17 Episode results for "William Virgil"
BONUS EPISODE: Artistic Aftershocks
"Hi accused listeners in comic books. Speak the episode. You're about to hear is not Canon. It's a bonus episode. We've put together as a sort sort of holiday treat. The Baxter is that. We're halfway through our aid episode. Season Examining David Boxes Story and the folks who make business decisions requested. We go on hiatus over Christmas and New Year's weeks because of advertising considerations that I know nothing about Amanda and I thought it'd be a bummer to disappear appear for two full weeks though so we decided to do something we've never done before but planned to do more often throw new patriots page. We're taking a look at some some things we learned about reporting this season and sharing it with you just in case you think this stuff is as interesting as we do in truth. This is one of my favorite aspects. Thanks for being a reporter. Nothing happens in a vacuum everything seems to be tied together in weird ways that always find fascinating and surprising. I love getting to learn new stuff by teaching myself. Not just about the case reporting but the context surrounding it the history and politics in Pop Culture David box got his job at the Fernald. Uranium processing plant about thirty five years after the war ending bombs were dropped on Hiroshima In Nagasaki if you were around in the eighties you surely remember how the Cold War effected things Sylvester. Stallone made sure of it. Rocky Balboa afford a Russian in one thousand nine hundred five's rocky four and John. Rambo was tortured by Russians in Rambo. First blood part two also in eighty five and this episode. So we're going to take a step back even further though to talk about how nuclear weapons reshaped pop culture both before nineteen forty five spot droppings and immediately after normally episodes such as this will be exclusively posted at Patriot dot com slash accused. And you'll notice this shift shift in tone because of that. This will definitely be lighter than a cannon episode but Hey we figure this season is particularly heavy and it's the holidays so no consider this just a little something extra. We'll be back in the new year to continue boxes story. Let's begin I -member hunt and this is a bonus episode of accused like billions of other people on this planet mid. I've seen just about every marvel movie that's been released in the past decade plus but before Robert Downey junior uttered those famous for words I am I. I wasn't much into the genre sure I saw. Christopher Reeves Superman and caught a few reruns runs of Linda Carter Spinning in circles. TV's wonder woman. I remember really loving. Helen Slater supergirl which I recently watched and and kids are dumb. It's terrible but comic book flakes. Just weren't my back so I didn't spend much time trying to figure out why so many of them had overlapping origin stories. That sound you hear. Is Peter Parker being bitten by a radioactive erected the catalyst for the mild mannered teenager to become Spiderman. That's the incredible folks smashing the muscle bound. Green Skin. Giant came to be when another mild mannered person is time scientist. It's Bruce Banner was exposed to gamma rays during some bomb testing. And there's Captain Atom Radioactive Man Wildfire Atomic McMahon was born when scientists had a man accidentally drank uranium tinge water making him immune to radiation electricity. Flame even bullets his right hand radiated so much gamma radiation that he had to wear a lead glove to protect people around him. When that glove was removed he could use it to blast a hole straight through brick walls? How each of these entities came to be various but what they have in common is that each somehow became radioactive give and each was born after the bombs known as fat man and little boy were dropped on Nagasaki and hero Shema Radioactive Super Heroes and villains are among among the countless ways? Those bombs changed the world. I think autism especially in the early years so this unleashing of superpowers as there's something that had created potential. This is Samir Ahmed a British journalist who produced a documentary called H. G. and the H.. Bomb in two thousand fifteen team for the BBC will the comic books which are all about ordinary. Humans touched by radioactive energy who become superheroes here is and sometimes with dark uncontrollable side like be credible hulk or to some extent the X.. Men but in the end that kind of people to be at Meydani. Why don't they that? The human body could be transformed into something more powerful Makoto like but also potentially more diabolical. As soon his news started spreading about the first bomb drop humans became fascinated by this manmade armageddon device sometimes that fascination came across Celebratory a group of performers called the atomic bomb dancers appeared in Los Angeles just days after here Shema. According to the Atomic Heritage Foundation The Washington Press Club sold in atomic cocktail for sixty cents to news reporters as a way to take the edge off of the grueling work hours a piece in the Akron Beacon Journal on August Eighth Nineteen forty-five called the Jin based drink the quote first commercialization of the atomic nick bomb announcement and quote another piece from the associated. Press said the beverage went off with a bang and caused quote rapid mental disintegration Kevin and quote that right up included New Orleans absent as an ingredient but those lighthearted reactions came during what we'd today he called the hot take period. The bombs unleashed destruction that in turn sparked pure terror. You could see it on the opinion pages of the day columnists tempered this celebratory tone and replaced it with one of fear and caution. This was written by Ray Tucker. Her once a syndicated political columnist quote in view of this cosmic weapons destructiveness. It seems obvious that it must be capped opt at all times under the control of governments which possess the secret a tool which can destroy mankind if misused can no more be distributed booted carelessly and then bombs Tommy. Guns can be handed over to big city. Gangsters Bhai the police and quote the bombs launched. What's known own is the atomic age which affected architecture advertising interior design music images of blazing mushroom clouds? Adorned album album covers like count basie nineteen fifty eight record the atomic Mr Basie. The threat of nuclear annihilation inspired the visceral art work of Jackson pollock and the anti-nuclear junk artistry of Tony Price Spanish surrealist Salvador Dali became fascinated with nuclear physics and as he called it a seismic way inspiring works like his nineteen forty-eight sketch vision of the atomic age. Nothing really fuels immagination as much as fear which is no doubt why atomic bomb references began popping up in creative endeavors like music. Sometimes the references differences were oblique or cloaked other times unnervingly direct take the December nineteen forty five song by Carlin. Hardy called when the atom bomb fell own men. It sounds so cheery if you're not paying attention to the lyrics which is kind of appropriate. The fact is there's always been dueling views on nuclear developments Sort of good versus evil. Yes people saw the images of death and destruction that came out of Japan and that scared the daylights out of many but they also saw nuclear clear power and what it promised is downright exciting. This is Matt again on the one hand. The imagery of the bone on bone test. I think was frightening but separately people were talking in this very jetsons that since way about how Tomac power was going to fuel the feature answer the jetsons cartoon series the imagery of Colored Atoms in mid twenty twenty century designed. You see on pegs on magazine racks. You get it a lot in sending British mid century design. I think people saw potential. Oh and they haven't necessarily seen the negative impact. We didn't have nuclear power plants yet. We haven't had disasters with them and the boom the idea was the ball was a weapon mm-hmm but the idea was that technology of nuclear fission might have incredibly benign an exciting uses. I think people imagine Lou kinds of things like nuclear powered caused and nuclear powered homes. I can set you remember seeing kind of old cartoons even remember Felix the cat cartoon which must be made in the nineteen thirties or forties. where he's going digging Raynham you know? And it's glowing crowd and and and I think I think the two did carry exist for a while. The jetsons since predicted a future with video phones and robot vacuums and flying cars. Today were two three French engineer. Louis Railyard railyard set off an explosion when he debuted a skimpy two piece outfit just days after an atomic bomb test at the Bikini atoll so it's fitting. He named aimed his creation. The Bikini another French creation the bikini named after the atomic explosion of Pacific the Bikini was an explosion everywhere everywhere scholars style. Back fifteen hundred years but it was still a revolution then. There were the sweater girls at the forties and fifties. He's which caused an explosion of their own. A Med says. It's no coincidence. That women's Bras in that era had a distinctly torpedo like sheep deep maiden form in fact created the first bullet Bra in the wake of world. War Two and its popularity. Didn't fizzle until the late. Sixties and seventies indies. Ahmed highlights the bras in her documentary. I was just riffing thinking about the imagery of the shape of the the bomb. Unexploded splurged power and I thought. Isn't it interesting that we talked about women like Marilyn Monroe and Jayne Mansfield as blonde bombshells. Under the Word Bombshell I. I know that American soldiers painted sexy women on the side of their Boma planes things but just the the whole fifties cantilevered contraption of the bra kind kind of looks like torpedo. And I remember doing. I worked on an obituary of Jane Russell at BBC some years before she died of course Howard Hughes who is obsessed with Jane Russell Muscle and was also obsessed with giant planes and he built up massive plane he designed a special offer and I thought that was definitely something in this obsession with the armory of a weapon on the armory of these women who kind of look not wearing a sort of podium on the breasts became these projections. And now I'm I'm going to draw a line between Bras N. H. G. Wells. Bear with me here because this is true but it's also a bit of a reach. Wells was a British writer. Peter who lived from eighteen sixty six to nineteen forty-six. He's best known for his science fiction. Though he was prolific and a lot of genres and is often said to have popularized. occular is the concept of time travel with his eighteen ninety-five novel the time machine. He predicted genetic engineering. In eighteen. Ninety six is the island indiv- Doctor Moreau in nineteen twenty three. He predicted wireless communication awfully similar to email in men. Like gods though he'd studied Eddie Biology. He wasn't a scientist still. He had a solid grasp concepts. That plenty of his fantasies seem prophetic in hindsight H. G.. Wells had this uncanny ability pure imagination to predict or imagine things that would become reality and he predicted things like the use of airplanes in war and they they were coach used in the first World War and he was writing about that maybe ten years before it happened and he predicted tanks and he kind of looked real science and imagined the use of gunpowder in ways that were just ahead so he wasn't a trained scientist real. Scientists page a lot of attention to his ideas particularly one idea. He floated in nineteen fourteen. Fourteen that really got scientists thinking that idea was laid out in a book called the world set free an in his book he matches is is a hand grenade that keeps expanding and when something keeps exploding. Well that sounds like a chain-reaction wells wrote that this new bomb. Tom Would continue to explode indefinitely. And he named it the atomic bomb but no one had worked the chain reaction and the Hungarian hiring scientists are cool. Dillard that's Leo Szilard of physicist and Inventor instrumental in the Manhattan project to my documentary talks. A lot about was is looking at the traffic lights in Russell Square London one day and he saw the traffic lights changing and he suddenly came up with idea of a chain reaction. When you when you spit atom awesome so weirdly the book which was fantasy gotta scientists thinking and then from that you had all these different scientists in different countries in Germany and in America in Brisbane will working on ways to make it real? The Manhattan Project Made Wells' prediction reality with the the atomic bomb just one year before his death so wells predicted a chain reaction powered bomb. Scientists made his prediction come true and the bomb inspired torpedo-shaped Bras. Like I said it's a walk but you get there now back to the Bikini Atoll this is where the context gets far darker soon after World War Two ended the. US started nuclear testing at the Bikini Atoll Lagoon which is nestled in the Marshall Islands in the Pacific Ocean thousands of instruments our readiness and far as thirty miles away crew members numbers coming. There is before the blinding as protection against Radiation Burns and player. At the moment of detonation midnight. Black goggles have been issued. The Sun is barely discernible. arion habitants were relocated to other islands supposedly just temporarily so that the government could see how nuclear weapons affected to chips. A fleet of seventy eight vessels was anchored in the lagoon. A fission bomb was dropped and scientists frantically scribble notes detailing how L. Five vessels were sunk but seventy three remained afloat but they couldn't immediately see where the effects of radiation unleashed marines. Were order to scrub the still standing vessels in hopes of using them again someday. But when something's are radiated some clorox and steel wool just won't uncut it. All the marine succeeded in doing was exposed themselves to high doses of radioactivity. Excuse the quick break our colleagues over at the Arizona Republic have a new crime. podcast out called rediscovering Donne bowls calls. This is about a journalist who reported on corruption and was killed in nineteen seventy six and a car bomb. Here's a quick preview Don Bulls was an investigative get a reporter for the Arizona Republic. He's been working on a series about the mafia in nineteen seventy six. He was killed by a car bomb last year. We found cassette tapes of his phone calls. Now you can hear the story of bowls life toll through his voice. Listen to our full series. Rediscovering Donne bowls a murder journalist on apple podcasts. spotify or wherever you get your podcast in two thousand made former football star pulled off a robbery so daring and so strange that it went viral worldwide. It was a perfect crime story. There's just one problem problem. It wasn't the real story of what happened. The sneak is a new serialized. True crime podcast from four the wind and USA Today sports streaming only on one re plus subscribe at wondering dot com slash us now back to the episode between Nineteen Forty six and nineteen fifty eight the US detonated sixty seven nuclear devices in the Marshall Islands around nineteen fifty two the bombs in those tests shifted from atomic to hydrogen scientific difference with vision versus fusion. Though what matters more in the real the world is that hydrogen could be a thousand times more powerful than atomic. The biggest bomb tested was in nineteen fifty four called Castle Bravo. This device exploded into a blinding mushroom cloud that spanned four and a half miles wide vaporizing three islands islands and the Bikini Atoll. The plume reached one hundred thirty thousand feet in the air and left a crater sixty five hundred feet in diameter on the ocean floor. According to the Atomic Heritage Foundation a Japanese fishing boat called number five lucky dragon was supposedly outside the danger zone. When it's fishermen and were awakened by the giant fireball? Had scientists rightly predicted the size of the explosion. The men might have been fine. The Castle Bravo was two and a half times greater than expected a Japanese fishing trawler appears to bother search. But based on a statement attributed address skipper to be affected. He saw the flash of the explosion and heard the concussive six minutes later it must have been well within the danger area. The boat was physically spared but hours after the explosion. A white powder began to fall coating the toll and the Lucky Dragon. The fishermen didn't no it then but the snowfall was highly radioactive. Bits of atomised coral reef. They started feeling queasy as burns formed on their skin. Their heads ached. Their gums bled. Japanese doctors recognize symptoms is acute radiation poisoning. They had seen it not ten years earlier as the the result of war now even fishermen and friendly water during peacetime weren't safe from it less than a year later. A Japanese movie opened opened with a familiar scene lead. There was a flush of vice and nice trending today and and there was a heatwave. This is Yulia Humor and associate professor Sir of East. Asian science at John Hopkins University. The movie She's describing is Godzilla than ancient creature reawakened. By an atomic bomb mm-hmm the original movie filmed and released in Japan. Opened on a lucky dragon like boat. But if that doesn't sound familiar to you there's probably a good reason to years after that. Nineteen fifty four release. The footage was rearranged and an American actor named Raymond Burr inserted as the central central character to make the movie more palatable for English speaking audiences and that version a journalist played by Burr becomes the narrator and the film opens on him him traveling from New York to Cairo on assignment and for some reason that makes no sense when you consider basic geography ends up sidelined in Tokyo where he learns about a monster. Being reawakened George the tanks have been wiped out by a wall woah claim. The man North machine able to stop this creature. Steve Rifle has written several books about Godzilla including a biography of a bit stricter called a Shiro. Honda a life in film from Godzilla to cross Iowa. He said Honda had been inspired by American Monster. Movies like the Beast East from twenty thousand fathoms but he also wanted to make a statement. Viewed fought in World War Two. He was very much a reluctant participant in that conflict and he witnessed horrific things but probably none more horrific than when he was returning home to Japan and the train that he was writing on past the wreckage of Hiroshima and that left indelible mark on him when he had the opportunity to directors film he used it to make a very clear statement. It's interesting because there is no mention of the United States directly and Honda wasn't using this as an anti-american statement. What he was really trying to do was make a statement against nuclear proliferation and the nuclear arms race because he knew that we had entered unprecedented? Did an extremely dangerous territory and he was trying to sound that alarm. The original Godzilla highlighted individual victims in a way even it successors I wouldn't. It was really only in that first film when the monster was clearly used as an analogy or an allegory or metaphor very very obvious and direct metaphor for the atomic bomb or the hydrogen bomb. That you actually see some of the human casualties and the death toll after the the first rampage through Tokyo. There's a sequence that takes place in the sort of a makeshift medical triage center. And you actually have Dr Waving a Geiger counter wand over human body and the the thing starts clicking off the charts and you see you you know people lying on stretchers in bed with terrible horrible burns. That are very much you know meant to represent the types of injuries that people suffered Hiroshima August sake so that I am very dark and very direct and that's why the movie I think was so powerful when it first came out and remains relevant even today because it's not sure entertainment but also a cautionary tale the Japanese version wasn't released in the US until two thousand four firmer firmer says the original likely wouldn't filled seats in America largely because it implied that not just the Nagasaki here. Shema bombs were devastating to innocence. It's but it also played off the anxieties triggered by repeated h-bomb testings in short. The Japanese version was a horror movie with the message. The American version was a popcorn monster. Movie firmer shows both versions to students is part of a class at John Hopkins and a lot of references says and and the direct references to the nuclear bomb testing. That was in the movie and the way that things were framed in their original movie. Everything escaped in them in the remake which we make basically made it into monster movie just straightforward Monster Moby and you know like Comparing to watching the two side-by-side is both hilarious and and and from our perspective. I'm stupider I can believe that the that the American American version opened with burr not the fishermen and only then we see the scene of the boat which comes in the middle and then it's framed as this is how the most scraped the people the atomic connection was significantly underplayed the monster movie elements enhanced. In a multicultural. Legend was born. And but Godzilla wasn't the only film to convey the abject terror nuclear weapons instilled in everyday people. Ahmed remembers another from Nineteen fifty four that she saw on TV as a child them that's. The exclamation point was about atomic testing in the New Mexico. Mexico desert that caused ants to mutate into dangerous giants monster and started attacking and local. A Med. Remember scare the living daylights out of me. What's interesting about it is? It's ten pulpy Phil. The accident you ticks. All the boxes on the Munich. You're testing so it's set in California. This been Nikki testing out in the desert. We know what's happening in Nevada and had been happening and people were thinking about mutations in the the possible effects and it basically makes giant giant radioactive atoms. And it's a while before people realize what's going around killing them and they something about insects made large isn't there which is utterly terrified and it's funny. I remember saying to my my kids and they two and nine hundred sixty eight Charlton Heston fell to his knees on a deserted beach in screamed. Yup Talk after you discovered that the strange planet run by apes on which he'd been trapped opt was actually earth destroyed in nuclear war. I'm ED remember. Seeing the sequel. A few years later I was taken to see false. Young cinema is about seven seven or eight beneath the planet of the Apes. which is the second of the original plan to the film's Charlton Heston? And this of course is set in a in a far future where it turns. There's been a nuclear war and the human race has sort of mostly annihilated itself but ended up enslaved by by ABE SUV Kinda volt to be superior and the new set of astronauts arrived looking for the first crew and they basically find what humans have survived in the underground ruins of Manhattan a worshiping an unexploded atomic bomb and there was something incredibly powerful about the idea of this weapon that had destroyed us also being worshiped shipped. There's a lot of religious iconography around they talk about Alpha and Omega and humans aware mosques so when they pull off their hoods mass underneath their hideous mutant. So there's something about the obsession with mutation that radioactive disease does and this biblical power of the manmade atomic bomb that but I think that film really captures on the sense of impending disaster. Any moment and anyone you grew up in the sixties the seventies eighties remembers the existential existential Tara of knowing that at any moment whether to accident Torre triggering of war you could be destroyed full minutes FI weapons being I five from Russia or America. It's tough to square. That something is frivolous is swimwear. Could be tied. In origin. The scenes of post apocalyptic health gapes designed to fill humans with dread that their arms race could help inspire the jetsons as much as the day after. But that's the power of the bomb. It does go back to mean revelation and the imagery of the end of the world. But the idea of Alpher for Nigga you know the beginning and the end and I just think there's something the bom represents which is it's it's creative potential and yet it's also destruction and the idea that it's this man made new not just Christianity. Many religions talk about humans bringing destruction on themselves so I just think the bom does have a religious power. And that's why it's it's grip. Tom Machination in the way it has. And let's be clear it's never stopped gripping breath. Token funeral is held. There is nothing to Berry. That's the sound of nuclear physicists. Jonathan Ostermann caught inside radioactive particles tests. That transformed him into a glowing blue godlike entity called Doctor Manhattan. He debuted in one thousand nine hundred six making him a youngster Mr next to spider man and hulk just this year another Godzilla movie was released two and Godzilla King of the monsters. The creatures layer is radioactive radioactive. And there's even a nod to Castle Bravo. Is there another creature that might stand a chance against him The reviews weren't great but the box office was the movie brought. But in some three hundred eighty five million dollars worldwide. And we're not done with Godzilla yet next year. Godzilla vs Kong is set to be released. It seems seems the bombs grip doesn't appear to be loosening anytime soon. Thank you for listening into this. Bonus episode of accused to support the creators of accused go to our P. rampage where donors get bonus content in early episodes that's at Patriot dot com slash accused. This is a special project from the Cincinnati Inquirer part of the USA Today network narrated by amber hunt produced by Amanda Rosman engineered engineered by Phil Diddy and edited. By Amy Wilson Music was composed by Andrew. Hickory
Chapter 1: Disappearing dad
"It's peaceful out here. It's lush green. It's the type of setting that makes a writer get a little flowery with her words. Goose waddles past and settles atop a nest. Dear gathered beyond the trees that lined the winding road leading past Manmade Pons. John's topped with healthy films of green. Algae you can see. The occasional bubble reached the water surface evidence of life below. It's a beautiful day to visit a nature preserve. I'm here in Crosby Township Hamilton County Ohio twenty three miles north of the the inquirer building. Which is where I work in downtown? Cincinnati my reporting partner. Amanda Rosman is with me are two more colleagues. It's safe to say this is one of the more pleasant assignments we for. Journalists have had in a while but as happened so often when telling a tale involving someone's death they things aren't quite what they seem to tell you about the guy they found in the salt over implying six pipe fitter work third shift. Traffic disappeared if you know accused. You know we've reinvestigated to unsolved murders in our previous seasons. This episode marks the beginning of season three but the story here is unlike any. We've reported before yes. At Center there is still a death and yes the initial investigation into that. Death was far from comprehensive. But this story is about much more than the end of one person's life it's also about about deadly government secrets that took decades to come to light secrets that some people believe got a man killed not could get schools truth. You better start packing commander hunt and this is accused the mysterious death of David Box Accused is sponsored by third. Love if you wear your bra single day it should be comfortable. That's why I love third love because they make the best most comfortable bras I've ever ever worn. They use data points generated by millions of women. 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It's on the side of that nature preserve in rural Ohio where the story begins more in in thirty five years ago back then there were no geese or deer on the land. The man made ponds that exist. Today are actually the footprints. Instead of a series of industrial plants. That once stood there the place was called the Fernald feed materials production center. It was the area's the biggest employer and because of that mouthful of a name as well as the red and white water tower emblazoned with a checkered board design that loomed overhead a lot of people in the town assumed. Its workers may dog food. It looked like PURINA company Logo checkerboard board pattern the employees who work there of course new better. This was no pet food company. It wasn't an offshoot of Perina. It was a uranium processing pressing. Plant run by the government as part of the arms race of the Cold War workers for national level high or an aloe stuffed. The plants dance and when they were hired they signed documents promising to keep their mouths shut about precisely what they did there. I started working in eighty two. You had to sign in agreement. You wouldn't talk about anything that you did there under penalty. I think it was two thousand dollars in five years in prison. That's John Sadler. At twenty year employees. He eventually was promoted to management but in the eighties. He was a regular employee. Just like David Box. The two weren't close friends but they knew each other. He says he was just he just kind of kept to itself. You know I'd say pretty much but I mean he got along with. Everybody is just a fellow worker with no problem but I don't think he was really real outgoing. You know like some people are but everybody liked him. He did his job like we all did ask John Sadler about David's case and he takes takes you back to June nineteenth nineteen eighty-four. That's the day. He arrived to work a morning shift at Fernald and learned that something strange had happened and Sadler worked plant six which was the metals fabrication plant in the middle of this warehouse type building. There was a huge furnace filled with a mixture of potassium chloride and sodium chloride. The point of this salt. That was a bit complicated. But what you need to know right now is that it was really hot. Thirteen hundred fifty degrees Fahrenheit for context. That's hottest fell sick lava which is in the hottest this lava. But it's still lava. I worked at plant six where this happened. And there's a guy that was furnace operator. He'd always come come in an hour earlier to get things going and everything and so anyway. I walked in and clock. Dan Dan he says. Come here let me show you this. And he showed me this furnace which was probably I'll say eight or ten feet long and it had molten salt in it. It just look like Lama. Always look that way so he showed it to me and it had a brown crust on top of the the salt and he says I have never seen this. I've been working doing this for a long time. The worker had lifted the lid off of that and noticed a strange crusty film. Elma top the mixture inside the mixture usually glowed red but the weird frost on top. Didn't it was black kind of sooty. The worker called a supervisor over and pointed it out. Does that look like a piece of bone floating on the top. He asked the supervisor. Couldn't make sense of what he was seeing and told the worker to stir the film into the sludge and get back to work. And that's what happened around the same time name. An employee named David box was expected to meet his car pool buddy for a ride home from his midnight shift. David didn't show and it would be several hours before Anna. Lo workers would connect the dots realize holy God that city film in the salt. Bad of plant six might be the remains of David Box. You might notice off the bat that we've changed the title of the season beyond the victim's name seasons one on into were unambiguously about unsolved murders Elizabeth NBA. Some retha Welsh without question died at the hands of someone else and not in Justifiable homicide kind of way season. Three might be a murderer as well but then again it might not. And that's very much the point. The person at the center of this story might have been killed by someone else or despite the family's insistence that he wasn't suicidal recital it's possible he might have killed himself. It's also possible however remotely that he is in debt at all had police Louise's done a thorough investigation at the time. His family might not have as many questions as they still have. And there are a lot of questions left to answer so many that it's tough to know exactly where to begin. This is one of the most complicated and layered stories. I've ever reported elements of the. The story have trickled out over the decades in my newspaper. The Inquirer as well as national media reports but details came in dribs and drabs. The official account never even included the gruesome death of a father of three but for us that death is not only at the center of the story. But it's the whole point. Some of you no doubt were not only alive but alive and even paying attention in June nineteen eighty-four for those who weren't a quick mckinstry lesson Cindy lauper was number one on the billboard charts with time after time the classics ghostbusters and Gremlins had just hit theatres. Race and Ronald Reagan was wrapping up his first term as president all right. I am deeply honored that you have allowed me to serve you for these past four years. If you think we hear a lot about Russia these days time traveling to the nineteen eighties. Wouldn't change much on that front though back then. Russia was part of the Soviet Union. So you'd have to get used to hearing the old umbrella term for several Soviet republics tensions between between the. US and the USSR were boiling. That'll happen when the two most powerful nations on earth are trying to figure out who wins the future. The resulting conflict was called the Cold War which had dragged on for decades and seemed to be coming to ahead. The US boycotted the nineteen eighty Olympics Olympics in Moscow and around the time David box disappeared. The Soviet Union had just announced it would be boycotting that summer's Los Angeles Olympics. If the tit for tat had just been confined to sports for naught might not have been home to a uranium processing plant but it wasn't confined to sports mm-hmm the US Senate allies for years had busted tail to create the biggest deadliest nuclear bomb imaginable in hopes of doing it before their frenemies did Reagan was elected in part because he promised to stand tough against these adversaries standing tough meant building bombs And building bombs required uranium as such locations all across the country manufactured one component or another for the arms race. We'll get get into this more in a later. Episode but in short for nods component was processing uranium. That's a high density metal found in rocks that kicks off ridiculous Nicholas amounts of energy. It's slow radioactive. Decay is where most of the Earth's heat comes from in short. It's powerful stuff if the for note. Plant this powerful stuff was refined in shaped and otherwise process before being shipped to another plant. That did other the things. No one plan was responsible for making weapons. Start to finish but there were dozens of plans handled steps along the way. I'm David Box. Was a pipe fitter at Fernald. He didn't do anything with uranium itself but rather he worked on the machines that did the processing and those machines were spread out in about a dozen different buildings called plants and those plants made up the Fernald complex on any given night David could be assigned to any plan at all. He was a fix it guy the night before. A colleague found black sludge implant six thirty nine year Gerald. David showed up to work as usual. He wore a long sleeved shirt and cut off. Jean shorts his daughter. Casey box streak remembers how we look Backman Tall. He was Broad he wasn't like obese but he was large large all the way around. Casey's parents divorced when she was pretty young. She doesn't have many memories of them living together still despite the divorce. She says her dad. David was a family man. The father of three children two boys and a girl. He was kind of nerdy not looking fellow with thick square glasses. I mean wasn't the chatty type everyone who knew him says he was pretty quiet introverted He wore or glasses thick glasses. He was blind in one eye. Legally blind in one eye and that Captain Alabi at Phnom. The only thing that kept in Vietnam said he use legally blind did one. I got his ears. Bigger the standout ears photos of David David show he would be perfectly cast as an extra in stranger things. He looked completely of his time from those glasses that covered half his face right down to his. Tom selleck mustache everybody on a mustache. Because I don't know I guess the thing David lived in Loveland Ohio Ohio which is about fifteen miles east of Cincinnati. He worked about thirty miles west of where he lived at an industrial site. Where Butler and Hamilton counties meet because it was a bit of attract to work? He used to meet a CO worker partway at a white castle and the two men would finish the drive to the plan together other. That's what happened the night of June eighteenth when the men worked third shift but this night something strange happened when the shift ended David didn't rejoin his CO worker to be driven back to his car. He didn't click out from his shift at all. No one reported having seen him for several hours His carpool buddy waited. Until he couldn't wait anymore then left David. A note quote waited till ten forty five finally went home. Sorry end quote. He expected he'd see David. The next stay annoyed that he'd been ditched at the plant but David didn't meet him at the White Castle for work. David's car was there though parked exactly where he had left at the night before. It was as though David box just vanished. He went went to work and disappeared. What happened to him is an unsolved mystery? Sh- night on unsolved mysteries seriously. It was featured on unsolved mysteries. We know where he likely ended up. Because three days after David disappeared pieces of bone were discovered erred in a spot of the plant that had no business containing bone. That discovery made it clear that he had probably met a gruesome fate. His body ultimately ultimately landing in that thirteen hundred fifty degree Fahrenheit. Vat of salt. What we don't know the unsolved mystery part is how David got there so a man goes to work and ends up in a furnace? That's pretty strange. But what makes this case worthy of a year long investigation is where he worked and when he died and the myriad theories that exist about his fate you know it was just one small incident in a very large arch plant. And I don't know if he died I mean he just disappeared. It was very news confusing thing around the plant. Everybody had their own ideas. Maybe jump defensive middle of the night or escaped or went in one of the furnaces. Everybody had different ideas but they claim he committed suicide cried and and call in that furnace but there was only a whole up there. That was so big. There's no way he crawled in there. mm-hmm don't ask me. I don't know and they tried to tell me all the time. He put himself in there. But how often totally trying to make a joke out if I could. He took off and Clermont are then put it back in Denton but but high got in there. I'll never know eight didn't get him By himself. I'll say that I've heard rumors that they thought maybe he was going to be a whistle. Blower what was going on with the project and I don't believe that I think he either. I got into an argument with somebody that night and was in Italy killed tried to cover it up or came across something he shouldn't have and Tom. The person placed his body using the hoist inside the furnace over the rolling mill I know a lot lot of people. Say He's not there that was chicken bones but I was in my supervisor's office when the box came back from the FBI lab that contained what they considered was his remains And I'm sorry but that gentleman I believe was in there. I don't believe it was chicken. Bones I made it very clear that I was last person. Apparently on record it seemed spoke doing not one person investigated in this case is absolutely a bizarre one in solving it at the time happened would surely have been tough for even the most dogged. Detective still still as has happened in other accuse cases the lead investigator decided. He knew what happened pretty early on and because he supposedly knew he he didn't take other possibilities very seriously but it isn't that he has a reputation as a bad or sloppy cop My Name's Peter Eldora g At the time I was a crime scene investigator Hamlin County Sheriff's Department and I would be at the scenes of any questionable death or homicide or suicide and I would be responsible for the entire crime scene. All evidence collection fingerprints any other items that Were of interest there's to us. It's tough to reexamine a case without sounding like you're as I told him. I'm aware that this is Monday morning. Quarterbacking but to his credit it all day RUCCI sat down with us to discuss this case and was even open to our pushback. We've asked around and he has a reputation as a stand up guy who cares. It's not just about closing cases but closing them right. There's one case in particular that helps illustrate this in one thousand nine hundred ninety Aldo route. She got a surprise middle of the night concession from a man for rape that someone else was in prison for supposedly committing instead of doing what I've I've seen other cops do announced that the original suspect must have had an accomplice ALDA RUCCI and the prosecutor's Office agreed that the confession meant that convicted victims man must not be guilty and he was released from prison although Rucci didn't want them wrong guy behind bars. ALDA RUCCI stands ends by his investigation in the David box case. He believes that foul play was physically. Impossible nobody could have put him in there other than him putting himself under not much ambiguity. There suicide is possible when you don't have a body. It's tough to tell how a person died. David's family family said he'd been in good spirits and planning for the future but suicide isn't always a planned act. Sometimes it's spontaneous and inexplicable explicable to the people left behind. David did have mental health issues and a suicide attempt several years in the past. So Alder Rucci didn't pull pulled the suicide possibility completely out of thin air but we have more than one thousand pages of trial transcripts and investigative documents. And we've conducted opted dozens of our own interviews including one with Al Rookie himself and it's fair to say that Alder Rucci never weighed homicide in this case he Set so himself. He didn't even consider it. No one was questioned for motive. Alibis weren't verified. Leads went not only on followed. You'd want him gathered all Ritchie. Doesn't consider this case unsolved mystery at all but David's family does I mean have Hewish but you know we had seen him the one that had happened. It was father's Day weekend so we have just seen him he had just picked us up. And you know we'd spent the weekend with him and He dropped us off a little early because he knew had to go to work that night so he wanted to get sleep but I mean we were playing vacation groceries. He was a smoker. He just bought three packs of cigarettes sitting home and stable. Oh you know it wasn't. He didn't commit suicide commit suicide like they WANNA say did. She was suspicious from the outset about suicide and then for Nolde made big headlines a few months after David's last shift ever since that Casey has been certain in who died was murdered. The first headline ran in December nineteen eighty-four on the front page of the Cincinnati Inquirer at red and yellow checking possible uranium leak. Here's how the story begins unacceptably. Large amounts of uranium dust may have escaped from an Ellos for Donald Uranium processing plant in northwest Hamilton. County and a low spokesman. George Smith said Monday if it really happened. The uranium slipped by a flawed filter. altern pressure monitor and a work area exhaust system for three months Smith said but it may not have happened. He added spoiler alert. It did happen been and it helped lead to the plan shuttering just a few years later the way. That story was falsely tempered. Maybe something happened but then again. Maybe it didn't was a sign of things to come company and government officials habitually downplayed any concerns to the point of outright deceit. And so now you have a man who goes to work at a uranium processing plant and ends up in a furnace just months before stories break that ruined the company. You have a death that was treated straight away as a suicide and you have officials minimizing. What's really happening at the plant? It's no wonder David's family has questions questions. You GotTa do. I mean but it's always there. There has not not been and I hate this word Luger. I hate that word. You hear people use that although I need some closure but you know I don't have a place to go and mourn if I wanted to or anything like that for all I know. He's done in Mexico. Drink Margaritas Garrido's So right I'm not a fan of the word closure. Actually I have been in arguments with editors like now. Don't put that in the headline really do hate that word. You can't find closure you you can find any answer can help. Maybe he'll feel a bit but it doesn't mean that I mean I know in my mind. Basically what happened. But it's not gonNA change anything. No I mean wouldn't be nice for somebody to get what it's coming to them gas. I'm definitely a person eye for an eye. But you know the government is a big entity and to try and find out anything having accepted the fact that probably will never happen You can probably hear in cases voice that she's tough she's he's thin with delicate features but she looks a bit weary lake. She's endured a few too many tragedies in her fifty one years and in truth she has Losing her father when she was a teenager was simply the first of them excuses. Quick break the episode. You're listening to now was released already on our patron page at Patriotair Dot com slash accused. You can get early ad free episodes there as well as bonus episodes behind the scenes peeks Cuna sessions and even a brand new crime and journalism. podcast if you like what what we do here consider joining us over there again for this content and more support us at Patriotair dot com slash accused. And when I reported case the first thing I want to know is who precisely. I'm reporting about with season one of accused. We put Beth. Andy's photo votto front and center to make sure she was at the forefront of our minds. Her photo is still by our desks. This time David's photo is on our wall too though. He's been tougher to flesh out. It's not that he didn't affect people in his thirty nine years but a lot of his family is dead. His kids remember him of course in his son. Tony told me that he keeps his dad's childhood baseball glove on the dashboard so he sees it every day but his kids were young when he died they they never got the chance to know him as a real person. It's like they remember a two-day version of their dad. He's there but not fully formed. David's CO workers from some of them brought him up during interviews conducted for a living history project in the late nineteen nineties but as you can hear from one one of his self described Friends George Beset memories of David's life have been overshadowed by the mystery of death when they tell you about the guy they found in the salt over implying six. They was a pipe fitter work third shift and he disappeared so they went over and looked him. They smell up when you went implying. Six excellent went up there and took a lead off the salt furnish and he was a black impression up. There did find him he was real good friend of mine too. I used to kid him. I'm kidding me with a pipe fitter they never did. I don't want him doing David's become more legend than man. We hope to fix that at at least a little because like any of us. He deserves to be remembered so a brief biography David was born in Staten Island. New York work in November nineteen forty four two and Russell box his folks had met and fallen in love and the Empire State they married in nineteen thirty six had three. The sons and moved to Ohio. David was young. The couple devout Catholics stayed married for more than forty years until and died in nineteen seventy nine nine nineteen eighty-four David was set to turn forty years old and he was turning a corner on a few rough years in the late seventies. He'd been drinking taking too much which caused his wife to leave him. David didn't want the divorce. He wanted a lifelong marriage like his parents. It was tough on him when he realized it wasn't going Happen but he and his wife kept things amicable and he stayed focused on his kids. Even if they didn't live with them anymore he he was always. He's there when we needed him a wake up. Call him at the drop of a hat and he would be there. But I mean it was a good guy On US want to Church was Catholic and then a lot of stuff for the church. He used hidden. My mom actually used to cut grasp for the church. Remember how David looked a little nerdy. His biggest thing was he loved the CD radio CB. Radio isn't intas commonplace. Now as it once was I saw a reddit comment refer to it as the Youtube comments section for an older generation which feels pretty apt. Trucker's still use it to talk to each other. But in the seventies and eighties it was hugely popular with non truckers. Too Shy people today might know most of their friends from the Internet well. Most of David's friends were folks he would shot with unsee be. I can remember there'd be times where where he didn't want to go. This was what him and my mom are still together. He wouldn't WanNA bother my mom he had A. CB and the car he would go out ten eleven twelve o'clock at night and sit in the car and talking to CB radio he'd be up until two three or four o'clock in the morning talking on the damn thing you know after the divorce he was able to CB radio Jio as much as he wanted. And Casey remembers that's just what he did and he would get on. TV At all hours of the day and night and just talk to people all all over the place. He had a group of people locally that he would talk to and then every so often they have like a picnic or something and I'll get together so they can see face to face but you know. He was always so proud that he had talked to. Somebody in Australia was able to reach that far so loss. CB Talking Tony box for member. That is dad's handle was easy. Rider lifted from the classic Peter Fonda Film. Casey said he used to talk with a woman who called herself. Fancy so yes there. Dad was quiet and his in-person friendships were limited. But his kids don't think he was lonely. He's a reserve her very reserved person unless he had a CB he was a CB fanatic man. Tony Oni was older than Casey. When his dad died in fact he was married to his high school? Sweetheart to whom he still married today one of his favourite