Thousands of true-crime enthusiasts, media personalities and survivors travelled to Orlando, Florida, to take part in CrimeCon 2023 this weekend.
The Independent was at the event which included talks with Dick Harpootlian and Jim Griffin, the attorneys of Alex Murdaugh; and Kerri Rawson, the daughter of BTK serial killer Dennis Rader.
During one panel at the event, the mother of murdered University of Idaho student Ethan Chapin made an emotional plea to the crowd.
“But I just wanted you all to know that these were four of the greatest kids. And all the great things you read are legitimately true,” she said, before adding “don’t forget these kids”.
Also at the event, Ms Rawson spoke about the moment that she confronted her father over two cold cases that he is now being investigated over – years after he was convicted of 10 murders.
“If you haven’t done anything wrong, I’ll make sure to do everything I can to protect you. But if you did, I’ll come back and nail you to the wall,” Ms Rawson recounted telling him. “He’s been playing games for years, with me, and with you...”
True crime’s Super Bowl
Thousands of true crime fanatics - along with some of the biggest names in the popular genre - will converge in Orlandothis weekend for CrimeCon, a three-day conference focused on murder and mayhem and all things true crime.
It’s a unique opportunity to rub elbows with top investigators, forensic experts, and well-known true crime television and podcast personalities.
CrimeCon is an immersive, educational experience that gives attendees the chance to be citizen detectives by participating in crowd-solving and learning how to dig into a case properly without hindering the investigation.
It’s also a place where the true crime community can join forces to fight alongside the victims’ families and survivors of crime who are seeking justice.
What’s the lineup for today?
Early on Saturday, true crime enthusiasts will be able to attend several conferences on topics such as the American autopsy, blood patterns in a crime scene, and crime convictions.
Some of the speakers expected today are crime commentator Nancy Grace, NewsNation crime correspondent Brian Entin, Dateline journalist Josh Mankiewicz and the BTK killer’s daughter Karri Rawson.
Bryan Kohberger professor and forensic psychologist Dr Katherine Ramsland explains why she decided to study serial killers
NewsNation correspondent Brian Entin interviewed Dr Ramsland — famous for her expertise on criminal minds and for co-authoring a book with the BTK serial killer — at CrimeCon on Friday.
This year is the third time that Dr Ramsland, who also taught Idaho murders suspect Bryan Kohberger at DeSales University, has attended CrimeCon.
When asked why she had decided to study serial killers, Dr Ramsland said that she hoped research about the criminal mind would help prevent tragedies in the future. The expert also said that her own family had experienced trauma stemming from violence.
“... we study these people in a way that helps us prevent future serial killers and that’s probably the most important part of the kind of work we do,” Dr Ramsland said. “My father’s mother was murdered ... and my great-grandfather on the other side of the family tried to poison everybody so he could run off with someone else and that didn’t work but there’s certainly violence in the background that trickled down to me.”
Father of missing geologist Daniel Robinson to appear at CrimeCon 2023
Mr Robinson, who graduated from College of Charleston with a degree in archaeology, disappeared on 23 June 2021 after seeming disoriented on a work site and ostensibly driving off into the desert with no explanation.
His behaviour had been slightly off in the weeks before his disappearance but there has been no sign of him since; the geologist’s car was recovered nearly a month after he vanished, along with his phone, wallet, keys and clothes he was last seen wearing.
“This weekend, I’ll be at @CrimeCon, spreading awareness about my missing son, Geologist Daniel Robinson. It’s been over 2 years and I’ve done everything a father can,” Robinson’s father David Robinson tweeted. “But the uphill battle continues. Please support and visit http://pleasehelpfinddaniel.com for ways to help.”
The schedule for today
The Independent’s Andrea Cavallier is on the ground at CrimeCon 2023.
Here’s the lineup for Saturday:
- 3pm - BTK new lead and case discussions with daughter Kerri Rawson
- 4.20pm - Inside the prosecution of Alex Murdaugh, hosted by CourtTV reporters
- 5.40pm - Murdaugh defence team to take the stage
We’ll be bringing you the latest updates.
