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15 Crime Stories From 2016 You Need To Read

Here are the most moving, unnerving, infuriating, revelatory, and memorable crime stories published by BuzzFeed News in 2016.

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Clockwise from top left: Getty; Marc Aspinall; Aaron Fernandez; Corey Brickley; Lawrence Beitler/Indiana Historical Society/Courtesy America’s Black Holocaust Museum; Courtesy of CC Carreras

The Abortion Trial Everyone Will Be Watching In Trump’s America — Jessica Testa

Michelle Thompson for BuzzFeed News

A Queens doctor faces a manslaughter charge after his patient died following an abortion. The unusual case may offer an inadvertent glimpse into life without Roe v. Wade.

When Detectives Dismiss Rape Reports Before Investigating Them — Alex Campbell and Katie J.M. Baker

Post Typography for BuzzFeed News

Across the country, some police departments claim a vast number of rape reports are false. A BuzzFeed News investigation into a year of “unfounded” rapes in Baltimore County reveals that detectives often don’t investigate them at all — even when the man had been arrested for rape before.

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Dee Dee Wanted Her Daughter To Be Sick, Gypsy Wanted Her Mom To Be Murdered — Michelle Dean

Corey Brickley for BuzzFeed News

Dee Dee Blancharde was a model parent: a tireless single mom taking care of her gravely ill child. But after Dee Dee was killed, it turned out that things weren’t as they appeared — and her daughter Gypsy had never been sick at all.

Meet Fancy Bear — Sheera Frenkel

BuzzFeed News; Getty

For the first time in history, Washington has accused a foreign government of trying to influence the US election. Sheera Frenkel investigates the Russian group accused of hacking the US election — and finds they’ve been practicing for this moment for a long time.

“He Thinks He’s Untouchable” — Azeen Ghorayshi

Aaron Fernandez / BuzzFeed News

Michael Katze, famous for his studies of Ebola and the flu, ran a lab at the University of Washington where intoxication and sexual harassment went unchecked, and where he misused public resources for personal gain, according to two investigations obtained by BuzzFeed News.

How To Survive A Lynching — Syreeta McFadden

Lawrence Beitler / Indiana Historical Society; Courtesy America's Black Holocaust Museum

The most iconic image of racist brutality in America would have looked different had James Cameron not survived a lynching attempt in Indiana in 1930. He devoted the rest of his life not just to civil rights, but to memorializing the moment of his near-death.

Sheldon Johnson Wants to Go Straight, But The Past Won’t Let Go — Albert Samaha

Michael Kirby Smith, Allison Usavage, and Bob Self for BuzzFeed News

Years ago, his grandfather set in motion a cycle of imprisonment that has trapped his family. Now Sheldon Johnson must carry the burden of his name.

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Why Don’t Sexual Assault Victims Report? Ask These College Women — Tyler Kingkade

BuzzFeed News / Courtesy of CC Carreras

It doesn’t take going after someone as prominent as Donald Trump to face retaliation for alleging sexual assault. Women who’ve dealt with the backlash talk to BuzzFeed News.

What Happens When Women At Historically Black Colleges Report Their Assaults — Anita Badejo

Melissa Golden for BuzzFeed News

For decades, students at Spelman — the elite historically black women’s college — have spoken out about instances of sexual assault committed by students from Morehouse College, their unofficial brother school. Now, in the wake of a petition, protests, and a federal investigation, their messages are ringing louder than ever. Why haven’t we heard them?

How A Forgotten 1903 Killing Spree Became America’s First Modern Mass Shooting — Sarah Weinman

Marc Aspinall for BuzzFeed News

On August 13, 1903, Gilbert Twigg opened fire during a concert in Winfield, Kansas, killing nine and injuring dozens. There was no motive, and no one had ever seen anything like it before, or for decades after. Yet it’s the archetype for the kind of tragedy we see so frequently now.

Making An Arsonist — Mike Hayes

Alex Wroblewski for BuzzFeed News

In 1993, 14-year-old Adam Gray confessed to, and was later convicted of, setting a fire that killed two people in Chicago. But thanks to disproven arson-investigation techniques and recanted testimonies, he may now have a chance to go free.

The Escort Who Killed Her Client In Self-Defense — Melissa Gira Grant

Clay Rodery for BuzzFeed News

Last summer, Neal Falls tried to murder Heather Saul — and police suspect she wasn’t the first escort he targeted. After killing him in self-defense, she was hailed as a vigilante hero, flooded with support, and turned into a symbol of the perils of sex work, but she wasn’t ready for any of it.

This Is How Queer People In Orlando Are Mourning After The Pulse Shooting — Meredith Talusan

Meredith Talusan / BuzzFeed News

In the days after the Pulse massacre, performers in Orlando’s LGBT club scene were recovering from trauma and mourning their friends. Here’s how they’re coping: in stolen, private moments among the queer families that love them.

The Brief Life and Tragic Death of Akai Gurley — Alex Ronan

BuzzFeed News

In November 2014, Akai Gurley was shot and killed by a rookie police officer in the stairwell of a Brooklyn housing project. As the officer’s trial begins, Gurley’s family and friends tell BuzzFeed News the definitive story of the man they lost.

These Widows Hope That A Factory Can Rebuild What The Drug War Shattered — Karla Zabludovsky

Meghan Dhaliwal for BuzzFeed News

After their husbands — including many who were caught up in Mexico’s drug cartels — vanished or were killed, these women have put their blood, sweat, tears, and hopes into a small ramshackle factory. BuzzFeed News’ Karla Zabludovsky reports from Apatzingán, Mexico.

Marisa Carroll is the deputy national editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Marisa Carroll at marisa.carroll@buzzfeed.com.

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