The 700-mile Away View of 9/11

I think of the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 a little bit like our nation’s largest earthquake. It’s clear that 1 World Trade Center was the epicenter and the greatest loss and damage occurred in the surrounding neighborhood, but the city of New York as a whole, millions of people in thousands of agencies and industries, and every American in cities from sea to shining sea felt at least an aftershock of the trauma hand-delivered to our shores that day.

As a Midwestern teenager I had no direct connection to New York City or the World Trade Center that morning, and to this day my only connections to the city are still no more than having a couple of podcasting friends who happen to call it home, but like most others across this country, I couldn’t take my eyes off of what was happening in the Big Apple that morning.

 
I had chosen to take a 2nd year of Biology my junior year of high school, and this actually put me in a class that largely consisted of students a year younger than me who just happened to be taking a state-mandated, standardized test that morning. Because of this, my classroom was closed off. No televisions were on, and no one was allowed to come or go once the testing began so when I re-emerged in the hallway at 8:55 AM, I had less than ten minutes to catch up. A plane had hit the north tower of the World Trade Center less than 20 minutes earlier, and among the crowd of largely senior students who were discussing the topic, no motive was yet being ascribed, though the idea that it was an accident wasn’t one being tossed around much.


My next class started at 9:05 AM, and I settled into my assigned seat in a US government class, where NBC News was now on the television, just as the second plane hit the south tower. I first thought it was a replay of the earlier impact, but in just seconds I realized there was already smoke coming from the other tower. I didn’t know much about air traffic, had never even stepped foot in an airport to that point, but I knew it was no accident, and I knew things were changing in a big way. 

Before that sounds overly dramatic, maybe I should give you some background. I was born in 1985, had a grandfather who helped fund Christian missionaries around the world and talked an uncomfortable amount about the “New World Order” and “One World Government.” I was made acutely aware of war and warfare at a young age.

One night in January of 1991, ironically just moments before my parents and I would join my paternal grandfather and grandmother at a mid-week church service, I sat and watched on the news as American forces made their entry into the First Gulf War.

I was 5, technically 5 1/2.

Along with my father, a man much less interested in conspiracy theories than his own father, for the next month-plus I watched the news night after night and tried to understand what I was seeing and where this melodrama half a world away fit into my life. I even remember judgmentally discussing the cease fire agreement in the “reading pit” of my kindergarten classroom with my friend Nick.

A few days later, obviously, I was back to play as if none of it had ever happened. There was not a night, however, when I was a child that my father didn’t settle in after dinner to watch some version of the nightly news. My son spends thirty minutes playing learning games on his iPad each night, but in the early 90’s I spent an hour with Dan Rather.

Not much over the next two years reached out from the screen and grabbed me the way that war had, but then in February 1993 came the footage and discussion of the first bombing of the World Trade Center. I know what I’m about to say sounds terrible, but I hope you’ll have a little grace with seven-year-old me.

I had never heard of terrorism, foreign or domestic, and all I knew by mid-March 1993 was that the men who were being accused of bombing the World Trade Center looked a lot like the face I kept seeing all through the coverage of the war a couple years earlier, Saddam Hussein.

As I sit here today, it’s murky for me to say whether there was any connection between the 1993 bombers, Hussein, Al-Qaeda, or any other particular person or group, I’m just explaining the information that formed my worldview by the time the morning of September 11, 2001 rolled around.

Another important piece of the puzzle was that our President by that day was George W. Bush, and the First Gulf War was the pride and joy of his father and W.’s VP, Dick Cheney. It was clear that some of our leaders and former leaders had no love loss for certain Middle Eastern peoples, and it felt safe to assume those people felt much the same way about our leaders.

I didn’t know at seven or sixteen what the importance of the World Trade Center was, but I knew if a group of people thought it was important enough to attack, bide their time for eight years after failing, and then attack again, it had to be a big deal.

