Dateline NBC is devoting three episodes to Sean McGavic, a 37-year-old man who is looking for his birth parents. The circumstances surrounding McGavic’s adoption seem to point to the mass suicide of cult leader Jim Jones’ followers in Guyana in 1978. But the strangeness of McGavic’s story hardly ends there. After his adoptive mother (Martha) and father divorced, Martha remarried twice — and was found guilty of teaming with her third husband, Chuck Kaczmarczyk, to murder her second husband, Robert McClancy, a Vietnam veteran. At her trial Sean McGavic testified against Martha and asked for the maximum sentence.
[Books and films about Jim Jones and his following include Raven: The Untold Story of the Rev. Jim Jones and His People]
Like Martha, her partner (in murder and marriage) Chuck Kaczmarczyk weaved a web of lies. Among other tall tales, he claimed to have been involved in the Iranian Hostage Crisis. Martha also routinely lied, reportedly claiming she served in the Air Force and that she earned a Purple Heart during the 9/11 Pentagon attack. (The Purple Heart she presented was actually earned by her late husband McClancy.) In 2012, Chuck Kaczmarczyk confessed to murdering McClancy. He and Martha divorced shortly after. In June 2016, Martha was sentenced to 50 years in prison. Dateline airs Fridays at 9pm on NBC.