Listening to “Missing Alissa”
I found out about this podcast through Instagram thanks to the ‘JusticeForAlissaTurney’ account managed by Alissa’s sister, Sarah. I almost didn’t look at that profile or click on the link to the podcast, but once I did, I couldn’t stop listening. Go check it out—this entire story, from Alissa’s disappearance to her stepfather Michael’s history—is fascinating.
Listening to Ottavia Zappala describe Alissa at the start of the podcast, it struck me that she was a few months older than I was, and would have graduated high school the same year I did had she not gone missing the last day of school her junior year. It’s sobering to reflect on the things I was concerned with at that time. What was I looking forward to, fearful of or worried about as a junior in high school compared to what we learn and during the course of the podcast?
This investigation lays out a story that runs much deeper than a missing girl. It tears into the underlying factors that led to Alissa’s disappearance; not only those that went completely ignored by police in 2001 when she was assumed to have runaway and was disregarded by law enforcement, but the many occurrences over the decade prior as well, when people close to Alissa and the Turney family repeatedly chose not to believe or appropriately act on evidence of sexual abuse.
Its remarkable that if not for a convicted murderer falsely confessing to killing Alissa, police never would have taken another look at her disappearance eight years later. As they investigated her case in order to corroborate or discount Thomas Albert Hymer’s confession, police began to realize that what had been dismissed as a teen runaway was likely something much worse.
But what could investigators do eight years later? Or in the ten years since Alissa’s case was reexamined? When police eventually moved obtain DNA from Michael Turney, Alissa’s stepfather, as part of this new investigation, they discovered a stockpile of weapons, pipe bombs and a detailed plan for attacking a union hall, which he believed was at the heart of a decades-long conspiracy targeting him and his family. If he was capable of that level of planning and violence, could he be responsible for Alissa’s disappearance?
“Missing Alissa” is available through multiple platforms, so there’s no excuse not to check it out and binge on it right now. You can find it on iTunes or listen right from the website.
All Booked Up at the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library
I just finished listening to the first episode of “All Booked Up” on SoundCloud, a new(ish) podcast put out by librarians Michelle and Jacob with the Buffalo and Erie County Library.
I put it on while I was shoveling the other day (which I don’t necessarily recommend as I started laughing a few times and had to stop) and finished it later while folding laundry (a much safer activity while listening to this), because that’s just the jack of all trades that I am.
I loved all of its geeky rambling about “The Disaster Artist”, “Dunkirk” and “The Big Lebowski” and everything the Library has to offer to take you into those stories and beyond.
I was a little scared when Michelle started professing her genuine love and obsession for “The Room” but then I remember I own multiple copies of “Manos: The Hands of Fate”, a movie made by a fertilizer salesman just to prove he could and whose title literally is “Hands: The Hands of Fate”. What does that even mean? Why does it seem like two movies spliced together? Seriously, what is happening with Torgo? Why am I watching it again?
Yeah, so I guess who am I to judge, right?
The podcast’s hosts are true librarians, who can work multiple recommendations into a conversation without it being overwhelming, and their suggestions are informed by their own reading history and interests. They’re not just throwing suggestions at you or reciting a bestsellers’ list, but recommending books and movies they have available through the library based on the conversation they’re having. The episode notes include a list of all the books and movies they talked about as well as links to those titles on the library’s website. So if something sounds really interesting, you can immediately click over and request it from your local branch.
I’m looking forward to catching up and listening to the rest of the episodes they have up, and checking out some of their recommendations. It’s available now on SoundCloud and iTunes.