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Teens Who Have Been Sentenced to Life in Prison

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The World Prison Brief estimates that 500,000 prisoners are serving life sentences across the world; about 200,000 of these prisoners are in U.S. prisons. One would be mistaken to assume that the prisoners who have been handed life sentences are hardened and seasoned criminals, but the reality is much darker. Some of them are teenagers who committed horrific atrocities that left everyone who heard of their crimes in shock over the vicious cruelty in people who have barely outgrown the innocence of childhood. Here is a list of some teens who have been sentenced to life in prison and the shocking crimes that landed them behind bars.

Aiden Fucci

In March this year, the family and friends of Tristyn Bailey let out a collective sigh of relief after the court handed Aiden Fucci, her killer, a life sentence. However, the sentence did little to bring comfort to the family of the teenager who met an horrific death in 2021. Aiden and Tristyn were both students at Patriot Oaks Academy. On the eve of Mother’s Day 2021, Aiden asked one of his friends for Tristyn’s number. He initiated a conversation with the 13-year-old cheerleader, asking her to meet him at a friend’s house. Tristyn obliged and left her house to meet Aiden, unaware that she would not return to help her elder sister prepare a Mother’s Day surprise for their mother the following morning, as they’d planned. Later that night, Aiden and Tristyn were spotted walking along Saddlestone Drive. One hour and 45 minutes later, video footage showed Aiden walking back along the same path alone. Tristyn’s body was found in a pond near Saddlestone Drive.

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Investigations into Tristyn’s death uncovered several troubling facts about Aiden. According to his girlfriend and some close friends, the teen often talked about murder – he had once confessed that he would drag someone into the woods and stab them to death. He acted on his fantasy when he stabbed Tristyn to death. During his trial, Tristyn’s sister demonstrated the depth of the darkness in Aiden when she counted the number of stab wounds on the 13-year-old’s body. One by one, she dropped glass balls into a glass jar, making an impactful statement that her sister was stabbed 114 times. Several minutes and 114 balls later, the courtroom was dead silent as everyone contemplated the terror Tristyn felt as Aiden drove a knife into her again and again until she died.

Aiden was 14 at the time of the incident and 16 when he stood trial for the horrific crime. Although he was a minor, the judge charged him as an adult, citing the amount of time and thought that Aiden put into planning and executing the crime, the lack of an external source pressuring him into committing the crime, and his level of maturity, which meant that Aiden understood the consequences of his actions. Naturally, Aiden was handed a life sentence, but his lawyer has filed an appeal claiming that the court should strike a psychological evaluation stating that Aiden was a poor candidate for rehabilitation, and reconsider the ruling. The appeal came just as Aiden’s mother is set to stand trial for destroying evidence by washing her son’s bloody jeans on the night of the murder. For now, the ruling stands. Aiden Fucci will spend the rest of his life in prison.

Lionel Tate

In 1999, a mother left her 6-year-old daughter, Tiffany Eunick, with a friend, Kathleen, for the night. Kathleen had a 12-year-old son, Lionel Tate. At 10:00, Kathleen left Lionel and Tiffany watching TV and playing and went upstairs to bed. At 10:40, Lionel rushed upstairs and informed his mother that Tiffany wasn’t breathing. According to Lionel, he and Tiffany were playing a wrestling game. He put her in a headlock and she hit her head against the edge of the table. She then rolled on the ground and peed her pants before she stopped moving. He left her on the floor and watched more television before checking on her again, only to find her unresponsive and cold. That’s when he rushed to get his mother.

Lionel’s case had people divided. One group argued that she met her tragic death in a harmless wrestling game between two children, but the second believed that Lionel had attacked her violently and killed her; experts agreed with the second group. A child-abuse expert testified that Lionel beat Tiffany brutally for at least five minutes, which left the 6-year-old with a cracked skull, bruises all over her body, lacerations to her liver, bleeding in her kidneys, and a broken rib. Kathleen rejected a plea deal, believing that Lionel would be acquitted, but he was handed a life sentence in 2001, becoming the youngest person to be sentenced to life in the US. Lionel’s story becomes more complicated from then, since his sentence was later reviewed, and he was released on parole only to end up in prison again after pleading guilty to armed robbery.

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Brian Draper and Torey Adamcik

Brian and Torey rival Aiden Fucci’s psychopathic level of premeditation and meticulous planning before the execution of an heinous crime. Dubbed “The Scream Killers” for their reverence for the masked killer in the horror film “Scream,” friends and classmates Brian and Torey shocked the world with their brutality and lack of remorse for their actions. They took time to choose their victim, place themselves in her circle, and wait for the perfect time to strike.

