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Six personality traits of true crime fans

After meeting with hundreds of true crime fans at CrimeCon 2024 in Nashville, I came away with a list of six traits that most seem to share.   1. They like solving puzzles Solving a criminal case requires piecing together bits of information into a solution. True crime fans like this process – it’s fascinating and … Read more

How stuff gets stolen and sold in sunny SoCal

SoCal is famous for sunny skies, sandy beaches – and stolen stuff? It’s true: The L.A. metropolitan area is known for its burgeoning trade in pilfered products. Recently I delved into the underworld of stolen stuff, after the tech company I work for as chief legal officer suffered a heist of electronics from a SoCal … Read more

Was missing camper Bob Wildoner swallowed by the desert?

When Bob Wildoner, then 76, disappeared in remote Saline Valley in 2021, he didn’t just vanish into thin air. My theory is that the desert swallowed him – literally. As seen in my blog entitled “In the desert, a simple mistake can turn deadly,” it appears Bob got disoriented on a moonless night. While trying … Read more

In the desert, a simple mistake can turn deadly

Did Bob get disoriented and turn the wrong way? In the desert, a simple mistake like this can turn deadly. In May 2021, Bob Wildoner, then 76, rolled into a campground in a remote area of Death Valley National Park, fifty miles from the nearest highway. Bob was tired – he’d been on the road … Read more

Inspired by a grandma who loved the Mojave Desert

After grandpa died, my grandmother Dale King moved into a cabin in a lonely desert valley and spent her days roaming the backcountry. Dale had always been free-spirited and artistic. When grandpa was alive, she weaved colorful fabrics on her loom and loved taking spontaneous trips to explore new places. About a year after grandpa … Read more

Detectives who bonded on the battlefield

Eighteen years before detectives Erik Kusmerz and Tyrell Joyner worked together on the Naomi Irion case, they served in the same Marine Corps battalion. Born one year apart – Erik in 1982, Ty in 1983 – they hailed from much different backgrounds. Erik grew up outside of Atlanta, while Ty was from rural Nevada. After … Read more

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 a victim of foul play? … Read more

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 leading to the home of … Read more