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The new Netflix series “Unbelievable” takes on the real-life tale of how a serial rapist was tracked down and captured, thanks to the determination of two bold female detectives.
The eight-episode series is an adaptation of the 2015 Pulitzer-winning ProPublica and Marshall Project in-depth story about the case shows how detectives Grace Rasmussen and Karen Duvall (played by Toni Collette and Merritt Wever) worked tirelessly to link up different rape cases from different jurisdictions. In the show, they listened to their victims and took the sexual assaults more seriously than their male counterparts. While Duvall was the more soft-spoken of the two, it was apparent that both women really cared and they were goal-oriented: they had a serial rapist in their crosshairs and they wanted him behind bars.
In the end, their hard work paid off. The two Colorado detectives were able to arrest the culprit in 2011, a man who had attacked multiple women by breaking into their home as they slept. They were also able to bring justice to his youngest victim, a teenage girl from Washington who wasn’t believed by her own foster mothers or by the local police. Instead of getting support, she was initially convicted of filing a false police report and then ostracized in her community. Later, that was overturned and she successfully sued the city.
Who are these real-life hero detectives and what have they been up to since?
Rasmussen’s character was based on real-life detective Edna Hendershot, was a detective at Westminster’s police department at the time of the serial rapist investigation. At this point in her career, she had already worked more than 100 rape cases, according to the book, "A False Report: A True Story of Rape in America."
Even after the serial rapist depicted in “Unbelievable,” was closed, she stayed in touch the victims, according to a CBS “48 Hours” special from 2017.
Hendershot told Oxygen.com she was promoted to sergeant for the Westminster Police in 2013 and to patrol commander in the patrol division in 2017.
While she said she doesn’t work sexual assaults anymore, she is able to use her experience for the greater good.
“I miss working the hard cases very much but now have the opportunity to mentor new officers and impress upon them the ‘right’ way to do things,” she told Oxygen.com.
She worked as a detective in Golden during the serial rape investigation, and one year after the rapist’s Colorado convictions, she was honored “Officer of the Year,” according to the City of Golden. She was honored for helping crack that case as well as for being “the lead detective on a bank robbery and a domestic murder case with suspects arrested in both,” according to the City.
Now, she’s an agent with the Colorado Bureau of Investigation and has even worked on the high-profile case of Colorado dad Chris Watts, who murdered his entire family last year. She conducted many interviews with witnesses in that case and gathered evidence, according to Colorado Bureau of Investigation documents obtained by Oxygen.com.
Galbraith is still an advocate for rape survivors, as evident by a CNN interview on the topic from last year.
“Just listen to the victims, men, women, children...It's our duty to listen to them and investigate," Galbraith said in that interview.
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