February 14th, 1998. Talbot County, Maryland. A married couple goes on a romantic getaway to help save their marriage. Sometime after taking part in a murder mystery play, one of them is found dead in the room which had been the scene of a fire. Was this person murdered? Or was this simply a terrible accident due to an untended lit cigar? Kimberly Hricko, Steven's wife, claimed to have an alibi.
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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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it's an edge of your seat, workplace drama, thriller severance now streaming exclusively on Apple TV plus prides case for everyone. That's a fan of Valentine's day.
what would be more romantic thing going out for a murder, mystery dinner on Valentine's day, so that what are you?
about tonight tonight, side, we're talking about Kimberly Rico and her husband, Stephen and
something that happens on a night there was supposed
about romance now Kimberly Rico, she was born in nineteen sixty five. She was thirty two at the time of the event she worked for
time as a surgical technician in Maryland, people described
having a bubble personality loved by everyone, she was soccer, mom and advocate for abuse. Children said that she didn't have the best childhood. She did not have a good relationship with her father
her parents would get divorced and her mother would remarry
her new husband, apparently abused Kim also so very rough childhood
Stephen, on the other hand, was born. Nineteen sixty two- he was thirty. Five at that
he lived in Maryland. Also, he worked as a grounds keeper or superintendent on the Baltimore country. Club golf course he's described is more shy and reserved, but was an athlete in high school. He was, he played football Defensive Lyman and he was a fine,
we man very family oriented, not very outgoing but loved having a family. He had a wife and daughter.
Stephen. Had a friend name MIKE Miller, Stephen in MIKE had been friends and seventh grade MIKE had a girlfriend views, wife, eventually name marine. They introduce Kimberly to Stephen
in Bosnia. True that Kimberly had had a number of bad relationships and she was telling her friend
that she just wanted to meet a nice guy and
nice guy there were new, was even Stephen Rico
he was shy away. He wasn't a bracelet
or abusive, such as her previous relationship. So this is the perfect guy for her.
And he wouldn't be out running around a he would be at home. They meet in the Middle EAST.
eighties and by March of nineteen eighty nine MIKE is Stevens best man at the wedding
and Marine, his Kimberly's maid of honor. So they get married.
Happily, ever after writer
I guess you know an and they're both working she's actually working
as a surgical assistant so
everything. Everything is great for, while the party S over
yeah, they settle ending. They settle in together years.
Go by about nine years, but this is where the crack start to form. Stephen is
dedicated to repairing the marriage, because he knows it's in trouble
so he says why don't we
get away for Valentine's day. That weekend will do so
Romantic, let's go to resort they're doing
a murder, mystery dinner will have fun. That sounds awesome and what a guy he could have just you know some people, just they continue on things, continue to fall apart, but he did not want to lose Kimberly. He loved her. This is that
the harbour town resort. So this murder mystery dinner. Was your car
like a play almost where you have actors and actresses intermingling with the audience, and they have to figure out who done it and it was called,
the bride who cried and it sir, I guess it's sort of Campi and they did very well the audience.
your doubt who the murderer was rather quickly. Stephen had a few drinks, the
Our night seem to be very good right, Steve,
in Kimberly go back to their room, apparently
that's where the fun ended, because they're getting into an argument according to Kimberly
and so she left her plan,
to go visit, some friends, so she get cool off. She had some friends in the area, so she
is driving around in the middle
of the night, essentially going to her friends house, yes,
left her. I think around ten, thirty or so, and our friends they were couple lived about. Fifteen minutes away,
But Kimberly apparently had trouble finding the house now. This is the late 90s, one thousand nine hundred and ninety eight no gps. I can buy this can't find where they they live, she's not familiar with the area. She ends up returning to the resort after asking several people for direct,
and at some time after midnight, you know, probably around one thirty in the morning, she gets back and she's locked herself out
but she does remember that toward the back of the room they had.
Lastly, I think it was a sliding glass door unlocked like little patio were. You can go out.
So she was thinking. If I go back there, maybe I can get in so she goes to get back into the room. She sees that the room is on fire. I guess this is what she claims is smoking flames and she walked back to the lobby of the resort walks up to the front desk and calmly says her room was on fire or I think
My room is on fire something, but where is whereas the fire essentially thy? Why is she not more animated, and this is just one
We can tell you from eyewitness accounts
she seems rather com and, of course, one of the first questions she gets is.
