Netflix’s revamped ‘Unsolved Mysteries’ drops new batch of true-crime puzzles


True-crime junkies get their fix this week, as “Unsolved Mysteries” drops the remaining batch of its nine-episode season delivered in three chunks.

WTOP’s Jason Fraley reviews ‘Unsolved Mysteries’ Season 16

True-crime junkies get their fix this week, as “Unsolved Mysteries” drops the remaining batch of its nine-episode season delivered in three chunks.

It’s the third season of the revamped series on Netflix and overall the 16th season of the long-running series that became a staple of true-crime television from 1987-2010.

Late great host Robert Stack died in 2003, so while his image appears in the opening credits, the reboot scraps the idea of an ominous narrator, letting the content tell the story.

This season, the stories are as compelling as ever, ranging from grisly murders to missing persons, from ghost sightings to alien encounters, each told in an hour of doled-out clues.

Episode 1, “The Mystery at Mile Marker 45,” chronicles the disappearance of scholarship volleyball star Tiffany Valiante, who went missing the night of a high school graduation party in her New Jersey neighborhood and was found dead on the railroad tracks across town. Her father’s deer camera captures key footage, while missing headbands and sneakers puzzle investigators.

Episode 2, “Something in the Sky,” explores unexplained lights over Western Michigan in March 1994, when more than 300 people reported the sighting of multiple UFOs. Such episodes hit differently after recently declassified footage by the U.S. government.

Episode 3, “Body in Bags,” chronicles the grisly murder of David Carter, whose body was found chopped up in three bags and scattered along Interstate 75 in Ohio in 2018. His grieving family recounts suspicious text messages that they believe were sent by Carter’s ex-girlfriend, Tammy Williams, who is now a wanted fugitive running from U.S. Marshals.

Episode 4, “Death in a Vegas Motel,” explores the death of James “Buffalo Jim” Barrier, an indie professional wrestling promoter in Las Vegas who had legal struggles with landlord Frederick “Rick” Rizzolo, who owned the land that housed Barrier’s auto repair business.

Episode 5, “Paranormal Rangers,” turns supernatural again, as Navajo Rangers explore sightings of paranormal activity among the indigenous people of the Southwest. Retired Navajo Ranger Stanley Milford Jr. and his partner Jonathan Redbird Dover investigate everything from Bigfoot to UFOs to shape-shifting creatures dubbed Skinwalkers.

Episode 6, “What Happened to Josh,” explores the disappearance of St. John’s University student Joshua Guimond, who got up from a poker game at a friend’s apartment and never returned. His high-school sweetheart seeks answers in Minneapolis as bloodhounds track his scent to the campus monastery and investigators scan files on his bedroom computer.

Episode 7, “Body in the Bay,” chronicles the death of Pat Mullins, whose motorboat was found abandoned near Tampa Bay only for his body to be found floating miles away with ropes wrapped around his torso and tied to an anchor. Was it suicide or murder? And what’s the deal with his friend who started having mental breakdowns after the incident?

Episode 8, “The Ghost in Apartment 14,” is the freakiest episode, about a haunted apartment in Chico, California, where a mother has nightmares and her daughter talks to a ghost named MarLiz, the nickname of former resident Marie Elizabeth Spannhake, who went missing in 1976 and is linked to the kidnapping of Colleen Stan in nearby Red Bluff.

Episode 9, “Abducted by a Parent,” wraps the season with two cases of parents who kidnapped their own kids. The first involves Rebecca Downey and husband Ahmed Kandil, who allegedly kidnapped their kids, Belel and Amina, in 2014. The second involves Abdul Khan and wife Rabia Khalid, who allegedly kidnapped their son, Aziz, in 2010.

You don’t have to watch the episodes in order, so feel free to jump around. If there’s any criticism, it’s the inherent lack of closure, but that’s to be expected from a show called “Unsolved Mysteries.” In each episode, the filmmaker makes it clear who authorities think is the culprit before turning it over to the audience to call tip lines and visit

The series never forgets its human core; these are real people with real pain and real grief. As gripping as the show is, never forget the lives who were lost and the loved ones who remain forever broken. Hopefully, someone watching Netflix will see their stories and call in with clues to finally bring justice and peace for the families.


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