I discovered who I was that day. I was, as I mostly still am, a big picture person. My wife and I have often joked since becoming involved in the true crime podcasting world that if one of us is murdered, the other will immediately be a suspect because we’re unlikely to react the way a lot of people would expect. She, to a much lesser degree, is a big picture person, and while mourning the loss of a loved one is natural and expected, we both agree for the sake of our children and our parents, we’ll likely be all business in the early days following a loss like this and only break down when we feel the most pressing work is done and no one is around to see it.

That’s much how the morning of 9/11 went for me. It’s immensely sad that people were dying, but I turned quickly to the thoughts of can we as a nation ever consider ourselves safe again? Will our economy be destroyed? Will our economy even matter anymore? I had just started my first sales job the day before, and, needless to say, the second day of training was cancelled.

These were the things I wanted to discuss even on that first day, but few of my classmates had the frame of reference I had to even begin to entertain such a discussion, and all of the teachers simply refused to. By early afternoon my hunt for other big picture people had me exhausted, and I shut down and don’t remember much of the rest of the day.

In the words of my sixteen-year-old self, it sucked, it still sucks, that more than 3,000 people lost their lives that day, but I and my friends and family were still alive, and I felt the situation was so important, we needed to begin navigating it immediately. There would be time to mourn and honor the lives lost once we assured that the rest of us, including their remaining loved ones, were safe and secure.

I’ve softened on this stance only slightly over the years, and it’s not necessarily because of sorrow for those who died in the towers that day, but because the most impactful realities of post-9/11 America are far more social than they are economic or security-related.

Like I said, I had never been to an airport prior to the 9/11 attack, so if getting through security takes a little longer now than it did in 1999, it’s no skin off my teeth. Our economy has seen its ups and downs in the intervening 19 years, but it stands today as one of the strongest in the world. Instead we live with the travesty that instead of realizing that anyone who carries out such an attack is a radical version of whatever they are, Muslim-Americans are still ridiculed and persecuted in our country in the name of 9/11 victims.

While I support our soldiers, I hate that an entire generation, largely my peers, were motivated to join the military because of this event. In the Spring of 2001, I had become close with an older student at my high school, who not long after the attack on the World Trade Center decided he was going to join the military, an idea he was admittedly kicking around prior to the attack. Again, in the Spring of 2002 we were back in the environment that had brought us together the previous Spring, and everyday I wanted to look at him and implore him that if there was any way to change his decision, that he should do it.

I never said anything, he followed his heart, and fortunately returned safely to his beautiful wife and family. A cousin of his who had made the same brave decision, did not.

So, when people on this day say “Never Forget,” the irrationally curious person that I am always wonder just what they’re remembering. I could never commit to memory all of the names of the people who lost their lives on that terrible morning, including those who died in the crash at the Pentagon and the brave folks who saved who knows who many lives when they played a role in taking one of the weaponized planes down in rural Pennsylvania.

I can, however, always use this as an opportunity to remember to have grace.

Motivated By…

Murders, shitty police investigators, garbage politicians, and all that is macabre. As a citizen in America, especially one like me who chose to get into the world of true crime podcasting, it can be all too easy to let your mind be absorbed by such topics.

And even if you’re not a true crime podcaster, things like health crises and helping your kids with e-learning can seem to be all you have the mental energy for these days.

And earlier this summer a strange underlying tone began to circulate around social media telling people that there wasn’t a need to maintain a level of motivation or success given everything that was going on in the country, namely Coronavirus and the social justice protests and riots.

While this was completely acceptable for maybe millions of people, I just couldn’t justify that attitude for myself. No one told me I had to keep making a podcast, had to start a new one, or had try to complete two novels by the end of the year. That’s a choice I made for myself, and this is a blog post for those of you out there who have made a similar decision for your future and are having trouble with motivation.

For anyone who has decided that for their physical health or mental well-being, hunkering down is the best choice, I support you, and even if you are determined to accomplish something but lack a little motivation, the ideas I present here may be of no help to you. On the off chance it might, however, here goes:

1) Treat Yourself

When you’re working for someone else or even self-employed within a structured industry like I was previously, it’s easy to become one of those traditional people that works to avoid the pain of pissing off the boss or being fired, and while your work may be uninspired, you at least consistently show up.