Is anyone inside and she said. Yes, I think my husband is which, if she didn't think he was in there, I could understand my rooms on fire, but when your husband's in there
I would assume that he would be a little bit more a you would have a little bit.
More of a sense of urgency, but again we
Dont know how other people respond and react to high stress situations. The hotel staff gets access to the room, the police are called and they are asking him more questions and she tells them
Stephen had got sloppy drunk and he had gone back to their room and that's when they had the fight. So she's saying he was wasted.
they got in an altercation and she took off yes, she said that that Stephen one have sex with her, but she didn't apparently wit,
the Kimberley she had agreed to was that they
I'm going to have sex that we can, because this was about working on a relationship and they can't just jump back into things. They need to work on stuff.
And so apparently, when he tried to put the moves on her. It upset her. They got in that fight and she took off now
she's gone for a while, and she claims that she got lost.
And then eventually she makes a way back to the resort and, of course finds her room on fire when people entered the room?
I don't think it was on fire. Anymore was Justin? No, in fact, there wasn't much evidence that there was a fire and tell you, went around the bed and then found essentially Steve
body lying on the floor. The fire was.
dreamily contained two, I think a pillow that his head was on
The question is: is this a crime scene when Stephen
Viewed in the room he's lying
on the floor. He's facing up.
There are beer cans in the room and open pack of cigars now he's terribly burnt. At this point you can, I guess, deduce that she said he's drunk he passed out. He started smoking a cigar and possibly left and lit cigar on himself little himself on fire
the pillow on fire and is badly burned unless you believe and spontaneous combustion, so at first glance accidental death. Now, that's it seems like the medical, examiner, Doktor David Fowler. He conducts the autopsy and he thinks smokers accident, and this is pretty routine.
He doesn't know that Stephen is not a smoker, Stephen actually isn't a cigar smoker, but you know it was a romantic. We
again. Maybe it was time for celebration. Maybe he would smoke a cigar.
doesnt really know, but the autopsy finds no sign
alcohol in this system. That's the first clue. I guess we have here and Stephen apparently died before the room caught fire, because his co2 levels were completely normal. He had not died from smoke. Inhalation
Had not died from a stick situation and he had no suit in his mouth throat or lungs, so he didn't exactly burned to death either I mean he was badly burned, but he died before all of this took place according to the autopsy and that's when Doc,
Fowler calls the police and says you need to look into this a little bit more
first things they do. Is they look into where the alcohol was purchased, where the cigars were purchased and on the packet
of cigars and there's a price stamp, and they
finding a store where they know that the cigars
and the alcohol was purchased. So then they can say, hey did you,
see this man or woman. Do you have security cameras who bought this
while the woman that was at the register, she said,
she remembers who purchase these items because she tried to compliment the woman and her hair by saying: hey, you have gray hair. Where did you get it done,
and she said the woman got very upset, weather and said this is my natural color. While the other woman took offence
and so the cashier is like woe. That's why she remembered Kimberly Rico, so it stood out to her. So the police are thanking all right. She purchase the beer and cigars still
going to give the benefit of the doubt. They were planning on celebrating or playing on partying their planning on dry
King and having a good time together there looking at it, is she's planting this, she staging a scene.
But what if she had gone out to get it for him exactly this? Isn't that suspicious yet, but this is why they conduct interviews
You said the medical examiner doesn't know that Stephen wasn't a smoker well in a police start speaking with people they find out. No, he didn't like
smoke. He would occasional use smokeless tobacco by smoking
was not as thing and they also started
the people who knew Kimberly. Her friends also covered
they want to know more about.
Going on with Kimberly had she said anything. Had she been acting strange, this point you find out that this wasn't just a romantic outing to murder mystery dinner. This was a last ditch effort by
Stephen to try to save the marriage because it had been going downhill for several years and he had brought this out because,
Kimberly, had asked him for divorce and he didn't want that. His idea
Let's work on this that save it. She didn't seem
who keen now he he somehow convinced her or Daddy
I guess we'll get into that.
A key moment, though happened when police
got a hold of.
A man by the name of KEN Burgess, and he worked at the same place. The same hospital that Kimberly worked at
and well, he had some interesting information according to him
He was in the break room one day.