memories of his dad. Ed begins on Christmas when Tony was fourteen. He loved music and was determined to play guitar. That's Tony Not David who wasn't much of a music fan Dan. Tony had bought a cheap guitar and asked his parents for new strings for Christmas. They came through but while Tony was restringing the instrument he he somehow lost his grip and when it hit the ground the neck broke Tony Bald. He was heartbroken. His Dad heard from Tony's he's mom. Just how upset. He was so David took him to the music store and gave him his pick and he said so. You like stress right and and will come on. Let's go find one. I had one in my mind that I was thinking about and when I finally found about a month after we first started looking it was at Midwest music. He made sure yeah go ahead. We'll take it. Tony Still. Has that guitar today. One of Casey's favorite memories also centers on a holiday had a comical side to him. You like to joke around. What kind of jokes? It just stupid stuff like it eastern instead of calling it. The Easter body was the pig. You'd have these pig callers. which was his dad? I knew it was his dad avenue. It was my GRANDPA. But he'd have his dad call us on the phone the day leading up to her father's disappearance Tsk Casey had spent time with them. It was such a normal uneventful visit. That she doesn't remember much about it. Even though it was the last time she ever saw him she does recall her. Dad Got excited about his plan to take the kids to Florida for vacation. The next time he saw them the plan was to load them up in the car. Aren start the twelve hour drive but that was next time this night. He had to get ready for work. He dropped the kids off a little early so he could not before. His midnight chipped. The next day Casey went with one of her brothers and her mom's boyfriend to Churchill downs the race track known as the home of the Kentucky Derby. Casey's mom had stayed home. If you've been to a race track you know. They can be pretty loud places over the din. Casey heard and announcement mm spin on the PA system. I can remember telling my mom's boyfriend. They just paged you. And he's like oh no they didn't and they just paid you overhead. The boyfriend never heard it himself and wouldn't take Casey's word for it so the trio never never returned. The call ended up staying for the whole races and then when we got back mom was waiting for us when we got back and told oldest that he was missing. What do you mean missing like Woah? Don't get lost. He wanted to work and they can't find him. The News didn't seem real and it certainly didn't seem final. As far as his family knew David could reappear at any moment with the story. Worry about getting fed up with work and deciding to quit on the spot or he could be found pinned beneath some big piece of equipment in one of the warehouses or or you could show up at home after a couple days of binge drinking confused why everyone was making such a fuss it would be three or four days before anyone broach the possibility with David kids that their father might be dead. Nobody ever wanted to say he was dead. Because of the whole you know who's going to be liable for it because it happened at work you know. So they were. It took a lawyer getting getting a paperwork from judge to say that he was dead and that was probably a couple of weeks at least So I just remember my mom telling us that he was missing. But kind of a protracted way to find out something that traumatic right exactly well. David's families struggled to makes sense of his absence. His co-workers had started searching. The fornell complex was divided into all of those buildings called plants. As a pipe fitter David could be assigned to any plant on any given night the ninety disappeared. He'd been assigned to plant eight and told the fix a meter for in a valve and replace some gaskets. Supplant eight was naturally one of the first places is co worker searched. Most of the work he had been assigned was it's finished but there is no sign of David so they were checking their course. They checked whole site check for him. That's one of David's former CO workers I. My Name Is Melvyn Clearer Emil v I N Seal E E R people call them doc. He was interviewed for that. Living History Project mentioned earlier. I mean everybody don't ideas if he jumped the fence in the middle of the night or escaped or went in one of the furnaces. The morning after David went went missing is when a CO worker noticed the strange city film in the VAT workers would dip uranium ingots into the mixture of potassium chloride and sodium chloride which was kept hot enough to alter the molecular structure of the radioactive metal. In short the slurry is high temperatures allowed the Uranium Liam to be molded into whatever shape was needed after the employee alerted. His supervisor and the supervisor shrugged off the finding and directed the sludge to be stirred. Everyone moved on but a bit later. The worker noticed something else about the salt that it was kept at a constant thirteen hundred. I'm fifty degrees Fahrenheit. It was monitored to ensure the temperature never varied even when the lid was taken off and the ingots lowered into it. It only dropped a few degrees and yet a readout from early in the morning right at the end of David Shift showed to dips in temperature within the half hour span. It dipped down to thirteen hundred and twenty two degrees then came back to thirteen fifty then dipped again to thirteen hundred twenty four and finally leveled back for good about fifteen minutes later. That readout is what prompted everyone involved in the search for David to zero in on Evatt. But we didn't know for sure but anyway what they did. They turned off the furnace and they uh took all this material other RUCCI ordered workers to empty the bat and sift through its contents to see if they could determine whether it entombed David Box Fox. That was impossible at thirteen hundred and fifty degrees so workers. I turned off the bat and waited and waited and waited needed. It took three days before the goo inside cooled enough to drain after that workers grabbed chisels and started a grisly search. Search digging through the now hardened slurry was a painstaking staking process. Clear says the took an all out and went through it piece by piece a little pieces. I mean they went over that and they hit a stereo coordin- off and they went through it and Jackhammer down there. It was just like Molten Rock and they did find some things they thought might have uh-huh attributed to him like a shoelaces or steel toed shoes. Casey remember seeing photographs of what workers found I do I do remember that because they had pictures of like the wire. Rinse glass is parts of booths keys. This that and the other thing. Most of what the workers recovered was metal. Some types of metal melt at less than thirteen hundred and fifty degrees aluminum for example has the melting point of less than a thousand degrees Greece but silver survives up to fifteen hundred fifty degrees brass. which is what a lot of keys are made of stays intact until about sixty one hundred and fifty degrees? Ace Steel varies on whether it's pure or mixed with another metal but generally speaking it survives until about twenty five hundred degrees. The photos showed something else too and they were showing us the pictures bone fragments and I got to go to the bathroom and on wait I I was. I was feeling good and I ended up passing out in the hallway and kind of you know half because a coffee and a half of the anxiety of C.. And all that stuff even after the kids saw the photographs questions lingered that that can happen in deaths with actual bodies and this one only had fragments of bone bone wasn't identifiable DNA testing. I debuted around nineteen eighty-three and didn't hit courtrooms until Nineteen eighty-six back. When that testing was new? You needed a good bit of biological material to make a match. The bones from the furnace for too degraded to test at the time and today there in tomb somewhere on undisclosed government property supposedly Siddeley because they're radioactive without a body rumors started swirling at the plant that David Hunt died in the vowed at all but rather had had sneaked out by climbing offense at the back of the property. Those rumors eventually reached his family. Gave them hope. Those rumors continue you today. In fact one former boss of David's told me we made what I thought was a thorough search in the plant and I I don't think he expired in the plant to be clear. Expired is a euphemism for death. The supervisor Sir named Weldon Atoms doesn't believe that David died at Fernald at all. He offered no explanation for the bones and metal found in the salt fat even forty years later. Casey doesn't speak about her father with finality as she said earlier for all I know he's done in Mexico drink Margaritas That's of course more wishful thinking than rooted in reality. He's never made contact with anyone. He left his home his belongings. He didn't surface when other their loved. Ones died in the years that followed by all accounts he was a doting father. His kids were his primary motivation for getting mental health treatment. Coming to begin with the notion that he left him willingly doesn't sit well with people who actually knew him that hasn't kept some strangers from reporting according random sightings however after the case was featured on unsolved mysteries a tipster claim to have seen David working as a doctor and Elizabethtown Kentucky but it only took cursory research to find that the doctor in question was another man entirely with fully documented past. If David it is still alive. He's in hiding and he's a master at it. The headline about radioactive dust escaping into the air came about five five months after David's disappearance. Never were the two stories reported in connection with each other. At least not in the mainstream press a self if described investigative reporter who lived near the Fernald plant started loosely tying the two events together for a couple of independent newspapers he freelanced for the reporter named DC. Coal forged a friendship with David's family and wrote some stories for now defunct newspaper called the everybody's news that looked at for knowledge in the poison. It had unleashed not just in the air but in the nearby water supply. Coal was convinced that David was as a conscientious worker. who had grown frustrated with the lack safety measures at the plant? He believed David had figured out that. The plant was endangering workers and residents and threatened to go public with what he knew and he believe. David's plans to whistle blow thwarted by his murder. Cole's persistence caught the attention of producers of unsolved mysteries for young wins out there it was a hit. TV show launched in Nineteen ninety-seven. It's had several several hosts over a few incarnations most notably Robert Stock hopping from NBC to CBS. To lifetime it was cancelled in two thousand and two them resurrected for a few years in twenty seven with Dennis Farina's the host despite all the changes over the years. The show's premise never varied it always focused on cold cases and paranormal phenomena. And it always creep the hell out of my mom me when we watched it together which I vividly remember doing every week each hour long episode of the show featured a few different cases meaning any given case Scott About fifteen minutes of coverage landing. The case ace on national television was a coup for DC Coal David's daughter. Casey shared with me a stock of emails that she in DC had exchanged in the mid mid nineteen ninety s and both of them seemed optimistic that the increased exposure would at least shed light on what might have happened. We'll talk more more about that and about DC coal in future episodes still. Casey said she's always kept her hopes. Realistic I just new in my mind I was never gonNA get any resolution to it because it was a government run play Elliott and they don't want information no matter what it is. They don't want it to come out over the past year. We've done a lot more legwork than the unsolved mysteries history crew. No disrespect intended. Rip Robert Stack. But we've spent thousands of hours on this bizarre case we've interviewed experts and witnesses and we've even built a replica of the salt fat. Were the first people outside of law enforcement to inspect the original police files related to the case. We have chased down down every rumor. We've heard and we've done our best to substantiate or eliminate them. It's been taxing project on US mentally because we we frankly knew nothing about uranium when this thing started I really should have paid more attention to science class in high school. Now that I know I know I find ended all kind of terrifying that beautiful land with the deer in the man made ponds was once teeming with chemicals that we knew even then could cause has cancer decades after its closure that land is still too polluted to have houses built on it once word got out in the mid nineteen eighties. That safety was life-threateningly lax at the site. Government officials repeatedly obfuscated or outright lied to cover it up. It took determined residents in sick employees years to get the company and the Department of Energy to own up to the damage it caused and even then they still managed to shirk some responsibility. A lot of workmen's comp claims were denied over the years the plan to end its secrets are one aspect aspect of this season and so we'll talk about all that but our main focus is on a man who on a summer day in Nineteen eighty-four went to work and disappeared at long last. We're going to try to figure out if David box killed himself or was killed by someone else and if he was us why this season on accused I still been. I'd still eh one hundred percent. We always try felt that they should have actually gone after the company. But that's what we all found adults just look like hell. I mean it just looked like what you look down at Hell and there was a big hole in the ground. Don't look like we know. The groundwater was poison. I don't know how much we know about the radiation today. It seems so mundane yet. It seems so even at the same time or potentially so even though there were scientists this pointing to real hard violations of those standards You still thought while they told me that safe. So it safe and I think the interviews about this season go to www dot wondering dot com. Tom Slash plus. That's W O N D E R Y DOT COM slash P L U S to support the creators of accused directly. Go to our patron page. Donors is get bonus content. Dan Daily episodes. That's Patriot dot com slash accused. This is a special project from the Cincinnati Inquirer part of the USA Today network narrated by amber hunt produced by Amanda Rosman engineered by Phil and edited by Amy Wilson Intern Mark Rosenberg provided additional research. Music was composed by Andrew. Higley to look at case documents photos videos and more visit accused podcast dot com as noted. Some audio comes from a living history. Projects in the financial community. Alliance transcript to those interviews are available. 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Chapter 3: The Cold War creeps
"Previously on accused. I still think suicide. I'd say just looked like hell. I mean it just like Equa look down at Hale and there was a big hole in the ground tow look like open red cone like Lava Abba Volcano. Here's that we had wanted to go after workman's all to a person. Everyone said not suicide. Welcome to accused the mysterious death of David box commando hunt Lisa Crawford lived in a rented house in Ross Ohio across the street from the Fernald uranium processing plant like a lot of people in the area. She wasn't quite sure what that big complex complex across the street actually produced and she didn't worry about it either and then one day she came home and learned that a man had been poking around the water well in her backyard. Hard the next thing Lisa knew she was being told that she her husband and her young son had all been drinking contaminated water. We were. We were angry. We will mad. How dare you and little by little more? Information is coming out. Lisa got pissed and stayed pissed for for years she helped create a community group of equally piss neighbors and she became a thorn in the side of every public official she encountered they are like. Oh Oh you can drink the water. The water won't hurt you. So I took a jug of water and five Solo Cups Red Solo Cups which means a lot now. They didn't mean anything back then and I just said you know if we can drink. Here's your cop I poured nobody would drink it. When you're like what they don't drink it? Then why the hell should I give it to my kid. The case at the center of this season might be a mystery but one thing is certain about Fernald it has a body count of more than one and this episode will explore. How government fought to keep that a secret wedding planning? Sounds like a lot of fun until you dig in and try to do it yourself. I learned that the hard way a few years ago but if I had known about Zola planning my wedding would have been a whole lot easier. 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A. dot com slash accused to build your free wedding website and get fifty dollars towards your registry Zola Dot com slash slash accused. David Boxes Family was still reeling from the news that he vanished one night during his shift they had seen in the photos of bone fragments remnants of metal but they had also heard the rumors that he'd scaled the fence and they held out. Hope he'd soon come home. The uncertainty was torture then in December nineteen eighty-four about five months after David Slash shift. They started carded reading bizarre stories about uranium leaks in both the air and the ground around the uranium processing plant where he worked well what happened to their father. Father Barely made a blip in the news stories about for nod. Were about to explode. The plant would soon be in the New York Times and on the cover of Time magazine. This story caught the attention of local journalists as well. My name is John Hughes. I got my undergraduate degree in political science and Economics Went back later and got my master's journalism I've been a working journalist and educator since nineteen sixty seven. This is John. John Hughes recorded for an oral history in two thousand one. He teaches photojournalism at the University of Cincinnati in the late nineteen eighties. His stark photographs photographs of Fernald were featured alongside poetry and a book called pieces of for nod. I don't think I knew about for all tell there were problems. I can't recall ever hearing about it in a in in casual conversation or even with people who had had concerns about social issues so it must have been the mid eighties eighty-five somewhere in there. The we're made aware of some problems and it was at that time that I drove out there with no antenna other than just try to find out where this place is Hughes had moved to Cincinnati. It's natty in the early nineteen seventies and was one of the many who assumed for an old was a feed plant because of the feed plants through me and then you saw all the water tower. That was checkerboard. Like Ralston. PURINA was a reasonable conclusion to draw. He says and here you are in a rural Wpro community where you might expect to find what anyone could make a conclusion of feed plant. That had something to do with the agricultural or culture business so very disarming thanking of how really unusual this place is in the context of being what it what it is purported to be it seems so mundane yet it seems so heave all at the same time or potentially evil whether this Purina misdirect was meant to trick residents or Russians. It's hard now to say what we do I know is that the plant was built in nineteen fifty one about six years after the. US Drop to horribly effective atomic bombs on Japan to end the Second World War four. After a brief recovery period following that show of force the arms race was officially underway. Everyone wanted nuclear weapons and and lots of countries eventually succeeded in getting them. Great Britain France China and of course the Soviet Union when the fornell plant it was built. It wasn't a secret newspaper stories from nineteen fifty one cover its construction and it wasn't cloaked dog food factory either when when story in the enquirer began quote construction of the Atomic Energy Commission installation at Fernald Ohio which is destined to play a vital role. In the nation's atomic comic energy program in peace or war is getting into high gear and quote later in the story. It's explained that the thirty million dollars site sprawling across thousand fifty acres would quote refined uranium. Ore but Kuenssberg was one of the plants earliest employees ace. He told us you have to turn back the clock to nine thousand nine hundred fifty four when I graduated from high school and for an all plant was being built and that it was the buzz in the city. You know people. They're building the new bomb planted a certain and I did well in Chemistry and I applied for a job and was hired as a laptop. That was the beginning of a more than fifty year career. Getting hired at for Nolde was a big deal. The place paid well and it had a coop program so recent high school grads ads. Like Kiss Bird could work at the plant while getting their college degrees at the University of Cincinnati Kiss birds studied engineering for five years then left for for a two year stint in graduate school and it just happened that when I was finish their opening and I said well I like it and been there ever says it might be tough to imagine now but back in the nineteen fifties working at a nuclear plant. Can't was seen not just as a fine job but as an act of patriotism. The Cold War was very real and at the time the US was pretty united and the bad guys. Soviet Union was generally called the enemy. The end of World War Two was the I and knock on wood so far only time. A country used atomic weapons until then the average American had only read about test sites after the bombs exploded news stories and photos tried to convey the devastation. One Associated Press Story said here Shima was completely -pletely destroyed and the dead too numerous to count practically all living things. Human and animal were literally seared to death. The story story read another story said the second bomb blew thirty percent of Nagasaki from the map. Japan was an enemy. One that had bombed Pearl Harbor. Even so Americans cheered these headlines that might sound callous but those bombs ended the war which had been the deadliest in history story. eighty-five million casualties are attributed to it. About four hundred. Twenty thousand Americans died. The end of this war was welcome. Welcome even if it meant wiping cities off the planet but as the dust settled public opinion began to shift other countries started developing similar weapons. People began to panic as they realize that. If there's ever a third World War it'll likely be nuclear. which makes Bert the turtle? All the more absurd. He did what we all month to. You knew food. This was a cartoon teacher showed kids at school. The goal was no doubt to teach children without panicking taking them. But it was about is unsettling as it would be to watch Barney the dinosaur talking about school shootings parents sent their kids off to school and the kids came home. Terrified from duck and cover drills the atomic bomb flash could burn you worse than a terrible sunburn especially where you are not covered people. People who had the means bought or built fallout shelters. They had seen photos of leveled cities of skeletons littering the ground. The skin and muscle burned clean from the bones. Skin had melted off of children. It's one thing to know. Your country was the first to use in Armageddon device to end a war. It's another thing entirely to realize. Everyone else is catching up to you. Then the Soviets tested a fifty eight megaton bomb in one thousand nine hundred sixty he won nicknamed the SAR Bomba. It was then and remains today. The most powerful man made explosion in history. According into the Atomic Heritage Foundation the blast annihilated buildings thirty four miles away from ground zero. This explosion was so big that if you took hero Shema Nagasaki and combine them. You still wouldn't come close to it when news spread about this test. People were petrified. Sure fide they'd been practicing duck and cover. How is hiding under your school? Deaths going to protect you from fifty Megaton bomb accused sponsored by policy genius. 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You switched whether you need home insurance for a new place place or just want to reshape your current policy head to policy genius Dot Com. Today you can get started on your smartphone right now policy genius when it comes to home insurance. It's nice to get it right. Those are Bomba was tested October. Thirtieth nineteen sixty one on November. First Fifty thousand women nationwide marched as part of the women strike for peace to protest nuclear weapons. Their slogan was and the arms armed three snapped the human race then nineteen sixty two brought the Cuban missile crisis which was the closest the US and the USSR got to nuclear war. These were scary times. After two world wars and the debut of atomic weapons nuclear annihilation. Just didn't seem that far fetched enter here the peace movement the nineteen sixties. Hippies weren't just about long hair and free love. There's was a political movement took root I as an anti-nuclear protests that shifted in the mid nineteen sixties two opposing US involvement in the Vietnam War. The peace sign that came to symbolize opposition Vietnam actually debuted as a symbol for the United Kingdom's campaign for Nuclear Disarmament so by the nineteen seventies. Wendy's chic as it once. been to work at a nuclear weapons plant for knowledge. Workers signed documents promising not to talk about their jobs. Under penalty of Law Uh Cincinnati newspaper coverage lessened to dropping from an average of one hundred and fifty news stories year. To a couple of dozen to be clear. I heard the stories written. Didn't hide the plants purpose. One headline in the Akron Beacon Journal read quote nuclear waste at Ohio plant manages to keep low profile and quote. People who paid attention could find out what happened at for an old but let's face it attention spans weren't much better in the nineteen eighty s and then they ar today with for non Lang Low people sort of forgot about it. Even people like Lisa Crawford who in Nineteen eighty-four lived across the street in a house. She rented with her husband and their seven year old son and the funny thing is I had applied for a job here and they never called. Gosh I could go right across the street and go to work so I was a secretary for years. We interviewed lease at the fernald preserve on a beautiful summer day. That's why you hear. Some bird sounds in the background. Lisa assist the plant was as mysterious as it was sprawling. She knew it was the area's largest employer and she knew paid well. What is this place what are they? Nobody knew what it was what they did nothing. The neighbors all thought it was a Purina Dog Chow plant when you applied. What did you think they did? I wasn't sure EXAC- my husband said they always called it the atomic plant. And you think what's fat you know. We're young we don't know and the big sign out at the end of the driveway said feed materials production center. It had a red and white checkerboard thing in the corner her and it also had a little Dutch boy paint thing in the corner. Which Kinda like people thought you know? It's a feed place you know. We're we're we don't know the the jobs at Fernald were sought after trades folk like David. Box lured by decent paychecks. We have David's employment records which show he had been given several races over the years his base pay when he disappeared was about twenty two thousand dollars a year or fifty four thousand in today's money an ear and a fair bit of overtime on top of that beyond the pay. There was a sense of patriotism that came with a career. There's something kind of romantic pick about working a job meant to help safeguard your country. Lisa never heard back about her job application but for now called still became a huge part of her life in short order so then all of a sudden the guy who owned our property came and said well they've been tested wells and you're well as one of the contaminated limited wells right away. You know you think Gosh I've got a child and you know what does this mean you don't we don't know what uranium is we don't know what milligrams is an all this. This is stuff that none of us know. It turned out that the wells in the area were routinely tested by the company for Uranium contamination homeowners. I were alerted. But we wasn't a homeowner. She was a renter when her landlord told her that her well tested positive. She looked at her son and in freak out. Her landlord said she shouldn't worry that the contamination was minor. But she wasn't about to take his word for it. She called the Ohio Environmental Memento Protection Agency and the Ohio Department of Health and demanded they each test the well and give her second opinions they each did and gave her to entirely contradictory contradictory opinions. So the EPA letter came back pretty quick and said find another source of drinking water and had the The results and you know there were strontium ninety there was uranium and they were like finding another source of drinking water so we started buying bottled water. You know you you do all that stuff how you feel when you get that letter because you feel really angry and you feel really like Oh my God what have I done what have I bought. My little boys voiced play in a swimming pool there. You'll get a shower every day. You wash your clothes every day. You know every time you get shower. You put your kid in the bathtub. You think God God what have I done. The Ohio Department of Health Letter came back and said Oh it's fine it won't hurt you. You can drink it. So which. Which one do you pick? I picked. EPA Ladder and we let the people who owned the property. Know that you know you you gotta do something you gotTa provide water and we gotta get the Hell Outta here. Graham Mitchell was Lisa's main contact at the Ohio. EPA He didn't know much about out for knowledge until his boss approached him in late. Nineteen eighty-four to check out some rumblings about issues in the area. That's how I got involved and so oh by eighty five. I was sampling. Lisa Crawford's groundwater well and a whole bunch of other wells in that area. Several wells were contaminated but Lisa's case with special for a specific reason so that situation was kind of bizarre in that set Lisa. Lisa's wells contaminated. Who knows for how long wrong but some years I'm sure and the we knew it? And they told the landowner it was renting the property. They told the land owner and then they either they or the landowner never told her. I don't know the exact times or dates that that happened. But I know that that's the case at least will probably give you more details on that. It's my understanding that that that that she was a renter a helped her footing because other ones like the homeowners had been told and kind of dismissed it but she she wasn't given the opportunity to dismiss it because she was never told right so over Lisa had been set to move anyway soon because she and her husband were building living their dream home problem was they were building it just a mile down the road there for an all. The worries were slightly lessened but not a race by the move Lisa. He says stayed angry and stayed. Vocal officials said she was overreacting that her water was fine to drink. That's when she filled Red Solo cups from her well and offered them up at a public meeting. No one was willing to drink. Lisa had never dealt with reporters before but she quickly learned how to keep a story the headlines. I became the media darling which I'd never done before and I mean every day it was an interview or something. She's not exaggerating about her media. Darling role when I dug through Archive newspaper stories looking for Lisa and Fernald mentioned together I found her quoted needed more than seven hundred times and that's just in Ohio multiple. TV New shows featured or to the community groups she helped create was called fresh rush an acronym for for all residents for environmental safety and health. Fresh had a lot of numbers but LISA ended up being the face of the organization and she felt it was her job her duty to keep a spotlight on Fernald. Not just for her kid before. Everyone's kids she took it upon herself itself to learn everything she could about the plant. Its purpose and its owners and God. They hated us they litter. I mean. They literally hated us and they would like yeah. You can't come in nothing very little information. Here's what she learned for. An auld was not and had never ever been a feed production company like so many of her neighbors thought it was a uranium processing plant owned and operated by the US Department of Energy a federal agency. If you picture this tale as one thousand nine hundred movie deal we officials would definitely be the bad guys. I asked Lisa so so. Is it fair to say that the government lied to people here in the early years absolutely. Oh Yeah wasn't sure at that was fair. It's a fair I think is very fair absolutely. Here's how they lied. And not if you've watched the recent. HBO Series Chernobyl Parts. Parts of this will sound familiar. It's the same era the same industry in some of the same FIBS albeit told by different government. I the DOE insisted insisted that the plant was totally safe. Yes uranium was refined there but the radioactivity exposure was minimal Weldon Adam's then for an consistent center manager was quoted in Nineteen eighty-three as saying quote. You could sit on an ingot of uranium and probably. Nothing would happen you. You wouldn't want to sit on a gram of radium and quote it's true that the effects of radium are far more immediate and severe than uranium. So in that way. Adams's is partly right. You wouldn't WanNa sit on radium but uranium is in danger free. You've no doubt heard about Marie Curie who did tons of experiments this with radium and polonium. Those are far more radioactive and at first they got way more attention because they were more exciting than uranium jury. Jury had no idea initially. Just how dangerous these things were though she would carry vials of the stuff in her lab coat. Pockets radium seemed really cool. I mean it could glow in the dark some watchmakers in the one thousand nine hundred hired teenage girls to paint the watch numbers with with radium those so called radium. Girls would use their mouths to bring the paintbrushes to a fine point. The girls started dying in the nineteen twenties. These some of the girls literally fell apart as they died as in their jawbones crumbled in their own. Hands the radium having displaced the calcium in in their bones. Polonium was so dangerous that we've never found much of a use for it. Aside from eliminating static electricity and machines and textile style meals and makes a hell of a poison. Though in two thousand six it was used to kill a Russian defector journalists named Alexander Litvinenko Who'd been a fierce critic of the Kremlin a public inquiry later found that now President Vladimir Putin had likely ordered the assassination which took weeks and was painful? Here's Stephanie Malin in associate professor of environmental sociology from Colorado State University. who sounds it's a little breathy? Because I caught her rushing around after class in a nutshell. Uranium is the first end of the nuclear fuel cycle again. So it's kind of invisible to most of us. We tend to think of nuclear weapons and nuclear power separate from Graham Right. But it's it's basically part of Kernigan or it's the heaviest elements it's obviously naturally radioactive and until about the late thirty s it was just kind of discarded discarded because it was a really understood that it was valuable along with him. We don't use radium polonium much anymore but uranium is another matter after it became a Cold War commodity because it not only was radioactive. But it was what's called fissionable. Nuclear Vision is when in an atom splits into that releases energy that energy can be used for all sorts of scary bomb related purposes. But also some unless scary ones like creating nuclear fuel to power submarines or aircraft carriers a fun fact from the world. Nuclear Association about eleven percent of the world's electricity is generated from uranium in nuclear reactors twenty percent of the United States electricity. It comes from the nearly one hundred reactors operating here. Uranium is less radioactive than the stuff curie studied it would take higher doses or or longer term exposure. For someone to get sick. You might feel and seemed fine for years. Even decades but prolonged exposure could be deadly. Only the government knew this by the nineteen fifties. They knew because uranium miners had higher rates of lung. Renal Diseases Pretty issue about is it's caused a lot of environmental justice and health issues in that even though our government knew that there are dangers that it's not something that folks who worked in the minds or worked in the mills in the forties fifties were notified about. We Know David was at least aware of some safety issues at Bernal because his former co workers say he was quick to tell them about hot spots they should avoid as Harry easterling told unsolved mysteries. They was a fairly fairly quiet guy. But if you worked on job and say it was high radiation level. David Tell you so you know that particular dust collector is fairly radioactive so watch yourself for that. POMP has a certain kind of acid in it. So be careful when you work on his kids. Wonder was David worried enough about plant safety to threaten atten sounding an alarm excuses. Quick break the episode. You're listening to now was released already on our patron page at Patriotair Dot com slash accused. You can get early ad free episodes there as well as bonus episodes behind the scenes beans peaks. QNA sessions and even brand new crime in journalism. podcast if you like what we do here consider joining us over there for this episode were releasing releasing an interview with author. Kate more whose book the radium girls. The dark story of America's Shining Women helped me in my research for the season again for this is content and more supportive set patriot dot com slash accused. Ben Kaufmann was a reporter at the end choir in the nineteen seventies and eighties. He eventually covered for GNARLED. Learning all about the hunks of uranium they produce called billets. He said that when he started started I had no clue that there was a problem out there in those days. When you took a tour you got the car the Comic Comic Book Your Friend The atom and they told you the most dangerous thing with all that Uranium was that if one of those billets fell on your foot you would break it and it would. He didn't know the dangers at first but he at least knew what the plant was supposed to do. Because I was smart but because the enquirer had wonderful library library and clippings and I went to look up fern all it said. Oh this is the place. They're opening in a building as part of the Cold War nuclear weapons weapons program To refine uranium ore into metal uranium to be used in weapons. There was no secret at the time. mm-hmm but over the years a cult of secrecy had grown up. And I think we probably call it willful ignorance to the inquirer covered small-scale news stories related to Fernald up until Nineteen eighty-four. There would be a headline here or there about job. Promotions or environmental mental testing or other barely newsworthy. Happenings occasionally something. More foreboding would hit the paper Lake in nineteen seventy one when a resident complained about how a stream near for Nault he crossed daily on route. To work. Wasn't crystal clear like it used to be. He said quote now. There is often vince. Some substances coating the banks in the liquid flowing it ought to be water but looks more like milk and quote. He spelled out that the change happened. After the site became an atomic plant like most journalists Kaufman had more than one beat one of which was covering courts his first real. Oh story about Fernald ran in February. Nineteen eighty-four four months before David box disappeared. That story was about a woman who filed a lawsuit against against national lead of Ohio. Being the company that ran the plant for contributing to her husband's cancer death. The man who died was Augusta's Abbott He started working at Fernald when it opened and still work there when he died in nineteen eighty two his widow. Nancy sued an Elo for two point. Eight five million dollars saying that L. O.. Knew the dangers of uranium but didn't warn workers she was at least the second widow to file a suit blaming wing for nod for husband's death. The other involved a truck driver named framing Edwards in both suits. The news stories were brief and never for followed up. Despite my attempts I haven't yet found the outcome of either one now. radio-activity has benefits x-rays this are electromagnetic. Radiation cancer cells can be destroyed by carefully directed radiation therapy still. It's important to note that we've been under no delusion that radiation is safe for easily a hundred years radiologist who worked with radiation in the early part of the twentieth twentieth century regularly fell sick with leukemia. It's why we wear lead aprons when getting certain x-rays but those early news stories it's about wrongful death. Suit filed against for nod quoted company officials dismissing any suggestion of health concerns up until those lawsuits. It's Coffman says what are you really want writing much chugging. Along for a couple of decades nobody had any problems. When I think it was nineteen eighty-four we finally the public than the paper? We know the groundwater was pointed. I don't know how much we know about the Radio Station risk today because it was low level radiation but it was on them for years. The water supply issue was the first to raise concerns. Because because when you drink uranium the problem isn't just its radioactivity. Uranium is naturally occurring in small doses. But if you ingest too much of it they can wreak havoc on your body. According to the World Health Organization ingested uranium enters the bloodstream. quickly you urinate some of it out out. But small amounts accumulate in the kidneys and the skeleton takes about fifteen days for the uranium strength to reduce by half. The the half life in the skeleton is far longer. Uranium can hang out in your bones for longer than three months. Some studies even put it out a couple of years and the symptoms of acute. Uranium toxicity are pretty unsettling studies using rats. Found that some of the rodents loss weight and started hemorrhaging emerging from the eyes and lay eggs and knows. Scientists found microscopic changes in the thyroid. And they OUGHTA as well as lesions on livers I and kidneys. Severe kidney damage can follow and that damages. Sometimes you're reversible. Imagine learning you've been serving. Your kid hid water from a well. That could cause any of this. You know by this point I'm doing interviews. I'm crying on the television. I'm worried about my baby. The and that's Lisa Crawford again. After her well was found to be contaminated. Her life changed and not just because she did a few interviews on the local news and by her own description. She was catapulted from small town. Housewife to environmental advocate. Fighting for nolde became an all-out route mission. I had never. I had never flown on an airplane. Ever I flew to DC and testified before Congress are scared shitless man it was like I'm on this plane and this little boy sitting next to me going. Wouldn't it be cool if we landed on the water and I'm like Oh my God and you you know sitting in front of Congress is Kinda scary but I was angry. She had written several pages to deliver to Congress and wasn't finished when a yellow yellow light popped on and a man told her the rupp or comments and I thought I got five six four pages and I just kept reading and The red light came on and he said Miss Crawford. I said you paid for me to get here today. You flew me here. You put me on a real expensive hotel overnight by God. I'm not getting up up and leaving until I finish reading what I have written here. Not another word was said. That was the first of several congressional hearings. Lisa attended we. We tortured our elected officials. I mean tortured them. It wasn't just time consuming. It sometimes felt downright dangerous ten years before all this unfolded folded at Fernald. A woman in Oklahoma named Karen Silkwood had testified before Congress to whistle blow on safety violations at a plutonium plant where she worked and on November Fifth Nineteen seventy four. A detector at work showed she had high levels of radioactive contamination. Her home Even tested positive including the Bologna in her fridge. A week later she left an evening union meeting to meet up with the New York Times reporter supposedly bringing with her documentation supporting her claim that Kerr McGee the company that owned. The plan was knowingly negligent. She never made it to the meeting. Her body was found later that night inside of her car she was killed in what appeared to be a single car crash. None of the documents she supposedly absolutely had been bringing to. The reporter were found with her in nineteen eighty three the year before David box disappeared. Meryl Streep starred as Silkwood it in a posthumous movie. It was a huge hit making thirty five million dollars in earning five Oscar. Nominations it also was part of a string of films in the eighties. That centered on nuclear warfare. The China Syndrome that chain-reaction Wargames Miracle Mile threads hell comes was to frog town. The nuclear industrial complex was not exactly portrayed in the best light so when Lisa Crawford spoke out about an old and she had a sense in Mike Price and this is important. Understand because this feeling of danger is crucial. When you're trying to grasp why David Boxes Family could even come to think that his knowledge of safety lapses at Renauld might have cost him his life? There were stories fresh ones real ones. It's circulating around this time about people said to have been killed for whistleblowing. I toured the site one day. There's a a machine you stand in it it scans you and whatever and I had contamination on my hands. You know you're like okay. I figure I've had my dose. You know God I've been in here so many times and the guy said well. What did you touch? Hello on a tour. We went up and down steps APPS. And the you have visions in your head of they're gonNA drag me off here and they're going to scrub my body down and they're gonNA take my clothes and you you have these horrible visions because we've seen Silkwood and people would say to me. You know what they did to Karen you know what they did to her. It's outed McGee Eh. And I'd say yeah okay. I'm not scared I was threatened. My Life was threatened a few times. My family's life was threatened. That really made me mad and I I had a big top union guy out of at AFL CIO out of DC. Say to me one day. Keep your face on the news your picture. The paper don't be quiet. Tell them what they gotta here and nobody will bother you. So that's what I did. I think my husband got scared. A few times used to be a little red car that follow me around sometimes. We laughed about it because there was what we were always two or three or four of us together. You know not a follow me. I think we all think our phones were tapped a few times in the early years I used to pick it up and say I'M GONNA call my mom now. Do you WANNA listen I mean we just we came became smart Alex mostly so when you say life threatened Kim you. A message was left left on my answering machine that they were gonNA kill me. Come on deep down in your gut. You're like okay so I always made you know at at that point my husband and I made sure we had our wills. We had everything legally you now done in case something would happen to you. You want to make sure your kids taking care of this role played dragged on for years. We will maybe eight years and my husband said to me one day. I mean you know. We're all working fulltime job. You've got a child called your you know your house is clean anymore. And you're lucky if they eat in the laundry done and my husband said to me. Maybe it's time to quit and I can't we can't we can't quit and they didn't. They kept hammering the dot until they got more and more of the information. They wanted the the Ohio. Environmental Protection Agency started fighting alongside them giving them more leverage. This meant that a major state agency was butting heads with the federal one. Here's Graham Mitchell of the Ohio. EPA again we was not necessarily. You know not telling they weren't that their culture was secrecy insecurity so they were not a culture that was open to like talking about. You know what their problems they had never. They never or have that. They didn't have anybody on staff that was like a communications expert or anything like that. That was not their their their strong suit. But even when the doe started backing down own and acknowledging that maybe it hadn't been as let's say forthcoming as it should have been there was no kun by moment to this day there are people who worked for an adult who seemed to be a strange sort of denial. About what happened there. Remember Bob Kiss Bird. The Guy who started working at for an all right after high school. Here's this talking if I went to work every day and had been told that things were safe and then learn through lawsuits that they weren't and that My bosses knew that I would be angry. I think people were you. Were you angry. NO COASTS I. I felt safe okay. Why so because I felt save didn't feel threatened okay so even though there were scientists pointing to a I real hard violations of these standards? You still thought well. They told me and save so. It's safe well. I think the interview is about over. Okay all right I. I'm not sure I can't continue to be grilled like this next time on accused the government and whoever was running the plant can deny continued to deny the and didn't dive uranium poisoning who died of a task decisions. Well who the person who's serving fairly nearby dot the done show stand up and say anything To bench this season go to www dot blender dot com slash plus. That's W O N D E R Y DOT COM slash P L U S to support the creators of accused directly go to our Patriots Page where Donald get bonus content Dan daily episodes. That's at Patriot dot com slash accused. This this is a special project from the Cincinnati Inquirer part of the USA Today network narrated by amber hunt produced by Amanda Rosman engineered by Phil Dibbin and edited by Amy Wilson Intern Mark Rosenberg provided additional research. Music was composed by Andrew Higley to look case documents photos videos and more visit accused accused podcast dot com as noted. Some audio comes from living history projects in the community lands. Transcript to those interviews are available at Cornell Community Alliance Dot Org.
