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The Top-Searched True Crime Stories in Each State

Jan 10, 2022

The Top-Searched True Crime Stories in Each State

Nothing gets our attention more than real-life events—the nation’s interest in true crime proves that more than ever before. True crime’s popularity has skyrocketed in the past couple of years. From podcasts to documentaries and other forms of media, examining true crime cases continues to be a growing obsession in the United States. Readers, listeners, and watchers are able to investigate the darker side of the world at a safe distance. 

Diving into true crime stories throughout history allows us to play a quick game of couch detective. Whether we’re watching the latest Netflix documentary or our favorite Youtuber, the genre gives its audience a peek into the minds of people who commit extreme acts. What drove them to do the unthinkable? What makes them tick? Will justice be served? 


Using a list of true crime stories from popular websites or that have been featured on shows and podcasts, we gathered the top-searched true crime cases in all 50 states, including DC. Our study is based on the topic within Google’s search data to get a stronger sense of the search volume. Overall, we used 63 true crime cases to conduct our research. The data reflects search volume between November of 2020 and 2021.

The Most Searched True Crime Story in Every U.S. State

A chart displaying the top-searched true crime story in every U.S. state

A majority of the states choose different true crime cases as their go-to. High-profile cases, such as the death of Caylee Anthony and the O.J. Simpson murder case, top our list as the most searched in several states. Serial Killer David Berkowitz trails closely behind, while Aileen Wuornos, serial killer, and the Richardson family murders tie for fourth. 

Every state has been the scene of an unforgettable crime and to no surprise, the most-searched true crime cases in each state are those that happened within their own state lines. Colorado’s top true crime case, for example, is the recent Watt’s family murder. In 2018, Chris Watts murdered his pregnant wife, Shanann Watts, and their two daughters to stay with another woman. In his original confession, Watts tried to blame everything on Shanann. He claimed she killed the children, causing him to react in a deadly manner. 

Similarly, in Utah, Ted Bundy tops the list as the most searched true crime case. The infamous serial killer committed crimes in multiple states, with Utah being one of them. Known for his charming good looks and attitude, Bundy used that to his advantage to kill at least 20 women in the 1970s. California’s top-searched crime case is, perhaps unsurprisingly, serial killer Richard Ramirez. He terrorized the residents of the Los Angeles and San Francisco area and murdered at least 14 people. 

Other states whose top searches are crimes committed in the states themselves include Arkansas, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, Ohio, Texas, and Wisconsin.

The Top-Searched True Crime Stories Overall

A chart of the top-searched true crime stories overall

The Death of Caylee Anthony ranks as the top-searched true crime case in six states including DC. The story made national news on July 15, 2008. You couldn’t turn the television on without seeing constant updates. Cindy Anthony, Caylee Anthony’s grandmother, called 9-1-1 to report the toddler missing. Caylee had been missing for 31 days after being left in the care of her babysitter, “Zanny”. The trial lasted six weeks, from May to July 2011. The prosecution alleged Casey murdered her daughter while the defense insisted it was an accident. Casey Anthony was found not guilty on one count of first-degree murder, one count of aggravated manslaughter of a child, and one count of child abuse. She was found guilty on four counts of giving false information to law enforcement. Caylee’s murder remains unsolved to this day.

The O. J. Simpson murder trial happened 10 years prior to the disappearance of Caylee Anthony. It ranks second in top true-crime searches with a total of four states: Michigan, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and Oregon. Both stories share similarities: horrible killing, obsessive media coverage, and possibly the most controversial acquittals in true crime history. “If the glove doesn’t fit, you must acquit,” said Johnnie Cochran, one of Simpson’s lawyers. Simpson was tried and acquitted for the murders of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman. 

New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania’s top-searched true crime case is American serial killer, David Berkowitz. From 1976 to 1977, he attacked innocent people in their cars in New York City using a .44 caliber Bulldog revolver. This is where his nickname “.44 Caliber Killer” came from. He was also known as the “Son of Sam,” claiming that the Devil had possessed his neighbor Sam’s dog and was sending him messages that told him to murder. 

Closing Thoughts

The public’s obsession with true crime has never been stronger with all the binge-worthy streaming options. There’s something addicting about the rush of fear you feel as you let your curiosity explore the darkness behind the human psyche.

Whether you’re a couch detective watching the latest Netflix insane crime documentary or an attorney at Edwards Kirby, we share the same goal—preserving the belief in justice for all. Media attention can be intense, especially with high-profile cases like these. Though their influences are important, media bias can happen. At Edwards Kirby, we get the results our clients deserve— whether it’s in news or not. No matter the case, we passionately represent those in need. 

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