Dates From Hell: 13 Dream Dates That Ended In Nightmare Scenarios
We all hope that our first date will feel like a romantic movie, but some crime victims end up living out scenes from a slasher film.
Photo By: John Meehan [Michigan Department of Corrections]
Photo By: Johnson County Sheriff, Olathe, Kansas 04/05/85
Photo By: Taney County Sheriff
"Dirty John" Meehan
Debra Newell, a successful businesswoman from Newport Beach, California, thought she had found her soulmate when she started dating dashing doctor John Meehan.
But her relationship with Meehan, which is the subject of the hit podcast Dirty John, soon descended into chaos.
Newell married Meehan after they had been together only a few weeks. But she soon learned that Meehan had lied about everything from his job (he was a nurse, not a doctor as he claimed) to his criminal background.
Meehan was a con artist who had stolen drugs from dying patients, served prison time, and had multiple restraining orders from women he’d scammed and harassed.
After Newell broke up with Meehan, he turned his rage on her — and her family.
He eventually stalked and attacked her youngest daughter, Terra, with a hunting knife on the rooftop parking lot of her building on August 20, 2016.
Terra fought back, inspired by her obsessive viewing of The Walking Dead, and attacked Meehan in self-defense. He later died in the hospital. [CrimeFeed]
Photo: John Meehan [Michigan Department of Corrections]
Between 1999 and 2001, four men went into the apartment of Kathleen McCluskey — a self-styled “witch,” brazenly devoted to kinky sex and devil worship — and never walked out.
McCluskey’s MO was to invite men home with her to party, and then overdose them with methadone.
In April 2001, McCluskey married James McCluskey, who would become her fourth victim.
Authorities eventually became suspicious of Kathleen when the fourth dead body had to be removed from her apartment. She was arrested and charged with four counts of manslaughter.
At trial, evidence was given from one victim who managed to make it out alive. Peter Bakulinsky told investigators that McCluskey had drugged him in 1999 after inviting him back to her flat.
He stated that when he regained consciousness, McCluskey and her then-husband, James Baxter, were engaging in intercourse right next to him. “What happened to me was their sexual turn-on,” Bakulinsky said. “I was supposed to be victim number two, their Christmas present to each other. I later found she really believed all this witch stuff and kept all sorts of drugs, pills and potions." [CrimeFeed]
Photo: Kathleen McCluskey [Cambridge Police]
Twenty-seven-year-old Adam Hilarie had a great first date with 18-year-old Hailey Bustos, whom he met on the dating site PlentyOfFish.com.
After they went bowling, she texted him later: “I had a good time and would like to see you again.”
But just one day later, police found Hilarie dead in his kitchen in Auburndale, Florida.
Bustos had allegedly showed up at his apartment for another date the next night — but she brought three men with her to rob Hilarie.
The men overpowered Hilarie, then fatally shot him in the head and stole his TV, his XBox, and his iPhone.
Bustos later told investigators that the three men had paid her $50 for helping them with the robbery. [Cosmopolitan]
Photo: Hailey Bustos [Auburndale Police Department]
In 2007, Irish childcare worker Elaine O’Hara logged onto fetish website Alt.com and met architect — and sexual sadist — Graham Dwyer. They began a sexual relationship involving BDSM and violent sex.
On the surface, friends and family believed that Dwyer was a mild-mannered man with a love of model airplanes. But according to investigators, Dwyer had dark fantasies about stabbing a woman to death while sleeping with her.
In 2012, after O’Hara was released from a stay in a mental hospital after a suicide attempt, Dwyer asked her to meet him up in the mountains. In the days leading up to her release, Dwyer had bombarded O’Hara with texts saying that she needed to be punished for trying to kill herself without him.
There he restrained her, gagged her, and stabbed her to death. In 2013, her skeleton was found by a dog. Her skull was never recovered.
Dwyer was sentenced to life in prison. [The Irish Times]
Photo: Graham Dwyer [Midlands Prison]
John Edward Robinson, The "Internet Slavemaster"
To his neighbors, John Edward Robinson was a churchgoing family man.
But on June 2, 2000, Kansas City police arrested Robinson at his farm after a woman filed a sexual-battery complaint against him.
Detectives found the decaying bodies of two other women, later identified as Izabela Lewicka and Suzette Trouten, in two 85-pound chemical drums on his property.
When the bodies of three additional women were found in storage units, police began their investigation into the con man, embezzler, and sadomasochistic killer whose habit of luring his victims in bondage chat rooms earned him the moniker “the Internet’s first serial killer.”
Robinson would frequent adult websites and forums using the name “Slavemaster,” looking for sexually submissive women. He was a popular figure and managed to seduce several women into signing contracts that gave him complete control of their lives and finances.
An autopsy revealed that all of his victims had been killed with blows to the head by a blunt object, possibly a hammer.
Robinson was convicted and is currently on Death Row in Kansas. Investigators believe there are likely more victims that have not yet been attributed to Robinson. [CrimeFeed]
Photo: John Edward Robinson [Johnson County Sheriff]
Aubrey Trail & Bailey Boswell
Twenty-four-year-old Sydney Loofe went missing from her home in Nebraska after going on a Tinder date with another woman.
Her family said she sent a friend a message on Snapchat before her date, saying she was excited and looking forward to it. When she failed to show up the next day at work, they became alarmed.
After her dead body was discovered, Loofe’s date, 23-year-old Bailey Boswell, and 51-year-old Aubrey Trail became people of interest in the case.
Bizarrely, Boswell and Trail released a YouTube video in which they claimed that they had no knowledge of Loofe’s whereabouts. In the video, Boswell claimed that on the night in question, she picked Loofe up from her home and they eventually went back to her house to smoke marijuana.
