Capping CrimeCon 2018

Crime, Podcasts, Television, True Crime

There are probably two emotions you feel by seeing the massive amount of CrimeCon posts on social media this past weekend: joy or jealousy.

Joy for attending a jam packed and exciting event; jealousy for everyone experiencing the fun without you.

Fortunately I planned months ahead and decided to give the event a second try after attending the first ever CrimeCon in Indianapolis, Indiana in 2017. Nashville is where everything took place this year but you didn’t need to even leave the city. The Gaylord Opryland Resort is seriously massive. The scenery can get you lost like The Shining maze but the structure and visuals are remarkable.

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It’s hard to describe but Google isn’t deceptive in the images you would see.

My room wasn’t ready at the check in; I wandered aimlessly around the Opryland.

Must have been 30 to 45 minutes in when I spotted a familiar looking guy with a newsboy hat in the check in aisle.

Lance. Missing Maura Murray, Crawlspace, Empty Frames…

We recognized and hugged each other after I sprinted get his attention. Justin from Generation Why and Tim Pilleri (MMM/Crawlspace) greeted me nearby. I was just happy to see someone I fucking knew.

I stood by wherever Tim and Lance went. Maggie Freleng from the Oxygen docuseries on Maura Murray’s case arrived soon after and they all headed to an outside bar. Not in a drinking mood, I awkwardly escorted myself out to get coffee. I’ll admit I partly distanced myself because I didn’t feel cool next to Maggie. She’s down to earth though. My shyness is the worst but I would have loved having a personal conversation with her.

THANKS FOR FOLLOWING ME ON TWITTER 🙂

Strangely enough at the Starbucks line is where Captain from True Crime Garage appeared. We were going over our day and whatnot. He and I headed over to the MM case gang and heard them speak about whatever.

Podcast Row first kicked off things for CrimeCon. That is where I met Rabia Chaudry from the Undisclosed podcast. Serial was my biggest obsession in 2014, along with Rabia’s Twitter feed on anything Adnan Syed. She’s sorta familiar with me and I’ve written a past article on her book chronicling the case. Rabia was very friendly and we took a selfie together.

I said hi to James Renner. The True Crime Garage line was longer than the wall of China. The Golden State Killer session was a hot attraction especially with the jaw dropping news of Joe DeAngelo’s capture occurring nine days earlier. Paul Hole’s surprise appearance spread quickly on Twitter for those who missed the session including myself. Pretty much that was the most popular story all throughout CrimeCon.

#HotForHoles

The main events I attended on Day 1 were the first Missing Maura Murray panel, the Colonial Parkway Serial Killings session, and watching the part one debut of Finding Maura Murray.

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Colonial Parkway Serial Killings presentation at the Presidential CDE

This indoor bar and lounge located in the Opryland, Fuse, was the main attraction late at night. Pretty packed, you would notice familiar faces in the true crime podcast world.

Payne Lindsey, Bob Ruff, Justin Evans, Aaron Habel, Susan Simpson, Rabia Chaudry, Captain and Nic from True Crime Garage, Robin Warder, Tim and Lance. Devin from Thinking Sideways complemented my newly adorned acrylic nails and name. She was cool as well as several podcast listeners who said hi but there were a couple of other women in this bar that rubbed me the wrong way.

Day 2 brought out more of the same from the day before.

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My well adored pizza shirt on Day 2

Podcast Row was a nonstop commotion. I met John Lordan from Youtube’s Brainscratch. I mentioned my interest in the Maura Murray case and the videos he has subsequently covered over it. Off topic, Jordan stated that AFI was his favorite band or that his favorite song was made by them. I pretty much knew where he was going because AFI released a track called ‘Aurelia’ in 2016. I was super excited when they first released that track, so I appreciated hearing that Jordan really liked this obscure song.

My first session included Callahan Walsh speaking up about his life and professions connected as a criminal justice advocate. Callahan’s father is John Walsh, the star of America’s Most Wanted and The Hunt with John Walsh. Very interesting session and very nice guy. I introduced myself to Callahan after the session concluded. Last but not least I appreciated seeing Darren Kavinoky host the panel, as I have watched his ID channel shows in the past. The dude is charismatic and cool.

