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The Tragedy of True Crime

When you write about true crime, other people’s pain becomes part of your work. After Bob Wildoner, a 76-year-old Vietnam veteran, disappeared in a remote corner of the Mojave Desert, and months passed without a single clue, the case seemed like it would make for an intriguing story. Was Bob

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Articles

A rural sheriff recollects a gruesome crime scene

When Troy Driver was an accessory to the shotgun murder of 19-year-old Paul Rodriguez in April 1997, Matt Kendall was a special agent with the Mendocino County Major Crimes Task Force. Rodriguez was wearing all black and sporting a necklace and diamond ring when he was ambushed in the driveway

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Articles

The woman who trafficked in children

Sang is in prison now and will be for many years. This is how she got there. When Michael Pepe, chief suspect in the Berman murders, moved to Cambodia, Sang Chi Chhouern aka “Sang” or “Basang” helped him procure the children who became his sex slaves. Sang, who is of

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Articles

Fighting to get information about a murder

This is what it feels like when a judge rules in your favor. I went to court because being an immersive true-crime journalist involves digging for every scrap of information – even if doing so means fighting city hall. Background: When 41-year-old construction supervisor Troy Driver was arrested in Nevada

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They died in a hail of bullets
Articles

They died in a hail of bullets…

Even now, four years later, it’s painful to think about Rhonita Miller, then 30, and her infant twins, being gunned down in cold blood by cartel killers near her home in Sonora, a state in Mexico that borders the U.S. Rhonita was in many ways a typical American mom. She

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Visiting the site of an ambush murder
Articles

Visiting the site of an ambush murder

Decades before Troy Driver abducted, raped, and murdered teenager Naomi Irion in the Nevada desert, he and some friends lured a drug dealer named Paul Rodriguez up this driveway, deep in the woods of northern California. Near a clearing where a horse trailer was stored, a car had been parked

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Then-Sergeant Seth Clark, during the search for Karlie in 2018
Articles

The biggest clue about Karlie Gusé

During the search for Karlie Gusé in 2018, I encountered then-Sgt. Seth Clark from the Mono County Sheriff’s Office (now Lt. Clark).  Given that Karlie hadn’t surfaced yet, two theories seemed most plausible. One was that she walked deep into the desert, hunkered down, and perished. The second theory was

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