Sinister story behind man’s Wheel of Fortune episode

Olivia Lambert
·News Editor
·2-min read

A sinister story about a contestant on game show Wheel of Fortune has re-emerged after the video of his episode was recently shared online.

Matthew Fenwick appeared on the US version of the popular game show in 1998, taking home more than AU$5,000 in prize money.

Matthew Fenwick speaks to Pat Sajak while appearing on Wheel of Fortune.
Matthew Fenwick was arrested just days after appearing on Wheel of Fortune. Source: YouTube/NY55

He looked like any ordinary contestant, telling game show host Pat Sajak he was from Kansas City, in the US state of Missouri, studying a doctorate in piano.

He added while he didn’t own a piano, he played one at the church and hoped to be able to compose and teach.

Contestant’s dark secret exposed

What viewers of the seemingly normal episode did not know was that Mr Fenwick was harbouring a dark secret.

There was however one person who was able to expose the truth.

Matthew Fenwick appears on Wheel of Fortune next to host Pat Sajak in 1998.
Matthew Fenwick and Wheel of Fortune game show host Pat Sajak. Source: YouTube/NY55

Mr Fenwick had been accused of molesting two girls and a warrant had been issued for his arrest in November 1997, however authorities had not been able to locate him until one of the two girls he was accused of molesting saw him on the Wheel of Fortune episode in March 1998.

The girl’s mother contacted authorities and Mr Fenwick was arrested a few days later at his house in Olathe in Kansas City.

He was jailed on US$50,000 (AU$65,826) bond.

Matthew Fenwick’s arrest a ‘fluke’

In an article in the Times Daily newspaper on March 27, 1998, Lieutenant Don Poor, of the Paola Police Department, described the arrest as “just a fluke”.

“It disturbed us because the little girl saw him on TV,” he said.

Vanna White stands next to a clue on the Wheel of Fortune board during Matthew Fenwick's episode.
A clue during the Wheel of Fortune episode Matthew Fenwick appeared on. Source: YouTube/NY55

The article says Mr Fenwick was charged with two felony counts of aggravated indecent liberties with a child, involving girls aged eight and 10.

He was jailed for six years before leaving jail on conditional release in 2004.

with Associated Press

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