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Bonapart: A True Crime Podcast about the death of Laura Van Whye


When Laura Van Whye’s body was found close to a highway some people assumed she had been hit by a truck, and some people have choosen to believe that over the last twenty five years. Laura however had friends and family who were willing to continue looking for answers, her mother has spent years trying to gain full custody of the son whom Laura had with the man who she suspected had something to do with her daughters death, and then there is her friend, Anne Champion.

Anne moved to New York, she became a lawyer, she got contacts and experience, and now twenty-five years later is putting her predigeous knowledge and skills to the task of brining her friends killer to justice. It sounds like crime fiction, but it is indeed crime fact, and the ten part podcast Bonapart details the case, as well as Anne’s attempts to find the truth.

One of the elements that make this podcast stand out from others is the interviews with Samson, Laura’s son who was only an infant when she died. Samson has undeniably had a lot of trauma in his life, and his grandmother had worked hard to remove him from situations which would further traumatise him, and protect him. Therefore it comes as a suprise that as a young adult he reunites with his father and his family, despite the suspicion around his actions on the night of Laura’s death and subsequent poor parenting.

Maybe it was Samson needing a deeper sense of family than he grew up with, searching for a normality he saw other kids having but not having himself, maybe it is youthful niaevet. Whatever the reason, it prompts the podcast to ask the questions “what is the value of the truth?” implying that it would rob Samson of another family, one that he has only just found and is giving him a sense of peace.

Anne Champion does not let sleeping dogs lie.

This is a question that is often not asked in True Crime, is the truth worth it? In true crime we feteshise those who tenaciously persue the truth, even when it comes at extrodinary cost to themselves. While idealisiticly the asnwer is yes the truth is always worth it, for many people who’s lives have been touched by crime perhapse their answer is more nuanced.

For Anne Champion though it is not, one gets the feeling that she will continue to search for the truth no matter what happens, and no matter what truths come to light. Wouldn’t we all wish to have a friend as stalwert, and well resourced as Anne.

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