I don’t listen to podcasts much, mostly because of technical limitations. My commutes haven’t been long. My iPod probably qualifies as a vintage edition, and I’m not a regular iTunes user. When I listen to podcasts, it’s through a computer, sometimes while washing dishes, usually while doing things that don’t require my full attention. I’ve heard a few episodes of Crime Writers On, which has put me onto two other true crime podcasts.
Both series talk through a current criminal case, but that’s where their similarity ends. The first series is out of Hawaii. “Offshore,” produced by Honolulu Civil Beat, focuses on 2011 incident in which an off-duty federal officer shot and killed a young Hawaiian man. Here’s the preview.
Many on the island see the case as a tangible symbol of powerful Americans running over native Hawaiians, which some have said it how the island kingdom became a US state in the first place. This abuse of privilege dramatically unfolded in an 80-year-old case remarkably similar to the current one. Reporter Jessica Terrell draws the parallels between the two cases and gives an ear to the hearts of Hawaiians who want justice and respect.
Offshore uses the crimes to talk about culture, so while there is some tension in the current case, we hear more of the heartache and anger in the social context.
The host of the second series is investigating an 11-year-old, but still active, missing persons case in southern Georgia. “Up and Vanished” hopes to uncover what happened to Tara Grinstead, a small town school teacher and beauty queen. She left a party late one Friday and has not been seen again.
Now eight episodes and some extras into the series, I’m thinking host Payne Lindsey won’t crack the case, but that’s not because he hasn’t hit it hard enough. The questions he asks are powerful and the evidence he’s found remarkable. In the first episode, he talks about his initial round of phone calls to anyone who would talk to him about Ginstead, and he quickly received a call in return from someone unhappy that he was asking questions.
I fear the murderer has either been protected or had the experience to cover his tracks well enough to keep evidence alone from bringing him in. It’s a terrible feeling. I hope Lindsey is able to stir up enough to propel the police forward, but the ride so far has been thrilling.