ID’s beloved fan appreciation event engagement event is returning for another virtual edition – this time with a streaming twist. Presenting the very best crime and mystery programming powered by ID and streaming at discovery+, IDCON: DEAD OF WINTER will Zoom the most coveted stars in the true crime business and the most jaw-dropping cases straight to fans in the comfort of their own couches – all for free. With IDCON:DEAD OF WINTER, armchair detectives can face the dreary doldrums together and commiserate about the cases that keep them up at night, with special appearances by their favorite faces in the genre throughout the evening event. Attendees will receive sneak peeks of upcoming true crime offerings from discovery+, and registered fans will be treated to surprises, insider knowledge, and a chance to have their own burning fan questions answered.
In addition to sneak peeks and special appearances by Paula Zahn, Candice DeLong, John Walsh, Chris Anderson and Fatima Silva, IDCON: DEAD OF WINTER will have six confirmed panel sessions, outlined below:
After nine seasons captivating viewers with his own haunting cases, ID’s Homicide Hunter Lt. Joe Kenda brings viewers astounding investigations from across the country in American Detective. Join Detective Dan from the hit podcast ”Small Town Dicks” as he catches up with the Kendas in quarantine, chats about Joe’s upcoming book “Killer Triggers,” and they shed light on why small town crimes still deserve big attention.
In Pursuit: The Missing with Callahan Walsh
Special begins streaming on Sunday, March 7
With the acute understanding of someone whose family has been through the unimaginable tragedy of losing a child, join victim’s advocate Callahan Walsh as he actively investigates two mysterious disappearances and shines a light on additional unsolved missing persons cases from around the country. Callahan will give fans an exclusive sneak peek of his new special The Missing, as well as share breaking news about his fugitive-catching series with his legendary father, In Pursuit with John Walsh.
Unraveled: The Real Story of the Long Island Serial Killer
“Unraveled” podcast available now; Special begins streaming on Tuesday March 9
Against a backdrop of police corruption, sexual misconduct, and cover-ups at the highest levels of the Suffolk County Police Department lies one of the most frustrating serial killer cases in recent history. Join retired police sergeant Derrick Levasseur (Breaking Homicide, ”Crime Weekly”) as he leads a discussion with true crime journalists, Alexis Linkletter and Billy Jensen, to reveal the disturbing evidence they’ve uncovered behind just why the case of the Long Island Serial Killer has remained unsolved for more than a decade.
Onision: In Real Life
Streaming now on discovery+
After an explosive special exposed allegations of predatory behavior and grooming against the influencer Greg Jackson, known online as ‘Onision,’ YouTube finally took action and demonetized the controversial figure. Now, Jackson’s ex-fiancé and one of the first accusers to come forward, Shiloh, will share her first-hand accounts of Jackson’s behavior, with internet safety advocate Alicia Kozak joining to speak to influencer culture and the dangers of online criminals. The discussion will dive deep into this dark YouTube controversy, and hint at what is yet to come in the jaw-dropping final episode currently in production.
“The Spider” is available for purchase now; Who Killed Jeffrey Epstein? is available to stream now
Former Brooklyn, New York prosecutor Anna-Sigga Nicolazzi (True Conviction, ”Anatomy of Murder”) hosts a discussion with author Barry Levine about his explosive investigation into the Jeffrey Epstein case. By shining a light into the darkest corners of Epstein’s world, Levine unearths never-before-reported details in the most comprehensive account yet of the disgraced financier’s life, corrupt criminal web, and shocking death. The sordid tale doesn’t end there, and the two will discuss how Ghislaine Maxwell’s entanglement with Epstein has landed her in a Brooklyn jail cell, awaiting trial on several counts of sex trafficking minors and perjury.
Unseamly: The Investigation of Peter Nygård
Streaming now on discovery+
Peter Nygård built an international fashion empire and led an extravagant lifestyle, but hiding beneath the outlandish public persona, scores of women claim, was a dangerous sexual predator. More than 80 women have joined a class action lawsuit accusing Nygård and his companies of rape, sexual assault, and sex trafficking. Their accusations led to an investigation by the FBI and Nygård’s December arrest in Canada. Hear from survivors and those closest to the Nygård saga who exposed his alleged crimes and discover what is being done now to finally hold him accountable.
discovery+ is the definitive non-fiction, real life subscription streaming service. discovery+ has the largest-ever content offering of any new streaming service at launch, featuring a wide range of exclusive, original series across popular, passion verticals in which Discovery brands have a strong leadership position, including lifestyle and relationships; home and food; true crime; paranormal; adventure and natural history; as well as science, tech and the environment, and a slate of high-quality documentaries. For more, visit discoveryplus.com or find it on a variety of platforms and devices, including ones from Amazon, Apple, Google, Microsoft, Roku and Samsung.
