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Kevin Ryder (left) and Gene Baxter (right)

Real Name: Unknown (at the time of the broadcast)
Case: Murder Confession
Location: Burbank, California
Date: June 13, 1990

Case[]

Details: In June 1990, the Los Angeles radio station 106.7 KROQ introduced its audience to a new comedy segment, “Confess Your Crime.” But just before 9am on June 13, the fun ended with a call from an unidentified man who made a chilling confession. The station’s DJs, Gene "Bean" Baxter and Kevin Ryder, started the call by asking the man for his name. However, he did not want to say it. Gene asked if he wanted to confess a crime, and he said he did. He said that he felt that he really needed to tell someone about “this”.
The DJs were not concerned about the confession at first, instead trying to find something funny about it for their listeners. The man continued by saying he was not sure if he should talk about his crime. Kevin asked if he had ever been caught for the crime. He said he had not. Gene asked the man to tell them more about it.
The man said that he had been with his girlfriend for about six years and that they were planning on getting married. One day, he came home and caught her in bed with a good friend of his. He became enraged and beat her. He said that he hurt her very badly and was not sure if she even survived the attack. The DJs asked if he had actually killed her, and he said that he knew that he did.
At that point, the DJs knew that they had to tell someone about the man’s confession. They also hoped to get more information from him. They asked him if it had happened in another city, and he said yes; he said that he had come down to Los Angeles as a result of the murder. He also said that police had contacted his friends and his work about the murder. However, they had not contacted him about it because they did not know he was involved with her. Kevin, unsure what to think, asked the man if the confession was real, and he confirmed it. They asked if he had told anyone about it before, and he said no.
The DJs told the man that they wanted to get him some help. However, he did not want to stay on the phone. He then hung up. After sitting there for a few seconds to process the information, the DJs decided to go to commercial. They have not used the “Confess Your Crime” segment since.
The DJs immediately contacted the police. Investigators knew that the most important thing to do was try to identify the caller. However, they also felt that they first needed to identify the murder itself. They wanted to determine where it happened, when it happened, what police agency handled it, etc. However, so far, they have been unsuccessful. They also believe that the caller may want to “get it over with” and turn himself in. They hope that he does that.
Although the possibility does exist that the caller’s confession was a hoax, authorities suspect that it is legitimate. They theorize that the alleged murder may have taken place in northern California or somewhere in the northwest United States. They believe that the caller is a Caucasian male between thirty-five and forty-five-years-old.
Suspects: Investigators believe that the murder took place somewhere in the Pacific Northwest, most likely in Northern California. They believe that the caller was a Caucasian male between the ages of thirty-five and forty-five.
Extra Notes:

  • This case originally aired on the October 10, 1990 episode.
  • It was excluded from Amazon Prime episodes.

Results: Solved. The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department spent nearly 150 man-hours investigating this case. After nine months, scores of unsolved homicides were narrowed down to one specific case in Oroville, California. Just two months before the on-air confession, nineteen-year-old Angela Cummings was found shot to death in her boyfriend’s apartment. Police suspected foul play but lacked the evidence to make an arrest.
Police found several similarities between the confession and Angela’s case. After the connection was made, a detective contacted Angela’s mother, Lis, and told her about the confession. She listened to the confession tape and was sickened by it. However, she was also hopeful that it would lead to a break in Angela’s case.
During Kevin and Gene’s interviews with Unsolved Mysteries, they were asked point-blank if the confession call was a hoax, created to boost their ratings. Both denied it. Kevin said that there were certain “lines” that they would not cross in order to get more ratings. Gene noted that the experts said it was true, and claimed to not know the caller.
However, as it turned out, Kevin and Gene were lying. In April 1991, the confession call was exposed as a hoax, conceived and executed by the two DJs, apparently as a publicity stunt. The scam was made public by former KROQ intern Dan Feliz, after he learned the truth about the confession. He had actually received some phone calls from people who believed that their loved one was the victim in the case. He was stunned when he learned of the hoax, and shocked that the DJs kept up with it for so long.
Kevin and Gene had conspired with Arizona DJ Doug "The Slug" Roberts to pull off the publicity stunt. It was Doug’s voice heard making the bogus confession. Coincidentally (or not), he was later hired by KROQ as a DJ. Lis was also shocked to learn that the call was a hoax. She felt that what they did was despicable and cruel, to play with other people’s lives in order to get more ratings.
Kevin and Gene eventually confessed to their involvement in the hoax and confirmed that it was done to boost their ratings. On April 11, they, along with Doug, were temporarily suspended by KROQ without pay. Just ten days after the hoax was exposed, the station put them back on the air.
In May, the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department billed KROQ $12,170 for the detective work that was put in to investigate the case. The DJs were forced to pay the bill out of their own pockets. Infinity Corp, which owned KROQ, also required them to perform 149 hours of community service. In December, the Federal Communications Commission completed their investigation into the case; they issued a four-page letter admonishing KROQ's management for its “deliberate distortion of programming.”
Sadly, Angela's murder remains unsolved.
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