Kimberly had jokingly, said something like you know. If you want to help me, you can kill my husband for me and, of course, people make jokes. He laughed
Serbia ha ha ha.
Kimberly persisted and he figured out real, quick that she wasn't exactly joking, but again in this very awkward Sid
We shall then he tried to lighten the mood and make a joke himself like we do. Most of us in the true crime community will make
little off the cuff off hand, a joke and she
works in the o r? She works with Anastasia.
so he says. Well, you could just drag him to sleep right.
Yeah. There's a drug known as sixteen o calling.
and they would render someone completely helpless. They use it for surgery,
now. I do want to stop it here, because you can make a joke or you can
Try to turn things so that you're no longer involved in a future murder plot, but making
suggestion like this. I it's pretty dangerous war, it it's one of those
where I understand why he did it. I understand he was true
the light in the mood and just maker a funny joke, but.
there in a hospital environment with access to these drugs, he's kind of getting the sense that she's, not joking, but that's uh yeah.
Yeah the other way. You could look at, though, and
This is the way it strikes me doesn't mean I'm right, but it
more sounds to me. Like you saying you don't need me
You can do this yourself again. I only meant to do that. I think this is very accidental for him. He knows she's, not joking right.
I could she persisted. She didn't just say you could take Aramis
it's for me and then he laughed and then that was it no. This went well beyond.
Conversation does candy.
just know what six
calling can do to a human being, but he didn't suggest that particular thing. Well again, we weren't there
but I do wonder how much he did tell her and I do feel
so maybe he got himself in a situation where he didn't have to be involved anymore,
like if she really wants to do something to her husband. She doesn't need anyone else. She can do herself. She has
access to drugs. She has.
access to drugs because of her position at the hospital to me, it's very,
dangerous and down doing
the thing out of this is that he's willing to talk about it now:
He also says that there is money, floated, buddies,
He couldn't remember whether she offered him five thousand or fifty thousand dollars. I can tell you right now, since
There was about four hundred thousand dollars in life insurance on Stephen Rico
I am pretty sure that money was fit,
thousand hours the amount that was offered to him? I wouldn't do ferny less than fifty myself so
She had another friend, name, Rachel Mccoy, who will give statements about the night of January Thirtieth Kimberly called her and said you have to come over. I need you
I need to talk to you right now and Rachel went to her house, and she said: what's this about an Kimberly talked about how she plan to possibly drug him.
and then set him on fire and make it look like an accident. Rachel said, wouldn't that
your house on fire. Isn't that a bad idea shouldn't you just get a divorce near the things
tat. You would say to a friend I would hope if they are talking about killing their spouse
Kimberly would say: that's just not going to happen the divorces off the table. I need to do this. This is where it gets
little creepy at around one thirty, a M Kimberly's
as she has to go use the bathroom and she goes upstairs when she doesn't come back downstairs. Rachel goes up stairs to find her
and she finds Kimberly standing there in the bedroom staring at steed.
She didn't even know that Steve was home.
so Kimberly is staring at her husband sleeping in bad
standing there staring at him and this kind of freaked Rachel out, so she told Kimberly to come back down stairs and Kimberly start crying Rachel tried to get her to calm down, and then she talked more about her plan in what she wanted to do. So
is all but told to people that she wants to kill her husband and how she's going to do it she's going to drug him and set him on fire, but it could be a big coincidence. I could be right airplane,
People were unhappy. Maybe she was just re unhappy and then her husband ended up dying in a way.
very similar to what she had been too
king about other people could be it a coin kidding yeah, but the authorities, no coincidence they look at her behaviour. They look.
tat. The circumstances by with Steve
Rico met his end and too damn. This is
in nothing, but a set up, it's been staged and Stephen was obviously ambushed. He was murdered.
I Kimberly Rico, and so this gets hand after prosecutors and by
and you re of ninety ninety nine Kimberly Rico
finds herself on trial,
for the murder of her husband and for arson,
and we haven't even talked about the affair. She was having with a man name, Brad Winkler. Some of her friends knew about this man,
on the side. They knew that Kimberly espoused her love for him. How Kimberly talked about how good the sex was with him and stocks by how her end Stephen are going to counselling she comply
ain't. That Stephen has been following her around the house like a puppy dog smothering her at this point. She could not stand being around him. She could not stand him touching her. She could not stand it
voice. She hated him and whether she was in love with this other guy or not. What this really boils
two is Stephen, did not want to divorce. He wanted to work on things and Kimberly did not want that at all.
it was kind of like a stand off. They couldn't agree.
