Backing Up

Date Published 06.03.15

I was once forwarded an email written by a retired California police lieutenant. Details in the email were supposed to help clarify the chronology of a cold case investigation. The timeline information was helpful, but what stuck with me was an aside the lieutenant made, a lament about disorganization and missed opportunities, about the tendency of cops to go it alone and not share what they....

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The State I'm In

Date Published 09.12.14

I apologize for my absence. I’ve had little on my mind except finishing my book on the Golden State Killer.

I got some flak for giving him that name. The displeased felt that sounded too glamorous, like he was a Hollywood star. But as my research takes me across California the more I feel the moniker, with its jarring juxtaposition, is apt. His swath of violence extended from....

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Nature, Nurture and the Unknowable

Date Published 05.27.14


According to his now-infamous manifesto, Elliot Rodger was inspired to attend school in Santa Barbara after he saw the movie Alpha Dog. He thought the kids in that movie seemed like they were having a lot of fun. Alpha Dog, based on a true story, is about young, low-level drug dealers in the LA area who kidnap and then murder a child after taking him up to Santa....

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Crowd Sourcing a Wisconsin Cold Case

Date Published 05.19.14

Cold cases are solved everyday through advancements in forensic science, but they can also get a boost from a tool most of us now take for granted: the Internet. When Barbara Nelson, 34, was abducted on August 5, 1982 from the convenience store where she worked in Albion, Wisconsin the case received a great deal of attention from the local news, but back then that’s where stories....

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A Guest Post: The Felix Vail Case

Date Published 04.07.14


After a decade spent researching serial murder, Enzo Yaksic founded the Serial Homicide Expertise and Information Sharing Collaborative. Enzo and his team contributed their expertise to the investigation of Felix Vail, 74, as a serial murder suspect.


Five decades before Louisiana became the setting for Nic Pizzolatto’s True Detective, the bayou....

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The Feed

Wonderful development in a case I once wrote about: Man arrested in 30-year Glen Ellyn cold case murder
Weirdly beautiful and affecting. Loved this: High-Rise-Window Washers of Manhattan via @newyorker
What the \u2018Times\u2019 Got Wrong About Nail Salons by Richard Bernstein via @nybooks
RT @DannyZuker: .@realDonaldTrump Anyone who survives the degradation of years of captivity is a hero in my book. I don't know how Ivana Tr\u2026
@DentzelDomain @jackiekashian I didn't know that. Interesting. Golden State Killer as D.H. Lawrence fan? Anything is possible.