What happened to Scott Johnson? | The murder featured in “Never Let Him Go”

Scott Johnson

What happened to Scott Johnson?

Scott Johnson was a promising American philosophy student who moved to Australia in 1986 and was murdered when he was pushed off a cliff edge in December 1988. Johnson had travelled to Sydney to attend a weekly seminar when he was murdered. Johnson was found fully naked, and his personal possessions were found near the edge of the cliff. 

The police didn’t treat Johnson’s death as murder and officially classed it as a suicide. However, his brother would fight for years to bring the real killer to justice. Steve Johnson was a man with money after a successful career as a software developer, and he used his means to keep the case in the public eye. In 2007, Steve hired a private investigator called Dan Glick, and over the next 15 years, they worked on the case together.


Who killed Scott Johnson? 

In 2020, a breakthrough was finally made after a $2 million reward was put up by Steve Johnson for information that could lead to an arrest. The police used this reward to launch a sting operation on a suspect who they believed was responsible for the murder and other attacks in the area. 

Scott White was arrested after leading undercover police to the location of Johnson’s murder in 2020. In January 2022, he pleaded guilty to the murder of Scott Johnson. He later changed his mind after claiming he was coerced, and he had the murder conviction overturned on appeal. He subsequently pleaded guilty to manslaughter. White received a 9-year prison sentence.


Where is the killer now?

Scott White is 52 years old now and is serving his sentence in an unknown prison in Australia. 

Homophobia played a big part in Scott Johnson’s case being ignored for many years. Scott was an openly gay man who frequented areas where assaults had been made against homosexuals. 

Hulu’s 5 part true-crime documentary series Never Let Him Go was released in 2023 and it told the story of Steve Johnson’s fight for justice in the murder of his brother. 


What do you think about the case of Scott Johnson’s tragic death? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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