A TRUE CRIME PIECE FROM MY MEMORABLE JOURNALISTIC PAST
Netflix Series Debuts at #1, Prompting New Interest in This 1990 Article on a Gruesome Double Homicide (Yes, I am in the Netflix series, and yes, I still have questions.)
I've been a brand storyteller for 20+ years. But I got my start as a journalist, mastering the principles of "show, don't tell" I would later apply to my "features, not benefits" marketing communication method.
Strictly speaking, "Misfit, Murderess, Martyr: The Changing Face of Elizabeth Haysom" is not a portfolio piece. It is not copywriting or content. It's journalism, and not recent. I was age 22, a newly graduated University of Virginia Echols Scholar, when I began investigating this case: Two UVA Echols Scholars, Jens Soering and Elizabeth Haysom, were accused of murdering Elizabeth's parents, Nancy and Derek Haysom, in their rural Virginia home. They fled the country before their arrest, traveling the world before a check fraud scam landed them in police custody in London and, eventually, back in tiny Bedford, VA, to answer for the crimes.
My article took one year to research and write and was 90 pages in manuscript form. It was published in Albemarle magazine in its entirety in 1990.
Why make it available now? In November 2023, Netflix released Till Murder Do Us Part: Soering vs. Haysom, a four-episode documentary that debuted at #1. I appear on camera throughout the series to discuss the case, and my article is among the materials the filmmakers drew from to tell the tale.
People began contacting me asking how to access it. Directing them to this link was a far better answer than"dig through the box in my storage unit."And it gives readers a chance to click back to the Copywriting and Content portfolio page for some cheerful palate cleansing after the intensity of true crime narrative.
After a dose of brightness, you may find yourself returning to this dark article to ponder further. What really happened? The four-episode Netflix series delves deep, exploring new evidence in and perspectives on this fascinating and horrific story.
To this day, I am the only journalist to have interviewed Elizabeth Haysom. Over the years, I have discussed the case on ABC 20/20, Inside Edition, On the Case with Paula Zahn, Confessions of Crime, Geraldo, and the podcast Small Town Big Crime. New interest brings new questions.
Although I would go on to write eight nonfiction books, none of them was true crime. Instead, I now choose to tell the good stories, the Valentines, to give clients the voice to match their vision for solving their customers' problems, equipping them with important information, or simply making them happier.