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‘Crime Junkie’ Podcast Doubles as Safety 101 for True Crime Fans

Hosts Ashley Flowers and Brit Prawat not only recount compelling tales of heinous crimes, but offer important advice for staying alive.
July 29, 2020
8 mins read

“Be weird. Be rude. Stay alive.”

This is “Crime Junkie” podcast hosts Ashley Flowers and Brit Prawat’s golden rule when it comes to keeping themselves and their loved ones out of the face of danger.

As the two hosts prepare each episode by immersing themselves in true crime research, they have discovered that there is nothing more important than trusting your instincts — even if it means acting a little “weird” or “rude” to keep yourself safe.

Founded in 2017, the podcast has produced over 130 episodes about history’s most heinous crimes, mysterious disappearances, infamous serial killers and more. And if you’ve found that you have binged-listened to every episode and your true crime cravings still aren’t satisfied, you can visit the “Crime Junkie” website to stay updated with all the latest episodes, purchase “Crime Junkie” merch and join the exclusive fan club.

If you’re like me, you’d agree that there is nothing more interesting than delving straight into the minds and motives of some of the most psychopathic killers out there — and “Crime Junkie” does just that. What better way to spend your Monday morning commute to work?

But listening to “Crime Junkie” is more than just a good way to pass the time during a long drive. While the show is extremely entertaining, Flowers and Prawat offer more than just harrowing tales — they provide listeners with crucial safety tips that might just save their lives.

1. Be weird. Be rude. Stay alive.

This piece of advice refers to trusting your instincts and doing what is necessary to protect yourself, regardless of how strange those around may perceive you.

Flowers and Prawat highlight this rule in Episode 14, featuring a man who narrowly escaped the wrath of American serial killer Herb Baumeister.

Later convicted of murdering over a dozen men on his property, Baumeister hunted for his victims at gay bars before taking them to his mansion, brutally murdering them and burying the bodies around his home.

After a man who goes by the name of Tony Harris met Baumeister one evening at a bar in Indianapolis, he decided to join him for drinks at his home. According to “Talk Murder With Me,” Harris immediately became uneasy when he arrived at the mansion and entered the pool room.

“The place struck Tony as weird; he noted the mannequins around the pool and immediately felt uncomfortable.”

Luckily, after spending his evening at Baumeister’s home, Harris made it out alive, but the outcome was almost far worse. Through Harris’ experience, Flowers and Prawat highlight the importance of recognizing the first traces of uneasiness and acting accordingly based on what your gut is telling you — even if it means abruptly leaving a social event. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

2. Create an “If I Go Missing” file

Many episodes of “Crime Junkie” feature missing people whose strange disappearances could have been avoided or solved if authorities and family members knew a bit more about them.

In Episode 7, Flowers and Prawat discuss the case of missing person Bryce Laspisa. After acting strangely for many days before his disappearance, the 19-year-old mysteriously crashed his car two hours away from his family’s home in Laguna Niguel, California, and was never seen again.

While there are some theories about what may have happened to the missing California man, authorities never discovered the true cause of his disappearance.

“If I Go Missing” files provide family and friends with crucial information about you. Information that could determine your whereabouts should you mysteriously disappear.

Though an “If I Go Missing” folder still might not have directly led authorities to answers about what happened to Laspisa, it may have given them more tools to crack his case.

If you have no idea what sort of information would be relevant to your folder, you can sign up to receive an email containing documents and information to help you get started.

3. It’s never a mannequin

This “Crime Junkie” life rule explains itself.

Witnesses of crime scenes often initially report that there appears to be a mannequin floating down the river or hidden in the brush by a tree. As Flowers and Prawat advise: If ever you stumble upon a mannequin in the forest, refer to this rule.

4. You never really know anyone. Ever.

Your significant other, parent, friend or sibling — as far as you know — is just a regular person. Maybe they display a few odd habits here and there, but mostly there is nothing too out of the ordinary about them.

This is exactly what Teri Brandt and Michelle Lynn Jones assumed about their husband and uncle, Charlie Brandt.


To the people closest to him, Brandt seemed to be a normal guy. He was friendly toward his neighbors and had a loving, happy relationship with his wife. What few people in Brandt’s life never could have guessed was that he had murdered his pregnant mother when he was just 13 year old, and that he would later be linked to various murders in Florida.

And what Teri and Jones truly never could have suspected was that they would meet their demise at the hands of Brandt.

Flowers and Prawat do not encourage their listeners to accuse everyone in their families of murder. They do, however, remind everyone to be mindful of the behaviors they are witnessing around them, and to always trust their instincts — the premise of the “Crime Junkie” golden rule.

That being said, never hesitate to be weird and rude when your gut is telling you something isn’t right — it may save your life.

Hannah Reynoso, University of Iowa

Writer Profile

Hannah Reynoso

University of Iowa
English and Creative Writing (Publishing Track)

Hannah Reynoso is a junior at the University of Iowa, majoring in English and Creative Writing. When she isn’t writing, Hannah likes to cook, exercise and hang out with her two dogs.

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