top of page

Episode 59 | Stranger Than Fiction: The Truth About The Crimes of Daniel LaPlante, Townsend, Massachusetts, with author Joe Turner

This is the follow-up to the last two episodes. When I say "stranger than fiction" I mean it's so weird that you cannot make this shit up, yet lots of info shared online is just that, made up.He's the boy in the walls. That's part of the story. But what is the story? Like most cases I research for the show, it's never what it appears on the surface. There is always more to the story, more information to find, to dig into to tell the story properly. When I started to read about the Gustafson family murders in 1987, then what happened to the Bowens of Pepperell the year before, I realized that little about the person responsible and the case - particularly the Bowen case - was factual. It is all made up rubbish.It has taken me some time to sort it all out, the case of Daniel LaPlante, the teenage boy whose crimes went from outlandish to unspeakable. The boy in the wall graduated to murder. In this episode, episode 59, we discuss graphic topics of murder, sexual assault, stalking, and something we now call phrogging. But in 1986, a teenage boy was hiding in a crawl space in someone's house for months. I speak to writer Joe Turner about the case he's been researching for years for his book about the case, The Boy In The Walls, and we go over quite a few pieces of erroneous information about the life and times of Daniel LaPlante, teenage tyrant and murderer, whose run lasted from 1986-1987 in Townsend and Pepperell, Massachusetts - two small towns on the New Hampshire border, where I have heard people say “outside Boston” when referring to the towns and their locations. Outside, yes, by about 50 miles.

Joe Turner has spoken to the Bowen girls, now women, Tina, Kathy and Karen, members of the Laplante family, friends from Townsend, all of whom never discussed Daniel or these cases before.

I learned about Daniel’s paternity and dark things about the man he called his father, about Daniel’s reported sexual abuse (and what we have blame for his very bad behavior), what really happened in the walls of the Bowen home over the course of several months in 1986, and what connection Andrew Gustafson had to Daniel Laplante before the murders of his family in 1987.  

Uncover the nightmarish tale of Daniel LaPlante, as we go back  three decades of misinformation, through the depths of Daniel's troubled childhood, the psychological terror he inflicted on the Bowen family, and his grim connection to the Gustafson family's demise. The dark heart of New England's history beats within this narrative, as we confront the complex reality of murder, sexual assault, and the unnerving 'phrogging' phenomenon. We dissect the dangers of sensationalism & confront the myths. 

Next Live Show! Join me Thurs 3/7 at Off Cabot in Beverly, Mass for New England Crime Stories live, we'll talk about missing person cases and advocacy | Get tickets


Daniel Laplante's trail or terror: The Bowens, The Gustafsons, the chase and capture, the greasy 17 year old, crime scene and case photos shared by author Joe Turner of the gun, a young Tina Bowen, a drawer of condoms in the Gustafson home found after the murders, the bed with ligatures, the scenic Methodist Church in what should be a serene small town in Massachusetts, mugshot taken after Pepperell arrest, black and white shot of the getaway bus, and a facsimile to show the clown wig orange color of the vehicle LaPlante chose to 'get away' in, the home at 22 West Elm St (where the mother of Daniel LaPlante reportedly still lives)


Our conversation is based on Joe Turner's research for the book and my research of the Gustafson and Bowen cases going back to 1986 and 1987 in Pepperell and Townsend, Mass.

Source links can be found in the show notes for episodes 57 and 58.


bottom of page