February 27, 2021 UPDATE: The following is the livestream of IDCON 2021:
Fans of Investigation Discovery (ID) were treated to up-close-and-personal experiences with the network’s stars at the fourth annual IDCon, which took place at Center 415 in New York City on May 18, 2019. The event sells out quickly every year. ID show hosts Joe Kenda, Tony Harris (who was the event’s emcee for the third year in a row), John Walsh, Callahan Walsh, Candice DeLong, Garry McFadden, Derrick Levasseur, Chris Anderson, Fatima Silva, Rod Demery and Anna-Sigga Nicolazzi all participated in the event, and most of them did meet-and-greet sessions with fans. ID show hosts Paula Zahn and Tamron Hall made brief appearances. This year’s IDCon theme was “Dangerous Minds.”
The event kicked off with a greeting from Henry Schleiff, group president of Investigation Discovery, American Heroes Channel and Destination America. He thanked the fans for making ID the top-rated U.S. cable network for women ages 25 to 54. Zahn also did a brief introduction on stage. Before the event started, Zahn (who hosts “On the Case With Paula Zahn”) was in the lobby mingling with fans. Hall, who made a surprise appearance on stage at the event, is set to have a very busy 2019. In addition to her hosting duties for ID’s “Deadline: Crime With Tamron Hall,” she’s launching her own nationally syndicated TV talk show this fall. She also busy being a new mother: She gave birth to her first child (a son named Moses) on April 25, 2019.
The biggest news out of IDCon 2019 was saved for the end. At the conclusion of Kenda’s Q&A session with ID’s senior VP of production Sara Kozak, Kenda announced that the upcoming ninth season of his popular show “Homicide Hunter: Lt. Joe Kenda” would be the program’s last season. The show is based on Kenda (who is a retired police lieutenant) talking about his cases as a homicide investigator for the Colorado Springs Police Department. The ninth and final season of “Homicide Hunter” is set to premiere sometime in August 2019.
Kenda explained to the audience why “Homicide Hunter” is ending: “I don’t have enough cases remaining after Season 9 to support the continuation of the show. I didn’t want to be the guy who is the athlete who played one season too long, or the singer who remained on the stage when they lost their voice. I want to go out on the top of my game—and Season 9 is. It has been my honor to entertain you, and it’s meant a lot to me. It’s been therapeutic for me. I never cared about the money.”
He said about the decision to end the show: “It’s my decision, not theirs [Investigation Discovery executives]. They were shocked when I provided them with my decision a short time ago, but the reality is that I’ve always done the right thing. And this is the right thing.”
Although many people in the audience seemed surprised and disappointed over the news, they also seemed to highly respect Kenda for this decision, and he got a standing ovation. The good news for Kenda and his fans is that ID is planning another show for him. It’s too early to know the details of the new program, but ID will no doubt make the show a top priority, since “Homicide Hunter” has been one of ID’s highest-rated series. (Kenda is also treated like a rock star at IDCon.)
IDCon 2019 also showed sneak-preview footage of the second-season premiere of “People Magazine Investigates: Cults” (debuting June 3, 2019, at 9 p.m. ET/PT) and the special “Rebecca Zahau: An ID Murder Mystery,” which premieres May 27, 2019, at 9 p.m. ET/PT.
After taking place for the first three years at the Altman Building (which can seat about 300 people), IDCon moved this year to Center 415, a larger event space that can seat about 600 people. There were less activations at IDCon 2019 than in previous years. (For example, there was no Truth Booth where ID fans could videorecord confessions about why they love the ID channel.) Some of the returning activations included a polygraph demonstration, a display where people could test their eyewitness skills, and a photo portrait station where attendees could get IDCon slogans super-imposed on their pictures. Also returning this year was an ID Ink station where attendees could get temporary tattoos of artwork themed for the event.
New this year was an ID Addicts Unite Wall, where attendees could take Polaroids of themselves and leave messages on Post-In notes. There was another room featuring a wall of photos and facts of notorious criminals, such as Charles Manson, Jodi Arias and Ted Bundy.
The larger event space at Center 415 also allowed for a separate room for meet-and-greets. The room had a wall decoration that simulated a height chart for mugshots. People could pose for mock mugshots in this room. The room also featured a wall showing many of the criminal fugitives who’ve been profiled on ID’s “In Pursuit With John Walsh.”
The Investigation Discovery website is undergoing a revamp/redesign in the near future, because IDCon 2019 had a wall with different web page designs, and attendees such as myself were polled about which designs and features we wanted the most for the new website. It looks like ID is aiming for more customized options, making it easier for users to access their preferred content on the site. It also looks like ID is considering more interactive features on the site, such as trivia questions and more exclusive bonus content from ID shows.
