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Murder in the Mojave

Date Sunday - May 20, 2018
Host Ian Punnett
Guests Deanne StillmanKelly CarlinM.L. Behrman

In the middle two hours, writer Deanne Stillman joined Ian Punnett to discuss the devastating 1991 murder of two young women living in Twentynine Palms, CA, in the shadow of a large military base. She highlighted the contrasts of the Mojave, which mixes the natural beauty of the desert with a climate of persistent lawlessness. Women in the area, she said, often act along the lines of "Miner's Law," which dictates that people solve problems themselves rather than reaching out to law enforcement. In some of the more remote locations, there is little police presence anyway-- Stillman has also written about a hermit who lived in the Antelope Valley and killed a lone cop who showed up at his trailer.

The murders of Mandi Scott and Rosie Ortega were eventually traced to a Marine stationed at the Twentynine Palms base, Valentine Underwood, who was also a basketball player on the military team. He'd raped the women and stabbed them each 33 times. An NCIS investigator figured it out because he played on a basketball team with Underwood, and knew he was obsessed with the number 33 as it was on his jersey. Underwood, it turned out had a history of sexual assault, Stillman noted, and had even raped his Sergeant's daughter, but she had found it too difficult to come forward. He was eventually convicted and given a life sentence.

Open Lines were featured in the last hour.

Remembering George Carlin

Appearing during the first half-hour Kelly Carlin, George Carlin's daughter, shared stories of her comedian father and his controversial career. She announced that in the first weekend in August the National Comedy Center is opening in Jamestown, New York and will feature George Carlin's archives. Arriving in June is the new "George Carlin Commemorative Collection" on DVD.

Mystery Object Update

In the latter half of the hour, M.L. Behrman returned for an update on a desert discovery that a caller named Mark shared on the previous Sunday's program. Mark said he found a small and mysterious metallic statue inside a sewn-shut bag on a Mojave roadside (see related photos). The clothes and pose of the figure were reminiscent of the Toltecs, suggested Behrman, while Ian shared a variety of Twitter responses he received including one that pointed out a similarity to "the mythical Brazilian prankster known as Saci."

Related Material

Mysterious Find in the Mojave
Mysterious Find in the Mojave
Mark, a listener from Florida who called in on the 5/13/18 show, found a rope sticking up through the sand when he stopped by the roadside in the Mojave. Inside a cloth bag was a small, mysterious statue or amulet. View the full set of images.

Bumper Music

Bumper music from Sunday May 20, 2018

  • Sol
    Solar Fields

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