When you’re answering to no one but yourself about your schedule and effort, it becomes easy to give yourself the benefit of the doubt. Am I saying you should be working on whatever project you’ve decided is your new magnum opus 14 hours a day, 7 days a week? HELL NO! But what really helped me dive back in with gusto was making sure I really lived during the times that I was away.

So what did that look like for me?

I had a few more cocktails, we bought a 10-foot inflatable pool for our backyard so we could enjoy lazy days there with our two young boys, and we even decided just 2 hours before we left the house that we were taking a 7-day road trip headed west on Route 66. I took my laptop on the trip, and I did record one podcast episode in the hotel room one night, but even though my debut novel, Beneath the Fallen Leaves, was only about 15,000 words from being completed, I didn’t touch it a single time. I worked like a madman and finished it in the three days after we got back.

I invested in some good tools to get work done around my house so I could sit back behind my keyboard when it was time and have pride in the work I had been able to complete and the fact that I had good tools like a grown ass man should.

Your treating yourself likely won’t look anything like mine, but before you read anymore of this blog post, stop and make a list. Make a list of three ways a boss could treat you that would make you feel valued and motivated, and if you’re now your own boss, go get them for yourself. I should never be mistaken for anyone’s financial advisor, but if finishing that novel or painting or YouTube video is important to you, go ahead and spend that $30 you really don’t think you should be spending on something that makes you feel damn good. You’ll figure it out when the time comes.

2) Let Others Know What You’re Up To

This is a spin on a philosophy that was shared with me when I was just 20 years old called ‘motivation by obligation.’ I was already a mid-level manager at a large Midwest insurance company, and my branch manager was a real rags-to-riches story. When she first started working as an agent with the same company she was a single mother waiting tables at a popular chain restaurant in our mid-sized city.

By the time I met her, she was running this branch, lived in a huge house, and drove a nice convertible two-seater. She told me one day that she knew she could do big things with this company, and to motivate herself, she went out and bought the car she was driving when I met her. She had reached only moderate success as an agent and wasn’t a part of the management team yet, but she knew she’d enjoy owning and driving that car so much that she wouldn’t take a step back.

I admit, that’s a dangerous tactic to take, and I don’t advise it, but success and pressure doesn’t always have to be financial. Since that day, I’ve used a modified version of this, and whenever I have decided I’m going to accomplish something, I tell people I’m going to do it. Whether it’s a sales goal at work, solving the Burger Chef Murders, or finishing a novel, the last thing I want to do is be a fool or a failure. So I’ll post about it on social media or make an entire 26-episode season of a podcast about it.

Most people have some grace so if I missed my sales goal by one or two units, management and co-workers were still impressed with my effort and output. In case you’re a little new here, I haven’t solved the Burger Chef Murders in the nearly two years I’ve been working on it, but most people are glad for the attention I’ve brought to the case, and they have the grace to understand that the state police has had 40 years and all the records they just have sitting around collecting dust and still haven’t solved it.

When I missed my self-imposed deadline for completing Beneath the Fallen Leaves by three days, no one cared that I missed it because I went on vacation. They simply sat back and enjoyed the pictures I was posting on social media about my trip.

3) Adjust and Readjust Again and Again

We’ve all faced adjustments in recent months so whether you’re a seasoned writer or a brand new freelancer in any industry or career path that puts you in charge of your own motivation, risk, and reward, things are likely very new for you right now.

I’ve heard from a lot of writers who simply say they liked going to write in a coffee shop or bookstore and have been unable to do so since COVID-19 lockdowns really tightened up. Boy, that’s really something I’d like to try someday, but I digress.

We were in a state of flux most of the spring and summer with our kids’ schedules, as well as work schedules and prospects for my wife and I so when I made the decision to write Beneath the Fallen Leaves, and through most of the process, it was a pattern of not getting to write for days at a time and then finally getting time to sit down and write 4-5,000 words.