On how to move forward or even to move apart, so
There are locked in this continual why
I guess it's like a snowball effect at their house where things are getting worse.
worse, and I can imagine what they're doing,
Anna had to see or hear there
does seem, as though Kimberly was done was even and
play. She way she saw was to kill him, but that's something that the prosecution, when, after proven court,
it's one thing to say: yeah, this all adds up. It looks like she did a man, but how did you do that
and this guy was a defensive lineman. He was in Ex football player, he's a big, strong guy. How would Kimberly Rico kill him
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so we know the motive in his case. Yes- and the motive is she's done- was Stephen.
Must deliver own life the way she wants to live it and he's in the way he stopping her. He saying please came
the less work it out he's following around. He wants to touch her,
she's cringing away and you
have that life insurance policy hanging over the head of the motive,
then four hundred thousand dollars? It's a lot of money when you're talking about murder to get to that money. Some people have no problem with that. But again this has to be proven. So we set up-
where she could have gotten a poison, which is the sixteen o Pauline. It's very
it'll kill someone with that stuff. How did the fire get started and pay
lay the prosecution brought in.
A witness? Who is able to testify to
testing they did on the exact same kind of pillow cases.
That were found the room, what are they find out? Justin?
Seems that they were not very flammable and if you
said a cigar or any sort of lighter on them. It took a lot to get them to burn so
Stephen was more or less the fuel for the fire. The pillow was not one, these hotel rooms, quite often they have flame.
Pardon materials because they certainly don't want a fire spreading. If a fire
arts in one room and can easily spread all the other rooms.
That's a lot of damage in a lot of death. That could happen a short amount of time, and so is
protesting. They were literally taking cigars lighting them and just resting em up against the spill, ok
or laying the modem, and it would scorch him a little bit, but the pilches wouldn't catch fire and if you're trying to murders
buddy and then light them on fire to conceal evidence. That's a good plan, but
if everything in the room is not flammable how it didn't work out
So the next question is: how will they show?
Kimberly had using accelerants because when they tested for an accelerant, they couldn't find one so
the charges is arson. Yet how did she said
fire. If she said it, that's a question in this case
I think you can merely set a cigar on a human body and it will eventually catch or the shirt on your body or your clothing that can catch fire and there's a lot of cases out there about spawn
he's combustion and I would say, ninety nine point. Nine percent of cases of spontaneous combustion is somebody who fell asleep with a cigarette or cigar on themselves. You don't ever find that cigar.
or cigarette because its burned up, but the human body makes for a pretty good wick, so I think he did catch fire, but it was his clothing or something to that effect, and then it just had nothing left.
and so it burned out one of the possibilities that some accelerants can evaporate quickly and
not really leave any evidence behind its questionable whether you would fall
find any evidence of it, and so maybe
He was smart. If she did it and didn't use a lot,
sometimes you don't need a lot if you're just trying to burn a particular object
try to take down the whole house. Now some people try to.
spread around a lot of accelerant by some
you don't need a lot now
talk little bit more about the sixteen o calling because going back to can Burgess. He had said, possibly as a joke,
You work in the operating room, you could just put him to sleep and well
this. Sixteen o calling causes rapid muscle paralysis. So it's something that if you give it
by they're not going to build a move after that, and in fact you give it to people that you're that you're having to intubate, because it essentially stop there
breathing, so this is what they use for surgery if year put
Under what this you need- assistance, breathing and so another question here where
she did this. Did she inject him with the sixteen o calling because the medical examiner, Doktor Fowler, never found an injection site? Now you could say Al Stephen was badly
and maybe in the areas of his body was badly burned, was where the inject.
site was so it's been obscured, but
on the other hand, maybe she and
academic place that they just
see. Maybe she did get romantic with him. Maybe she,
get intimate with them and injected him somewhere in his genitals
were there wouldn't be, is obvious, but either way these are questions and there are definitely people out there who say
look at me. You can tell me that came dead this, but you keep saying
that she injected him with sixteen o Colleen that she said
at him on fire but you're,
showing me how she did that with any
you're just saying she did it. This is where
Witness testimony is crucial because you have her telling people she wants to kill her husband and how she's gonna do it
and then he dies by that manner. But now you have to prove that well, they can't find an injection point. Did she drug him? Well, medical examiner says he was probably.
