Coming Soon: “Father Wants Us Dead,” an investigative crime podcast from


A new true-crime investigative podcast from NJ Advance Media will tell the story of one of New Jersey’s most infamous and jaw-dropping mass murders as it has never been told.

“Father Wants Us Dead” is a deep dive into a 50-year-old crime savage that sent shockwaves through Westfield and ripples across the country.

John Emil List was a seemingly unremarkable accountant and Sunday school teacher. But on November 9, 1971, he meticulously killed his wife, mother, 16-year-old daughter and 13- and 15-year-old sons, leaving their bodies discovered almost a month later in their 19-room mansion.

Then List disappeared to start a new life.

The serial podcast will launch on May 10 with the first three episodes. New episodes will be released every week until June 21.

You can watch a video trailer at and subscribe to Spotify, Apple podcast or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Veteran journalists Rebecca Everett and Jessica Remo take listeners through the chilling story with new information, insights and analysis gleaned from hundreds of pages of investigative documents and interviews with nearly 50 sources, some of them unnamed. had never spoken publicly. They follow the saga of List’s escape and years hidden in plain sight, knocking on doors hundreds of miles away to uncover every detail.

The List family shortly after moving to Westfield in 1965: John List, left, and right, Helen List with their children, Patricia, Frederick, center, and John Frederick.File photo/family photo from ‘Collateral Damage’ by John List and Austin Goodrich

The story begins with List’s strict upbringing in a religious Michigan family and continues with his marriage to Helen, a widowed beauty, and the three children they raised, Patricia, John, and Frederick. But while the Lists appeared to be a happy, prosperous and observant family, the reality inside the mansion they purchased in 1965 was very different.

Hidden beneath his business suits and thick-rimmed glasses, List harbored secret, self-inflicted pressures writhing within him. Soon he felt a burning need to act – to save their souls and save himself from humiliation.

The discovery of the bodies – Helen and the three children on sleeping bags in the ballroom, and List’s mother Alma, dead upstairs – shook the quiet suburb to its heart and sparked a hunt for international man for the monster that had hidden in their midst. . Despite the confession letter he left behind, it will be years before the full truth is revealed. The truth about where the enigmatic List had holed up and who he had tricked into believing his new persona, and the motives and reasons behind the horrific crime.

Approaching the story like any investigative project, the reporters examined previous accounts of the family and the killer, analyzing the truth of the legend told and retold over the years as this crime became almost mythical.

Chris Day

Rebecca Everett interviews Chris Day, a former boyfriend of Patricia List, the 16-year-old daughter John List who was murdered on November 9, 1971, as well as her two brothers, her mother and her grandmother.Michael Mancuso | NJ Advance Media for

Sources heard on the podcast include close friends who paint a picture of the List family and its final days, officials who witnessed the horrific crime scene and cannot forget it, unsuspecting souls who were part of List’s secret second life and the investigators who refused to stop looking for this family killer.

The story also spawned a 15,000-word investigative retrospective published in The Star-Ledger newspaper and on in December 2021. The article received first place from the New Jersey Press Association for Best Corporate Reporting and Special Printing Section.

NJ Advance Media’s first foray into the world of investigative podcasting has the true-crime thrill and investigative weight you’ve come to expect from journalists with over 25 years of combined experience. The report keeps the tragedy of lost lives at the heart of this incredible story.

“Father Wants Us Dead” will launch on May 10 on Megaphone, a division of Spotify. You can listen and subscribe to “Father Wants Us Dead” wherever you get your podcasts. You can access episodes, photos and other extras from the podcast at

The Star-Ledger published an article about the unsuccessful search for John List in 1986 on the 15th anniversary of the murders.

The Star-Ledger published an article about the unsuccessful search for John List in 1986 on the 15th anniversary of the murders.Case

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Rebecca Everett can be reached at [email protected]. Tell us your coronavirus story or send a tip here.


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