I honestly liked it that way, and thought that’s how I would write from then on out. Then reality hit. First, when I started my current work-in-progress I realized that even at times I was motivated to write, I wasn’t as often coming up with streams of prose thousands of words at a time. That sucked, but I figured it was a bit of fatigue and hangover from finishing the first book and that I’d get over it. I may have, but then reality really struck.

My wife got a new job she loves that put her working outside the home, and I became a proud WAHD. I’m responsible for most meals for the kids, my pre-K student’s e-learning, and a portion of the house and yardwork. Outside of the times I’m actively completing a task related to the kids or the house, it’s just tough to get peace and quiet while making sure my 1-year-old isn’t being a living room kamikaze.

So I had to create a work schedule. Days are for the kids, evenings are for books and podcasts, and weekends are for my beautiful wife. I don’t like it as much, but I want the results, and maybe someday once books and podcasts are paying the bills, I can go back to the old way, but this is the grind, and I’m so proud I’m finally committed to it.

4) Be Kind

I didn’t have a part four until I wrote that last sentence of part 3. I almost finished that last sentence by saying, “and I really wish I had committed to it at 25 instead of 35,” but that’s not fair to myself and doesn’t fit the inspiration I’m trying to give you. Reality is, despite what they try to tell me on the news, at age 35 I probably have 40 good years left in front of me so there is no way I’m going to languish about missed opportunities of the last 10-20 years with so many good ones left for me and my amazing family still left.

If you try some of this stuff and it helps with whatever you’re trying to stay motivated to do, let me know. It would be a big bonus motivator for me to know I really helped someone in the short term while I’m waiting for my long-term payoff.

Pardon our Mess – Circle City Crime Undergoing Renovations

First of all, thank you to everyone who has shared and listened to our posts and podcast episodes since day one of Circle City Crime.

While that podcasts mission is not going away, you will see some changes in the coming days, weeks, and months.

I am just as committed as ever to getting answers for the victims of the Burger Chef Murders, the Westside Park Murders victims, and Tristan Twilley. When I started this mission, I believed I could be sort of just a disembodied voice hopefully saying all the right things from behind a microphone.

However, I have discovered in recent months that the more I put myself out there personally, the more people are willing to listen to my voice and the stories I want to tell about these and other victims in Indiana that need justice.

So with that in mind, our Facebook page will undergo the same transformation that my other social media platforms and this blog have and be rebranded as Words with Chris, an umbrella that will include my true crime podcast (which will be undergoing an additional rebranding later in the year, more on that in a second), as well as my new book review and author interview podcast, bookCASE, and finally my own fiction writing.

I understand this isn’t what some of you signed on for, and that I will probably lose some followers during this transition. If that’s the case, I appreciate the time you have spent with me so far and will be forever grateful. That said, this is a transition made in hopes of expanding my voice so I can tell the same stories you have all thought were so important to a larger audience in hopes of someday seeing justice, so I do hope you’ll stay along for the ride.

Now, about the additional transition away from the Circle City Crime brand for the podcast…while I will continue to chip away at the cases we’ve already covered like Andy DuFresne going at his cell wall in Shawshank with a rock hammer, it has become very apparent that Indiana law enforcement agencies aren’t committed to truth and justice in the way that I am and that listeners like you are. I created Circle City Crime because I thought our Hoosier community was being underserved by the media and podcasters, but the truth is there is a wall around our criminal justice system that prevents the media doing more to help.

I will do everything I can to focus on Indiana issues and cases, but I believe there are people out there I can help with my platform if we are able to obtain the right partnerships with local law enforcement.

You won’t need to do anything if you want to continue to follow that podcast, we just plan to rename and rebrand Circle City Crime right in our podcast host so you will simply see a new name, logo, and episode list come up in your player someday. I will update you right here and on the Facebook page once we are ready to unveil a new name and logo.

As far as the episodes, I plan to move all previous episodes to this blog so all of the detailed research we did on our season 1, 2, and 3 cases can be found free of charge. However, because one of our biggest issues during those seasons was sound quality, I am excited to make my final announcement that I will be rerecording condensed episodes on those with new equipment so that hopefully a better listening experience will entice folks to really dive into the story and continue to get the word out and not let the memories of Ruth, Mark, Jayne, Daniel, Kimberly, Ethan, and Tristan be forgotten before justice is served.