Kinda wish I said hi to Darren and complemented his spunky handcuff graphic styled shirt.

The Undisclosed session was another one I hit up since I’m the previously obsessed Serial fan. The basics of Adnan’s case were covered but the presentation was displayed like a literal science project. There was a biology, math, and psychological lesson weaved into their session. Nothing but respect for Susan Simpson, Colin Miller, and Rabia.

The next session I attended was the Dateline panel featuring four famous reporters from the cast: Keith, Andrea, Dennis, and Josh. This was a popular panel as you may imagine. They were awesome.

My last session of the day was Crawlspace. The discussion focused entirely on the Golden State Killer since Billy Jensen and Paul Haynes were the guest speakers next to Tim, Lance, and Maggie. Billy and Paul have researched the case for years and were friends with Michelle McNamara before she passed away.

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CrimeCon Crawlspace session

I stopped attending any CrimeCon presentations after that and crashed in bed.

Acme Seed and Feed is where I ventured later at night. My asocial self would have preferred greasy takeout food and Saturday Night Live but being a shut in was becoming too boring. I met the nicest Lyft driver who took me downtown. We bonded and related on a few things: we were both 26, we both had names starting with the letter A, and we are both Hispanic.

The rooftop area of Acme was my main destination. I caught up with Captain and made small talk with Justin and Esther from Once Upon A Crime. I first met Esther in a Sword & Scale meetup in 2016. She has seen the worst out of me: passed out drunk and puking all over the place. Tonight I was keeping it simple with one drink. Moreover my reticence was bugging me. From a distance I noticed Paul Haynes, the guest speaker from the earlier Crawlspace session. With much courage I introduced myself to Paul.

In Michelle McNamara’s L.A. magazine article on the Golden State Killer, she mentions working with a South Florida researcher –later learned to be Paul– back when he was an anonymous source. The geographic detail always stayed with me. As a South Florida native myself, I learned through him that he’s from Fort Lauderdale and used to visit the Tower Theater in Miami where indie and foreign movies are shown; I once lived in the same neighborhood where this particular theater is located.

I appreciated hearing about our shared local roots. That part of the conversation made me comfortable chatting up a stranger like him, especially since he was well spoken and smart. Our main discussion throughout the night was on Joe DeAngelo. Also, Paul introduced me to Billy Jensen, the same reporter from the earlier Crawlspace session. I’ve been a fan of Billy’s ever since he reported the Body Barrel Murders on Crime Watch Daily

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GSK table

Paul and I eventually Ubered to the Opryland since it was getting late. He had another GSK session to attend early the next morning. Apparently he had already consumed four drinks. I would be disappointed if he didn’t remember our encounter. Anyways let’s keep in touch if you read this.

I found James Renner waiting for coffee at Starbucks when I needed to grab a quick breakfast the following morning. We basically had the same conversation from last year’s CrimeCon: Gators, GSK, and Maura Murray. I’ll say I did a lot better striking up conversations in Nashville than in Indianapolis, even if it was repetitious in this case. Whatever the case I appreciated the small chat with James.

The major GSK panel was the one I saw on the third and final day of CrimeCon. It was my first time hearing Paul Holes discuss the case alongside the survivors Jane, Debby, and Margaret. With the recent news of Joe’s capture, it was bittersweet to see everyone reunited and rejoiced over the whole thing. Last year at CrimeCon I attended a GSK panel when everything was shrouded with mystery; Jane and Debby were there too. It’s humbling to see how things unfolded almost one year later; however, there remains many unknown questions regarding Joe’s whereabouts before, during, and after the rapes and murders he allegedly committed.

Podcast Row was still ongoing after the GSK session. There is this really adorable video I posted on Twitter featuring a bunch of podcasters posing together for a picture during this time. This is one of my favorite moments from CrimeCon.

