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Trailed: One Woman's Quest to Solve the Shenandoah Murders

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A riveting deep dive into the unsolved murder of two free-spirited young women in the wilderness, a journalist's obsession, and a new theory of who might have done it In May 1996, Julie Williams and Lollie Winans were brutally murdered while backpacking in Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park, adjacent to the world-famous Appalachian Trail. The young women were skilled backc A riveting deep dive into the unsolved murder of two free-spirited young women in the wilderness, a journalist's obsession, and a new theory of who might have done it In May 1996, Julie Williams and Lollie Winans were brutally murdered while backpacking in Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park, adjacent to the world-famous Appalachian Trail. The young women were skilled backcountry leaders who had met—and fallen in love—the previous summer while working at a world-renowned outdoor program for women. But despite an extensive joint investigation by the FBI, the Virginia police, and National Park Service experts, the case remained unsolved for years. In early 2002, and in response to mounting political pressure, then-Attorney General John Ashcroft announced that he would be seeking the death penalty for Darrell David Rice—already in prison for assaulting another woman—in the first capital case tried under new, post-9/11 federal hate crime legislation. But two years later, the Department of Justice quietly suspended its case against Rice, and the investigation has since grown cold. Did prosecutors have the right person? Journalist Kathryn Miles was a professor at Lollie Winans's wilderness college in Maine when the 2002 indictment was announced. On the 20th anniversary of the murder, she began looking into the lives of these adventurous women—whose loss continued to haunt all who had encountered them—along with the murder investigation and subsequent case against Rice. As she dives deeper into the case, winning the trust of the victims’ loved ones as well as investigators and gaining access to key documents, Miles becomes increasingly obsessed with the loss of the generous and free-spirited Lollie and Julie, who were just on the brink of adulthood, and at the same time, she discovers evidence of cover-ups, incompetence, and crime-scene sloppiness that seemed part of a larger problem in America’s pursuit of justice in national parks. She also becomes convinced of Rice’s innocence, and zeroes in on a different likely suspect. Trailed: One Woman’s Quest to Solve the Shenandoah Murders is a riveting, eye-opening, and heartbreaking work, offering a braided narrative about two remarkable women who were murdered doing what they most loved, the forensics of this cold case, and the surprising pervasiveness and long shadows cast by violence against women in the backcountry.  


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A riveting deep dive into the unsolved murder of two free-spirited young women in the wilderness, a journalist's obsession, and a new theory of who might have done it In May 1996, Julie Williams and Lollie Winans were brutally murdered while backpacking in Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park, adjacent to the world-famous Appalachian Trail. The young women were skilled backc A riveting deep dive into the unsolved murder of two free-spirited young women in the wilderness, a journalist's obsession, and a new theory of who might have done it In May 1996, Julie Williams and Lollie Winans were brutally murdered while backpacking in Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park, adjacent to the world-famous Appalachian Trail. The young women were skilled backcountry leaders who had met—and fallen in love—the previous summer while working at a world-renowned outdoor program for women. But despite an extensive joint investigation by the FBI, the Virginia police, and National Park Service experts, the case remained unsolved for years. In early 2002, and in response to mounting political pressure, then-Attorney General John Ashcroft announced that he would be seeking the death penalty for Darrell David Rice—already in prison for assaulting another woman—in the first capital case tried under new, post-9/11 federal hate crime legislation. But two years later, the Department of Justice quietly suspended its case against Rice, and the investigation has since grown cold. Did prosecutors have the right person? Journalist Kathryn Miles was a professor at Lollie Winans's wilderness college in Maine when the 2002 indictment was announced. On the 20th anniversary of the murder, she began looking into the lives of these adventurous women—whose loss continued to haunt all who had encountered them—along with the murder investigation and subsequent case against Rice. As she dives deeper into the case, winning the trust of the victims’ loved ones as well as investigators and gaining access to key documents, Miles becomes increasingly obsessed with the loss of the generous and free-spirited Lollie and Julie, who were just on the brink of adulthood, and at the same time, she discovers evidence of cover-ups, incompetence, and crime-scene sloppiness that seemed part of a larger problem in America’s pursuit of justice in national parks. She also becomes convinced of Rice’s innocence, and zeroes in on a different likely suspect. Trailed: One Woman’s Quest to Solve the Shenandoah Murders is a riveting, eye-opening, and heartbreaking work, offering a braided narrative about two remarkable women who were murdered doing what they most loved, the forensics of this cold case, and the surprising pervasiveness and long shadows cast by violence against women in the backcountry.  