The murderous teens created a “death list” – Cassie Jo Stoddart was one of the names on the list. 22 September 2006 was a school day. During the day, Brian and Torey filmed her as she placed her books in her locker and went about her day. That night, Cassie was house-sitting for some relatives and had invited her boyfriend, Matt, and their two friends, Brian and Torey. After spending the evening together, the two boys, who were 16 years old at the time, left Cassie and Matt to go back to their homes for the night. Unknown to Cassie, they left the basement door open for their return that night, to execute their crime.

Outside, the two boys donned the same outfit as the masked killer in “Scream” and crept back into the house through the basement door armed with two knives. They made some noises to lure Matt and Cassey downstairs by frightening the couple. A scared Cassie begged Matt to spend the night, but his mother insisted that he had to go home. Cassie declined his offer to go with him to his house since she was house-sitting. With Matt gone, Brian and Torey went upstairs and stabbed Cassie to death before fleeing, leaving her to bleed to death. They were caught a few days later and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole in their trial the following year.

Sierra Halseth and Aaron Guerrero

There are more male than female perpetrators of violent crimes and homicide worldwide but women, in this case a teenage girl, have often committed murder and other violent crimes. In 2021, 16-year-old Sierra Halseth and her 18-year-old boyfriend Aaron Guerrero killed Daniel Halseth, Sierra’s father, by stabbing and cutting him 70 times. After killing him, they attempted to burn his body and house, stole his car and debit card, and fled the city. They were arrested shortly afterwards and charged with fraud, conspiracy to commit murder, and robbery, arson, robbery, and murder with a deadly weapon. There was plenty of evidence against them, including suspicious purchases of items such as saw blades, disposable gloves, and lighter fluid that Guerrero had made the day before Halseth’s body was found. Both pleaded guilty to all charges and were sentenced to life in prison.

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However, there was more to Sierra’s involvement in the crime than just killing her father and fleeing with her boyfriend. Sierra’s mother, who was divorced from Daniel Halseth at the time of the murder, had filed a case against him for assault, battery, and coercion, to which he pleaded guilty. Sierra claimed that her father had abused her physically and sexually, an accusation that her mother supported given her history with her deceased ex-husband. Reports from some officers from Child Protective Services seemed to corroborate Sierra’s accusations against her deceased father. One officer in particular suspected that one of Sierra’s parents could have involved her in human trafficking. Although Sierra’s allegations matched these concerns, Tierra Jones, the judge, went on to hand Sierra and Guerrero life sentences but granted them reprieve when she allowed their eligibility for parole in 22 years.

Monique Maestas

In January 2003, Monique Maestas and her brother Beau Maestas, marched into the home of Tamara Bergeron fuming mad at her for selling them salt instead of the methamphetamine they had paid for. The drug dealer was not at home at the time but her two children, three-year-old Kristyanna and 10-year-old Brittney were in the house. When the siblings rang the doorbell, Brittney refused to let them in since they were strangers. Monique lied that Tamara had been injured prompting Brittney to open the door. Once inside, Monique and Beau attacked the two children. They slit Kristyanna’s throat, stabbed, and cut her. She died at the scene. The siblings then turned to Brittney and stabbed her 20 times and cut through to her spinal cord twice, leaving her paralyzed for life.

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Monique was 16 when she and Beau, who was 19 at the time, cut short one child’s life and condemned her sister to a wheelchair for the rest of her life. Beau confessed to the crime by saying that he “slaughtered the little piggies.” He was handed the death penalty.  Monique was charged with four crimes, including conspiracy to commit murder, armed burglary, attempted murder with a weapon, and murder to the first degree. She plead guilty, but was ineligible for the death penalty since, unlike her elder brother, she was a minor when she committed the crime. In 2006, Monique was handed a sentence of 47 years to life. Beau’s sentence is apparently still under appeal/review.

Cyntoia Brown

Have you watched the documentary “Murder to Mercy” on Netflix? If you have, you are familiar with the complex case of Cyntoia Brown. Hers is a story that brought together celebrities such as Rihanna and Kim Kardashian, producers from PBS and Netflix, and high-profile lawyers from all over the country, and sparked interest all over the world. One night in 2004, Johnny Allen picked up Cyntoia in Nashville. They agreed that he would pay her $150 to have sex with him and drove to his house for the service. While they were in Johnny’s bed, Cyntoia shot and killed him. She claimed that he made a movement that she interpreted as him reaching for a gun. She shot him first in self-defense but prosecutors insisted that she intended to rob him the entire time. During the trial, Cyntoia revealed that she was a victim of sex trafficking, who had been forced to have sex with different men for money by a man she only identified as “Cut Throat.”

