2021 IDCon: Dead of Winter announces lineup

February 9, 2021

The following is a press release from Discovery+

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.

Fans can join the sixth annual IDCON: DEAD OF WINTER via Zoom on Saturday, February 27 beginning at 4 p.m. ET. Sign up for a special link to enter the event, be entered for surprises, and submit questions for the panels at IDCONDeadofWinter.com. In lieu of an attendance fee, ID is encouraging donations to nonprofit organizations that we support, including the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

In addition to sneak peeks and special appearances by Paula Zahn, Candice DeLongJohn WalshChris Anderson and Fatima Silva, IDCON: DEAD OF WINTER will have six confirmed panel sessions, outlined below:

American Detective with Lt. Joe Kenda

New episodes released Wednesdays on discovery+

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 Jensento 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. 

Barry Levine Author Chat from ID BOOK CLUB Selection, “The Spider: Inside the Criminal Web of Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell” 

“The Spider” is available for purchase nowWho 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.

You can follow discovery+ on InstagramFacebook and Twitter.

About discovery+

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:

2019 IDCon: Joe Kenda announces end of ‘Homicide Hunter,’ John Walsh speaks his mind, Tamron Hall makes surprise appearance

May 18, 2019

by Carla Hay

Investigation Discovery host Joe Kenda (center) greets fans at IDCon 2019 at Center 415 in New York City on May 18, 2019. (Photo by Carla Hay)

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.”

Paula Zahn made a brief introduction at IDCon 2019. (Photo by Carla Hay)

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.

Tamron Hall made a surprise appearance at IDCon 2019. (Photo by Carla Hay)

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.”

Joe Kenda and Investigation Discovery senior VP of production Sara Kozak at IDCon 2019, where he announced the end of his show “Homicide Hunter: Lt. Joe Kenda.” (Photo by Carla Hay)

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.)

Investigation Discovery show host Tony Harris emceed IDCon 2019. (Photo by Carla Hay)

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.

The ID Addicts Unite wall at IDCon 2019 at Center 415 in New York City on May 18, 2019. (Photo by Carla Hay)

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.

The ID Ink station gave temporary tattoos to attendees at IDCon 2019. (Photo by Carla Hay)

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.

Photos of notorious criminals lined a wall at IDCon 2019. (Photo by Carla Hay)

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 “In Pursuit” wall had photos of fugitives profiled on the ID show “In Pursuit With John Walsh.”(Photo by Carla Hay)

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.

Investigation Discovery group president Henry Schleiff (far right) presents a mock-up of a $20,000 check to Silver Shield Foundation chief operating officer K.C. Fuchs (far left) and NYPD widow Lisa Tuozzolo (center) at IDCon 2019. (Photo by Carla Hay)

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.

Members of the Center for Antiviolence Education provided a self-defense demonstration at IDCon 2019 at Center 415 in New York City on May 18, 2019. (Photo by Carla Hay)

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 

Callahan Walsh, John Walsh and moderator Alicia Dennis on the “Team In Pursuit” panel at IDCon 2019 at Center 415 in New York City on May 18, 2019. (Photo by Carla Hay)

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

Fatima Silva, Anna-Sigga Nicolazzi, Garry McFadden and moderator Michelle Sigona on the “Scales of Justice” panel at IDCon 2019. (Photo by Carla Hay)

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.

Dangerous Minds 

Derrick Levasseur, Rod Demery, Candice DeLong, Chris Anderson and moderator April Neale on the “Dangerous Minds” panel at IDCon 2019. (Photo by Carla Hay)

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.”

Kenda Confidential

Kathy Kenda, Joe Kenda and Investigation Discovery senior VP of production Sara Kozak at IDCon 2019. (Photo by Carla Hay)

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.”

2017 IDCon: Joe Kenda, Tony Harris, Chris Hansen, Candice DeLong and other ID stars greet fans, share stories

May 20, 2017

by Carla Hay

Investigation Discovery show host Lt. Joe Kenda ("Homicide Hunter") was a popular personality at IDCon 2017.
Investigation Discovery show host Lt. Joe Kenda (“Homicide Hunter”) was a popular speaker at IDCon 2017. (Photo by Carla Hay)

Aficionados of true crime got an unforgettable experience at Investigation Discovery’s second annual fan event IDCon, which took place at the Altman Building in New York City on May 20, 2017.  ID show hosts Joe Kenda, Tony Harris (who was IDCon 2017’s lively and humorous emcee), Paula Zahn, Tamron Hall, Chris Hansen, Candice DeLong, Garry McFadden, Maria Elena Salinas, Graham Hetrick, Michelle Ward and Rod Demery all participated in the event, and most of them did meet-and-greet sessions with fans. 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. IDCon 2017 also premiered sneak preview footage of the upcoming ID scripted movies “Final Vision” (about the Jeffrey MacDonald murder case) and “The Dating Game Killer” (about serial killer Rodney Alcala).