Accused recommends The City
"Work here in a second but first we want to use this opportunity to say season three is coming it's been a long investigation but it's a company hi everyone this is amber from accused we know some of you love hearing about new podcasts and we're GONNA talk about one coming out from our colleagues in the USA Today now sex for money is not legal in this club or any of Reno's strip clubs with the illusion of sex for money while there little hard to hear but they tell the waitress that they just got off work at a sporting goods store across town they want to blow off some steam in Reno Strip clubs just one of many options for a night of debauchery they're big resort casinos and nightclubs even legal brothels just outside city limits the aging Strip club that happens to be sitting on some of the city's most sought after real estate the club is a symbol of old Reno as in the no matter where you listen no we appreciate the patience and the support it means more than you know now as for the preview you're about to hear out of Jokes Reno and some city boosters wanted out of downtown to make room for a new Reno one that won't be quite as parody friendly but what's that will take you there the next thing to drop in our feed should be an accused season three trailer thanks everyone her when I think of Reno immediately think of the TV show Reno nine one one and they're short shorts Reno always seems to be the butt of a joke three guys walk into a downtown Strip club and take a seat near the front the club is small and dark but brightly colored lights splash across the stage but reno has actually caught the attention of Silicon Valley Tusla Amazon apple they're all building factories or warehouses there and in a typical summer nights in Reno Nevada a glittering casino town tucked into the eastern edge of the Sierra Nevada mountains the Strip clubs are fighting back that's the story told in season to the city and investigative podcast from the USA Today network which also makes the dancers but the man earn too they seem to be subscribed to the city on apple podcasts or wherever you're listening now there's also a link in the episode if you join our new Patriot group were going to drop early ad free episodes plus bonus content that we're really excited to share with you so you have we will also have to new ways you'll be able to get the episodes early though if you join more angry plus you'll have access to all the episodes right away accused possible you're about to hear a preview of the city with host Robin Aimar in this scene three men walk into a downtown Strip club and take up with some that's definitely for sale here three strippers joined the three men sliding into their laps what what what are you doing here now some of the city's most powerful people are looking to cash in problem is they've hit a roadblock the kind of roadblock that could only happen in Reno it's in have three ways to listen wherever you're listening now through Wednesday plus or through our brand new Patriot community at Patriotair Dot com slash accused the dancer on his lap is a Brunette dressed in red lingerie on stage she goes by the names Stephanie for twenty bucks she'll give him a lap dance all say that they're trying to chairman Eh one of the guys tells them that he just broke up with his girlfriend his they would that included in other words would saxby included in that private room in the back even better he wants to know love but he doesn't seem interested in that instead he says his goal is to quote get some action she'll dance topless just for him right there in the room for one hundred and fifty bucks she'll give him a lap dance in one of the private rooms in the back of the could we go to a hotel stephanie the dancer and his lap keeps telling him no but she's trying to be polite about it even but this guy does not work in a sporting goods store and he didn't just break up with his girlfriend he's an undercover cop he says it was beckoning the next dancer come on up killer seductive she's not gonNa Straight up tell the guy to get lost for asking her to get it on in the back she makes way more money giving lap dances in the private room then she does at the tables upfront. Stephanie tries to sell him on a private lap dance without agreeing to something that would get her fired but he keeps pressing aqap sent in to crack down on vice an even in Reno a city famous debauchery if you're a dancer on the last of an undercover cop and he asks you for sex and you say maybe won't even that get you in hot water so how did we get here exactly well there's a battle underway in Reno one where undercover rates like this one have suddenly knows most sought after real estate as powerful people Pfizer Remake Reno in their image the question is how far are they willing to go and who will have a place in that new city at stake here is Reno's identity and with it the very future Reno subscribe for free on Apple podcasts spotify or wherever you listen eventually he asks if he can lick her you know down there and stuff the city itself I'm Robin Aamer and from USA Today this is the city season two come allot more common. The city's powerbrokers are cracking down on the vice they once tolerated all while vying for control of some of
Introducing Over My Dead Body
"Hello accused followers. If you've been following us on Twitter and Facebook, you'll know that we are knee deep in the reporting on season three it's a different kind of case altogether. So we face some new issues and challenges, which is just how we prefer things. But we get nudged a lot on social media by people looking for podcasts to fill the void. And today, we've got one to recommend our network wondering which also brought you Dr death and dirty. John has one called over my dead body journalist and host Matthew share examines the case of a wealthy Florida couple whose seemingly perfect marriage ends in a nasty divorce. And then things taken even darker turn when one hot July morning when half of the couple is murdered in cold blood. It's a strange in unsettling journey through one of the most bizarre murder cases in Florida's history. One that says as much about marriage and love as it does about Justice and revenge your about to listen to a clip of the first episode. Owed. If what you hear grabs you search for over my dead body, wherever you're listening to this or you can find a link in our show notes to take you there. One morning attorney David latte was sitting in his apartment in DC flipping through the Sunday New York Times when he arrived at his favourite part of the paper. I have to confess I am a devoted reader of the New York Times wedding announcements latte loves the wedding section, even though the vast majority of couples are total strangers to him. They are looking for people with impressive pedigrees. They are looking for people who are photogenic. But on that morning. He spotted a pair of familiar faces. They were both a very impressive accomplished. Young lawyers are very nice looking couple. So if anyone was going to make it into those a page is it was going to be Dan and Wendy latte began to read. Wendy, Jill Adelson, the daughter of Donna, sue Adelson. Dr Harvey Jay Adelson of Coral Springs, Florida is to be married this evening to Dan Eric Marquel? The son of Ruth Marquel? And Phil Marquel of Toronto the bride twenty-six is keeping her name. I think it was the best wedding. I've ever been to every colours was a high school buddy of Dan's he made the trip to Boca Raton for the celebration as did hundreds of other friends and family members, the weather perfect, the venue extravagant and at the center of all of it the happy couple, Dan and Wendy danced for hours with their guests. It just felt like it was overflowing with with joy and love. I mean that sounds so corny. I actually found an Email. I sent to Dan on March four of two thousand six. Hi, dan. Congratulations and best wishes to you. And Wendy, I'm sitting at home reading the Sunday Times. And lo and behold there, you are best Dave, and it's funny, Dan, actually responded because Dan was a very diligent Email responder, even though he was on his honeymoon greetings from Club Med he wrote. And then I responded, you're checking Email on your honeymoon. You truly are cyber addict. I thought I was bad don't respond to this Email hope you're having a wonderful time. So what makes a good marriage? Anyway, I guess I would say that crucial to a good marriage is mutual respect love, of course. But also respect, but as you can probably guess, this isn't a story about the happy ever after the lucky ones. The couples who grow more inseparable with age not even close I have to be a little circumspect here. Because over the years, I've become very familiar. With the liable laws of the United States. So i'm. I don't think I'm gonna give my personal view here. It's a story about the opposite a bad marriage. A worse break-up a brutal divorce, and he stormed out. And did he say something like I told you you should never be marrying? Her just probably biggest story, I'll award on the biggest story and della Hassi ever, I would say everything they came after. Something because she would not came out on this sheet ten someone else with there's no things I have never said to anyone and my mom is a dangerous purse. Or you're saying that you think maybe one of your friends would have done. We do too. You've got his sins on your hand. The. From wondering and Matthew share and this is over my dead body. A bit magazine writer for about a decade now during that time, I've written too crazy stories I've written about an orthodox rabbi tortures husbands into granting divorces to their wives. Never about some colorful characters to like stormy Daniels, turning Michael naughty. But I can say that this particular case is the single craziest story ever reported on it says at least as much about marriage and love as it does about revenge in Justice and the length will go to get even to listen to the story search for over my dead body wherever you're listening right now. Listen today on apple podcasts, Spotify and Pandora and make sure you subscribe because this is a developing story. We'll be giving you updates over the next several weeks.
Introducing The City
"If you're a fan of this podcast, we have another one you might wanna check out for the past three years. Journalist, Robin Aamer has been reporting on an illegal six-storey construction debris down that appeared in a predominantly black Chicago neighborhood in the early nineteen nineties. Her new podcast is called the city from USA today. I'm wondering it uncovers how a Chicago gangster named John Christopher, worked his connections to the mob and the FBI to literally bury a neighborhood in trash and how in doing so he exposed Chicago's ugliest divides over the course of ten episodes. You'll hear how the dump change the neighborhood of north Lonsdale and how the residents fought back. You're about to hear a preview of the city in which you'll hear from the Chicago residents who first encountered the illegal dump. You also hear from John Christopher himself, the mysterious man who arrived in a limo and forever change this neighborhood. It's a story. You have to hear to believe you can subscribe to the city for free on apple podcasts or wherever else you listen, and you can follow the city on Facebook and Twitter at the city pod also be sure to visit the city podcasts dot com to learn more about the story and to explore nineteen ninety two north Lonsdale and the dumps in an exclusive augmented reality experience. There's this vacant lot on the west side of Chicago. It's about a half dozen miles from Chicago's downtown what we call the loop. And this lot is huge. This lot looks to me like it's about a full city block. It gets it's a big. It's a big live. That's Gladys, Woodson and Jacqueline. Rodney who lived nearby and it's now it's pretty overgrown like there's full sized trees. There's like freyre grass. So what did it look like when it was when he was operating? Amiss. It will miss. I this the best I can say for it. I, I started visiting this lot which is in a neighborhood called north Lonsdale. After hearing a story about something that happened here, if I he hit oh, big, eighteen wheelers, mine up, you know, I just thought, well, hey, somebody just parking truck to nip to a guy, say, MS Woodson, come down, look at this. Do you know somebody's dumping over. I've been reporting in Chicago for more than a decade. And I reported all kinds of stories about the built environment about secret tunnels hidden underneath the loop and about how your place a train bridge. While the train is still running. I've also reported on housing discrimination and predatory lending so stories about all of the remarkable stuff that gets bills in Chicago, but also about how it gets built and about all of the foul and crooked things that people will do when they think nobody's looking. And so the story of what happened on the slot. The story I want to tell you stunned me despite everything I already knew about Chicago about how corrupt and ruthless. It can be about how stark the divisions are between black and white, rich and poor between the people who hoard power and the people who will fight for their fair share. Anytime you see anybody drive over a vacant lot in a limo, you know is no good. This story is about a giant illegal, dump six stories high. It was huge mountains, concrete garbage built from the broken pieces of a city in the midst of a so-called renaissance thought that downtown city hall would do right by the people. You know, I didn't think they'd care less about us and built not just by dump trucks and bulldozers. And construction cranes, but also my corruption, apathy and greed. So I said, okay, if a public official came by today and said, you know, I need five hundred dollars. What would you do any reached into his back pocket? And he pulled out five one hundred dollar bills. The man who built this dump, had deep ties to Chicago's criminal underworld. He looked at the honor of the restaurant. He goes, if you don't pay your milk money, you're going to get a pineapple through the window. He profited at the neighborhood's expense. At this fucking tape. Table. I made a lot of money over and before he was done, the FBI would be protecting him. I'm Robin Aamer and this is the city. A new podcast from USA today subscribe now on apple podcasts or wherever you listen.
Chapter 6: Last day laid bare
"Previously on accused thinking. There's something to do with plant if you marry and didn't know he was reported. This guy's just get ready to go out to South Dakota for the for the bike. Rally out there. We're looking at from say sketch crazy. So he was super a chance. He's a jerk. He was trying to. I think it's act some revenge for what the final folks and the government had done to him and his family member hunt. And this is accused custodial staff the updated box when I say the disappearance appearance of David box wasn't thoroughly investigated. I don't mean that the assigned detectives didn't do any work retired. Detective Peter Rucci remembers being in and out at that plant. For nearly a year I requested and received a three hundred fifty one page file of investigative documents compiled by Aldo RUCCI and his colleagues. They got statements from co workers collected bone remnants from the salt that even check out David's personal finances. The problem I have with the investigation is more a quality versus quantity thing because as you heard in previous episodes Alda Rucci. He decided early on. That suicide was the only possibility it's clear that all the detectives working the case agreed with that theory and every interview and police memo's seems an attempt back the theory up it feels like a textbook example of confirmation bias I asked Aldo Rucci about this Mike Mike. My concern is that it looked like in the interogations in in the investigation. That the stuff that said No. He wasn't suicidal. Seemed to be like set aside and only the things that said. Oh it could have happened with zeroed in on and then this homicide potential wasn't looked at at all. I think mainly from my standpoint. Mainly because how could he get into that furnace other than himself jump in but the fact is set. Detectives didn't find much point to suicide. Aside from a previous attempt years earlier with pills David hadn't started drinking again. His finances assists were square. His health was good. His relationship with his ex wife was better than it had been during much of their marriage. Even everyone who knew David best his family his friends his car pool. Buddy all said David was maybe tired. The day he died but he didn't seem depressed on top of that. Several role of the murder theory subscribers are former co workers who had worked with assault bat for years if they deem it possible for someone to get close enough to that Furnace Ernest Dump David in there. Why wouldn't the detectives at least considerate over the next two episodes were going allow precisely what happened? The Night David disappeared disappeared and what pads were overlooked. The murder theory is coming soon but first we need to talk about poultry If you're not watching. NBC's chilling New Crime Drama Lincoln. Rhyme hunt for the bone collector. It's well a crime. This show has a seriously twisted bad guy and a brilliant detective. There's a reason. Millions of people are obsessed. Luckily it streaming so you can watch anytime. The bone collector is a sophisticated gentleman and a sadistic serial killer hiding in plain sight catching him. We'll take the world's best detective Lincoln rhyme a forensic genius and Human Encyclopedia. And this is personal. Last time these two met Linkin again was left. Paralysed based on the best selling book by Jeffery Deaver. This show is too good not to share and to creepy to watch alone. Don't don't Miss Lincoln. Rhyme hunt for the bone collector now streaming and Fridays on NBC chicken bones. They really looked nothing like human human bones. But somehow one of the theories in David's disappearance was that the bone fragments recovered from the salt. That weren't human but were chicken bones in other versions of this theory. David Hood tossed a ham bone into the VAT or a deer carcass. Whatever the animal? The gist was the same. That David touched the creature into that along with his keys and glasses and even his steel toe boots so he could fake his death and start a new life. This might go without saying but just in case. It isn't clear we don't put much stock into that theory. We debated the title of the season being the mysterious disappearance appearance of David Box. Instead of the mysterious death but felt that was giving weight to a theory. That has no evidence. Supporting our faces will be quite read. What if David surfaces after this podcast to tell us about all the Margaritas he indeed had been drinking in Mexico? But there's nothing that supports this and plenty Eleni that disputes it. The county coroner's office personnel are on record saying that the bones pulled from the bat appeared. Human one looks like a clavicle cool bone but the bones couldn't be tested to save for sure because they'd been immersed in that potassium chloride sodium chloride slurry for days. They were too degraded to test back then and there on my now still not only did the corner believe the bones were human but so did an outside expert asked to consult on the case in a letter dated July Second Nineteen eighty-four a university of Cincinnati associate professor of anthropology named Anthony. Brazilian wrote my professional opinion. Is that the alleged human skeletal remains recovered within and near the FERNALD plant. Salt furnace are in fact the bones of an adult human. He specifies that one bone appeared to be half a clavicle to others appear to be ribs he wrote the three identified specimens provide clear and unequivocal evidence for human remains. He even went on to give a presentation on boxes case for the American Academy of Forensic Sciences in Nineteen eighty-five it also would have been pretty damn hard for David to disappear from the plant unnoticed. The Guard at the front gate was required wired to check. ID's every time someone went in or out and he said David didn't go through him. That means David would have had to climb the tall fence that surrounded under the plant property this was a government nuclear facility it's clear the workers weren't sticklers for safety but it was still tough to get on on and off the property in fact. Here's a former neighbor named Joe wessels describing. How when he was much younger? He pulled into the plants driveway because he got curious and wanted to check the place out. He remembers then when I was like enough to Dr driving down the driveway and seeing the guy step of the guard shack and he had like some kind of machine gun on them. And you're like Whoa okay. Didn't even get close to come up and ask them a question I just. He just was in the guard check. It was like some sort of a movie like he would just pop the guard check. Hey this machine gun unstrapped across his chest and you like okay. Just stop right there. Turn around in the driveway and went the other way David Son. Tony Box remembers the theories that his dad had flown the coop. The thinking was that David decided. I'M GONNA take another identity moves somewhere you know out of off this area and start another life. You know into you varies very minute zippo. Tony's reasoning isn't just that his dad loved his kids too much to flee. He says it just doesn't fit with David Personality Wise. He was a a creature of habit. He relatively did the same thing routinely every day. David wasn't a showy guy. He wasn't a big traveler. He went to work went home chatted on his CB radio and went to bed. Tony says his DAD liked. His routine and schizophrenia. Diagnosis snowsuit was accurate. This makes sense you do a little reading on the condition and you quickly see medical articles about the importance of routine even web. MD MD and a how to live with schizophrenia article. Posted on its website begins with number one set. A daily routine routines are comforting especially especially for people with mental conditions. That require a bit more work to keep grounded in reality also. No one saw David fleeing the plant nor were for any disturbances noted or holes cut along the fence line to indicate someone had escaped. But even if you sat all of that aside there's been no sign David ever since it's one thing to pull off faking your death. It's another to stay hidden for thirty five years especially when you're case has been featured on national final TV show. I'd mentioned previously that one of her nods managers Weldon Adams told me he's not convinced David died at the plant specifically typically he said and I don't be died I mean he just disappeared. This statement caught me off guard when he made it but it became more and more more bizarre is kept researching. The case Adams told me he didn't remember a whole lot about David box or his death he said was just one small incident in a very large plant and I was in charge of the entire plant. Which I is is that the company Adams worked for National Latte of Ohio hired lawyers at least three different times related to David's case each time some of Adam's employees employee's had to go testify often they were pretty high ranking officials and even cooling and sifting through the salt fat meant the plant had to essentially shut down for a few days so while David dying on the premises might not have been the most noteworthy thing to happen and Adam's career? I wouldn't characterize it as a small incident but Adams did twice. I mean you know I I had it up the operations in the whole black you so you know this was just one small incidents yes but I mean somebody died there. It's not too small. An incident sit n right. Yeah that's right. I asked him okay any possibility that anybody there could have there is always a. Are you know possibility that somebody would be hurt. But oh I can't think he would just go into that furnace. All by himself Adams appears to be in the he faked his death camp. But curiously Ashley and L. O.. Never argued in any of the cases that David wasn't dead. The company didn't object to a judge declaring him so the only thing they did argue argue was that he had to have put himself in the VAT. There's one more theory to way before we talk about homicide and that's the idea that David landed in the vet accidentally somehow if it sounds like a stretch that's because it is but it's still worth discussing and here's why my producer Amanda Rosman stumbled upon a booklet called closing the circle of history. The version she found online was saved as a PDF. But from the looks of it this had been produced and distributed in hardcopy sometime in late two thousand seven or maybe two thousand eight. It was drafted by floor. That's F. L.. You are one of the many companies involved in running the site over the decades. The booklet gives broad strokes of the history of fernald starting in nineteen fifty one. Several several years into the Cold War describes how the government investigated more than sixty locations in the Midwest and the south before landing on the thousand fifty acre plot plot outside of Fernald. The thirty resident hamlet offered what location scouts described as quote a skilled labor force lower. We're property values. A plentiful water supply a nearby railroad line close proximity to Cincinnati and level terrain and quote. What caught my eye in? The booklet began page. Forty eight under the headline rumors run rampant at Fernald. The right up said that because residents Insen even workers didn't fully understand what was happening at Fernald rumors started spreading one. Rumor was about a flock of birds dropping dead as they flew lou through smoke. Let off at the company another Tall Tale involved rabbits that mutated into giants from eating radioactive grass area hunters excited by the big bounty were said to have shot. The Monster. BUNNIES is food for their hunting dogs. which ate the creatures and then develop fatal tumors? David Boxes Story is mentioned alongside these tales. Though he isn't named the booklet reads quote. There's one horrific story about an employee a WHO accidentally fell into a VAT filled with some undisclosed substance and totally dissolved and quote the substance wasn't undisclosed and and it's a little disconcerting that an attempt to document for an olds history describes David's death as an accident. Here's why that doesn't seem possible. Will David was assigned to plant. Eat that night. Not Plant six. Which House the south that no regular work should have been done in plant six until around eight the next ex morning so the idea that he was just wandering around there doesn't make sense second to reach the opening of this fat? You had to climb a ladder and as mentioned the opening was pretty small so even if he had somehow decided to say swing by toss in and Apple Corps for fun. There's no way he could have managed to climb atop the scalding that then accidentally fall into a hole that someone his size would have had to Shimmy into under the the best of circumstances. It's not logical no-one directly involved in the case ever thought it was a plausible theory. So we're going to set that notion aside Next let's talk about homicide. We all WanNa do the right thing to keep our bodies. He's healthy in the long run. I work out. I- moisturised morning and night and I try to eat right but for some reason. Vitamins were always hard for me but ritual ritual vitamins. Make taking care of myself easy. They've done all the thinking for me including sourcing the nutrients you need to support a strong foundation for your health off and telling me where those ingredients come from. The fresh smelling peppermint. Tab in the bottle makes me actually want to take my vitamins because there isn't that fishy. Aftertaste I common with most Omega threes. Best of all a ritual subscription is easy to start and it's easy to snooze. It's only a dollar a day to have all the essential nutrients your body needs delivered every month. No strings attached better. Health doesn't happen overnight and right now. Ritual is offering listeners of accused ten percent off during your first three months. Fill in the gaps in your diet with rituals essential for women a small step. That helps support a healthy foundation for your body visit ritual dot com slash accused to start your ritual today. That's ten percent off during your first three months at ritual ruled dot com slash. Accused accused is sponsored by audible. You already know about audible. One of my favourite services on the planet. They offer an unmatched. Selection audiobooks original audio shows news comedy and more at audible. They believe that listening can help motivate inspire fire in form and help you be successful in twenty twenty and beyond so no matter what your resolution or goal is this year. You'll find the perfect audiobook at audible to motivate and inspire you whether it's getting physically fit financially fit or being a better parent leader or person it's all on audible for for instance right now. I'm listening to the minimalist way by Erica Lane. which is helping me declutter my life in twenty twenty? I'm sure you can use that as much as I can. Uh with audible. You can listen on any device anytime anywhere at home at the gym on your commute or just on the go you'll also enjoy easy. Exchanges Ages for any audiobook. You don't love and audiobook library you keep forever even if you cancel. Start listening with a thirty day. Audible trial choose one audiobook and to audible originals absolutely free visit audible dot com slash accused or text accused. ACC U. S. E. D. Two five hundred five hundred that's audible dot com slash accused or text accused to five hundred five hundred and now back to I story when Victor Corelli told unsolved mysteries that no one ever gave us any indication or reason to believe the foul play may have occurred. I can't help but think maybe that's because you never asked. David's family developed the notion that he might have been thwarted whistleblower in direct response to the damaging news that surfaced about fornell just months later the whistle blower theory was the focus of the unsolved mysteries program him and it was without question journalists. DC Kohl's belief. We'll talk about that theory a bit because if nothing else. The timing is indeed interesting but before we go there we wanna travel a few paths. That are a bit more common in murder investigations to do that. Let's walk through David Slash shift as thoroughly as we can using witness statements and police notes. Harry easterling wasn't supposed to be the driver on David's last shift but it so happened happened that he wanted to check out a house that was for sale in nearby. Ross Ohio Harry said that he called David around ten PM and asked if he could drive instead so that he could take a detour on the way home to meet the real estate agent. David said sure no problem. The two men met as usual about fifty minutes after that phone. Phone call at the Sharonville White Castle which is still there by the way and still awake castle then. David ditched his car and road in with Harry the two made small Talk David prattled about the weather and asked if Harry had seen anything on. TV A security guard at the exterior gate of Fernald did the the obligatory ID check and let them in. This was about eleven twenty five pm or thirty five minutes before the start of their shifts. Harry and David went went into a locker room to change. Workers never were their street clothes into the actual workspace. Instead they changed into for gnawed provided. coveralls else David left his shirt and Jean shorts in his personal locker and he inherited headed to plant for which was where they started each shift. Because that's where the time time clock was located for use time cards that you would slide into a physical clock to punch them in and out after they punched in. They walked to plant twelve to get there assignments for the night. Their supervisor was a man named Charlie. Schaus Schaus gave them to radio to stay in communication throughout their chefs chiefs. He sent Harry to plan for. Harry wasn't sure to what plant David was assigned but Schaus told police he sent David I to plant one to replace above after that job was done. He sent David to plant eight to replace another valve. Some gaskets and piece of copper tubing on a pump greg. Skinner was one of the plant eight workers. He told police in Nineteen eighty-four that he saw David working there between three and four. Am David Finish that job. Then according to skinner was asked to come back and fix something else in the building he said he'd do it before the end of his shift but never did and another coworker on third shift. That night was a man named Melvin. Kearns he was pretty new having worked there some forty five days and like everyone else he says. David was not a very talkative individual. Not In an unpleasant way cards told us he remembers seeing David Blue. Pipe fitters pickup truck. Shortly before the middle of the shift it stood out to him. He says because Schaus was in the truck as well and he and David were having in a conversation with the windows rolled up. kearns was chatting with a millwright nicknamed buzzsaw. He doesn't remember the man's real name and made light of the Seam mm-hmm and I made mention the buzzsaw said look we worked with Parliament or G and they're always raising hell by how much fuel we use. They're sitting in there. Yeah just run the air conditioner assault on Mesas. Ain't air conditioner in that truck. The how the hell of a sitting there you use them through the windshield and you can see that they were talkin angry with each other or anything of that nature. Just talk it. Struck kearns is odd. That David Schaus opted to talk with the windows rolled up on a sticky June night side. Note I checked the ALMANAC and and the temperature that day reached about ninety two degrees with a do point of sixty six fifty five to sixty is considered noticeably. Humid above sixty sixty five means. It's downright muggy by Xiao says account. This pickup truck conversation never happened or at least he didn't tell police about it if if it did Charleston easterling both say that after assignments were distributed. Neither saw David again until lunch. Break it for. AM The workers. I had to go through a shower and change clothes before entering the eating area. The men's account of David's behavior at lunch differs a bit. I find the discrepancies pretty interesting. Because their descriptions of David's actions are almost identical but their interpretations of those actions are very different. It's sort of like when you get in a fight with your significant other and you're accused of having a tone you yourself didn't hear easterling said that David was quiet but then so were the other two to he said David Eight. Two sandwiches complained about not having an air conditioner at his house and said he was tired because the heat made it tougher to sleep the night night before beyond that there was no conversation Shao said David was quiet and in fact seemed downright despondent and had had seemed that way for several days. The common struck me as odd because this shift was David's first since his weekend. But but maybe Schaus meant that David had seemed despondent respondent for several prior shifts rather than days shall said he had tried to banter at lunch. But David wasn't responsive Schaus told a police quote. I tried to get a joke going and get some conversation stirred up but it didn't work and he only said a couple of words during the time he was there and quote Schaus agreed with Harry that David Eight two sandwiches and also something called a lunch cake. While Harry said to sandwiches wasn't unusual for David shall said he usually only one sandwich. He described the meal as much bigger than usual after David quietly ate his lunch. Harry said he walked out of the break room without saying goodbye. A move which he again said was typical show said David usually left with the other two so him leaving wordlessly alone own struck him as odd after lunch. Harry found David waiting for him in the locker room area again. David had already dressed for work and he waited for Harry to do the same. The two road in a golf cart together back to plant for where they clocked back in at four forty six then. They parted ways again. Harry drove a car to plant for David hopped into blue pickup truck assigned to pipe fitters and headed for his own assignment. That's the last time Harry saw David. David Karnes the other pipe fitter remember seeing David walking toward plant for which was the maintenance shop. I walked up to the door for the maintenance shop and it was extremely foggy for all sits in the valley and and it was just the humidity and the heat and everything. The fog was like unbelievable and I thought gave us well now. If you need help us I'm here. He's all okay no problem and he headed off the plan for well. He disappeared into the fog forehead. A security fence around it. I heard the gate open and close and then in I heard the door to The UHF area which was planned for. I heard it slam so I know he got into the building. Shos told police. He ran into David inside that building at about five. Fifteen am near the freight elevator show said the two men chatted for about ten minutes is or more accurately purchase. Houses account shall try to get David to open up for ten minutes and David didn't respond after the failed attempt at a chat. Get the men parted ways and Charlie said David headed off to do some more work in planet. That was the last time anyone said they saw David. Both not sterling and Kearns said they heard Schaus calling for David on the radio sometime well after lunch and over the radio. Sr hearing aid supervisor calling for him. I answered him said. Hey if you need if you yeah. Pipe fitter some some bell. He wanted date. Okay well he just kept on calling. They call. which was very unusual? Time missus is around quarter to six six thirty somewhere in that area and we were all getting raid The head out they shift was coming in. They wasn't around. Well they even the other millwright rideshare and we've got down to the the shower. Aw Room or by got showers and everything we were headed out the way and one mill right was sitting there at the guard shack and he asked me. Have you seen scene. Dave know why well generally meets me down here to know and it was a Friday right so the only thing we were thinking about getting the hell out of there so I I left him and it was like be honest with everybody. Thought that David going somewhere found the little corner fills sleep was basically with all the guys and the thought show's called for David on the radio he didn't mention it to police. In fact he said he checked planted and eight around seven thirty a M which was close to quitting time. David had finished his work there. He said then he noticed implant for that. David had clocked out. Nothing seemed Amiss. SOC else was never alarmed. He simply went home. It turned out though that the clock punch was a friendly gesture gone wrong. easterling eventually copped to punching David's card. For him he said they would do it as a favor for each other from time to time to keep one of them from having go all the way back to plant for chips end after Harry Punch David out. He waited briefly for him at his car. His plan was to drive by that. Ross is home for sale. And then take David to his car. White Castle David didn't show and Harry got worried about missing his window so he wrote David a note saying he'd background nine. AM in reality. He actually made it back closer to nine twenty. He asked around David but no one had seen him. easterling waited until about nine forty-five before giving up. He wrote David a second note apologizing for ditching him and then drove home. He called several times before the next day as usual. meet up but David never answered and when Harry reached the White Castle. His friend's car was exactly where they'd left it the night before David was officially missing. So you just finished watching. Netflix flicked series or film like wild wild country or the staircase. And now that it's over. You can't stop thinking about the show. You need more of this story. Well good good news. Now there's a podcast for that you can't make this up is a podcast from net flicks that covers all their content related to true crime colts and conspiracy theories each episode of. You can't make this up. Takes a look behind the scenes of a Netflix documentary series or film featuring conversation between podcasters journalists comedians. The ends and the people who made it they'll give an exclusive look inside their process explore stories. They left out. Answer your burning questions and more. You can't make this up. covers the net flicks shows. Everyone's talking about including recently extremely wicked shockingly evil and vile and unbelievable. The podcast also covers things from their back catalogue along like making a murderer an evil genius. The crazy account of a pizza delivery man who robbed a bank with a bomb around his neck. If it's a true story that sounds too crazy Roese to be real. You can hear all about it on. You can't make this up. You can't make this up is available on Apple Stitcher spotify or your preferred podcast destination nation. Go listen subscribe and review. You can't make this up now. If David had died under mysterious circumstances in his home rather than at work at that good money the last people to have seen him alive would have each been thoroughly interviewed. People would have been asked if he had any enemies or for anyone who might want him gone. No one asked in this case though. Schaus his supervisor happened to volunteer. Some pretty compelling info will impact Pakis carefully for starters. It helps to know that David's family considered him kind of a hard liner. When it came to following rules he was a hardworking man and the guy smoked two packs a day and drink some thirty cups of coffee every day? You heard that right thirty cracked. I honestly don't know how it's possible. Despite those habits he despised drugs harder than the nicotine. He didn't drink alcohol and his work ethic was beyond reproach his daughter. Casey box drake says like I said my dad was a stickler for the rules a lot like you know. That's where I get a lot of it from people who are going to pitch at work work when I come to work to go home do it do it right. Have some you know. But he was stickler for the rules. You know if there was a rule in place follow it shows told police that David in recent weeks had been getting fed up with co workers sleeping on the job. The plant is huge in sprawling in there were plenty of nooks and crannies in which workers could tuck away and catch an APP. That's why Kearns said workers at first assume David was curled up sleeping somewhere. Xiao said David complain about a couple of specific workers and armed with that Info. Schaus went out one day and indeed caught a workers sleeping on the job. The guy's name was Ernie Gibson. He was suspended for two weeks for his transgression. It just so happened that it was during his suspension that David disappeared at a tough time finding Gibson at first because his name was misspelled in every one of the police documents that mentions agents him. The file names him E. R. N. E. Gibson with the be but after doing some cross referencing between a past address and end auditor's website. I realized it's E. A. R. N. I. E. Gibson with a P. shows described him as a troublemaker. He was about five foot nine with red hair and red mustache and goatee and he had a reddish freckled complexion in nineteen eighty-four. He would have been thirty three years old old. I WANNA give police credit here. An officer did swing by Ernie Gibson's house. A fernald employee named Dan. Gilbert told Schaus who win turn told Hamilton County Detective Robert Wessler that he thought he saw Ernie Gibson's motorcycle in the parking lot. At twelve. Thirty a M. The morning David but disappeared. which would be I'd since Gibson was suspended at that time? The Bike Don Gilbert described was black with Brown saddlebags Sawn June twenty-sixth Nineteen eighty-four Wessler and a sergeant pulled up to Gibson's address and Ross Ohio. He was with buddy named Mike. Reiss who happened to be another other. Pipe Fitter at Fernald in his memo describing this visit detective Wessler said he asked Gibson when he was last at Fernald Gibson said he went back. June June twenty first after David tied to pick up his paycheck but before that his last shift was June fourteenth the day he got suspended for sleeping on the job. The cops asked Gibson if you had a motorcycle so gibson brought them to a dusty heap of a Harley Davidson and said it had been broken down since late nineteen eighty three. The bike was dark red instead of black and it was missing. CARBURETOR Wessler wrote quote. It appears it hasn't moved in quite a long time so this could not have been the motorcycle seen by Mr Gilbert and quote as they were talking to Gipson another for an old employee named Stan Willis pulled hold on a motorcycle. It was black. With Brown saddlebags Willis had red hair a red mustache and goatee and a reddish freckled complexion in west slur wrote Willis look like he could have been Gibson's. Twin Brother Willis was a pipe fitter who worked first shift and he said yes. I drive my bike to work. He also said another employee named William Watson worked second shift and also wrote a Harley Davidson wessler s Gibson. If he ever rode someone else's bike aac to Fernald Gibson said no and Wessler went on his way he wrote in his report quote. At this point there is no basis to the allegation that Mr Gibson Sinn was at Fernald on the nineteenth with his motorcycle and quote it was a good step to ask whether Gibson was at the plant that day but with the benefit of thirty five years hindsight it would have been helpful if the detectives had asked any deeper questions like. Did you know David was the employees who got you suspended suspended. Had He ever confronted you personally about sleeping on the job. Did you ever hear anyone else complaining about him. It would have been nice to if they could. What if determined? WHO's motorcycled on Gilbert did? See if it belonged to stand Willis Gibson supposed d'appel Ganger and obviously his friend. What was it doing there around twelve thirty? AM when his shift ended around four PM. If it belonged to the other hog owner William Watson the timing would be less odd but but surely it couldn't have been too taxing to just find out who's motorcycle stood out to an employee enough that he reported seeing it. I tried to reach her any Gipson to ask a few questions. I thought I found him through arrest records and Hamilton County but while the names matched including the middle initial. I realized that the one I'm looking for has a son by the same name. The former owner of the address wessler visited was born in Nineteen fifty one and I found that earning Gibson in Clay County Florida. I tried several phone numbers but never got an answer. I wrote him a letter and left messages with two ex wives. One of the ex wives as did return my call and said she wanted to help me but she didn't remember much about that time period. That's as close as I've gotten to Gipson Schaus. It called Gibson a troublemaker. And it seems he did get in plenty of trouble with the law over the years aside from nearly a dozen traffic citations he. He was convicted on drug possession. Charges in two thousand and three before that he was arrested on Christmas Eve nineteen ninety nine for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. I've been a felony. It appears the charge was lessened to two misdemeanors battery and improper exhibition of a dangerous weapon. Gibson pleaded no contest on both and was found guilty of the weapons charge. I'd love to find Stan Willis his look alike but that's an awfully common name. I found found his son who said he would pass along. My number but Willis hasn't called. It's worth noting. Though that there apparently was such a sense of camaraderie among at least some some of the Fernald employees that they hung out together even during their off hours. David didn't seem to be part of a tight. Knit group at for an old. But it's clear some of the workers were