All proceeds for IDCon are donated to New York’s Silver Shield Foundation, an organization which provides educational support to families of firefighters and police officers killed in the line of duty. At the beginning of the event, Schleiff presented a mock-up of a $20,000 check to Silver Shield Foundation chief operating officer K.C. Fuchs and NYPD widow Lisa Tuozzolo, whose sergeant husband was killed during a shooting in 2016.
There was no on-stage polygraph demonstration (as there was at IDCon in 2017 and 2018), but new in 2019 was an on-stage demonstration of self-dense techniques from the Center for Anti-Violence Education. Harris, who is a super-lively host, even jumped on stage as a volunteer participant in the demonstration.
Here were some of the highlights of IDCon 2019 panels:
Team In Pursuit
Moderated by People/Entertainment Weekly senior editor of crime Alicia Dennis, the “Team In Pursuit” panel marked the IDCon debuts of John Walsh and his son Callahan Walsh, the stars of “In Pursuit With John Walsh.” John Walsh, of course, is a TV pioneer in true crime: He was the original host of “America’s Most Wanted,” which was on the air from 1988 to 2012. ID’s “In Pursuit With John Walsh,” which debuted in January 2019, has a similar concept of profiling notorious fugitives from the law and asking the public to provide any tips that will help to arrest the fugitives.
John Walsh (whose 6-year-old son Adam was kidnapped and murdered in 1981) also founded the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) as a result of this tragedy. Serial killer Ottis Toole, who confessed to Adam’s murder while in prison for other crimes, died of liver failure in 1996. Evidence uncovered in 2008 proved that Toole committed the murder.
“I will always be the heartbroken father of a murdered child. There’s no such thing as closure,” John said on the panel. He added that after the end of his CNN show “The Hunt With John Walsh,” he thought he would be retired from hosting a true-crime TV show. But he was convinced to change his mind in 2018.
“America has descended into this incredible level of gun violence and homicides,” John said. “About a year ago, the FBI and U.S. marshals came to me and said, ‘2018 looks like it’s going to be the most violent year in the history of America.’ They were right. ‘We need you. You have this bond with the public.’ So I went to Henry Schleiff … and they said, “We’d love to have you on ID. Would you come out of retirement?'” John added that one of the main reasons he had wanted to retire was because he didn’t want to travel as much as he did when he was hosting his other TV shows. Therefore, his son Callahan does most of the on-site reporting for “In Pursuit.”
Callahan talked about the work that NCMEC does, including educating people about child safety; doing age-progression portraits to show what children who’ve been missing for years would liked now; and helping law-enforcement with witness tips and evidence. “We had over 18 million reports in last year alone,” Callahan said. He also noted that technology has been a double-edged sword, since it’s helped capture criminals with more sophisticated methods of gathering evidence, but technology has made it easier for people to lure kids into danger.
During the segment where audience members could ask questions, someone asked John what he thinks of the controversial issue of people trying to illegally cross the U.S.-Mexico border. John didn’t hold back on his opinions, as he replied: “It’s a nightmare! … I’ve been all along that border. Every portion of that border is managed by criminal enterprises on the Mexican side. It’s a huge business.”
John said he thinks that U.S. politicians are part of the problem too. “I’ve been going to Capitol Hill since 1981. I’ve never seen a more mean-spirited, vitriolic Congress. They’re in gridlock. They’re not doing what you want them to do. The public has to say to the United States Congress, ‘You’ve got to quit this B.S.! We’ve sent you there to make this country safe and take care of us. You better get busy and do something about illegal immigration!'”
The Walshes couldn’t stay for the IDCon meet-and-greet sessions because they had to travel to a charity event for NCMEC. But their presence at IDCon was much-appreciated, and there’s a high probability that they’ll be at IDCon in 2020.
Scales of Justice
Three sides of law enforcement—defense attorney Fatima Silva (co-star of “Reasonable Doubt”), prosecutor Anna-Sigga Nicolazzi (star of “True Conviction”) and sheriff Garry McFadden (star of “Homicide City: Charlotte”)—gathered for the “Scales of Justice” panel, moderated by CrimeFeed.com’s Michelle Sigona, to discuss their perspectives on getting justice. The panelists talked about the importance of discovery, the legal term for evidence presented in a case.
Police investigators are on the front lines of discovery. McFadden said that in handing over evidence to the prosecution, “Sometimes as detectives, we don’t think that one sheet of paper or that text message is important. If we don’t produce that information, and later on in an appeal, that comes up, the defense team will come after us, and that person is released on a technicality. And that’s happened.”
“Reasonable Doubt” takes another look at cases of convicted criminals who say they didn’t commit the crime. In many cases on “Reasonable Doubt,” the show couldn’t find enough evidence to prove that the conviction was incorrect. As a defense attorney, Silva says that people accused of crimes can avoid many problems with their cases if follow this advice: “Respect law enforcement, but also know your right to remain silent.”