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Two years after the incident, Cyntoia was convicted of murder in the first degree and aggravated robbery, and handed a life sentence that only made her eligible for parole in 2055. Years after her sentence, the #MeToo movement gained momentum, prompting a paradigm shift in how violence against women was perceived. Renewed interest in her case arose, and people’s perception and understanding of Cyntoia changed. They stopped seeing her as a sex worker who killed and robbed her victim, and started looking at her as a minor who was forced into prostitution. Campaigns for her innocence were launched and new advocates put on her case. In 2019, Cyntoia Brown was granted clemency by Governor Bill Haslam. She is now a renowned author and speaker, who is passionate about the fight for a better juvenile justice system.

Ultimately, the world’s prisons have seen it all, from teenage prisoners who perpetrated unspeakable evil to teenage victims of systemic injustices who found themselves behind bars, but were liberated and granted second chances. The death sentence is now also rarely carried out.

As the Managing Editor at The Legit, I direct a dynamic team dedicated to creating rich content that profiles the lives and accomplishments of influential figures. My commitment to detail and storytelling drives the production of biographies that truly engage our audience. I manage all aspects of the editorial process, from conducting thorough research to crafting vivid narratives, all while ensuring the accuracy and quality of our work. At The Legit, our goal is to offer our readers comprehensive profiles that provide deep insights into the realms of business, entertainment, and more. Through diligent research and engaging storytelling, we highlight the exceptional journeys and achievements of those who both inspire and intrigue us.

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What You Never Knew About the Car Guru: Who is Shawn Pilot?

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Being called a car guru is an honor not easily gained by anyone, but Shawn Pilot is merited enough to be called so. Since debuting in “Car Masters: Rust To Riches”, Shawn has gained the audience’s hearts with his vast knowledge about car restoration and customization, on top of his great sense of humor and skillful ways of entertaining viewers.

There’s no doubt that Shawn awakens a sense of curiosity in the audience and fans alike, turning him into a fan favorite in no time, and gaining him enough fame to start his own independent projects.

So do you want to know more about Shawn Pilot? Stay here to discover all the often little-known facts about him, from his personal life, passing to the less-known side of his career on TV, to his best well-kept automotive-related secrets!

Shawn’s Debut

Although Shawn Pilot has become widely known for his appearances in “Car Masters: Rust To Riches”, what many don’t know is that he debuted in the entertainment industry long before this show premiered in 2018.

As it happens, Shawn’s earliest job in the industry dates back to 1999, when he appeared as a berm soldier in the movie “Three Kings”. While his role was small, having some type of acting experience is rather unexpected for a man who is nowadays known for his job in the very different industry of automotive customization.

As well, Shawn’s credit in the movie is somewhat impressive considering he shared the stage with the likes of George Clooney, Ice Cube and Mark Wahlberg. Other than that, it’s unknown if Shawn had other uncredited acting roles in movies or TV, but his experience in front of cameras is noticeable to anyone who has ever watched “Car Masters”.

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He Was In Another Car Series

After debuting in a 1999 movie as an actor, Shawn Pilot’s first unscripted appearance on the small screen came in 2011, with the series “Inside West Coast Customs”. Centered on the California-based business West Coast Customs and its owner Ryan Friedlinghaus, the show introduced the audience to amazing car restorations, and the process behind them.

Shawn appeared in the episode “Will.I.Am of the Black Eyed Peas” from the second season, in which the staff restored and mixed a 1958 Corvette with a C6 for the famous hip-hop singer and producer. Given that Shawn’s specialty is Corvettes, he was of great help in the process of finding the right cars to conceptualize, and make Will.I.Am’s vision come alive.

 

The ending result was the Willvette, a red-painted futuristic-looking car which perfectly combines the best parts of the older and modern Corvettes, both on the outside and inside. It was undeniably a great addition to Shawn’s job resume in the automotive world, and also proves that he’s been doing his thing in the automotive world for quite some time.

He’s Been To Great Car Shows

The car world is a big passion of Shawn Pilot, even when cameras aren’t rolling. As seen on his social media, he’s often present at some of the industry’s most coveted events, such as the Specialty Equipment Market Association, generally known as SEMA’s show.

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While it’s unclear if Shawn attends these events to promote some of Gotham Garage’s customization works, or as a celebrity guest, that hasn’t stopped him from enjoying the experience no end. Fans also enjoy the thrill of meeting their favorite “Car Masters” dealer in person, as the several tagged photos of Shawn with fans on Instagram easily demonstrate.

He’s a Very Private Person

Though it’s usual for reality TV stars to exploit their public image for the sake of money and fame, that’s not the case with Shawn Pilot. Despite having accumulated several thousand followers on Instagram so far, Shawn’s posts to date aren’t numerous, and are posted at long intervals. The oldest photos on his account date back to 2018, which makes it impossible to trace his life prior to the show’s premiere.

On top of having no public Facebook account for fans, Shawn also remains inactive on his personal profile on the platform.

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While this choice for privacy is rarely noted in a TV star, Shawn has let us know some personal details about himself, such as his closeness with his mom Carol, who appeared in the fourth season of “Car Masters” as a guest, and wore matching race suits with her son. It’s also known that Shawn has a daughter and two grandchildren, but further information about his romantic life or partners – past or present -hasn’t been revealed.