there was another tip that police didn't really pursue in our reporting. We've been told by several former for an old employees that some some workers were selling drugs from the property. At first I thought police only heard about this drug rumor after the unsolved mysteries episode aired. But when I went through the police lease file for probably the fourth time. I noticed a handwritten note. I'd miss before a warning. The language is offensive. But this is what it said. Quote rumor now is box was going to building six to find a place to sleep and came upon something he wasn't supposed to see but nobody has theorized what it could have been that he stumbled upon a drug deal slash Pinkos or what had to be KGB because all employees were accounted for. Maybe some anti anti-nuke Pinko longhaired Hippie Faggot. CHILD MOLESTING THUMB SUCKING ASK kissing campaign sign stealing overpass spray painting Bull Dyke. Did it and quote. I think it's safe to say. Police did not put much stock into the drug deal. Theory police did hear about this theory. New after after unsolved mysteries in one of the most useless ways possible an anonymous letter purporting to be from a former coworker of David's the author wrote wrote that they weren't sure they'd have the gumption to mail the letter once it was written and they couldn't sign it or their lives would be ruined the letter rambles a bit as type typed. Anonymous letters tend to do but it immediately delved into allegations of illegal drug. Use It for an old. By the time we got a copy of that letter in two two thousand eighteen. We'd already heard about drugs and a few of our interviews had a lot of drug activity inside. This is Claire Merchant. Who was interviewed by accused accused Mark Rosenberg? Clare was one of the few women employees for knol eighties. We had some people that were on. The weakling randoms every week because they had had been taught taking drugs weekly random scrapped. They called it a random test for urinalysis over over over and it was called the weekly ran and that was the guys that were normally. They had fought and part of their agreement with the Union. Union and company was that they had to go every week to keep their jobs. The anonymous letters sent to unsolved mysteries. Claimed that drug use was rampant in part because once people realized the job wasn't as safe as they'd been told they turned to substances to cope. We had the role of caring. There were people on some other drugs that I wasn't sure what wasn't thought was one of them but I understood that I had a supervisor in plant and water treatment plant that he not clear air worked implants six. She didn't know David personally but his death stuck with her. I often wonder maybe he can't across something by accident. Inspect aside from that vulgar. It must have been the KGB note. The only drug mentioned in memos and reports from the eighties is trillion. The Drug David had been prescribed for his mental health but after the unsolved mysteries episode detectives did actually reach out to a few people to follow up on the tips provided. In fact. Melvin Kearns the other pipe fitter you heard in this episode was interviewed for the first time in Nineteen nineteen ninety four. Even though current says he had been working the night David disappeared and was one of the last people to reportedly see David Alive. He says he wasn't as an interviewed in. One thousand nine hundred four and the police file backs him up. The file in fact has a list of third shift for employees to contact but the list justice dated June twelfth. Not you nineteenth. David box didn't even work June twelfth because his car had broken down in a neighbor drove him to the shop to get it fixed. Melvin Kearns is on the list either. I'm not sure why a full list of employees from the actual night of the disappearance isn't in the file. Melvin for the record is in the not suicide camp. A lot of people said well he jumped in there. He committed suicide no no he did not because the temperature record showed that something was lowered into took like from a crane will determine it to talk about whether David could have been lowered in by a crane. Here's the setup of the salt that it had that heavy heavy steel lid on top that covered most but not all of its opening that twenty two by nine inch hole remained before uranium ingots could be lowered lowered into the slurry that live had to come off via crane stationed implant six. You couldn't just come in and swing this crane around whichever way. Oh you wanted. It was a stationary piece of equipment that followed a prescribed path. A Hook attached the crane would latch onto a loop in the center of the Steel Lid. Did the crane would pull the LID straight up by that loop and then would move off to the side. It's sort of followed in upside down L. Pattern elder L. D. Rucci said the crane couldn't have been used to lower David into the vet because once the lid was attached to the hook. It didn't come off until it was replaced on top of that They couldn't just set the LID on the ground and attached something else to that Hook and then reattached the lid. The prescribe path made that impossible. He said Current seem to think that there was other more portable equipment on site that might have been used so asked all Ritchie. What about a piece of equipment? Hoping Eh end though Lucia anything near I don't know I don't know if it could have been I. I don't think so. But the current suspicions are fueled by a finding we haven't yet covered when investigators and Fernald employees. chiseled sold through the solidified slurry after it had cooled. They found one item. That didn't appear to belong to David. Depending on whom you ask that item is is massively important or completely irrelevant. And there's no in between the item was described and unsolved mysteries as the piece of stainless endless steel wire that was looped together and three oddly connecting circles police in eighty four took note of this foreign object and asked employs stories about it at first no one could really explain it then. Some engineers stepped forward and said Oh yeah on May second about six weeks weeks before David disappeared. One of our guys ran an experiment on an ingot which you lowered into the furnace with a thermo coupler wire twisted into loops. The engineer lost the INGOT and the wire in the furnace. He eventually recovered the Ingot but never found the thin wire and because the material was stainless steel. It didn't melt detective. Robert wessler wrote in one report quote. It appears that this is the wire and that's how it did get into the furnace and quote wrote an NL. Oh worker provided police with a memo explaining the experiment the memo signed by Jay Haas donor said it was a heat treat test. I involving an eleven inch diameter ingot one or two sections of twisted baling wire each section measuring about thirty six inches in length and in one or two sections of a thermo coupler length undefined. Maybe that's just what it was case closed. But this is a case that sparked art countless conspiracy theories over the years and a stray piece of wire near Deadman's remains strike some suspicious they had discovered that was the stainless steel wire that we used all over the place and it was looped like it was re looped around the wrist and then it had a tall was cramped in other words. Someone wrapped wires around his wrist in order to pick him up with the hydraulic lifts and everything. Now when I went over over to get Dave's tools and his toolbox from plant for. He had a role that wire on his toe box. We didn't find any of that wire and plant six another. It wasn't something that was just commonly laid around the maintenance in an skies would have it and have it on their toolbox and it went where they went the. What was the wire used for by the mechanics sameness dealer oh for everything from pipe? Insulation pipes together. The it was kind of like the duct tape. What you use duct tape where he said the stuff was commonly we used? But you wouldn't just find it lying around. Its odd shape to him. Look like something that could have been looped around to Hook on one end and say David's hands on another like I said the. Im stood about five foot high but the salt was only made a four foot level. Well they was lower. Dan and his legs had to burn off and then the rest of them went in. And that's what the temperature recorder recorded. That's why you think the two drops Okay David Day Day. A former union leader interviewed by unsolved. Mysteries told that program the same thing back in one thousand nine hundred four. This probably lowered into the furnace. That he was is probably murdered. I can't think of any other way that could happen. I don't believe that could have been suicide or an accident. Maybe I'll do RUCCI is right. And there's no way that this could have happened but I'm stumped as to why he dismissed the insistence of longtime for an all workers who said they not only thought it was doable. But they're sure that it happened. Not only that but several told us there certain about more than the what three even sure about the WHO. This is Kearns when I called them to set up our in person interview all right. Well who was the person who told him that. Apparently nobody's got the gumption to stand up thing. Sammy thing I followed up with Kearns on that statement later. Peter and his answer was a little guarded so I need to actually look into this person. What's this person's name? I can take take all the stuff off. I need to be able to drop a camera. Yeah that's fine and recording next time on accused the always worth talk talk. It doesn't hurt you any interviews or we interview somebody if you have new information supervisor. One day box veered. Hey I'm amber I'm a reporter with the choir. I've been trying to reach Charlie shout to bench the season go to www dot wondering dot com slash plus. That's W O N D E R Y DOT COM slash P L U S to support the creators of accused directly go to our patron rampage. Where donors get bonus content dander early episodes that's at Patriot dot com slash accused? This is a special project from the Cincinnati Inquirer part of the USA essays today network narrated by Amber Hunt produced by Amanda Rosman engineered by Phil Diddy in an edited by Amy Wilson Intern Mark Rosenberg provided additional. No research music was composed by enter Higley to look at case documents photos videos and more visit accused podcast dot com as noted. Some audio co comes from a living history projects in the Fennell community lands. Transcript to those interviews are available at Community Alliance Dot Org
Chapter 4: The truth about Fernald
"Previously on accused the interviews about over. So is it fair to say that the government the people here in the early years absolutely it seems so mundane yet. It seems so at the same same time or potentially evil. I don't know how much we know about your radio. Sugars today my husband said to me. Maybe it's time to quit. I said I can't AH Capitol I -member Hunt and this is accused the mysterious stack that David box. Larry Hicks was a healthy thirty-three-year-old man when he awoke one day in May nineteen eighty five and headed to his job as a supervisor at national lead of Ohio's for an old plant the married father of three and avid jogger had risen the rings after working twelve years at the company. It was a solid reliable job that provided well for his his family. But I'm this day not quite a year after his co worker. David box apparently disappeared inside of a salt. Inferno a piece of machinery malfunctioned overhead during Larry's shift and he was doused in particles of uranium. Fun fact about uranium it's is colorless and odorless and Larry Likely didn't know how acutely he'd been exposed his family certainly didn't all they knew. Was that for days afterward word. Larry felt sick and was required to undergo decontamination. Scrubs daily at work that lasted four days. On the fifth day he died. He was five months shy of thirty four years old. If you've been listening to this season of accused wondering how on earth anyone could get conspiracy minded enough to think the government might have helped cover up the killing of David box you need. Look no further. The nutcase Larry Hicks Hicks went tip. Work Healthy one day was drenched in uranium and felt ill until his death five days later it sounds pretty open and shut that the exposure and and his demise were probably connected and yet. Here's the voice of a former manager. Summing up the outcome of Larry's widows wrongful breath lawsuit. We won that case he didn't have uranium poisoning. He died of a task deficiencies and we had. We had some of the best heart specialists around who've made the K. R. Case and it convinced the jury that's Weldon Adams he's been one of for nods the biggest defenders over the decades testifying in numerous trials that you could set right on top of a billet of uranium and walk away just fine. Uranium isn't totally safe. He concedes but this notion that it might be responsible for anyone's ill health. Well that's just fake news. That's the way the media does. That's what sells newspapers horror. Stories sellers. Things tell everybody that they're dying of cancer that they've all been killed that there's a great government conspiracy the man and they love it. Maybe it does sell newspapers. I don't know what I do know. Is that when I called past employees to talk to them about Fernald. I noticed Mr theme in their answers. Here's a sampling. We've had you know higher rates of leukemia. And we've had higher rates of breast cancer and kidney cancer and bone cancer serving lung disorders and stuff. I got that. I got to go to dialysis three times a week. Doctor said you live through this. This is rex seats my Cardiac support they were all sick everyone. FM So which is it. Fake News real conspiracy. When you talk to for an old plant alumni alumni you have to be mindful of the type of job the worker held? I learned this the hard way during a joint interview with Bob Kiss Bert and John Sadler Sadler spent most of his career as a laborer. He eventually got promoted to management. But that didn't happen until after the mid nineteen eighties when the health concerns about up for North became public knowledge. Sadler is outspoken in his contempt. For the health problems he believes the plant and the government unleashed on unwitting employees. He said he'd heard time and again. Nothing will hurt you out there unless it falls within your head. Kuenssberg was in management when lack safety allegations came to light and it turns out he sees things a bit differently than Sadler does well. I always like to think the best of people apple and that the people who were in charge were comp the trouble now. It's scheduled an interview with Sadler. I hadn't yet heard of kiss. Burt and I certainly had asked him for an interview. But when I Amanda An engineer Phil did. He showed up at Sadler's house at the scheduled time. He said that he had asked a former CO worker to join us and said this friend would be able to answer all of our technical questions because this guy knew the plant inside out we said shirt. That's great the more insight. The better Kuenssberg showed up and things at first were fine but then something shifted. Sadler said managers knew how dangerous the work was but didn't warn anyone disparate said he agreed with Sadler then the two talked about the lawsuits that that were filed by both the area residents and for knowledge employees. Prompting me to ask when these suits started filing. Did the tenor inside the plant change in terms of I mean because some employees were were suing the company at that point was there tension among workers because somewhere on one side and others on the gather. No it was more like the Union filed a lawsuit uh-huh well let's see how it goes in court after Lisa Crawford and the residents of the residents were much more vocal at the time But the do straight up lied about some of the harsh world. That's Casper talking but it. It is actually true though right a so harsh word characterize it. I'M GONNA say they lied. You don't have to. I did but I mean if I me right you know I would be verbal take-up mine more than an actual question. What it's so if it's not alive? Then what is it that's the same question but angle Novas ally so what would you characterize it us. What are we trying to characterize her? The interview continued like this not great not terrible as though we were talking past each other rather than to one another. The words he spoke sounded in theory like they could be responses to my questions but they really weren't no matter how how hard I tried. I couldn't find level footing. I tried another approach. You guys come from a certain background. He works there so your your perception in his different. Obviously in the minus your perspective if I went to work every day and had been told that things were safe and then learned it true lawsuits that they weren't and that My bosses knew that I would be angry. I think people were her. Were you angry. No coasts I I felt safe okay. Why mm-hmm because I felt safe? I didn't feel threatened okay so even though there were scientists pointing to ah real hard violations of these standards You still thought well. They told me save so it safe. Well I think the interviews about okay all right I. I'm not sure I can't Continue to be grilled like this. I ask people uncomfortable questions all the time. It's my job but but usually I know when I'm asking them this time. I genuinely didn't understand what I had asked. That was offensive from today's vantage point joint. It's well documented that the Fernald plant was more dangerous than employees. Were told we know this to be true because the Department of Energy eventually set so oh past. Employees are guaranteed health screenings for life because of the workplace exposure. We'll talk about that more later. But it's called the worker for Health Protection Program Pass for knowledge workers get the added bonus of Free Lodo C.. T. Scans for early lung cancer screening. So when I asked about the seat. I didn't consider it a confrontational question after kiss. Burt said okay. Continue to be grilled like this. We sat in Awkward Silence for beat until Sadler interjected. He said that kiss was an ally who had worked in management and those two facts could be the at odds with each other kipper had grown concerned in the nineteen seventies when a number of workers reported having cancer kiss. Burt was there. Sadler said when the Department of Energy sent this has been wife team in do a radiological survey on the clean side and he found all the buildings contaminated on the grounds contaminated. So there really wasn't a clean side of the fence. There is no six out of the fence asking questions with that in mind. It's not intended to grill. It's it's based on the reality of the fact that it was a dangerous work environment and people weren't forthcoming about that so it's not a I'm not trying to be combated by any means I'm I just don't I don't know how else to talk about this scenario. I don't know how to answer but I didn't feel threatened. Okay Yeah I just asked why now now. Maybe there's something wrong or deficient with me for thinking that way. But that's another discussion. You read my presentation. I did and I said in there that everybody that worked out there during production was walking uranium mine. Because you get that ingested that'd whether it goes in your lungs or it goes to other parts of your body to affect your other organs we all have it in us and if they were processing plutonium you got a two hundred forty thousand year half life or plutonium and it doesn't dissolve and it doesn't go away so anybody that died that worked out in for an old old during the production time. They did an autopsy. They'd find something in their bodies. I feel like you guys are in two different planets a little bit but not not a lot but he like I said he was in management and But I was out in the plant where intermingled with all all the workers in the production workers. And I'd hear them say things and I take it in and they say well look at this and and There was was one story about a guy that lived in Lanchester in. He was coming to work. And he's coming down for Milford area to seventy five when he got the Tri County. He sent a yellow cloud in the sky. We follow it all the way to the plant and it was coming from the planet so I mean contamination lot farther than our plant where it was in wherever the wind was blowing. It at made it. offsite that's well known is there. Is there a defensiveness in being from management I think the interviews over okay. I'm getting tired. That's fine. We thank you so I I need to be getting back takeaway. I share that exchange. Because it's telling there's a bizarre schism among people who believe for an all. Did something wrong and people who don't or at least dance around saying they don't founded maddening. These are gray areas. My brain cannot reconcile Either uranium is dangerous or it isn't and the government knew or didn't it's amazing. How fraught this issue actually is? You can pose the the same question in the same words to the same person and get different answers for example in one trial Weldon Adams testified that workers knew precisely. How dangerous working with uranium was and because of that deserve no compensation for the danger they'd been exposed to and another trial? He said they deserve. No compensation because uranium wasn't dangerous at all Adams in particular is amazing at this kind of double speak. No you've heard people say no. The the Union people go Berserk and they complain because some people have made this. I never made the statement that I've been accused of making the statement and I never made at anytime that you could take tablespoons full of uranium oxide in your mouth and swallow it and it probably wouldn't hurt you now. I never made that statement but the truth of the matter is that it probably wouldn't do you any damage or at least not much damage image and let me explain why insoluble compounds just passed right through your digestive track regardless of how toxic they may be To put that another way. I never said you could swallow uranium oxide and it wouldn't hurt you but here's why it wouldn't hurt you if you swallowed uranium oxide. It's it's honestly exhausting. But here's the thing. Cancer rates among for knowledge employee's are higher than the national average. The Centers for Disease Control released the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Study in June. Two thousand thirteen that found more than a fifty percent increase in lymph and blood cancers answers among salaried men who worked there hourly workers saw a fifteen percent greater risk of dying from cancer than the general population Can we say for certain that increased risk is definitely because of those workers exposure to uranium. No cancer unfortunately doesn't arrive have with a telegram attached announcing just what caused it but communities that boasted factories tied to nuclear weapons creation have been statistically Dick Lee shown to have higher cancer rates than areas. That didn't as scientists Stephanie Malan said they're showing their cancer clusters. They're showing that people have rare cancers those living on the street from each other. This isn't just a benefit from hindsight kind of thing. Either as kiss. Burt said earlier. He and other fernald managers started noticing in high cancer rates in the seventies by nineteen eighty federal reports detailed equipment failures routine leaks and carelessness that allowed thousands of pounds news of mildly radioactive uranium to escape from the plant in the eighties widows were filing lawsuits around the time. The news broke that for an all had been polluting. The area with uranium dust union reps began protesting the Federal Department of Energy was running health tests. Jeffrey see a representative representative of the Atomic Trades Labor Council at Fernald told the enquirer quote. You not only have the Fox guarding the Hen House out there. You also have the Fox giving the headcount in the inventory in other words saying all the chickens are here. There's nothing to worry about. And quote the unions lobby to have agencies outside outside of the we examined health concerns and the resulting data was bleak a nineteen ninety-six study examined one thousand sixty four deaths from nineteen nineteen eighty. Two one thousand nine hundred nine. The study found an increase in deaths among hourly workers from Lung Cancer and respiratory disease that were linked to higher doses of radiation exposure. Well then Adams is quoted in a new story about that study. He said it was quote. The worst scientific study eighty. I've ever read. I still do not believe that. Uranium caused any cancers at Fernald. These results were cobbled up to satisfy politicians and quote Accused is sponsored by policy genius. It's already December as much as we love getting seasonal. This month can can be a bit stressful to. We've all got a long list of things to do for the holidays. 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Now is the perfect time to give the gift of audible again. That's audible dot com slash accused. I or text accused to five hundred five hundred and now back to our story. I've talked about the headlines that hit just this months after David box disappeared. But I haven't spelled out the details or the firestorm. The News unleashed the first story. The one I mentioned in episode sold one about how Fernald might have released. Uranium dust in the air was written in a very balanced way that is to say it provided company officials equal oh space to deny the allegations the writer even got the denial right in the lead or the first graph of this story we journalists are supposed to strive for balance but this can backfire at times like when one side is providing accurate information and the other side isn't the issue is whether the uranium dust was released into the air. And that's a yes or no question in hindsight. The company's denial didn't deserve equal space because as we've learned in the intervening decades that the company was wrong. I can't fault journalist here. The reporter did what we're trained to do. He got at both sides but stories like this one show how dependent we journalists are on people to tell the truth especially when covering the two you most secretive sectors there are business and government. That first reporter didn't stay on the story. He was soon replaced by Ben Kaufmann. The reporter you heard from an episode three Kaufman covered the environment. But he still wasn't a uranium expert and this stuff was doubly hard to interpret right because those initial stories came from legal filings. And if you've never read illegal motion trust me when I say they can be mind-numbingly up to about those court filings Kauffman said that I would read it and then probably craft to call like what is this me the lawyer. I didn't pretend to be a lawyer. That's on it honestly. That's a sign of good reporter afraid to say. Hey I'm an idiot. Hit on this. Can you please explain it. The old that I've written for myself so that nobody else messes it up. I say it's a perfect trade for somebody who propelled by ignorance when you've got a complicated story like this figuring out. The truth is tough for knowledge. Recruited scientists back their version of things publicly. Saying everything was fine and using heady jargon to make the folks disagreeing with them some Lake Tinfoil Hat Ryan conspiracy theorists a lot of those scientists antics were paid and some of them worked for the very government. They were defending not exactly a conflict. Free situation those scientists help keep the news stories balanced for a good while remember. Reporters can get sued if we screw up a fact and when the facts are this complex newsroom lawyers and editors I get nervous the couch things the cover their butts. I don't like jumping in and writing stories when I don't know the topic inside now and this is why if you don't don't have a solid understanding of the matter at hand you're left at the mercy of your sources only. Are you forced to trust them with helping you understand what's happening but you'd have have no way of knowing if they're wrong or worse straight up lying forgive the digression but this is why we need experienced journalists in this country with with experienced comes knowledge and with knowledge we have reporters who posts out the facts rather than simply quote both sides but back to Fernald the stories as nineteen eighty-four ended were both sides stories. But something shifted in January nineteen eighty-five that's when residents like Lisa Crawford banded together in a class action lawsuit seeking three hundred million dollars from old. The lawsuit was a game changer. For starters it had introduced residents to a class action lawyer named Stan Chesley. Who is great at getting up publicity? Canley Chester Stan version in causing stanley as his wife stand is the sole proprietor of a by Komo Standard Small law firm here in Cincinnati that specialized in disasters master disaster was one of the things thinks he didn't use Easter but there was the mgm fire there was the Arrow Air Crash Labrador. Uh there were any number of lawsuits. He filed an one on flawed medical devices. He basically created in many ways The class action lawsuit for personal injuries. It was a personal injury lawyer which is why the People Cincinnati always dismissed him. An ambulance chaser riot. Yeah but if he didn't chase ambulances unless they're one hundred of them going the same direction and he was good at Chesley was from the Cincinnati area but had a national national reputation because some of those class action suits he'd handled were high profile mass disaster cases one of his most notable cases before four for an old was the nineteen seventy seven Beverly Hills Supper Club. Fire case in Southgate Kentucky. One hundred and sixty five people died in another two hundred were injured in an inferno compounded by inadequate fire exits in overcrowding Chesley filed suit on behalf of victims and their families. He's and eventually won them millions. I reached out to Chesley for this project. But he hasn't responded. Well he's well known in Cincinnati the only coverage bridge. I've seen of him since moving here in two thousand thirteen was when he made headlines for losing his law license in Kentucky after skimming money from clients who had won a two hundred million dollar case against the Diet Drug Fen phen. Chesley has been plenty vocal over the years though so we have audio of him talking now they're reporters and for the Living History project the government and whoever was running the plant continue to deny. Continue to deny. I the reality and you could get nothing done when you had governmental agencies and contract. You're saying gee there's no problems the perfect great. Nobody's getting sick. There's nothing going on. As for non headlines Gained Steam Chesley was front and center fighting hard on behalf half of the workers and residents. His reputation has taken a hit because of the issues that arose a few decades later. But at this time he was something of in Erin are in Brockovich prototype when he thought for knowledge officials were lying he said so in front of cameras and he apparently thought that a lot to save everyone time. I won't slowly unfold every allegation. But here's a rundown of what was really happening at the plant. I'm including only what I found to be. Substantiated substantiated by multiple experts documents. I'd like to break out of that. Both sides reporting and cut to the truth for naught managers routinely told employees employees. They had nothing to worry about healthwise you were more likely to get injured by getting your hands stuck in a machine than you were to be exposed to a carcinogen they said workers mostly believed this and any who might want to raise questions with outside. Experts feared speaking up because they weren't legally Kalihi allowed to talk about their jobs. The thought of being fined ten thousand dollars or sent to prison for five years can have a quieting effect. Uh they didn't even talk to their families about what they did for a living. The workers who weren't suspicious didn't think twice about doing things that now sound you're responsible people like bringing their work badges home. They wore those badges in the plant and those badges got covered in uranium dust and then those badges went home with the workers who might slap them on the kitchen counter or bedroom dresser night after night inside the plant. Safety was not safety was not a concern aren't backed up and it was production. Production was king and safety was not even brought into the situation I think this characterization nation from former fernald employee Bob Neal might be a little simplistic for knowledge. Officials were concerned with safety and that they touted a flawless safety record unaccepted bonuses when they supposedly had no injuries on the job and article published in April one thousand nine hundred five ten months after David disappeared quotes. afronaut manager manager is saying. The company's safety record was so good that the plant had received sixty nine awards for safety from state and federal agencies in that same same story though a union representative said the health and safety records were duped Gene Brennan President of the Phonology Atomic Trade and Labour Council accused of taking bizarre steps to assure workers at least made an appearance at the plant allowing them to technically claim that no one missed missed work due to injury. Paul Demarco a lawyer. Who worked with Stan? Chesley told us in a recent interview about one case involving a worker named Dangelo Galina. They used to have these no loss time awards at Cornell they'd get a bonus for no workers losing time so guy like Andrew Galina has really bad burn and in order to avoid losing their war. They put him up in the infirmary and they take on a stretcher. Every day from the infirmary to the administrative office set him down and bring them back. Another safety related anecdote. That stuck with me was a story about Senator John Glenn yes the astronaut visiting for an old while he was there he said an alarm went off. The alarm was meant to alert workers to contamination. Glenn said the workers responded to the alarm by simply turning it off. That's it they turned it off and kept on working. Thrift ING is fun but but spending hours sifting through. The racks isn't especially when the holidays are busy enough. My favorite shopping destination threat up makes it easy to get thrift store door pricing with the convenience of online shopping. There's something for everyone at threat up. 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So you're listening to now was released already on our Patriot impeach at Patriotair dot com slash accused. You can get early ad free episodes there as well as bonus episodes approach behind the scenes peeks. Qa sessions and even a brand new crime and journalism. podcast if you like what we do here consider joining us over there for for this episode were releasing a look at the Fernald community alliances expensive living history project again for this content and more support us at Patriotair. Hey Trian dot com slash accused. Could any of this of bothered David box enough to complain. That's the theory is families. Please come to believe but it's a tough one to prove we do know that workers new. At least some of what was happening. They could see when alarms were ignored and we found around documentation. That workers complained of radiation sickness as far back as nineteen seventy six. We also found an interesting exchange from nineteen eighty-three not a security worker filed a written request asking that he and his peers be allowed to eat in a designated lunch area. The worker said security personnel smell weren't allowed to leave their posts even to eat so they were handling potentially contaminated badges in the same place and with the same aim unwashed hands as where they ate their meals. The company's reply was that past experience told them there was no health risk by eating and checking. Badges is simultaneously the amount of contamination if any would be so minimal as to be negligible the response read in other words even when workers asked to be allowed to take measures to safeguard their health. Their requests were flatly denied. Now residents knew very little about safety fifty issues inside the plant. What caught their attention? Was the groundwater contamination as Stan Chesley said for an all new uranium in the drinking water utter would be problematic and so when the plant was built the man made ponds nearby were lined with plastic but the plasticize with weather and find fine with tear so all of the radioactive water. We go right down and go into patty run creek and into the little Miami River or the Miami And so what happened is that spread. It reached the wellwater across the street at the Crawford House. Parents Kenneth and Lisa would ask their son what he wanted need to drink our son when he said down to a male. We'd say okay. We want you know he got choice. You got water to drink. Milk pure owing sues or pure grape. H. juice apple juice. Something like that off La Times. He thought he wanted water with short hair drinking contaminated water over without. We're doing going arrive thing. Their story mirrored hundreds of others eventually. Fourteen thousand people join Chesley's lawsuit but contaminated emanate. Water was just the beginning between September and December of Nineteen eighty-four alone. Some two hundred and seventy five. Pounds of enriched uranium dust. That was supposed to be trapped in a bag escaped because the bad come loose officials said there was nothing to worry about and a a lot of workers believe them here's former employees dotty Neiman. I thought it was overblown by the media. And I didn't think there was really a danger for Ross. I was not at all concerned but the residents complaints were growing louder at a community meeting. They demanded the doe send in Independent Health Specialists Seles as the lawsuit move forward. They recruited scientists not already employed by the government to help them with testing in fact several of the scientists scientists were from other countries entirely. They were young idealistic and more concerned about getting the science right then playing politics. One scientist are Jack. Johnny who had just started his own institute was asked to estimate how much uranium had been released year by year so that the official official estimates the ones that came from the company could be verified he worked alongside a German scientist named Burn Franca. Whose job was then to to make a model to show how the uranium would have dispersed in the atmosphere and from that they'd figure out how much radiation people had been exposed to? Both of those scientists are still around still prominent in their fields and both told me for knowledge is still important to them and his strange way talking to them almost felt like reminiscing. I mean obviously it was a very seminal moment in my professional life because we are just set up this institute I really wanted to do more environmental and health related work. I wanted to work more independently. And so we set up this institute and and this was one of the jobs we had that kind of was very extraordinary. The and you know we weren't. We didn't set up the institute to get publicity and record it in the papers. We set up the institute to help people who had some money to pay. Hey Uh us who wouldn't otherwise necessarily have access to independent expertise in other words. They didn't work for free but they worked for pretty cheap. Deep for nod site had far deeper pockets. Bottom line is Refund a couple of things that were problematic matic First of all week concluded that the actual the best estimate that we could make the actual actual releases of uranium Over the period war about three times the official estimates activate the scientists had to rely on documents provided by Cornell to do their calculations and at first for didn't hand over a complete set. One of have Chesley's associates Louise's Roselle actually found paperwork that hadn't initially been turned over the more documentation the scientists had the more a precise they could get with their estimates and as that happened the estimates climbed higher. Here's Roselle the lawyer. When they would monitor and Dan the amount being released was below the detectable level instead of putting nd not detectable? They grow zero as so there was nothing coming out and we finally got all of those records and ours. John and Barron Franchi did a study To show you know that the information the government was giving out was not accurate and was that just a shortcoming wing of local employees or joey aware of this do a new. The male voice was lawyer. Paul Demarco who worked alongside aside Roselle Makhijani said some of the scientific calculations used at the plant were not only wrong but there was documentation showing that the. Do He knew you it. So I give you the most dramatic example in a lot of the releases were from scrubbers where they tried read through a wet process. You know to scrub the uranium out of certain Parts of the process before for releasing The gasses up stack this the estimation method of war scientifically wrong and moreover there was a memo in nineteen seventy or seventy one in the plant. That said this estimation method. If I'm remembering the words correctly was inherently deceptive. So they knew it was wrong wrong and the main the problem was a simple one in west I level Algebra that if you have to unknowns who have to have two equations to solve the problem they had to unknowns and only one equation so they assume that the scrubbers were always operating perfectly whereas the off the actual evidence from the plant was that they were often broken broken-down operating at or operating at very low efficiency so the actual releases were much higher Francke who describes himself as in just a little gentleman scientist whose recruitment on the case was chewing lack. Guess said the science put forth by the government was just wrong. They conveniently ignored. All the evidence was already in relapse they could have done Lease little also always have to show a a scientific base is a number higher on and was a nickel Jones have also a gross negligence simply ignore arounds So we could establish that there was negligent that was gross negligence involved in in many particularly aspects cells holiday running. Thank the facility. How the documented so a refund documents that essentially reviews of equipment one constant? My mind is the thing these respirators that beware of the epitome of So they all quality control people's saying our respirators are really bad and then they do very much of it. There was there was operational national negligence. There was negligence regarding the protection of the humans against the dangers of immaterial. reworking it was rendered Monitoring them they did with Topley Franca and market. Johnny were ready to testify in the class. Action lawsuit filed by the residents but the judge assigned to the case had an unusual practice of staging a sort of mini trial. When he thought a civil case might clog up his courtroom room for too long? He called them. Summary jury trials he would empanel real jurors who heard abbreviated versions of the case. With far fewer witnesses witnesses then the jury would go out. After real deliberations and bring back and advisory verdict. This is Kaufman the reporter he covered the residents summary trial. The idea was that top executives of the parties involved heard that they they were likelier to consider settling then going to real trial and making a real mess of his schedule. The scientists findings were were presented to judge s Arthur Spiegel. The government presented. Its own expert. WHO said workers health wasn't endanger every trial? Even even weird abbreviated. One has a battle of experts. It usually comes down to which side the jurors believe but Kaufman remembers that on at least least one issue. The government was caught in a lie. It had to do with forms on which dust emissions were logged national lead. I might add that was backed by the Federal Federal Government produced the records of all these. I'll call them vets out of the buildings but they had bags underneath made if some material collected us and nothing was getting out and that was part of their defense and then stand or one of his listen awesome. When did you last calibrate the meters that measured that and the person turned out that the testimony ended up that they had known for years? The meters were broken and there's no way they could have measuring missions they don't it and and continued to record Zeros and submit those federal records and the judge urged the US attorney who was is present as part of the defense team with an Elo consider prosecution. They I think they just missed that in Canana second but the judge Spiegel's angry enough that was fraud on the court. And so that's a moment of shock for uh-huh. Yeah but I was because I was the environment reporter when you learned that somebody is knowing the poisoning somebody over the long term or are denying that they're doing something and they are usually shocking. The jury that heard this many trial ruled in favor of the residents. The prompted the company to offer a seventy eight million dollar settlement which Lisa Crawford crew accepted residents were also promised years of medical monitoring monitoring meanwhile workers like Dottie Neiman. Who had dismissed? The early news about Fernald is being overblown by the media. We're starting to think differently. And it wasn't until after the class action sued and then more articles came out in the newspaper and they start exposing and explaining more of what happened. Came quite alarmed at that time. I said Oh my goodness what's going to have an arc shoulder. Are we raise four children here. It was fairly scary. was very frightening. Now remember all of this was beginning to unfold the just months after David boxes disappearance his family was still holding out. Hope that those remnants found in the salt dot weren't really his remains I they learn the dust releases. Then they learn of the poisoned well water then they hear about a worker who died five days after being exposed to uranium Iranian dust on the job and those are just the public revelations behind the scenes. They're also hearing from David's Co workers that there's no way he put himself himself in that that they're getting anonymous notes and phone calls saying he knew about these dust releases and safety issues and was going to blow the whistle. They're sharing things like this all right. Well they know who was the person hit holdings that apparently nearby Scott the gumption the stand up and say anything and all might sound like Kooky conspiracy nonsense but once you've learned that the government has has actually been caught in straight up. Lies is at that hard to make the leap to murder next time on accused. Um So I had been looking all day for DC self-described investigative reporter. Danny comes in I've got this great store and you're GONNA love it it's GonNa change the world we're GonNa get the if you met him. I didn't know he was. You'd think this guy's just get ready to go out to South Dakota for the for the bike. Rally out there you. I know he was just trying to. I think exact some revenge for what the final folks and the government had done to him and his family uh the season go to. WWW dot wondering dot com slash plus. That's W O N D E R Y DOT COM SLASH P L U. S. to support the creators of accused directly go to our patriots page. Don't get bonus content Dan early episodes. That's up Patriot dot com slash accused. This is a special project from the Cincinnati Inquirer part of the USA Today network narrated by amber hunt produced by Amanda Rosman engineered by Phil Dibbin and edited. Did it by Amy Wilson Intern Mark Rosenberg. Provided additional research. Music was composed by Andrew. Higley to look at case documents photos videos and more visit accused podcasts dot com as noted. Some audio comes from a living history projects and the for an old community alliance transcript to those interviews are available. It's an old community alliance Dot Com.