While Podcast Row was emptying out and podcasters were parting ways to go home, Tim and Lance were still conducting interviews. Octavia Zapala just happened to be with them. Seeing her was a surprise because her podcast Missing Alissa wasn’t mentioned in the CrimeCon website. The one thing I was most curious about –which I asked– was her background. Octavia is Italian and not Hispanic like I originally thought.

Octavia stands out between her accent and reporting in a world where true crime podcasts are dominated by white men. We had a pleasant back and forth. 

For the rest of the day I hanged out with Tim and Lance.

Our conversations consisted of sharing a mutual indifference to Star Wars and some privy Maura Murray information. Even I couldn’t let go after checking into the Nashville airport and watched them hilariously circle around for food.

This is the second time they let me tag along for anything. I go with it because fuck it they’re awesome people. 

Nashville was a blast and there is more I would have wanted to explore. The convention was such a whirlwind.

New Orleans is the next big trip since the city will host CrimeCon in 2019.

 

 

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My MMM Episode: One Year Later

Crime, Podcasts, True Crime

The mention of episode 43 of the Missing Maura Murray podcast probably doesn’t register with you, even if I told you I appeared in it.

Aurelia, who? Amelia? Aurora?…

Today officially marks one year since my episode premiered. Right now I can’t bring myself to listen again; I decided to scroll on Instagram instead. Here’s what I remember from the show:

Tim and Lance Facetimed with me but they couldn’t record the video because I wasn’t using Skype. Routinely their Youtube page contains video of interviews from MMM and Crawlspace but in a way I’m glad my images aren’t out there for people to nitpick me some more. 

In previous occasions Lance mentioned the possibility of getting interviewed –as early as 2016– until he formally asked me in March 2017 if I would like to go on the show. I was like heck yeah!

I still get psyched that this even happened in the first place. 

Today the podcast has recorded 73 episodes. Honestly I didn’t foresee such a gargantuan coverage on the Maura Murray case like they’ve done in this show. At most I thought the show would conclude in 2016. At some point they’ve probably wanted to throw in the towel but I’m sure the impending release of Finding Maura Murray will determine how much longer they’ll produce the podcast.

I still feel insecure with how some listeners negatively expressed their thoughts on my interview. Even if people criticize you on the internet I’m sure most to none would not say it to your face. Besides if some unknown blogger like myself was interviewed, people will always find umbrage with whatever content Tim and Lance put out. Recently they discussed about an American murderer, Israel Keyes, on his possible connection to the New Hampshire area, and if he might have abducted Maura Murray.

In my eyes I don’t see any ties with Israel being connected to Maura’s disappearance. Some listeners, including James Renner, disagreed with the podcast producing an episode on Israel because the content seemed to stretch past anything concrete about Maura. Hearing about that criticism kinda comforted me. Even though Israel possesses an interesting murder profile, making him the subject for a true crime podcast garnered some flack.

So whether Tim and Lance interview little people like me or discuss potential serial killers is apparently not enough… 🙂

I haven’t blogged since the Oxygen series concluded last year. Since then the 14 year anniversary of Maura’s disappearance has passed. One figure by the initials of J.S. decided to “step away” from the case. For reasons unknown, J.S. started to verbally insult Tim and Lance on Reddit and Facebook. It’s one thing to break away communication but it’s another thing to post their addresses on Youtube. These embarrassing actions make me believe he is one of the least credible and trustworthy people to come across the case. Tim and Lance don’t deserve that treatment, along with the other negative remarks thrown at Art and Maggie.

It’s like why are you getting jealous? They aren’t detectives. Have some decorum for once.

In the height of the Me Too Movement, James Renner communicated with two women who had trysts with Billy Rausch during his marriage. James posted their side by side interviews on his Youtube page. Hearing about the encounters was interesting but these allegations still mean nothing towards the Maura Murray disappearance. These claims seem to show that Billy is a sleaze but James is trying to persuade people that Billy may have caused harm to Maura– whether that is directly or indirectly.

