Duke Southard

Author, Educator, Lecturer

“Active”- My Definition

Here is an offer that, in my opinion, can’t be refused. However, I am ninety nine percent certain that it will be. First, I’d offer my definition of what an active criminal case might look like. Of course, my definition will be dismissed as just a uninformed or misinformed civilian who really doesn’t understand the intricacies of police work. That is all right with me; I’m familiar with being dismissed.

Dismiss it or not, here it is and remember that a representative of the NH Attorney General’s office was quoted recently as saying that he could not comment because the investigation into the murder of Stacey Burns is active.  Active strongly suggests that at least one official person is engaged in searching for answers. It also suggests that this search takes up a portion of someone’s work day on a fairly regular basis. Active, in my view, means that leads and tips are being followed to successful conclusions and explanations. Active, again in my view, means that lacking new leads or tips, people are being reinterviewed; alibis are being subjected to reexamination; witness stories are being cross-checked; doors are being knocked on once again; evidence is being looked at over and over again. In short, after four years, active means that someone must be thinking outside the proverbial box, not treading water waiting for something to happen or for the phone to ring. I’m sure the authorities could add other aspects of the word “active” to these.

Here is the offer I mentioned earlier. It is likely that in the fall, I’ll be back on the East Coast promoting the new edition of my first novel. I would be willing to bring along all of my interviews, my notes, my manuscript (150 pages or so), and any other pertinent materials in my possession from my work on Murder in A Small Town: The Tragic Death of Stacey Burns with the intent to share them with the investigators actively working this case. This is assuming that there is no arrest in the next three months. I do not know if my material would have anything new or perhaps point out some contradictions. I’m sure the police have covered absolutely everything and my information would simply be old news. However, switching into my novelist “what if” mode, what if some small but new detail emerged? Just wondering . . . By the way, no source who requested anonymity would be revealed if this offer to the authorities is accepted.

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I'm Duke Southard, author, educator, and lecturer.

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