Table of contents for True stories of Law & order: SVU : the real crimes behind the best episodes of the hit TV show / by Kevin Dwyer and Jurãae Fiorillo.

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True Stories of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
Chapter 1 
L&O SVU: "Control," Season 5
A man who kidnaps and keeps women as sex slaves is castrated in a subway. Later, he's found murdered in 
a hotel room. 
TRUE STORY: "Dungeon Master" John Jamelske built an underground sound-proof dungeon in his 
backyard, and held several young women as sex slaves for months and years at a time. 
Chapter 2
L&O SVU: "Baby Killer," Season 2
A young boy uses a stolen gun to shoot and kill a female classmate during recess.
TRUE STORY: Six-year old Kayla Rolland was killed by classmate Dedrick Owens in Michigan. The gun 
used in the crime had been stolen by a family friend. 
Chapter 3 
L&O SVU: "Redemption," Season 3 
Released from prison after eighteen years, the "Soho Strangler" is suspected in a string of new sex crimes. 
TRUE STORY: Dubbed the "Boston Strangler," Albert DeSalvo was a suspect in the death of thirteen 
women. DeSalvo died in jail before he could be tried, and numerous questions remain to this day about the 
Boston Strangler's true identity. 
Chapter 4
L&O SVU: "Mean," Season 5
Three popular but particularly nasty teenage girls brutally murder a friend and stuff her body in the trunk of 
a car. 
TRUE STORY: Four Indiana teenagers abducted and killed twelve-year old Shanda Sharer
Chapter 5
L&O SVU: "Serendipity," Season 5
A doctor puts a tube of his patient's blood in his arm to fool a paternity test. 
TRUE STORY: Canadian doctor John Schneeberger implanted a tube of blood in his arm to foil a DNA 
test and clear himself of rape charges. 
Chapter 6
L&O SVU: "Chameleon," Season 4
A prostitute turns the tables on a man who is sexually assaulting women on the street, but detectives soon 
discover that the woman isn't the victim she appears to be. 
TRUE STORY: Truck-stop hooker Aileen Wuornos murdered seven men in and around Florida. Wuornos 
pleaded self-defense, claiming each victim tried to rape her. 
Chapter 7
L&O SVU: "Charisma," Season 6 
The leader of a Doomsday cult sexually abuses his young congregants. The cult has also amassed an 
TRUE STORY: David Koresh and his Branch Davidian cult engaged in a deadly shootout with the ATF, 
and later battled the FBI. Koresh and many of his followers were killed, as were several government 
Chapter 8
L&O SVU: "Uncle," Season 8
A mentally ill man pushes a murder suspect into an oncoming subway.
TRUE STORY: Andrew Goldstein, a known-schizophrenic, says 
he was in a psychotic state when he pushed Kendra Webdale 
in front of an oncoming train. 
Chapter 9
L&O: SVU: "Slaves," Season 1
A controlling yuppie and his subservient wife hold a live-in maid captive as a sex slave.
TRUE STORY: Pennsylvania high-school student Tanya Kach was held captive as a sex slave by a 
security guard from her school, only a few miles from her father's house. She emerged ten years later.
Chapter 10 
L&O SVU: "Venom," Season 7 
Detective Tutola's son and nephew are implicated in the murder of a woman and child. 
TRUE STORY: Raymond Levi Cobb killed a woman and her baby while robbing a house in Texas in 
Chapter 11
L&O SVU: "Name," Season 7
The SVU detectives are faced with solving a cold case after the skeletal remains of a boy who disappeared 
in 1978 are found. 
TRUE STORY: The identity of dead child found on a rural road in Philadelphia is unknown, and his 
murder remains unsolved today. 
Chapter 12
L&O SVU: "Burned," Season 8
A woman accuses her husband of rape, but because he doesn't have a record of violence, he is released. 
The husband later sets his wife on fire. 
TRUE STORY: A judge dismissed an order of protection Yvette Cade had taken out on her estranged 
husband Roger Hargrave. Two weeks later, Hargrave set Cade on fire at her job.
Chapter 13
L&O SVU: "Scavenger" Season 6
A serial killer taunts investigators into finding him.
TRUE STORY: Over a span of three decades, BTK Killer Dennis Rader murdered ten people in Wichita, 
