True story behind ‘American Conspiracy: The Octopus Murders’
(Credits: Netflix)


True story behind ‘American Conspiracy: The Octopus Murders’

Danny Casolaro was an investigative journalist who was found dead in a hotel room in Martinsburg, West Virginia, on August 10, 1991. His death was officially ruled a suicide by the local coroner, who concluded that Casolaro had killed himself by slashing his wrists multiple times with a razor blade in a bathtub. But many cried foul. The latest true crime documentary to hit Netflix, American Conspiracy: The Octopus Murders, delves into the mysterious circumstances of Casolaro’s death and the case he was investigating at the time.

Directed by Zachary Treitz and produced by Duplass Brothers Productions in collaboration with Stardust Frames Productions (the team behind Wild Wild Country), American Conspiracy: The Octopus Murders puts the spotlight back on Casolaro.

Casolaro’s journey began innocuously enough, triggered by a routine assignment concerning a contractual dispute between the Department of Justice and Bill Hamilton, the founder of INSLAW, a technology company. However, what started as a seemingly mundane investigation soon morphed into a web of complex interconnected conspiracies, which Casolaro dubbed ‘The Octopus’.

As Casolaro delved deeper, he uncovered a web of covert operations spanning from spyware and money laundering to drug trafficking and the Iran hostage crisis.

What happened to Danny Casolaro?

Danny Casolaro had told friends and family that he was close to uncovering a significant story before his death. This further fueled their suspicions that he may have been silenced to prevent him from revealing damaging information.

The documentary follows the footsteps of Christian Hansen, a photojournalist, who, upon revisiting Casolaro’s unfinished investigation, set on a quest for truth. Together with Treitz, Hansen crisscrosses the nation, risking life and limb to untangle the intricate threads of conspiracy woven throughout Casolaro’s work.

Central to Casolaro’s investigation was Michael Riconosciuto, a brilliant computer programmer with alleged ties to clandestine government operations. Riconosciuto’s revelations provided crucial insights into the machinations of power, further fueling Casolaro’s pursuit of justice. Despite facing imprisonment and subsequent release, Riconosciuto continued to feed Hansen cryptic information.

Hansen explains in the doc, “As Danny’s talking to Bill Hamilton, he starts looking into these powerful people connected to the Reagan administration and realises there’s something much bigger going on than just a contract dispute.”

Casolaro’s relentless pursuit of truth ultimately led to his untimely demise. In August 1991, he was discovered lifeless in a hotel bathtub in Martinsburg, West Virginia, his wrists slashed in what authorities deemed a suicide. However, suspicions abound regarding the circumstances surrounding his death. Casolaro had confided in his brother, expressing fears of foul play should anything untoward befall him—an ominous premonition that lends credence to theories of murder.

American Conspiracy: The Octopus Murders serves as a gripping and timely exposé of government malfeasance as well as the value of fearless investigative journalism. Through Hansen’s unwavering determination, the series also underscores the importance of citizen journalism in uncovering the hidden truths that shape our world. As Hansen notes, the documentary aims to inspire viewers to engage in rigorous research and critical inquiry, fostering a culture of transparency and accountability.

Despite ongoing speculation and numerous investigations into Casolaro’s death, no definitive evidence has emerged to conclusively prove whether he was murdered or if he did indeed take his own life. The circumstances surrounding his death remain shrouded in mystery, and it continues to be a subject of interest for conspiracy theorists and investigative journalists alike.

Watch American Conspiracy: The Octopus Murders on Netflix now.