Writing in the Heartland

While my about-to-launch podcast, bookCASE, is interview-centric, I still found myself doing a lot of interesting research for the first episode.

Consider this. When you look at the Wikipedia page for Welch, Oklahoma, the section labeled “History” features 10 lines. The section labeled “Bible/Freeman Kidnappings and Murders” has 11.

We all know about the inaccuracy that plagues Wikipedia entries, but this still gives you a hint at what a watershed moment the girls’ disappearances were for this town of less than 800 in Northeast Oklahoma.

On episode 1 of bookCASE, which will be out next Thursday, August 27th, I will be sharing a recent conversation with a crime fiction author turned true crime storyteller who has written the definitive book on the Freeman/Bible Case. Jax Miller’s “Hell in the Heartland: Murder, Meth, and the Case of Two Missing Girls” is one of the hottest non-fiction books to come out this summer and is number 1 in the state of Oklahoma.

While bookCASE is not a true crime podcast, episode one will have that flavor. Here are just some of the early facts about he Freeman/Bible case that told me Jax Miller and her book about the case had to be discussion number one on my brand new show.

Excerpt from transcript of bookCASE, Episode 1, Writing in the Heartland:

On the evening of December 29, 1999, two teens, Ashley Freeman and Lauria Bible were celebrating Ashley’s sixteenth birthday.  Lauria had turned sixteen about nine months earlier.

Early in the evening, the two spent time at a local pizza joint with Ashley’s mother, and that in turn became an impromptu sleepover after Lauria was able to return home and get permission from her parents to stay with Ashley and her family for the night.  

To the entire outside world, there was nothing out of the ordinary about that night, but around 5:30 the next morning, December 30, a passerby called 9-1-1 to report that the Freeman’s mobile home was ablaze.  

I don’t mean this as a pejorative at all, but the Bibles were simple people living a simple life in a simple place, and the story that began to unravel, and is still unraveling 20 years later has to be one of the most complicated on record.

First the fire department arrives, followed by the Craig County Sheriff’s Department.  Lauria Bible’s car was still at the Freeman residence, unfortunately raising the likelihood that investigators were about to find as many as four bodies in the smoldering crater where the Freeman’s trailer once stood.  In the first odd twist, investigators found only a single body in the trailer on the morning of December 30.  Many wheels began to turn at that point, but precious hours were lost in search for Ashley and Lauria because, after finding shotgun pellets in the head of Kathy Freeman during the autopsy, authorities believed they had their man in Danny Freeman.

Police were convinced Ashley’s father had killed her mother, torched the trailer, and abducted the two girls.  They released possession of the trailer, the true crime scene, to Danny Freeman’s brother that same night and began their manhunt.

With authorities having moved on, Lauria Bible’s parents conducted a search of the charred remains of the Freeman trailer the next day, searching for any clue about what happened to their daughter.

They couldn’t have prepared themselves for what they did find, a second body that had been obliterated by the fire and a second shotgun blast, the body of Danny Freeman.

If you think that’s the end of the twists and turns in this case, you couldn’t be more wrong, but the next 19+ years are best told by Jax Miller and her book, Hell in the Heartland.

Subscribe to bookCASE today so you don’t miss episode 1 with Jax Miller or any of the great discussions to follow: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/introducing-bookcase/id1526604758?i=1000487246957

Pick up your copy of “Hell in the Heartland” today: https://amzn.to/3hg6gjG

“The Association” by Sharon Ann Ziegler

Sharon is licensed to practice law in three states, has been doing so for more than 25 years, and over the weekend gifted me a beautiful version of her legal thriller “The Assocation”.

I couldn’t have been more excited. It has been getting mentioned by book bloggers all over social media, and is getting great reviews on goodreads.com. I’m trying to be disciplined with the schedule I’ve given myself for reading books for the upcoming launch of my 2nd podcast, bookCASE, but I can’t wait to dive into this.

