Do you want to write a true crime book? Here’s everything you need to know to make it happen, from “Picking the perfect case” to “Marketing and Publicity.” Learn how to interview witnesses and the best ways to organize your work into a compelling narrative.
How cool is this!?! The Porchlight Project is featured in the new edition of Kent State Magazine.
Renner put out a message on Facebook asking for help; it was answered by Alexa Doutt, a director of advancement at Kent State. The two met at a coffee shop in West Akron—and the idea of the Porchlight Project was born.
I’m the guest on this week’s episode of the Mile Higher Podcast. It was such a treat to get to meet Kendall, Josh, and Janelle in Denver and talk about developments in the Amy Mihaljevic case, Maura Murray, and little green men! Check it out!
The Case of the Bones in the Barn has been solved at last, and the answer leads to even more mysteries. For our second case, The Porchlight Project assisted the New London, Ohio Police Department to determine the identify of the young woman whose bones were found wrapped up in newspaper in an old barn, there. I was personally interested because the barn was located just a few doors down from a suspect in the Amy Mihaljevic case.
The Porchlight Project funded DNA testing and genetic genealogy, which led investigators to conclude that the bones belonged to one Hallie Armstrong, an eighteen-year-old schoolteacher who died in 1881.
A year ago, I put together a new nonprofit to fund new investigations into some of Ohio’s coldest cases. I’m so thrilled to announce that there has been an arrest made in our first case – the 1987 unsolved murder of Barbara Blatnik. James Zastawnik was arrested for the girl’s murder on Wednesday. Here’s a report from the Beacon Journal and USAToday.
Donna Zanath, Blatnik’s sister, said Wednesday evening that she was in shock that an arrest had been made after all this time. She credited Project Porchlight, a local effort lead by Akron author James Renner that took on her sister’s case as its first attempt to generate renewed interest in a cold case. Project Porchlight raised $6,000 for DNA testing that helped with the Blatnik case. “Without James Renner, we wouldn’t be talking right now,” she said, choking back tears.