No shortage of crime news exists online and I have no intention or misgivings about redefining crime news media in general. However, I do have a few specific cases, urban legends, mysterious disappearances, and horrific crimes to write about and discuss. The media, both print and visual, are fickle. They are driven by the necessity to appease higher authority – namely, those who pay the bills. Bloggers like myself, amateur writers and journalists, citizen sleuths, and middle of the night researchers are often the driving force behind keeping the disappeared, murdered, or abducted in the forefront of the public. The recent capture of the East Area Rapist, Original Night Stalker, and Golden State Killer suspect Joseph DeAngelo can be attributed directly to great police work spanning back over 40 years. More importantly, the constant buzz and I dare say the inability of law enforcement to let the mad man go quietly into the night, is in direct correlation to the enchantment of men and women’s work on the EAR/ONS case. Some suggest that crime blogger Michelle McNamara’s new book, I’ll Be Gone In The Dark, pushed law enforcement to capture the elusive rapist and killer. I believe it was the collective work of the citizen corp of curious detectives that brought down the elusive predator. His crimes are vividly recorded across the pages of numerous websites, forums, subreddits, and books. Podcasters debate and discuss the events spanning over 40 years, and survivors have come forward to offer clues and share experiences. HBO has hinted at a documentary style production based on the pages of McNamara’s book and the EAR/ONS community is abuzz with potential actors to portray the characters in this saga. This kind of attention and sharing of information made it nearly impossible for the crimes to be forgotten. Despite the impossibility of catching Joseph DeAngelo without DNA evidence and online genetic databases, sleuths never gave up and millions of people know of his crimes. How we continue to present the cases of those taken too soon may determine how swiftly predators reach justice.
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