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. 

 

 

 

 

 

Blogiversary

Podcasts, Uncategorized

Today my blog turns 1.

I had attempted the podcast thing but limited resources and one-too-many-Serial-case-spinoffs put me on the short end. Speaking of Hae Min Lee’s case, Generation Why brilliantly promoted Missing Maura Murray on that episode. I already knew of Maura’s case through Disappeared back in 2013. Now a podcast? Cool I’d check it out.

A few months before MMM, I actually ran into this case again and got mini-obsessed. OHHHH MAURA MURRAY. This whole time her name was indecipherable but the rural road crash detail clicked for me. It wasn’t dormant after all. Already a popular internet fixture, there were a few new things I learned: James Renner, an investigative journalist, was blogging the New England mystery; Alden Olsen, a strange middle aged man posted creepy videos; Maura’s college troubles.

One of the weird things I put together –because I was Serially obsessed– was that she vanished in New Hampshire on the same day that Hae was found deceased in a Leakin Park burial site. A morbid but fascinating fact. The events took place five years a part.

Fast forward to summer and I’m hearing the new podcast. The guys voices sounded cool, smart, and professional. I especially dig the melancholy piano piece. The artwork of the illuminating figure treading away captured that mysterious essence. Because there was more to Maura than meets the eye –and I had already been formally introduced to the case– I jump started my blog.

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OG MMM listeners like myself know that it originally premiered on Thursday mornings. My favorite highlights take place during that early run. When Renner first appeared, I remember sitting up in bed so titillated with his commentary. OMG SARA SHUT THE DOOR?? A funny moment was Tim getting spooked during The Scorpion when inspecting a photograph of Maura after she was busted with credit card fraud. These early batch of episodes always led me with dread whenever they ended. I wanted more.

Some of the terms thrown around were confusing.

  • What’s a snowbank?

I’ve never experienced or seen snow, so, that didn’t register right away.

  • Tandem driver, cylinders

I don’t drive. I don’t possess much knowledge in car models, mechanics, and basic automobile terminology.

  • White Russian, Kahlua.

Alcohol is not my vice. Sometimes I indulge, but I never before heard of these beverages.


Blogging felt arduous in the beginning; however, my writing and insight became stronger with time. Sometimes I thought my entries were weak but Tim and Lance always rewarded me with kindness. We quickly developed a rapport. Trust. Support.

Like-mindedness.

Besides Maura Murray I’ve blogged about other topics. After writing my Serial anniversary post, a reader felt so moved by my work that she personally sent me a mug. A generous and heartwarming gift. Sadly the doodles washed off. The fact that matters is people caring about your perspective. The other rewarding thing is people personally connecting with your struggles. A guy emailed me the other day because he was touched by my honesty in Under The Rug, where I briefly mentioned my depression and anxiety. These sensitive topics aren’t always the easiest in opening up to.

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Thanks Samantha!

 

The other best part about MMM is the upcoming documentary. A guaranteed hit for sure.

Like Veruca Salt in Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory….I WANT IT NOW!

Talk about genius marketing between podcasting and filmmaking. With this show John Smith, KF, Marley Davis, Karen McNamara, and some others wouldn’t have jumped on abroad. The guys probably felt their resources were scarce before premiering their show. With the added commentary from different walks of life, insight into her 2004 disappearance shines a very optimistic light, in a way of potentially being solved.

With the right and competent people, of course.

Oh yeah, before TRUE CRIME ADDICT was released I theorized people would gobble it up.

I was right.

Timing into this mystery served me right. How MMM landed on my lap. TCA being released within the coming year. Given that Renner wrote the book for around 5-6 years, waiting would have left me jaded. I’m saying that because some die hard followers have trailed his blog from the beginning. My energy and enthusiam factors greatly into projects. Time affects my attention span. You’ll know by reading my book review that I sincerely enjoyed TCA. My infused reading occurred between couches, beds, and lift recliners. This case ain’t nothing if bookstores in Massachusetts and other states sold out copies within days. Meanwhile months back while hanging with a high school friend, he casually brought up MMM. I honestly don’t expect someone who actually knows me to associate, or even recollect, my blog in any fashion. Last night another nearby friend said they read Under The Rug. In my mind I think everybody is a busybody and scrolls aimlessly past my links. Mine isn’t popular by any means, so it’s cool anyone would notice.

Blogging is fulfilling. This creative endeavor is the only activity worth my time. College didn’t work out last semester. I rather type 1000 words on why cold cases are so cool than sit with anxiety in a classroom. If my learning environment isn’t satisfactory, what is my purpose in participating? I’m not ready to be challenged unless the education is really worth trying.

