Each season of Cold Case includes cases torn from headlines and fictionalized to form a riveting episode. In the fourth season, "Stalker" was one such episode, based on a horrific murder that actually happened in 1978 in Minnesota.
The true story goes like this. The Huling family was home in bed when an intruder broke in, murdering first the mother, then three of her four children. The only child who survived because he hid had a distinct memory of his younger brother asking the killer, "Who are you?" There was not enough evidence to convict anyone of the quadruple murder, though, so the case went unsolved for more than 20 years.
Although there wasn't evidence, there was at least one suspect: a man named Joe Ture who got stopped by the cops in a stolen vehicle in which he'd stored a book that detailed personal lives of hundreds of women. Where they went, what they wore, and even identifying information like license plate and telephone numbers. Though suspicious, it wasn't enough to hold Ture, and he was released only later to be convicted of a different murder.
In 1980, Ture went on a violent crime spree, murdering a waitress and battering a young woman before dropping her in an alley. He was convicted and jailed for the murder. In prison, Ture confessed to more murders, including the Huling family, only to later retract those confessions, going free for those crimes again, because he had an alibi: He was at work that day at Ford Motors.
It took a diligent head of a cold case team named Everett Doolittle to figure out that it wasn't actually Joe Ture at work that day, though, but his father, Joe Ture Sr. When Ture was finally convicted and his story aired on TV, many more women came forward as victims, at last finding justice thanks to a real-world detective dedicated to cracking cold cases.
On Cold Case, "Stalker" plays out slightly differently. In the episode, a family is brutally murdered, all except one child. On the show it was a teenage girl, and to give the episode a modern twist away from the 1970s, it takes place in 2006, taking her stalker off the roads of reality and online, where stalkers more commonly roam today. The episode's twist comes from its modern setting, but there's more than just the identity of the killer to track, in an episode that not only puts an entire family in harm's way, but also Cold Case's star detective Lilly Rush.
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