Quick update & introduction
"Hi everybody a quick note to let you know that work on the next season of accused is underway pandemic be damned, and also I've got something on the side happening. Sometimes you hear me in this space talking about podcasts by other people that I'm excited about today I get to tell you about one by me. I started it in my closet, and now we're have a sound booth in my basement subscribers to are accused Patriot account already know this. But when the pandemic started our newsroom, like many others in the country was hit with some. furloughs and when I panicked, I can't sit still. So during those furloughs I started recording a bonus pad that I released patron I ended up really liking the thing. So it's evolved and it's launching his crimes of the centuries through the obsessed network in it. I research the hell out of cases from long ago. I interviewed journalists historians authors even a ghost hunter or to the goal is that you get your crime fix but she also learned history at the same time coming up now is the start of the first episode I. Hope You like it. Some crimes are so heartbreaking or shocking. That they earned the label crime of the century. But the stories that made headlines in decades past aren't necessarily remember today. I member hunt, a journalist, and author. And then each episode of this show Alexandra case that's maybe lesser known today. But was huge when it happened. This is crimes the centuries. Nineteen Thirteen Atlanta Georgia was still struggling to recover from the civil war some fifty years prior. You might remember from history class that the city had been seized and burned in eighteen sixty four. After the war the south had to spend more money on reconstruction than the North did and that meant it was good. For middle class. Northerners to move their businesses down south. They weren't exactly welcome. That's where the phrase carpet bagger comes from, but they were pretty successful. There were huge divides in the south between Yankees and confederates. Sure. But also between white people and Black people and between the haves and have nots. Little Mary. Fagan's family was among the have nots. Just, consider that moment she was a thirteen year old child labor who did repetitive tasks. She inserted rubber erasers and to a racer tips at the National Pencil Company wants Precise Street in downtown. Atlanta this is from a two thousand, fifteen interview with Steve. Oni Who wrote a book about the case he noted that this was an era before federal child labor laws day after day hour after hour she earned. anyways, an hour shed. No going to high school. Forget about college one day. She went to fetch your paycheck the next day her face was splashed on newspapers under the headline girl slain in strangling mystery. Mary was born in Alabama as the youngest of four children. The oldest was Benjamin born in eighteen, ninety three. Ben Came Ali in ninety four followed by Charlie in eighteen, ninety six. Mary was born in eighteen ninety nine. The same year, her twenty, five year old father died from what I can piece together from find a grave and ANCESTRY DOT com. Mary's mother remarried soon after and moved the family to Atlanta. April twenty six, nine, hundred, thirteen promised to be an exciting day in Atlanta. appraisers was planned to celebrate confederate Memorial Day, which is different than the National Memorial Day most of us. Now, this one began after the civil war in southern states to honor the confederate war dead. Apparently, it's still celebrated to This Day in Alabama Georgia Florida plus some other southern states. The Atlanta. Constitution ran a brief that described the kind of fanfare expected quote. The members of Alan Turner Chapter You DC are planning an interesting inappropriate program to be carried out on confederate memorial. Day. There will be included in the program one or two addresses for the occasion. The local chapter has been organized only a short time, and there is much enthusiasm being manifested in its work here as well as in the program for the twenty six and quote. Mary Eight, her usual breakfast cabbage and bread and hopped on the street car to go to work so she could collect her pay. Her boss was a man named Leo Frank who was in his office when she arrived. He gave her the dollar twenty. She was owed and according to him. That's the last time he saw. What happened next is as with many murder cases. In dispute. What's known is what's printed in newspapers on April twenty eight. Mary. Fagan's body was found by nightwatchman around three thirty in the morning in the Pencil company seller. Mary wrongly reported at first to be fifteen years. Old was filthy with a gaping wound in the back of her head. Bruises and cuts all over her body and some PLA not at around her throat. Tied to the cloth was short piece of rope, which police believed had been used to lower body into the basement through a small hole in the floor above. Physicians. Were called to the scene who declared it death by strangulation. There were two odd notes left at the scene that seemed to be scrawled on scrap paper. One of the notes read Mam that Negro hire down here did this I went to make water and he push me down that hole a long tall negro black that was long slim. Tall Negro. I write while plate with me. That was only the author reading again. At first, it seemed feasible that the death note was written by Mary because the floor around her was littered with pencils that also seemed to have fallen from that small hole above. But Mary. Stepfather. said the handwriting didn't match. Mary wasn't a highly educated girl at thirteen, but she had attended some schooling and this writing was too simplistic to be hers. Police immediately went about collecting includes. They realized the cloth around her neck was actually torn from her underclothing. They found a lead pipe near her body which they thought been used to beat her. Police canvas the area for witnesses interviewed a nightwatchman who had been working in a nearby building. He said, he'd heard a woman screaming shortly after midnight but because the day had been so raucous with a parade and partners. You didn't investigate it. The worker who found Mary was a guy named News Lee he of course was immediately suspected. He was a black man or as the newspapers of the time preferred Negro which they seriously said on first reference though his race remotely mattered in reporting that he found a dead girl. It would turn out that race would play a huge role in this case no, that's sort of a chicken or the egg thing. Now neatly wasn't a dummy. He saw that note blaming the long Tall Negro and immediately realized he'd be under suspicion He insisted he had nothing to do with Mary's death though he had just been doing his nightly rounds when he happened to see her in the dimly lit basement. Police. Arrested him under the blanket charge of suspicion not a crime. You hear invoked anymore. But they did seem to keep an open mind. Some witnesses told them that they spotted Mary around twelve thirty in the morning. So three hours before a body was found with a man named Arthur Moulinex. Though newspaper reports didn't see fit to specify his race as they did with some others I'll mention that he was white. He too was arrested on a charge of suspicion. The story of Mary's death was huge going through the archives I. See it reported in newspapers in Alabama Tennessee Louisiana. North Carolina Kansas Ohio Indiana New York. This was national news the story of Mary Fagin at age ten, she left school to work at age thirteen at her workplace. She was found dead. This is a young woman who had a very hard life and to be murdered in such a brutal way really captivated the nation. There wasn't TV news coverage back then, but I'll use some more modern reporting throughout this episode to help tell the story. Even, before any newspaper had produced an image of her with big innocent eyes and a girlish bow in her hair. People were drawn to our tale. Oh She was just so young. So undeserving of this kind of shocking violence. I mean her big claim to fame so far in life was that she had earned raves playing sleeping beauty in a church performance the year before. She became something of a symbol and the newspapers couldn't get enough. Here's only again. It didn't help that Atlanta was in the midst of a Riddick newspaper were three independent newspapers in Atlanta at the time journal-constitution and the Atlanta Georgian which was owned by William Randolph hearst, and the hearst paper just went wild with the story when police approached Leo Frank Mary's boss is the superintendent at the Pencil factory he seemed really nervous. He was a small man aged twenty nine who happen to be Jewish he lived with his wife Lucille. Frank was wia rational extremely well educated mechanical engineer graduated from Cornell University. He. Was One of those overachievers with lots of. Curricular interests. Chess photography poker tennis. Police didn't immediately read is nervous is guilt but they noted it, they filed it away. Frank told them. He had seen Mary only for that brief moment when she had requested or pay. He had no idea what happened after that he said. He was a really dry guy pretty analytical and the nerves match with a detachment. Police noted that to. Arthur Moulinex one of the first suspects was the streetcar driver who regularly drove Mary work. He was twenty eight and supposedly a bit of a flirt. Mary was described as a bit mature for her age. She was still thirteen almost fourteen. Newt lead the man who had found her body had no alibi because he in fact was at the factory doing his job. I mean, she was at the scene of the crime, but the notes found near Mary's body seemed at odds with newt being guilty. Mean it's one thing to report finding a body. When you're the killer, it's another to leave notes actually implicating yourself as the killer. Who would do that? Police also looked at a friend of Mary's previously worked at the Pencil factory with her. Around six PM we owe frank had stepped out of the factory and run into James Milton gant called jam by people who knew him. Gant had first met Mary about ten years prior when she was four years old. Her mother was still known as Mrs, fagin rather than Mrs Coleman. After Mary's dad died and her mother remarried they moved away from the Marietta area where again had lived an into the city where Danton Mary would reconnect his co workers. Frank had reportedly fired can't in early April because the payroll was short to Bucker to engand worked as the paymaster. Considering Mary's entire pay for that week was a dollar twenty. A couple of bucks was a significant amount of money for the company. It's tough to know if this description is true or if it was embellished with hindsight but newt Lee and gant both told police that frank seemed to jump back when he saw gant like he was nervous to see him. Dan who was in his early twenties asked to go into the building because he had left some shoes there and he wanted to get them back. Because of dance unexpected appearance at the plant that Specific Day added with his known friendship. With Mary he was added to the suspect list and held not on a charge of suspicion time but on a charge of murder. Still Leo Frank, as a suspect was gaining traction. The rest of the episode, we subscribe to crimes of the century, suzy obsessed network. Wherever you're listening to this right now. By the way I'm also editing another podcast for the assessment work called unjustified unsolved with feeling definitely worth checking out if you're interested in long convictions. Thanks everybody through the support as always I hope to be in. With a new accuser very soon.
BONUS EPISODE: Lessons Learned
"If you've listened to the main episodes of accused third season you know that the for knowledge uranium plant in Rural Ohio was. Let's say problematic polluted the air in the water allowing uranium particles to escape into both it hired scientists to provide misleading data both to the media and in front of judges most egregiously it lied to area residents and its own employees about the danger they were in and have fought for. Roche ously in court to avoid paying those people any settlements or providing the medical monitoring knowing all that this next bit of Trivia might come as a surprise. The FERNALD plant is actually applauded by community activists in other weapons production plants across the country. That's because despite the protracted fights the US Department of Energy which oversaw the plant eventually settled the class action lawsuits filed by residents and workers. That's right people got paid because while the. Do we didn't admit wrongdoing. The court seemed likely to rule that folks had been lied to put at risk endangered and gas lit residents in one thousand nine hundred nine got settlement payments of seventy eight million dollars for property value losses emotional distress and more five years later for all workers reached a similar settlement for twenty million dollars as part of the settlements residents were provided varying degrees of medical monitoring. People who live closest to the plan received at the longest while workers were promised monitoring for life but for an old was just one in a list of plants across the country other communities with similar plants were similarly shutdown but most haven't seen similar outcomes when they've sued that could be because for is where some of the earliest caught my read on. This is that for gnarled was early enough in the process and unique enough and what they were trying to do And the fact that there was so much deception that they could support that Stephanie. Mullen an assistant professor at Colorado State University who's studied the matter and this episode. We'll take a look at what happened to some of the other plants. Nationwide a few which are still embroiled in lawsuits to this day. I -member Hunt and misses a bonus episode of accused the mysterious death of David box the third season of accused wrapped up about two months ago. But we're not quite done telling David Boxes Story at accused. Podcast DOT COM. You'll find a written long form story that features new information and perspectives as well as graphic novel designed with Gannett Storytelling Studio to help illustrate the three main theories routinely floated to explain David's disappearance. And here you'll find a bonus episode made possible through our patron account which you can join it. Patriot dot com slash accused. We're still waiting to hear what steps if any the Hamilton County sheriff's Office will make concerning David's death. Were trying to be patient on that front. It took us a year to report this case after all. So it's fair to think in my take detectives a little while to but there was an issue that was knowing at us for not wasn't the only plant of its kind in the US in fact it wasn't the only such plant in Ohio. There have been more than two dozen in small towns across the country that helped produce various components of nuclear weapons some produced plutonium some process. Thorium some enriched uranium. There have been research labs like one in West Mifflin Pennsylvania part of the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program. They've been test sites like one about sixty five miles north of Las Vegas. Orig- is another one around the plastic weapons right. These sorts of places Often have these ongoing legacies related to nuclear technology because there was such a culture of secrecy around the facility they were operating and so they dealt with a lot of environmental justice and health problems result that the burden of proof is often on communities to show that the health problems and the environmental justice issues. They've dealt with. I related to that nuclear history. It's an issue. Fritz Pipkin knows. Well my dad worked there the meal? All the time that it was opened in our house is probably two blocks away. Fritz grew up in southeastern Utah near the Monticello mill tailings site when he was born in the late nineteen forties. The town had more than a thousand residents today. The population has nearly doubled. Its picturesque spot near the four corners. Where the borders of Utah Colorado Arizona and New Mexico meet at a point back in nineteen thirty nine the same year? Germany INVADED POLAND TO KICK OFF World War. Two the US quietly started its Manhattan project. The goal of which was to develop the world's first nuclear weapons to make those weapons. The government needed uranium. Uranium is naturally occurring but like oil. It's easier to find some places than others. Utah was lousy with the stuff so in nineteen forty one just months before Japan bombed Pearl Harbor prompting the US to enter the war. Monticello mill was built an open for business between one thousand nine hundred forty one and nineteen sixty the mill process nearly a billion kilograms of or how it would work. Is that raw? Uranium ore would be dug out of the earth then brought to the surface where it was crushed into a fine sand next came a process called heap leaching which removed uranium bearing minerals by using chemicals. The point was to make yellowcake Powder that would then be shipped along to another plant and eventually processed into fuel but it left behind this Sandy. Waste called tailings. The waste didn't look scary. It just look like heaps of sand a smaller version of what you might see at the sleeping bear dunes in northern Michigan but it contained heavy metals and radium. Which of course was radioactive. There was upon that collected at the uranium mill. When it rained the rain would carry bits of sand into the water. There fences were erected to keep townsfolk away. These were just regular fences. Not guarded or particularly well-maintained and children would make a game of sneaking onto the property to swim with. No one was looking. If you've ever been to beach you know that offense is no match for sand. It blows around and gets everywhere. Turns out. That's justice true. When the sand is radioactive and I can remember child. My mother would say go out and wipe the clothesline down. I'm going to do the laundry today. And you go wife down and had this great green residue on it you and she would do laundry and then hanging out. He believes that residue was from the sand that blue around though it could have been from roaster stack. There was a big chimney pipe on twenty six hundred pounds. A day of find particular waste would view out of its most are stacked and it would burn a little holes right through the close It would rob the screams out of doors and it would make the comb on automobile corrode and rust. Would Kill Garden. The Manhattan Project Soon ended after the bombs were dropped. In nineteen forty-five though mining and Monticello continued for another fifteen years. The mind stopped production in nineteen sixty though it wouldn't be quite fair to say the place. Shutdown abandoned is a better word. They'd come in. Nature scooped a little bit of dirt over this and that whatever couple feet Pipkin was twelve when the miners left Monticello for years after that he remembers that he and his classmates we went down there we played on the tailings pile re swam in the League on. This was the place kids went to play. Was there swimming hole? There are spot for adventures countless childhood memories foreign there and then people started dying of leukaemia not former workers young people. The seventeen year old son of a high school principal died two months before he turned seventeen. There was a mother and her twenty s an eighth grade girl a twelve year old seven year old a four year old and a town of nineteen hundred as Monticello was in the nineteen sixties. There statistically should have been just one case of leukemia in twenty five years people noticed the Washington Post wrote a story. The County Health Service gathered blood samples to study. The attention prompted the government to hire local workers to finally tear down some of the buildings on the site in the nineteen seventies. Those workers apparently unconcerned with potential health. Risks were often shirtless in the summer Sun Fritsch recalls. Still even with all this happening. Some residents were doubtful the mill or what is left behind could possibly have made people sick l. when they wanted to close that or start talking about closing that it was closed in nineteen sixty. The town was in an uproar about it. Right and and this is typically see when you've got a population of people that become economically dependent upon those facilities or those industries. The buildings were razed but the sand piles leach ponds remained. Kids continued to play there. It wasn't until the nineties more than thirty years after the middle shutdown that the government actually started a proper cleanup. And when it's workers came. They weren't shirtless. They were has met suits. For nods residents and workers were awarded a settlement. Monticello got nothing in nineteen ninety. Congress passed the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act called Rica for short. The idea was that the government should of told uranium miners and also people who live near nuclear weapons testing sites about the health. Risks faced the government after all had long known that radiation was dangerous on the surface. Rica's sounded fairly generous. Uranium miners could qualify for lump sums of one hundred thousand dollars while people who live down wind of test sites could qualify for fifty thousand dollars but the parameters to qualify for the program were confusing and restrictive applicants had to fall within certain age ranges and have been diagnosed with specific diseases. They were limited by geography to San Juan County which is home to Monticello wasn't initially specified. Here's an excerpt from the bill that became law. This portion is talking about minors. Qualify under quote if a nonsmoker was exposed to two hundred or more working level months of radiation and submits written medical documentation. That he or she after such exposure develop lung cancer if a smoker was exposed to three hundred or more working-level months of radiation and cancer. Incidents occurred before age. Forty five and quote. The bill was full of convoluted sentences. Like that a matching. Your daughter died of leukemia. You're sure was caused by the local mill. And you have to wade through that kind of detached legalese. We get support from best means five star rated mobile puzzle game when I need a mental pallet cleanser or a little mental workout. I open up best fiends. An escape into the weird and wonderful world of minutia. That's where the fiends in this game. Live there these little bug creatures. Who are battling to save Manusha against these evil slugs but really the most important thing for you to know is that best means is colorful and fun and your goals and challenges change as the game goes on so it stays exciting and challenging. The other thing is I'm a naturally anxious person so having a game like this to focus. My brain is immensely helpful when I need it and also I love the best fiends doesn't require Internet to play so you don't need to worry about Wi fi access or using cell data. Engage your brain with fun puzzles and collect tons of cute characters. Trust me with over one hundred million downloads. This five star rated mobile puzzle game is a must play download best fiends for free on the apple APP store or Google play. That's friends without the our best fiends. And now back to our story the people that I worked with a lot in Monticello they look to Fernald as this hopeful case because this was a facility that had operated in secrecy right and people were exposed to risks. They weren't aware of this is mailing again in a telephone interview. Her phone cuts out in a second and they were actually able to get some compensation for community members that have been exposed to contamination knowingly And that's unusual Ryan in fact. I can't think of another case where it's not workers or people who like with Rica. The radioactive exposure compensation act trait peop- full are compensated for work or occupational exposure. Her phone cut out there. But what she said was people are compensated for. Work related or occupational exposure. This is a very unique environmental justice case where people were actually able to get from some recompense should be acknowledged annoyed that they felt respectful. It's hard for me to understand how that's presented like an hopeful. Great way when it's like here's some money for the cancer we gave. You didn't tell you you might have. I agree to understand. Why for all a model you have to understand? Have a lawsuits unfolded here my experience. Is that once you have these kind of large class action sort of suits like with Rica unlike for much smaller example. But it's similar to that or like what happened with black lung for Appalachian Coal Miners that after those initial events it becomes much more difficult for other members of the public or other communities to make the same case because the state has gotten very smart about how to defend themselves in other words for an old suits gave the government in its contractors time to prepare and plenty of practice the arguments in court got Sharper. The plaintiffs started to lose. You might be thinking but Monticello mill closed in nineteen sixty. How could FERNALD which stayed opened till Nineteen eighty-nine have come I well? The attention for KNOL. Drew was current and concrete. The headlines were in about theoretical exposure from a plant that shuttered decades earlier the headlines were about dust releases and water pollution happening right then. Lisa Crawford the Fernald community organizer largely featured in episode three teamed up with Class Action Lawyer Stan Chesley within months of those dust releases making news and filed a lawsuit that eventually expanded to include more than fourteen thousand residents lawsuits. Not only take time they dredge up technical issues that judges have to decide like whether the federal government could be sued or if it was covered by governmental and whether that immunity might extend to the contractors that had hired for an old suits went before a judge who seemed sympathetic to residents and workers so the defendants settled after that. The government's lawyers got wise and fought harder smarter. They didn't WANNA pay every community. Seventy eight million dollars even Rica. Which on the surface seemed to take responsibility for the damage. The government caused was passed in part to discourage suing the government. Any money received via Rica was offset by payments received from lawsuits or settlements. But really a lot of the reason for an old quote unquote succeeded as simply lucky. Timing people were paying more attention to environmental issues in one thousand nine hundred eighty the resource conservation and Recovery Act was passed to give the Environmental Protection Agency. Authority to control hazardous waste from cradle to grave in nineteen eighty two came the nuclear waste Policy Act nineteen eighty-six the safe drinking water act was broadened as is often the case. Politics played a big role. Ronald Reagan won the presidency in nineteen eighty after campaigning. Hard on winning the Cold War. He wasn't known as a staunch environmentalist between nineteen eighty and nineteen eighty three. He cut the EPA's budget by about one third. He appointed to aggressive champions of industry per a New York. Times label as Secretary of Interior and EPA Administrator Quick side note the EPA Administrator and Gorsuch mother of recent Supreme Court. Appointee Neal Gorsuch was forced to resign her. Epa Post in one thousand nine hundred three as Congress investigated mismanagement in cleaning up toxic. Waste Reagan and his administration ramped up weapons production during the nineteen eighties. There was a whole new move to revitalize nuclear energy cold war new administration. We're GONNA come in you know and we're really going to lay it on the Russian. This is Stan. Chesley the lawyer who headed the residents some workers class action lawsuits speaking as part of a living history project in one thousand nine hundred nine so started running this plant sixteen eighteen twenty hours a day but they never upgraded it so they took this old dilapidated racket technology plan Which was really bare bones in the fifties and had already approached the envelope and past the envelope as far as technology and innovation may lewer no improvements in it and just ran the heck out of it and the only the only word meant anything there in the nineteen eighties. Who's like back in the fifties was production? Everything was under the word production production production. Nothing having to do with safety. Reagan won the nineteen eighty election in a landslide. But that didn't mean everyone agreed with his environmental policies. Least of all. Ohio's then governor Richard Celeste. We've had the best environmental year in. Ohio's history where the first state to sign an enforceable court order mandating that the federal government paid a clean up nuclear waste at a defense production facility. That's the last delivering his State of the State speech in one thousand nine hundred nine. Celeste was a democrat one with presidential aspirations. He was openly critical of Reagan Republican. So when the pollution it for knol pitted state officials against federal officials. He felt no need to the line by. It was tricky. Patriotism was enmeshed in people's perceptions of the nuclear complex if you seem anti-nuke you risk seeming anti-american Chesley recalls. I mean a lot of people looked at me kind of troublemaker. Why are you making trouble? You know stop this editorial letters to the editor you know why this is American. Every people were wrapping themselves in the American flag. And why are you causing trouble? Why are you stirring up? Stop it the war is over which you know leave it on and that and then we also started getting into the pro business. People became very anti-environmental boy. If you're into the environment YOU GOTTA. You're too liberal for me. And we gotTa Build Produce and stop worrying about the environment then. All of a sudden. The Iron Curtain came down and we saw some of the disaster eastern Europe because they have no controls on pollution and the fields are blackened in Poland and in Eastern Europe even in East Germany. This disaster because it was production production production with nothing for safety. I mean they're waters and so forth and people forget that new like that in the fifties and sixties and it would not have changed but the environmental people moving in the environment and carrying about the Environment. Graham Mitchell worked for the Ohio. Epa Under Celeste in Nineteen eighty-four. Here's how he recalls getting involved with Fernald my boss to me in late eighty four. We're hearing about problems down in the frontal area. We had a groundwater geologist who had left the previous year and he was doing some work in that area on groundwater groundwork contamination and there was more than one concern down there it was the site and then there was other a couple other industries down there that we were concerned about. So he was he said to me. Go through the files and find out what we've done. What may basically what these companies do and prepare a briefing memo for the governor's Office or further director. And then that'll go on up through the chain and in doing that in late. This is very late of eighty four. I became the expert on all when. You're the only one in the office that has looked at the files. And you become the expert and that began a slow transition and by the time. I eighty eight. That was all I did was for all so that was my start and now back to our story when Mitchell I got involved. Federal officials warned quick. To tell the truth he's diplomatic and how he says it but the bottom line is that the feds didn't seem to think they owed anyone the truth. Not even the people running the states and so in the early days they wouldn't tell you the bad things and then when it would come out. That was like a huge breach of trust. It wasn't that they were teen to line. Necessarily he says have the training and the skills to be open to be transparent. Transparent was not about their game. The Department of Energy wasn't in the truth telling business they were in the mind. Your own business business. Remember the plants. They were overseeing help. Build top secret nuclear weapons. They've got deceptive names on the buildings to downplay the role they play in national security. The Dio E was used to office skating. So that's what they did at first that ticked off state players like Mitchell and his boss and his boss's boss. All the way up to Celeste. Lisa Crawford filed their lawsuit through Stan Chesley. Ohio officials didn't complicate things. If anything they helped former astronaut in bona fide American hero John Glenn elected a senator and later life became a Fernald cleanup advocate when residents appeared on an episode of the Popular and Steer Rodat. Tb Talk Show Donahue complaining about the high rates of cancer and birth defects Glenn said quote the Secrecy Of the D. O. E. has created this mess. They can't be trusted to do the job and quote no crime shows on TV always depict local copses heads with the FBI. There is a bit of truth in that. No one likes being big footed or condescended to. That's kind of how the state versus federal showdown was to in this case. The feds ran sites on state. Land polluted that land then lied about it when Ohio officials try to get answers. The lies felt condescending. A power struggle ensued. It became an important issue to voters. People like Glenn and Celeste had no intention of just shrugging this off someone had to clean up the land and it was gonna be expensive. The feds cavalier attitude was maddening. For them or inspectors went down schedule the visit and de we told them you can come in and take a look around but you have no jurisdiction here because everything we have is radioactively contaminated. I mean it's got radio activity in it. So that means you're rules don't apply. Ohio didn't like that. The state sued the federal government. You'd think that might quiet. The hubris a little Mitchell says not so much during the lawsuits. They said things like we did this on purpose. But we did this. Yes and You can't sue are contractors. Because they're they're identified by US. And you can't sue us because we're the federal government and was kind of like very arrogant and I like I said that the technical people we were working with day to day there were not like that but they took it as a legal tactic they thought might be successful. Just the media just crushed him in the public and everybody else really just fueled the fire of you. Know of the the media Whether earns and hopefully concerns. There's something that doesn't really sit. Well when you say yeah we might be killing you. But we're the government we can get away with that people don't seem to like. I don't know didn't that help them. Will I mean you know they might have thought it was smart legal move and it turned out to be as ugly as the lawsuits were the headlines they spawned were even uglier and public. Opinion was definitely coming out in favour of transparency. When the dust settled Ohio's lawsuit against the feds led to a nineteen eighty-eight agreement which the state was given a million dollars. Plus the power to regulate the Energy Department's one billion dollar cleanup afterward. Mitchell says the culture at the DOT gradually changed. Transparency became at least part of the job. Some trusted select that begin to develop. That's like a gradual needle. Swing between eighty five and eighty eight eighty nine eight thousand eight lawsuits pretty much settled Which was that was a big deal and then from then on. Things really improved as far as working relationships like bumps in the road. There were lots of bumps as Chesley says even after the lawsuit is the government and whoever was running the plant. Continue to deny the reality. And you could get nothing done when you had governmental agencies and contractors saying Gee there's no problems perfect. Nobody's getting sick. There's nothing going on once. There was recognition terrorist problem and it had to be cleaned up. Then you could move to positive business. You can't just to your the case. Sixty five silos. Let's don't the case. Sixty five silos were huge. Radioactive containers literally silos filled with uranium extraction residue. God forbid if we had a tornado for a major major weather front at that case sixty five silent. We could have one of the great catastrophes in this community. Just couldn't avoid it by covering it with. I mean it confounds me that anybody would think of that or a three. Am storage thorium. A radioactive chemical element for non produced. It to him is so dangerous story in two thousand five. I saw leaking out of buckets and the way they had at that. They hit it because it was in a quonset hut. That's just you just. Can't I mean we were in? The federal government was in the middle of indicting polluters all over the United States superfund cases and so forth. There's nothing more dangerous than radioactive materials after settling Ohio. In for nods cases the Fed stopped fighting so hard when it came to cleaning up their nuclear weapons sites the shuttered ones practically became superfund sites. Meaning they were declared contaminated and adopted by the EPA to undergo remedial action which is a fancy way to say they had to be cleaned at least enough to become park land. One of the biggest concerns I have so much for an all but other sites is that history has lost. In one of two things happen he could sold off. And then the next thing you know houses are going up and you know. It's the love canal thing you know. It's the history got lost of what happened there or people go. Oh my God this wish to be a nuclear place and then they go crazy and maybe you dig it up and you study it again. It's kind of like we don't WanNa do that. Some of the more than thirteen hundred superfund sites in the country will eventually be saved for houses but those are ones where maybe dry cleaning chemicals or pesticides were cleaned. Now we're radioactive material. Festered for years sites known to be contaminated by radiation will never be okay for houses. The stuff buried beneath them must stay buried unless you want to unleash. A bunch of cancer. Monticello the Utah Town with the old mill and lots of leukemia became a superfund site like the others. It undergoes five year reviews to ensure the remedy is still working. That the place is as clean as it's supposed to be if there's been a change in regulation that might affect the site. Say THE DRINKING WATER. Standard for uranium is lower now than it used to be officials. Make sure that site comports. With those new regulations so Monticello being monitored. But there's some debate. Just how clean. It'll ever get a huge point of contention. I think that there's a whole other area in in this that I work in contested illness. Right where you will have. State agencies and both federal and within individual states like public health agencies saying the sites are cleaned up. There's no risk you're being hysterical if you think that there's a risk but people who are living as especially folks who've lived there for decades perceive risk in perceive that their health issues are connected to exposure to these sites at times to ongoing contamination. So like with the rocky flats fading clean up anything below six people on the ground. There is still an immense plutonium contamination. And they're building homes around the buffer zone. I would say we don't really understand safe. Levels of exposure thresholds of exposure to radioactive materials like uranium. Uranium is really persistence right. It's half life is enormous and so I think I have major issues with presenting site as remediated. I don't have faith that these sites can be cleaned up to their previous state. I don't think that's possible when we talk about Monticello and a mine opened in the nineteen forties. It can feel a little like a history lesson but this issues. Ongoing the radiation exposure compensation act is set to expire in two thousand twenty two in two thousand nineteen in Idaho. Senator proposed with. Bipartisan SUPPORT AMENDMENTS. To the act the bill would increase compensation and offer medical help to a broader swath of people. Instead of only offering it to people from specific counties in Nevada Arizona and Utah it would be expanded to include all of those states as well as so called down Wenders in Colorado Idaho Montana New Mexico in Guam. The proposal has been discussed in the Senate but not yet the house. There's another reason. This is all still relevant today. There's renewed interest in uranium production. Mullen visited Monticello to do research and was surprised. How many people at least tentatively supported even people who think uranium mining cause cancer and their families? These are folks who the the gentleman driving had lymphocytic leukemia because of his exposure to uranium. They're fighting this. As much as they can. Under fighting for recognition they want screening and healthcare. And these really isolated communities et CETERA ET CETERA. And then in the middle of s right. They're saying well. We support renewed uranium production and your reaction. What my as just I had to take that back in while there's very good reasons like people respond really do people. Are you know it's easy to write people off as being silly or whatever but people usually in this economic system? This political era are making rational calculated decisions. I don't believe that's human nature but that's what the system incentivize people to do right. So they had very rational reasons by people support that in the area and irrational but very deeply felt reasons right like their Grandad or dad worked in the in the industry. Mine uranium ore milling it and they're deeply connected to it and other non ignorance ways like you would expect to see this community mobilize against uranium production because that's created such environmental and health issues. That are so. The Comeback Uranium mining the return of small towns producing top secret weapons and rural pockets. Nationwide isn't far fetched so residents. Have to decide you. Trust the government to fix any health problems in my 'cause how much secrecy are you willing to tolerate this time around? Thank you for listening to this. Bonus episode of accused to support the creators of accused go to our P. rampage where donors get bonus content in early episodes. That's Patriot dot com slash accused. This is a special project from the Cincinnati Inquirer part of the USA Today network narrated by amber hunt produced by Amanda Rosman engineered by Phil Dibbin and edited by. Amy Wilson. Music was composed by Andrew Higley.
