Tag Archives: james renner

Upcoming Appearances, Fall 2022

It’s a busy fall! Come see me if you can. Click on links for more info.

September 10: Savannah Crime Expo

September 18: Fundraiser for the Nancy Eagleson Cold Case, Paulding, Ohio.

September 24: Mentor Barnes & Noble 20th Anniversary: 1 p.m.

October 8: Rocky River Readers & Writers Event 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

October 9: PNW True Crime festival

October 27: Kent State lecture, “True Crime from May 4, 1970 to Present Day)

November 5: Buckeye Book Fair

The Porchlight Project is featured in Kent State Magazine

James Renner, The Porchlight Project

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.

Read the full article here.

The Porchlight Project Solves Another Case!

James Renner in New London.

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.

Read the full story here.

Arrest in Barbara Blatnik Murder!

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.

Beacon Journal

Learn more about The Porchlight Project here. You can also donate via the website. Every little bit helps. Thank you!

Now Streaming – The Philosophy of Crime, Season 3!

The Philosophy of Crime, Season 3 begins today! I’ll be releasing two episodes a week for the next three weeks. Available on all platforms. Here is the schedule:

April 15: “Why do some crimes have a statute of limitations?”

April 16: “It’s a mad, mad, mad, mad world. Or is it?”

April 22: “Is it still possible to disappear and start a new life?”

April 23: “Is reasonable doubt reasonable?”

April 29: “How to interview a witness… after they’re dead.”

April 30: “What really happened at Kent State?”