He’s Popular & Quite Rich

Given how well-liked Shawn Pilot is by the “Car Masters” audience, it’s truly unsurprising that he’s quite an agreeable personality, and is easily liked by people everywhere. Besides the fact that his Instagram account has almost 30,000 followers, despite being rarely updated, Shawn has proved his knack for catching viewers’ attention with his original and very popular YouTube content.

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After sharing his first video on the platform in March 2023, Shawn gained over 30,000 subscribers and hundreds of thousands of views in less than a month, a very impressive accomplishment, especially considering that his channel had remained inactive since he started it in 2013.

Regarding Shawn’s financial details, several online sources point to his net worth being a modest $500,000 as of April 2023. While he’s refrained from revealing whether this figure comes from his job on TV and as a car dealer, it’s safe to assume a huge part of it comes from his profitable hobby as a poker player.

As registered on some websites such as CardPlayer.com, Shawn has earned around $373,894 in tournaments since he debuted as a professional poker player in the late 2000s. His best winning night was in 2009, when he won $39,663 in one go, which is quite impressive.

He’s A Corvette Guy

Shawn Pilot’s love for Corvettes has been more than evident in his appearances in “Car Masters”, and it’s the same for his everyday life. As it happens, Shawn’s YouTube channel not only makes sure to showcase his love for Corvettes and good deals but is also part of his new project VetteRod, with which he plans to brand himself as a connoisseur of this car brand.

As read on VetteRod’s official website, Shawn considers himself a ‘genuine Corvette freak’ and is the proud owner of over 100 of them, including the black and red stripped-out Corvette Z51, which was introduced in the show as the Vette Kart., suggesting that these aren’t included in his estimated net worth.

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Shawn’s love for ‘Vettes goes from finding them somewhere on the internet, to making a deal after assessing the car’s body and engine conditions, before finally taking them to his Los Angeles shop to fix them. Some of his Corvettes end up on sale, but others are added to his large collection. The couple of videos on Shawn’s YouTube channel also let us see that not only is he vastly knowledgeable when it comes to solving issues under a car’s hood, but has a great talent as a host.

All in all, Shawn’s off and on-screen career has been amazing so far. Going from the times he had a small role in a Hollywood film, then becoming a reality TV star, to finally creating his original online content, it’s clear that Shawn and his VetteRod have a bright future ahead.

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Captain Sig Hansen Faces a Lawsuit from a “Deadliest Catch” Deckhand

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The tough captain of the fishing vessel Northwestern, Captain Sig Hansen, became one of the most recognized reality television personalities through the hit series “Deadliest Catch.” His amazing exploits in the treacherous waters of the Bering Sea was well documented by Discovery Channel since the TV show was launched in 2005. His journey with the show had been smooth sailing until he faced a lawsuit filed by a former deckhand, citing inadequate and delayed medical treatment for his abdominal pain, which resulted in an emergency operation along with the discovery of a more serious medical condition.

Get to know Captain Sig Hansen

Sig Hansen was arguably the most popular crab fishing captain in the reality TV series “Deadliest Catch.” His success in the industry was primarily due to his family background.

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Growing up years and family

Sigurd Jonny Hansen was born on 28 April 1966, in a Scandinavian fishing community in Seattle, Washington State. Initially, his parents, Sverre and Snefryd, debated on whose father would be their eldest child’s namesake. Eventually, his father won and he was named after his grandfather, Sigurd. To ensure that his other grandfather, Jakob, wouldn’t be left out, Sig was christened with a second name Jonny as a tribute to him. Apparently in Norway, if a person wasn’t chosen to be the baby’s namesake, it was considered an honor to choose one that began with the same letter of his name. However, Sig recalled that being given such a name, Sigurd Jonny meant getting into many fistfights growing up in 1970s America, as he was oftentimes teased by friends and classmates. The family moved out from to Shoreline, Washington State, to a bigger house with a yard. He has two younger brothers named Edgar and Norman.

He grew up surrounded by Norwegians, Swedes and Danes; most never really spoke English unless they needed to. There was a time when he was in elementary when Sig went home with a note from his teacher addressed to his parents telling them, ‘TEACH HIM ENGLISH. STOP SPEAKING NORWEGIAN.’ They didn’t attend PTA meetings as his father was out at sea nine months a year, and his mom only spoke English when paying bills or buying groceries.

