In this episode, we shine light on the 1969 disappearance of Linda Peugeot and her two-year-old daughter, Lori Mae.
Linda's had a relatively her idyllic childhood in Westernport, Maryland. Just after her high school graduation she had a whirlwind romance with Gerald Peugeot and, not long after their marriage, Linda gave birth to their daughter Lori Mae. The couple moved to Florida but Linda and Lori Mae moved back to Maryland when George joined his naval ship. This set the stage for the tragedy that unfolds.
On September 21, 1969, after her evening shift working as a waitress, Linda plans for Lori Mae's upcoming third birthday. Little do they know, their lives are about to intersect with a man whose criminal history is already in motion.
This man has a history of violence, car theft, abduction, and sexual assault. Convicted of the abduction and sexual assault of a teenager, he was awaiting sentencing when he was able to escape from prison. During this time period, he shoots and kills Officer Joseph Zanella during an attempted traffic stop. And then, he abducts Kathy Maxwell before sexually assaulting her and releasing her in Ohio.
After letting Kathy go on the morning of September 22, Linda and Lori Mae cross paths with their abductor near Kings Department Store in LaVale, Maryland. There, in the parking lot, Linda and Lori Mae are kidnapped in front of multiple witnesses who are unaware of what is happening.
Once they realize that Linda and Lori Mae are kidnapped, authorities launch a nationwide manhunt. The man is finally apprehended in Iowa, but Linda and Lori Mae are not with him.
The truth, revealed through the abductor's confession, discloses Linda was murdered on the day of their abduction. He claims he left her body in a dump in Ohio. Lori Mae's was kept alive until they reached Kansas City where he murdered her and left her body by the side of the road.
Though he was convicted of other crimes, he never went through a trial for the abductions and murders of Linda and Lori Mae. Linda and Lori Mae’s bodies have never been found.
People and Cases Mentioned in this Episode:
Linda Peugeot (unsolved missing person case)
Lori Mae Peugeot (unsolved missing person case)
“Kathy” (solved abduction and sexual assault)
Karen Maxwell (solved abduction and sexual assault)
Joseph Zanella (solved murder)
Walter L. Peterson (solved murder)
d mysteries in League City, Texas, this broader region of this segment of Texas was known for its small towns and ranches. But with increased development in Houston and Galveston, the population boomed, radically transforming the fifty mile stretch between the two cities. With this boom, came an increase in crimes against women.
Heide Fye, 25, had been living at home with her family when she decided to hitchhike from League City to Houston. When she hadn’t arrived by the next day, her family realized that she was missing. Her father relentlessly searched for her, but, ultimately, her body was found in 1984 in a mostly abandoned oil field off Calder Road in League City, Texas. Based on her broken ribs, it was believed that she was beaten to death.
In 1984, Laura Miller went missing. She had gone to a payphone to call her boyfriend and never returned home. Though her father asked for the field where Heide Fye was found be searched, police discouraged this. On February 2, 1986, her body was found not far from where Heide’s body had been recovered. Not far from Laura were the remains of another woman who police were unable to identify. She was called Jane Doe and the area the three were found became known as The Killing Fields.
In 1991, the body of another woman was found not far from where Heide, Laura, and Jane Doe were found. Yet again unable to identify her, police gave her the moniker Janet Doe.
Finally, in 2019, League City Police were encouraged to use investigative genetic genealogy. They discovered that Jane Doe was Audrey Lee Cook, 30, from Memphis, TN. Audrey had been living in the Houston area since the mid-1970s working often as a mechanic. Her family last heard from her in late 1985.
Janet Doe was identified as Donna Gonsoulin Prudhomme, originally of Port Arthur, Texas. Donna had left an abusive marriage and moved to Austin. Once there, she struggled with substance abuse and brought her two sons to a family member until she could get her life on track. Moving to the Houston area was part of this process for her.
There have been a long list of suspects in these killings with some believing all three were murdered by the same person and some believing the murders were done by more than one person. Some of the frequently discussed suspects include R, a retired NASA scientist who owned a ranch next to the Killing Fields, M, a man who worked for R and claims to have killed Donna/Janet, and C, who was convicted of the 1985 murder of a woman named Ellen Beason in League City.
At the time of airing, all four murders are currently unsolved.