Though that may have to wait another 10 days or so, I wanted to go ahead and share with you this book that not only sounds like a great read, but can be had in a beautiful hardback version as well.

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This black hardback cover edition includes an inverted-color (white with black letters) glossy jacket and black-dipped page edges, among other great binding features that add to its durability and appeal.

See more on my IGTV video at www.instagram.com/wordswithchris or visit https://theassociationbook.com/ to get your own autographed version.

If you want to read this compelling story about a young female lawyer fighting corruption right after getting back into her career in a new locale but you aren’t that concerned about having a beautiful book shelf, you can also pick up the paperback edition here: https://amzn.to/30ZWMDi

Check back here (or maybe on the bookCASE podcast) for my review on this one in coming weeks, and if you get your copy before I post my review here, don’t forget to chime in and let everyone know what you think.

New Bonus Episode

Circle City Crime live at the Vogue Theater!

Ronnie Roberts was a good kid, a good employee, and a good boyfriend. One Sunday night in 1973 he went missing, and two days later his body was found near the wooded shore of a reservoir more than 30 miles away from where he was last seen.

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/3c-podcast-circle-city-crime/id1460144387?uo=4

Also available on Stitcher, iHeart, Spotify, and Spreaker.

The “WHY” Behind bookCASE

April 29, 2019 — that’s the day the first episode of my first podcast, Circle City Crime, was released. The goal, if I’ve not articulated it well enough publicly, was to shine light on unsolved Indiana cases with years of public misinformation. The goal was never to compete with major podcasting conglomerates, come to the precipice of legal battles with the Indiana State Police, or get less sleep and physical activity than I had at any point in my life. However, all of those things happened.

My hair is a little grayer, my impression of Indiana law enforcement is a lot bleaker, and in case any of you have any misconceptions, my bank account looks pretty much exactly the way it did on April 28th.

“So, Chris, if all you’re going to do is complain, why start another podcast?”

I’ve also made some great memories, gained incredible knowledge, worked publicly and privately with some very bright people, and made some relationships that I expect will last a lifetime. Some of these people will likely be integral in the future of Circle City Crime when circumstances allow us to continue.

Another thing I discovered, or really rediscovered, was my love for telling stories. It feels really good that nearly 200,000 times people have turned on my podcast to hear the stories that need to remain top of mind about Indiana victims being underserved by Indiana law enforcement and the judicial system, but until one of the cases we’ve been focusing on is solved, there’s nothing to be proud of.

And at the end of the day, I’m as human as any of the rest of you, and I needed to do something for me. Like many others, my life’s trajectory was changed with the arrival of COVID-19 in America. I found myself with time on my hands and a podcast strategy that wasn’t sustainable because getting access to people and government buildings was now as tough as it had ever been. I couldn’t operate on a predictable enough timeline to continue producing episodes.

So I wrote a book.

I’m proud of Beneath the Fallen Leaves, but maybe the best part of writing the book was again some of those personal connections I made along the way. I discovered that there were stories, both fictional and real, that I really wanted to know more about and that I wanted to share with a like-minded, passionate audience.

bookCASE the podcast was born. bookCASE will be a bi-weekly podcast featuring interviews with authors, readers, and performers focusing on crime, mystery, and horror fiction, as well as true crime non-fiction. The main focus will be books, but some exciting things are happening in the area of podcast audio dramas, as well, so I’m hoping to have some writers and performers from that sphere join me. I’ve even got a few notable actors on my wishlist so fingers crossed.

I’m going to get authors to tell their own stories about the highs and the lows of their craft, the how’s and the why’s that get covered up at times by their incredible finished products. I’m going to have passionate readers review their favorite books and some of the hottest new releases so you don’t miss out on the perfect story for you.

As a small part of the show, you’re also going to witness my growth as a fiction writer as I share live reads of original fiction by myself and other great writers.

I hope to build a community around the love for these stories, and I hope you join me. We’ll laugh, I don’t think we’ll cry, but I won’t take it off the table, and much like just making the show will be an escape for me from the very real and dark world of true crime, I’ll strive to offer you an hour or so to escape from whatever it is you need respite from every other week.