Recommending The Sneak: The Disappearance of Mario Rossi
"Hi l. amber from accused here are patron members. Know this already. But i want to let you know that season for is well underway. Were aiming for a fall release thinks so much to all of you for being so patient during the pandemic. it's been interesting also today. We wanted to share a snippet of the third season of the sneak. Which is a true crime. Podcast from for the win in usa today usa today is the parent company of the newsroom. That supports accused and the sneak is a podcast that mary's true crime with sports with this season being set in the world of auto racing reporters nate scott and michelle. Martinelli are looking into the disappearance of a nascar crew. Chief named mario rossi a man who was considered a trailblazer in the sport until he disappeared. In one thousand hundred three nate michelle work with rossi family to find clues and it all leads to a surprising connection to the biggest drug smuggling scandal in nascar history -oday referred to by headlines at the time is black thursday. We're going to play the first five minutes of the podcast now and we hope you like it and if you do be sure to subscribe to the sneak wherever you listen to your podcasts. To begin this story we have to go back to the year. One thousand nine hundred eighty three. It was a couple days after the new year and bill. Rossi was in new york city or bilas fifty nine now. He was just twenty one then on that cold january day. Bill got a call from his family and they told him he needed to go to his grandma's house in new jersey. He wasn't wanted to question family so we made the track when he arrived at his grandma's house though his uncle told him they needed to go for a ride. Bill was a bit disoriented. This wasn't like his family at all. Still he wasn't wanted to question is uncle so we got in the car. That was the part. I quite understand why we didn't go to the house while we were ride round and around and then basically he had told me you know that my father was killed in a plane crash. Bill sat in shock his father was mario rossi. Legendary race car owner. An engine builder. Who will get to know very well. This season sitting in his uncle's car. Bill tried to process the information. Mario was dead at just fifty years old having crashed his plane. Outside the bahamas in stunned. Silence bills uncle drove him back to his grandma's house and then things got very strange. What happened when he walked in. Basically you know. I i came in and they were just sitting and part of what was going on was They were getting these calls to go to different places like a phone booth for instance instead of calling. the house. wait explained that to me. Why did why did they need to go to a phone booth. This is part of what was going on in the beginning with the I don't know it was kind of like there was some suspicious about it. The person calling with saying you need to go get a different phone menu and then call me and then we can talk interesting so even then we're reprocessing it or were you thinking in that moment like this is this is weird. Yeah i think more or less just it was kind of odd and then you know i knew my father had stuff in florida and you know it house or in storage and i knew there was trophies in different things and he had a gun collection and stuff so i was going to try to get all that and i was told you to leave it alone. You were told who told you a woman on the telephone. i can't remember. I think it was a lady named betty. Can't say i can't remember the name for sure the rossi's had never heard of this woman betty. It here she was telling them everything about the fate of she told bill not to come to florida. Couldn't collect his father's things and she told the family they couldn't come identified the body because no one could find the wreckage. She told them that. Mario rossi was gone. Bill stood there trying to process everything he was hearing. Well he and his father had never been all that close. He could admire the man for his many accomplishments. Mario rossi was true. Pioneer and one of america's most beloved sports nascar. He was by all accounts a genius. A gearhead who built engines for legends of the sport despite having no formal education in engineering his lasting legacy however is most likely the safety innovations. He helped design innovations which saved countless lives yet. He was also a man who had allegedly got involved with some of the most nefarious figures in nascar men who would go on to be indicted in the big drug smuggling bust in the sport's history. Yeah nascar the squeaky clean. Corporate friendly sport has a history. That's anything but we'll get into all that though because on that january day none of it meant much to bill rossi. His dad was gone and as he was gone. Bill was now the man of the house. Bill tried to insist he come down to collect his father's things and settle the man's affairs. The woman on the phone said something else. Something that would seem to change this story from a tragic accident to something far more sinister again. We were trying a possibly make arrangements for me to go. Get my father's belongings and You know she basically told me that you'd be a dead man before you got to the bottom of the stairs from the plane in the third season of the sneak. True crime podcast from four the win in usa. Today we were investigate. The disappearance of mario rossi. You can find the third season sneak. Get your podcasts. 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The king of conspiracies
"On accused well always liked the best people and the people who were in charge of the we won that case didn't die of uranium poisoning. He died of castlemed. Listen we've had higher rates of Kimia had higher rates of breast cancer and kidney cancer bone cancer and lung disorders version stuff. I got back. I gotTa go to dialysis three times a week. That's the way the media does. That's what sells horror stories. So I'm I'm amber hunt and this is accused mysterious death of David box. As I reported this story about the FERNALD atomic plant. I came across a man who could possibly be crowned the all-time King of conspiracy theories his name was DC coal and he was a self-described investigative journalist darn near obsessed with Fernald. He's the reporter who got unsolved mysteries attention and landed the tale of David box on episode in one thousand nine hundred four on the episode. He made clear what he thought happened to David. I think he knew something and I think it had to deal with plant eight. I think it had to deal with the releases. the threat to the public environment Possible he was a whistle. Blow or we're going to be a solution. Kohl wrote a book about for knowledge which I've read. It is objectively not not a good book. I'm not casting judgement on the conclusions. He draws in it but simply how it's written it's disorganized. And repetitive and poorly punctuated actuated editors are friends parts of it sounds so far fetched that I admit laughing out loud if you times while reading it I was so floored by one paragraph that I even took a photo of it and texted it to Amanda Rosman my producer it read quote bucks may have also found for notes lab where government vultures were secretly mutilating dead bodies for the purpose of sending human body. Parts to Los Alamos where they would be burned in a furnace for uranium analysis. Eleusis end quote. Sounds pretty crazy right. I thought so and then I found a Los Angeles time story from October ninth. Nineteen ninety-four Four with this headline U s accused of stealing body parts. The SUB head Red Widow Contends Energy Department workers took the evidence but in her husband died of uranium poisoning. His bones liver kidney and spleen tissue government denies wrongdoing but admits taking the items and quote admits it as in. Yes the government indeed snatch body parts from all workers without the consent of the dead workers families. We saw a mother Jones article titled Body snatchers from Nineteen ninety-one also confirms DC close assertion in broad strokes if not the details the bottom line is that no matter how crackpot sounding some of Cole's theories were Some of it holds up a quarter century later. And this episode. We're going to look at the conspiracy theories surrounding David Boxes. Death and explain which ones sounds might be rooted in truth when you see DC coal in the unsolved mysteries episode. He makes an impression. His hair is shaggy. He's missing a couple of teeth and he wears a cream colored turtleneck beneath the sports coat. As I spent weeks looking for this guy I stumbled on a few online message boards with comments about him if I were a kid. I buy cheap turtleneck and some fake teeth. Angola's DC coal. For Halloween. People are mean the people who had actually met Kohl weren't much kinder. Here's former for an employee. A hair ye sterling. He was a jerk. And here's retired. Detective Pete Outdoor Rucci. We're looking at him say skies crazy and we just just through mount the more I heard about. DC coal the more of a character. He seemed Tony Box. David's oldest son Said Coal War watch lined with with Chunky. Turquoise if you met him and didn't know he was a reporter. You'd think this guy's just get ready to go out to South Dakota you too for the for the bike. Rally out there you know. You just Sturgis you think. He wasn't like a traditional in in your mind what you would think as a journalist you know what I mean. He had a cowboy hat on from what I can remember. I forget he had a black shirt on a black T. shirt and I'm pretty sure it was like a biker. Themed t shirt that I can remember at Turquoise and every that really sounds I lived in in South Dakota. That's a South Dakota. I looked everywhere for this man and kept coming up empty. Coal is a common surname and DC only wrote for some now defunct defunct underground publications and his emails. David Boxes Children Talks about mounds of research. He's entrusted to a friend. Just in case something happens happened to him. Finding this guy became a mini obsession for me so much so that I started recording my search so I had been looking all day day for DC Kabul self-described investigative reporter. I know that he exists or existed. that he wrote for an outlet called everybody's news. I know that that also existed. I had heard of it because it folded ninety nine nine but I do have record of it. I emailed a former writer at everybody's news. But she had no memory of a freelancer name. DC Cole then. I reached out to a Cincinnati. Journalists journalist named John Fox one of the creators of an alternative newspaper here called City beat before Fox and friends created city beat which he still edits. What's he was the editor of everybody's news from Nineteen Ninety one to nineteen ninety? Four Fox gave me what I desperately needed which was. DC's real first name. Danny Danny Kohl middle initial see armed with that. I found Kohl's two thousand sixteen obituary. I can't remember the last time I'd been so disappointed to learn of a complete strangers death. I'd really wanted to interview him. It didn't make me less is curious about him to find out he was dead he was such an out their personality with some of the wildest sounding ideas and yet he was right about at some key things. I can't imagine how elated he would be to know that we picked up his investigation where he left off his years of work. Weren't tim vein. I kind of wish I'd love to see that. So he was superintendents. This is John Fox who met Kohl around nineteen ninety-two he came to me. You know this is back in the day. We were a free every other week newspaper. We didn't pay our writers so in some ways we were are sort of very open to just show up with stories but at the same time. I wasn't just GonNa take anything that anybody brought in off the street so Danny comes in in like a lot of people. I've got this great story. And you're GONNA love it and it's going to change the world and we're GONNA WE'RE GONNA get these guys. Cole had the strange relentless energy to him. He seemed more caricatured than man. I remember as I got the GNOME over time I would always try to take him at the launch. Seemed like he never ate. All we did was drink. Coffee Seemed to live on coffee so he was super caffeinated. Superintendents was really kind of a rough around the edges guy. He had some teeth missing. He looked like he was not well himself but he would never really we talk about. That coach showed Fox some writing samples and said he had grown up about a mile from fernald. That was his initial draw. He said he wanted to figure out what exactly had happened at the plant because according to him it forever affected his family. He did talk about how his mom was dying of cancer. And how free much everyone he grew up with in that area was either sick or dead and so it was a very personal story. Sorry for him once because he told me that when he was a kid growing up a mile from fernald Like everyone they were told old that something else was going on there. They were lied to and so once he found out what was really going on there and in once I think he put two and two together. You're he made it his life's work to try to share. What what he thought was going on in it? I think to get back doc. At the the people who he feels like felt like had destroyed his life and his family's life Cole Road to four part series agrees for everybody's news in Nineteen Ninety two that suggested radioactive waste had flowed for years from Fernald down the Great Miami River Towards Cincinnati's water undersupply as a sidebar in that series. He wrote a first person story about life on River road within a mile of the furniture plant he wrote about does uncle John whose mother died of cancer and whose father died of thyroid disease. John's half sister Cole's mother had Heart Disease Cole wrote and and John was in and out of hospitals with various ailments. Cole said he suspected all of the families illnesses were tied to fern. Old it's a kind of guerilla journalism. I can't imagine doing but I admit I respect it. In a strange way he discloses his connection which is important. And you certainly can't accuse the guy of lacking passion what's most fascinating to me about. This guy are the conclusions he reaches in the Self published book. I'm using the term book here but the copy David's daughter shared with me is actually a hard covered three ring binder filled with about a hundred and eighty computer page printouts. It's called box conspiracy night of the living dead at Fernald. There's apparently a copy housed at the Library of Congress in Washington DC. I have no idea how Cole manage that. What Coal posits in his book is not just justice? David box was murdered but the cover up into the death included his supervisors his co workers the government the police and even the boxes is family. Lawyer who is hired months after David Slash shift Cole suggests that Harry Easterling the man with whom David carpooled seem too worried about his friend onto have had nothing to do with the disappearance. He took Al Ritchie's dismissal of his questions as defensiveness and decided the detective must have been on the take AAC employees who worked third shift with David from security guards to David supervisor each haddow cast upon him a quote from on page one seventy four. Furthermore one doesn't need to be some kind of expert on the Mafia in order to see the tentacles of an organized crime family all over this case the dot in the mob or working together as one to be clear. Coal isn't the only subscriber to conspiracy theories when it comes to for knowledge in general and David in particular we encountered a lot of unverifiable info presented his fact we encountered it so much in fact the I was starting to wonder if the act of working at for an old might itself play a role in paranoia. Well at least one doctor thought so in Nineteen Eighteen Ninety four Dr Jacob Lindy a professor at the University of Cincinnati and a member of the Cincinnati Psychoanalytic Institute testified that for Knol workers showed road signs of post traumatic stress disorder. He said quote. They've gone through an experience that they feel. No one else understands which he thought was safe. Life isn't any longer and quote Lindy testifying in a trial that pitted seven thousand former for all workers against national lead of Ohio said he studied workers found. They demonstrated at least twice as much paranoia. Depression anxiety compulsive behavior and somatic disorders others. Then retired workers from another company called Heacon Ken where employees did pretty much the same type of jobs but with metals. That weren't radioactive. This makes it tough to know how to weigh some of the claims we heard from former workers. It's possible that what some of them say is true but we're of course sunguard sunguard just in case for example Hillary web junior whose father spent decades working for Knol ultimately died of cancer issued. Shoot a concerning warning to us not going to get girls and if you get it the truth then you better start packing. Your life is in danger. He said he personally was threatened over the years. Here's one such story. They've murder the people that kind of was martyred. I was threatened twice. By God's I'm black suits. I mean you hear them. UFO idiots going up you guys came. Well I was working varnish driving a truck and corporate about a parking lot morning. He walked out last move l.. Were and he got. He got a guy running web. Yup Good friend of mine. I were waiting to see. Here's clash issue. Why 'cause you know trump's run and then they get hurt yet or anything and they similar way here he he goes back in the office? I come in about five o'clock and I rolled up in the garage. But he told me web come to the office anti centers two guys out there car UH gray and wearing black suits they wanna see us who really yep now. My Dad was already do in that case Chelsea in Cincinnati for all people and had gun in the car and and when I walked out to the car they report next me out of the car and maybe premiered their nation who your seminaries worldwide review. They said well. We won't talk to us. We will talk to me about so we WANNA talk to you about fern hot. I said Hell. Toronto switches place cuts new frontal swell. Your Dad's down there in this lawsuit with them. Sit or not GonNa win and see we understand that you and Dan runaround running your mouth. Should you you cop an attitude. Only buddy I could settle this real quick and he he said No. Should we just want to let you know that if you get into this any deeper where he pursued us and things can happen so a sort of moved to rights on my clips and I bit down in Gramma forty five and elated up on top of the hood on top of the car. I said I don't need to wait for things to happen. I can happen right now. Threaten me buddy. I'M GONNA put you down. I got six kids and ain't nobody trend me. I should know I'll never let nobody threatened me. He also told a story from earlier in his life when he was just a kid. He told old classmates that his dad made atomic bombs after school that day. He said a different set of men in black awaited him. They lifted him by his arms. Walked him to a secluded -cluded area and told him never to tell anyone what his dad did for a living. When I got home they already been the household debt? And I it scared me. I wouldn't run it to dad. Dad grabbed me and brought me. He goes did you tell them. You're yup and I said I told over Multiple Hill on Russia. It's scary stuff that I have. No Way to verify ended extends to David's it's case specifically Webb said his dad had at first been really defensive of Fernald even back when Hillary was in elementary school student. The two would butt heads over whether the plant was safe. I was in third grade telling dad that they were killing because we were watching movies about about here a shame that the government made against working at it Monday and argued over life up until when that man ratted channel five about the flu. GMS It all stacks. Rawls and dad knew that that before the man died he was routed that made me okay. That's why you think that box talking. Channel Her Her Dad talking about Tuna Mathau. One day I was in bed. Eleven o'clock at night here comes these guys an exit web sitters channel. I five guy out on the porch and rumor. Has It after someone here. Talking about the radiation leaks. Dad Ed all of them but there's nothing wrong with that there's nothing wrong with a noose was about a month later refined he disappears. It takes about twenty so everybody knew who this guy was. I don't know his name but they did guys workday Rene knew he was writing and then once it came to light about his radiation imploding. The air at poison. Everybody auty down near the town in the aqua flow then dad come to me it suck Sheboygan. He were smarter than me. The third grade accused is brought to you by third love. Third love does bras differently. They I believe that every woman deserves to feel comfortable and confident every day and with the right kind of support you can do just that. I've worn thirdlove bras. Exclusively exclusively for almost a year now and I can vouch for the fact that every one of their bras is made for your comfort with memory. Foam Cups No slip straps and smooth smooth scratch free band with printed label. 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They'll help you to sign up at Zola Dot com slash accused today to get your free personalized paper sample. Then use code save fifty to get fifty percent off your save. The dates that's Zola dot com slash accused and Promo Code. Save fifty now back to our story. David's family was hearing similar tales from DC coal. His son Tony. He says he was keen to cosign some of the conspiracy theories back then to and yet even to him. Cole was a bit much. I sort of felt that in a lot of ways. He was a little bit overboard on things you know he. He was saying that he was just thinking that dad knew. WHO's ready to blow the whistle on things that would tumble humongous? You Know High High Government Officials Casey box streak. David's daughter didn't know what to make of coal at first. Either she remembers how determined he was to nail the government and how stoked he'd been went unsolved mysteries called the producers had interviewed for people on the Record Casey Cole. L. and Co Workers Harry Easterling David Day. Robert Stack also talked about an additional unnamed source whose identity Casey still doesn't know Casey and coal corresponded via email for years but after he finished his book and gave it to her to read. They had a falling out. She saved printouts print outs of their email exchanges with his three ring. Book and a tear out from Harper's bazaar during one of our interviews. She made it clear that was a pun in what I have here. Cheap bizarre I asked if she remembered the last time she spoke with coal over the phone. This is our depositions. Oh great okay. was over the phone and I was finally to the breaking point where I was just done talking to him. Because he after all this in the unsolved mysteries thing I talked to him for a little bit longer and I just come to the conclusion. Nothing is ever going to get resolved resolved with this and he just kept coming up with all he would go off on these tangents on conspiracy hearing conspiracy there and try had a tired altogether and the government was going to kill him and they were you know. Finally I was like look do too much too much. I don't want anything to do with you. LemMe alone and that was probably fifteen. Eighteen years ago. Her emails around that time made it clear she was frustrated. Here's how one begins from August. Two Thousand Four D. C.. That was a rather sensational sation. Little story you have conjured up there. I mean you should win an Oscar for that one. Can I play myself in the movie. Do I sound sarcastic good. That is what I I was going for. Some of the stuff you wrote was absurd. I especially like taboo misquoted. Everyone I also wonder how you got the majority of your information. It's no wonder someone tried to kill you. Casey latches onto the grand scope of the conspiracy coal as out in his book. She says he pulled old some of the names out of his ass in suggests that he forgot to include Santa Claus in the cover up after all she wrote who else has access to so many people in twenty four hours and the letter. She says she believes his intentions are good and that there is a cover up. She agrees with coal on that but his book promises is that the mystery has been unsolved until now and she demands proof she writes. I have listened for years to you. Say I have these bastards but the only thing you have is a bunch of worthless paper with ink on it that you wrote a judge is not going to read your story and say Oh. DC We see Cole wrote this. It must be true. If you've ever wondered there is a reason. Amanda and I don't promise endings happy or otherwise when we start these investigations allegations. We promise will give their loved ones the attention they deserved and tell their story the best we can. But that's all we can promise. These families have been through through so much. False hope is cruel coal certainty that this cover up included everyone but Santa Claus is aided by a few facts. That I'll chalk up to coincidence though I do admit there's a few more of them than usual number one. David psychiatrist was a man named Clifford grueling. The third his father and grandfather were both prominent doctors in this area. David's Dr Grueling provided police with some early information about David's mental toll state. He gave them notes from his therapy sessions and detailed the issues David. Face when hospitalized back in the seventies he told them he did not believe David. David was suicidal. girly didn't get to testify to this at the trials related to David Steph though because on October second nineteen eighty five if he was found seated in a wooden chair in his bathroom a shotgun blasts through his head his death was ruled a suicide according to his autopsy report. Uh coincidence number two. We talked about David's brothers in an earlier episode. One of those brothers. Peter box lived with David until around nineteen eighty three the year before David disappeared. After David vanished. Peter was the family member who tried to keep up on the mortgage. He even went to Cornell to collect David last paycheck. The family says Peter Never believed the suicide. Theory and Cole describes him as pestering law enforcement for answers on January. Twenty Fourth Nineteen eighty-eight. Peter was walking to his third shift job at a motel in Milford Ohio when a vehicle slammed into him and sped away. Peter was airlifted to a hospital where doctors tried in vain to save him. He died at age forty five. No one has ever stepped forward with any the information on the hit and run driver. DC Kohl's had that tied into dads to. What do you think of? That theory is plausible. I mean my dad wasn't like John F. Kennedy getting shot and still kind of I think he was. I put my dad's death with that kind of a conspiracy theory coincidence number three some of the lawyers in the many lawsuits suits over the years. Overlap to what some might consider an inappropriate degree for example Stan. Chesley represented residents and workers occurs in class action lawsuits and some of his firm's associates handled individual worker comp cases as well according to Cole Chesley represented the Life Insurance Company that happened to be David's life insurance company. If David staff had been ruled a homicide that company would have had to pay out to who is children. This overlap. 'cause coal to wonder if Chesley arguably the region's most famous lawyer had put any pressure on David's estate lawyer her to pull his punches. When fighting the suicide theory in order to save a big insurance company clients some money? I reached out to the boxes. Main lawyer Steven even Martin. But he didn't return messages after leaving private practice. He served for more than twenty years as a Hamilton County. Court of common pleas judge. He was unseated unseated in the November two thousand eighteen election. Stan Chesley also didn't respond to our interview requests if I were DC coal. I'd see a conspiracy. I see of silence here but then sometimes people just don't like talking to journalists. David's family always had questions about their lawyers decisions for example. Both Casey and Tony told me that their mother had wanted to sue for for wrongful death but they said the lawyers convinced her that governmental immunity. You would shield national lead of Ohio and the doe so she should only Super Workman's comp win want through stuff for years in years with my dad's it's the whole thing with my dad. I mean I'm trying to get getting pronounced. It's dead and then trying to fight with for all to get some kind of benefit because you know we were all under age. What had happened but by the time any type of payout security or whatever finally decided started pay how the only one that was still underage was my younger brother and those payments? Stop when you're eighteen right. Aside from those meager social security checks the kids got nothing. No Life Insurance. No Worker's Chris COMP and certainly no wrongful death settlement as the decades passed. David's families concerns about the lawyers involved have grown rather than subsided subsided. This wasn't helped by Chesley's ultimate disbarring and Kentucky and resignation in Ohio Chesley after decades needs of winning high profile case after case earning him the Gauche title Master of disaster fell from grace when he allegedly stole millions of dollars colors from his clients. That's story began when Chesley and several other attorneys filed a suit against American home products. The maker of the Diet Drug Ugh Fen Fan. The plane of that class action suit negotiated at two hundred million dollar settlement in two thousand one. But the lawyers skimmed extra for themselves says says supposed- fees Chesley avoided paying that money back for years by hiding assets in a quote high stakes. Shell game and quote. That's from a federal role appeals ruling. The case led to one judge in five lawyers including Chesley being permanently disbarred. Two of the lawyers were convicted of wire wire fraud and sentenced to prison. Justly avoided prosecution by testifying against his Co. Council in twenty eighteen seventeen years after the settlement had been reached. He admitted through his lawyers to unjust enrichment and agreed to pay. Twenty three point. Five million dollars back to his clients When boxes family saw the greed on display in that case it may DC? Kohl's crazy conspiracy theory about colluding. Lawyers seem all the more plausible all. I have no evidence that anything untoward. 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Would alert the county coroner. The coroner had the right to claim cases. He wanted to investigate once. The case was officially under corner jurisdiction. The corner could take organ samples without consulting the dead person's family. If you think about it it makes sense. Corners investigate causes of death. Those investigations can't be dependent on family members saying sure. Go ahead investigate. Imagine if the death it was murder imagine if the killer was a family member the case that brought this practice to light was that of Larry Hicks the man mentioned in an earlier episode episode. Who died five days? After being doused with uranium particles fixes physician alerted the corner to his death and told the corner that recent workplace workplace exposure to uranium oxide and or dioxide might have caused or contributed to fix his demise. The coroner designated Hicks his staff at the corners case in order to radioisotope laboratory to perform a whole body radioactive count to make sure performing an autopsy was even safe a few days. Later the corner a doctor named Frank. Cleveland got a call from an aloe offering the services of the United States. Uranium Registry strea- which until Nineteen ninety-two was run by the Hanford Environmental Health Foundation. The registry launched in nineteen sixty eight and use tissue choose samples and autopsy findings to research the effects of uranium exposure. The coroner said sure and sent the registry. Some of Hicks his organs and tissues for testing now Hicks his widow. Diane wouldn't have known about this. Testing were it. Not for the fact. Her husband was basically hollow. Oh when he reached the funeral home relative told me that his chest was visibly sunken and had to be internally padded by the mortician to fill out a suit route. Diane sued calling the organ removal a clandestine nine and ghoulish operation. Larry was missing bones. His liver her his kidneys and tissue from his spleen he still had his heart This is all know worthy. Because while it was Larry's heart that stopped the human heart isn't where you would be able to test for uranium exposure. I quote from a two thousand thirteen. CDC Public Health Statement Uranium. Uranium that is absorbed is deposited throughout the body. The highest levels are found in the bones liver and kidneys and other words when Diane Hicks decided aided she'd like to have independent testing to confirm and ellos assertion that her husband's death was from a potassium deficiency. She couldn't because the organs most likely glee to show uranium poisoning had disappeared Hicks. His lawsuit was filed in one thousand. Nine hundred five few months. After her husband died she lost in nineteen eighteen eighty six. She kept fighting appealing to the State Supreme Court and ultimately failed their to her case has been cited as legal precedent vinton several other supreme court cases because an Elo argued that Hicks his death had nothing to do with him being doused in uranium five days before his heart stopped. The death was ruled to be non work related and Diane wasn't even granted workers compensation. She was left to raise her three kids loan. I'm Dan is still alive and we spoke briefly. She sounded eager to share her story parts of which she shared here and there over the decades AIDS unfortunately as eager as Diane sounded when we talked I learned from one of her children that she now suffers from dementia and has more bad days than good. Good I decided not to include voice here. I want to note. Though that Diane's fight wasn't totally in vain her lawsuit brought the so-called body body snatching practice to light legal or not taking people's organs without family's consent is Kinda creepy creepy enough that the case was featured Richard in the L. A. Times in Mother Jones and on TV tabloid shows. It even helped shape the careers of doctors so shocked by the practice that they spoke out at the time. Doctors like David Eggen who in the nineteen ninety-four l. a.. Times article condemned the act as unethical and evil conspiracy. I I tracked down echelman today. And he's stayed the course professionally. He's a professor of medicine at Brown University who recently testified as an expert in the lawsuit filed by women who said they got ovarian cancer from exposure to Johnson. Johnson baby powder. I've made a career out of publishing shit like that. Yes I'm in. The credit giving business when companies do studies that show or no the products they make killing people credit for that sometimes talks companies are not they. Don't they're very modest these corporations and they don't want to take credit for killing people making a lot of money out of that. I am figure that out of DC. Kohl's book includes mention of Larry Hicks. In fact Cole writes. He only learned of David Story after tips. Hips came in following a nineteen ninety. Two article in everybody's news called a Fernald widows horror story which is especially telling in that Larry Hicks excite the year after David Box. If Diane Hicks hadn't fought so hard coal wouldn't have started his investigation without his investigation. We might not be here today. Coal for me is both a larger than life character and a mystery man I put feelers out trying to find the friends. He supposedly sent his documents to for safekeeping. But I've never found one. I haven't found mention of him in old newspapers. He doesn't appear here to have gotten a higher profile jobs and then some free alt- weeklies and his affiliation with those even got strained with time. Here's John Fox the former editor. Everybody's news so we Danny continue to do stories for us over a period of time. I can't remember at least a year. They weren't all for knowledge called based but that was his thing. Co pitched a story about a chemical treatment company that he thought was up to no good so danny was convinced that the government was secretly shipping radioactive waste in barrels from Oakridge to Cincinnati where these companies companies were then mixing it with non radioactive waste repackaging it and sending it off to other places to be buried in grounder disposed in some way. You're if Cole could confirm this it'd be a big story it would mean that the government was basically camouflaging its radioactive. Waste to get away with bearing it somewhere somewhere shouldn't be buried so he was pursuing this and one day I got a call from a lawyer for this company. Who said that somebody named D we see Cole had climbed the fence and was snooping around their private property and arrested and he said he was writing the story for you? We need to talk to you because allowed to do that. And I remember I actually. We had to go meet with some lawyers their lawyers and I I think I was actually even deposed but you know I just said to Danny went after. I said he can't do that. You know. And he's like yeah but they were doing bad things in there and I had to find out what they were and I knew that I could see through the fence. I just had I get up close and take a picture. And so that's where again a trained journalist versus somebody who is on a mission to bring down the bad guys is and stick it to the man and that was that was pretty much it. I just can't first of all I'm not gonNA put his newspaper. That is barely surviving not going to put the the newspaper at risk over over what. You're doing a freelancer and secondly already told coaching. Were supposed to do this literally this but you just can't you know there has to be a line as journalists between I'm trying to find the story and and Jumping fences breaking the law lying to people. Aw that kind of thing Stealing things from people just to be clear. We're not supposed to do those things not supposed to do. This call wasn't wasn't the first journalist to cross over into activism nor was he the first to be fired for Fox felt bad about it but despite what some might have you believe leave about the press. We have rules in journalism. And if you break those rules you break trust. That's a big no-no Amanda asked. Because he took it oh he was devastated. You know but but again that's the difference. It's like I want to. I want to publish Sean. Could well written well researched stories. That are going to make a difference but again like I said earlier if the man gets exc get stuck or not is sort of beyond is not one of our goals here certainly not GonNa put the welfare of the entire company at risk just so you can stick it to the man and that's it we we have to Joel. That's different union journalists. And what you're doing and I said since now you have your over here then I just can't have you bob with paper and I think I still saw him maybe a couple of times after that you know we would would call me up and tell me what he was working on but we were done working together. Fox suspects that Cole got further telling his story than he ever expected to. He made the front page granted. It was a small newspaper that would fold and a few years. But anyone who's had a front page byline knows that feels like a big deal even if it really isn't but there's a fine line. Journalists must walk we can believe passionately in the truth and trying to reach the public with that truth but we generally they have to stop short of hoping for a specific outcome. Fox came to understand that Cole had a goal in mind he was just trying to. I think exact some revenge for what the final folks some government had done to him and his family and I think he just he he had a taste of having some impact and he he just wanted he had so many ideas as so many bad people doing bad things that he wanted to uncover over. It seems Kohl's professional apex was likely his appearance on unsolved mysteries. The show much like our podcast aim to jog memories sluice producers provided in eight hundred number people could call and in address right viewers responded the phone calls were dictated in passed along along two colon. KC while the letters were photocopied. I'm going to read some of the messages but not because they're true. I think it's interesting insight to see what kinds of responses people get when their story becomes national news the sheer variety and tidbits theories is fascinating one caller said he knew of another man. Not David Box. who had been killed driving? A load of uranium quote. Caller was told that the truck ran off the road out in he was killed. Colored does not feel that this is a true story. Koehler says a lot of stories. Go around that plant. He knows the plant is not safe and quote. The message closes with the Anonymous Messenger saying that. He would not testify in court if he were asked another caller said he was a former former an aloe supervisor. Who worked alongside David? He said David was not suicidal. Quote caller says that this was a government cover up the Department of Energy is involved that there is a serious health threat in the area. Caller believes that this man knew what was going on and quote another call quote caller says when someone commits suicide. They will usually clean up house. Pay All their bills and complete unfinished business and go grocery shopping. Caller is certain that David committed suicide. All the signs were there and quote and another quote color is a psychic caller states that dave tripped opt into the melting pot and that the company may have been involved with organized crime and quote. Someone called to complain that the show's narration could have been better. Her another caller said former president. Jimmy Carter was to blame for David's death. Someone else will have a yard so unbelievable that the receptionist taking notes wrote wrote quote took a while to figure it out. This woman is a nutball and quote that ended with three exclamation points several. Oh callers. Said they'd seen David Alive. Somewhere in Sandusky Ohio in Saint Louis Missouri in North Platte Nebraska. In Milledgeville Georgia in Burlington Arlington Vermont. Police at the time didn't put much stock into any of the theories floated by unsolved mysteries producer. Viewers in fact investigator gator. Victor Crowley said on the show. No one ever gave us any indication or reason to believe that foul play may have occurred After reading the official case file. I'm comfortable saying outright. That's just not true next time on accused. No no one ever gave us any indication or reason to believe that foul play may have occurred. How could we get into mm-hmm other than himself jump in? It's probably lowered into the furnishings pulling murder. A lot of well he jumped in there. He committed suicide no no he did not convince the season go to. WWW dot wondering dot com slash plus. That's W O n d the R Y DOT COM SLASH P L U S to support the creators of accused directly. Go to our patron. Page donors get bonus content Dan daily episodes. That's at Patriotair Dot com slash accused. This is a special project from the Cincinnati Inquirer part of the USA Today network narrated by amber hunt produced by Amanda Rosman. Osman engineered by Phil Dibbin edited by. Amy Wilson Intern. Mark Rosenberg provided additional research. Music was composed by enter Higley to look get case documents photos videos and more visit accused. PODCAST DOT COM as noted. Somebody oh comes from living history projects and the for an old community alliance. The transcript to those interviews are available at Fernald Community Alliance Dot Org UH.
Chapter 7: A variance in views
"Previously on accused but I think he would just go into that colonel all by himself. No one on ever gave us any indication or reason to believe that foul play may have occurred a lot of people's well. He jumped in there. He committed suicide. No no he was probably lowered into the furnace that he was probably murdered so I need to actually look into this person. What's this person's name? I can take all the stuff off. I need to be able to drop the camera. Recording Amber Hunt Hunt and this is accused mysterious death. That baby box reporting any cold case is tough but this this one has presented some unique challenges for starters. Everyone sick which has made setting up interviews difficult hair. easterling was undergoing undergoing dialysis three times a week Mel kearns brought to cardiac support dog to our interview. Two unrelated people won an employee when the widow Adowa a former employee had dementia. It's not surprising. Maybe when you remember that David box disappeared thirty five years ago and the people who worked alongside him were at least in their thirties back then not to mention exposed for years to cancer causing elements but the most unnerving moment. Oh Mint involved a man whose father had been David Supervisor. This man named Charles Schaus after his dad though the younger Schaus went by Middle Name. Michael seemed happy to set up an interview. I called him. He even volunteered some info before I said I was calling about a death at the plant adviser when days box disappeared appeared we set up an in person interview at his home for the following week. My producer engineer and I showed up at the designated time but Michael's wife said he had forgotten forgotten about our appointment and would have to reschedule. He never returned the handful of phone messages. I had left or emails I'd send and then I learned that there was a reason on June fourth. Two Thousand Nineteen Charles. Michael Schaus died by suicide if I were DC coal this would be a another piece is to the conspiracy puzzle but no. I don't think that I've learned from a relative that Michael himself. A former for an auld employees had endured red chronic pain for years. I've no reason to think the timing of his suicide had anything to do with the timing of our interview. What all this does mean gene? Is that the window to officially reexamine this case is rapidly narrowing so we feel a special sense of urgency to lay out what we've uncovered So you just finished watching Netflix series or film like wild wild country or the staircase. And now that it's over you can't stop thinking about the show. You need more of this story. Well good news now. There's a podcast for that. You can't make this up is a podcast from Netflix. That covers all their content related to true crime cults and conspiracy theories each episode of. You can't make this up. Takes a look behind the scenes of a Netflix documentary Henry series or film featuring conversation between podcasters journalists comedians and the people who made it they'll give an exclusive look inside their process explore stories. They left out. Answer your burning questions and more. You can't make this up. covers the net flicks shows. Everyone's talking about including recently extremely wicked shockingly evil and vile and unbelievable. The podcast also covers things from their back catalogue like making a murderer an evil genius. The crazy account of a pizza delivery man Dan who robbed a bank with a bomb around his neck. If it's a true story that sounds too crazy to be real. You can hear all about it on. You can't make this up. You can't make this. This up is available on Apple. Stitcher spotify or your preferred podcast destination. Go listen subscribe and review. You can't make this up now. Whoever wrote the anonymous twelve page letter to David boxes daughter? After the story of her father's death appeared on unsolved. Mysteries had something in common. I'm in with investigative reporter DC coal. They both seem to believe that absolutely everyone who could be a part of a cover up was part of a cover up. The letter describes falled workers as a family it specifies that the Department of Energy officials and managers in general were not part. Did this family rather it was a quote close knit group of workers who would do anything from one another and quote. Apparently that includes murder murder. The letter states quote your father was aware of the intolerable drug problem along with the failure of doe and low to protect the workers environment environment and neighbors and quote. Those were the two distinct motives. The letter writer provided for murder that David was anti-drug and had perhaps caught hot someone using on site and also that he had tried to quit the night he died because no one would listen to him about lack safety conditions and someone decided to silence is complaints once and for all eventually Casey Box Drake David's daughter came to believe that DC. Cole wrote this letter himself. She accused accused him of as much in a terse Lee worded email she wrote during their late nineteen nineties falling out Cole denied it. I tried to match up writing styles styles between the type letter and Kohl's book the letter writer mistakenly uses conscious for conscience for example. But I couldn't find much overlap unless someone steps forward. I don't see how we'll ever know the author. The allegations in the letter are worth examining though even if they're anonymous because those those allegations miracles and Kohl's book if you'll remember is housed in the library of Congress it's as close to an on the record rebuttal to police suicide theory as we've got so here it goes both coal in the letter writer. Find it significant that David's last shift was largely spent inside implant. Eight as cold told unsolved mysteries eight had released four times for radioactive contaminants into the environment than any other plant complaint site. According to the Department of Energy Plant Eight was a scrap recovery. Plant the gist is at the rest of the buildings. Processed and refined mined shaped uranium and all of the leftovers from those buildings were shipped to plant eight tiny bits of uranium. were salvaged from waste streams and recycled In short uranium was too valuable to squander and plant eight is where all the waste from. The rest of the buildings went so that any uranium residue could be collected and reused the letter writer. Who seems to have been familiar enough with the plant to no precise directions to things like the men's locker room Alleges that David was frustrated by the conditions implanted. David and other workers knew it to be particularly unsafe. The letter states it continues quote. He was tired of reporting the repair of items. That couldn't be repaired. He was tired of being threatened in order that secrecy would be insured and he was tired of working at a government facility that operated on the basis of lies theft of taxpayer money's and major cover-ups that included several federal the agencies that ranged as far as the presidency and quote. It's a bold claim. One that Cole cosigns in his book we haven't found found much evidence that David was quite this upset about the safety issues that work though he might have been but if so he didn't mention it to his ex wife or his children mm-hmm but then again he wasn't supposed to talk to them about his job at all. There are a few circumstantial tidbits to point to whistle blowing. At least is being possible. I here's Harry easterling. In one thousand nine hundred four day was a fairly quiet but if you worked on a job and say it was high radiation levels. Dave would tell you you know that particular dust collector is fairly radioactive so watch yourself or that pomp has a certain kind of acid in it so be careful when you work on it also when the police file. There's notation that David in recent months had been treated for a few work injuries most recently he saw Dr Doctrine February nineteen eighty-four for burn on the right side of his neck. A month earlier he was treated for esteem. Burn on his right wrist and thumb. Maybe be these are nothing but then again when someone starts getting hurt they might start opening their mouths more. Finally David's Kids told us that their dad was was a stickler for the rules and his supervisor. Charlie Schaus told police that David spoke up about co worker sleeping on the job so maybe it stands to the reason that he'd be willing to put his neck out about the plan safety issues. I'm comfortable David hadn't been compiling documentation at home because his ex wife Carlene Lien was the first to gain access after his disappearance in she found nothing of the sort she noticed the stocked fridge in new cartons of cigarettes. But but no Manila folders full of Silkwood style evidence Carleen. David's brother Peter and the older kids took turn staying in David's house in the days after after he banished in hopes of being there. If you wandered in police came in and searched at some point but the family had been there I ask ask people with Fernald connections about David box and you get as many culprit. Combinations is a game of Clue Mel kearns named one when the cameras weren't rolling some former employees mentioned that same person to well others pointed to someone else entirely. We don't let ourselves get touched any specific theory because we don't want to be hypocrites. We WanNA keep our minds open rather than subject this case to another round of confirmation bias but that other people have been much less concerned about that take coal for example in his book he suggested that each of the following people should have been more thoroughly. Investigated Carpool by Harry Easterling. Supervisor Charlie Shows Fellow Pipe Fitter Mel Kearns and Santa Claus await the strike that last one the letter writer. Also points to easterling and Schaus Kearns didn't make the cut the finger pointing at Harry seems a bit odd and and I know he was aware that there had been some speculation about him in fact when I called him his wife answered and was a bit leery about putting him on the phone own. I remember hearing a comet back When this all happened that the kids and made a comment about my husband being involved? Wow so I didn't know why you know you were trying to find him for the record. I think she's conflating. The kids in coal it's the latter who opined in Harry's involvement. The kids don't rule them out but only because they don't feel they should rule anyone out the letter. Writers logic for suspecting Harry was hard to follow but it went something like this. Harry got too worried too quickly. When David didn't show up to meet at White Castle so the worry must have been an act worked? I'm not sure I agree. Harry didn't panic when David failed to show up for the drive back to his car after his shift. He told police that he figure David had either snared some overtime and forgotten to tell him or he'd sneaked off somewhere to take a nap. He tried to get David on the phone the next day before their subsequent. It's a quick shift and David never answered so by the time hairy found David's car parked in the same spot at White Castle. It's hood stole L. Cold. He had reason to start worrying. His Buddy hadn't surfaced from women twelve hours at that point the letter writer in DC. Coal both both pointed to Harry to Kohl's credit. He didn't make that a secret. The Guy was bold if nothing else. Here's Harry speaking in late October. When I reached start with some follow up questions or thing that bothered me was that loud mouth reporter guy? Yeah Yeah what. What about him was bothersome? Besides the loudmouth part was a pain in the book did he ever accused you. Oh that didn't sit well with Harry who for the record told me he had nothing to do with David. Disappearance Kearns was never Even mentioned by name in the initial police investigation. So I'm not sure why Cole latched onto him. As someone worth considering kearns over the years has face some legal financial troubles but never anything felonious that I could find the letter. Writer says security personnel saw David and Schaus US chatting in the blue pickup truck assigned to pipe fitters but it fails to mentioned that kearns reportedly saw same. He told us that back in February. Twenty nineteen when we interviewed him and he had told DC coal that nearly thirty years prior. Here's a passage from Kohl's book that begins with a quote from Kearns. I was the last person who saw day box alive and I know who killed him. Kearns immediately said when contacted by telephone. I imagine this is true. Because does he did the same with me. It appears Cole got suspicious. After kearns said that he had worked inside plants. Six the night of David Slash shift plant six six was supposedly abandoned because the salt. That didn't run at night. That's true but kearns. Being a fellow fixed guy. He supposedly was briefly implant and six to fix a drinking fountain coal rates that he confronted supervisor. Schaus and said Shao said lied about plant six being empty all night Cole writes that shows became visibly shaken during the exchange quote. Yes we were working inside. Plant six on the cooling system earlier that night and quote wrote Schaus replied before he started freaking himself out. That's a passage from Kohl's book. I don't know what that means. Cold decided he did know however any wrote that the significance of Schaus lying is that now he and easterling and Kearns can be placed at the scene of the crime. Get it it's a conspiracy after colle quote Unquote Confronted Schaus. He confronted Kearns and accused him of lying to Karston. Like this Cole wrote and I said no I know for Damn Cher was alone implant. Six every it's to me like kearns didn't like being called a liar and he was maybe raising his voice a tad Ed because of it but coal was certain in his appraisal he wrote at this point one must remember to never show any sign of fear to such people especially when they are on the verge of losing self control showing vicious dogs. Fear will only get you bit. I can't say I've ever viewed sources. This is as vicious dogs. I admit I viewed some journalists that way from time to time but not sources I wonder what Cole would think if you knew this little tidbit did I learn from the case file. When FERNALD officials called police to report a missing person the first call came from the security office as you might expect but the second call came from the legal department? Excuse the break but I want to tell. Oh you about another podcast you might like. 