Saturday, September 05, 2015

Forensic Files Misleads Viewers (Again!) About Two Murder Cases of SoCal Model/Actress/Whatevers (MAWs)

By Nicholas Stix

I just spent two hours trapped in a room with a true crime fanatic, who is convinced that she could have been the world’s greatest homicide detective. Never mind that I just fixes another TV she could have watched in the other room. Finally, I shut it off, and sent it on her way, with her blaming me for the entire incident.

(Dispatcher: “Car 4753, domestic incident, opposite sex couple violently arguing over TV crime show…”)

At least, the show was Forensic Files, so it would tell each story in a half-hour, instead of stretching out over an hour. But no matter the duration of a show, they always leave out or misrepresent crucial clues.

At the end of a story on magazine photographer Charles Rathbun’s murder of model Linda Sobek, the narrator said that Rathbun was suspected in anywhere from one to six sexual assault/murders, including the 1991 case of MAW Kimberly Pandelios.

I just checked out the Kimberly Pandelios case, and it had been solved, and her killer, David Rademaker, sentenced to life until parole, in 2006.

The crazy lady in the room, er, I mean, The Boss, suggested that the FF epidoe might made been filmed before the Pandelios case was solved, and indeed, it was: It had first aired on July 30, 2001, at which time the Pandelios murder was still a cold case. However, FF’s producers had had more than enough time, during the intervening nine years, to add a three second postscript, informing viewers that the Pandelios case had since been solved, and a different killer convicted for it.

Another FF episode we saw today had a much more serious misrepresentation in it. In the case of Army Cpl. Christian N. Davis, who was convicted in 1993 of the 1991 murder of his pregnant wife and mother of two of his children, Dorothy (and attempted murder of her and a since-born child via arson in 1987), the show portrayed the husband as having acted alone, and interviewed Christian Davis’ mistress (whose face was shrouded in darkness), Penny Wagner, who portrayed herself, with the show’s help, as a victim of her murderous, domineering boyfriend. In fact, assuming the Seattle Times has its facts straight, Wagner was no victim, and had been convicted of conspiring with the husband to murder his first wife.

The Kimberly Pandelios Case

Model's Killer Gets Life Sentence
By Kelly-Anne Suarez
March 31, 2006
Los Angeles Times

Kimberly Pandelios moved to Northridge in November 1991 to make it as a model.

Instead, the 20-year-old wife and mother was drowned in a mountain stream 13 months later by a man who told her he could help make her dream come true.

On Thursday, David Rademaker, 42, of Burbank was sentenced to life in prison without parole for Pandelios' slaying. His attorney, Chad Calabria, said he would appeal.

A 12-member jury in February found Rademaker guilty of first-degree murder with the special circumstance that he had kidnapped Pandelios. Calabria contends the kidnapping is speculation and conjecture. "There's no evidence that she was moved against her will," he said.

For The Record

Los Angeles Times Wednesday April 05, 2006 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 42 words Type of Material: Correction
Model's slaying: An article in Friday's California section about the sentencing of killer David Rademaker said that his victim, model Kimberly Pandelios, had been living in Northridge for 13 months when she was murdered. She had been living there for three months.

Rademaker still says he's innocent, but Calabria declined to give Rademaker's version of what happened, saying it will be addressed in the appeal.

Rademaker, using the pseudonym Paul, lured Pandelios into the Angeles National Forest for a photo shoot, then killed her when she resisted his sexual advances, according to trial testimony.

At the time, Rademaker ran a prostitution service and a phone-sex line. Pandelios, a petite Latina, had had limited success modeling swimwear and lingerie.

In March 1993, two hikers found the model's skull and other remains near where police had discovered Pandelios' torched Chrysler Laser the previous year.

Investigators also unearthed handcuffs and a cut-up black bra and panties.
But the case languished for a decade before detectives got their break in the form of Rademaker's ex-girlfriend, Manya Ksendzov.

In the mid-'90s, Rademaker briefly dated Ksendzov, then 15, before her parents turned him in for statutory rape and supplying her with drugs. He served six years of a 12-year sentence.

Just before Rademaker's release, Ksendzov told police he had bragged about killing Pandelios, Calabria said.

Ksendzov had previously told police about Rademaker's claim when her parents had him arrested.

"Either they didn't believe her or the investigation revealed it wasn't plausible. So it was quite a shock when they came after him 10 years later," Calabria said.

Rademaker was indicted a few months later.

Calabria said Ksendzov, who blames Rademaker for her heroin addiction, had a strong motive to lie. And Calabria said there was testimony that Pandelios was still alive two days after her alleged murder.

Brad Leon testified that he was off-roading in the Angeles National Forest near the Monte Cristo gold mine when he encountered a pack of menacing bikers and a well-dressed young woman in heels. He later decided the woman was Pandelios after seeing her image on a newscast.

[Apparently, he was wrong.]


David In TN said...

Thanks for the heads-up. HLN is running these episodes again and I've set my DVR to record them.

Anonymous said...

In reference to the Corporal Chris Davis case. The writer suggests Forensic files mislead viewers. Nothing could be further from the truth. Forensic files had the facts perfect. Penny Wagner was never convicted or charged with any crime. In fact
the person who's face was clouded in the video was actually Dory Davis. (since deceased) She was suspected at one time of conspiring with Chris Davis to murder his first wife. She was cleared of all charges, and DAVIS DID ACT ALONE. Get the facts straight! I am a family member who attended the trial.

Nicholas said...


I have no idea who you are, and am not ready to take your anonymous word for anything, but if what you're saying is true, you need to take it up with the Seattle Times. Have you done that? And can you provide me with a link to an article that backs you up?