John Meehan was a monster — there’s no way around it. In his lifetime he conned, threatened, and attacked multiple women for monetary gain, all the while feeding his ever-present drug addiction. Meehan’s name entered our cultural zeitgeist after Los Angeles Times reporter Christopher Goffard wrote about Meehan's twisted life story, in which he victimized countless women, including his own wives and immediate family. Goffard’s reporting went on to become a successful podcast, aptly titled Dirty John and later a TV series on Bravo starring Eric Bana as Meehan, and Connie Britton as Debra Newell, an unassuming woman whose life is turned upside down by the ruthless con artist.
Both the show and the podcast left audiences speechless and frightened, but it’s the tales of the actual Meehan that will leave you with actual chills. Following the finale, Oxygen debuted a documentary, Dirty John, The Dirty Truth, featuring interviews with the shaken women Meehan left in his wake. The special, airing at 8 p.m. EST on January 14, shines a light on the darkest of Meehan's coercion and terrorization. Whether you watched the show, listened to the podcast, or are completely new to the saga that was Meehan’s life, here are the 10 dirtiest and most shocking revelations from Dirty John, the Dirty Truth. You’ve been warned.
Meehan's two daughters are still recovering from their father's decisions.
Meehan met their mother, Tonia Bales, in 1988. Bales and Meehan got married after about a year of dating. Emily, 23 and Abigail, a college student, bravely recounted memories of their father in the documentary. The sisters didn’t mince their words when it comes to their father. Emily and Abigail went as far to say that when they were children they lived in fear that their father would come to school and kidnap them.
Meehan wasn’t just a drug addict — he was also a drug dealer.
After he left Bales, she called his family to find out more about his mysterious past. His mother and sisters divulged a lot of unknown information including the fact that Meehan was an addict and had been sending stolen drugs to his brother. His brother eventually died of an overdose. Upon learning this information and finding a large stash of drugs in her home, Bales immediately went to the police and reported her then-husband. In retaliation, Meehan attempted to bring down his wife’s career as a nurse along with his own.
Meehan's schemes were international.
The scam artist and grifter went so far as to threaten and stalk notable Brazilian author Marileide Andersen. Andersen met Meehan he introduced himself to her as her anesthesiologist after she woke up from having brain surgery. They began dating during her recovery, and while she was at her most vulnerable, he convinced her to transfer 37 million dollars into his bank account. A friend quickly convinced her to cancel the transfer, prompting Meehan to threaten and exploit her for money. Andersen slept with a knife, and planned to leave the United States in fear of her ex. Meehan was sentenced to two years in jail in 2013 for his extortion of Andersen. Two days after getting out of jail, he met Debra. Two months later, they were married.
Meehan put out a hit on Detective Julia Bowman.
While incarcerated for the extortion, burglary and stalking of Andersen, Meehan had put a hit out on Detective Julia Bowman for ten thousand dollars. After noticing that someone had been following them, Bowman and her boyfriend hid firearms around their house in order to protect and defend themselves if an unwanted visitor ever entered their property.
Debra knew something was wrong the day she married him.
In the space of two months, Debra and Meehan met, moved into together, and tied the knot. Their wedding was a spontaneous decision in response to Meehan’s adamant demands to bring their short relationship to the next level. They wed in Las Vegas, without anyone in Debra’s family knowing. Debra felt in her gut that something was wrong throughout the entire process even without knowing that her future-husband had multiple active restraining orders against him from other women.
An ex-girlfriend helped the police get a search warrant.
Meg Maggart took a trip to Mexico with Meehan 3 months after meeting him. Their idyllic vacation quickly turned sour when Meehan revealed the actual purpose of the trip: To score more drugs. He demanded Maggart take him to the hospital so he could steal drugs and started taking them in front of her. He then asked her to take him to the hospital where he finagled his way into getting more drugs. While he was in the hospital, Maggart flew home and got in contact with Detective Luken. She helped law enforcement get a search warrant for Meehan’s home by finding his stash of drugs. In the documentary, Maggart reflects on being the perfect victim for a man with psychopathic like Meehan.
Jacquelyn Newell put a tracker on Meehan’s car.
Jacquelyn became increasingly worried about her mom’s relationship with Meehan, so she took matters into her own hands. Determined to catch him in his lie(s), she started to research and investigate his past on her own. She put a tracker on his car, where she noticed his habit of going to multiple medical offices throughout the day, following her unassuming mother, and even stalking her and her little sister, Terra Newell.
Debra Newell went back to him after trying to end their relationship.
After they got married, Debra’s family cut her out of their lives for their own safety and fear of Meehan. It was during this time that she found multiple different women’s numbers on his phone, leaving her heartbroken. More serious than his suspected infidelity, she also found personal documents of his containing restraining orders and information from his stay in prison. Debra began the process of cutting Meehan out of her life, but, con man that he was, Meehan had an answer for every question and eventually convinced Debra to get back together.
Meehan was planning to murder Terra.
In August of 2016, Terra came home after work to find Meehan waiting for her in the parking lot of her apartment complex. He aggressively approached her with a knife and wrestled her towards his open trunk. She fought back, biting, screaming for help while he attempted to stab her. Terra eventually gained control of the weapon and began stabbing Meehan, fighting for her life. Meehan died from his injuries four days later.
There are many, many more unidentified victims of Meehan’s out there.
Detective Dennis Luken thinks there are many other women out there that Meehan preyed upon who haven’t come forward yet. He specifically sought out women who had done well for themselves that he thought he could influence, isolate, and, ultimately, control.
Dirty John, the Dirty Truth airs on Monday, January 14 at 8 p.m. EST.