Trailed: One Woman's Quest to Solve the Shenandoah Murders; Kathryn Miles
Algonquin - 2022 - (library loan)
Trailed. tells the still unsolved violent murder case of a lesbian couple, Lollie Winans and Julie Williams, two skilled backpackers who headed out to Shenandoah National park for week long camping trip along with their dog. When the couple failed to return home as planned authorities were able to locate their campsite, slashed tent and their bodies. Although there are several theories of what may have transpired, some (26) years later their murders remain unsolved.
The author taught at Unity College, a small environmental college in Maine where Lollie was once a student. A backpacker herself she became consumed with the case and, after interviews with park rangers, law enforcement, forensics experts, friends and family, it became clear that the evidence that there was sloppy investigative work involved: mismatched timelines, bureaucracy and other systematic failures throughout the investigation.
The storyline jumps around a bit and involves discussions of other cases but, it never felt confusing. An individual by the name of Darrell Rice was charged with the murder but never tried and based on what the author has reported, it seemed unlikely he was the killer of these women. However, another serial killer, Richard Evonitz, may have been responsible but, that investigation led to closed mouths and several dead ends.
I thought that the author did a good job pointing out the many missteps gathered throughout the investigation which even included contradictions about the date the women died. Readers who enjoy true-crime stories will likely enjoy this offering.
Rating - 4/5 stars