Blogging on other missing or murder cases come to mind, but I just cannot participate in the serialized way that I’d like. Sometimes I think my Maura material gets rehashed and rehashed. Anybody feel like their work becomes redundant? Details of her case still capture me though. Continually I find myself jotting down notes from one notepad to the other. Late one night, during the successful run of Serial season one, I passionately expressed my admiration in a social media post. The words linger and make sense to this day. Here’s that post:

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Some vibrant analogies over there. Literally I can recall the proverbial withdrawal from that Thanksgiving break, like being strung out from lack of heroin. Show was that good people. Once in a lifetime story. Anyways my point is…this post resembles the one above. A thank you to Lance, Tim, Renner, Jordan, John, Captain. People in passerby who have complemented and read my work, thank you too. This company is the kind you want around for a lifetime. I can actually show my gratitude because I know ya.

I don’t have a background in anything. No boots in the ground digging. No journalistic or judicial experience. I just speak from within.

Like how No Doubt sings…I’m just a girl in a world.

 

 

Sword & Scale Florida Meetup

Crime, Podcasts, True Crime

Sword & Scale remains as one of the most successful crime podcasts, queuing up 70 episodes to date. The man responsible for bringing engrossing true crime stories to our ears is Mike Boudet. Something to note is Serial was the first podcast -relating to a real life crime tale- I had ever heard. During the run of Serial’s juggernaut success, numerous articles began recommending other podcasts within the true crime genre. That’s when I first came across S&S, Criminal, Generation Why, Thinking Sideways, and a few more.

An exciting world was brought before me.

I remember the first episode I heard was a Canadian case where a teenager was beheaded by a severely mentally ill Asian man on a Greyhound bus. A few notable others cases covered by Mike include Luke Magnotta, a reality show reject and narcissistic who killed a guy during coitus, all the while live streaming the tortuous sex. Ricardo Lopez serves as another interesting mix. Taking place right here in sunny South Florida, a stalker obsessed fan of Bjork filmed 22 hours of sickening reel. He professed his deranged thoughts about his favorite singer and lonely life. The crazy part is the suicide tape. (I too used to lurk r/MorbidReality).

Besides the long list of episodes, I was stunned to learn Mike is a S.Fla native and resident like yours truly. That fact made him ten times cooler. The mention of Casey Anthony’s verdict while driving on Bird Road in the podcast hit the light bulb switch in my head.

Fast forward to the announcement of a local meetup, along with Justin from Generation Why set to appear. How could I not go?


Destination: Burlock Coast.

A fancy eatery and bar in Ft. Lauderdale beach.

I’m familiar with this city. My dad used to work there. While the restaurant is now closed, I briefly waitressed during the summer of ’09. Later the majority of rock concerts I attended took place at Revolution and Culture Room. Seeing the likes of Minus The Bear and Circa Survive always led me to carpool from Miami to Ft. Lauderdale many a high school and college nights. Basically my entire Youtube channel consists of amateur videos where I filmed scores of alternative/post-hardcore bands in these venues.

Driving through the streets of Ft. Lauderdale –especially the very touristy side– reminded me of Miami Beach, my hometown. The beach side looks a lot like Ocean Drive.

So I’m dropped off. Walk inside Burlock. The feeling of being lost sets in motion right when someone notices my presence. Immediately my attention snaps to Justin -hollering for me to join him. Seated at a dinner table is Justin, Mike and a few other men in their 30s. I felt like Lindsey Lohan in Means Girls joining the Regina George lunch table.

Oh me?? I’m flattered.

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The Sword & Scale Squad

I was introduced to everyone. Mostly I just made small talk about my blog and Missing Maura Murray with Justin. He pointed out to a married couple seated nearby at a lounge because they flew from San Jose, California for this very meeting.

Dedication. I like that.

5 minutes later everyone gathered around for the meetup. I’d say around 50 people appeared. Mostly the hosts their divided attention whoever stopped by. A couple of times Mike and I personally chit chatted. We watch the same batch of true crime shows, I noticed. This heavily tattooed dude brought up True Crime Garage and Missing Maura Murray, in specific how he prefers shows where there is a resolution (MM is a certified rabbit hole). One of the things I’ve noticed about S&S is the picking and choosing of obscure cases. Mike agreed that’s why he doesn’t discuss unsolved cases. You can guess a million crazy theories before finding the truth.

I’m insanely reticent. I managed to make conversation with a couple of people: Hannah (an Indiana transplant living in Delray Beach) and Esther (the woman who flew in from Cali).

Mostly I stuck around with Esther. Soon I learned she actually hosts Once Upon A Crime. I was just yip yapping about true crime all night. O.J. Simpson, Making A Murderer, you name it. We find it to be so cool how casual and inviting podcasters are with their listeners. The podcast medium is unique. Anyone can start their own show, grab a gargantuan amount of listeners, and premiere their episodes whenever. There are no rules.

I wouldn’t be here without Serial. As I typed halfway through today’s entry, news surprised the podcast community with Adnan Syed getting a new trial. What a long way we’ve come since Serial premiered in October of 2014. Without that show, x, y, z wouldn’t have occurred. Discovering new content, befriending podcast peeps, starting this blog. I really have come across wonderful people.

Nothing tops Serial.


