One week after the newly rebooted Unsolved Mysteries series premiered on Netflix, the show is holding down the number one spot in the streaming service's list of its Top 10 most popular titles. (The six Unsolved episodes are still ahead of the comic book adaptation Warrior Nun, the updated nostalgia of The Baby-Sitters Club, and a decade-old comedy that involves Adam Sandler and the Paul Blart guy.)
And according to one of the show's producers, binge-watchers immediately submitted almost two dozen "credible tips" about three of the cases featured on the series. Executive producer and Unsolved co-creator Terry Dunn Meurer told USA Today that within the first 24 hours, viewers had reported tips about the death of 23-year-old Alonzo Brooks, who was featured in the episode titled "No Ride Home"; the strange "suicide" of Rey Rivera ("Mystery on the Rooftop"); and the disappearance and presumed death of 20-year-old Missouri woman Lena Chapin. ("Missing Witness")
"We pass [the information] on to the appropriate authorities," Meurer said. "We're hoping there's a lot of people who still haven't watched and maybe this weekend they'll sit down and binge the episodes and we'll get more leads."
In mid-June, the FBI reopened its investigation into Brooks' murder, and are now considering the possibility that he was the victim of a hate crime. Brooks attended a party in rural Linn County, Kansas in the spring of 2004 and was never seen alive again; a search party organized by his family discovered his body beside a wooded creek almost a month later.
“His death certainly was suspicious, and someone—likely multiple people—know(s) what happened that night in April 2004,” U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister said at a press conference on June 11. “It is past time for the truth to come out. The code of silence must be broken. Alonzo’s family deserves to know the truth, and it is time for justice to be served.” (The FBI is also offering a $100,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person or people responsible for Brooks' death.)
Meanwhile the r/UnsolvedMysteries subreddit has already become a repository for amateur detectives who are using their quaran-time to try to break some of these cases. A former Baltimore resident wrote a detailed post about the days before and after Rivera's bizarre death at an historic hotel in the city, while another typed out all of the text that was visible in the supposed "suicide" note that was found taped to the back of his computer.
The fact that Rivera mentioned the 1997 David Fincher film The Game in his final communication, along with references like "a well-played game" and "the game is finished," and his manner of death led some Redditors to speculate that he was either knowingly acting out some of the events that were depicted in the movie, or that he honestly believed that his life had taken a similar turn. (Meurer told Entertainment Weekly that Rivera's wife, Allison, is aware of the Game-related theory, but doesn't believe that's what happened to her husband. "She doesn't place any significance on the movie The Game," she said. "Rey liked a lot of different types of movies.")
Finally, the Dent County (Missouri) Sheriff’s Office said that the episode about Liehnia "Lena" Chapin's disappearance had "reinvigorated" the department's investigation into the case. Chapin was last seen in her apartment in Steelville on the morning of Valentine's Day 2006. When her then-fiance returned home from work that evening, he found "her mother Sandy [Klemp] cleaning out all of her daughter’s belongings," while insisting that she'd moved to Florida—without her young son.
Before her disappearance, Chapin told her former stepfather that she knew that her mother had killed her other former stepfather, Gary McCullough. A recording of her confession was turned over to the Barry County Sheriff's Office, but criminal charges have never been filed against Klemp for McCullough's death.
According to The Salem News, the Dent County Sheriff's Office didn't open its official investigation into Chapin's disappearance until March 2012, more than six years after she was last seen. "We were not informed of her disappearance [at the time],” Detective Rick Letchworth told the outlet in 2016. “It’s strange that no one from her family reached out to alert us she was missing.” On Tuesday, Letchworth said that the department had received several inquiries since the Unsolved Mysteries episode aired. “We are processing new information now," he said.
Anyone who has information about any of the cases featured on the show is encouraged to submit a tip through the Unsolved Mysteries website. There are also individual Facebook groups for each episode, or a quick Google search can help you locate the relevant local authorities, like the Dent County Sheriff's Office or the FBI Field Office that is leading the Brooks investigation.
Now, can someone please investigate why Rob Endres is so creepy?