Silva says she can sympathize with friends and family members who want to prove that there was a wrongful conviction, but when it looks like the defendant probably committed the crime, “At some point, you want to give them that peace so that they can say, “I still love that person, but I can’t wake up every day and do this fight anymore.'”
Nicolazzi echoed that belief as a prosecutor, as she talked about her main goals in her work: “If I can bring any amount of relief to all of the people that are impacted by these cases.” When asked what her definition of justice is, she said: “Getting it right.”
As for the impact that technology such as social media, smartphone footage and body cams have had on criminal cases, McFadden said there are pros and cons. “It’s a challenge,” he said. McFadden also noted that although it may seem that this new technology makes it easier for law enforcement to gather evidence, law enforcement also has to spend a lot of time verifying the “authenticity,” since the technology can be manipulated.
Moderated by Monsters & Critics features writer April Neale, the “Dangerous Minds” panel featured hosts of popular ID shows. The panelists were detective Derrick Levasseur (“Breaking Homicide”); detective Rod Demery (“Murder Chose Me”); FBI profiler Candice DeLong (“Deadly Women”); and detective Chris Anderson (“Reasonable Doubt”).
DeLong said that many homicides might be prevented if people didn’t dismiss death threats. “A lot of people with murder on their mind telegraph their intent. If someone is talking about murder, take them seriously. Go to the police.” She got a little choked up when she talked about a child kidnapping case that deeply affected her emotionally. After the child was found and DeLong accompanied him to the airport to reunite with his parents, the child ran back to her to thank her for finding him.
The panel also talked a lot about methods of interrogating suspects. Demery said that in an interrogation, one of the tell-tale signs that a confession is coming is when the suspect “drops his or her head.” DeLong added that she likes to “play dumb” in interrogations, because “constantly underestimated” as an investigator can lead people to reveal evidence they wouldn’t reveal under other circumstances.
Anderson added that although he doesn’t have a problem with police lying to suspects in order to get a confession (a tactic that’s legal in the U.S. but not in many other countries), he did acknowledge that this tactic can sometimes lead to false confessions. “It depends on the interrogator and the suspect.” Anderson also said that one of the worst ways to handle an interrogation is to allow it to deteriorate into “shouting match” between the investigator and the suspect. When that happens, the suspect has “taken control of the interview,” said Anderson.
“Breaking Homicide” is about helping families get answers for unresolved or disputed murder cases. Each episode ends with Levasseur telling the families about any new evidence that was uncovered in the show’s investigation. He said that the biggest change in the show’s second season is “not only telling the family what we found, but me going back to the police departments, sitting in their actual building, telling them what we have, and saying, ‘Hey now go do something about it. Here’s your chance.’ We really stepped it up a notch.” The second season of “Breaking Homicide” premieres on June 3, 2019, at 10 p.m. ET/PT. By the way, Levasseur has become quite the star heartthrob at IDCon, based on all the squeals he got from women in the audience.
DNA evidence, which has become the center of many investigations, has its pros and cons, according to Anderson. He elaborated: “The down side to DNA evidence, investigators will wait and make their whole case dependent on DNA or forensics evidence, rather than getting out there and pounding the pavement, knocking on doors, talking to people and interviewing people. The hard-nosed type of policing that some of our veteran guys did back in the day has become a lost art. Forensics should work hand-in-hand with your investigating.”
Moderated by ID executive Kozak, this panel was a Q&A with Kenda, who was later joined on stage by his wife Kathy. Except for the announcement that “Homicide Hunter” was ending, Joe Kenda didn’t really much that was new. During the segment when audience members could ask questions, Kenda said that even though Boulder, Colorado, was out of his jurisdiction when he was a police detective, he was asked to work on the notorious JonBenét Ramsey murder case, eight days into the case in 1996.
Kenda said, “My question to [the Boulder Police Department] was, ‘Are the press accounts accurate of what you’ve done far?'” When they told him, Kenda said he replied, “You’re doomed … That case cannot be prosecuted in court. There’s no way to do it. Fatal investigative errors. They couldn’t get in a courtroom with a confession. That’s the reality.” The JonBenét Ramsey murder case remains unsolved.
The “Homicide Hunter” star also said that since his retirement, two of the 31 unsolved cases that he had when he retired have since been solved by DNA evidence. “They [the suspects] were the people I suspected,” he said, “and they’ve been proven to be the killer and have been convicted in court. ” Of the remaining 29 unsolved cases, Kenda says, “I absolutely know who killed in 17 of [those cases], but I can’t prove it.” He added that he thinks about all of his unsolved cases “all the time.”