Besides that no more tv specials like the Oxygen documentary has been produced. True Crime Addict was a standalone unique book on the MM case. The only other literary publication I can see happening is one focusing on the disappearance and death of Maura Murray, and the subsequent aftermath of those events if they ever came to light. Arrests, trials, you name it… I would love to read that book.

Speaking of books, I checked out of my local library the Seventeen magazine special edition book that chronicled true crime stories from their issues. Maura’s case was first presented in their July 2004 issue; her story was one of seventeen displayed for this one of a kind book. Out of all the stories, Maura’s is the only one that focused on a missing person investigation. As a former subscriber to the magazine, I loved reading every page but especially the true crime section. It was like one minute OH CUTE MAKEUP TIPS then to OOOO SERIOUS MURDER STORY.

All of the stories displayed in the book were equally fascinating. 

Finding Maura Murray will debut in CrimeCon this year. For anyone who is attending Nashville in May, you should definitely stop by for that. Incidentally the first day of CrimeCon takes place on Maura’s 36th birthday. 

The fascination persists in subtle ways but I’m getting jaded. I want resolution in this investigation. I’m sure Finding Maura Murray will rejuvenate the obsession for people who put the case in a corner.

To this day I could definitively say I made three individuals obsessed with this case and podcast: Captain from True Crime Garage, Jordan from the Night Time Podcast, and a high school classmate of mine. The details of Maura’s disappearance gravitate people for some natural reason. Hands down this is one of the most discussed cases in true crime.

You can’t argue with that.

 

Capping CrimeCon 2017

Crime, Podcasts, True Crime

Returning to my Airbnb from CrimeCon, my mind swirls with flashbacks about this jam packed three day weekend. So much to see and hear. Where do I begin?

My journey began by departing to Sarasota-Bradenton Airport at 4:30 AM.

This is it.

It’s really happening.

Don’t take advantage of an early bird flight. There are little to no lines clogging TSA. You’ll have a comfortable spot while waiting to board. Time to eat, sleep, or check social media in the meantime. 

For my first time traveling alone, checking in was fast and convenient. I learned flying is fun. I hadn’t boarded a flight since 2008. My fear of flying back then rested on getting motion sickness and potentially crashing into the Atlantic Ocean. 

Your mind thinks of the screwy parts seen in the media: terrible TSA lines, people getting kicked off planes (yes you, United), and staff being rude or dismissive. Thankfully traveling from Florida –including the brief Atlanta layover — to Indiana was smooth sailing. 

Zeroing in on my Indy arrival sprang pretty quickly. I ubered straight to my Airbnb. It was go-time from there: shower, change my clothes, and finding my destination to CrimeCon. 

You can’t miss the The JW Marriott in downtown Indianapolis. 

Podcast Row was already in session when I stepped into the Marriott. Low and behold who do I spot at first glance? Tim and Lance from Missing Maura Murray. They just had to be first table upfront huh… 

Tim and Lance recognized me right away as we quickly greeted and hugged each other. Smiles and nervous chatter filled the air. They were very down to earth. 

I spotted True Crime Garage a few tables away. I’ve known Captain and Nic since December 2015, when I randomly stumbled upon their show from some Youtuber advertising them in the LordenARTS channel comment section. Captain was tall as heck, sporting his Rogue cap backwards and purple TCG shirt. Nic is the slimmer dude with the laid back disposition. Captain and I went in for the hugs. Interacting with Nic was interesting because we don’t speak very often with each other. The little conversation we had was cool.

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Article on Beth Andes from Accused

I was already overwhelmed with Podcast Row. 

I bounced back and forth between the MMM and TCG tables. Tim and I were chatting while Lance stopped by Starbucks for sustenance. I was really taken back by Tim’s piercing green eyes. In return, Lance was much quieter in my presence. I’m too reserved and reticent to keep a conversation flowing anyway. Eventually our MM counterpart James Renner arrived wearing his signature creme suit.

“Hi Aurelia.” Oh cool he knows me. 

Firstly, James is skinny and approachable as can be. I don’t think the haters should take him seriously. In the interim I chatted between passerby’s and podcasters including Esther (Once Upon A Crime), Robin (The Trail Went Cold), and Justin (Generation Why). 

