Surviving a Serial Killer: Surviving the Bishop’s Basement (ID, May 26, 2024)

People Magazine Investigates

The fourth episode of People Magazine Investigates: Surviving a Serial Killer is set to air on Investigation Discovery on Sunday, May 26, 2024. The episode is titled Surviving the Bishop’s Basement and focuses on the abductions and crimes committed by Gary Heidnik.

The episode tells the disturbing story of Gary Heidnik, who called himself “The Bishop” and ran a church out of his house. Heidnik’s criminal history dates back to 1976 when he was charged with aggravated assault and unlicensed firearm possession after shooting a tenant. In 1978, he abducted his girlfriend’s mentally disabled sister, confining her against her will. The episode begins with Heidnik’s abduction of a woman, marking the start of a pattern that would ensnare six women in his basement. Among them was Josefina Rivera, who realized that her only hope for survival was to escape the horrific situation.

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The narrative of Surviving the Bishop’s Basement unfolds against the broader context of Heidnik’s previous crimes and the pattern of abductions that took place in the mid-1980s. Heidnik targeted young African-American women, often those with mental disabilities, luring or forcing them to his home. There, he kept them chained in his basement, subjecting them to unspeakable horrors. Josefina Rivera eventually managed to make her courageous escape on March 24, 1987, and Heidnik.

His trial began in June 1988, with Heidnik claiming insanity as his defence. However, this was refuted by the prosecution, who pointed to his successful financial dealings, including his investments in the stock market. Heidnik was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder. He was sentenced to death and executed by lethal injection on July 6, 1999.

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Surviving the Bishop’s Basement builds on the previous episodes of People Magazine Investigates: Surviving a Serial Killer, which chronicles the stories of people who have survived encounters with serial killers. The series aims to empower victims and survivors by sharing their disturbing yet inspiring accounts of escape and resilience. Each episode focuses on a different serial killer and the impact they had on their victims’ lives.

People Magazine Investigates: Surviving the Bishop’s Basement airs on Sunday, May 26, 2024, at 9:00 p.m. on Investigation Discovery.

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