The Trail Went Cold – Episode 58 – The Mathis Family Murders

September 8, 1981. Mount Vernon, South Dakota. 30-year old John Mathis contacts police to inform them that he has been shot in the arm after a struggle with a masked attacker on his farm. When police arrive, they discover that John’s wife, LaDonna Mathis, and their two children, four-year old Brian and two-year old Patrick, have been shot to death. While John claims the masked attacker was responsible, investigators find a number of discrepancies in his story. John is eventually charged with murdering his wife and two sons, but when he goes on trial, the jury acquits. Were LaDonna, Brian and Patrick actually killed by an unknown assailant? Or did John Mathis get away with the murder of his family? We examine both sides of this harrowing and controversial case on this week’s episode of “The Trail Went Cold”.

“The Trail Went Cold” will be appearing on podcast row at CrimeCon 2018 from May 4th-6th at the Gaylord Opryland hotel in Nashville. Listeners can receive a 10% discount on their ticket purchase by using the code “TTWC”.

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The Trail Went Cold is produced and edited by Magill Foote.

All music is composed by Vince Nitro.

One thought on “The Trail Went Cold – Episode 58 – The Mathis Family Murders

  • That is an interesting one since it doesn’t seem to me like things add up with any scenario all the way. When listening, my thoughts were that it sounded like maybe it was someone else, and John knew who it was. The killing of the family there and wounding of him, plus the writing, potentially the fire, and the possible comment about him getting the person who did it right after makes me wonder if he had been involved with something else, for instance something illegal like drugs or gambling. It really just feels like there is something missing from the known story.

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