People and Cases Mentioned in this Episode:
Heide/Heidi Fye (unsolved murder case)
Laura Miller (unsolved murder case)
Audrey Lee Cook (unsolved murder case)
Donna Gonsoulin Prudhomme (unsolved murder case)
Ellen Beason (solved murder case)
Liz Moore’s first novel, The Words of Every Song (Broadway Books, 2007), centers on a fictional record company in New York City just after the turn of the millennium. It draws partly on Liz's own experiences as a musician. It was selected for Borders' Original Voices program and was given a starred review by Kirkus. Roddy Doyle wrote of it, "This is a remarkable novel, elegant, wise, and beautifully constructed. I loved the book."
After the publication of her debut novel, Liz obtained her MFA in Fiction from Hunter College. In 2009, she was awarded the University of Pennsylvania's ArtsEdge residency and moved to Philadelphia.
Her second novel, Heft, was published by W.W. Norton in January 2012 to popular and critical acclaim. Of Heft, The New Yorker wrote, "Moore's characters are lovingly drawn...a truly original voice"; The San Francisco Chronicle wrote, "Few novelists of recent memory have put our bleak isolation into words as clearly as Liz Moore does in her new novel"; and editor Sara Nelson wrote in O, The Oprah Magazine, "Beautiful...Stunningly sad and heroically hopeful." The novel was published in five countries, was long-listed for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, and was included on several "Best of 2012" lists, including those of NPR and the Apple iBookstore.
Moore's short fiction and creative nonfiction have appeared in venues such as Tin House, The New York Times, and Narrative Magazine. She is the winner of the Medici Book Club Prize and Philadelphia's Athenaeum Literary Award. After winning a 2014 Rome Prize in Literature, she spent 2014-15 at the American Academy in Rome, completing her third novel.
That novel, The Unseen World, was published by W.W. Norton in July of 2016. Louisa Hall called it "fiercely intelligent" in her review in The New York Times; Susan Coll called it "enthralling . . . ethereal and elegant . . . a rich and convincing period piece” in her review in the Washington Post. The Unseen World was included in "Best of 2016" lists by The New Yorker, the BBC, Publishers Weekly, Vox, Google Play, and Audible.com, among others.
Moore’s fourth novel, Long Bright River, was published by Riverhead Books in January 2020. It was an instant New York Times bestseller and has become an international bestseller as well, with translations to be published in 21 territories to date. Long Bright River was a Book of the Month Club pick and the January selection for the Good Morning America book club. In addition, it launched the New York Times’s Group Text monthly feature. Barack Obama selected Long Bright River as one of his favorite books of 2020.
Liz Moore lives with her family in Philadelphia and is a faculty member of the MFA program in Creative Writing at Temple University.
“A mother remembers last parting with kin.” Courier-Post, September 23, 1970.
“Dangerous convict hangs himself in state prison.” The Kane Republican, December 7, 1978.
“Hoss held for jury in slaying.” Simpson’s Leader-Times, November 14, 1969.
“Hoss taken west to locate bodies of two victims.” The News-Item, October 18, 1969.
“Hoss trial in Maryland.” The Evening Standard, March 29, 1971.
“Hoss trial slated for Cumberland.” The Evening Standard, August 20, 1970.
Jaediker, Kermit. “Linda and Lori are dead.” Daily News, December 28, 1969.
“Jury selection continuing today.” Cumberland Evening Times, June 4, 1974.
Hollock, James G. Born to Lose: Stanley B. Hoss & the Crime Spree That Gripped a Nation. The Kent State University Press, 2011.
Kegg, J. Suter. “Peugeots last seen year ago today.” Cumberland Evening Times, September 22, 1970.
“Late killer’s son, 2nd con flee jail.” The Pittsburgh Press, February 26, 1986.
“Man in Md. kidnappings guilty of killing guard.” The Evening Sun, June 14, 1974.
Parker, Tony. “Fairbury dig follows report body seen 25 years ago.” The Pantagraph, March 14, 1995.
“Police check dumps for two bodies.” The Indianapolis Star, November 4, 1969.
“Skeleton found in rural Ohio not Hoss victim.” The Pittsburgh Press, January 12, 1978.
“Suspect is bound over in killing.” Wilkes-Barre Times Leader, November 14, 1969.
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