Thanks for the ridicule!

The Kansas City Star has posted an article about the cold case of Teresa Sue Hilt. The article is written by Lisa Gutierrez who describes the case and the work Michall Holmes has put into it. She even placed the link to the FB tribute page he made in the article.

So far so good.

Sadly, she then continues to ridicule my blog DCC and one of my team members. After describing how Dir. Wood found Tess’ case online on FB and DCC she writes and I quote “Her case [Tess] was written up on the cold case blog. Founded in 2009, it is a mix of information for those who are intrigued by unsolved crimes, forensics and police talk. It wants to serve somewhat like the TV show “America’s Most Wanted,” which has led to the capture of many criminals through airing old photos of the suspects and fresh retellings of cases long gone from the headlines.

Since March, amateur sleuths on Defrosting Cold Cases seem to have stirred up little that is helpful. One woman last month latched onto the information about the diseased hair found at the scene.

“With my scientist/investigative hat on, my first question is, ‘How do they know?’ Ever the skeptic, I’m surprised to learn of these hair tufts,” she commented. “Assuming that the killer did have this disease, then what does this mean for the investigation? Firstly, and I think, most importantly, the killer would likely have a distinctive appearance. Surely someone would have noticed someone with an ‘unusual quality of hair.’ ”

Sloppy journalism and ridiculous. Let’s analyze this, shall we?

It wants to serve somewhat like the TV show “America’s Most Wanted,” which has led to the capture of many criminals through airing old photos of the suspects and fresh retellings of cases long gone from the headlines.”

Where on earth did you get the ridiculous notion that my blog DCC wants to serve somewhat like the TV show AMW? Have I ever indicated to have those intentions? I don’t think so. If you check all the interviews I ever gave (links on the about & faq pages as I told you by email) you will not be able to find one interview or guest post in which I state that desire. You could not be further from the truth.

Since March, amateur sleuths on Defrosting Cold Cases seem to have stirred up little that is helpful.

When Michall asked for help with this case it was me who suggested a memorial page on either Twitter or Facebook. That was helpful. I can prove that because I still have that email thread. By linking from my blog to Michall’s FB page it drove traffic to that site. That too was helpful. I spoke extensively with Dir. Wood to form a plan of action, how we could get this case renewed attention, and how he could use social media in this case. That was helpful as well.

Now I don’t mind too much that you ridicule me or my blog but the following is beyond words.

One woman last month latched onto the information about the diseased hair found at the scene. 

If you had bothered to look up from that comment you would have seen the woman’s name. Her name is Sue Carney, a renowned scientist, who has been helping behind the scenes to indicate what kinds of forensic testing would still be possible if we ever find the lost evidence. That is more than helpful, that is crucial information for a re-investigation. And, if you had read Sue’s comment properly you would have seen that Sue spoke not about the deceased’s hair e.g. Teresa’s but about the hairs found near Teresa e.g. her attacker’s.

I am glad that Tess’ case is getting more attention but really, get your facts right. But you knew that you didn’t get it right or else you would have added my blog’s url and the links to the posts where people can read Sue’s comments and my thoughts about the case themselves.

Rant over.

UPDATE: the link to DCC’s homepage has been added to the article.

 

 

 

Comments

  1. Vidster, you’re famous. What has the Kansas City Star done to help solve this case? Think of all the publicity that you have gotten for Teresa and for the victim’s family. Keep up the good work and show everyone that no one is ever forgotten.

    Remember, no good deed goes unpunished.

  2. Thanks for your support, Joe. Much appreciated!

  3. Thanks everyone for your overwhelming response to Tess’ story. I would just like to say: without the help and wise counsel of defrostingcoldcases.com we would not be here today. There is nothing I could do or say to thank them enough. For now all I can say is – thank you from the bottom of my heart.

  4. You are very welcome, Michall. Always glad to help and here for you and Dir. Wood. Still mulling something over we overlooked. I have added the memorial page to my blogroll as well. I’ll be in touch, V

  5. My kneejerk: this sounds to me like another case of “bloggers are mere hobbyists, not real journalists.” Sadly, this attitude in itself, leading to the poor journalism you describe, defeats the “gatekeeper” purpose it tries to claim. Like all snobbery, it belies deep insecurity.

  6. Sue Carney says:

    Vidster,

    Christa’s comments sum this up perfectly. This is a case of poor journalism. Had Ms Gutierrez read the posts on DCC more thoroughly, she might have realised that we were discussing something of potential investigative significance. This might actually have added something to her article. Instead she chose to be critical, which is a shame.

    Don’t take this to heart. Joe is absolutely correct that DCC has done some amazing work in bringing publicity to this, and other cold cases. You should be incredibly proud of the tireless work you do on this site, and I am glad to be on the team! Thank you for so gallantly jumping to my defence though. That is very much appreciated.

    Now that you’ve had a rant, (and it was a good one!) I say let’s crack on with investigating the cases on DCC, then raising awareness of a few more cold cases, and then maybe a few more after that!

    Sue

  7. Morning Sue! Yes, let’s crack on.

    If you have time, the case of Duncan MacPherson is one I am working on right now with John Leake. It is a different area of expertise but I’d still like to know what you think. Also, I have a beauty of a historical mystery I am digging into for a mini-tour this fall.

    We’ll catch up soon, V

  8. Good observation, Christa. The article also tries to add some ‘sensationalism’ in the way that Holmes finds about DCC – but it is not made clear what his reaction really meant…

    Then she carries on with this: “It wants to serve somewhat like the TV show “America’s Most Wanted,” which has led to the capture of many criminals through airing old photos of the suspects and fresh retellings of cases long gone from the headlines.”

    Am I the only one noticing the irony of that statement (irrespective of Vidocq wanting to be like AMW or not) – effectively dismissing her premise of blogs being rather useless – her just being stuck in the TV and printed news age?

    And not recognizing Sue’s credentials is extremely bad research – it’s not like there are no links to her blog?

    To be honest, hardly worth your energy – articles like that actually encourage people to look for better resources… guess where they will end up?

  9. @Jacques: Thanks, friend!

    Sometimes people have no idea how much work it is to research a cold case and to post about it. They also don’t realize I do all this for free.

    I should not have let it get to me but it did. But it is the last time!

  10. Hi all,

    There is an old saying “Today’s newspaper, is tomorrow’s fish & chips wrapping”.

    Unless I’m still half asleep and missing something, I see no space for comments on that KCS (online) newspaper article, by Lisa Gutierrez; only a share or print option. So no one is likely to revisit it, to check on any follow up (comments).

    With that in mind, I’d say, that websites such as this, Defrosting Cold Cases, are far more important than the lady at KCS has given it credit for.

    Perhaps she will revisit DCC and further her research, by spending a little longer here? Thus ensuring any of her future critisisms of DCC (if she cares to make any), are constructive, rather than an attempt at being destructive.

    Thanks for keeping the news away from the fish and chips, Vidocq and the team here on Defrosting Cold Cases (and all other cold case websites).

    E

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