His family’s fishing legacy

Sig came from a long line of Norwegian fishermen, sailors, merchant marine workers, and captains. His father, Sverre, was also a captain of a fishing vessel just like his grandfather before him. When the fishing industry around Seattle declined back then, he and a few brave and adventurous fishermen went farther North to explore the Bering Sea. They couldn’t believe their luck when they found an immense treasure in the form of Red King crabs. Today, Sverre is widely acknowledged as one of the pioneers in the crab industry in Alaska. Dutch Harbor wasn’t as popular and successful as it had been in the last two decades; at that time, it was only a few Japanese and local trawlers who had been catching crabs, but when the Norwegians and Americans developed the boxlike steel traps, they amassed a fortune. It was from a bygone era when fishermen mostly relied on experience, gut instinct, and a whole lot of luck to make it home alive with huge hauls of crabs, without the assistance of technology. Some people in Sig’s family were swept overboard, and it didn’t matter if they did everything right, the Bering Sea was just brutal so even the most cautious men perished at sea.

His fishing background

Captain Sig Hansen started fishing at the young age of 12, and was mainly taught by his father. He was already aware of how dangerous their profession was, as he grew up watching his grandfather walk around with crutches because of it, however, it didn’t deter him from dreaming of becoming just like them. His mother knew right from the beginning that he would continue the family legacy, as the young Sig would draw boats and crab pots instead of practicing how to write the alphabet. Initially, he had a terrible bout of seasickness, but he eventually became used to the rough waves. Aside from watching his father do his job aboard the family-owned fishing vessel called Northwestern, he also accompanied his uncle on fishing exploits. However, his first real fishing job was under his father’s friend who never hired greenhorns, but took him in as a favor. Sig’s father equipped him well with the best fishing gear and a piece of solid advice that he followed to the letter. ‘Keep your mouth shut, do what he tells you, and everything will be fine.’

Sig Hansen and his journey in “Deadliest Catch”

Captain Sig Hansen often considered the Bering Sea as the major league of the fishing industry and Dutch Harbor as Yankee Stadium. He was used to playing in the biggest game, competing with the biggest boats, and making the biggest paychecks in a place with the biggest egos. However, he never thought that his job would have him working under the beaming lights of Hollywood, as he became part of the original cast of a reality TV show. He often wondered how it would be if his father was still around when it all happened.

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What was “Deadliest Catch” all about?

Hunting for the Alaskan king crabs was not for the faint of heart. Crab fishing wasn’t only challenging but quite unpredictable as well. Most of the time, the weather didn’t co-operate, and the crabs would forever play hide and seek, which made it great for TV. A documentary about this profession was turned into a fully-fledged reality show called “Deadliest Catch.” The TV show presented the fearless fishermen who would battle it out with the raging waves of the cold Bering Sea as they navigated their way to the fishing spots where crab populations continued to shift, depending on several factors including climate change. The series premiered on 12 April 2005, and has been on the air for 19 seasons and counting, produced by Original Productions for Discovery Channel.

Captain Sig’s crew of the F/V Northwestern

The F/V Northwestern had been under Captain Sig’s helm for the past three decades. It wouldn’t be as successful as it had been for many years if not for the support of his fishing family and his dedicated crew that worked alongside him. It had been one of the original fishing boats featured in “Deadliest Catch,” and throughout the years, viewers became familiar with his crew. Some had been with him from the start, but due to the nature of the job, there had been changes over time. Both of the Captain’s younger brothers were part of the Northwestern crew. Edgar worked as the ship’s deck boss and engineer while Norman would alternate as the cook and deckhand, or take responsibility for whatever was needed to be done in the boat. A few seasoned deckhands such as Matt Bradley and Nick Mavar Jr. were the notable ones, but they left the boat for different reasons in 2020. Nick’s nephew, Jake Anderson was also part of the crew for a time, but went on to be the captain of another fishing vessel later on. In recent seasons, the captain’s other family members came in to contribute their skills and expertise to catching crabs including his wife June and his adopted daughter, Maddy, whom he was grooming to be his successor when he hired her back in 2009.

Notable accidents at sea

In every fishing vessel, it was expected that aside from the captain and deckhands, there would be mechanics and welders who could practically fix just about anything, so any incidents that would occur due to the force of nature or overworked machines could be immediately corrected. For instance, a fire broke out in the 9th episode of the 12th season of “Deadliest Catch.” The boat lost its power without any warning, but Captain Sig told everyone to stay calm as his crew put out the fire, and the engineer assessed the problem. Their priority was to isolate the damaged breakers so that they could still use enough power to get the crab pots from the sea before returning to port. During the same season, a part of the boat’s bow cracked as they were hit by a 35-foot rogue wave. He said, ‘I hope we have something in our gear, man, that’s all I can say.’ The F/V Northwestern was lucky enough that for all the years it was at sea, it only had one collision with another boat, in March 2019 as it was nearing Dutch Harbor. The other fishing vessel was cruising out of control and crashed straight into Captain Sig’s boat. While neither boas sustained overwhelming damage, it was a clear reminder that accidents do happen even with a calmer sea and in good weather.

