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The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

Podcast investigates the 1990 murder of two Starkville residents

Jason B. Jones | Courtesy Photo
Podcast investigates the 1990 murder of two Starkville residents

Two women who were viciously raped and murdered 27 years ago may finally have an opportunity for justice.

“Knock Knock: The Unsolved Murders of Betty Jones and Kathryn Crigler” is a podcast created by Jason B. Jones that tells the personal and haunting story of the murder of two Starkville residents on Sept. 3, 1990.

When Jason Jones was 10 years old, his own grandmother, Betty Jones, was at her friend Kathryn Crigler’s house because Crigler had just undergone an amputation, and she did not want to be alone on Labor Day weekend while her family was out of town.

Jason Jones said the two were planning to watch TV when a knock came to the side door between 8 and 10 p.m. that night.

“Back then in Starkville, it was safe to leave your doors unlocked,” Jason Jones said.

Betty Jones answered the door and was killed. Crigler survived long enough to give some details to the police, but died afterwards.

Jason Jones said the rape kit for Crigler provided DNA evidence for the police, but it still has not been matched to this day.

This case, known as the “Labor Day Murders,” received national attention on America’s Most Wanted. Artist renderings of the suspect have been made and updated, DNA tests have been run and rerun, but still, the killer has never been found.

Throughout the podcast, Jason Jones will dig into the details of this crime, make strikes toward uncovering answers and seek justice for the lives of the victims.

Jones, who is the Creative Director at Integrity Music based in Nashville, Tennessee, said he had always been interested in podcasts like “Serial” and “Up and Vanished,” and while listening to them he began to think about his grandmother’s case.

“Growing up, it was a taboo topic that we didn’t talk about because of the pain and the questions that came along with it,” he said. “As I became an adult I grew more curious about my past, who I was and how this traumatic event affected my childhood. I quickly realized there weren’t many answers.”

Since he was only 10 years old when she died, Jones said he thinks he will get to know his grandmother through the stories of people who knew her.

“I get to know her a little bit more through listening to them tell me about her… I’m learning not just how she died, but, more importantly, how she lived,” he said.

The podcast aptly launched Sept. 3, which is the 27 year anniversary of the women’s deaths. Listeners will hear interviews with the current lead investigator, Sgt. Bill Lott, who took over the case around the early 2000s and has not given up on finding answers.

Jones will also talk to family members, journalists and friends. He will even sit down and talk with the current owner of the house she was murdered in.

Jones said an episode will air about every two weeks with a Q&A in between each podcast. If you have a question for Jones, you can call 1-888-57BETTY. He said there should be around six episodes, depending on what Jones discovers.

“I just want to go where the story takes us,” Jones said.

Jones said he hopes more information will be uncovered as the series goes on, and he encourages anyone to call if they have any information or stories about his grandmother.

Maggie Thomas, an MSU junior, said she saw the video trailer for the podcast on Facebook in June, and she was “enthralled” by the story. Since she has experience in radio production, Thomas decided to reach out to Jones and offer her help. Now she is the associate producer for the series.

“What happened to Betty and Kathryn should never happen to anyone,” Thomas said. “Through the podcast, you get to know these women and the beautiful lives they lived. Getting to know their stories on a more personal level made me want to help solve this crime even more.”

Thomas said she is excited for the podcast and said Jones has poured his heart into telling the story in a way that respects and honors Betty and Kathryn.

“Once you start listening, you won’t want to stop,” Thomas said.

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Podcast investigates the 1990 murder of two Starkville residents