RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — A former Green Beret, an Army special forces doctor, a father and a killer.

While the details of the murder of his pregnant wife and his two young daughters may have become foggy over time, Jeffrey MacDonald’s name remains a familiar one.

“It’s such a classic case that a lot of people have heard of because of the publicity around it. It’s like you’ve heard of it, you know what he’s accused of. You know why he’s in prison, but you don’t really know what happened. And so, I consider it sort of obscure in the annals of true crime that people consume now,” said true crime author Kate Winkler-Dawson.

Winkler-Dawson usually studies cases that can be around 100 years old. But she and former forensic investigator Paul Holes thought the MacDonald case would be a good one to revisit as part of their podcast, “Buried Bones”.

“What’s interesting about Jeffrey MacDonald is he was that anomaly of the person who just seems completely normal, a good family man. And for him to then go murder his wife and his two little girls. I think people will never understand the family annihilator where it just feels like it’s unpredictable, men and women both, where it comes out of nowhere,” said Winkler-Dawson.

Captain Jeffrey MacDonald’s wife, Collette, and daughters, five-year-old Kimberley and two-year-old Kristen, were found bludgeoned and stabbed in their Fort Bragg home in 1970. An icepick and a knife were among the weapons.

It was MacDonald who made the 911 call. He later claimed his family was attacked by four intruders. DNA technology didn’t exist then, but prosecutors had enough evidence to convince a jury that MacDonald was the killer. Since each family member had a different blood type, investigators were able to track where each person had been in the house.

The guilty verdict in 1979 didn’t come without controversy and Winkler-Dawson says the debate is ongoing.

“The police did a pretty poor job in collecting the evidence, they didn’t secure the crime scene. And when you have people tromping through a crime scene and evidence gets thrown out, and you have people stealing evidence to sell later, that all contributes to reasonable doubt which is why there was such an issue convicting Jeffrey MacDonald,” she said.

MacDonald has always maintained his innocence. Although his case has had more time in court than just about any other criminal case in American history, no new evidence including DNA, has validated his claim.

For Winkler-Dawson it’s not just the evidence, it’s also the psychology behind it all.

“He was in the Army, he was in the military, he was respected, and he was a surgeon. And that category of people we just don’t see a lot of murders that come out of that category, so it makes it unusual,” she said.

For more information about the “Buried Bones” podcast, click here.

“Buried Bones” is available on Spotify, amazon music and Apple Podcasts.