Are you listening to the new podcast Finding Tammy Jo? It's a brand new show from Rochester, New York's WXXI News and the Democrat and Chronicle, and its hosts are reporters Veronica Volk and Gary Craig. Together, they dive into the unsolved murder of Tammy Jo Alexander, a young teenager whose body was found in a cornfield in the small town of Caledonia, New York.
Tammy Jo's body was found way back in 1979, but it wasn't identified until last year -- in January 2015 -- with the aid of sleuths on the internet. The second half of the mystery remains unsolved: who killed her? The show's creators are hoping the new podcast will help investigators find some long overdue answers.
The first episode from the podcast -- The girl in the cornfield [May 1, 10 minutes] -- is really well-done. Veronica and Gary meet Wes Clements, who first found the body with his father Harry almost forty years ago. They lay out the basics in the case and talk about what first drew them to it. For Gary, it's the sense of hopefulness that remains despite the tragic nature of the case.
Veronica says, "At first, it feels like your typically over-sensationalized murder story. But if you scratch beneath the surface as Gary and I did, you discover this entire network of interconnected people that all played a major role in this girl's story." And Gary adds, "With each interview we've done, this story's gotten more compelling and more intriguing. We've talked to people from across the country, from New York, to Florida, to California. And now we want to bring you their voices and their stories."
For me, what sets this show apart from other true crime podcasts is how eagerly the major players are participating. Everyone involved seems truly invested in finding Tammy Jo's murderer. And since amateurs on the internet played such a significant role in identifying her body last year, it doesn't seem far-fetched that the podcast could make a difference.
Episode two, which is set to arrive on May 8th, will feature Livingston County Sheriff John York, the lead investigator on the case. New episodes will be released each Sunday after that, and they'll all introduce a new character who knows something different about Tammy Jo's life or about the case. If you haven't heard episode one yet and you're a fan of shows like Serial or Someone Knows Something, I'd highly recommend checking it out. I can tell already it's going to be really good.