Kansas. He often communicated with the police about the murders, which led to his capture. 
Chapter 14
L&O SVU: "Game," Season 6
Teenagers take their obsession with videogames to the point of murder.
TRUE STORY: Alabama teen Devin Moore killed two police officers and a dispatcher after being arrested 
for stealing a car. Moore claimed his addiction to the videogame Grand Theft Auto led him to commit the 
Chapter 15
L&O SVU: "Taboo," Season 7
A college student accused of killing her newborn claims she didn't know she was pregnant. 
TRUE STORY: College student Holly Ashcraft murdered her newborn baby after hiding the pregnancy.
Chapter 16
L&O SVU: "Monogamy," Season 3 
A pregnant woman is found unconscious and bleeding in a parking lot; her unborn baby has been cut out of 
her and stolen. 
TRUE STORY: In Missouri, Lisa Montgomery strangled pregnant Bobbie Jo Stinnett and cut her unborn 
child out of her body. Stinnett died, but the baby lived. 
Chapter 17
L&O SVU: "Counterfeit," Season 3 
A woman is found raped and murdered in her car. The investigation points to police officer who is accused 
of raping the woman during a traffic stop. 
TRUE STORY: In 1986, California Highway Patrol officer Craig Peyer murdered college student Cara 
Knott during a phony traffic stop. Peyer had been stopping and sexually harassing women motorists for 
some time. 
Chapter 18
L&O SVU: "Web," Season 7
A teenager sells naked photos of himself to pedophiles on the Internet. 
TRUE STORY: Teenager Justin Berry sets up his own pornographic website featuring erotic images and 
video of himself. Pedophiles pay for Berry to perform sex acts on a live web-cam. 
Chapter 19
L&O: SVU: "Uncivilized," Season 1. 
A known pedophile is suspected of killing a young boy in the park. The real killers turn out to be two 
young men who killed for the thrill of it. 
TRUE STORY: The infamous Leopold and Loeb case. Two privileged young men killed a child for the 
thrill of it.
Chapter 20 
L&O SVU: "Fault," Season 7 
A released sex offender kidnaps two kids and murders their parents.
TRUE STORY: Class III pedophile Joseph Duncan stalked and murdered the Groene family to abduct 
eight-year-old Shasta and nine-year-old Dylan. He later killed soon after. 
Chapter 21
 L&O SVU: "Perfect," Season 4 
When a fourteen year-old Pennsylvania girl goes missing, police suspect she's been kidnapped. Eight 
months later, she turns up dead in New York. 
TRUE STORY: Fourteen-year old Elizabeth Smart was kidnapped from her Arkansas home by two 
Mormon fundamentalists. She was found nine months later.
Chapter 22
L&O SVU: "Repression." Season 3 
A teenager recovers memories of sexual abuse and fears her father is abusing her younger sister. The father 
ends up murdered. 
TRUE STORY: Long Island teen Cheryl Pierson hired classmate Sean Pica to kill her father in order to 
prevent him from sexually abusing her little sister. Cheryl claimed she herself was subjected to sexual 
abuse for years. 
Chapter 23
L&O SVU: "Pure" Season 6 
A married couple rape and kill a number of women. 
TRUE STORY: Canadian couple Karla Homolka and Paul Bernardo raped and killed several young 
women, including Karla's younger sister Tammy. 
Chapter 24
L&O SVU: "Debt," Season 6 
An illegal Chinese immigrant is held captive as a sex slave in New York.
TRUE STORY: In 1997, the FBI and U.S. Border Patrol raided six brothels in Florida run by a family of 
Mexican nationals. The young women working in the brothels had been smuggled out of Mexico, enslaved, 
and forced into prostitution.
Chapter 25
L&O SVU: "Bound," Seaseon 5
Patients in a family-owned nursing home begin dying one after another. The investigation leads the owner.
TRUE STORY: "Angel of Death" nurse Charles Cullen is suspected of killing as many as 40 patients 
during his career.

Library of Congress Subject Headings for this publication:

Sex crimes -- United States -- Case studies.
Sex crimes -- Investigation -- United States -- Case studies.
Trials (Sex crimes) -- United States -- Case studies.
Crime on television.
Law & order: Special Victims Unit.