Perfect Family, Perfect Murder? Special 'American Monster' Premieres On ID

The Holtons seemed by all accounts to be a model example of a perfect, small town American family.

September 05, 2019
Michael and April Horton in a photo from their wedding [Investigation Discovery]

Photo by: Michael and April Horton in a photo from their wedding [Investigation Discovery/screenshot]

Michael and April Horton in a photo from their wedding [Investigation Discovery/screenshot]

By: Catherine Townsend

Not all people who kill are loners or psychopaths. Sometimes, the most vicious killers are the nice , normal people living next door.

"American Monster" is a new Investigation Discovery series produced by the team behind "See No Evil." The series uses home movies, surveillance videos, 911 calls, police interviews, and courtroom footage to reveal the twisted double lives led by some of the country's most terrifying criminals.

The two-part special premiere episode focuses on the story of April and Michael Holton, teen sweethearts who met at church, and later married and raised three sons in a small Alabama town.

The family appeared to be living the American dream. But in 2016, their world was shattered in the most unimaginable way possible.

April's parents had been frequent drug and alcohol users, and her mother would sometimes take off for periods of time. Because of that, despite being a child herself, April did what she could to help take care of her two younger twin brothers, Chris and Michael. Michael said that April would help with feeding and diapering him and Chris, and Chris called April "the leader of the pack."

For a while, the children lived with their grandparents, Mary Bess and Inos Evans, who managed to get custody of them. But raising three young children proved to be too much for the older couple, and they turned to the Alabama Baptist Childrens Home Association for assistance.

Through the program, the brothers were placed with the Owenby family in the tiny town of Eclectic, Alabama, about two hours away. And when April turned nine, she also went to live with her brothers at the Owenby household.

She thrived in the close-knit community, where everyone knew everyone else.

At age 17, April met Michael Holton, a musician who became the love of her life. The couple married when she was 19 and had three sons.

Jesse "Madison" Holston [Investigation Discovery/screenshot]

Photo by: Jesse "Madison" Holston [Investigation Discovery/screenshot]

Jesse "Madison" Holston [Investigation Discovery/screenshot]

Michael Holton was a fire fighter and a popular figure in town, and was elected mayor in 2012.

But behind the scenes, trouble was brewing. Holton and his teenage son, Madison, were battling their demons — including issues with drugs.

By 2016, two members of the family would be dead, and a court case would shatter the illusions of small town perfection and divide the community, forever.

Watch the two-part special episode, “Two Families,” of "American Monster" on Sunday, September 8 at 8/7c on Investigation Discovery!

Next Up

Jake Patterson Charged; Chilling New Details In The Jayme Closs Case

After becoming obsessed with Jayme Closs, Jake Patterson drove to her house twice intending to kidnap her, but backed off for fear of getting caught.

Family Claims FBI Botched Investigation Of Indigenous Woman’s Death

“I can't bear any of my tribal members to go through what I went through,” says Ashlea Aldrich’s mother.

True Crime News Roundup: Millionaire Robert Durst On Trial For Murder

A woman allegedly killed her newborn after delivering; the lawyer whose wife and son were murdered in June was shot in the head; and a toddler died after suspects police believe are students shot up his family’s home.

Father, Son Receive Life Sentences After They ‘Butchered And Discarded’ Young Mother

The two men did not want Nicole Montalvo to have custody of her child, prosecutors say.

Mom Hunts Down & Whips 14-Year-Old Son With Belt For Joyriding In Stolen BMW

The teen admits he made a terrible decision, and he's now grounded until 2019.

David Hendricks Was Wrongfully Convicted For Slaughtering His Whole Family

On December 5, 1983, cops arrested David Hendricks and charged him with four counts of murder.

Iowa Father Still Searching For Answers 8 Years After Son’s Disappearance

Michael Workman’s son, Fredrick James Workman, disappeared at age 15 and may use the alias "Fred Shields."

California Man Allegedly Killed His Parents & Housekeeper, Then Went To ER

Camden Nicholson, 27, has been charged with triple murder in the affluent family's Newport Beach home.

UPDATE: Mom Pleads Guilty In Murder Of AJ Freund, Missing Illinois Boy

AJ was reportedly “buried in a shallow grave, wrapped in plastic”; cops say the parents cracked and directed them to the body.

Missing and Murdered: Can You Help Police Solve 4 Mysterious Deaths In This Small Kentucky Town?

It started with the ambushed police officer, and then there was the double murder of a mother and her teenage daughter. A young woman in the prime of her life disappeared, and her father was later shot dead on his property after a year of searching for his missing daughter. It all happened within just a few square miles along Kentucky’s Bluegrass Parkway. What is going on in Bardstown?