Valley of the Damned: How A Prison Town Keeps Evil In

Investigation Discovery looks at a town imprisoned by the jails which surround it in Valley of the Damned series.

Prison Valley in Fremont County, Colorado, has housed some infamous criminals, including drug lord El Chapo and Unabomber Ted Kaczynski. The desolate mountain region of the Colorado Rockies is home to 15 high security prisons, more correctional facilities than any other in the United States. The valley includes America’s only Federal Supermax. Investigation Discovery‘s upcoming series Prison Valley will look at the world outside the walls. The six-episode series premieres Tuesday, September 3rd at 10 p.m. ET. 

“Residents of have learned the hard way that when you invite evil in, it stays,” reads the press statement. The valley itself is a safe community where residents look out for one another. “In a town where you’re surrounded by prisons, how does someone get away with murder?”

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Family, police, witnesses, lawyers and journalists in Prison Valley will discuss the murders that occurred in their town, “a place that is ultimately the monstrous force that ties all of these murders together,” according to the press statement. Each episode will explore the psychologically complex homicides that took place in Prison Valley. The show will probe the carefully planned assassination of Prison Valley’s Head of Corrections, as well as “an infamous Colorado love-triangle murder case, and a charismatic Jehovah’s Witness who chose murder over divorce.”

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The premiere episode trains its cameras on police as they connect the seemingly unrelated murder of a Dominos’ pizza delivery driver named Nathan Leon to the killing of Colorado Prisons Chief Tom Clements. The investigators begin with virtually no information and become swamped by a suspect pool that spans Colorado’s 20,000 former prison inmates with a motive to kill.

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“When Jim Durgan’s body is found in Prison Valley, no one knows why,” reads the official synopsis of “The Absent Father” episode, which premieres Tuesday, Sept. 10. “His estranged wife is drawing a blank and his out-of-state girlfriend can’t explain it. What follows is a murky investigation that unravels a sinister and cleverly staged murder plot.”

“Killer Confession,” which premieres Tuesday, September 17, follows the family of Lea Porter, who goes missing in Prison Valley. The detectives’ investigation “leads to a shocking discovery – the killer’s true identity,” according to the official synopsis. “As the killer evades arrest, Lea’s brother devises a plan to make him confess.

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No one can understand why anyone would want to murder a well-liked housewife when Diane Hood is killed outside a community center in Prison Valley, in “The Second Shot.” “The answer involves betrayal, greed, and obsession in an infamous love triangle turned murder plot,” according to the synopsis. The episode premieres Tuesday, September 24.

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Jehovah’s Witness Pam Candelario is murdered, and her husband Ralph is severely beaten during what appears to be a home invasion. This soon turns into “one of the most bizarre murder cases the police have ever encountered,” according to the synopsis of “The Jehovah Jinx, which premieres Tuesday, October 1.

In “Impossible Perpetrator,” teenager Candace Hiltz is shot in Prison Valley, and the police name her troubled brother James as a potential suspect. “With no evidence against him, the case goes cold. Ten years later, the things heat up when a cop’s storage unit is discovered to contain evidence in Candace’s murder,” according to the synopsis. The episode premieres Tuesday, October 8.

Prison Valley series premieres Tuesday, September 3 at 10 p.m. on Investigation Discovery.

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Culture Editor Tony Sokol cut his teeth on the wire services and also wrote and produced New York City’s Vampyr Theatre and the rock opera AssassiNation: We Killed JFKRead more of his work here or find him on Twitter @tsokol.