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That's fifty dollars off at Bollandbranch Dot Com Promo Code. Accused used spelled B. O. L. L. Andbranch dot com code accused and now back to our story. I found nothing. That actually indicates anyone was implant six besides kearns and he wasn't there toward the shifts end around four forty five am After the lunch break. He said he spotted David. Once again talking to Schaus this time near plant for the time clock was to brief asides. It's Cole accused another person of lying. According to his book that's detective Pedo. RUCCI coal quote sell the Rucci as saying the temperature drop. Singular singular not plural only lasted a minute or so. When the temperature read outs and police zone notes actually show two drops spanning about fifteen minutes? Cole does not consider this discrepancy of faulty memory or innocent misstatement he sees it as Ritchie changing his story and therefore being part of the cover up. It doesn't look like elder Ruchir as colleagues liked being called a liar though one of them supposedly told. Cole don't fuck with us. The second aside is about a handwritten note in the police file. That's never mentioned elsewhere. The note is signed by Charles Schaus. Who wrote quote? I received phone call at eight thirty eight PM on six twenty eighty four. That stated bastard you had better learn that the union runs the company or you or your your wife will have an accident and quote. The caller then hung up. A notation indicates Xiao Scott. This call at home not at work. I have no idea if the phone call was connected to David's disappearance but it seems noteworthy that it happen during David's I missed shift and it's in the file concerning disappearance. Here's some more about Schaus. He placed himself with David about the same time. Kearns says he saw them together. In fact you might remember from last episode. That Schaus told police that he stood near a freight elevator trying to get David to open up to him and tell him way seems so down and might not be fair air but something about this bugs me. Ten minutes is a long time to talk to someone who supposedly is responding. Anyone who's been depressed. I or even just blew surely knows what it feels like ten. Not WanNa talk about it and most probably have had a friend or to try a bit too hard to pry imagine. Being on the receiving end of this for ten full minutes would feel like an eternity. There are a few other things. Shout all said that. I'd really like to clarify as well in trial to have. David declared dead. He testified that he and Harry had a conversation during lunch. About out. How Morose David seemed the scene? He painted was a little odd in fact because it sounded like David was right there in the room and Schaus in Harry Harry. We're talking about him. As though we weren't shows testified that the only lunch conversation was about David's obvious. Depression the thing is that doesn't line up with the transcripts of Harry's nineteen eighty-four police interviews in fact he said the opposite detective. Henry Schaefer asked Harry But there was no anything in particular any type of conversation to indicate that maybe he was. You know depressed or anything of that. Nature Harry Harry replied no in the trial I referenced. Cincinnati lawyer Steven Martin who represented. David's family asked Charles Schaus about the lunch break he. He Harry and David took together around. Four am Martin specifically wanted to know what the trio talked about over the break if anything Charles replied lied. Actually David Box. He said he asked Harry. If he noticed anything concerning about David's behaviour quote he indicated to me. Dave box had been acting funny for a couple of weeks. And he stated that Dave was getting worse and quote. Harry didn't testify testify at the trial where she recounted this conversation so he wasn't asked to confirm or deny that it happened in fact despite shows having never mentioned mentioned this conversation himself until that trial. no-one there challenged him once he said what he said. Under oath it was accepted as straight up. Fact Act both the defense and the plaintiffs called on experts to argue over whether David was suicidal and both were asked about the two co workers who said he was despondent. When in fact there was only one only shows? It's possible that Xiao simply misremembered things and somehow got it in his head had that Harry backed his despondent diagnosis for David. People's memories are awful. Casey got the year wrong. Her Dad died memories. Rays are notoriously unreliable. So it's fair to wonder if sh- houses simply failed him to find out. I needed to ask him so I started started calling and calling and calling at the tone. Please record your message when you one time I got a call back from one of his is numbers but the line disconnected before I entered it and left a message fairly recently Returning a call. I had gotten from this number and other time. I thought they'd reached him on the phone. Finding People's phone numbers is as much luck as it is. No how and I was wondering if I could Set up a time to talk with you because I understand you were a manager there for awhile now. Father was a major Bill Ryan maintenance there oh you were an. I thought you were a supervisor. No not not there. I wasn't my dad was. Oh you're you're the young way. Okay are you okay. Dad was dad supervisor when Dave box disappeared. Yes yeah that's actually part of What I've been looking at sometimes when you're looking for a phone oh number you find a relatives number instead? That's what happened here. The younger Schaus is also Charles. Though he goes by Michael I was just as happy to find him him because as I said he also was a former Fernald employees. And I've been interviewing every former worker. I could find. It was a logical step to ask. Michael Shouts House to chat and I thought maybe it would be a way to get connected with his dad. I mean maybe. DC coal scared. The older Schaus off by calling him a liar thirty years ago. Maybe he'd be willing to talk someone who wants to find answers rather than pin blame all of this was for not of course as described bribed earlier in this episode the younger Schaus Mr Interview appointment and died in June. I sent condolences to his wife and gave the family some space for several months chiefs before I knew about the death I had already made. All those phone calls and sent letters to the elders shelves is home to rental property. He owns and two to ex wife of his starting in October. I began calling again in mid-november Amanda and I went to his house to knock on the door. It was important we we give him as clear an opportunity to talk to us as possible. Hi I'm amber I'm a reporter with the inquire I've been trying to reach Charlie Schaus For a story you bet. I'm putting together looking at for an old. He's in bad okay. I'll leave my number then. Okay it seems. He doesn't WanNA talk to us. I of course still like to ask about the statements that don't mind up for me but I don't know if I'll ever get the chance while Charlie Schaus hasn't responded Mathu my many attempts to reach him. Harry Sterling did and because Schaus had described a conversation that he supposedly had with Harry. I was able to ask Carrie if he remembered this conversation. So I I just WanNa make sure that I'm totally clear on this When you end Charlie Charlie had lunch did you? Did you guys talk about anything over the lunch break about where he was going on somewhere. I don't know if it were kings island or someplace that's with David. But did you talk to Charlie about anything conversation. Okay did do you ever feel at any point in the investigation. We did you ever tell anyone that you saw. David was depressed. Nope do you know that that. In some of the trials it is accepted as fact that you did think he was depressed. Hello Becky was Joyce Harry's wife was married to him back in Nineteen eighty-four and his talked with her husband at length about his memories of that day she knows the case as well or at least as well as a third party without access to transcripts and police memo's can she watched him get interviewed by unsolved mysteries and went Tennessee where the TV crew filmed a wonderfully cheesy reenactment of David's last moments. Harry had some health problems so joyce was on the phone call with us. Listen case brain fog made it tough to understand a question. My question about the lunchtime conversation seemed to confuse her things that they had conversation with Dave back sale while supposedly It actually looks like David might have even been in the room the way that Charlie Charlie describes it but but the gist is. Charlie testifies that hairy and he talked about how depressed David was during that last launch hair. Shaking said knows where he was and you never thought that. Based on the Times given by David's David's various co Workers Kearns wasn't the last person to see David Alive as he believes. Charles put himself with David at five. Fifteen am which is interesting interesting. That's the same time that the print out from plan six suggests David went into the vet and even weirder is that I found a notation in a police memo that stated. That clock was about ten minutes fast. which would mean that? David was implant six disintegrating in salt a few minutes servier then Xiao supposedly saw him near plan for something. There doesn't add up. It could be that clocks. Weren't seeing doors. Someone was in grade at estimating time but it occurred to me that usually when someone is placed near someone else at the time of their death the surviving person would generally be expected to to answer a few questions of the. Did you have any reason to cause them harm. Variety Schaus wasn't ask such questions. Schaus also told People Harry described David as despondent. When Harry didn't and show circle back to police to add something to his story that's never been reported before after his initial interview Schaus told investigators that he remembered an encounter with David early in the shift? That in hindsight bothered him. He said that soon after David arrived with Harry at Work Schaus arrived implant twelve where the employees always got their work assignments for the day. It was between Gene Twelve fifteen and twelve twenty show said but when shall showed up at plan twelve to hand out the assignments. David wasn't there shall testified quote and I asked Harry Eastern laying if he had seen Dave and he said no so I called him on the radio and he said he was south of plant. Five and quote. David had no the reason to be wandering and this was a facility that at least paid lip service to security social SAS David. What he was doing he said David replied that he was getting some fresh air? Show said he told David to sit tight and then hopped in this maintenance truck and drove out pick them up when shall spotted him. David was walking back from plant. Six Schaus in hindsight believe that David had meant to kill himself then around midnight and only got another chance after the lunch break. This description is countered a Harry statements though according to Harry he and David arrived to work together. Changed in the locker room together clocked together and planned for walked to plant twelve together and then awaited their assignments together. Here's me talking to Harry again. David leave you at any point during that period. I'm so when was the first time he was out of your facility. At that point. Remember do you would. It have been before or rafter. You guys got your assignments after so. You're pretty comfortable. That he was gone at some point before he was Handed an assignment where it is of course possible. That Harry's memory is faulty but Harry seemed fine telling me when he didn't remember something here. He is the first time we talked. We will have to forgive me because I can't remember several I. I understand no worries even even if you didn't have a medical issue this is a long time ago. I don't expect Pristine Tomy. It feels like yesterday excuses. Quick break the episode. You're listening to now was is released already on our patron page at Patriotair Dot com slash accused. You can get early ad free episodes there as well as bonus episodes behind the scenes peeks skunik sessions and even a brand new crime and journalism. podcast if you like what we do here consider joining us over there again for this content more supportive Porta set patriots dot com slash accused in two thousand eight. A former football star pulled off a robbery so daring and so strange range that it went viral worldwide. It was a perfect crime story. There's just one problem. It wasn't the real story of what happened. The sneak sneak is a new serialized. True crime podcast from four the wind and USA Today sports streaming only on one re plus subscribe at wondering Dot Com Slash P L. U. S.. And now back to our story if feels worth mentioning that after the unsolved mysteries episode aired and police did circle back to interview Kearns and some others. A handwritten note says they were told to talk to shelves because quote He. He knows a lot more than what he's saying and quote but no one ever did talk to Schaus. Do you think that it is worth looking at that possibility The is always worth talk talking to. Somebody doesn't hurt to interview somebody or re interview. Somebody if you have new information sure anytime that works Possibly I know some of the detectors there now. They may want to I can't get involved in of of course my sorrow but yeah they may I. I wouldn't ever you know not turned down the chance to interview somebody. If you get new information it's not new information exactly but once you realize hearing never thought of David as despondent. You're forced to face that police based their suicide theory largely on one man's opinion and that one man just so happens to be the last person to have seen David alive he even puts himself with David at the time of death. It seems worthy of some questions now. Kearns is quick to say David was killed that night and he'll even tell you his theory when the cameras cameras aren't rolling but he doesn't agree with either the letter writer or DC. Colds believe that David died to thwart his planned. whistle-blowing rather kearns subscribes to another motive. Based on the as far as I can tell unfounded rumor that David ex-wife had started dating someone at the plant and I found this intriguing at first because it statistically far more likely that someone would be killed for love or sex then killed as part of a huge governmental ever mental cover up as David's kids about this and they're not only adamant that it isn't true but they said it couldn't have happened Carleen. Their mother mother was no longer with David when he got the job. At fernald nineteen eighty-one she had never been to accompany. Event never visited David at work. Current spouse's didn't know much about the company so it stands to reason in ex wife would know even less. She also lived farther from for an older than David did on top of all that Casey remembers her mom's boyfriend from that time period because she was dating a younger man whose best friend ended up. Marion Casey the two were divorced now. But it's Kinda hard to forget that time. Your mom dated your husband's best friend. I don't think this relationship chip rumor is remotely founded. But I do wonder if there's an element of kearns suspicion that's worth exploring the timing of David's death Seems too close to the news breaking about the plants lack safety record to be ACQU incidents. But what if it were. What if David had been killed for something? Far More pedestrian more predictable. The drugs question for example. I know my dad was way against drugs like I said when my younger brother got busted at school for having weed he wanted gets custody he thought you know my younger brother was going to be some a harrowing addict with an a week. Because he had we'd on at school. This experience left her kids with the impression that dad was four square in the just they know camp. That could be a possible possibility of what happened. It might not be about the uranium leaks. It could be that he happen often to find out about the DOE to be clear as outsiders. We can't know for sure that drugs were sold at for an old. I tried to pull. Oh police records to learn about any drug bust there but the plant was federally owned and staffed its own security. Police didn't do anything there unless they were asked. The front gate was guarded by a man with a big gun. We have heard this drug allegation from multiple former employees though and others said similar similar things during oral history interviews with Cornell Community Alliance in the late nineteen ninety s also to be clear even if drugs were sold there. It's possible David. These drugs never intersected but it seems worth the question if David had stumbled on anything of the sort he had already proven himself to be willing to complain about his co workers breaking rules he had recently gone. Someone suspended for sleeping on the job after all If David had spotted drugs it's not inconceivable that he might have threatened tell bosses and considering this was federal property anyone involved with drug use or sales surely was at risk of losing their security clearances and their jobs when police investigate crimes crimes. They're taught to consider who had the means the motive and the opportunity nearly everyone who worked at for an all during David slush shift had the means means and opportunity over the past fourteen months. We've found several possible motives worth pursuing. We've done as much as we've been able to but we're journalists us no matter how hard we work on these cases. There's a limit to what we can do. We can't issue subpoenas or execute search warrants. We can only hope that the people empower consider what we've uncovered and take it from there. It's been more than thirty five years and many of the people with information in this case are are sick. The clock is ticking. Next time on accused the rules right. Now say that it has to Stan. I stay in the federal government's ownership. There were threats around here that they keep it up now. Nobody will have a job and they use that as leverage and they didn't like us at all Tom was it was quite phenomenal. And they were metal materials. It was a joke. You're a thinking terms of a giant radioactive junk yard to bench this season go to. WWW dot wondering dot com slash plus. That's W O N D E R Y DOT COM slash P L U S to support report the creators of accused directly go to our peak. Rampage donors get bonus content and early episodes that's Patriot dot com slash accused. This is a special the project from the Cincinnati Inquirer part of the USA Today network narrated by amber hunt produced by Amanda Rosman engineered by Phil Dibbin and edited by. Amy Wilson. Uh Intern Mark Rosenberg. Provided additional research music was composed by Andrew Higley to look at case documents photos videos and more visit accused podcast cast dot com as noted. Some audio comes from a living history projects. In the finale community lands. Transcript to those interviews are available at for an old community the alliance Dot Org
Introducing The Sneak: Murders at Whiskey Creek
"Everybody, amber from accused here, if you're anything like us your just feeling your way around trying to figure out what to do in this new world, it isn't the easiest time to work in a newsroom. We hear it accused are trying to help our daily colleagues and keep up on our cases at the same time. Accused will take a little longer than usual to come out, but we are working hard and we're keeping. Keeping up on the cases that are in the running for season four. If you visit us over patron dot com slash accused, you will get access to some of the print reporting that I'm producing for the inquire, most of which focuses on unsolved cases that could use a little extra attention. But if you're looking for something new right now, the sneak is out, it's by our colleagues at USA Today and distributed through wonder. World champion surfer. Jack. Murphy. Pulled off the biggest jewel heist in American history. He became infamous as his face was plastered across the front pages of every newspaper in the country. After a massive manhunt, Jack was eventually caught. He was sent to prison, but somehow talked his way out of there and headed home to the beautiful beaches of southern Florida, a free man. But this was only the start of his misadventures on the wrong side of the Law Jack was later arrested for the murder of two women who were directly related to his other crimes. From one degree and USA Today. A new season of the sneak murders that Whiskey creek, a new true crime show unlike any, you've ever heard before with exclusive interviews with the victims and perpetrators, the sneak reveals secrets that have been kept for decades. You're about to hear a preview of the sneak murders that Whiskey creek subscribed to Dan Apple podcasts, or you can binge all nine episodes on the wondering APP with a free trial of one re plus. My name is Jack Murphy. And we're taking you on a trip that. His already been in the papers and the magazines for fifty years, most of it, but it's a trip of the that is. An exciting adventure. Was the middle of the night on October twenty, ninth nineteen, sixty four. Jack Roland. Murphy. Better. Known as Murph. The Surf, a man widely recognized as one of the top surfers in the world at the time was in New York City. That night Jack and a man named Allan Kyun Broken in American Museum of Natural History, and pulled off what was at that time? The biggest jewel heist in American history. But. That's just the beginning of Jackson probable story on that includes robbery fame and depending on who you ask salvation. This season, we will follow Jack on his journey from California to Pittsburgh to Miami all the way up to New York. City? To, tell his story though we must also go down to Whiskey Creek. A Small River in southern Florida where fifty one years ago. The bodies of two young women were found stabbed, bludgeoned, and shot. They'd been weighed down by concrete blocks lashed to their necks. In the last time, they were seen alive. They. Were getting in a boat with Jack Roland Murphy. My name is Scott reporter and editor with four the wind in. USA Today. Welcome to season two of the sneak. Jack Murphy should've spent his entire life in prison. In nineteen sixty nine, he received two life sentences and an additional twenty years from Florida. Court. But today as of this recording Jackson Freeman, and he's living in Crystal River Florida Asli town about an hour north of Tampa. That's where I visited him this winner along with my co producer from season one anthony, Chiloe who contribute reporting throughout season two. We, spent a week with Jack Eating at his favourite Florida haunts driving over the speed limit in his seen better days, nineties, model, Mercedes, and talking about well. Every part of his life. Jack. I'm going to ask you to do something. To Clap in front of your face. Perfect. Wonderful wonderful. and. That's it. We're done. At this show. Jackson, the mill. Though may have been a throwaway line. He has a lot of those Jack Murphy has a more complicated relationship with casual Hallelujah than most. Afterward feels like multiple lives lived one where Jack was a world class jewel thief another as a celebrity inmate in the Florida Penal System Jack has become a crusader for his new boss Jesus Christ. Today Jack travels the country and the world several high profile prison ministries, visiting penitentiaries all over the planet preaching his Gospel to inmates that Jack believes are looking for a way to save their souls. or in Jackson case, perhaps be a couple of life sentences. We're getting ahead of ourselves though. Lets. Flash back. To the beginning. Before. The prison time. Before the Heis. Before he was Murph, the surf internationally famous jewel thief. Back to when he was just Jack. But but the Surf Daily Starting to work the surfing thing was Jack catapulting himself into the upper echelons of a sport that was quickly getting national attention. Thanks to the music of the beach boys and Surf Films. Something picked up as a kid living on the west coast was just starting to catch on in a big way in Florida. Jack, who seemed to be able to master anything he tried was good at it. He was really really good at it. And that was the only problem with Miami. The waves weren't any good there. The waves were good up the coast however. In. Cocoa. Beach. And finally one day I just said, I'm done I'm going up there and I'm GonNa, stay up there and I did Jack Moving to Coco Beach. It was there that things got good. And then just as quickly. They got very bad. That was just a preview of this sneak murders at Whiskey, creek subscribed today on apple podcasts or binge all nine episodes with a free trial of Wendy plus as always. Thank you for your support. We'll be talking to you soon.
Chapter 8: The nuclear wrap-up
"Previously on accused. Did you talk to Charlie about anything. That will revise the day's box disappeared. Hang up and left a message. Fairly recently am returning a call. I've gotten from this number. Hey Hey I'm amber I'm a reporter the choir I've been trying to reach Charlie Pellett leap record your message when you finish recording. Do you know that in some of the trials. It is accepted as fact that you did think he was depressed. I remember hunt and this is accused mysterious death but David Fox a month after David box vanished while working the phonology uranium processing plant. He was officially fired from his job. There it was a bit of housekeeping really to allow the company to clear out the two lockers he'd had on the property. They inventoried the belongings. He'd left behind the long-sleeved t-shirt and cut off Jean shorts that he'd been wearing earlier in the day his wallet wait hairbrush size. Ten Gym shoes a pair of black socks and empty red and white playmate cooler sixty I five cents in change. All that remained of David were things. His kids divvied up these belongings as well as the ones pulled from the house he had inherited from his parents. That would soon be reclaimed by the bank with no body to bury and no answers to why their lives had been up ended so suddenly they tried to plot on. Never Forget about my dad. I think about him every day. I told you I have this baseball Mitt from when he was a kid on the dashboard of my truck. Look at it as I'm driving down the road I see it every day. The box kids were forced to face their grief and as news of Ronald Safety issues surfaced in the plants. Closing drew drew nearer their hopes of learning. What happened to David? Scattered like so much uranium dust and this episode. We'll do our best to wrap up two stories stories. The plants enter investigations. Accused is brought to you by MHM. Madison Reed Madison Reed at home. 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That's code accused at Madison. Dash Reed Dot Com as the nineteen nineties neared. It was clear the more than forty forty year Cold War was coming to an end. President Ronald Reagan had used the eighties to ramp up the. US's nuclear warhead efforts in the hopes of more or less intimidating the USSR and its allies as a satellite state of the Soviet Union. East Germany was one of those allies east and West. Germany had been divided since nineteen sixty one by a literal wall. That snaked through Berlin. Mikhail Gorbachev was the general secretary of the Communist Party and and is the one thousand nine hundred were on. He'll loosened restrictions on free speech. Not everyone was thrilled with his push for openness between the people and the government but then came the noble disaster of Nineteen eighty-six as writer. Craig Mazin emphasized in his recent. Hbo Series. Chernobyl was about more more than an explosion at a nuclear plant. It was about a governmental. Cover up what is the cost of lies. Gorbachev had initially been Fed ed misinformation about the scale of the disaster. It was tough for him to reconcile this obvious. Cover up attempt with his outward call for openness and historians story is generally considered the disaster to be a turning point for the general secretary then in June nineteen eighty-seven Reagan gave his famous speech. Calling in for Mister Gorbachev tear down this wall unlike some of his predecessors. This Gorbachev didn't have much faith that the USSR could win the arms race and he wasn't a fan of the prospect of nuclear war anyway. His citizens became increasingly emboldened to protest the Berlin Wall and on December Twenty Second Nineteen eighty-nine A- gate was opened allowing people to pass through for the first first time in nearly thirty years. The Wall officially fell in November nineteen. ninety-one nothing happens in a vacuum all of this world news had big impact on the livelihoods of Cornell's workers and on the fourteen thousand. Some residents who live near the plant with the cold. War are winding down. Production slowed with the controversies about uranium leaks at zenith for an especially vulnerable because lawsuits cost money The plant was producing less. That's making less money thus destined to collapse. Not that workers didn't fight the inevitable Lisa Crawford who helped launch the Community Organization fresh remembers that the workers were not fans of her class. Action Lawsuit. Has you no it's jobs. It's you know you're messing with my retirement. And there were threats around here that they keep it up. Nobody will have a job and they kind of use that collaborate and they didn't like us at all that began to change as more and more evidence surfaced to substantiate the rumors of long term radioactive leaks in October one thousand nine hundred eighty eight. The workers went on strike over. Pay and benefits. Lisa Crawford brought coffee and Donuts to the picket line. And the two sides started the demand fences. About this time Richard Shank director of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency compiled statistics documenting and extremely mainly serious environmental threat. Dating back to the plant's opening this from one thousand nine hundred eighty eight article in the Chicago Tribune quote ways from a total total of two hundred ninety. Eight thousand pounds of uranium has been discharged into the air since the plant began operating in nineteen fifty one shink said and waste from one hundred sixty seven. Thousand Pounds of uranium was discharged into the great Miami River nearby. He said the underground water table had been subjected objected to unknown amounts of radiation leaked from six storage pits at the site. Those pits hold about twelve point. Seven million pounds of uranium and one hundred hundred seventy six thousand pounds of him and quote interesting tidbit not much three a medal with made it for an old yet. Massive amounts of it were stored in silos on the site. That's because for an old wasn't just a uranium processing plant. It was also a dump site for other nuclear facilities ladies particularly those situated on the East and West coasts the US government decided that Middle America would be a smarter storage spot for such waste because the coast were more at risk of being bombed by another country making scary weapons. and YOU WOULDN'T WANNA silo of radioactive material struck by an enemy so waste from the Manhattan project. That's the name of the World War. Two project that produced the first nuclear weapons actually was stored it for an auld and neighbors didn't know it so they had tons and tons of debris that was radioactive that was never generated from furnace. This is lawyer Stan. Chesley being interviewed for Living History Project in one thousand nine hundred nine example. You saw it. Looks like a rector sets out there it was it was quite phenomenal. And they were metal materials. WHO's a junkyard a thinking terms of a giant radioactive junkyard over and above the barrels and the containers but they were for example boosts storing forum and quonset hut that was leaking and most of that story had never been used at had never been used at fertile The case sixty five silos. There's another example they were they were acting as a storage facility. I was always reminded when we were in court. They kept saying well. We can't move because it's too dangerous and I so just as dangerous when you brought it. It's did not get their my metamorphosis it didn't just all of a sudden appear wasn't placed in those tanks and the way they were curing. The problem was they were building. Earth an earthen dam around around the tanks will so it was leaking into the dirt. Lisa Crawford the community activist remember learning that some of the waste had traveled all the way. Okay from the Belgian Congo. But the reason it was sent here to us was because so the US could put pershing missiles and the Belgium Congo. You know the average Joe around here is squadron. God really it was a giant mess. One far greater than workers or residents ever could have imagined and it probably wouldn't have have come to light if it hadn't been for the lawsuits which weren't easy to pull off by the way Chesley didn't sue the Department of energy because he figured they'd claim governmental ever mental immunity he targeted the contractors instead and it turned out that the contractors back in the fifties when these plants arose nationwide refused to do do this type of work unless they were indemnified the federal government needed contractors so they agreed to the demand. Hey the federal government it gave. NATO which was a subsidiary of national not only an indemnity for day to day activities of the dangerous nature but for any negatives you ever heard of the government giving a indentity for negligence and punitive conduct and with that was was a licensed to national national not to worry the government would identify the government would hold them harmless. And that was the problem was national Ed- all of these companies that took over what he's nuclear weapons plant at absolutely new no expertise nuclear energy. It was the fifties had no idea what was about how to do it. How do it's safety was not a factor? Nobody understood it. The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency whose involvement started when they sent Graham Mitchell Dole to do some well testing a few months. After David box disappeared was publicly angry that the federal government did so shoddy job running this plant governor Richard. Celeste accused the feds of quote deceit and mismanagement and quote and called on President Reagan to shut down for an old. It was a bold demand but not the first of its kind. A South Carolina plant at Savannah River that produce trade him had recently shut down three three reactors while a third facility the rocky flats plant in Colorado which handled plutonium had been temporarily closed because of safety complaints it stopped production permanently in nineteen eighty nine for knowledge workers who remember were making good livings at the plant and who believed in its mission went on strike but didn't want the plan to shutter many represented by the union were furious. They felt betrayed but they didn't want to lose their jobs. They wanted the problems fixed instead. Production stopped that might have happened without the bad publicity in the lawsuits in the cold. War ended in one thousand ninety one after all but Chesley credits both with ensuring that the didn't just abandon a thousand acres of polluted land and frankly had been left in this lawsuit. They might have sold gland. People Built House. Nobody knew nobody knew people criticize the legal system. The legal system brought it out after the dot reached a settlement with residents workers sued. That too was settled for one hundred million dollars. Here's TV coverage from W. C. P. O. A. Cincinnati station. Today's for an all settlement is designed to make sure it workers and former workers like Kelly get some help it calls for lifetime. Medical Monitoring Government paid for yearly medical exams for eligible for all workers and former workers bruce for as long as they live community members particularly those involved with fresh the group Lisa Crawford belong to insisted that the. Do E clean clean up mess and beginning in the early nineties. That was the focus. A lot of the existing employees were actually able to continue working there though in different different capacities. Bob Kiss Bird. The man who didn't want to be grilled in my interview with him had retired before this turnabout but came back to help manage the clean clean up. Very few people had site knowledge and history of materials processed in the plant so Or for a lot of newer people coming in the needed some guidance and could answer questions stakeholders had to decide right. How the land should be used the D. O. E. which had started being far more transparent in its dealings impaneled? A citizens advisory board to weigh the options. It was a complicated decision. Graham Mitchell said as you know if it's going to be an industrial site it's going to be a recreational site. It's going to be if if you're going to build houses on it all result result in different cleanup levels. Lisa Crawford was on the committee. The group weighed whether to clean to what's called background. meaning that the land would be scrubbed so thoroughly. That houses could be built there some day but that was just too expensive to have realistically consider as a parent. Lisa's I thought was what most most mothers would be. Get all of this waste Outta here. But that didn't feel right. I don't WanNa be a Nimby. You know people back. Then we're like what's a Nimby not my backyard. We didn't want to be. We don't WanNa be looked upon as nimbies so we made the tough hard decisions to keep what we could keep an and the really bad stuff off site. Where did it end up going? Some of the waste went to Utah. The the name has evaded me. But it ain't called that anymore anyway. You know they changed surname like they change their underwear Some of it went to Nevada test site. And then the really bad case sixty five stuff went to W. C. he s in Texas the one. That's negative Bush's salad. WCs stands for waste control specialists. Alice which is a controversial Houston based company specializing in treating storing and disposing radioactive and hazardous wastes. It was coned by a billionaire. INARA named Harold Simmons who donated tens of thousands of dollars to George W Bush when he was Texas governor. Simmons gave two point. Five million dollars is to Bush ally to organizations when w ran for president and he pledged one million dollars to Bush's Presidential Library when Simmons died in two thousand thirteen. NPR reported he had donated more than twenty million dollars to the GOP. In the previous nine years the reason all that money matters it because Texas state law had prohibited private companies from running nuclear waste dumps but after Simmons wave of generosity a lobbyist for forbush visited the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission and long story short. The law was changed in two thousand and three and the Ferdinand Advisory Board asked that its land. Go back to nature. The dangerous waste that remained would be contained. The building footprints would be turned into ponds on the water would be tested for the foreseeable future but they also wanted its past to be acknowledged somehow and that's how it became what it is today. A nature preserve that houses visitor center. Documenting the sites dirty history. The walls of the visitor's center are aligned with photos and memorabilia. Serbia Bob Kissed has a quote on the wall. We talked with two full-time workers stationed there sue smiley. The DA's office of Legacy SC management site manager and Penny Borkman who works for a contractor. Both were refreshingly forthcoming about the mistakes of the past. Here's Boardman the way I look at it you know. It's obviously a healing process on the land but it's also healing process in the community so we welcome anybody the WHO burdened by anger hurt. Whatever could've happened in the past? I'd mentioned in an earlier episode. That residents wins have access to medical monitoring that was offered to people living within a five mile radius of the plant when it was operational the monitoring largely stopped in two two thousand eight though. Data's still collected workers can be monitored for life. A study at the University of Cincinnati found that the monitoring programs help catch cancers early enough to better the mortality odds the cleanup ultimately cost nearly four and a half billion dollars. It's a staggering amount especially to David box family. who had I had only wanted death? Benefits accused is brought to you by third love. Third love does bras differently. Their bras are designed to fit you not the other way around designed with measurements from millions of women. Their bras styles are made to fit your life. They have over eighty bra sizes but they also know that the only one that matters is yours. 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Did you know that if everyone in the US bought just one used item. Instead of new in two thousand twenty it would save nearly six billion pounds of carbon urban emissions. That's like taking half a million cars off the road for a whole year. The waste in the fashion industry is insane. Which is why one of my new New Year's resolutions is to shop more sustainably by thrift ing? It's better for the planet and my wallet and it couldn't be easier with threat up threat. Up is is the world's largest online thrift store with up to ninety percent off estimated retail. You can score coach handbags for twenty five dollars. Free people dresses for thirteen. Eighteen dollars made well genes for just twenty five and even J. Crew Sweaters for just twenty bucks all items are in high quality condition. Some even still have the tags on. I recently ordered three shirts a tiki print. Marc Jacobs makeup bag and a coach purse. And I saved a total of five hundred thirty dollars and and ninety five cents which is wild and everything arrived to me. Looking like new get started today shopping with threat up. And I know you'll fall in love just like I. I did and just for listeners of accused. Get thirty percent off your first order at thread up dot com slash accused. That's thirty percent off your first order at T. H. R. E. D. U. P. dot com slash accused terms apply and now back to our story and the people who know for an old best seemed to be content with how things are now but the post shuttering hasn't been without hiccups. One of the companies handling the clean up effort was found to have mismanaged things in the nineteen nineties. And because it seems the site is curse to have safety problems no matter what the company also ignored warnings about looming equipment failures which ultimately did fail and caused significant damage. More recently a local TV journalist named and Wayne pullman reported that more than five hundred pounds of radioactive uranium slowed from the site to the Great Miami River in two thousand seventeen alone since two thousand seven. Some three point three tons of uranium have been dumped into the river. That's because that while the water is constantly tested it's only filtered when the uranium content is high enough to trigger treatment. It costs too much money to continuously filter the water. So it's sometimes done on just a dozen days a year. Here's an analogy. Let's say you have five loads of laundry to do today and you're only given one tub of water. We do it when each load is done. You run a test to see if the water you just use is super dirty and needs filtering before it gets put back into the TUB or if it's only slightly dirty and doesn't trigger the need for filtering even though the latter batch of water is an awful. It isn't totally clean either. This this is how the groundwater at all tested but instead of that slightly dirty water being run through your clothes it's being dumped into the river. All of that slight contamination adds up and in two thousand seventeen. It added up to five hundred pounds. A site contractor confirmed the releases to pullman men but insisted the water is safe by EPA standards soon after this story ran another broke about middle school in Portsmouth Ohio the site of another nuclear facility being closed after enriched uranium was detected inside the school. The school is a few miles from where the plant once stood and that plant stopped. Stop rations in two thousand one. Uranium is tough to get rid of. That's why for knol today is designated a superfund site. There are more within thirteen hundred nationwide fifty four in Ohio alone. It's a federal designation given to land. That's been contaminated by hazardous waste and is considered sittard risk to human health as Mitchell explains but what happens at superfund sites now is that there are always five year reviews every five years. There's is a highly peon. USC Get together with and go over you now is the remedy still working is all the remedies that we put in place out there. Are they still working. They're still protective. have any laws or any rules. Regulations change that would make them not protecting you know like a change in the drinking water standard for uranium or or something like that so all that review. It's it's a pretty big deal so every site every in every site has to go through that. Every superfund site has to go through these five year reviews. It's a it's a pretty good process. Amanda Rosman my producer had mentioned to me recently a story. She'd read about deregulation. I think. That's what prompted her to ask ask. Can it be sold off. You're raising a great question for these sites because you know how long do governments last. And how long do the the things you know institutions last and so You know the rules right now. Say that it has to stay stay in the federal government's ownership in perpetuity. But if somehow some day the history is lost in houses are built there. Well that would lead to a whole new set of parents feeling betrayed and scared for their children. Brin David Boxes Family kept tabs on the headlines over the years Casey box his daughter had a tough time. Envisioning the land ever being improperly cleaned up so when the site was open to the public to show off the cleanup progress. She couldn't resist visiting. This was in the nineties. She went with her mother under grandmother. While when we got there I went up to somebody was talking to. They were an employee her and ask them how long they worked there. And I told him who I was and he kind of looked at being okay and I told them my dad was and all that stuff and he kind of cut the conversation off their you know well well nice major blah blah blah. I noticed the rest of the day that somebody he he went one way. I want the other but I've noticed somebody was following me throughout the whole tour of their. This wasn't the same person but it was somebody body but yeah he. This person followed me all the way until at laughed so they knew who I was because it was just too weird strangely. It seems Bob Kiss. Burt remembers this visit as well though it's Carleen Casey's as his mum and David's ex wife who noticed but We had a display of different plants. And she kept focused on the one. So wonder what's a little break with what I was doing. I went over and I gave her time and ask her if I asked for any of her questions and she asked whether that was planned six and I said yes I explained a little. What on and she separately said? I'm Dave box widow. Well I hit me between the eyes. 'cause you don't expect that so She just wanted to look at the pictures where the operation Russian was done where he wanted to salt bath. Carleen died suddenly in a farming accident in two thousand. She had fought for answers for children. She'd filed several lawsuits and giving depositions. She and David had divorced sure but they'd been kissed together and they'd had kids together. That kind of connection doesn't always end just because the relationship does over the decades. David's three children have trouble trouble explaining just how their dad's death has weighed on them over the decades when you lose apparent young. It's like losing your footing in life. Each has had had a rough ron dealing with emotional and substance issues Tony. The oldest is open about the alcoholism battled just like his father. Did but that wasn't doesn't is only struggle at least throughout my twenties and early thirties I was a very very very bitter person. I I self medicated with alcohol severely and didn't really stop drinking until my forties and today from myself off medication I learned through the therapy. That you self medicate over depression just as it's tough to know whether for an in all deploys would have fallen sick had not worked at the plant. David's kids can't know their lives would have been less tumultuous had he lived as I said earlier. Nothing nothing happens. In a vacuum. After David died the hits kept coming for them if you look up the unsolved mysteries where Casey's interviewed you don't just see a younger longer version of herself. You see a more open less traumatized person the one you meet today you know. My mom was killed in her front yard and a farming accident. The list could go on and uncle and my uncle being hit by a car up one point in twenty eight you know and just a number of do things that have happened in like why is she sustained offers. Because I hate people I despise people full. You know I wanna get to know anybody and until I had one lady. Why are you so bitter? You've really you want me give you a list so I started list and stuff. They're like okay. I'm sorry I asked. I'd be bitter too you know and it's but you know you just do what you gotta do on. Don't be fooled by her talk. Though Mike a lot of tough people people you sent. She's got a soft inside. Maybe a little too soft. Maybe that's why she's forged such a hard outer shell she's funny to in. This is dry stephen right kind of way. One of my favorite moments in our interviews was her reaction to noise outside of our meeting room at a local library my fiance tale tell people you know occasionally about it or somebody will see the unsolved mysteries and be like thank guys Thursday child screaming side of the door. Okay go ahead but you are. Somebody will see the unsolved mysteries and say that you you know and then or they'll be. I'm not much for people and it's only because of because of that outside the door. That's one of the reasons but the things that I've gone through my life. I mean my dad was the tip of the iceberg see why some animal kingdoms eat their young Amanda and they were careful not to get hopes up. We investigated this case. We learn from season one that we can find all sorts of avenues to pursue and police can sound like like they're ready to pursue them but that doesn't mean they will. I can't tell you for sure. Where the Beth? Andy's investigation stands. Because the most police say now is is that they're working on it. Whatever that means when we took on this case our goal was to find new avenues? Sure but it was also to just give this case and open mind. Signed the time it deserved. David's kids lost their father. A man they loved man who shaped them our goal was to simply give this case as proper attention and we did that but as we near the end. We realize that wouldn't be enough when we talked with detective elder RUCCI. He at one point said Tain if there's something new to pursue it should be pursued. He also said he wouldn't be the guy to do it because he's retired so we reached out to his former department to see if any one there would be willing to sit with US and learn what we've found. That's how we got connected with a major named bill. Rarick accused is supported by ritual. 