Captain Sig Hansen’s health struggles at sea

Health challenges also occurred at sea, mostly because of extreme exhaustion due to long hours of hard work and an unhealthy lifestyle. Captain Sig Hansen had a severe head injury in the 1990s, when a metal block struck him on his head.  While it didn’t result in a serious long-term effect on him, it was a painful lesson to learn to be extra cautious while on deck. He suffered a heart attack in March 2016, captured in “Deadliest Catch” along with the medical evacuation so he could be rushed to a hospital in Anchorage. The tests revealed that he needed emergency surgery since an artery had burst. His doctor said that he was lucky because what he had was what they called the “widow maker.” However, after eight months, he was back at sea. There was also a time when the deckhands noticed that he became incoherent, so a producer fetched his brother Edgar from the engineering bay to check on him, but he couldn’t be convinced to call it a day. Edgar then called Sig’s wife back home and that was only the time he agreed to rest in his cabin.

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Success in catching crabs

Due to his extensive experience in crab fishing, Captain Sig would often come home with a huge haul of crabs. During the second season of the reality TV show, his crew was ecstatic that they returned with crabs worth over $1 million. When his tanks were full, he immediately put the boat at top speed because the price of his haul would drop the next day if he couldn’t deliver them to the processing plant in time. In 2019, with his adopted daughter Mandy as relief captain, the F/V Northwestern recorded a staggering catch, and the crew went home with more crabs than they anticipated. The Captain then knew that he could retire anytime he wanted to, because the business was in safe hands. However, the problem was that he didn’t want to stop working. He said in an interview, ‘I can’t stop, that’s the problem. All of us are egomaniacs. You want to stop, but the ego portion won’t let me stop.’

Captain Sig Hansen’s controversial lawsuits

The more Captain Sig Hansen became popular, the more he was embroiled in several rumors and possible controversies. Most of them were unfounded, but a few of them became much-talked about especially on social media platforms due to the scandalous nature of the issue.

Abuse allegations by a daughter from a previous marriage

“Deadliest Catch” fans were surprised when reports circulated on blog sites that Captain Sig Hansen’s biological estranged daughter named Melissa Eckstrom from his previous marriage made allegations that her father sexually abused her when she was about two years old; it was during the time when her parents were in the process of divorcing in 1990. The adult Melissa said that she went into depression, had suicidal tendencies and eating disorders during her childhood because of the incident. She said that the memory of his abuse was still prevalent in her memory. Based on court records, the prosecutor back then didn’t file a case as they knew they couldn’t prove the allegations, even if they believed Melissa was sexually abused. The F/V Northwestern captain denied the accusations and claimed, ‘This is nothing more than an old-fashioned shakedown.’ Sig said that the lawsuit was some sort of blackmail, and reiterated that it was full of lies concocted by his ex-wife when she took their daughter away from him. It was also used in her attempts to get money from him. Apparently, after the divorce, the captain relinquished all his parental rights, as he thought it would be the best decision for his daughter.

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In 2010, Melissa reached out to Sig to ask for help to pay her law school fees, and Sig assigned a mediator to ensure everything was properly documented. However, it didn’t push through as his daughter and ex-wife wanted Sig to pay $300,000 or else they would go to the press. He then filed a police report of what he believed was extortion. When the police intervened, his ex-wife said that he abused their daughter, and that he never paid the support money worth $50,000 as agreed upon during the divorce, which Sig vehemently denied. His lawyers said that they paid for it, and that the case should be dismissed since it was already proven in the past that he didn’t abuse his daughter – it would be a case of double jeopardy. Later, during an interview, Melissa said that she wasn’t after his father’s money, but was asking for justice for what he did to her. A $1.5 million settlement was supposed to close all the issues in 2016, but the mediation fell apart because Sig’s lawyers insisted that if any word from the agreement was leaked to the public, Melissa would lose her lawyer’s license, insisting on that to protect Sig and his family. The case was still in the hands of the Court of Appeals, as they would decide if there was any new evidence to reopen the case.

Former deckhand sued F/V Northwestern’s Captain in 2023

Before 2022 ended, and just a few months after the Captain and his daughter headlined their own spin-off series called “Deadliest Catch: The Viking Returns,” they were greeted by a lawsuit. Nick Mavar Jr., a former deckhand on the F/V Northwestern, filed a lawsuit against Sig Hansen and other owners of the boat, demanding $1 million in damages for failure to provide medical help during the Covid-19 pandemic. He also cited that the delay in an adequate examination of his abdominal pain onboard the fishing vessel led to his appendix rupturing and the late discovery of a tumor, which proved to be cancerous. Nick suffered many illnesses including infections that led to more complications and surgeries.

