From the tears of joy in Secret Santa surprises to the tense moments after a school shooting, EastIdahoNews.com cameras have been there to capture it all.
Based on our analytics, here’s our list of the 10 most popular videos of 2021. We have condensed the Daybell case as the story spanned over multiple videos.
10. Selfless seamstress gets her dream sewing machine thanks to a Secret Santa
Mary Kim has served tirelessly for over 20 years to make items to donate to those in need. From blankets to quilts, so much of her work involves the use of a sewing machine. Secret Santa asked the East Idaho News elves to visit Mary Kim with a special early Christmas gift, her dream sewing machine, so she can keep doing what she loves.
9. School Board meeting becomes heated during mask discussion
Over a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, an Idaho Falls District 91 School Board of Trustees meeting became heated over a decision over masks. The board ultimately decided to keep a mask mandate in place with just one trustee opposing the decision.
8. Two students, one adult custodian shot at Rigby Middle School
Moments after a sixth-grade girl opened fire at Rigby Middle School on May 6, EastIdahoNews.com reporters were on the scene gathering the latest details in this video originally streamed on Facebook Live. The custodian and two students shot survived, while the status of the girl’s case remains unknown due to her age.
7. She lost over $1 million to a man she met on dating site. Now she’s issuing a warning to other women.
While Debby Montgomery Johnson’s story started with just $40 the scam continued to grow. EastIdahoNews.com initially interviewed Johnson in 2018, and she shared her experience with the Latter-day Saint dating site. After an increased number of reports of similar scams to our newsroom, we published the story again this year.
6. A teenager helping raise 5 siblings after her mother’s death is given a big surprise from Secret Santa
When 13-year-old Emily’s mother died of cancer a year ago, she stepped up in a big way. Even before her mother’s death, Emily acted like a mom to her siblings, but even more since her passing. Her friend describes her as “the sweetest person” she has ever met. So Secret Santa wanted to surprise Emily with some early Christmas gifts and asked the East Idaho News elves to pay her a visit.
5. Retired FBI special agent gives insight on disappearance of Gabby Petito
The disappearance and homicide of Gabby Petito became one of the nation’s top mysteries of 2021. With her fiancé, Brian Laundrie dead, answers to her final moments may never be known.
4. Documents detail horrific manner JJ Vallow and Tylee Ryan were found in Chad Daybell’s yard
The Daybell story continues to gravitate viewers from across the world. While Chad and Lori Daybell still await trial (scheduled for 2023), the video posted in June 2020 after the grim discovery of JJ and Tylee’s remains reached our top 10 list.
3. Crews rescue Idaho couple, dogs from pickup hanging over gorge near Twin Falls
As a pickup truck carrying a couple in their 60s dangled over a bridge about 100 feet above the ground, video-captured rescue workers make the daring trip over the guard rail. The couple and their dog were brought to safety as the chains kept the pickup from plunging into the ground.
2. Mike Rowe of ‘Dirty Jobs’ is answering 7 Questions with Emmy (and shares his most embarrassing moment ever!)
Over the past year, 7 Questions with Emmy has interviewed local and worldwide celebrities, including Mike Rowe. The TV host, writer, narrator, producer, actor, podcaster and spokesman is known for his “Dirty Jobs,” “Returning the Favor,” “Somebody’s Gotta Do It” and other shows.
The idea for the segment came when EastIdahoNews.com’s youngest journalist was floating down the river in Island Park along with her family. A Facebook commenter saw a video and said Emmy should turn the tables and interview her dad, Nate Eaton. The rest is history.
1. Without a Trace: The DeOrr Kunz Mystery
Since the 2-year-old Idaho Falls boy who disappeared while visiting Timber Creek Campground in 2015, the story has drawn in viewers from across the globe. The year after he vanished, EastIdahoNews.com produced a 20-minute feature on the boy’s disappearance, which we included with last year’s update to the case. (The 2020 update was our most popular article this year, though we also wrote an update for 2021.) We continue to hope questions about his fate can be answered in 2022.