Investigation Discovery show host Tony Harris (“Scene of the Crime”) emceed IDCon 2017. (Photo by Carla Hay)

The event space expanded this year to include a downstairs lounge area. The lounge had an ID Addict Truth Booth where fans can videorecord their ID Addict confessions, some of which could be televised or posted on ID’s social media.

IDCon 2017 attendees could confess their ID channel addiction in the ID Addicts Truth Booth and have their confessions videorecorded for possible airings on the network. (Photo by Carla Hay)

Other new activations this year the “Liar! Liar! Liar!” polygraph demonstration; a competitive “Be an Eyewitness” photo competition game; an “Evidence Board” to break down the facts behind the unsolved murder of Chandra Levy; and an exclusive photo booth where attendees can “Become the Notorious Headline” by having their photos imposed on mock crime-magazine covers.

IDCon 2017 attendees could participate in the Liar! Liar! Liar! polygraph test demonstration. (Photo by Carla Hay)

IDCon 2017 attendees were served free samples the first three wines from the recently announced ID Wine Club (which is available as of June 1). There was also plenty of ID merchandise for purchase. The items included a black T-shirt that has the IDCon 2017 logo and a gray T-shirt that says “I’d Rather Be Watching ID.” (The T-shirts come is sizes S, M, L and XL.) There were also thermoses and mason jars with Kenda’s signature catch-phrase “My My My.”

All proceeds for IDCon will be 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. ID Addicts unable to make the trip to New York can watch select panels via the network’s Facebook Live streams, or go to network’s social handles at Twitter, Instagram, and SnapChat for behind-the-scenes coverage.

ID host Tony Harris (pictured at right) gets a live polygraph exam at IDCon 2017.(Photo by Carla Hay)

A few fans at IDCon who were posting on social media and using the hastag #IDCON2017 during the event were randomly selected to win prizes, such as selfie sticks. Attendees also had the opportunity to answer trivia questions sent via text messages to win a grand prize of a trip for two on the Kenda Cruise, a partnership with Princess Cruises. Kenda announced the winner at the end of the event.

Here were some of the highlights of IDCon 2017 panels:

Missing From the Headlines

IDCon 2017
“Missing From the Headlines” panel, at IDCon 2017. Pictured from left to right: Investigation Discovery senior vice president of production Sara Kozak (panel moderator), Tamron Hall, Chris Hansen, Maria Elena Salinas and Paula Zahn. (Photo by Carla Hay)

Moderated by ID senior vice president of production Sara Kozak, this panel of TV journalists—Hansen, Zahn, Hall and Salinas—discussed some of the crime cases (usually murders) that they have brought to their ID shows.

Hall mentioned that in an upcoming episode of her show “Deadline: Crime,” Tyler Perry will be featured, and he donated $100,000 toward solving the crime. She elaborated, “Tyler saw the story on the local news … And he agreed for the first time to do a sit-down, on-camera interview about this case.”

Even when cases are solved, there is often a messy aftermath that doesn’t always equal a happy ending. Zahn mentioned the case of John Purvis, who was wrongly convicted of murder and freed nine years later, as an example of a case that stands out for her. Tragically, Purvis’ mother, who was his strongest supporter in the ordeal, died before he was released from prison. And a police officer risked his job and reputation to prove that Purvis did not commit the crime. “Even after they had proven [Purvis’ innocence] through DNA technology, this cop with still dealing with people who were doubting his testimony.”

Salinas also discussed an upcoming episode of “The Real Story” about the June 2016 mass murder at the predominately gay Pulse nightclub in Orlando. She said that Omar Mateen, the shooter who was killed by police officers , may not have been motivated by terrorism but rather homophobia. Salinas said one of the people interviewed in the episode is a man who claims he was one of Mateen’s gay lovers and says the reason for the Pulse shooting was “[Mateen] wanted to get back at some men he had one-night stands with who told him they were HIV-positive.”

