CRY ONE FOR THEM
2021 update: The route of travel for the Metzler/Childs murder case in Virginia would begin with us landing at either Dulles Airport or Richmond, and then we’d drive to Blacksburg VA, where we would set up in a hotel there. The towns with our interview subjects are within half hour drive of Blacksburg.
I will be traveling cross-country to document some of America's most infamous unsolved murders and mysteries. Stay posted on the website for my investigative journalism pieces on the below cases:
The Honolulu Strangler - Honolulu, Hawaii
The double murder of Brandon Rumbaugh and Lisa Gurrieri - Bumble Bee, Arizona
The Austin yogurt shop murder - Austin, Texas
The murder of Amber Hagerman - Arlington, Texas
The Oklahoma Girl Scout murders - Mayes County, Oklahoma
Kansas College Rapist - Manhattan, Kansas
The double murder of David Metzler and Heidi Childs - Caldwell Fields, Virginia
For now, take a look at the intro I wrote for the murder case of David Metzler and Heidi Childs, one that took place a decade ago:
I have always been naturally fascinated by putting the 'WHAT IF?' and 'WHO KNEW?' perspectives of true crime together. True crime was my first love. What haunts me the most is there could have been any number of configurations of outcome for the victims. Their prospects were often far from grim, as was the case with David and Heidi. Who knew it would end this way?
According to the FBI, there are an estimated 6,000 unsolved murders in America each year. The goal is to bookend a narrative with unsolved murders across the country, shining a light on the identity of the killers.
August 27, 2009. A man is walking his dog when he stumbles upon the horrific murder scene of David Metzler and Heidi Childs near the entrance of Caldwell Fields in Jefferson National Forest. With no cell phone service in the area, the man has to rush what’s perhaps the longest ten minutes home to make the call. The case remains unsolved.
Back in 2007, the Blacksburg community are still reeling from the Virginia Tech shooting. People never understand from whence it sprang. David and Heidi enrolls in the school the following year.
Throughout the ten-year span of time, wounds were healed and lives were rebuilt after tragedy. A lot of people were divorced. A lot of people weren’t speaking to each other. Some of them were dead.
Yet now, across all that time and space, the past has reached out to claim us. From a decade ago, from 2,500 miles away, voices are calling us over.
Back to the darkest hours of a quiet August night and to the remote parking lot at Caldwell Field in which David and Heidi lived the final, terrible moments of their lives.
Someone out there must know something. It could be an odd mention by a friend, or the unusual behavior of a family member. I have no choice. I have to go. Even before I rattle off the trip to Virginia, I knew my mission will be to jog memory of the people involved in the case. And then, perhaps, further back, into the past, along whatever tangled paths I might discover, to wherever it is they might lead.
As a way of tapping into the investigation aspect of the case, I will set up narratives exclusively driven by the detectives and reporters, which will propel the story. What kind of initial impression did the crime scene give? What are the odds that the killer is still living nearby? These are among the questions I intend on asking the people involved in the case.
I will also weave the interviews with local residents into the fabric of my writing. This is the group of people who have first-hand observation toward the site of the murder. Who had access to the campground? Was there anything unusual that they noticed but perhaps didn’t think much at the time, and are now feeling differently?
Let me know what other cases you would like to see featured!