127. Tracey Richter / The Haunted Squirrel Cage Jail in Iowa

Summary

She claims that a family friend and another man broke into her house to attack and frame her – she also claims that they were sent by her ex husband. She survived and killed the man who was attacking her. But, the truth that lies behind the death of young 20 year old Dustin Wehde could be far more sinister. Bettina and Beth cover the state of Iowa in this week’s episode… and Bettina introduces you to this woman, Tracey Richter. Beth moves on to the paranormal portion of the episode; covering the haunted Squirrel Cage Jail. A “Lazy-Susan” style jail!  Cheers to the craziness of this episode, and Cheers to all of you – wishing you all a happy new year!

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Transcription

Tracey Richter, listeners fasten your seatbelts. This woman is UNBELIEVABLE! She seems to leave chaos, wreckage and pain where ever she goes. She’s beautiful, very smart, and if she doesn’t get her way, she’s scary. Tracey married John Pittman, a medical student going into plastic surgery, in 1989. They had a son, Bert, in 1990. The marriage spiraled out of control and the couple was divorced in 1996, but not before Tracey accused John of sexually abusing their son. John, who in all actuality was the better parent of the two, was found innocent of the accusation, but Tracey wasn’t done with him yet. Their custody battle was extremely hostile and lasted for years. Tracey met and married Michael Roberts, from Australia, shortly after her divorce. The marriage showed cracks right away, but Michael was determined to stick it out. They had two children, Noah in 1998 and their daughter Mason in 2000. John Pittman was still fighting Tracey for custody of Bert, actually asking for full custody. Tracey would not only lose Bert, but also the monthly child support she was receiving. Her answer to this dilemma was one in which a young man was horrifically killed and lies were told. Was Tracey a hero that saved the lives of her three children and herself when two intruders broke into her home? Or was she a sadistic murderer who used the life of an innocent young man to get her out of the child custody battle with John? The answers lie in the pink notebook found on the front seat of the car belonging to Dustin Wehde, the deceased young man. Tune into this week’s episode as Bettina covers what lead up to and happened after the murder of 20 year old Dustin Wehde on Dec 13, 2001.

Council Bluffs, Iowa in the 1800s was a place that needed a jail, but the town didn’t have a lot of money to give to this project, so a very interesting concept was thought up. The town built a “human rotary” or “lazy Susan” jail that would only need one prison guard. What in the world is that? Beth explains the concept and history of Squirrel Cage Jail. It’s very interesting how this three story building, that held up to 90 prisoners, including men, women and children, worked and how it also could go terribly wrong. That this place is haunted should not surprise anyone. Heavy footsteps, voices and full body apparitions. Beth covers these and other paranormal activity found in the Council Bluffs Squirrel Cage Jail.

20 year old Dustin Wehde was shot 9 times on Dec. 13, 2001. Was he an intruder or an innocent family friend who had been asked to come over? Photo credit; Dateline https://thecinemaholic.com/dustin-wehde-murder/

Richter was eventually found guilty of the 1st degree murder of Dustin Wehde. She received life in prison without parole, but to this day she maintains her innocence. https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/crime-and-courts/2014/07/10/tracey-richter-mother-linked-witness-harassment-search-warrant-computer-flash-drives-seized/12444821/

Council Bluffs Squirrel Cage Jail from the outside. https://www.traveliowa.com/places/historic-squirrel-cage-jail/106/

The jail looks very different from the inside. https://www.helpmecovid.com/us/1498137_squirrel-cage-jail

Cells were very small and tight. They housed people that had committed any crime, from jay walkers to murderers. https://www.tripadvisor.com/LocationPhotoDirectLink-g37797-d586710-i40119894-Pottawattamie_County_Squirrel_Cage_Jail_and_Museum-Council_Bluffs_Iowa.html

SOURCES:

https://www.iowacourts.gov//static/media/documents/2997_D4A4EC4A4E2CA.pdf

https://www.stormlake.com/articles/nbcs-dateline-revisits-the-tracey-richter-saga/

https://www.maryhallbergmedia.com/post/the-case-of-tracey-richter-and-dustin-wehde

https://www.mirror.co.uk/tv/tv-previews/tracey-richter-case-wife-who-1748571

https://www.nbcnews.com/id/wbna45007535

https://kileystruecrime.squarespace.com/kileystruecrimeaddict-blog/the-murder-of-dustin-wehde

https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/crime-and-courts/2014/06/11/judge-orders-child-support-restitution-tracey-richter/10312483/

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2202948/Female-judge-rules-father-repeatedly-children-visit-convicted-murderer-mother–bars-moving-home-Australia.html

UNCUT 60 Minutes Interview Michael Roberts – Ex-Husband of Murderer Tracey Richter

Criminal Minds- Tracy Richter- Crime Watch

https://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/12160

https://www.unleashcb.com/blog/a_haunted_history_of_the_squirrel_cage_jail/

https://www.thehistoricalsociety.org/paranormal/scj-paranormal.html

COCKTAIL: SPARKLING MINT LIMEADE https://iowagirleats.com/sparkling-mint-limeade/

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