration if you don't pay your bills.

9:07 So to try to get them to remove 90 cents, I'm sure is a lot like pulling teeth.

9:11 Now, Melanie said that she drove to Atlantic City to move his car as a prank.

9:16 That was kind of the explanation that she gave as far as.

9:20 Yeah, I was there.

9:22 I moved it.

9:23 That's the reason that I'm on video.

9:25 It's me.

9:26 Now, despite decomposition, pathologists were able to determine that bill was killed from as many as four gunshot wounds.

9:35 One 38 caliber bullet was found in the body.

9:40 It was a wad cutter bullet commonly used for shooting paper targets.

9:44 Now there were also green fibers attached to it used kind of like similar for furniture upholstery, possibly they thought a pillow was used to muffle the gunshot.

9:57 Detectives reviewed gun registries and found that a 38 revolver was purchased two days before a bill went missing in Pennsylvania.

10:07 And on the receipt, there was another item sold for $9.95.

10:13 The only two items in the store were $9.95 and one was a box of 38 caliber wad cutter bullets.

10:21 The gun store owner confirmed the buyer as Melanie McGuire.

10:26 She claimed she purchased it for her husband and that Bill was unable to buy one because he had a previous felony conviction.

10:34 The Maguire also owned a green couch, but no throw pillows could be found.

10:40 There were also no traces of blood or GSR found in the house.

10:45 Now, Melanie traveled to Delaware five days after Bill disappeared and the road led to Chesapeake Bay, but Melanie claims she was furniture shopping, the garbage bags from the house match the ones inside the suitcases that had body parts in them.

11:05 And then Melanie admitted that she and her husband own the same suitcases, the Kenneth Cole suitcases, which would be super odd, but Bill could have used them when he packed up and left.

11:17 That was her explanation as to why they weren't at the house.

11:21 Searches were found on her computer searches like how to purchase guns illegally, how to commit murder.

11:30 What are some undetectable poisons and also searches for various sedatives towels found in the suitcases were traced back to the clinic where Melanie worked and tiny traces of flesh, bone and muscle were found in her car.

11:48 At this point, it's kind of hard to get away with it.

11:50 A bottle of chloral hydrate was found in Bill's abandoned car, which is a sedative used to induce sleep before surgery.

11:58 And there were also two syringes in there.

12:01 Now, the bottle was traced to a Walgreens near the daycare where Bill and Melanie's Children went to daycare.

12:10 It's unknown who picked it up from the Walgreens, but it came from Doctor Bradley Miller who is Melanie's boss.

12:18 And the two had, they found out later been having an affair for four years.

12:24 Although Doctor Miller had not actually written the script.

12:28 You know, Melanie had full access to his prescription pad and obviously wrote the prescription for the chloral hydrate and got it filled at Walgreens and picked it up herself.

12:40 Now, Doctor Miller agreed to wear a wire.

12:44 Melanie had been promising to leave her husband and told Miller that they bought the house because when they divorced, they could split it up and he wouldn't lose all the cash playing blackjack.

12:58 Melanie was charged with first degree murder.

13:02 After she was released on bail.

13:04 Police began getting anonymous letters from someone claiming to be the real killer letters claim to be written by a coworker of Bill's sister Cindy and the letters included Bill's ring, an empty box of ammo and a key to Bill's car.

13:24 The package was traced and had been paid for with a prepaid American Express gift card purchased at a pharmacy and security footage showed the buyer looked a little bit like Melanie.

13:38 So found guilty of first-degree murder, desecrating human remains and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose.

13:47 She was acquitted of other charges which were possession of Xanax without a prescription, tampering with evidence and two counts of hindering apprehension.

13:58 Now, Melanie appealed after a prison informant claimed that bill was killed by mobsters due to a gambling debt, but she did get live plus five years and she is eligible for parole after 66 years, which would make her 100 and one that is obviously not going to happen.

14:20 Kind of an interesting story where a female kills her husband and stuffs her in the suitcase.

14:26 Now another case in Seattle, a man was accused of shooting and killing a couple whose bodies washed ashore on Alki Beach.

