Top 8 Things I'm Still Thinking About After CrimeCon 2022
Updated: May 13, 2022
I returned home from the bright lights of Vegas and have to get back to work, but I wanted to share a quick list of my top experiences this past weekend at CrimeCon! I can’t share this list without saying that I have never attended a conference where there were so many sessions that I wanted to attend and couldn’t. It was an amazing lineup, and I am so grateful that CrimeCon records all of the sessions and makes them available for attendees to watch online after the conference.
In no particular order…
Sonya Pfeiffer and David Rudolf
If you had told me that I’d be investigating The Owl Theory after attending CrimeCon, I never would have believed you. And yet, here I am. Stay tuned for a blog on the topic soon, but for now, I’ll share that Sonya Pfeiffer and David Rudolf delivered an amazing presentation about the role of cognitive bias in investigations and trials. And if you’re going to watch the new HBO Max series, watch The Staircase on Netflix first. I think it will make the HBO series that much more interesting. And while you’re adding to your must-watch/listen to list, check out their podcast Abuse of Power.
Christopher Barbour, Psychic Detective
This is cheating a little bit because I went to a special event a day early, but Christopher Barbour, psychic detective, can’t go without a mention. He’s helped close countless cases and continues to guide others in the search for answers – often when all other resources have been exhausted. He’s a little hard to find, intentionally maintaining a low digital profile and working primarily with private clients and police departments off of referrals, but you can hear directly from him on a podcast or two.
I heard from a pane of 3 sisters on Friday: Sarah Turney (sister of Alissa Turney), Kelsi German (sister of Libby German), and Julie Murray (sister of Maura Murray). It was inspiring to hear how each of them still fights for their sister, but I was most grateful for what they shared about their experiences with online trolls and how the media has allowed people to connect with them in positive and negative ways.
The first session I attended may have had the biggest impact on me! The story of Rodney Lincoln has almost all of my biggest areas of interest – wrongful convictions, children as witnesses (and the need for corroboration), and how journalists can leverage the media to right wrongs. It is amazing to see the group – the wrongfully convicted man, his daughter who led the charge to free him, the accuser who recanted her statement, and the journalist who told their story – together on stage. You could feel the love, hear the forgiveness, and see that their fight isn’t over yet. We still don’t know who killed Joann Tate.
Podcasters & Scientists
This feels like cheating again, but I’m doing it anyway! Saturday was the first chance I really had to stroll down podcast row and check out all of the organizations working in the criminal justice space (in such a wide variety of ways). I can’t even choose a favorite podcast…you just have to follow that link. But I can tell you that learning about Othram, an organization specializing in forensic genealogy to solve cases, was the technology that stood out the most to me. Check out their website and growing solve list–they are amazing!
The Dateline Crew
No matter what brought people to CrimeCon, there was a good chance that by the middle of the day on Saturday, you were feeling pretty heavy. Even cases that have a “happy” ending often involve such tragedy that it can be hard to stay positive. But the session with the Dateline crew was just what was needed. They talked about their own experiences and favorite cases, as well as what’s next for Dateline. Their commitment to their craft is inspiring!
While nothing John Ramsey said was surprising, he and Paula Woodward top the list for me because they systematically addressed the most common false rumors that exist about JonBenet’s case and how they believe the misinformation started and spread. While it wasn’t new to hear him express the challenges he felt with the inexperienced police force, he did share an idea I hadn’t heard before–that all murders involving the death of a child should be investigated as federal crimes to ensure the best possible resources are available. (And when I asked on Twitter, it seems most people agreed.) I’m excited to explore this further, and how people have responded to him and his family online is exactly the kind of content I’m looking for as I study the confidence citizen investigators have. In the promotion and recap of his sessions, there was as much support for the father of a murder victim as there whereas accusations that his family was protecting the real murderer.
I was thrilled to have had the opportunity to meet Kim Goldman in person and tell her how her book Media Circus has been so important in my own research. Hearing her speak, too, about her brother and her family’s journey through the justice system was both inspiring and educational. She was impressively committed to helping us all understand how important civil suits are to victims/victim families. While the money may help if, for example, the crime caused people involved to be unable to work, the judgments are not often able to be recovered. Her explanation helped me understand that the more important component is the legal recognition of wrongdoing and the ability to prevent the guilty party from moving about with financial freedom. It was a completely new perspective for me.
More to come!
As I mentioned at the start of this post, I am so thankful that CrimeCon records the sessions because there is no way to see all of the amazing programming in just a few days. This was my first live CrimeCon, but it won’t be my last.
If you were at CrimeCon and had a favorite session or experience, please share it in the comments!