All of the panelists agreed that one of the most important aspects of their jobs is having crime victims’ families tell their stories on the shows. Hansen mentioned that an upcoming episode of “Killer Instinct” is about the 1997 murder of Susannah Chase, a 23-year-old in Boulder, Colorado. Her killer was tried and convicted 12 years after the murder. Hansen, who interviewed Chase’s brother and sister, noted:”When they sit down and talk about their sister 20 years after [the murder] happened, it’s almost like the first time.”

Salinas added about families affected by murders and other violent crimes, “They have something to say … We have to remember that in a crime, it’s not just the deceased who are the victims, it’s the family that’s the victim. Sometimes it’s two separate families—also the family of the perpetrator. They sometimes provide details that we didn’t know before.”

People Magazine Investigates

“People Magazine Investigates” panel at IDCon 2017: Pictured from left to right: People deputy editor Dan Wakefield (panel moderator), People senior editor Alicia Dennis, People staff writer Caitlin Keating and People senior writer Christine Pelisek. (Photo by Carla Hay)

People magazine’s senior editor Alicia Dennis, senior writer Christine Peliseck and  staff writer Caitlin Keating gathered for a panel moderated by deputy editor Dan Wakeford to discuss the ID series “People Magazine Investigates,” which explores true crime stories that were covered by People. The panelists talked about how it was a relief that ID respectfully handles the recreations on the show because one of their biggest concerns before the TV show began was the real people in the magazine’s crime stories would be recreated for television. The panel also discussed the series’ first episode about the Long Island serial killer (who still hasn’t been caught) and the bizarre twist of how Mari Gilbert, the mother of one of the victims, was stabbed to death by her other daughter, according to prosecutors for the crime. Gilbert’s interviews for the show were among the last she ever did.

Notorious Headlines

“Notorious Headlines” panel at IDCon 2017: Pictured from left to right:producer Steph Watts (panel moderator), Candice DeLong, Beth Karas,Sgt. Derrick Levasseur, Dr. Kris Mohandie and producer Tim McConville. (Photo by Carla Hay)

Moderated by producer and reporter Steph Watts, this panel featured hosts and producers of ID shows that covered famous crimes. The panel included FBI profiler Candice DeLong (host of “Deadly Women”); legal analyst Beth Karas (“An American Murder” mystery specials on Casey Anthony and JonBenét Ramsey); police sergeant Derrick Levasseur and forensic psychologist Kris Mohandie (commentators, “Is OJ Innocent? The Missing Evidence”); and showrunner Tim McConville (“An American Murder Mystery”/”American Scandal”).

DeLong, who was one of the few people who has interviewed Unabomber serial killer Ted Kaczynski, said he was the only “evil genius” she ever met. DeLong also recalled that one of the strangest aspects of their conversation was that he gave her advice on “how to boil turnips on an open stove” after she had asked him what it was like to live in a remote, rural area. “It was the worst date I’ve ever been on, ” she joked. DeLong also said after interviewing him as an FBI profiler and reading his journals, her opinion of Kaczynski is that he only cared about two things: “his quarter-acre of land with a shack on it and the other was killing people.”

For the still-unsolved murder of college student Chandra Levy, Karas said that Washington politics and the high-profile aspect of the case played a big role in hindering the police investigation. “You have to have press conferences constantly, you’re under scrutiny … It’s a headache, but the public has a right to know, so it’s a delicate balancing act. They made mistakes along the way.” Gary Condit, a U.S. Congressman who later admitted to having an affair with Levy, was a person of interest for years, but Karas believes that Condit (who was cleared from the investigation) “had nothing to do with the disappearance [of Chandra Levy]” and that the reason why he fell under public suspicion so quickly was “bad timing for him” in a world where the media had obsessively covered the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

In 2016, several JonBenét Ramsey TV specials (including one from ID) aired within weeks of each other. McConville said that “time” is the biggest challenge when there is race to bring these competing specials on the air. “The pressure is to work fast. It was a race to get out there to find contributors. We were aware of the other specials coming out, but I don’t think we let that knowledge influence the way we were thinking of telling the story.”