Trailer episode available now on iTunes, Spotify, Spreaker, and Stitcher.

First full episode coming Monday, August 31st!

Until then, if you’re a passionate reader or a crime, mystery, or horror fiction author feel free to reach out with ideas to threecpod@gmail.com.

Unfortunate Case Study Highlights Ineptitude of Indiana Investigators

Before I get into the meat of this post, I want to state that there are many missing people out there who, along with their families, deserve effort and justice, especially the two women I’ll be discussing today, Suzanne Morphew and Chenell “Renee” Gilbert.


A lot of people disagree with my opinion that the antiquated and inept investigating efforts of some of Indiana’s largest law enforcement agencies are the reason we don’t have answers in cases like the Burger Chef Murders and the Delphi Murders, but when we look at the difference in the handling of the cases of two recent missing women, it’s hard to argue against.

On Mother’s Day of this year, May 10, 2020 at 6 PM Mountain Time, missing mother of two, Suzanne Morphew, was reported missing to the Chaffee County Sheriff’s Department in Salida, Colorado. That same night, alongside several residents, police began their search for Suzanne, as they should have. However, in those early hours, the circumstances surrounding Suzanne weren’t all that strange. Her daughters, husband, and neighbor were unable to reach her by phone. The neighbors visited the home and noticed Suzanne’s bike was missing, and if she had taken a bike ride in the extremely remote area, it wouldn’t be strange for her to be unreachable by phone for some time. Nonetheless, police began their search immediately, major news outlets all over Colorado were reporting on her disappearance by the next day, and in less than 48 hours after her being reported missing, the FBI and Colorado Bureau of Investigation had joined the search. Also, the Chaffee County Sheriff’s Department was openly discussing the case with media and making posts asking for tips on their Facebook page.


Now, compare that with the first four days that Chenell “Renee” Gilbert has been missing.

Chenell’s last known whereabouts were at the home of an acquaintance in a west side Indianapolis neighborhood on the early morning of June 9, 2020. We aren’t sure how quickly her family contacted police, but the first social media post about her being missing was made by her daughter nearly 36 hours later. We believe Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department had already been contacted prior to that post.


We don’t know much because the first major news report wasn’t done until more than 72 hours after Chenell was last seen, and to this point, nearly 100 hours after she was last seen, only one of Indy’s four major TV news outlets have reported on the story. Not a single post exists on the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, Marion County Sheriff’s Department, Avon Police Department, or Indiana State Police Facebook pages about Chenell’s status as a missing person.


Despite the initial circumstances of the case being much more suspicious than those of Suzanne Morphew, IMPD has had only a cursory discussion with the man whose home she was last known to be at, no search parties have been formed by officials (only family and community members), and no larger law enforcement agencies have been called in to assist.


When I say the circumstances are much more suspicious, here’s what I mean. Chenell’s car was find at the home where she had been on Indianapolis’s west side, and her family members state that when they use the find my phone feature to search for her device, it indicates it is still in this man’s home. However, this man claim’s Ms. Gilbert simply left and that he has know idea where she is or was headed. These are far more suspicious circumstances than existed with Suzanne Morphew in Colorado, but I’d venture that most of you who are reading this have only heard about Chenell’s case because of word-of-mouth initiated by those close to her.

There is something wrong with policing here in Indiana, and it hasn’t gotten any better in 40+ years. Missing people stay missing, communities stay in the dark, and unsafe neighborhoods stay unsafe.

Is it OK for Indiana authorities to continue to the do the bare minimum when our citizens are hurt, killed, or go missing?


THIS HAS TO STOP!

2:6 I Wanna Know Who the Hell that Guy Is

This week we discuss the known facts of the Westside Park Murders with criminal behaviorist and investigator, Sarah Cailean. She lends he 20+ years of experience to help us create a very basic profile of Kim and Ethan’s killer and outline some avenues for investigation.

If you like what you hear from Sarah, you can also find her on HLN’s “Hell in the Heartland”, as well as on recent episodse of podcast like Die-Alogue, Crawlspace, and 3 Men and a Mystery.

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