Rubbed, probably because he wasn't breathing when he was set on fire Zactly and how did he die? Well, if you're put under that makes sense
You have all these witnesses that can come into the court room and tell store
Kimberly was unhappy. The marriage one friend said that came read her a love letter that stuff
written to Kimberly to his wife, because he wanted the marriage to work and
how he wanted to change and wanted to make everything better. The friends likewise
this is really romantic, but Kim's was
makes me sick. He suffocating me so
take all of this, and you you say: will you can't prove that she injected him? You can't prove that
set him on fire, but
when you add up her entire
story, her time line and all of these wit
as they came forward some of em who were good friends of hers? Who really like her
they have all these stories about things she had said, and I am personally struck by the fact that so many people came forward and were honest,
because there are testifying, essentially against their friend, were their coworker. Well, let's talk about her alibi
quick. She wasn't at the hotel room right. She was driving to her friends house, but then she got lost well
she's driving around she's, asking people for directions. The one person she's not asking for directions is her friend whose how she's going to why wasn't she calling her friends house and asking her how to get there? She said she didn't want to wake them up
Of course, the next question is more weren't: you playing to go there and ring the doorbell or knock on the door when that wake them up
He doesn't really have an answer for this, so she's driving to her friends house. She doesn't know how to get there, but she won't call because it's too late, she doesn't want to wait. Ok, but again, she does have other people that verify that she was asking for directions, so
She kind o wasn't at the hotel room, but we don't know when she laughed. I think it's pretty easy for the prosecution to put forward that she had started. This process thought the hotel room was going to go up in flames, laughed tat, she was gonna, come back to a bigger scene and she comes back to nothing and then she claims my hotel rooms on fire. Also, the prosecution is saying you said that he was drunk. There is no
all found in a system. They said that the bar tab were the Rico couple amounted to five dollars. Fifty cents, that's one drink! Well,
was one thousand nine hundred and ninety eight. So maybe that's two drinks. Of course the defense will say you haven't proved how to fire was set. You haven't proved that he was drugged
pull up a lot of these letters and Valentine's day cards and stuff looks like their marriage.
Ok and maybe she d
have a fling with this other man, but it was just a fling,
Rachel, Mccoy testimony at trial, that
most damning when
he called her and came was drunk telling her about how she was
murder Steve, and maybe this
well beyond that, and she said that she would do it in a way that she would not get caught so perfect. Mark
right just in and she said that came taller than you
going to get a drug that would put Steve under paralyze him
then his breathing would stop and then
You just set the curtains on fire with
cigar or a candle or something, and then he
would die of smoke inhalation. This is interesting because if you paralyze somebody
It paralyzes their long sue. Apparently, if used sixteen o combing anyway, and I am sure there are people who
Listen to this part gas who work in surgical rooms, who would know more about this stuff, but
it's interesting that she planned,
Stephen with a drug that would see
his breathing and yes, she thought that he would die
smoke inhalation because
we can build a move that does not compute stuff,
I know we just recently covered another case chest in the case of mark hacking and you
on non and about how dummy is where does
Kimberly Rico land on this scale. I think she took the trophy here because hacking didn't tell multiple people that he was going to murder his spouse, his girlfriend his wife and tell them
exactly how he was going to do it. He just left all the evidence out for the investigators to find Kimberly. She's literally told people she's going to do this and how she's gonna do it
she does it at a murder, mystery dinner. You can't write this. You can't make this up.
