A former newsletter editor and sound designer,
so nothing stopped him from starting a true crime podcast.
He could pick any of the 1,600 cases each year in the U.S.
when women are murdered by men.
He could have picked the case of Hae Min Lee,
a high school student strangled to death
and found half-naked, half-buried in river rock in Leakin Park.
But another podcaster already did that story.
Or the one of 26-year-old and pregnant Amanda Key Jones,
who disappeared after planning to meet the alleged father of her baby.
Her cell phone and purse left in her unlocked car;
his 10 acres never searched for lack of a warrant.
Sixty-four percent of female homicides are committed by
family members or an intimate partner.
Another podcast with the word Vanished in its title
already covered her story, in 43 minutes.
So he chose the 10-year-old cold case of Tara Grinstead
because his grandma lived in that town and talked of her case:
the history teacher and former beauty queen,
who never returned home after leaving the neighborhood BBQ.
Who’s to say this podcaster couldn’t retrace detective work,
comb through dusty police records, or detail the actions
of real people and ask them the same old questions?
The small town of Ocilla, Georgia, worked into a frenzy, again.
Canine dogs re-scoured the pecan orchard.
The same rumors sprang up like air bubbles in water.
Someone said her body burned among the sound of husks
releasing their thin-shelled seeds in October.
Who is to argue with well-established facts
crusted with huge speculation when new leads arise?
The real fact is 1 in 3 women worldwide will be physically
or sexually abused in their lifetimes.
But for this podcaster and his listeners,
surely it’s the intrigue of the story that matters,
and the commercial breaks about investment websites
and soft-stretch yoga pants simply a bonus.