Real Crime: The Real Blair Witch Wednesday 1 August, 9.30pm
In 2002, five friends in Michigan filmed themselves kidnapping a young woman. Five days later, the friends were arrested and they now face life imprisonment. But was the kidnapping real, or was it all a game? ‘Real Crime: The Real Blair Witch’ (tonight on TV ONE at 9:30pm) takes an in-depth look at this intriguing case, showing footage from the actual kidnapping and interviews with those involved.
On 6 March 2002, 19-year-old waitress Danielle Taylor, from Flint, Michigan, went to a student house known for its parties, booze and dope-smoking. Shortly after arriving, she was wrestled to the ground, tied up and told she was going to die. At knife-point she was put in the back seat of a car, driven to a remote wooded area and placed in a shallow grave.
The five friends who did this to Taylor videoed of the whole thing. On the tape they can be heard telling her, “Hey, it hurts right? Well think about it, in an hour you’ll never feel another thing.” Later in the tape another voice says “We are going to bury you alive. You are going to die.”
The friends claim it was all just a joke and that Taylor was in on the whole thing. They say they were just trying to make a realistic ‘Blair Witch’-style horror movie, in which Taylor had agreed to act.
Taylor maintains that she didn’t know it was a joke and that she was terrified for her life. The Michigan State Prosecutor agreed and charged the defendants with kidnapping – if found guilty, they face between nine years and life in jail. The judge presiding over the case called the kidnapping one of the most repulsive, sadistic things she’d seen in her 24 years as a judge.
A local Flint journalist, Jim Smith, has followed the case from the beginning. “This kidnap case is one of the strangest cases I’ve ever covered, and I’ve covered some strange things. The community was totally split over this – either these kids were the most evil thing that ever happened, or they were just kids pulling a prank.”
One of the boys implicated in the kidnapping is Jimmy Carwile. Carwile’s lawyer, Dan Ambrose, vehemently asserts that Taylor was in on the whole thing, pointing to a crucial moment in the video that doesn’t fit with Taylor’s story of being tied up: “There’s a part when she reaches up and scratches her nose, then puts her hand back behind her back. Well, unless she’s triple-jointed, she could never do that. It wasn’t like they jumped on the fact that her hands were free. She put her hand back behind her and they continued filming.”
Be the judge of whether Danielle Taylor was a victim of a terrifying kidnapping ordeal, or if she was simply a talented actress who fell out with her friends, on ‘Real Crime: The Real Blair Witch’, tonight at 9.30pm on TV ONE.