Episode Dubbed 221:

Symbolic Violins

The Rescue of Baby Jessica


The Deaths of Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen


Episode Dubbed 221: Symbolic Violins

This week, on My Favorite Murder DUBBED, listener discretion is NOT advised! Karen and Georgia cover the rescue of Baby Jessica and the deaths of Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen. 221 - Symbolic Violins was originally released on May 7, 2020.

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The Rescue of Baby Jessica

The Rescue of Baby Jessica Notes:

Header Image Source: Photo by Andre Benz on Unsplash

Other Images: 

1. Baby Jessica and President George H.W. Bush (Alamy)

2. Rescuers surrounding the pipe that Baby Jessica fell into (Barbara Laing / Getty)


"Jessica McClure Morales (born March 26, 1986; also known as "Baby Jessica" in 1987) fell into a well in her aunt's backyard in Midland, Texas on October 14, 1987, at the age of 18 months. Between that day and October 16, rescuers worked for 56 hours to free her from the 8-inch (20 cm) well casing 22 feet (6.7 m) below the ground. The story gained worldwide attention (leading to some criticism as a media circus), and later became the subject of a 1989 ABC television movie Everybody's Baby: The Rescue of Jessica McClure.

McClure's rescue proved to be a much more difficult ordeal than was first anticipated. Within hours of beginning the emergency procedure, the Midland Fire and Police Departments devised a plan that involved drilling a shaft parallel to the well and then drilling a tunnel at a right angle across to it. Enlisting the help of a variety of local (often out-of-work) oil drillers, the Midland officials had hoped to free McClure in minutes. However, the first workers to arrive on the scene found their tools barely adequate to penetrate the hard rock around the well. It took about six hours to drill the shaft and longer to drill the tunnel, because the jackhammers used were designed for drilling downward, rather than sideways. A mining engineer eventually arrived to help supervise and coordinate the rescue effort. TV viewers watched as paramedics and rescuers, drilling experts and contractors worked to save McClure's life. Meanwhile, they were reassured when they heard her singing “Winnie the Pooh” from deep in the well. As long as she was still singing, they knew she was still alive. Forty-five hours after she fell into the well, the shaft and tunnel were finally completed.

The relatively new technology of waterjet cutting, used to cut through the hard rock around the well, was a vital part of the rescue.

Ron Short, a roofing contractor who was born without collar bones because of cleidocranial dysostosis and so could collapse his shoulders to work in cramped corners, arrived at the site and offered to go down the shaft. They considered his offer, but did not use it. One report said that he helped to clear tunneling debris away.

Midland Fire Department paramedic Robert O'Donnell was ultimately able to inch his way into the tunnel and wrestle McClure free from the confines of the well, handing her to fellow paramedic Steve Forbes, who carried her up to safety, and then Paramedic Bill Queen, who carried her to the waiting ambulance..."

— Source: Jessica McClure Wikipedia

The Deaths of Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen

The Deaths of Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen Notes:

Other Images: 

1. Nancy Spungen & Sid Vicious (Alamy)


"Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious was found dead in New York City on 2 February 1979, 40 years ago. It was less than four months after the death of his girlfriend, Nancy Spungen – and Vicious stood accused of murdering her in the bathroom of their suite at the Chelsea Hotel. But four decades on, what really happened in Room 100 still remains unclear.

The boy born John Simon Ritchie in Lewisham was only 21 when he died. He overdosed on heroin at a Greenwich Village party thrown to celebrate his release from the notorious Riker’s Island prison, a 55-day stay during which he had taken part in a – clearly ineffectual – drug rehabilitation programme.

Vicious had been held for assaulting Patti Smith’s brother Todd with a broken Heineken bottle at the Hurrah nightclub while out on bail following his arrest on suspicion of murdering Spungen.

She had died of a stab wound to the abdomen on 12 October 1978. Vicious’s fatal relapse at his release party meant he would never be convicted of her killing – although the certainty he was responsible has long lingered.

And Vicious did initially confess to the crime, declaring “I did it … Because I’m a dirty dog”, before retracting his statement, saying he had been asleep when it happened. The quantity of barbiturates he is known to have consumed that night – 30 Tuinal tablets, a powerful sedative – would certainly support the argument he was “out cold” at the time.

Many have speculated the whole tragic episode was the result of a botched suicide pact, the couple romanticised as punk’s very own Romeo and Juliet.

Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren, admittedly never an entirely trustworthy source, remained unwavering in his defence of Vicious, criticising the police investigation into the incident and telling The Daily Beast in 2009: “She was the first and only love of his life ... I am positive about Sid’s innocence.”..."

Source: “Sid Vicious is still punk’s biggest mystery, 40 years after his death” by Joe Sommerlad (Independent)