As the Saturday night was winding down people were leaving. I was monkey in the middle between Esther and Justin as we chatted around an hour. She was recounting how she has followed TC since the Ann Rule days. Unsolved Mysteries was my idolization. Nearby a young couple struck up a conversation with us. The male was mostly drunk but very chatty and friendly. I’d really like to hear that discussion because Esther spontaneously decided to record that exchange. I remember Richard Ramirez being brought up as a fixture in TC history, one of the reasons Justin became personally interested in the genre.

A momentary pause in the discussion led the guy to mention my pink toe nail polish; somewhere in his curious drunken state he was fascinated with that observation. Later, a premium episode of Gen Why came up about a Oregon 911 call where a helpless woman was rejected from getting protected by her abusive ex, reasons being that Josephine County cut their budget with police personnel. Here’s the episode.

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Oh hey

As I was sitting there I understood why Justin and Mike host their shows. They’re capable of prolonging with promising content, all the while vocalizing without running out of material. There’s a reason both men were chatting up a storm with everyone. They possess opinions that scores of people are very keen in hearing.

By the time the couple left, I was chewing the same piece of gum for hours. No food in my stomach. Esther’s husband generously offered me drinks. I wasn’t sure how the night would turn out. Not eating before leaving home was a premature decision that would later cost me. Sustenance was needed even if a milkshake or buckets of ice were handed.

I joined Mike and his friends. He was recounting a hilarious massage story as I was sipping my rum. Everyone was roaring. Downing the second glass my functions became foggy but my memory was still serving me right. Mind you I’m not a regular drink. Here I am home away home. My first meetup was going well. I became impaired.

I passed out.

My bathroom break led to a welfare check. Without Esther I probably would have slept on that hotel tile. When I finally walked out everyone was gone. No goodbye hugs to the guys.

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Things took an embarrassing toll. My blurry vision was in great effect. Meanwhile Esther was trying to request Uber. Thankfully my inebriated side isn’t aggressive. I’m upbeat and chatty but mostly nurturing is needed if things go south. Upchucking while slumped outside was as close to Snooki-from-Jersey Shore-drunk as I got. Mostly I’m cool.

My ride arrives. A white guy around 21 was in the Uber pool; immediately he was concerned with my visible inebriation. We shook hands. At his drop off he told the driver to text him when I arrived safely at home. That was sweet. During my drunken state my thought was there is true kindness in this world, even among strangers. Good people can look after you.

Maybe Mystery Show can dedicate an episode on the identity of this mysterious passenger.

Mike and Justin were really cool. To sum it all up, in a state where they can comfortably quit their jobs to podcast full time is a reality many wish to fulfill. If you aren’t kind to listeners, then it’s really not worth attempting this line of work. The online sleuths are here to stay. I hope to experience more meetups. The podcast peeps at the top of the list know who they are.

I’m shy greet me first.

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The MMM Men

Crime, Podcasts, True Crime

February 9, 2016: The 12 year anniversary of Maura’s disappearance. This day was on everyone’s minds. The special two parter -episodes 23 and 24- focused on Tim and Lance’s participation in the community vigil and lodge meeting, where locals and visitors reflected on this baffling case. I always appreciate seeing their Youtube teaser clips. These particular episodes show John Smith leading passionate speeches, as scenic snow fell before the gatherers. In addition they perched comfortably in the lodge, collectively concerned and alert as if she vanished yesterday. From the old to the young the Woodsville residents were present. That was a sweet sight.

More justice was done with these clips and episodes than me just spontaneously showing up, hopping from state to state; sweltering heat to freezing temps. Vicariously you try to imagine the place as you use Google Maps searching for the blue ribbon – the creepy indicator. Googling Route 112 for the first time was actually chilling. Nothing but a gargantuan of greenery.

You couldn’t find a soul if you wanted to.

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I want to give a special thanks to James Renner for recommending my blog on his blog. He was particularly fond of my Mean Girls meme, which demonstrates the Missing Maura Murray wackadoodleness. We are two months shy of True Crime Addict‘s release. Here’s what I think: the people will gobble it up. The book will sell fast. Hate or love the guy, people will undeniably speak about it. I imagine the response will be like those Harry Potter releases, where fanatics need to know what’s next going on with Hogwarts. People have been reading his blog for five years. His research and insight won’t go unnoticed. It’s sorta like the hatch from LOST.

What is in the thing???

Speaking of fanatics, I managed to make two grown men obsessed with this case; both who respectively host their own podcasts. A simple recommendation led down a titillating path. Jordan from The Night Time Podcast was scanning my blog, so I suggested he give MMM a good listen. He was instantly hooked, so much so the case became a Night Time episode. The Tim and Lance interview served as a cool bonus. Meanwhile, as a 20/20 episode highlighted Maura and Brooke Wilberger’s disappearances on the OWN network, I called The Captain from True Crime Garage. (True story). I always bring up the podcast to whoever I speak with. I suggested 20/20 as a basic starting point. Little did I know this man became so hooked, literally to the point of us having 2-3 hour long phone calls.