Boswell and Trail were both eventually charged in connection with Loofe’s death.
According to an affidavit, Trail told investigators he has acknowledged that he “strangled her to death with an extension cord,” the affidavit reads. “He also stated that Boswell assisted in cleaning up the crime scene and assisted in disposing of Sydney’s body.” [CrimeFeed]
Photos: Aubrey Trail and Bailey Boswell [Taney County Sheriff]
Mark Twitchell, The "Dexter Killer"
Mark Twitchell is a Canadian filmmaker convicted in 2011 for killing John Brian "Johnny" Altinger, a 38-year-old man he met on the dating website PlentyOfFish.com.
Twitchell dismembered Altinger and dumped his remains in a north Edmonton sewer.
His trial attracted media attention because Twitchell claimed to have been inspired by the fictional character Dexter Morgan, a serial killer who lives a double life working as a blood spatter expert for the Miami police.
Twitchell testified that he lured Altinger to his garage to create online buzz for a short film about a serial killer that he had produced in his garage two weeks earlier.
He is spending life in prison with no chance of parole for 15 years in Saskatchewan Penitentiary. [CBC]
For more on Mark Twitchell, watch the "Web of Seduction" episode of Investigation Discovery's Dates From Hell on ID GO now!
Photo: Mark Twitchell [Edmonton Police]
Emmanuel Delani Valdez Bocanegra
In late 2016, 26-year-old student Francis Ruth Ibarra connected with Emmanuel Delani Valdez Bocangegra through Tinder – and then disappeared.
Her friends were able to piece together that she was meeting with him through her social media. He was also the last person she was spotted with.
Bocangegra was arrested in Mexico City after human bones and "six kilos of human flesh" were discovered in garbage bags beside caustic soda and hydrochloric acid on his apartment balcony.
Ibarra’s bag and clothing were also found in his apartment.
Authorities believe Bocangegra murdered and dissolved her body in acid after she refused to have sex with him, according to local news reports.
She had reportedly met with him several times before her disappearance on December 3. [New York Daily News]
Photo: Emmanuel Delani Valdez Bocanegra [Police Handout]
In July 2018, police began a manhunt for Danueal Drayton, who allegedly raped and killed 29-year-old Samantha Stewart, a nurse from Queens whom he met on Tinder.
They eventually tracked him to a hotel room in Los Angeles, where they found him holding another woman captive after sexually assaulting her.
Later, Drayton confessed that he’d killed as many as six additional victims. He told investigators that he searched for victims on dating websites and ride-share apps including Über.
Drayton was arrested, and police are investigating the suspected serial killer. [CBS Los Angeles]
Photo: Danuel Drayton [New York Police Department]
Serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer was the ultimate “Date From Hell” who was convicted of murdering 15 men and boys during the 1980s and 1990s.
Dahmer raped, killed, dismembered, and ate parts of many of his victims.
But one man lived to tell the tale: On July 22, 1991 he brought home a man named Tracy Edwards. Edwards had agreed to pose nude for Dahmer, but became alarmed at his bizarre behavior once he got back to the apartment.
Dahmer handcuffed Edwards, who spent the next several hours chatting with his captor so that he remained calm.
Eventually, he was able to escape and to lead police back to Dahmer’s residence — where they discovered a refrigerator stuffed with human body parts, men’s heads in the kitchen, and Polaroids of dead bodies.
Dahmer was convicted and sent to prison, where he was beaten to death by a fellow inmate in 1994. [Daily Mail]
For more on Jeffrey Dahmer, watch the "Deadly Desires" episode of Investigation Discovery's Most Evil on ID GO now!
Photo: Jeffrey Dahmer [Milwaukee Police Department]
Police say Jacqueline Ades, 31, met her unidentified victim through a dating website in 2017. They went out on a single date.
The alleged victim began reporting Ades’ “stalking and harassing” behavior shortly after that lone encounter.
She called herself “the new Hitler,” allegedly sent more than 65,000 unwanted text messages to her victim, and eventually broke into his home to take a bath.
“Don’t ever try to leave me … I’ll kill you … I don’t wanna be a murderer,” she wrote in one of the texts.
She was charged with felony stalking and threatening and intimidating, as well as misdemeanor harassment, and sent to jail. [CrimeFeed]
Photo: Jacqueline Ades [Paradise Valley Police Department]
In 2016, 26-year-old New Zealand tourist Warriena Wright fell to her death from the 14th floor balcony of Gable Tostee’s Surface Paradise apartment.
Prosecutors claimed that, following a night of drunken sex after matching on Tinder, Tostee forced Wright on to his balcony and locked the door after she threw decorative rocks at him.
He was acquitted of murder and manslaughter in connection with Wright’s death.
At trial, his lawyers argued he had used reasonable force to protect himself and his property.
In a Facebook post, Tostee later wrote that Wright had gotten “blind drunk” and attacked him without provocation. [TVNZ]
Photo: Gable Tostee and Warriena Wright in a selfie taken on their date [Queensland Supreme Court]
Anthony Fortunato had a fairly simple MO: He would meet gay men in hotel rooms to smoke pot, and then steal their drugs and leave.
In 2006, he and two of his friends, John Fox and Gary Timmins, met Michael Sandy in an AOL chat room.
After then meeting up with him in person on a Brooklyn highway, the friends brutally attacked Sandy. Fearing for his life, Sandy ran into traffic, was hit by a car and died a few days later.
At first, authorities labeled the attack a hate crime. But at trial, Fortunato’s attorney claimed that his client was actually gay and living a secret double life.
Eventually, Fortunato was convicted and is currently behind bars. [New York Magazine]
Photo: Anthony Fortunato [King's County Sheriff's Department]