How To!

How To Get Away With Murder

Someone was murdered in my small town. Why did it take so long to catch the killer?

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Episode Notes

One day in 1987, a young girl in a small town in upstate New York disappeared and then turned up dead. For seven years her murder went unsolved, until police finally caught the killer, a local man whom everyone knew. The town would never be the same, according to our listener Jen who grew up there. She’s a true crime fanatic and first-time podcaster who wants to investigate how the murderer got away with it for so long. In this episode of How To!, we bring on Jessica Garrison, a BuzzFeed News senior editor of investigations and author of the book The Devil’s Harvest. She shares the story of a notorious California contract killer who got away with more than 30 murders over three decades before he was brought to justice. In order to understand how that could happen, Jessica says, you need to look at the victims, who are often powerless and overlooked by society because of their class, race or immigration status. The ways in which we tell their stories can have outsized consequences on the entire criminal justice system.

If you liked this episode, check out “How To Forgive the Unforgivable.”

Do you have a mystery in your life you need help solving? Send us a note at or leave us a voicemail at 646-495-4001 and we might have you on the show. Subscribe for free on Apple, Spotify or wherever you listen.

Podcast production by Derek John and Rachael Allen.

About the Show

What if Dear Abby were an investigative reporter? Each week, Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Charles Duhigg (The Power of Habit) takes on listeners’ toughest problems and, with the help of experts, finds the answers to questions you’ve always wanted to ask but couldn’t. Until now.

Do you have a problem that needs solving? Have you found the advice on our podcast helpful? Send us a note at or leave us a voicemail at 646-495-4001 and we might play it on the air.

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