Thoughts on Accused: The Unsolved Murder of Elizabeth Andes

A recent but intense passion of mine is true crime, especially in the form of podcasts. I started with Serial, as most people have, but I was left unsatisfied. I then moved on to Undisclosed, seasons 1 and 2, which is my current favorite podcast. It is through Undisclosed that I discovered Accused.

Told in eight chapters, Accused looks at the 1978 murder of Elizabeth Andes in Oxford, Ohio. Though her boyfriend at the time, Bob Young, was charged with her murder, he was found innocent by two juries in both criminal and civil court. Now, almost 40 years later, even Beth’s parents believe the police arrested the wrong man. However, no further investigations were conducted by the Oxford police, for two reasons. The first is that after being found innocent twice, Young had his records sealed in an effort to move on from the terrible time in his life. The second, and more disturbing, reason this case is unsolved is that despite the evidence, the Oxford police still believe Young is guilty. Until the real murderer is found, Beth’s family is left without closure and Bob Young will still be seen by some as a criminal, despite his legal innocence. Fast-forward to today, the case is brought to the attention of Cincinnati Inquirer reporter Amber Hunt who, along with her producer Amanda Rossmann, begins to take a deeper look into Beth’s murder. In the eight chapters, we are introduced to the crime, the evidence (or lack thereof), and the suspects including and beyond Bob Young.

This podcast is unique in the true crime genre for many reasons. First and foremost, Amber Hunt was invited into the case by both Beth’s family and Bob Young. One of the most heartbreaking parts of cases like Adnan Syed’s is the thought of the victim’s family, whose closure is being disturbed by new investigations. In Accused, this is being done at the request of the family, allowing Hunt and Rossmann to move forward more aggressively, without fear of insulting the family of the deceased. Another intriguing part of this case is the time in which it took place. The teams at Undisclosed and Serial have a hard enough time looking into cases from less than 20 years ago, the Accused duo facing the difficulties of time as well as poor police work and evidence mishandling. Finally, the most unique aspect of Accused is the voice of the podcast, Amber Hunt. Amber is the lead of the podcast, both narrating the story and conducting interviews- you cannot have Accused without Amber Hunt. Amber speaks with authority and passion, while still maintaining a note of compassion for the victim and accused, something I believe Sarah Koenig was sorely lacking.

If you are looking for an introduction to true crime podcasts beyond Serial, I highly recommend Accused. It has the knowledge, depth, and passion found in podcasts like Undisclosed and Truth and Justice without the long term commitment of 30+ episodes.

Interested? Listen to the first episode here.

Balboa Park

This is a short article I wrote for an Art History Newsletter, hence the references to specific professors and classes.

Balboa Park’s 1200 acres hosts an array of museums, zoos, and botanical gardens, four of which Meghan Jordan and I visited during our recent trip to San Diego. We arrived before any of the museums opened, allowing us time to wander the park during a quiet and cloudy morning. I highly recommend a morning trip to Balboa Park, for it not only gives you the chance to appreciate the park itself, but you will also have a head start on the school tour groups, of which there were many, even on a Thursday.

After learning about the history of beer throughout the world at the San Diego Museum of Man, we eagerly headed to the San Diego Museum of Art, whose permanent collection hosts many of the Spanish works we and much of our cohort learned about in Dr. Plax’s Southern Baroque Art and Architecture class this past semester. Meghan described it best- there is nothing like seeing a work in person to inspire a deeper appreciation. This visit allowed us to really look at the details of paintings by Zurbaran and Cotan, an experience which we of course had to immortalize with a picture by our favorite work, “Still Life with Quince, Cabbage, Melon, and Cucumber” by Cotan.

Later we headed to the Museum of Photographic Arts, former home of Megan, current registrar at the CCP. However, before we reached the photo galleries, we stopped at the San Diego Art Institute to see “Sweet Gongs Vibrating”. With works requiring viewer interaction and involving at least one of the senses, reflecting on Dr. Busbea’s Primary World of the Senses seminar was inescapable. From olfactory poetry to vocal visualization through light to a sound box that you stick your head into, the small space encouraged an intimate exploration of the senses through art. The San Diego Art Institute’s show solidified the experience of sensory art that isn’t fully obtainable through reading alone.

All in all, I encourage everyone to visit Balboa Park at some point during their studies. With many more museums and education facilities, not to mention beautifully restored Spanish colonial architecture, Balboa Park is worth the trip.

Airport Anecdote

*This was originally written while I was still traveling.*

Is there anything more frustrating than a delayed flight? Yes- three delayed flights. On my round trip from Phoenix, AZ to Rome, Italy, three of my four flights were delayed by at least an hour. While this would be enough to piss anyone off, it was made worse by the fact that I was meeting people in both Rome and Phoenix (the Phoenix person left from the same airport as me with a different airline- they left on time).

I am normally a totally go-with-the-flow person when it comes to delayed flights, this trip was exhausting, and the day after I got back I had to help run the new student orientation. Needless to say, my time was precious. So imagine my shock and outrage when I spoke to the gate attendant and she told me that an hour was “not considered an inconvenience.” First of all, who are you to tell me if this isn’t an inconvenience. Secondly, I had actually been delayed about four hours total.

Unfortunately, there was nothing to be done. So I walked away in frustration and lay down by a pillar for a while. And now here I sit, typing this post, as I still wait to board.

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