14:36 He was found guilty of their murders.

14:39 Michael Dudley was 64 and he rented a room to Jessie Lewis who was 36 and the mother of four and her boyfriend Austin winner who was 27.

14:53 Now Dudley killed the couple on June 9th of 2020 apparently over unpaid rent.

15:00 10 days later, their bodies were found in suitcases that were discovered on a rocky shore on Alki Beach.

15:07 Now, remember earlier or last week, we talked about how terrible it would be for Children to find these suitcases with bodies in them.

15:16 In this case, there were a group of teenagers making a Tik Tok video and they found the suitcases, they pulled them up onto the rocky shore and opened them with sticks.

15:31 Of course, they smelled terrible.

15:33 You can only imagine.

15:34 And all they saw was black trash bags.

15:37 They were smart enough to call the police and, and not touch anything or investigate any further on their own.

15:43 But there are videos that you could see online of these teenagers of their Tik Tok.

15:50 Now on August 19th, a search warrant was served to Michael Dudley.

15:56 And when detectives went to his house, they fell in bullet holes, spent rounds and blood in the room where the couple had reportedly stayed.

16:05 But reports said that it had been painted and cleaned.

16:09 But to me, like it's not clean if there's still visible blood and bullet holes and spent rounds in the room.

16:16 I have a question as to what his definition of clean was.

16:20 Now, the defense argued that there was not enough evidence to convict Michael Dudley.

16:26 Although his phone pinged off of towers near Alki minutes before the first suitcase was even spotted.

16:34 Now, he was sentenced to over 46 years in prison.

16:38 He had supposedly dismembered the bodies and disposed of them in suitcase and duffel bag.

16:45 Now the jury deliberated for 1.5 days and the trial lasted two months.

16:50 That's a long trial.

16:51 But I sure would have loved to see that on Court TV.

16:53 Back in the day now being armed with a gun enhanced the murder charges and added a mandatory 10 years to Dudley sentence.

17:04 He had left the bodies to decompose in his backyard before he dumped them in the water.

17:10 Now, the weapon used was never found.

17:14 Lewis' cell phone went dark after 7 p.m. The night they were killed also the night they were killed, a couple called 9111 and reported hearing gunshots from Dudley's home.

17:26 Police did respond but they left the residence after no one answered the door.

17:32 And I feel like this might happen a lot.

17:35 I've seen some cases recently in our area where had entry been made and, and I know, you know, there are a lot of legalities to whether or not you can go in if no one answers the door.

17:48 But I mean, if someone says they heard gunshots and no one answers the door, like that should kind of give them a right to enter the residence, tell me if I'm wrong.

18:00 But the couple that called it in said they heard it come from that house.

18:05 I would believe that it might be something that they should have done.

18:09 I mean, they definitely should have gone in there and looked around that night.

18:14 Not that it would have really changed things because I'm sure they were already dead, but at least it would have kept him from dismembering the bodies.

18:24 Some of the couple's remains were found inside the suitcase and another duffel bag and also a third bag was recovered four days later.

18:34Now Lewis's remains were found in their entirety, but Weiner's remains were not all found.

18:41 Now, Dudley's attorney argued for a 30-year sentence and does intend to appeal his conviction.

18:50 But prosecutors believe that Dudley was angry at winner over unpaid rent and also bringing potential criminal activity to his home because the couple had recently been attacked and beaten by a group of men who showed up at Dudley's home carrying guns after they moved in, a witness claimed that this is what's really crazy.

19:14 A witness was found and claimed that she moved into Dudley's home on June 9th, which is the day the couple is believed to have been murdered and Dudley helped move her belongings in and she noticed that his glasses were broken, and his face was scratched.

19:33 She also, this is what's really weird.

19:36 Y'all saw heaps of clothing with a hand sticking out from underneath.

19:40 Now, what part of you would hang around if you saw a hand sticking out of a pile of clothing, it couldn't have smelled good either.

19:49 I mean, I know it was probably the same day, but you can smell fresh blood.

19:53 I don't know how many of you have smelled fresh blood, but it is a scent all its own and she had to have known something was up because she told him to clean up and asked him to take her somewhere else.

