Behind the Crime Scene - A True Crime Podcast
Episodes 8 & 9
It’s July 15, 2002. Five year-old Samantha Runnion is playing with a friend in her front yard in Stanton, California. A man approached and asked the girls to help find his lost dog. He then grabbed Samantha and forced her into his car.
A day later, Samantha’s lifeless body was found by hang gliders in the Cleveland National Forest. She had been sexually assaulted, strangled and staged.
The Sheriff promised the perpetrator on national television, “you can’t run, you can’t hide, we’re going to find you.” They did just that.
Join us Behind the Crime Scene with Samantha's mother, Erin Runnion, and former Orange County District Attorney David Brent to learn about how they brought a child predator to justice in this three part series.
Erin Runnion is the Co-Founder and Director of The Joyful Child Foundation - In Memory of Samantha Runnion, a non-profit organization dedicated to preventing crimes against children through programs that educate, empower, and unite families and communities.
Samantha was an artistic, bright, joyful, little girl whose life was cut short, days before her sixth birthday in July 2002.
Although inspired by a tragedy, Erin works to honor Samantha's joy and courage by uniting communities to protect and empower every child to be brave and stay safe.
To learn more about The Joyful Child’s Be Brave - Be Safe Program for children and adults, please visit www.thejoyfulchild.org.
In addition to her role with The Joyful Child Foundation, Erin produces a podcast called “Let’s Talk Joy” inspired by her first book which is pending publication. She also serves on the California Child Abduction Task Force and the California Children’s Justice Act Task Force under the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services.
Assistant District Attorney David Brent began his career in the Orange County District Attorney's Office in 1991. He had an outstanding career prosecuting many high profile cases. He was assigned to several trial units including the sexual assault unit and the homicide unit.
One of the many notorious cases he prosecuted was Alexandro Avila who was convicted of first degree murder with special circumstances and sentenced to death for kidnapping, sexually assaulting and murdering five year old Samantha Runnion.
Mr. Brent finished his career in the Orange County District Attorney's Office as the supervisor of the homicide unit, where he taught trial skills to other prosecutors.