‘Untold Story’ Host Elizabeth Vargas on Why She Chose These Cases


When journalist Elizabeth Vargas told people she was working on a two-hour investigative piece about child brides, airing Thursday, they all had the same question. “‘Oh, did you go to Pakistan or Afghanistan?’ I was like, ‘No, I went to Missouri and Florida,'” she reports.

That’s why she’s so excited about her six-episode documentary series, The Untold Story: “These are things that nobody’s heard or thought about.”

Vargas shares more.

What was your biggest takeaway from “I Was a Child Bride”?

Elizabeth Vargas: What’s astonishing is that children getting married is legal in 48 states in this country.

One case, at the age of 15 or 16, she goes to try and divorce [her husband] because it’s an abusive relationship, and she’s told she’s too young to get divorced. A girl is too young to hire a lawyer but not too young to get married.

May 9’s “Secret Life of a Gang Girl” investigates how social media fuels gang violence — and could predict it.

There was a 14-year-old girl [Gakirah Barnes] who was rumored to be a gang member and legendary assassin in Chicago.

A professor at Columbia University has spent years studying her because of her robust social media presence and the fact that she was rumored to kill many people before she herself was killed in broad daylight [in 2014, at the age of 17].

May 2’s “Vanished in Paradise” tells the story of Hannah Upp, a 32-year-old teacher who vanished in the U.S. Virgin Islands in 2017. Why is it unique?

This woman has a history of fugue amnesia. You read that and you think The Bourne Identity: You suddenly wake up and have no idea who you are.

Friends and family are convinced she is out there, and hopefully someone in our audience sees her — because she won’t know who she is. Her story’s already been optioned to be made into a Hollywood movie, so we’re excited to be able to tell the story for our audience first.

The Untold Story, Thursdays, 9/8c, A&E