For the ID special “Is OJ Innocent? The Missing Evidence,” Mohandie said in addition to getting the cooperation of the families of Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown Simpson, it was important for the investigative team to get interviews with former Los Angeles Police Department investigator Tom Lange to directly address accusations that the police planted evidence in the OJ Simpson case. Mohandie said that other key witnesses that were interview coups for the special included Allan Park (the limousine driver who arrived at Simpson at home on the night of the murders) and witness Jill Shively, whose was dropped by the prosecution after she gave a tabloid interview. “She saw something very important that night. Whether she sold her story to a tabloid is irrelevant, in my mind. She had been blamed by the prosecution for losing the case, and  [interviewing her’ gave us a chance to tell her that she had nothing to do with the loss of this case.” Levasseur added, “We were really focusing on Jason Simpson [O.J. Simpson’s oldest son] and that theory [that he might have been involved in the murders].”

The Case That Keeps Me Up at Night

“The Case That Keeps Me Up at Night” panel at IDCon 2017: Pictured from left to right: Dr. Michelle Ward (moderator), Rod Demery, Joe Kenda, Garry McFadden and Graham Hetrick. (Photo by Carla Hay)

Moderated by criminal psychologist Dr. Michelle Ward, this panel talked about cases solved by investigators/ID hosts Kenda (“Homicide Hunter”),  Demery (“Murder Chose Me”), McFadden  (“I Am Homicide”) and Hetrick (“The Coroner: I Speak for the Dead”) .

ID’s long-running “Homicide Hunter” is one of the network’s highest-rated series, so Kenda got the biggest cheers from the audience. When asked which case haunts him the most, Kenda and the other panelists gave a similar answer: “I don’t have a single case,” said Kenda, who added, “I did not solve 31 murders. All 31 haunt me to this day. Why didn’t I solved them? I solved 356 of them. People often ask me, “What was the most horrible case you’ve ever seen?”

Kenda and McFadden, who were on an IDCon panel together in 2016, mentioned many of the same things they talked about on that year’s panel, such as how their police work affected them and their personal lives. McFadden talked about a homicide victim’s daughter whom he eventually began to treat as if she were his own daughter.

One of the most interesting questions asked of the panelists was whether or not they think the worst murderers are created by nature or by nurture. Given that most serial killers and other murderers have siblings who do not become murderers too, the panelists said they believe that murderers’ disorders can be explained by “nature,” i.e., something to do with what’s going on inside the individual’s body, whether it is mental illness, a psychological defect or the effects of long-term substance abuse.

Ultimately, Demery said that murderers and other criminals “make a choice” to commit the crimes, and they should be held responsible for their choices. McFadden noted, “We all have the ability [to murder], but we may not act on it.” Hetrick added, “I think the study of environment is very important, and I think it’s important that we look at physical things ….certain pathologies of the brain. They’re all very important. They’re not as important from a personal standpoint as much as they are to understand how we can [help] society.”

2017 IDCon: talent lineup and ticket information announced

April 6, 2017

by Carla Hay

Tony Harris, Tamron Hall, Chris Hansen and Paula Zahn at IDCon in New York City on June 11, 2016. (Photo by Carla Hay)

Investigation Discovery (ID) has announced that its second annual IDCon, an event for ID fans, will take place May 20, 2017, at the Altman Building in New York City. The theme of the event is “Notorious Headlines.” Unlike the first IDCon, which was free to all  attendees, the 2017 edition will be selling tickets at $40 each. Tickets go on sale at EventBrite on April 7, 2017, at 9 a.m. Eastern Time. According to ID, all proceeds for IDCon will be 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.

ID show hosts Paula Zahn, Chris Hansen, Joe Kenda and Garry McFadden (who were all at IDCon in 2016) will return to the event in 2017. ID hosts Maria Elena Salinas, Rod Demery and members of the “People Magazine Investigates” team will make their first appearances at IDCon this year. More talent appearances are expected to be announced.

In a statement, Investigation Discovery, American Heroes Channel and Destination America group president Henry Schleiff commented: “IDCon was created as a thank you to our passionate fans, and our inaugural IDCon last year just ‘killed,’ selling out in less than eight hours with more than 7,000 people on the waitlist! Our self-proclaimed ‘ID Addicts’ have now made ID the #1 network for women, so we are particularly excited this year to deliver these superfans this unique opportunity to go behind the scenes and meet their favorite ID stars.”

The event, which is expected to sell out quickly to the approximate maximum of 300 people, will once again feature panel discussions, immersive experiences and meet-and-greet opportunities with ID stars.  On April 10, 2017, ID will also launch a sweepstakes for a lucky fan to win a trip for two to IDCon.

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