True Crime as a genre has always piqued the interest of society, but in today’s connected world, platforms like podcasts, YouTube, and social media make it easier for anyone to have a worldwide audience. For many victims’ families, this open exposure can be what solves their loved one’s murder or helps bring a missing person home. For others, it can quickly become a nightmare that threatens to detrimentally harm the investigation. The lack of established ethical guidelines surrounding true crime content leaves the interpretation up to the creator and consumer, often leaving out the wishes of the family and those directly affected by the crime.
Wednesday, March 8 | 7:30PM ET
After his father was killed during a robbery in 2009, a case which still remains unsolved to this day, Ryan discovered a passion for helping others in his own journey for justice. As a victim advocate, Ryan has traveled across the US speaking with law enforcement, victim family members, and advocating for change in the US Senate and Congress. In 2014, Ryan, along with other cold case advocates, spoke with members of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees urging mandatory reporting of unsolved murders to the FBI for inclusion in the Unified Crime Report. In 2015, Ryan founded Project: Cold Case with the hope of providing resources and advocating for families with law enforcement. Ryan’s efforts have been instrumental in his home state of Florida, establishing the FL Cold Case Advisory Commission and a statewide Cold Case Database. Ryan regularly provides training for advocates and law enforcement as well as informational presentations to schools, universities, and civic groups. Ryan has been recognized by numerous agencies, organizations, and publications for his work involving cold case advocacy.
Arlene grew up in rural Texas with her family and her beloved uncle, Leon Laureles. Because Arlene and Leon were only a couple years apart, their relationship was more like brother and sister than uncle and niece. They were the best of friends and when Arlene had children, Leon was there to help Arlene take care of them. Leon was brutally murdered in 1996 in the small town of Brownwood, TX. After 27 years, his case is still unsolved and Arlene is still looking for answers.
Over the last few years, Arlene has tirelessly worked to get Leon’s case back in the spotlight with the hopes that someone with information will come forward and Leon will finally get justice. In 2022, Season of Justice joined her fight by sponsoring a year-long billboard campaign in Brownwood, TX. Arlene joins us with her unique perspective as a family member affected by homicide and a consumer of true crime.
One-half of the groundbreaking show Generation Why, Aaron, along with his friend Justin, helped pioneer the true crime genre in podcasting. Beginning in 2012, Generation Why was one of the first true crime podcasts to break through, seeing several evolutions of the genre over its now decade-long run. Aaron and Justin continue to highlight cases that are unresolved and need more attention, understanding that more eyes on a case can be the catalyst to reopening the investigation.
After a rollercoaster of a career in the tech space, building and selling B2B software that made no impact on the world, Jim sought a change. The idea for Uncovered came through reading the book ‘Just Mercy’ by Bryan Stevenson that dove into the injustice in the criminal justice systems, specifically as it related to wrongful incarceration and how it disproportionately affected minority communities. Jim realized that for every wrongfully incarcerated person, there was a cold case yet to be solved. And, with the rise in popularity of true crime media, Jim believed he could combine technology with the public’s interest in these cases and turn what most saw as entertainment into an opportunity for advocacy for the families of victims.
Delia is an investigative journalist who is known for her work as the producer and host of CounterClock podcast and Park Predators podcast for audiochuck. Her dedication to doggedly investigating unsolved crimes on behalf of the public and families has resulted in a variety of positive outcomes for victims of violent crimes whose voices have been silenced.
Sarah never intended to become a creator or podcaster, but as the disappearance of her sister Alissa went unsolved for nearly 20 years, she took matters into her own hands. After receiving 3,000+ pages of Alissa’s case file, Sarah started Voices for Justice and took listeners on a deep dive into the investigation. In 2020, hope for justice seemed right around the corner when an arrest was finally made. In the years since, Sarah has expanded her advocacy efforts far beyond her own sister, using her podcasts and social media platforms to highlight unsolved cases and spearheading the conversation about responsibility and ethics in true crime. In addition to Voices for Justice, Sarah also hosts the Disappearances podcast and currently sits on the volunteer board of directors for Season of Justice.