30 review for Trailed: One Woman's Quest to Solve the Shenandoah Murders

  1. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    Trailed: One Woman’s Quest to Solve the Shenandoah Murders by Kathryn Miles is a 2022 Algonquin Books publication. This is very good examination, not only of the double murder of Julie Williams and Lollie Winans, but of other murders in our National Parks and the implications of crimes against women, possible hate crimes, and the process of the investigations, which led to what is most likely an erroneous suspect, and resulted in an unsolved double murder case. This is a different approach to tr Trailed: One Woman’s Quest to Solve the Shenandoah Murders by Kathryn Miles is a 2022 Algonquin Books publication. This is very good examination, not only of the double murder of Julie Williams and Lollie Winans, but of other murders in our National Parks and the implications of crimes against women, possible hate crimes, and the process of the investigations, which led to what is most likely an erroneous suspect, and resulted in an unsolved double murder case. This is a different approach to true crime, as the author doesn’t just outline the case, investigations, etc., in the traditional manner we normally find in true crime books. This book also doubles as a commentary about how women are often the targets of crimes in a wilderness environment. The study includes the possibility that some of these crimes might be motivated by hate, especially considering that Julie and Lollie were a lesbian couple. Based on the evidence presented here, the one and only suspect for the investigators, is most likely not the doer. There is, though, some strong evidence that the real murderer was a known sexual deviant, but has since died by suicide. Miles's findings weren’t welcomed by those who worked the case, as it would indicate they got it wrong or didn’t to a very good job with the investigation. It would appear that women- from all walks of life- are at risk when in a wilderness environment- not from wildlife or the forces of nature, but from human predators. Sadly, some women will forego or give up entirely on enjoying the full, invigorating pleasures of our National Parks because they don’t feel safe. This is a recurring theme in the book, but at times, the author tended to spend more time on this topic than was absolutely necessary and I would have preferred to have more balance with the criminal elements, which I feel are required for any true crime book. That said, backpacking and ‘roughing it’ in the wilderness is a place one might feel they could let their guard down and be more aware of the natural surroundings, such as wildlife, and survival measures, sadly, there is no place women, no matter their sexuality or race, can fully relax against the possibility of an attack, sexual or otherwise, especially considering that men are usually the predominant population in this specific landscape. Overall, this book has been yet another example of shoddy, tunnel vision like investigations, and is also a study of crimes against women, while examining the challenges of solving crimes committed in National Parks or wilderness areas. True crime readers will want to check this out. It is not only a riveting crime saga- it is as thought provoking as it is disturbing. 4 stars

