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For our winter 2022 issue, longtime Artful Living contributor Anne Roderique-Jones goes in depth into her return to the Ozarks to tell the stories behind an unsolved 30-year-old true crime mystery. Here, she takes us behind the scenes of her popular podcast, The Springfield Three: A Small-Town Disappearance.

Photography provided by Anne Roderique-Jones

Why were you compelled to create this podcast telling the story of the Springfield Three?

I remember when this disappearance happened and heard about the Springfield Three my entire life. A disappearance isn’t unique in itself, but the fact that this crime is still so strongly woven into the fabric of this community — 30 years later — makes it compelling. As a writer and an Ozarks native, I wanted to be able to tell this story to an entirely new audience on a new platform.

What was it like learning how to story tell via a new medium?

It’s difficult but very rewarding. And totally out of my wheelhouse. I’m familiar with writing features and news bits, but to create content that takes up 11 half-hour episodes — I could have written a novel in this amount of time.

What was the most challenging part of producing this podcast?

Because of COVID and the safety concerns for ourselves and those involved, we had to completely change the way this podcast was created. Instead of interviewing the subjects in person, we had to teach everyone (including ourselves) how to make a podcast on Zoom.

What was the most surprising part?

The most surprising part was how much I loved doing this — something so new in this stage of my career. The subject was incredibly heavy, but I loved interviewing those involved in the case. These people allowed me into their lives, despite the heartache they’ve had over the past 30 years.

Did this experience change your perspective of your hometown?

I always knew that my town had a strong sense of community, but learning about how locals have helped (and continue to help) with this case really solidified that for me.

After reviewing all the details of the case, what do you think happened to the Springfield Three?

I get asked that question a lot, and I honestly do not know. I set out to tell the story about these women, not to solve the case. I certainly hope that the attention it’s received could help do that in some way.

What are your thoughts on our collective obsession with true crime? Is it troubling?

I think the fact that the crimes are true is more troubling than people’s obsession with it; a podcast just brings those realities to the surface. I do think that we get into murky water when anyone can state their opinion, factual or not.

What’s next in your journey telling the story of the Springfield Three?

This podcast is not the end of this story — stay tuned. Also, I plan to start writing a new podcast in the near future.

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