On the evening of Dec. 20, 2002 in a small Illinois town near the Wisconsin border a 17-year-old boy went missing.
To many this first sentence will spark a complicated web of details, names, courtroom testimony, rumors and alleged lies in the yet unsolved disappearance and presumed murder of Brian Carrick.
The story has been a part of my life since 2007 when I first sat down with Brian’s mother, Terry. Brian was one of her 14 children. She and her husband raised their large Catholic family in a white house that set across the street from Val’s grocery store. Many of the Carrick children had worked at Val’s at one time or another. Val’s is where her son Brian, 11th of her 14 children, was last seen alive.
Though his blood was found in and around a produce cooler at Val’s, her son’s body has never been found. Authorities say a fight over a drug debt led to the young man’s death.
Today, nearly 16 years later, there is no one serving prison time for Brian’s murder and lawyers are wrangling hoping to settle big dollar lawsuits.
The story has been the topic of many newspaper articles and TV news reports, as well as an hourlong episode of ABC’s 2020 entitled “Mystery on Johnsburg Road.”
And with each report of Brian’s story comes more confusion, a myriad of characters and perpetrators (depending on whose story you believe), but no definite answers. Stories change, memories fade, and still the family waits to learn the truth. The story has divided the small town of Johnsburg, in some cases pitting local families against each other.
Well yet another storyteller is investigating Brian’s case.
Just last week a 10-part podcast entitled “Framed” was released on iTunes. The producers gathered details from police reports, court testimony and other sources and created the podcast in the hopes of telling the story in a fair and complete way.
They tell the story by using voice actors to recreate actual moments in police interrogation rooms and courtrooms.
They ask the listener to keep close attention to detail and to consider all the evidence before deciding who to believe.
I admit when I first learned about the existence of this podcast I was skeptical about its purpose. But as I listen I am beginning to feel the producers are genuine and striving to tell the story without leaning the listener one way or another.
Knowing the story as well as I think I do I was surprised by a couple details I heard in the podcast. I do not feel the producers are trying to manipulate or sway me and I appreciate that.
I won’t rehash the confusing details of the crime and its aftermath here as many of you reading this know much of what I have written about Brian and all the others whose lives have been made so public. I do encourage you to reread past stories here on my blog, but I also encourage you to listen to Framed.
I do hope that this new approach brings about something positive for the family of Brian Carrick. Sadly, his parents have each died, but I can’t help but believe they are with their son and they now know the truth.
Please leave a comment and review of the podcast here.