  2. 5 out of 5

    Amy Imogene Reads

    Chills. A powerful entry into the nonfiction true crime canon and the fight for justice against murdered women in America. I highly recommend the audiobook. Audiobook narration: ★★★★★ Pacing: ★★★★★ Storytelling: ★★★★★ I am tired of hearing stories of women being raped and murdered while trying to exist on this planet. I am enraged at the audacity of the white men who kill them and other marginalized communities.* And I am here for every expose, every carefully researched dagger into the canon of retri Chills. A powerful entry into the nonfiction true crime canon and the fight for justice against murdered women in America. I highly recommend the audiobook. Audiobook narration: ★★★★★ Pacing: ★★★★★ Storytelling: ★★★★★ I am tired of hearing stories of women being raped and murdered while trying to exist on this planet. I am enraged at the audacity of the white men who kill them and other marginalized communities.* And I am here for every expose, every carefully researched dagger into the canon of retribution and justice served in the hands of other voices who are determined to be heard and determined to change history. Welcome to Trailed: One Woman's Quest to Solve the Shenandoah Murders. In May 1996, two young women, Lollie Winans and Julie Williams, were murdered in Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. They were in their mid-20s, they were much in love with each other, and they loved being in the wilderness. They were experienced trail hikers and they had done this many times before. But this time, they never made it out of the woods. In the years that followed their brutal murder, the National Park Service (NPS) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) spent countless man hours hunting for their killer. They settled pretty quickly on Damien Rice. Rice had assaulted another woman in the park. He seemed unstable. He was in the area for the time period of their deaths. The case seemed black and white...to the investigators. It didn't seem to matter that the perpetrator's DNA left on the crime scene didn't match Damien Rice's countless DNA records. It didn't seem to matter that this very organized and sexuality-based hate crime did not fit Rice's M.O. by any description. And it didn't seem to matter that there were several eyewitness testimonies that appeared to contradict the official timeline of Lollie and Julie's final days alive. Journalist Kathryn Miles was working as a college professor at Unity College, an environmental science and wilderness leader in the country, when she discovered the emotional footprint left on the campus by its former student, Lollie Winans. One of the murdered women from Shenandoah. The college continued to grieve Lollie's loss, and Miles found herself pulled into the case with its emotional resonance and endless question marks about validity of the investigating team's justice. Kathryn Miles decided to do some digging. And then she couldn't stop. Meticulously researched, engrossing described, and involving a cast of characters spanning professions, states, and decades, Trailed is a memorable piece of long-form reporting. I devoured it in two days, listening to the audiobook in every spare moment of my day. True crime and mystery audiobook fans will recognize the narrator—Gabra Zackman's voice echoes from her previous works in I'll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara and other crime stories centered around women such as Sadie by Courtney Summers and The Night Before by Wendy Walker. A tragic story, but one that needed to see the light. Rest in peace, Julie and Lollie. We hope you have found justice here. Thank you to Algonquin Books and Libro.fm for my copies in exchange for an honest review. *The statistics show the murderers skew alarmingly toward cis-het white men, I am not making a personal judgement with that fact. It is also illuminated within this nonfiction text.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Marialyce (absltmom, yaya)

    Quite a well done story of people, mostly women being killed by someone while hiking and camping. Many interesting details are included such as the fact that many of these women were gay, as well as the suspicion that the killer was not actually found. People who enjoy true crime will probably like this tale. The audio book was excellent.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Rachel (TheShadesofOrange)

    4.0 Stars This was a fascinating true crime memoir following the re investigation of a grisly set of murders. It was interesting to learn how outdoor investigation can differ so much from indoor urban crimes, focusing on the particular challenges of finding evidence.  The author did a great job laying out the facts of the case in an interesting, focused book. The author included a touch of herself in the narrative, without ever taking away focus from the main case.  I appreciated that this book was 4.0 Stars This was a fascinating true crime memoir following the re investigation of a grisly set of murders. It was interesting to learn how outdoor investigation can differ so much from indoor urban crimes, focusing on the particular challenges of finding evidence.  The author did a great job laying out the facts of the case in an interesting, focused book. The author included a touch of herself in the narrative, without ever taking away focus from the main case.  I appreciated that this book was very victim focused, providing a well rounded picture of both of the girls. Overall I found the author's theory to be incredibly compelling and I would highly recommend this one to any true crime junkie. Disclaimer I received a copy of this book from the LibroFM review program.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Chelsea | thrillerbookbabe