My original plans flew out the window once I stepped onto Podcast Row. 

I hanged with the TCG crew as the session winded down. Nic had to exit CrimeCon early to later vacation in Florida. I was lending an ear while Captain smoked cigarettes through our sunny downtown trail. We settled for St. Elmo Steakhouse. 

My phone completely shutting off during this period was the shitty turn of events. 

Last minute observations:

I wanted to introduce myself to the Thin Air table. They’re like the sophisticated sounding missing people podcast narrated over such delicate voices. Almost think of Phoebe Judge from Criminal. Voices so soft spoken it’s artsy. I was shy to say hi. I did appreciate your live Facebook video from Podcast Row though. 

The Killing Season and Cropsy team, Josh Zeman and Rachel Mills. Rachel’s so little! I dived into the Long Island Serial Killer case after The Killing Season premiered. Seeing Bob Kolker was cool too. LOST GIRLS is a great book.

Keep being your suave self, Carl Marino. Nice to see you Aphrodite Jones. Nancy Grace is short statured and laidback. Her kids were nice too. Oh Ken Kratz. That’s all I gotta say. Josh Mankiewicz looks like the chillest man ever.

Day 2:

In my estimate, the demographic and median age at Crime Con was Caucasian women in their mid thirties to forties. Very rarely did I see peers, however I appreciate and prefer older crowds anyway. 

Podcast Row started much earlier at 9AM. Same ol’ thing I said my hellos to everyone. I remember Billy Jensen stopping by the TCG table. I’ve known Billy since he reported the Body Barrel murders on Crime Watch Daily. Captain and him were going over the case since TCG also covered the New Hampshire murders. I gleefully chimed in by stating I watched and appreciated the Crime Watch segment. From there I noticed Renner perched at his table. I used this opportunity for my copy of TRUE CRIME ADDICT to be signed. We made small talk about Maura Murray and my background. 

Renner originally thought I resided near UMASS, the school where Maura majored as a nurse. Up until 24 hours earlier, I had never visited another state until landing in Indiana. I don’t know what my blogging or personality says about the UMASS assumption but I will gladly accept it. People notice my level of tunefulness with Maura Murray’s disappearance.

Upon figuring out I’m a Florida native, James revealed he traveled to Tallahassee, the state capital, a month ago to find Maura. I was entertained. This is why people continue being interested in the case because new situations and possibilities always arise. The wild goose chase never ends.

I needed breakfast. Ribeye from St. Elmo’s was my last treat. 

Found my way to Lance in the long Starbucks line.

“I’ll get a coffee frap.”

This is when I found myself opening up to him. We discussed the CrimeCon whirlwind. It was just cool we were having a conversation — period. (Not to single out anyone again but Lance has the biggest blue eyes ever.) Never thought I’d see him sport magenta pants. I like it. 

Later on I attended the Golden State Killer session in the grand ballroom. 

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Crawlspace table

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My first encounter with the Original Night Stalker/East Area Rapist/Golden State Killer case occurred while coming across a chilling Cold Case Files episode in my teens. I’ll never forget his scary ski mask sketch and frightening voicemail to one of his victims back in 1991.

All these years later watching the victim’s families mingle together for the first time and discuss their ordeal was personal. I believe forensic genealogy will break the case. FBI might be counting on this method for identification besides the ONS having a micro penis. No joke. 

Shout out to Mike Morford for joining the panel. I’ve been Twitter friends with Mike for awhile since he’s especially in tune with the ONS and Zodiac Killer investigations. I was too shy to say hi whenever he passed by me in the halls. 

For more on the ONS, 48 Hours recently covered the unknown assailant along with Michelle McNamara’s thorough and intriguing reporting. Michelle passed away in 2016. She placed the Golden State Killer moniker back in her 2013 ONS Los Angeles Magazine article. 

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Jon Ronson took center stage after the ONS presentation. You couldn’t miss him with his signature circular glasses and soft British voice. Tim and Lance joined alongside me. They were having a ball based on the joyous laughs I heard. Jon’s colorful speech illuminated the room. 