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So fill in the gaps in your diet with essential for women a small all step that helps support a healthy foundation for your body visit ritual dot com slash accused to start your ritual today. That's ten percent off during your first three months at ritual dot com slash accused. Working out is hard. It's always been hard even when it's easy it's it's still pretty hard. Baba socks can't change that but they can make more comfortable so if your resolution is to get fit this year start getting socks that can keep up. Every step of the way I've been wearing Bomba's cushioned no show socks for a few years now wearing some now and there really is nothing better out there. I've actually tried to find better socks and I can't and now whether you're very into sports or planning on getting very into sports it's Baba's can help with performance. Socks in styles made specially for basketball tennis running golf and more. They're made with a lightweight poly cotton blend and which means no matter how hard you're working your feet will stay cool dry and comfortable never sweaty. Oh and constantly causing your treadmill to adjust twisted and bunched up. Socks is enough to make anyone ready to quit. That's why Bomba's are designed with left right contouring and a Y.. Stitched he'll so they stay perfectly in place. This go to Bombay Dot com slash accused today and get twenty percent off your first purchase that's be Om B. A. S. dot com slash accused accused for twenty percent off Bumba dot com slash accused and now back to our story on a gray rainy morning in early November. A man I met at the newsroom in headed a mile to the Hamilton County sheriff's office which we lead with. Okay I mean after that. Have you given this on. You thought it was this strange meeting to prepare here for because it's odd for journalists to share what they've found with law enforcement and this felt otter still we knew the department already had adopted the suicide theory and we don't really see that as being plausible. We'd never say it's impossible. We try to keep the blinders off still. Because because that's the official department thinking. We figured we should focus on the UN pursued angles with extra vigor. A usually don't you try to argue a case. Yeah I mean that's like counter intuited to me so but they're already going to be so biased toward the Ridgeville investigation. Yeah that I feel like we have to kind of at least the enthusiastic. Explain why we think it should be. It just looked into the sheriff's office is in a sort of complex on Sycamore Street in Cincinnati near the county jail. It's nestled among mom-and-pop in pop diners and bail bondsman after we went inside we had to go through security rarick and I had talked briefly on the phone. But this was our first time meeting in person. We're the more severe enough. Thank you the four Bill O.. Look yes We said he wanted to hear out but he asked us not to record our meeting. Mostly because he didn't know us I I suspect he might have thought we were there to capture some kind of Gotcha moment but the truth is we. Don't hold out hope that any detective will have time to listen to some seven seven hours of podcast chronicling our year long investigation so we wanted to meet in person and synthesize things in hopes of peaking someone's interest enough to take take seriously the possibilities presenting we agreed to click off the recorder so everyone could feel comfortable speaking freely. rarick brought autour meeting Captain Tony or RU. Who Heads Investigations? I had forwarded rarick the public files I'd used and it was clear. He had taken a few days to familiarize vice himself with this case from before his time. Amanda and I laid everything out the whistleblowing theory. The reason we're not sure suicide makes sense. The reports of drug sales at Fernald and the inconsistencies in certain witness's testimony. Both detectives were guarded in how they responded which is no surprise. It's an interview technique one that most journalists used to you learned to minimize your reaction. So you don't lead the subject in any particular direction and we were careful to say. We don't think elder RUCCI was lazy or malicious. We have reason to believe he's a good detective. A good doesn't mean infallible. Nor should it. Everyone can be wrong The points we emphasized for these that David got someone suspended but but that person wasn't asked his whereabouts or question critically beyond discerning that it likely wasn't his motorcycle spotted by a CO worker. The morning of David's death that despite said co-worker finding motorcycles presence unusual enough to report no one bothered pinning down who cycle it was that suicide aside seemed highly improbable given the size of the vats opening that investigators insistence that no one could have put David in the VAT seems bizarrely intractable given that employees. Who knew that? That far. Better Demon possible that Charlie Schaus was the only person to ever say. David seem despondent and yet he for some reason told investigators that Harry agreed with him when he didn't that. No one investigated Schaus despite him. I'm having put himself with the dead man at the time of death the to push back here and there for example or said if workers knew that as as well as it seemed. Wouldn't they have known it wasn't a perfect place to get rid of evidence. Wouldn't they know all about the melting point various metals in that bits of bone might survive. Maybe we said but then again they would typically just put two items in that VAT fruit and uranium ingots. It's possible they didn't think about metal. Well I let's and steel toed boots. If you're in a hurry to dispose of a body you might take what you get when I said ten minutes was an awfully long time time for us to have talked with David to try and get them to open up. Its he told. Detectives initially rarick strategically shrugged. Maybe Schaus was wrong on the time. I'm maybe it was only five minutes still. I said five minutes is a long while to ignore somebody's questions. Wouldn't that have felt like an eternity. Xiao all standing there asking questions of a man who wouldn't reply. Did it bother him that after this one sided conversation David immediately would would've strolled into plants six to dive into a VAT of molten salt. There's no right way to respond to trauma but if you apply a tiny bit of common incense and human nature to the scenario something seems off. It's possible there's an easy explanation but man. It'd be nice if somebody bother desk after. The meeting. Amanda night chatted in her car. That was really nervous. That I I like dude I felt like was stonewalling. US right from the beginning. Yeah and then it got better. Yeah he you know what he was doing he does this thing. I do my interviews where you know. He's holding back and he's just trying to listen to the tip his hand at all but then he said a few things during where he's was like well that doesn't make sense right so I definitely felt better about that Yeah I it's hard to read. Yeah but I feel I feel heard. Yeah I do. I do feel like we were heard just as as we try not to raise false hope with victims families or ruin rarick tried to temporary expectations to this case is very old after all so the necessary certain pieces might be missing to do anything about it now still. The last thing they told us was that they were intrigued and willing to reopen the case. Amanda asked if that was something we could tell David's kids sure they said pass along or Info and let people know they can reach out to us with tips later that day. We called Tony. The reason we wanted to talk is because we wanted to let you know. We thought it was important to tell you rather than you learn it from the podcasts. We have brought a what we've found to the sheriff's department and they and they they said I'm I'm being very cautious here because I don't want you know any false hope. They said they're reopening the case while. Aw How thank you so I could almost cry something about your parents no matter whether they we're good or bad or around or not there early impressions on you never really go away. Tony is fifty three now. When we met for our first interview he said something interesting? He was forty two forty three years old when he died near forty three. You know thirty nine. Gosh Tony is now nearly a decade and a half older than his dad ever reached and yet him when he thinks about him he sees a man bigger older wiser than he is. I still look up to him like He. He's he's The I mean he's my dad. You know and my last memories of eamonn. I'm still thinking. Melvin as my dad and I'm fifty three. It's it's been a every day. I think having to every single day we never stopped being our parents children. We never stop looking up to them even after we figured out that they weren't magical all knowing beings but rather just people doing their best to get by same as we are now that we're grown up to to not long. After we talked Tony Center taxed after we hung up. He did have a cry. It was like a pressure valve had been loosened on thirty five years worth of frustration and anger and bitterness. That had built he knows finding the concrete. Irrefutable truth is still a long shot. But that's someone listened that they're willing to try. That's worth a lot to a family who suspicions been ridiculed for decades Amanda Phil and I have been back and forth to the fernald preserve probably half a dozen times times over the past year. We've walked some trails and trailed some geese and watch the sunset turned the CATTAILS Beautiful Golden Hue. It's peaceful useful there but once you know the story of the place it can be tough to block it out at the end of the drive. Not Far past the spot where a historical marker occur stands. Today was once guard house where armed men kept curious visitors at bay. Those beautiful puns were once the foundations of filthy. It'll be contaminated buildings beneath the Earth radioactive waste remains encased in concrete. There's little left outside of the visitor's center center to help you visualize the way things were before. It's tough to Orient Yourself even to figure out where plant six stood when David met his fate. There can't quite calm the unease. I feel when I visit and unease. That comes from knowing the dark history of such serene-looking place and that's that's probably a good thing that history shouldn't be forgotten not the history of the plant nor of David himself. People died on this land and for this cause lies were told to keep secret. Dark truths hidden here. David box died here and the people tasked asked with figuring out why we're contented dismiss it as a mystery never to be solved when a tragedy occurs. We don't always find a clear answer her. That's just how the real world works but that doesn't mean it's okay to slap a convenient explanation onto it and walk away hoping that everyone forgets. It's like using a band aid to cover a bullet wound. It's not a fix. The problem is still there festering. We can't forget what happened at for not all just because the people in charge muddied the waters so much that sifting the lies from the truth is near impossible no matter why David died there the the fact is he did and for some reason all the avenues to figure out why weren't explored. He deserves to be remembered not as an urban legend but as a father he deserves it but the rest of renauld demands to be remembered. Because if it isn't if it's history is somehow forgotten Someone Someday will unwittingly reopen the earth. There and unleash some deadly secrets To bench this season go to. WWW dot wondering dot com slash is plus. That's W O N D E R Y DOT COM slash P L U S to support the creators of accused directly. Go to our patron donors. Get Bonus this content. Dan Burley episodes. That's at Patriot dot com slash accused. This is a special project from the Cincinnati Inquirer part of the USA Today network narrated needed by amber hunt produced by Amanda Rosman engineered by Phil Dibbin and edited by any will send in turn Mark Rosenberg provided additional research. Music was was composed by Andrew. Higley to look case documents photos videos and more visit accused podcast dot com as noted. Some audio comes from living history. Projects Projects in the community. Alliance transcript to those interviews are available on all community alliance Dot Org
Chapter 2: Testing the suicide theory
"Before we start a disclaimer. We're going to talk about suicide in this episode and because of the unusual circumstances of this case will be more descriptive give about the suspected method than we normally would. We have to be. Frankly if we want to examine whether it was even possible for those of you who who struggle with thoughts of suicide. I'm a big believer in organizations like crisis text line and the national suicide prevention hotline. They exist is to get you through the toughest days as I like to say no one reaches eighty and says they wish they killed themselves at twenty things. Do get better and now I'll move on previously on accused to tell you about the guy they found in the salt of six fix. It was a Brenner work third shift and he disappeared and he showed me this furnace. It had molten salt or just looked like law always look that way made what I thought was a thorough search the plant I just knew in my mind I was never gonNA get any resolution to it. Nobody could have put him in there other than putting himself. I'm amber hunt and this is accused the mysterious death of David box former Hamilton. County sheriff's detective. Peter all day RUCCI dozen equivocate when it comes to how David box died. I still think he committed suicide. I still say hundred percent. No one who knew David well agrees but that can happen when someone kills himself. People can hide depression. They can become masters at disguising the pain they feel inside loved. Ones can be blindsided especially if there's no note so imagine if there's no body. I can't know for sure whether David was suicidal. I never met him so I wouldn't pretend to try but I'll be up front want that. I have trouble with the suicide theory. The reason I have trouble is the way David would have had to have done it. What we determined that he wants commit suicide? He had to get back. Run up those steps in either jump or dive in that small. Opening other rookies theory. In short it is that David either dove or cannon balled into a VAT of molten salt. It sounds awful and we can debate the likelihood that anyone would choose to die in such a way but that really wouldn't get us anywhere to me. The bigger question is whether it was even physically possible That's what we'll be looking at in today's episode from Black Friday hangovers and winter closet splurges to unwanted gifts and tons of trash wrapping paper. Our favorite season also happens to be one of of the most stressful and wasteful times of the year threat up. The world's largest online thrift store is here to help because whether you're shopping for yourself or for a loved one choosing used instead of new means you're being gentler on your wallet and the planet. There's something for everyone at threat up. You can score coach handbags for twenty twenty five dollars. 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It was my mom who decided who wanted the divorce. And of course my dad came very Catholic family and a strong willed mother and he didn't want it. But you know he obliged that's Casey Drake box David starter. She says the divorce was who says heartbreaking to David as it was a wakeup call after his marriage imploded. David quit drinking alcohol cold Turkey in the throes of alcohol hall withdrawal. He started hallucinating. While he was detoxing. Withdrawal can do that. It's serious stuff. David would say things that struck his brother. Peter Peter and their parents is odd. Almost like somebody had crossed a few wires in his brain or knock things out of order. This landed David on a hospital. L. Psychiatric Ward where. He was diagnosed with schizophrenia. In nineteen seventy six while hospitalized. He told doctors he felt guilty about his divorce He figured it was mostly his fault. He said because he didn't spend enough time with his family. Once David was released he worked hard to write things He stayed friendly with this X.. And moved in with his parents. The timing worked out because David's mom was ill so he was there to help take care of her. She had a stroke and died in nineteen seventy nine seven months after his mom staff. David's brother Peter took him to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center. Peter told doctors that he thought David was struggling with their mother's death but it was more than that. He was also butting heads with his father. Casey Seve remembers that her dad and her grandfather were sometimes at odds her grandfather was strong willed New Yorker bed. Ed Demanding My my dad always tried to be the son that they love the most Astir at least in his opinion which was his brother. Paul could never live up to his brother. Paul none of them so he felt really taken by that so no matter what he did he always felt that he was never good enough for my grandfather. Grandmother make us you know. He wasn't Paul. Gibbons Paul was the oldest of the three sons he'd gone to college gotten a graduate degree then moved west and worked in computer sales David and his other brother. Peter just weren't as book smart as Paul. They both stayed in Ohio and got jobs. Their parents parents didn't boast about as often as Paul's David especially was content with being a laborer. He didn't read much but he was good with his hands. It always bothered him that his dad didn't seem to value that Casey says the hospital notes from this time period are in that language. Only psychiatrist US David was in a state of internal disorganization and he demonstrated psychotic thought blocking Iran. That through a Google translator of sorts. And it means he couldn't get his spots ordered enough to speak so he would sometimes struggle to answer questions for up to a minute at a time. It's a common common symptom of schizophrenia. The report also says David quote did not report hallucinations and said he had no thought of hurting himself. Or others and quote quote the doctrine note suggest. His condition wasn't severe. He stayed in the hospital for three weeks. Went home on a medication called trillion about three months later he was cooking a meal for his ex wife and kids when he impulsively took three hundred milligrams of Trillo Fon nearly ten times. His prescribed dose of thirty two milligrams that landed him back in the hospital. Though for a brief or stay it was while he was there that time. That David Stat died of Empha- Zima but the doctor's notes that he handled the news. Pretty well if anything. It might have been a relief. This was early nineteen eighty and and it marks David's last hospitalization his psychiatrist Clifford Cruelly. The third wasn't convinced that trill Ifan overdose was a genuine attempt to kill himself. It seemed to the doctor more like an impulsive cry for help. David stayed on his medication and continued regularly seeing the doctor who gradually lowered David's dose of trilogy onto eight milligrams when police combed David's house after his disappearance Prince they found a prescription bottle with the appropriate number of pills missing for the month. It seemed David was still taking medication regularly. The coworkers we interviewed had no clue. He had been diagnosed with a mental illness. That isn't surprising really given the stigma attached and the fact that David wasn't much of talker anyway and besides those hospitalizations came before David was even hired it for an old by nineteen eighty-four. He was by all accounts a hardworking seemingly together man. It was tough not living with his kids but he wasn't alone. He and his brother inherited their parents parents house and live together up until the year before David staff at that point David Refinance the house just enough to buy Peter's half so peter could move him with his wife Hyphen Stepchildren. David's kids were shielded from his psychiatric issues but his daughter Casey would eventually find and file notes from. I'm David Psychiatrist. WHO has since died for years? She kept the notes as well as a bunch of other documents and a box. She labeled Dad's death that's box before she led a mandate and I borrow the box. For this project she scribbled the label out where you might creep us out it didn't Dr girlies notes describe a sensitive man. Who wanted to be well? He told police he had last. Seen David in April and everything had been unstable for years since that last hospitalization in fact to Greeley said he often talked about David as one of his success stories. David had rebounded so fully so heartily that Cruelly Brag about him he was shocked by the death and dubious. David would kill himself. Casey was to in. She still is today. Her memories of her father aren't of a withdrawn depressed man. Yes he had struggled gold during and after the divorce but he and Carleen. That's Casey's mother's name we're comfortably co-parenting as they call it today they were cordial you know they worked everything out. If my dad was little short on money to pay for child support them they worked everything out very well. You know you hear of so many people that have you know their each other's throats in front of the kids behind the kids around the you know. I mean they had a very can divorce relationship that I can tell. David didn't date. After his divorce he led a life that was a lot like personality quiet one for an all-day employees remembered poking fun at David at work the reason I used to kid him USA required to take shower required twice in fact at at the start and end of each shift to curtail contamination. You had were shower shoes. He never wore anytime. I said you don't get your feel one of these days. And he goes through their barefooted. That was George Beset. One of David's CO workers. Harry Sterling was another. He was in fact. The Guy who carpooled with David most shifts he remember. David is nice if not chatty the night of the disappearance hairy last saw David at lunchtime because assist was third shift. Their lunch break was around four in the morning. Harry told police David was quiet that lunch but no more than usual. They ate eight without saying much eating together. Were Harry David and a supervisor of theirs named Charlie Schaus Harry's the one who left the written notes for David saying sorry. I waited as long as I could. Thirty five years later. He still struggled to understand what could have happened that night. Here's US talking. In January January twenty nineteen was there anything in his state of mind including maybe seeming happier than usual that on curriculum. Let me tell you this. He had just bought a new lunchbox. I guess he bought it that day before we went into work because you we went upstairs to eat it was like hey. Where'd you get that man? I just bought this box and I'm thinking why if the guy's going to jump into something like that kill herself would go buy a brand new spots but you know they say people do weird things when they're contemplating suicide. That's true. Get I. I talked to a pathologist about a different case Jason. He said you know Survivors often think of you. Know why rationally would he have done X Y and Z. And he's like go. You can't apply ration because suicide is irrational. Okay so I always dropping kids on vacation to. Yeah so what is what is your guy. What do you think happened? got a clue never did never did figure out what was what happened for the people who knew him outside of work all said the same thing even if David had crossed the threshold into suicidal thoughts and hit it. There's there's no way he would have done it by throwing himself into a VAT of molten salt. I mean who would do that like I said though. That's not really the question I wanna WanNa answer. Would I want to know is. Was it even possible excuses. Quick break the episode. You're listening to now was released east already on our patron page at Patriotair Dot com slash accused. You can get early ad free episodes there as well as bonus episodes behind the scenes peeks. Qna Rene sessions and even a brand new crime in journalism. podcast if you like what we do here consider joining us over there for this episode. We're releasing video and photos. Goes from our efforts to build a replica of that in which David box for means were discovered again for this content and more support us at Patriotair Dot com slash. Accused him on a hot July by day. A group of co-workers and I gathered together on my front lawn with a stack of two by fours a box of screws and power tools. Our goal was to build a big old rectangle box with an opening matching the dimensions of the salt. That at Fernald we would have loved to have seen the bat itself itself but it was destroyed more than twenty years ago. All we have left her photographs and sketches which luckily included measurements. We also have the memories of former workers. It just looks like hell. I mean it just looked like what you look down at Hill and there was a big hole in the ground. That's what it looked like. Big Open rid hone aground. That's Harry again. In total Harry worked at Fernald for about five years and had seen the salt fat and plants and six plenty of times he describes it as a hole in the ground but in reality it was a few feet off the ground workers would sometimes gathered a look at at it. He said the slurry inside glowed. Cherry red like lava volcano. Yeah here are the dimensions. Given police reports the was four feet deep three feet wide and ten and a half feet long. It's Walsworth thick. It's inside for only accessible from the top which was usually covered by a long live that protected most of the opening I say most because even when the lid was on it didn't quite white reached the top edge of the VAT onside. That opening was too small to be really useful so a huge piece of equipment set nearby that workers would use. I used to hook onto a handle in the center of the LID and lifted off. Once the VAT was open. The uranium ingots described an episode. One could be lowered inside inside. Harry sounded scared of the bat but some of the workers had fun with it good. It's been said that some people take apples over there. They and in order to get rid of the core they pitch it up into the salt bath tank which was pretty effect. This is is Jessie Be a former for an old worker interviewed for the Living History Project in nineteen ninety nine when he says the salt bath was effective at getting rid of the apple cores. He's understating things a bit. It gets a little SCIENC- but the gist is. That was so ungodly hot. Got The water. Content content in the fruit would get zapped merely instantly causing a small explosion. The only problem was there was enough moisture and that apple record. When he hit that hot soul it would react and we've put salt on the top long rule from plant six would go off like a shot? Like a very enlarge shotgun. Boy took her the Albacore. They lost little salt process to. It wasn't always always fruit they use. Here's Melvin Dot clearer. We'd have these rubber gloves we'd wear and fill up with water. Take little rubber gloves thought furnace and it was about people playful mood with no supervisor in the first minute pop in like August shot the complied out of the office. The office read your next door. They'd be in where it's cool. We working I see what what happened. They'd go back near they check their heads. You know now you know how hot you can get when you stand next to your oven while you're cooking that's usually in the three hundred to four hundred degree range. Standing next to this bat was uncomfortable especially for any length of time. The plant didn't have special suits for or the workers to wear while near this thing and they generally didn't need them when they would lower the ingots. They do it from a distance using special industrial equipment and Harry Remembers. There was a ladder that you could theoretically used to climb to reach the top. Not that he ever saw anyone using it surprising up to call it a ladder they call it a stairway and it was used to walk up the stairway and then go around the outside edge of it em would that be comfortable or would you be getting hot. The new beginning hot. How Hot Lake? I'm an Asana or I'm going to be up now. Okay Asana so uncomfortable but bearable bright for the record this isn't how Aldo Rucci remembers the detective recalls it being far too hot to even stand next to the vet but we've we've talked to several workers who agree with Harry's memory. This thing was not pleasant but it was possible to stand by it for a short length of time. Regardless what the various people agree on is arguably the most important aspect the opening that allowed access to the thirteen hundred fifty degrees slurry lurie inside with small really small it measured about twenty two inches wide and nine inches deep. Basically if you take two who sheets of paper and tape them together lengthwise I just half an inch to the short side. And you've got the opening steps now. Imagine fitting your body the into that. We use tape to mark the opening on the floor of the accused war room and then ask them male co worker nearby to stand on top of it at looked awfully awfully tight but maybe possible to really test it. I decided we had to do our best. To build a replica about two by fours and four by fours from I'm home depot and asked a worker there to cut them to the right measurements. It was an interesting project to explain. Then my colleagues from work out ended up my house. Amanda was there of course accused editor. Amy Wilson accused intern Mark Rosenberg and enquirer news intern Josh Code. I'd sent out a note to the newsroom looking for someone. Roughly David boxes measurements. Josh was the closest to volunteer. He wasn't a perfect match though. David David was supposedly between one hundred. Eighty two hundred pounds in about six feet tall. Josh is about the right way to around one hundred and eighty pounds. But he's six four four rather than six feet in short. He's skinnier than David was if he fit. It might not mean that David would but if he didn't well that would make it hard to imagine. David could cannonball into that whole the five of us used for by fours this posts and created a rectangular box that was four feet tall. Aw Three feet wide and six feet long the measurements all lined up with the real except the link the real that was ten and a half feet long but evidence David entering the VAT with only near the opening anyway so I didn't feel it was too critical to the experiment. I opted to spare the extra trees Home Depot Had done all of the rough cuts for me but I needed to hand cut about opening myself. I used a hunk of plywood to simulate the cover and then you circular in Jerusalem to slice in an opening of twenty two by nine inches. Then we screwed the plywood to the top of our that and grabbed a ladder. Mark the accused in turn got the inaugural attempt because favouritism. He's slim and five nine. So far smaller than David facing sway or like turned and facing you know I would face this way because then you can go to your body. Yeah and I'm going to yeah. Do not try to jump in just looking ease yourself in. He'd made it inside but only by keeping keeping his body stiff and perfectly upright and even then it was tight around his torso next came Josh. WHO's slightly closer in proportions to David? I'm getting hard-right beer shoulders. Yeah keep going. What do you do he would have been had I? I wouldn't it so he would have been. That's the only way he couldn't get his lower half into the whole without shimmying his rear back and forth the way you might if you were trying to force on a pair of too tight jeans. His shoulders were in even tighter fit because sal to reach. He said his theory was that David either jumped or dove. We had josh. Try carefully to enter our hands. I that made needed even harder. Can you through there I can I just. I'm I need to be able to touch the ground which I'm probably able to in a few seconds. We're saying yeah you know I think the Divan just for the fact that like once the bin it would in the mating wouldn't work because you're going to have car you're going to be curved your accent your neck. Would Kat your shoulders. It'd be you'd be like right near your your head would explode you laying here. Thank volume of your body is over on this side. It bothered us that we hadn't seen great great full body picture of David to really get a sense of his size his son. Tony thinks the hundred and eighty two hundred pound estimate was a bit low even he he put his dad closer to two twenty. This is Casey again. He was kind of built like What does that actor's name played in forty forty eight hours nick? Nolte okay kind of like that Nick Nolte or because he I used to kind of be about the size he was in forty eight hours. All right I spent weeks eyeing my male co workers in a way that should have landed me in human resources but luckily everyone was understanding once I explained finally after probably a dozen inappropriate questions for weights and heights nights. We found Tyler Dragon. He's the enquirer's lead bengals reporter. He's six foot two and two hundred and thirty pounds slightly heavier than David Food but also slightly taller. His proportions are very close to how Tony described his dad. He wasn't quite as tall as I am. He was about about an inch shorter than I was. I'm six two and a half. He was about six one. He was a pipe fitter so he had really really a big upper body strength in his shoulders and his chest he was really. He was both bulky in his chest arms Uh Stalking got real stalking strong as an ox race through. But it takes a bit of maneuvering like you went in one leg at a time with some with some maneuvering with get your hands on the side shifting shoulder to shoulder actually. Do you mind going back lake from the under so I can see how tight it is on the shoulders. Yeah yeah like I I mean I can get through but there are touching. These experiments did not assuage my doubts. In each case the volunteer could fit. But not without wiggling. There's another other thing to keep in mind to whether David could physically pull off this. Specific method of suicide is about more than whether he could cram his body into a small opening winning. It's also about whether he could do that. Virtually without a trace while entering a VAT of lava so hot that it made apple cores explode upon upon impact. This part of the episode is going to describe the supposed how of David's death. The suicide theory is correct. Normally okay. We wouldn't go into this kind of detail. Experts say suicide contagion Israel and the risk of a copycat increases when you're explicit about the method. We we don't expect. Many people have access to a thirteen hundred and fifty degree back of potassium chloride and sodium chloride mixed together. And we think it's important to understand the physics of what would have happened in order to weigh the likelihood that it did so bear with us. Here what we focus on the how rather than the WHO And be warned. It gets pretty complicated so I'll do my best to keep things simple. As mentioned earlier when workers toss fruit into the back they would explode. An apple is about sixty five percent. Water a human body is about ninety percent. Obviously there's never been a controlled experiment in which it living human was tossed into a substance like this for knol never even had a comparable accident to shed light on how things might have happened. It's all conjecture picture. But it's not uneducated conjecture as part of the original investigation. David's bosses commissioned a scientist named DB he cuts to posit how the slurry would have reacted to David's body. Entering or as cats more fancily says quote calculate the expected temperature effects resulting from the immersion of a human body in the molten salt bath and quote and I thought topsy were too clinical sounding. Cats came up with four scenarios and then did some SCIENC- math stuff to figure out how many degrees the slurry would have dipped. If that's really how the salt bath had had reacted to David's body. He wanted to see which scenario resulted in a temperature. Dip that lined up the closest with what was actually recorded following. Let me so far. We're looking for the temp to dip to thirteen. Hundred and twenty two degrees scenario one when the body was immersed it quickly heated up to match the salaries temperature and then the water inside the body evaporated. If that had been held the slurry reacted to David entering it the temperature in the batch. It should have dropped one hundred and nine degrees to twelve forty one. That's too big a dip. Scenario to the body's water evaporates before it heats up enough to reach the slurs temperature. The temperature drop in. That case is forty nine degrees down to thirteen. O One still still too big a drop those first two scenarios are pretty straightforward. Because they don't figure in the resistance heaters. This gets complicated but it has to do with the way the molten salt was heated in the first place there were these electrodes immersed inside and the that was designed to stay a constant in temperature so as David's body lowered the slurs temp those electrodes would have been fighting to raise it back up. That was their whole job as soon as the temperature dropped just two degrees. Those heaters kicked on 'em work to heat things up again. So scenario three is just just like scenario one but with the formula tweak to assume the electrodes did their job the temperature would have dropped seventy five degrees to twelve seventy five mm-hmm remember. We're looking for the thirteen twenty range so this dip is still too big scenario. Four at the ELECTRODE HOOPLA to scenario to the water in David's body evaporated without reaching the slurry temperature. I this would have dropped the temperature. Fifteen degrees to thirteen hundred and fifty five If we're looking for thirteen twenty two now we're too high. The final scenario is number five. Which takes the first theory that David's body heated up to thirteen fifty? Before the water evaporated plus the resistance heaters adding heat plus one more thing. Remember how apple's would explode mm-hmm yeah. This scenario assumed that the non water portion of David's body would have combusted the way the apples did that would have dropped the temperatures turn sixty two degrees making the final bath temperature. Twelve hundred eighty eight now. We're too low again. Cats the scientists whose matthew the Justice wrote in his memo that he thought David's body would have exploded like the apples or is he said it quote scenario number five. It's expected to most closely approximate. The actual bizarre events postulated to have occurred at the salt bath. Furnace and quote perplexed. lex Tim that his temperature calculations didn't line up with that scenario. The fourth scenario the water in David's body evaporated before it reached thirteen. I'm fifty degrees and the resistance heaters. Did their jobs is the one that comes closest. But it's still more than thirty degrees off and it clearly wasn't the scenario. Oh catch thought was most likely those apples they would hit the slurry and the water inside would've operates so quickly that the non water part the apple combusted. It was violent cats thought. That's what would have happened to David to. And there's reason to think that it kind of did the. The underside of the vet slid was coded by that sick dark material that none of the workers had ever seen before it was like a crusty or version of the black black sludge found on top of the actual slurry. Investigators figured that win the body. Hit the slurry the water about berated quickly and the non water parts combusted leaving their mark on the lid that was only four feet deep and David was six feet tall from our experiments. The only way David could possibly fit through the opening was to enter a completely upright. He couldn't have Dovan an angle. He was too broad to enter that way. He couldn't have cannonball either even if his aim had been perfect. His hips in rear would have gotten stuck in the entrance. You would think that both of these ways in would have been messy leaving bits of clothing or bone or flesh on the outside of the VAT. None of that was found. The only thing mentioned outside of the vet the report was a small bid the black sludge. Otherwise there's nothing amiss on the outside. There's another issue too as explained in episode one the temperature in that dipped two distinct times within a short time period that implies that something entered two separate times so for just a second. Let's set aside the opening size for a minute and assume it was big enough for David. If you envision. David's body entering and getting dissolved resolved suicide seems hellish but plausible David jumps in lakes. I the bottom half of him disintegrates. And once it's gone the top half slides through the whole and follow suit therefore his body enters have and you get to depths but if Dr Katz was right the body wouldn't have just simply dissolved. It would have exploded. How could it have combusted but left no clothing fragments? No bones. No bits of flesh or appendages appendages. When something that big explodes with it really stay? So self contained trusting. Dr Katz is calculations. The slurry temperature temperature dipped too much for that scenario. So what if David's full-body didn't go in at once if half of his hundred eighty to two hundred pound body one in first just then. The second half went in a bit later. How would that affect the numbers? Unfortunately cats is memo. Didn't include any equations for us to provide another scientists ientist to double check and high school science speak. He didn't show his work. You still. I wanted to chat with scientists to at least run these scenarios. Pass someone someone other than cats. I've found physiologist whose expertise looked like. It would be helpful and then I sent him the most bizarre and morbid email. I've probably he ever sent. My name is Christopher Minson. I'm a professor at University of Oregon in the Department of Human Physiology and weirded out all your colleagues asking about my my query weirded out a lot of people one or two people actually said. I can't even talk about this. No look into my life. Exactly one of them said. I'm a very visual person. I can't do this over like I'm a visual person too but I still want to do it so well. Thank thank you very much for taking the time and not being weirded out when I e mailed I sent Minson the memo that cats had drafted after mulling the scenarios in chatting with colleagues for or a few days. He talked on the phone with me about his thoughts. I found that really really interesting. I think They did a very good job as far as Looking through and identifying the the potential effects of dropping body into one thousand three hundred fifty degree Temperature is seeing the temperature off from that kind of match the right size. He found on the second dip especially curious. It's possible he said that. The first step was from David's body being immersed initially and then the second dip was when moisture evaporated from his body I would have thought that it would evaporate faster than the or the almost almost instantaneous. But is pretty clear that that's not the case and so The those really compelling and certainly Vapid Choline power strong and so that that again matched with as satisfying as that body when there seems to be for sure Minson disagreed with cat hat. Someone key point. He's less inclined to think a human body would explode once in the solution because human skin isn't as thick as apple skin. I was suspect it would behave differently. Simply because our skin tissue more than the hard work hard casing Watermelon right in that case it's GonNa evaporate the waters insides expanded so fast it's GonNa explode outside the Shell We don't really have a hard shell in. Our skin can definitely the skin. As soon as a skin touch it's gonNA start blistering and the water skinny operate out. You know It is is conceivable that that could happen but is never heard anything about people spontaneously ainsley exploding in that kind of regard or any kind of tissue. I haven't heard of that either but then I've never heard of anything analogous to this scenario period. Ed The closest thing I could think of would be someone dying in what Harry Easterling said the slurry look like lava. That's how I found out him. Ken't Volkan allergists with Oregon State University. He said he's asked surprisingly frequently. What would happen if a human went into a volcano so he'd already given given a fair amount of thought before he got my query? I guess it's one of those bizarre Macabre subjects that gets the imagination going. He directed me online to a video of someone tossing crossing a bag of what's described as organic waste into a volcano. I hear a pop like a gunshot is the bag of waste. DROPS CBS through the top layer of black molten rock and causes a stream of glowing red lava to burst through the camera recording. This is too far away to captured the rest of the sound but you can see a series of explosions for more and more lava out opening a huge hole in the crusty. Top layer can't explains any water in the human body or other wet material would PR- pretty much very quickly if not instantaneously turned to steam That steam would be Much higher pressure than the liquid water was and we're trying to escape the lava retards that and then so you get But as you get sort of pressure released explosions cause pressure connery's foster enough of the lava or so much. They can't get out of the road of esteem soon enough and you get some explosions. This is why I fall in the probably exploded. Camp though without conducting a gruesome tests myself. I wanted wanted to note that smart people can disagree on this theory back in nineteen eighty four. The focus seemed to be on how the slurry might react to a human body. But I wanted to know how David's body might have reacted to the slurry. If he'd gone in feet I would. He bled vomited passed out been been able to Shimmy into that opening. Minson said that whatever part of David's body went in I likely would have been cauterize. Meaning the searing heat heat the slurry would seal the wound and prevent bleeding meanwhile the moisture in the tissue would have been evaporating incredibly quickly. It would have been extremely extremely painful so painful that David might have passed out straight away and that would have been a blessing. Because had David been conscious. He would have been in unbelievable pain. I can't imagine some being able to tolerate that level of pain getting himself in slowly so so a WHO long story short. I guess I can say is is I'd be really surprised if someone lowered themselves into this willingly with the level of pain mm-hmm and In all the other associated aspects of of the mental side of it that would be so difficult. If David couldn't Shimmy how would he have managed H to fit himself so perfectly into that small hole. If your brain hurts hurts from all the hypotheticals I completely understand. I've been mulling this for months. The truth is without throwing a body into molten salt. We can't really know what would happen to one yet. I'll the RUCCI. The investigator is one hundred percent. Sure to this day that David killed himself asked asked him why he was so certain. You couldn't get close enough to it when a furnace was on when it was in a dormant state but you know at night when we use it you couldn't get within ten feet of it it. It'd be so hot it would just burn to death so nobody could have killed him. Carry them up. There were steps going up at the end of the salt furnace. What we determined that he wants to commit suicide? He had to get back. Run up those steps in either jump or dive in that small opening. That's the same reason. David's family is sure he wouldn't have killed himself in this horribly unpleasant way and here. It's being used as proof by the detective. It's the only way he could have died. And the only way that Alder Rucci believes it's possible is if David dove or cannon bald in the two ways that our our front yard experiment convinced us couldn't have happened. Do you look at the possibility of homicide at all. We had no reason to. Yo you think that but there was no indication of evidence to show of any homicide. He was despondent. We knew that he was having psychological problems. Can I push back a little sure. Because his last psychological episode had been years earlier his family said he was fine he still had to end up in that furnace us and nobody could put them in there. That's the thing nobody could put him in there other than him putting himself in there if he had been Say say there was a fight. He's punched somebody else could have carried them up. That right couldn't carry them up there too hot. Nobody could get that close to put him in there. That's the thing that was the main thing that we were questioning. How could anybody put him in there? They don't have heat resistant suits at for to get close. Listen to that. There's just nobody could have carried me. That space was so close they put him in there and had to splash. Because what happens just like if you have a grease in a skillet with Greece on it you throw some water on it. It pops in his splatters all over. That's what happens because the workers used to take watermelons and you know pieces of a watermelon. Throw a minute bomb would explode. That would up. Human Body is going to do the same so if somebody was that close to do that they would have been burnt if they could have gotten that close and they couldn't who was just too hot. I told him it didn't seem a logical place to kill oneself. He countered but I've seen a lot of people kill themselves a lot. I've investigated a lot of suicides and people doing very logical ways even people that know better doctors. You know people like that. Kill themselves in very strange ways. I don't mean to be graphic here but what have you seen so lady at right before Christmas. When her whole family was coming to her house? opened up her her freezer. You know she had a standalone freezer got inside and close. The door just locked herself in what Diana I'm right before everybody's coming to her house she leave a notice your thing. I tried to ask how he was so sure. This freezer death wasn't an accident but he went on to describe a few other scenes he'd worked on and we moved on do agree that lack of logic can't be used to rule out a suicide method. It's not always the logical act. It's often too impulsive for that. The New England Journal of Medicine says that anywhere between one third to four-fifths of all suicide attempts are impulsive interviews with people who survive their attempts. The Journal found that twenty four percent took less than five minutes between the decision to kill themselves and the actual attempt to seventy percent took less than one hour so the sign says. It's possible. Maybe even likely that if David put himself in that furnace it wasn't a planned action it's possible in urge suddenly hit him and he did something. Rash I concede that Florida vacation plans a new lunchbox And a full fridge of food might not be solid evidence. He couldn't have made a spur of the moment decision. But when I look at the tiny opening of my homemade salt that I can't can't imagine anyone over age ten thinking they could fit into that whole I asked the physiologist. Okay so when you're when you're talking talking to people what's the percentage of people who go yeah suicide versus no. I'd say almost to to a person. Everyone said not suicide really expecting that. That's a I think a lot of thought it was either. The Persons Killed Elden put in there. B B so almost impossible to get a conscious human into that that Yellow surprised by that too. So I was thinking you know initially that there could be some evidence for suicide. But boy. If you're going to you know if you wanted to it's really have your body disappear completely That would probably a way to go at it but to actually think about the pain saying that the person would go through consciously to drop themselves in it and the cannonball diving in kind of solution. I can't see how you can have that good enough aim and hope to get it right. The bottom line for me is that while it might have been physically possible. David put himself in that. Vat the likelihood seem mm slim. I'm generally an outcomes razor kind of Gal. The simplest solution is almost always the right. One is suicide in this case possible muscle. I'd never say no but likely likely enough to completely bypass any chance of murder. That's the tough sell David's family never believed he killed himself but they were as certain as they could be that he was dead nearly two years after the disappearance his family only tried to get him declared legally dead. It was the only way that his kids could be awarded his pension and life insurance or even consider suing his bosses for wrongful death breath. Usually someone has to be missing for five years before they're declared dead but with bones in the furnace. They thought there was no point in waiting it out out. They were sure David wasn't coming back. A judge sided with the family and David was declared dead twenty two months after he disappeared then the family decided they wanted to sue for workers compensation if he died a work related death. His kids could stay claim on death. Benefits this is where the the suicide theory really picks up steam and for pretty cynical reasons. First let's back up on June twenty seventh nineteen eighty-four for less than ten days after David disappeared a company. Safety engineer named W M Edwards submitted an informal review of David's disappearance silence from the NFL. Oh plant it's typed single spaced in three pages long in it. The engineer seems to cast at least a shadow of doubt on David having died inside the VAT at all it reads quote. Currently there is evidence but no proof except for the radio and keys found in the bath. That would time Mr Mr Boxes disappearance to the findings in the furnace and quote Edwards. points out that while there was like material found. They couldn't confirm it was bone at. Aw much less human bone the report points out too that the furnace was pretty far off the ground David would have had to climb on top in during the heat and then work to enter the tank. Through the small opening Edwards says bluntly quote there appears to be no reasonable symbol. Way that Mr box could have accidentally gotten into the salt bath on the contrary it would have required a very determined mental and physical effort on his part to accomplish this act and quote so the report in short says. Maybe David wasn't in the VAT and if he was he didn't just just slip he would have had to have been incredibly determined to put himself in there now back to the lawsuit. Casey says her family wanted to sue. Sued the company for wrongful death but the lawyers they hired. Talk them out of that. The lawyers that we had wanted to Go after Workman's COMP. They thought that that was the best route because he died in the course of work. Well you know. That's where they're fighting hell. No he committed suicide and we're not pay and nothing so that's where the suicide thing comes in because workman's gone auto's like with you after all suicide at work is in considered a work related death. Casey's interpretation seems fair internal memos are far less certain. David killed himself but when an aloe officials took the stand to testify in the Workman's comp case they the answered resolutely and in Lockstep. nope the kids shouldn't get death benefits because David definitely killed himself. David's David's family. At I figured that money was the only motivator. The company was being cheap. They thought but the more they learned about the Fernald plant the the more suspicious they got. We always try felt that they should have actually gone after the company. But that's when we all all found out that it was owned by the federal government and the federal government had been keeping some pretty big secrets about the plant secrets that David Kids kids think he might have threatened to expose next time on accused atomic bomb flash burn you worse than a terrible somber especially not covered the EPA letter came back pretty quick Sad find another source of drinking. It seems so mundane yet. It seems so evil all the same talk to bench the season go to www dot wondering dot com slash plus. That's W O N D E R Y DOT dot com slash P L U S to support the creators of accused directly go to our patriots page where donors get bonus content damned early episodes. That's at Patriot dot com slash accused. This is a special project from the Cincinnati Inquirer part of the USA Today network narrated by amber hunt produced by Amanda Rosman engineered By filled ideon and edited buying Wilson Intern Mark Rosenberg provided additional research. Music was composed by Andrew. Higley to look at case documents photos videos and more visit accused podcasts. Dot Com as noted. Somebody comes from a living history project and the Fernald community alliance transcript to those interviews are available at all community alliance Dot Org
Introducing Accused Season 3
"Sometimes when you're a journalist you start reporting story and things go pretty much as expected made sure the details might be surprising. The emotions might touch you more than you anticipated but the overall story story is pretty straightforward. This is not one of those stories. This story is about a man who went to work one day in June in Nineteen eighty-four in vanished. I don't know died. I mean he just disappeared. He's not the type of person that would just the run off when his roots here. I know my dad didn't commit suicide. I've heard rumors that they thought maybe he was going to be a whistle blower those secrecy. Everything was secret for the past year. We've been working to try to unravel this complicated case of confirmation bias government government secrets and sinister conspiracy theories some of which we've learned are true. Not Going to get girls and if you get the truth you better start packing version danger season. Three of accused is coming soon into our patriotic page to wonder and to podcast platforms everywhere.