    Thank you so much to Algonquin Books, Penguin Audio, and Kathryn Miles for this book that came out on May 3! I didn’t know anything about this case and I was particularly interested in it because I grew up in the Shenandoah area. The book was about the brutal murders of Julie Williams and Lollie Winans while they were backpacking in Virginia. The case was left unsolved for years and on the 20th anniversary of the murder, journalist Kathryn Miles started looking into the tragedy. As she dove deep Thank you so much to Algonquin Books, Penguin Audio, and Kathryn Miles for this book that came out on May 3! I didn’t know anything about this case and I was particularly interested in it because I grew up in the Shenandoah area. The book was about the brutal murders of Julie Williams and Lollie Winans while they were backpacking in Virginia. The case was left unsolved for years and on the 20th anniversary of the murder, journalist Kathryn Miles started looking into the tragedy. As she dove deeper into the case, she discovered evidence of cover-ups, incompetence, and thought the likely suspect to actually be innocent. Thoughts: This book really resonated with me because of the aspect of violence against women when they are just trying to live their lives. It’s so sad that women can’t do normal, everyday things like go on a hike without a threat of violence. This case was so well researched and the story was told so well. I listened to the audiobook and the narration was wonderful as well. I didn’t know much about hiking culture so that was interesting to read about as well. I really enjoyed the pacing and it made the book feel very quick. It was hard to hear about the issues with the case and all the things that could have been prevented. I wish the ending would have given us some more information, but as unsolved cases go, this was a great one to read about. I think it’s important to know about cases like this so we can fight for situations like this to happen less in the future. I loved that the book covered DNA testing, CSI, and hair microscopy and the problems with these techniques. It was very eye-opening- 4 stars!

  6. 5 out of 5

    thereadingowlvina (Elvina Ulrich)

    Trailed follows the journey of journalist Kathryn Miles as she investigates the murders of Julie Williams and Lollie Winans who were brutally murdered while backpacking in Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park in May 1996. I have not heard of this case before and it was truly an opening one for me. The amount of research done in this book was phenomenal and I admire the author's determination to seek justice for these women. Both Julie and Lollie cases interspersed with other murder cases and it m Trailed follows the journey of journalist Kathryn Miles as she investigates the murders of Julie Williams and Lollie Winans who were brutally murdered while backpacking in Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park in May 1996. I have not heard of this case before and it was truly an opening one for me. The amount of research done in this book was phenomenal and I admire the author's determination to seek justice for these women. Both Julie and Lollie cases interspersed with other murder cases and it meanders a lot. The jumpy timelines also made it difficult for me to follow the book and it was a struggle. I personally think it'd have worked better for me if the information was presented in a more cohesive way. I listened to the audiobook and I really enjoyed the narration by Gabra Zackman. It was well done! Pub. Date: May 3rd, 2022 ***Thank you Libro.fm for this gifted ALC. All opinions expressed are my own.***

  7. 4 out of 5

    Nursebookie

    Riveting Fascinating Disturbing TRAILED is a true crime story about the unsolved horrific murders of Julie Williams and Lillie Winans, at Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park while they were in a week-long backcountry camping trip. Award-winning journalist and outdoors expert Kathryn Miles takes another look at the case with a fresh perspective and new theories about this crime. I found the writing easy to read and follow, that really opened my eyes to the dangers women and others face in the cam Riveting Fascinating Disturbing TRAILED is a true crime story about the unsolved horrific murders of Julie Williams and Lillie Winans, at Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park while they were in a week-long backcountry camping trip. Award-winning journalist and outdoors expert Kathryn Miles takes another look at the case with a fresh perspective and new theories about this crime. I found the writing easy to read and follow, that really opened my eyes to the dangers women and others face in the campgrounds and the failures of providing a safe ground. There are detailed police procedurals all in an engaging journalism reporting. Fantastic read!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    3.5 rounded up