Father of missing geologist Daniel Robinson travels to second CrimeCon to spead awareness about son’s disappearance
David Robinson, the father of missing geologist Daniel Robinson, has a goal of handing out every one of his flyers at CrimeCon 2023 in Orlando this weekend to spread awareness of his son’s disappearance, Andrea Cavallier reports from Florida.
But his ultimate goal is to find his son. Daniel Robinson was last spotted on 23 June as he was leaving a worksite in the Arizona desert at Sun Valley Parkway and Cactus Road in Buckeye – 35 miles west of of Phoenix.
On 19 July, a rancher found Robinson’s busted vehicle – a 2017 Jeep Renegade – in a ravine three miles away. His keys, clothes, boots, and cellphone were also found. According to a crash report, the vehicle sped up just before the crash.
The case has been worked by Buckeye Police, but Mr Robinson said he wants his son’s case turned over to the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office where it can get the attention it needs.
Mr Robinson has never given up the fight for his son, and hired a private investigator who he says uncovered new information in the case.
The investigator found that Daniel’s vehicle had 11 additional miles on it after the airbags had been deployed and had been cranked 46 times.
Gabby Petito’s mom in tears as she thanks CrimeCon fans for their support
Gabby’s parents, Joe Petito and Nichole Schmidt, and her step-parents, Tara Petito and Jim Schmidt, took the stage at CrimeCon 2023 for a powerful session about domestic violence, “Missing White Woman Syndrome,” as they took the audience through what they went through since Gabby was killed.
It was Petito’s posts that inspired enormous interest in the case and were seized on by an army of online sleuths who joined the effort to help locate Petito when she was first declared missing. They pored over her Instagram posts, searching for any inconsistencies, clues or possible causes for concern.
While law enforcement was searching for Petito’s boyfriend Brian Laundrie in Florida on 19 September 2021, investigators announced they had located a body believed to be that of Petito in the eastern portion of Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. The discovery was aided by another travel YouTuber who spotted Petito’s van in a video they had been editing.
“It’s thanks to all of you that we found her,” Nichole Schmidt said on Saturday.
Parents of murder victims join CrimeCon 2023 to talk about their love one’s stories
Parents of the victims in high-profile cases have come together at CrimeCon, honouring the lives of their loved ones and sharing their journey through the unimaginable tragedies they’ve experienced.
Slain Gabby Petito’s mom Nichole Schmidt and missing Daniel Robinson’s father shared a selfie on Twitter.
Ms Schmidt led efforts to hold Brian Laundrie and his family accountable after her daughter went missing before he was found dead by suicide. Meanwhile, Mr Robinson has advocated for more awareness for his son’s case and continues to do so more than two years after he vanished.
Kerri Rawson opens up about being notified of father’s murders
BTK killer Dennis Rader’s daughter Kerri Rawson is one of the speakers at CrimeCon 2023, which is taking place in Orlando this weekend.
Ms Rawson, a New York Times bestseller author who has previously spoken to The Independent about several high-profile crime cases, opened up about her journey of coming to terms with her father’s crimes and finding purpose in her work.
“18 years ago I didn’t think I would survive the night after being notified my dad was BTK,” Ms Rawson tweeted on Saturday. “9 years ago I started blasting out my heart to the world. Today, I speak with Joel Waldman @PodcastSTS & Laura Ingle @lauraingle about the current cold case investigations into my father.”
Kerri Rawson receives standing ovation as she takes stage at CrimeCon
BTK killer’s daughter Kerri Rawson took the stage on Saturday to talk about her father.
The massive ballroom at the Orlando hotel was packed, with nearly every seat taken.
She recently announced that she’s been working with investigators in various states to help them take a fresh look at cases that could be connected to her father, according to her website.
On the Surviving the Survivor podcast, she said that be confronted her father for the first time in 18 years, visiting him twice in prison.