Anyone who has watched an episode of The Bookish Hour knows I am fascinated by true crime podcasts. I’ve even blogged about my favorite shows on Writers Who Kill. So, imagine my excitement when I got a text message from the incredible Ashley Flowers (podcast host extraordinaire) inviting me to attend her show, The Deck Investigates.
I don’t know Ashley personally, and I have to assume she texted this news to all
her Crime Junkies, but I digress.
the founder of the award-winning media production company audiochuck,
and the host of one of my favorite podcasts, Crime Junkie. She’s a huge genealogy
DNA testing advocate and an all-around fantastic role model for young people.
Two years ago, Ashley began investigating a case she thought she would
feature on her cold-case podcast, The Deck. However, the 1984 murder of
Darlene Hulse in Argos, Indiana, would send her down a wild and twisted. After
reading the details of Darlene’s case, Ashley and her reporter, Emily, embarked
on a journey to discover the truth behind Darlene’s death, a journey they are
still on to this day.
As they explored
the aspects of this crime, Ashley realized Darlene’s murder was much bigger
than a single podcast episode. It was even bigger than an entire podcast. She
wanted to share Darlene’s story with as many people as possible, so she
launched The Deck Investigates, billed as a live true-crime documentary
that unfolds right before its audience.
When I got
tickets for The Deck Investigates tour, I wasn’t sure what I was signing up for other than
a train ride into New York City in the middle of winter. The show took place at
the Beacon Theatre, a gorgeous, intimate space, and I had pretty amazing seats.
I honestly felt like I was getting ready to see a musical.
continued when Ashley walked out on stage. She was met with uproarious applause
and cheers, and I must admit, it was pretty cool to see the woman I listen to
every week sitting so close to me on a cute, cozy couch. Behind her, a giant
projection screen shared an image of Ashley standing in a cornfield like a ‘90s
grunge album cover. However, once Ashley began speaking, the excitement and fun
that had saturated the room just moments before evaporated. We were all
gathered here to learn the haunting details of a truly shocking crime. This
wasn’t a Broadway show. This wasn’t an evening of fun and frivolity. This was a
wake-up call that justice needed to be served.
out the case for her audience. She used her projector and three whiteboards
stationed around the stage. She went through maps, schedules, mugshots, and
crime scene photos. The details of the case were baffling. The evidence was
jaw-dropping. Evidence that was both collected by the police and completely
ignored by them.
As a cozy
mystery writer, I try to avoid making law enforcement look incompetent in my
books; my amateur sleuths are often involved in the mystery for personal
reasons and take investigative avenues that the police cannot due to procedure.
However, it is naïve to believe this happens in real life all the time. Darlene’s
case will make you mad. This case will rattle your belief in our justice
system. Darlene’s killer is getting away with murder because law enforcement
members are not doing their job.
I left this
live true-crime documentary feeling angry but also highly motivated. Why? Because
even though law enforcement is not taking this case seriously, we have
the power to hold them accountable. Ashley’s goal in sharing Darlene’s story was
to raise audience awareness about how we can help move this case forward. And
since she knew everyone couldn’t make her tour, she released The Deck Investigates, a fifteen-episode podcast, last week.
podcast, which I’ve since devoured, Ashley outlines the information she shared
with her live audience but also reveals new information, witnesses, and
suspects she and Emily have uncovered in recent months. Information and
evidence they have tried sharing with Indiana law enforcement, but for
whatever reason, action is not being taken. Evidence such as the killer’s DNA.
Like, seriously, what?!
So, my post
this month is to raise awareness about Darlene Hulse. Darlene was twenty-eight
years old and a mother of three when she was murdered. Her three young girls witnessed
their mother’s gruesome attack before thankfully managing to evade her
assailant. I highly encourage you to check out The Deck Investigates and listen to their story.
not a podcast fan and just want to help, please visit https://darlenehulse.com and sign the petition to help pressure the Marshall County
Prosecutor’s office to do its job and give this woman the justice she deserves.
website for the petition is https://darlenehulse.com. Thank you.