It was a beautiful day on the California coastline when 20-year-old Deana Wild agreed to take a day trip to Big Sur with older couple Virginia and Billy Joe McGinnis. This is a popular tourist spot, but the cliffs are dangerous with unstable earth near the edge and the rocky Pacific coast below.
Deana didn’t feel well that day but Virginia convinced her to walk along the cliff’s edge and pose for photos. As Deana looked out at the beautiful scenery, Virginia began to snap photos. Billy Joe put his arm around the listless young woman with his hand at her back.
Only Deana, Virginia, and Billy Joe knew what happened next. What we do know is that Deana fell to her death from the cliff that day. Her autopsy would show that she had clawed her fingernails into the earth trying to save herself. But the weight of her body or the push of her killer sent her plummeting to the rocks below.
Join us at the quiet end for The Beneficiary. When Deana fell to her death, the idea of it being an accident was feasible. But further investigation, including earlier suspicious deaths in Virginia McGinnis’ past and a life insurance purchase made the day before Deana’s death with Virginia as the beneficiary, led Deana’s mother and investigators to take a closer look into what happened that day.
Death Benefit by David Heilbroner
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*Thank you to Nate for suggesting this case*