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Captain Sig and the other owners of the boat denied liability in Nick’s personal injury lawsuit. They shifted the blame to Original Productions, the production company of “Deadliest Catch,” and Trifecta Solutions LLC, the subcontractor that they hired to provide medical support for the crew of the boat. Apparently, when Nick complained of abdominal pain, the company’s medics checked on him multiple times but failed to act on it with urgency. Captain Sig and other Northwestern’s owners, through their lawyers LeGros Buchanan and Paul, sought for damages associated to what happened to Nick’s medical care. Despite the ongoing lawsuits, Captain Sig and his daughter Maddy were seen in the 19th season of the reality TV show, which started to air in April 2023.

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Mama June’s Health Condition

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June Shannon, better known as Mama June, became a reality TV star when TLC gave her and her daughter the TV show “Honey Boo Boo,” in August 2012. Although it was canceled in August 2014, she didn’t disappear into obscurity. Instead, Mama June rebranded herself through her weight loss journey, and WE tv granted her the TV show, “Mama June: From Not to Hot,” in 2017. Sadly, that’s also when her health problems began; she experienced vision loss and had several surgical opertions. Then, after regaining the weight that she’d lost, she made things worse by ecoming addicted to cocaine, and was subsequetly arrested with her boyfriend in 2019.

However, what worried her fans the most was her struggle to control her lymphatic system, which threatened her life in 2021. Despite alleviating the pain and swelling, Mama June ran into a new set of issues, with lightheadedness and migraines in September 2022. Still, doctors couldn’t diagnose her with anything specific. Mama June’s journey to find what has been ailing her is the main topic of the sixth season of her show on WE tv; we’ve compiled a list of her symptoms to see if we can guess the reason.

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Mama June’s eye damage could have had consequences

All viewers eventually noticed that Mama June squints frequently, and that her eyes seem out of the ordinary. However, it wasn’t until one episode of “Mama June: From Not to Hot” in 2018 that she revealed the cause. After experiencing eye problems, she said, ‘”I’m totally scared about losing my vision. I feel like I’m going to lose my independence, and it’s really starting to weigh on me.’

She revealed in a confessional that she was born with cataracts in both eyes but that her parents didn’t intervene, consequently, she went blind in her right eye in 2014. However, nothing happened to her left eye until that fateful episode when she woke up blind. That prompted her then-boyfriend Geno and daughter Alana “Honey Boo Boo” to take her to the hospital.

After doctors diagnosed her with a detached retina, Mama June underwent four eye opertions to correct the damage – one included applying a scleral buckle to attach the retina to the eye and restore her eyesight. Despite her fears that she won’t see her daughter’s baby since Lauryn “Pumpkin” Shannon’s delivery date was approaching, she never complained about her eyesight again until 2022. However, Mama June briefly gained weight since she couldn’t exercise, and started living a sedentary lifestyle. She also felt slightly depressed, because she had to rely on others for everyday tasks.

She struggled with drug addiction

Police officers booked her and her then-boyfriend Geno Doak for having drug paraphernalia in their car on 13 March 2019, and for threats of violence. They pleaded guilty in October, attended drug rehab, the went their separate ways afterwards. Mama June later admitted to spending $3,000 daily on her drug habit, and over $1 million on her cocaine habit. That ruined her family dynamics, for obvious reasons, and her finances; she spent that year slowly selling everything she owned in garage sales. That also destroyed her relationships with neighbors and fans since she ignored their warnings.

Mama June received bad news over two years ago

Her addition and cataracts were worrying from the get-go, but not to the point of requiring emergency care. What scared everyone was her sudden prediction that she could ‘die within six months,’ which was allegedly confirmed by the doctor. In an episode of her family show, aired on 26 March 2021, her sister Doe Doe asked her why she was using a walker, suspecting that drugs were the cause.

Mama June rejected that claim, and explained to her audience and her sister that her doctor, who removed fat from her chin, told her that he thought that she had lymphedema and lipidemia. The former illness is a swelling caused by the build-up of the body’s lymph fluid, causing tingling sensations, feelings of heavy limbs, pain, and more. Lipidemia suggests the presence of extra lipids or fats in the blood, and irregular distribution of fat across the body.

According to the doctor, Mama June had reached a worrying point. She was at stage 3 of lymphedema, meaning that fibro adipose tissue began accumulating in her skin, and that she had skin changes. After his explanation, she realized that the disease, not obesity, caused her uneven limbs. Mama June explained that her left leg was larger than the right by 13in or 33cms. Similarly, her left arm was 27in or 68cms in diameter while her left was 6in or 15cms smaller. After the episode aired, Mama posted on Twitter that she wanted to inspire other women to check if they have the same condition. She credited Dr. Schwartz for enlightening her; lymphedema is more common in larger women and is often misdiagnosed as cellulitis or morbid obesity.

