How True Crime Fans Are Solving Real Cases

( – The true crime industry has exploded in the last two decades. Countless television shows, books, and podcasts dissect real-life cases. In some instances, the armchair detectives have actually helped solve the crimes.

In 2014, Sarah Koenig released the “Serial” podcast. The series dove deep into the 1999 murder of 18-year-old Hae Min Lee. Police arrested her ex-boyfriend, Adnan Syed, when he was 17 years old, and prosecutors ultimately convicted him of murdering her. However, he maintained his innocence for decades after his conviction.

Koenig’s investigation into the case made many people doubt he had anything to do with the crime. Hundreds of millions of people downloaded the series. In 2022, attorneys successfully overturned Syed’s conviction. Although DNA testing and prosecutorial misconduct were ultimately the deciding factors that won Syed his freedom, the series undeniably focused a major spotlight on the case.

Another cold case concluded in 2022, and there was no doubt that a podcast played a major role in putting a murderer in prison. Chris Lambert’s podcast, “Your Own Backyard,” took a historical look at the disappearance of Kristin Smart. She was a Cal Poly student who went missing after a party in 1996.

During Lambert’s investigation, he found new leads in the case, eventually leading to the police reopening it and arresting Paul Flores, the last man known to see her alive. The Associated Press reported San Luis Obispo County Sheriff Ian Parkinson credited the podcaster with helping to crack the case. A jury convicted Flores of murder in October.

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