• True Crime

    True Crime Wednesday: The Craft of Writing on the Strange and Sinister

    In addition to writing about true crime here, I’ve also shared my story of honing the craft over at WOW! Women on Writing. Here are a just a few of the posts I’ve written on the topic, and it’s fun to see my progression go from just a spark to a fully-developed project or idea. How to Write Compelling True Crime. In this post I share how I came up with the idea to start up Missing in the Carolinas, and how it evolved from being just a missing persons podcast to one that mixes in solved cases and reviews of other true crime shows and books. I also used this content to…

  • Mystery,  True Crime

    True Crime Wednesday: Who Was Mecklenburg Jane Doe?

    Did you know Mecklenburg County in North Carolina has a cold case featuring an unidentified deceased woman whose loved ones may be missing her? Investigators with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department have given her the name of “Mecklenburg County Doe.” On March 17, 2011, the incomplete skeletal remains of a female were found in a wooded area on Statesville Avenue in Charlotte. The woman, who was estimated to be between the ages of 20-30 years old, was white or Hispanic. She weighed around 110 pounds when she died. The manner and cause of death have not been released at this time. She was wearing a small white t-shirt with the words “Virginia Beach, Virginia”…

  • True Crime

    True Crime Wednesday: What Happened to Bruce Ruffin of Charlotte, N.C.?

    The murder of Bruce Ruffin remains an open cold case for Mecklenburg County in North Carolina. Although he went missing on April 19, 1986, investigators assumed pretty early on that the 50-year-old had met with foul play. Ruffin was a resident of Midland, North Carolina, a suburb of Charlotte. At the time of his disappearance he was a married father of four who owned Dart Enterprise, a real estate firm located in uptown Charlotte. Ruffin had moved to Charlotte from Greensboro in the mid 1960s. He was a graduate of North Carolina A&T State University and had started out his career running a construction company with his brothers. While he was in college,…

  • Mystery,  True Crime

    True Crime Wednesday: The 5 Minutes of True Crime Series

    I’ll be perfectly honest. I have a hard time watching myself on video. Is that really what I look like talking to people in person? You don’t want to know the thoughts that race through my head when I see myself on camera! But I also know so many people who are trying to promote themselves or a product they’ve created venture into places like IGTV and YouTube with videos designed to raise awareness for their work. With deep trepidation, I began this process slowly. First, I created a YouTube channel but only put one teaser trailer video on it. Then I began realizing how much content I write that people may never…

  • True Crime

    True Crime Wednesday: The Murder of Realtor Margo Dilemon

    Margo Dilemon was a 39-year-old real estate agent living in Clearwater, Fla. when she mysteriously vanished on the job. She had an appointment to show some prospective homes to buyers on Oct. 3, 1981. But when the couple came into the real estate office where she worked, her colleagues hadn’t see her, even though her car was still in the parking lot. Dilemon was estranged from her husband Bob at the time and had a teenage daughter who lived with her grandparents in Texas. Her co-workers made a few calls and discovered Bob was out of town in New York and he had last spoken to her the night before she went missing…

  • True Crime

    True Crime Wednesday: The Murder of Karen Styles

    It was Halloween of 1994. Karen was a 22-year-old recent graduate of Western Carolina University, which is located in Cullowhee, North Carolina. Due to its location in the Western North Carolina mountains, the school attracts thousands of students each year who love exploring all the area has to offer. Styles had probably run in wooded trails while in college numerous times without a second thought. But on this day in 1994, she never returned from her 8 a.m. run in the Pisgah National Forest, just a few miles away from where she had been staying at her parents home in nearby town of Candler. Her car was found later that evening in the…

  • True Crime

    True Crime Wednesday: How Visine Drops Contributed to Stacy Hunsucker’s Death

    Most people wouldn’t think of Visine, a common over-the-counter eye drop product used to treat itchy and dry eyes as a murder weapon, but one Gaston County man awaiting trial is accused of using it as just that. On September 23, 2018, Stacy Robinson Hunsucker, a 32-year-old Charlotte preschool teacher and mother of two young daughters, passed away suddenly at the home she shared with her husband. Stacy had suffered from heart problems in the past and actually had a pacemaker implanted not long after the birth of the couple’s second daughter. Her husband, 35-year-old Jonathan Lee Hunsucker, refused to authorize an autopsy after her death, attributing his wife’s sudden passing to “myocardial…

  • True Crime

    True Crime Wednesday: Kevin Collins, the Original Face on the Milk Carton

    The 1980s were a much different time for parents and children. Kids would spend hours playing outdoors with friends after school and it wasn’t unusual for them to be late for dinner. But on the night of Feb. 10, 1984, when 10-year-old Kevin Collins didn’t make it home from basketball practice in San Francisco, Ca., his mother knew something had to be wrong. Kevin was a shy fourth-grader who struggled a bit in school because he had dyslexia. He also came from a large Catholic family and was one of nine Collins children. On the day he disappeared, his older brother Gary would have normally accompanied him home from school, but he had…

  • podcasts,  True Crime,  True Crime,  writing inspiration

    Who Was in the Polaroid? The Case of Tara Calico

    Sometime last year I came across a video on the case of Tara Calico, who vanished from her hometown in Belen, New Mexico after heading out on her daily 34-mile bike ride on her mother’s Huffy (Tara’s bike had a flat tire and needed to be repaired). The year was 1988 and Tara was 19 years old. Her mother knew she wouldn’t be gone too long because she had an afternoon tennis date with her boyfriend. Witnesses saw a white pick-up truck following closely behind her as she took off, and although she had only planned on taking a short ride, she never came home. After the initial 24-hour waiting period, police traced…