She was hospitalized last September

News broke in September 2022 that Mama June had to be hospitalized. When she was released from the hospital, she explained that she’d begun experiencing dizziness and headaches routinely, but swore that she didn’t experiment with alcohol or drugs. Nonetheless, despite performing various tests and scans, the doctors didn’t identify the cause of Mama June’s problems.

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Mama June’s weight loss helped minimally

Her struggles with lipidemia confused some followers who thought that her weight loss would help her condition. Additionally, Mama June underwent a gastric sleeve, tummy tuck, and other cosmetic operations. Additionally, her nutritionist likely recommended a diet with low carbohydrates and high-fat macronutrients. After combining an operation, proper diet and exercising with Atlanta-based personal trainer Kenya Crooks, Mama June lost about 300lbs or 135kgs from her peak weight.

Unfortunately, medical research shows that lipedema fat cells are nearly immune to diet and exercise. Some experiments suggest that a ketogenic diet reduces pain and swelling and mildly affects the loss of actual fat; hence, it is the go-to diet.

Nonetheless, in the absence of a cure, patients who want to reduce the number of fat cells must choose an operation, usually liposuction or lymphatic drainage. Therefore, Mama June likely started doing aqua aerobics, yoga, pilates, and wearing compression garments, all promoting lymph flow.

Her daughter also had an abnormal growth

Another scary bit of information is that her daughter, Anna “Chickadee” Cardwell, had a stage 4 adrenal carcinoma in January 2023 after complaining of stomach and back pain. Although she initially only had a cyst, which they removed, the doctors later discovered that the cancer had reached her lungs, spleen and liver. Anna seemed to be recovering, and had a scan on 6 May to assess the situation, but she hasn’t shared the results. That type of cancer predominantly attacks children and middle-aged adults, meaning that Mama June is at risk based on her age and genetics. However, her issues a few months before the diagnosis were too mild to say for sure, and doctors did not want to rush to conclusions.

She encountered new medical issues this May

While she seems to be taking care of her illness, Mama June started experiencing different symptoms during the sixth season of her show, “Mama June: Family Crisis.” In the debut episode aired on 5 May 2023, the cameras follow her and her new husband, Justin Stroud, as they relocated to Alabama without notifying any of her children.

While having breakfast and discussing their marriage, Mama June started complaining to her husband about unusual symptoms, that she’d began losing feeling in half of her body and face.

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Mama June’s symptoms contiued, and Justin took her to the emergency room the next day, but she received no conclusive diagnosis. Therefore, viewers had to speculate on what happened, which could be intentional; it boosts the reality TV show’s viewer base. Based on her known medical history, a lymphedema flare-up was the predominant guess on the Internet. However, one of her daughters was immediately suspicious that June was taking drugs after three years of sobriety and that she was having a bad reaction.

Mama June’s medical condition is still unknown

When accused of drug relapse, Mama June commented, ‘I’m getting tired of having severe headaches and not being able to think… I’m getting tired of being dizzy and not being able to see straight.’ She indirectly denied the accusations, and stated that she couldn’t have taken drugs even if she wanted, as her prior drug addiction makes doctors suspicious, and they think that she fakes symptoms to obtain painkiller prescriptions. However, she’s now sought new doctors who would take her seriously, because ‘she was tired of tests coming back normal’, and refusals.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CZK9LFmPmCl/

Mama June wanted to run more tests and do extra bloodwork to determine what was happening. Unfortunately, according to her, good doctors have a busy schedule; hence, she needs six or seven months to get them to see her. Her eyes could be causing the issues with headaches and dizziness, however, it might be something that she hid, too; losing feeling in one half of her body may indicate a stroke; some reports were that Mama June ‘had mini-strokes’ in September 2022.

Also, that wasn’t the first time that she’d kept some things to herself. For example, while she was open about her drug habit, she didn’t reveal one detail until recently. During a recent discussion about her health issues, Mama June off-handedly mentioned that snorting cocaine damaged her vision, forcing her to transition to smoking crack cocaine. Regardless, she’s adamant that drugs aren’t the root cause of the problem.

Her family will keep her accountable

Although something is wrong with her body, Mama June has improved her mental health. She recently got her priorities straight and started focusing on her family; her biggest criticism was prioritizing her former relationships over caring for her daughters. Early in 2023, after constantly traveling back and forth to her, Mama June welcomed her daughter Anna into her Alabama home and tended to her during cancer treatments.

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Moreover, she was overcome with guilt over spending so much money on drugs, and now handles finances responsibly. Her family thinks that she’s taking it to the extreme; she admits to being a penny pincher, while her husband calls her a money hoarder.

Overall, Mama June is dedicated to her and her family’s health, and is eager to find the cause of her mysterious illness by seeing the right doctor. She also stopped denying help and accusations of bad behavior or poor self-accountability. Most importantly, she is honest about her symptoms, and refuses to take unnecessary drugs, increasing her chances of finding a professional willing to dig deeper.

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