E148: James Robert Cruz Jr.

(note: time stamps are without ads & may be off a little)

This week Beth and Wendy discuss the case ofJames Robert Cruz Jr., a trucker from Ohio who was convicted of murdering a 17 year old girl. But it’s been widely speculated that he is, in fact, a serial killer, responsible for several other similar murders committed in Ohio.

We dive into the setting (15:34), the killer’s early life (26:00) and the timeline (33:59).  Then, we get into the investigation & arrest (44:04), “Where are they now?” (59:18) followed by our takeaways and what we think made the perp snap (01:01:20).  

As usual we close out the show with some tips on how not to get murdered (01:06:01) and our shout outs (01:08:27). 

Researched & scripted by Wendy & Beth Williams.

Don’t forget that Fruitloops is going to be at CrimeCon April 21-May 1, 2022. Use our code FRUITLOOPS to tell them that we sent you and to get 10% off your tickets! https://www.crimecon.com/cc22

Thanks for listening! This is a weekly podcast and new episodes drop every Thursday, so until next time… look alive guys, it’s crazy out there!


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Shout Outs

We Need to Talk About Cosby

Inventing Anna


Dealing Justice Podcast

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Miller, Matt. (03/23/2019). DA Ray Gricar’s disappearance plays into denial of appeal in high-profile murder case. Penn Live. Retrieved 01/29/2022 from https://www.pennlive.com/midstate/2015/03/da_ray_gricars_disappearance_p.html

Reyes, Traciy. (02/28/2016). Jim Cruz, James Robert Cruz: Killer Truck Driver Who Left Teen Dead In Snow Subject Of ‘Evil Lives Here’ On ID. Inquisitr. Retrieved 01/29/2022 from https://www.inquisitr.com/2834158/jim-cruz-james-robert-cruz-dawn-marie-birnbaum-ids-evil-lives-here-revisits-case-of-teen-found-dead-in-snow-sheila-janutolo/

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Partington, Verity. (12/16/2020). The Killer of Dawn Marie Birnbaum Could Be Released On a Technicality. Medium. Retrieved 01/29/2022 from https://veritycreates.medium.com/the-killer-of-dawn-marie-birnbaum-could-be-released-on-a-technicality-1c3772f9d3bd

Brenda Condon Missing. (n.d.). Serial Killer James Robert Cruz, Jr. & ‘Spring Dawn’. Retrieved 01/29/2022 from https://brendacondon.weebly.com/james-robert-cruz-jr.html

Clemente Funeral Homes. (n.d.). Sheila L (Janutolo) Thiry. Retrieved 01/30/2022 from https://www.clementefuneralhomes.com/notices/Sheila-Thiry

Alley, Sierra. (07/02/2021). Here’s the story behind trucking serial killer Dr. No’s reign of terror on America’s highways. CDL Life. Retrieved 02/06/2022 from https://cdllife.com/2021/heres-the-story-behind-trucking-serial-killer-dr-nos-reign-of-terror-on-americas-highways/

Cairns, Courtney. (06/14/1994). Fate of Cruz trial now rests in hands of jury. Daily Collegian. Retrieved 02/08/2022 from https://www.collegian.psu.edu/archives/fate-of-cruz-trial-now-rests-in-hands-of-jury/article_98ff9f0b-d78e-56fa-a2e1-c0379d467653.html

Find A Grave. (n.d.). Dawn Marie Birnbaum. Retrieved 02/08/2022 from https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/166733031/dawn-marie-birnbaum

The Killer of Dawn Marie Birnbaum Could Be Released On a Technicality. Retrieved 02/08/2022 from https://veritycreates.medium.com/the-killer-of-dawn-marie-birnbaum-could-be-released-on-a-technicality-1c3772f9d3bd


Kaplan, Johnna. (08/17/2016). Northeast Ohio is Built Like New England Because It Used to Be Owned by Connecticut. Atlas Obscura. Retrieved 02/07/2022 from https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/northeast-ohio-is-built-like-new-england-because-it-used-to-be-owned-by-connecticut

The University of Akron. (2008). Native Americans and Early Statehood. Black, White and Beyond. Retrieved 02/07/2022 from https://learn.uakron.edu/beyond/nativeam_earlystate.htm

Fraga, Kaleena. (01/12/2022). The Controversial Story Of The Élan School, The ‘Last Stop’ For Troubled Teens In Maine. All That’s Interesting. Retrieved 02/08/2022 from https://allthatsinteresting.com/elan-school

Francis, Toluse. (12/28/2021). Confrontational or Attack Therapy. The Mentalist. Retrieved 02/08/2022 from https://tolusefrancis.substack.com/p/confrontational-or-attack-therapy

Ohio History Central. (n.d.). Category: African Americans. Retrieved 02/13/2022 from https://ohiohistorycentral.org/w/Category:African_Americans#

Ohio History Central. (n.d.). Hispanic Ohioans. Retrieved 02/13/2022 from https://ohiohistorycentral.org/w/Hispanic_Ohioans

Ohio History Central. (n.d.). Latino Ohioans. Retrieved 02/13/2022 from https://ohiohistorycentral.org/w/Latino_Ohioans


Trish & Maddi (hosts). (11/02/2020). Criminal Discourse Podcast: James Robert Cruz Jr http://podcast. Retrieved 02/14/2022 from https://criminaldiscoursepodcast.com/james-robert-cruz-jr/


Disappeared: S3 E9, A Family’s Curse.

Evil Lives Here: S1 E6, Home Sweet Nightmare.

FBI Files: S2 E5, A Stranger in Town.


“Abyss” by Alasen: ●https://soundcloud.com/alasenhttps://twitter.com/icemantraphttps://instagram.com/icemanbass/https://soundcloud.com/therealfrozenguy
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