Terra Newell, the valiant survivor who bravely fought back and killed her attacker, “Dirty John” Meehan, and Collier Landry, the courageous young man who confronted his father in court for murdering his mother, have joined forces to launch an innovative podcast that seeks to transform the true crime genre. “The Survivor Squad” is dedicated to promoting ethical true crime storytelling and providing a secure platform for survivors to share their stories in their own words.
Each episode of “The Survivor Squad” highlights a survivor who recounts their harrowing experience of overcoming unimaginable trauma. However, this is not your typical true crime podcast. Terra and Collier create a distinctive space for each survivor to narrate their story as an individual, transcending headlines and sensationalism. The objective is to empower and humanize survivors while improving the true crime space for them.
The show features inspiring stories of resilience and survival, hosting a diverse array of guests. Among them are Amanda Knox, a wrongful conviction advocate and journalist, whose 2007 arrest and wrongful murder conviction made headlines worldwide before her exoneration. Rita Isbell, sister of Jeffrey Dahmer’s last victim, discusses the social media scrutiny she endured following the release of Ryan Murphy’s “Dahmer” series. Kelsi German, whose sister Liberty and best friend Abby were murdered in Delphi, Indiana, changed her academic focus to criminal justice in response to the tragedy.
Other guests include Eric Carter Landin, creator of the “True Coincidences” podcast covering unsolved cases in New Mexico; Jimanekia Eborn, a Queer Media Consultant and sexual assault expert who hosts Trauma Queen, a podcast for assault survivors; and Madeline Heather, an advocate and survivor of sexual assault who hosts the podcast “Reclaim Me.” Harrison James, who speaks out about his experience of childhood sexual abuse by his stepmother and advocates for others, is also a strong victim rights advocate in his native Australia.
Mariah Day discusses her mother’s murder by Pam Hupp and the media’s glorification of the case featured in the show “The Thing About Pam,” while Ruth Markel seeks justice for her son Dan Markel and advocates for changes in grandparent visitation statutes in Florida. Vanessa Reiser made international headlines by running across the state of New York in a wedding dress to raise awareness for her cause, and Lenora Claire, an advocate for stalking victims, shares her expertise in raising stalking awareness nationwide.
John Palmer’s wife, Katie Palmer, was fatally struck by their neighbor in 2020, and he continues to seek justice for her death. Mark Vicente, an award-winning writer, director, and producer, exposes the NXIVM organization cult in HBO’s “THE VOW,” while Lola Blanc and her mother escaped the religious FLDS cult and survived sex trafficking. Ashley Hoff, a producer and survivor of the 2017 Las Vegas shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Festival, shares her story in the documentary series “11 Minutes,” and Denise Winters, who escaped the “Milwaukee Strangler” serial killer, recounts her experiences to offer hope and encouragement to others. Margaret Cho, a comedian and actress, opens up about her experiences of childhood and narcissistic abuse in adulthood. Debra Newell gained notoriety due to her relationship with her abusive husband, “Dirty John” Meehan, popularized by the Dirty John podcast and subsequent hit Bravo show. She and her daughter now use their experience to help others.
Additionally, Jennifer Faison shares her story of betrayal and recovery after discovering her husband’s dark secret life in the hit podcast “The Betrayal,” while Briell Decker sheds light on the darkest secrets of the FL
DS Church as the subject of the docuseries “Prisoner of the Prophet.”
“The Survivor Squad” is the brainchild of Terra Newell and Collier Landry, two individuals who have firsthand experience of the devastating effects of violent crime. Their collaboration combines the power of survivor storytelling with the importance of ethical reporting, resulting in a compelling, informative, and captivating podcast.
“We want to give survivors a voice, a platform to share their story in a respectful and empowering way. Survivors are more than just victims – they have faced incredible adversity and have come out stronger on the other side,” says Terra, who has long been an outspoken advocate, sharing her story on TODAY and the Kelly Clarkson Show.
Collier adds, “We hope that by sharing these stories, we can help change the conversation around true crime and show the world that survivors deserve to be heard and supported.” Collier, who took control of his narrative in his documentary “A Murder in Mansfield,” also advocates for change through his “Moving Past Trauma” podcast.
“The Survivor Squad” is a must-listen for anyone interested in true crime, survivor advocacy, and ethical reporting. The podcast is available on all major platforms, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, YouTube, and Google Podcasts.