20:08 And then she later saw him laying out large sheets of plastic in the basement.

20:13 I don't know what this girl thought she had seen.

20:18 But this was weird to me when she asked him about what happened and asked him about the hand and asked him why the plastic on the floor of the basement, he said his gun misfired and mine didn't.

20:33 That was his response to her Lewis was reportedly shot multiple times and winner had a single gunshot wound to the torso.

20:43 I found this story really odd too because I mean, this girl obviously moved in before he had a chance to move the bodies and stuff them in the suitcases.

20:57 Really odd.

20:58 And I mean, I guess that he did what she asked him to do and stuffed him in the suitcases after she moved in and put them in the backyard basically to rot before he eventually dumped them.

21:11 Yeah, I think that everybody is kind of the general consensus that suitcases are the best place to hide bodies, but smells do permeate through suitcases, body fluids do permeate through suitcases.

21:25 And like we learned last week flies lay eggs and those little fellows can get in between the zipper and lay eggs inside.

21:34 And so decomposition does obviously still occur.

21:40 It's interesting because when you look it up online.

21:42 There are so many murderers who do this, did not mention anything about these people putting heavy objects in the suitcase with the bodies to help wipe them down.

21:56 They may or may not have done that.

21:57 There was not really an indication in any of the reports about whether or not that was done.

22:02 But I mean, that's also another tactic to try to get the bag to sink to the bottom versus floating to the top to be found easier.

22:11 But I mean, the world is a crazy place y'all.

22:14 I'm sure that all y'all have figured that out by now and have watched enough television to know that it's kind of hard to, to trust people.

22:24 And you know, your first sign that something suspicious is going on is if you move into a place and you see a hand sticking out of a heap of clothing in the floor, that's when you know, I return the key and I don't even want my deposit back.

22:38 You know what?

22:39 I'm just, I'm just leaving just a couple more stories, you know, there to add to our collection of suitcase murderers.

22:47 And I am excited to find some more suitcase stories to share with y'all because there are a ton, I mean, this is not a new idea, obviously, this has been going on for a long time.

22:59 A lot of criminals have the same idea.

23:02 We've heard the stories about people being thrown into the river or a body of water in a concrete barrel or whatever, just to try to weigh it down.

23:11 And eventually I think most of them are found.

23:15 Some people are a little sneakier than others and probably have gotten away with it.

23:21 Which is a crazy thought.

23:23 There's a lot of missing people in the world that very well could be at the very bottom of a body of water or what's left of them.

23:31 Just something to think about.

23:33 Anyway, I hope that y'all have an amazing week.

23:37 I'm glad that I could find some more suitcase stories to share with y'all.

23:41 Again, if you have a story that you'd like for me to share www dot Pushing up lilies.com, that's our website.

23:49 And you can also email me at Julie @ PushingUpLilies.com.

23:53 I welcome your stories and would be excited to look up information for you and report on stories that happened in your area or to your friends.

24:04 Also, don't forget to visit our murder merch store on our website.

24:08 It has some really cute items that I think with everybody being so obsessed with true crime and killers and serial killers that you may be able to find some stuff on there that really piques your interest.

24:21 Also, I will soon be launching my subscription box, and I would love to get emails from those who are interested in purchasing a prototype to give me feedback.

24:35 Maybe also help in designing the box.

24:38 I do have a contest on my Facebook page, which is also pushing up lilies for a contest to name the box for a chance to win a subscription.

24:52 I would love for everyone to join and like my Facebook page and also take part in that contest because it can be a lot of fun.

25:01 There's a lot of really good things going to be in that box again.

25:05 I hope you all have a great rest of your week and I look forward to talking to you next week.

25:09 Stay safe.

25:10 Bye.

25:12 Thank you so much for joining me today on Pushing Up Lilies.

25:15 If you like this podcast and would like to share with others, please do me a quick favor and leave a review on Apple podcast.

25:23 This helps to make the podcast more visible to the public.

25:26 Thanks again for spending your time with me and be sure to visit me at PushingUpLilies.com for merchandise and past episodes.