When everything concluded, I became the lingering lady among Tim and Lance. My nuisance of a phone died during Jon’s presentation. I just wanted to be around someone familiar for safekeeping. The MMM seminar was coming up anyway…might as well stick around. If you witnessed a long haired brunette bobbing around with her brown book bag, chances were it was me. As predicted that MMM presentation turned out enjoyable. The talk of trolls was one of the focal points. When that session was done, James, Tim and Lance recorded an Oxygen promo for the upcoming Maura Murray investigative six part series. 

Don’t worry, you guys did great. 

The calm afternoon followed with lunch at High Velocity, the restaurant serving the Marriott. I had never seen Tim and Lance congregate in a private setting before. They’ve been friends for 15 years. I couldn’t believe this was my life. Casually having a meal with popular podcasters. Maura Murray led us here.  

I’m a woman of a few words but I tried opening up the conversation. Anyways these guys are pretty funny and friendly behind the scenes. One on one, they are special in their own ways.

Did I dream of this weekend? 

We were all wiped out by lunch and led our separate ways. Back in my Bnb I worked like a mad scientist trying to figure out the damn phone. Touring the Marriott hours before weared me out. I missed out on the podcast cocktail hour because I was quarantined quite frankly by tiredness and lack of technology. Sucks that I missed it. 

Day 3:

Flitways saves the day.

If I were a podcaster, this is the part where I’d sponsor the hell outta Flitways, a car service similar to Uber and Lyft. The exception remains you can order a ride hours or days in advance. I seriously love this service for being sharp on time and taking me where I needed to be. It saved me from being deserted.

Anyways I was the driver’s 100th customer. Killing two birds with one stone.

I eventually grabbed my morning breakfast (Starbucks cookie and frap) to the grand ballroom. This was leading up to the second MMM presentation for 10AM. The big reveal for the audience was the announcement on the Oxygen Maura Murray series. The series trailer was introduced right away. Off the bat the content looks promising. I can’t believe Tim and Lance will be appearing on national television.

Life takes people you know in interesting directions.  

In hindsight, I noticed the female reporter from the trailer could serve as an investigative asset, since she roughly resembles the proximate age of what Maura would be today. That female perspective may make a difference in the public eye. 

I was not the only MMM guest who appeared at CrimeCon. Scott Reeder (Suspect Convictions), Nancy Grace (Crime Online), Justin Evans & Aaron Habel (The Generation Why), James Renner (TCA), and Erinn (Blogger @ 107degree.com) were essentially present in support. 

That must be humbling ya know. 

Overall the grand ballroom presentation was ten times better. The Happy Anniversary video was shown. People asked all kinds of questions. Good times. 

No straw hats were consumed in this event.

CrimeCon was practically done by noon. James and I said goodbye. Pictures were taken separately with Esther, Justin, Tim, and Lance. And right after I met Erinn. You likely heard Erinn’s interview in episode 33 on MMM. She’s really soft spoken and sweet.

Her blog is really analytical. I haven’t reached that level of thoroughness with my own blog. At one point last year I remember refreshing her work to see if any new posts were being made. The cool thing with the writers involved is how we display our own personality and perspective with the Maura Murray case. 

This final part is one of my favorite highlights. 

Erinn and I joined Tim and Lance for an Indianapolis Indians game at the Lucas Oil stadium. I was happy to spend my final hours with some sun, baseball, and beer. Again what is my life? 

My gratitude will never go away. 

Not long after we went our separate ways and said our final goodbyes. I hugged everyone. 

I got misty I’ll admit. 

I reminisced on my entire CrimeCon trip back in my Bnb. Food was ordered. I packed my bags and listened to the latest Unconcluded podcast.

I touched down Florida by Monday afternoon. Back to reality. 

Traveling by myself for the first time was fulfilling. Hopefully I left an overall good impression with the people I met. Attending the first ever CrimeCon makes me proud. I felt in my element. 

Fortunately twas no Fyre Fest.

Maybe I’ll relive it in Nashville.