new at this play that they rather murder mystery dinner thing. One of the people that was at their table was a prosecutor
who was able to testify later as to what he noticed about Kimberly during that time you talk about
Rachel Mccoy earlier she was told about Stephen Rig
it was apparent, murder, not law,
before he was actually killed by Kimberly and just out
where's after hearing about state,
and dying. She called the police
often said, I need to talk to you, so this really, I think you know, despite it being because they had done
killer or fairly straightforward case. I like this because so many people
who really thought a lot of Kimberly came out and did the right thing. They testified against her
and I don't think it's as simple as well there testifying under oath now
Anybody can lie under oath. These people came out and they told the stories that they needed to tell
for justice to happen. In this case, most of them had told the police through interviews and statements before the trial
so all they really had to do was arrest Kimberly. It still took several months before they arrested her because I thought
or for months? But, as we know, investigations take time the gears of justice turned slowly. They had this case. I think open and shut before
or that first day of trial, there wasn't much defence here for Kimberly and I think it's because
what are you supposed to do here? I mean you can point out that they did
have an injection sigh every we talked about the problems with the case, but man too many people had stories about, came telling them outright, that a divorce wouldn't work and then her husband needed to die and cause after she's arrested,
and tried for this Aaron she's maintained her innocence. Sure again,
most people they know that, were I would say that I am an advocate for the wrongly convicted. I am definitely
a bleeding heart when it comes to that stuff. But its cases like this, where I think
man yeah you're, all innocent. Aren't you in this case it's just.
mine blowing that she would actually admit to it to her friends and then deny it when it's actually throne
her face. Lashes might be the expected outcome now. This is how a lot of
but probably handle it, they're confiding to their friends,
when their box on the line. Oh, I didn't do this.
I wasn't even there, I'm not trying to justify I'm not trying to take her side, but she would have had a better defence if she would have just fessed up to it
in claimed some sort of abuse claim something to that fact
I dont know why she took this beyond.
Reasonable doubt, because our know anyone who would have found her not guilty while this
It took four hours to come back with their verdict and she was found guilty of first degree, arson and first to re murder and she got life in prison for
murder and another thirty years for the arson. So we
sit here and say: why did she said it? People don't spontaneously combust and he wasn't drunk and passed out with a cigar autumn and she bought the cigars and he didn't have a history of smoking.
This would be like if you ever found me burned alive. In my sleep, I'm
highly allergic to tobacco smoke, whether be cigar or cigarette smoke, and people vapor Emmi. It's fun
when people smoke other things Ramey, it's fine, but cigarettes and cigars
it's almost as if I'm sprayed with mace. That's how bad it'll get if I'm around cigarette smoke for Asia period of time, my
Will this be pouring snot? My eyes we burning, so if you ever find mean that state. Her know that I didn't fall asleep with equivalent cigarette this
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for anyone whose wondering about the proof when it comes to the arson or where the
Jackson site is this case
is all about process of elimination and the other,
is that a very good job of illustrating just how Kimberly murdered her husband
and they had enough
stand- show evidence mounted against her, where this really
a question and its understandable. Why they weren't able
to explain the arson or the end
action say two hundred percent this case has been covered,
deadly women, forensic files and snapped, I have a friend
Nexus link letter whose producer first snapped- and I have
and be on her podcast the first degree. A couple months ago, so check that out just
serve a loose connection there that I just thought of and if
or looking for any reading on this case
Certainly there articles online by people and some others, but there are two books on this on the Kimberley Rico case, housewife muttering killer the true story of Kim Rico. By,
pew, also in active murder by Linda Rosing grants and lastly, if you're, unhappy and
thinking about murdering somebody-
crime readers, viewers list
as we all know, get a divorce or go. Polly is one of the two.
move out, if your husband bone accepted of worship move away
unfortunately, we always
I will never run out of cases because murderer
and all the time and when you have people
like him Rico, who think they're smarter than the authorities when they we know there. Now.
Even close to being as far as the authorities. This is why we end up with these cases that are just beyond ridiculous
You knew you start off with a romantic murder. Me
free weekend and it ends in a death in a fire. We
crime, conall lottery. If somebody ever plan to murder their spouse at crime con. That would just be one of the stupidest plans. Ever you have essentially thousands of people who are going to question everything about that crime. Yeah. That idea
Everybody has something that they would give anything for end.
Fortunately, there's people out there who will explain
there's nothing. Nothing from wondering comes a story about true
I love you. So much power
you're gonna have to completely submit to me and give me your complete and utter obedience and
far. Some people are willing to go to get what they want. I'm Stephanie Beatrice Twin flames: premiers on February, twenty first on apple.
on using or you can listen one week early and out free right now by subscribing to wondering plus an apple podcast or the wonder, yeah.
Transcript generated on 2022-02-23.