History and culture, Nonfiction, podcasts

“Accused” podcast shines bright

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I love listening to podcasts, especially true crimes and cold cases. I’ve listened to a LOT put out by Wondery, “the largest independent podcaster in the world,” according to their website. Wondery is a network, launched by a former FOX CEO, so it’s no small potatoes. They’re responsible for “Dr. Death,” “Over My Dead Body,” “Dirty John,” “The Shrink Next Door,” and the series I’m listening to right now — Accused.

While the other series are, in my opinion, a bit sensational, Accused is much more straightforward. The series is produced by the Pulitzer Prize-winning Cincinnati newspaper, The Enquirer and its associated website http://www.cincinnati.com, It was created by Enquirer reporter Amber Hunt and photographer Amanda Rossmann in 2016 and is now on its third season.

Amber Hunt is as sharp as a tack, no-nonsense, and thorough. Accused shines the spotlight on wrongful convictions and cover-ups. I’m listening to Season 3 right now, as Hunt investigates the 1984 disappearance of a man working at the “Fernald Feed Materials Production Center” (A.K.A. a uranium processing plant owned by the government). David Bocks went to work one day and simply vanished. Suspicious remains were found in a vat of molten salt (temperature = 1350 degrees Farenheit). His death was ruled a suicide.

Accused goes after the crimes others have forgotten — or have swept under the rug. I like Hunt and her team’s doggedness to ferret out the facts. They follow a lead to the very end and are a voice for victims and the truth.

Nonfiction, podcasts

Open your ears!

For the past few months, I’ve been on a podcast binge. It started with S-Town, then went to Dear John, then Someone Knows Something, and from there it’s kept going until today. I just finished Missing Richard Simmons, so now I have to find a new series to listen to while I walk the dog, wash dishes, brave the exercise machine, or fold laundry. There’s nothing like a good podcast to make excruciatingly boring tasks enjoyable!

So, here’s a rundown of my top three favorites, and if you have any suggestions of great podcasts, please share them in the comments section!

S-Town: Produced by Serial and This American Life, S-Town feels to me a little like Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil but with a lot more cursing. The main “character” is John, who hounded journalist Brian Reed for months and months, wanting Reed to come down to Alabama to investigate a murder. At least, what John thinks is a murder. From there, the story unravels like a prickly spool of mohair yarn, itchy and bright colored. I have mixed feelings about S-Town. Part of me feels like it exploits the quirks of the deep South — but what saves it, I think, is Reed’s affection for the eccentric and troubled John.

Someone Knows Something: This series is by far my favorite. Produced by CBC Radio (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) and hosted by David Ridgen, Someone Knows Something covers cold cases — murders and missing persons — compassionately and extremely thoroughly. Its first season delves into the case of a missing five-year-old boy from 1972. The second season looks into the disappearance of Sheryl Sheppard in 1998, and the third season helps solve a 1960s murder by the KKK. I can’t wait for Season 4!

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Sheryl Sheppard went missing in 1998 from Hamilton, Ontario. If you know anything about the case, email sks@cbc.ca

Unconcluded: I just listened to the latest episode of Unconcluded last night. Friends Shaun and Scott are currently investigating the 2006 disappearance of Jennifer Kesse from Orlando, Florida. To me, this podcast feels the most urgent because it deals with a somewhat recent case, and as Scott and Shaun find out information about the case, they share it with listeners. We are on the journey, too. This podcast, like Someone Knows Something, feels compassionate and honest, with real hope of helping the Kesse family find answers to a horrible crime.

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Jennifer Kesse went missing in January of 2006 from Orlando. If you know anything about the case, contact the Orlando Police at Orlando Police: 321-235-5300