‘Death Saved My Life’: True Story Lifetime Movie, What True Events Inspired It?


Death Saved My Life is a Lifetime true story movie inspired by true events that airs this weekend. It stars Meagan and La’Myia Good. Death Saved My Life‘s real story is most likely based on several cases that were in the news, such as a Burundi wife named Noela Rukundo, and ripped from the headlines true events in the cases of Miriam Illes, Jill Meagher, and Maura Murray. The plot also sounds similar to another old but still popular Lifetime movie called At The Mercy of a Stranger, which was based on a real person.

Let’s break it down.

Death Saved My Life True Story Plot/Synopsis

Meagan and La’Myia Good portray sisters in Lifetime’s Death Saved My Life, “which is inspired by true events and tells the story of a woman who faked her own death in order to trap her husband after he hires a hitman to kill her.” (according to Lifetime)


Based on a True Story: What Real Stories Inspired Death Saved My Life? 

At The Mercy of a Stranger was a 1999 movie based on a true story. In 2000, I tracked down the real woman, a real estate agent or broker, whose husband had hired a hitman to kill her. I stumbled upon her name, and she admitted that the movie starring Joana Kerns was indeed based on her story. In that true story, the woman was an abused wife and mother who faked her own death to convince her husband she was dead. The most fascinating part of that case was the hitman warned her that her husband, who was a doctor, had hired him to kill her. He also helped her stage her own death because the husband in the real case and in the movie wanted proof she was dead. They dressed her up like a corpse, staged a crime scene, and showed the pictures to her husband. This case happened a long time ago. And by 2000, she was still living in hiding. I promised her that I would not reveal her true identity.


Remember the part in the movie ( Death Saved My Life} where the wife gushes about her perfect husband? That part could have been inspired by the true story of Jill Meagher, an Irish wife who was raped and murdered by a serial killer in Melbourne. Her husband Tom Meagher was still so devastated on what would be their 10th wedding anniversary that he made the following Facebook post: “Ten years ago today, I was lucky enough to marry this incredible human.”

The wedding anniversary theme occurs several times in Death Saved My Life. If you’ll recall the scene at the restaurant where the husband receives a Happy Anniversary card, and then a woman laughs hysterically at the table near him. That was most likely based on a YouTube video that appeared online several years after the disappearance of Maura Murray, a college coed who vanished in 2004. The man in the video is seen cackling, followed by the message “Happy Anniversary.” The real man also created another video, which was a drawing of a girl’s face with a black eye. In Death Saved My Life that happens in a meeting, where a mysterious and haunting photo of the heart surgeon’s wife appears on the screen with a black eye as he’s showing a slide presentation.


There’s also the case of Dr. Richard Illes, a German heart surgeon and a former member of the East German Olympic decathlon team, who made headlines in the 1990s after his wife, Miriam, was shot in the heart in her Pennsylvania kitchen. Neighbors saw her corpse through the kitchen window. In that case, anonymous letters began showing up and false clues were left.

In 2015, Noela Rukundo found out her husband hired hitmen to kill her. The scary event happened while she was attending a family member’s funeral. Upset, she returned to her hotel room and spoke to her husband, by phone. He suggested she go outside for fresh air. When she did, she was abducted by several men and held at gunpoint. Later, the hitmen told her that it was her husband who had arranged to have her killed. A voice recording of her husband convinced her.

Luckily for Noela, the hitmen didn’t believe in killing women and children, so they let her out on the side of the road. Before they left, they gave her another gift. Voice recordings of her husband arranging the hit. She returned home and sat outside in a car while she watched crying congregants leaving her funeral. Noela confronted her husband. He thought he had seen a ghost. Eventually, he was arrested for trying to have her killed.

Death Saved My Life (a true story) airs on Lifetime TV tonight at 8/7 p.m. Central.









Death Saved My Life is produced by Jarrett Creative. Executive producers are Julie Insogna Jarrett, Seth Jarrett, and Meagan Good. Seth Jarrett directs from a script written by Barbara Kymlicka.

Traciy Curry-Reyes

Traciy Curry-Reyes is the founder and editor-in-chief of TV Crime Sky. She began her career as a true crime & entertainment freelance writer in the 1990's for her website, The Movies Based on True Stories Database/Archives. She has contributed content to other websites, such as Examiner.com and Inquisitr.com. Traciy also appears as a true-crime expert and commentator on TV One's Fatal Attraction, For My Man, and Justice by Any Means; Investigation Discovery's Murder Calls and Scorned; Oxygen's Snapped; FOX's Crime Watch Daily; and Lifetime Television's Killer Kids.