Sunday, November 14, 2010

"This Night Wounds Time" year later...

On Tuesday, November 16, 2010, it will be one year since the book This Night Wounds Time: The Mysterious Disappearances of Stacie Madison and Susan Smalley was released. And what a year it has been.

In the book’s Preface, I acknowledge the harsh truth that "solved mysteries are revisited by the media ad nauseam while cold cases – the ones truly needing exposure – languish." This proved to be largely true of the press’ reaction in 2009 to efforts to reignite the then 21-year-old Madison/Smalley case.

Thankfully, there are exceptions to every rule, with the most visible one in this instance arriving in the form of television reporter Jason Whitely who, on December 2, 2009, presented a story on WFAA-TV (the Dallas, Texas area affiliate of ABC) entitled "Unsolved Disappearance of Two Girls Detailed in New Book."

This news report did more for the case than anyone could have foreseen and a tremendous amount of thanks is definitely owed to both Jason Whitely and WFAA.

The WFAA story was viewed by many who remembered the Madison/Smalley case and, as I was able to report in a speech presented to the Friends of the Carrollton Public Library on May 24, 2010, "Since the publication of the book and the subsequent WFAA story, people have come forward with what I’ll term 'additional information.'" ("Detectives won't reveal what that information is," The Dallas Morning News would later report in this regard, "but they say it's credible.") This would prove to be but one of many positives.

This "additional information" was gleaned by a Carrollton Police Department which, as Jon Nielsen of The Dallas Morning News reported in a July 6, 2010 story, was devoting "new resources [to] the case [and] re-examining theories dismissed long ago." Of these theories previously dismissed, Sgt. Joel Payne of the Carrollton Police Department would tell The Dallas Morning News, "We threw out all the assumptions, and we started from scratch." Payne would later elaborate on this statement and tell The Carrollton Leader, "I pulled in some of the original witnesses and began to verify things."

In some of these efforts Payne has been assisted by the Denton County District Attorney’s Office which, according to The Dallas Morning News, became "involved with the investigation after a possible link to the area was revealed in the book." And their combined efforts continue.

Meanwhile, in the midst of all of this, legendary novelist Anne Rice, the author of Interview with the Vampire, raised the case's profile by graciously reviewing the book on Amazon.

Again, what an amazing year this has been. The focus, though, must remain on what lies ahead and the fact that the case has yet to be closed - nearly 23 years now since the girls disappeared.

At the time that he was interviewed by The Dallas Morning News, Sgt. Joel Payne stated, "What I need is something somebody's been holding on to for 22 years." If you or someone you know has information regarding the Madison/Smalley case (no matter how trivial), now is the time to speak up.

With thanks to Jason Whitely, Jon Nielsen, Kara Koilini, Senitra Horbrook, James Roth, and Christen M. Stroh, the following is a collection of the media pieces devoted to the Madison/Smalley case since November 2009: