Freeway Phantom podcast

The chilling story of Washington D.C.’s first serial killer.


Between April 1971 and September 1972, before the term serial killer existed, six young Black girls went missing in the Washington D.C. area. They were abducted, murdered, and their bodies were discarded alongside D.C. freeways. Due to the location of the bodies, local media gave the killer a name: “The Freeway Phantom.” Five decades later, no one has been brought to justice, and few know the details behind D.C.’s first serial killer. The victims and their families deserve answers. Welcome to Freeway Phantom.

Reward for Freeway Phantom

About the Podcast

From the creators of Atlanta Monster and Monster: DC Sniper comes a new true crime series, Freeway Phantom. The 10-part investigative series takes listeners back over 50 years to the unsolved murders of at least six young Black girls, ages 10 to 18. Their names are: Carol Denise Spinks (13), Darlenia Denise Johnson (16), Brenda Faye Crockett (10), Nenomoshia Yates (12), Brenda Denise Woodard (18), and Diane Williams (17). The killer taunted police with a chilling note claiming responsibility for the murders, writing, “catch me if you can,” and even terrorized victims’ families with calls to their homes.

With first hand accounts from victims’ families, law enforcement agencies, and would-be victims, the podcast will review old evidence, provide a new perspective, and reveal new findings.

Freeway Phantom is a production of iHeartRadio, Tenderfoot TV, and Black Bar Mitzvah.

Newspaper clipping. Freeway Phantom

The Cases

Carol Denise Spinks

13-year-old Carol was one of 8 children and has an identical twin sister. Her family lovingly called her “Bay Bay”. She lived with her mother...

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Darlenia Denise Johnson

Darlenia was an outgoing and social 16-year-old. She worked part time at the local recreation center and was enjoying her summer spending time with friends...

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Brenda Faye Crockett

10-year-old Brenda Faye Crocket lived in NorthWest Washington, D.C., near Cardozo High School. She had a close knit group of friends that she enjoyed spending...

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Nenomoshia Yates

12-year-old Nenomoshia or “NeNe” was a shy and quiet 6th grader at Kelly Miller Junior High School. She lived with her father and step mother...

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Brenda Denise Woodard

18-year-old Brenda lived with her family in Baltimore, Maryland, along Maryland Avenue. Brenda was outgoing and enjoyed spending time at local restaurants with friends after...

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Diane Williams

17-year-old Diane was an outgoing person who dreamed of being a model and was excited about her future. She grew up in a large and...

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Celeste Headlee

Celeste Headlee

Host · Narrator

About the Host

Freeway Phantom is hosted by Celeste Headlee (NPR, PBS, TEDx), an award winning journalist, best selling author and public speaker with a 20 year career in public radio. A current Washington D.C. resident, Celeste has spent the past two years sifting through boxes of documents and interviewing investigators and family members who are still haunted by these murders.

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