Netflix’s new series ‘Unbelievable’ narrates the story of a horrifying crime and an astonishing miscarriage of justice. In 2008, 18-year-old Lynnwood, Washington woman Marie is assaulted in her apartment by a man who ties her up and rapes her, taking photographs all the while.
She reports the crime to police, who quickly quit investigating her case and charge her with making a false report to police. Two years later, in Colorado, detectives investigate a serial rapist with the same modus operandi—all without knowing that he may have struck before.
The story of a serial rapist in suburban Denver has been talked about, written about, and now, it’s a Netflix TV series.
On Dec. 9, 2011, Army veteran Marc O’Leary pleaded guilty to 28 counts of rape at the Jefferson County Courthouse. He was sentenced to a maximum of 327.5 years in prison where he remains today.
Her name on the Netflix original series is Detective Karen Duvall but her real name is Stacy Galbraith. In 2011, Galbraith was the one knocking on O’Leary’s door with a search warrant and handcuffs.
Galbraith was a detective with the Golden Police Department, and O’Leary’s 2011 sexual assault in Golden was her case. Galbraith’s dedication and hard work helped connect her victim’s case in Golden to three similar rapes across Denver suburbs.
From Aurora to Lakewood to Westminster, Galbraith worked with other law enforcement agencies to connect the cases that led them to O’Leary.
Today she’s a criminal investigator working for the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office. But even after eight years, Galbraith said the O’Leary case sticks with her.
The case is true and is based upon a Pulitzer Prize-winning 2015 joint investigation from ProPublica and the Marshall Project by reporters T. Christian Miller and Ken Armstrong. Their article, “An Unbelievable Story of Rape,” tells the story of Marie (the middle name of the real victim) and Colorado detectives’ hunt for a serial predator.