  9. 4 out of 5

    Sue

    I vaguely remember the killing of two young women on the Appalachian Trail in 1996. Julie Williams and Lollie Winans were brutally murdered while backpacking in Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park. It got a lot of news headlines in the beginning of the investigation but it disappeared from the headlines when it wasn't quickly solved and became a cold case. Kathryn Miles went on a quest to learn more about the murders and to try to solve the case. Along the way, she found some shoddy work done by I vaguely remember the killing of two young women on the Appalachian Trail in 1996. Julie Williams and Lollie Winans were brutally murdered while backpacking in Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park. It got a lot of news headlines in the beginning of the investigation but it disappeared from the headlines when it wasn't quickly solved and became a cold case. Kathryn Miles went on a quest to learn more about the murders and to try to solve the case. Along the way, she found some shoddy work done by the FBI and local police that ended up accusing the wrong person of the crime. He was arrested but they never had formal charges and they let him out of prison. He was only considered a person of interest. Both women were skilled backpackers who had met - and fallen in love at an outdoor program for women. As the FBI case followed leads, the case became a cold case. In 2002, the federal government decided to prosecute this case as a hate crime due to the women's sexuality. They decide to try Darrell David Rice and planned to use the death penalty on this crime. Two years later, the case was suspended due to lack of information that supported Rice as the killer. The author got deeply involved in the case and talked to the FBI and the local authorities and followed up on many of their leads and met with the two women's family and friends. The further she got into the case, the more aware she became of cover-ups, incompetence, and crime-scene sloppiness. The information she gathered did not point to Rice as the murderer and she named the person that her research pointed to. I don't read a lot of non-fiction because it's usually boring to me. This book was not boring. In fact, it was difficult to put down. It read more like a CSI program than an accumulation of data and the author did a fantastic job of letting us see Julie and Lollie and what their lives could have been had they not been murdered. Thanks to the publisher Algonquin Book for a copy of this book to read and review. All opinions are my own.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Melissa Chung

    First, I would like to say thank you to Algonquin for allowing me the opportunity to read this true crime before the masses got their hands on it. If you liked “I’ll Be Gone In the Dark” by Michelle McNamara then you will like this non-fiction read. Trailed is the account of author Kathryn Miles as she follows the stories of two women, Lollie and Julie and there unsolved, cold case murder in Shenandoah National Park. I vaguely remember hearing about these two women back in 1996. I’m a lover of hik First, I would like to say thank you to Algonquin for allowing me the opportunity to read this true crime before the masses got their hands on it. If you liked “I’ll Be Gone In the Dark” by Michelle McNamara then you will like this non-fiction read. Trailed is the account of author Kathryn Miles as she follows the stories of two women, Lollie and Julie and there unsolved, cold case murder in Shenandoah National Park. I vaguely remember hearing about these two women back in 1996. I’m a lover of hiking. After reading Wild by Cheryl Stayed, I was enthusiastic about hiking the PCT. After reading this book… well like so many other women after hearing about this tragic murder… I’m not that enthusiastic anymore. I never thought about “how many people are found dead in the wilderness? (not from accidents)” I also never thought about “What do the police do when they find a body?” What I liked about this true crime is how thorough it is. You can tell how much attention and care Kathryn put into writing it. It definitely couldn’t have been easy. “Maybe, if I could tell the story of what really happened to them and who was responsible, I could ameliorate some of that collective pain and help make the woods feel safer for all of us.” Definitely recommend this book it was eye opening and I learned a lot.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Bettina

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This book brought back so many memories for me. I was living in Virginia at the time of these murders as well as other murders mentioned in the book. Almost 30 years later, and I still find myself horrified by the murders of Julie and Lollie, and very upset and confused by the way that the FBI and Park Service handled the investigation and informing the public about what was happening. All of us who loved that park felt betrayed by the dissemination of information. The author takes us through th This book brought back so many memories for me. I was living in Virginia at the time of these murders as well as other murders mentioned in the book. Almost 30 years later, and I still find myself horrified by the murders of Julie and Lollie, and very upset and confused by the way that the FBI and Park Service handled the investigation and informing the public about what was happening. All of us who loved that park felt betrayed by the dissemination of information. The author takes us through that time, and the decisions made to inform the public about what was happening and when they were made. The history of Lollie and Julie as experienced wilderness leaders was explained in detail. As the author dives deeper into the history of the investigation, the possibility of a suspect - a different suspect than the one that was originally named is mentioned. The author makes a strong case for this new suspect. This is a riveting read you won’t be able to put down until the very last word.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Dana

    I am a total true crime junkie. Dateline, podcasts,documentaries... you name it if someone was killed, raped, kidnapped or drawn into a cult... I am interested. So when I saw this one pop up on Libro.fm's ALC choices for the month, I prioritized it. I need more true crime books in my life. Listening to it via audiobook sounded like it would fit right into my podcast junkie heart. Journalist Kathryn Miles tells us the story of the investigation into the murders of Julie and Lollie, two avid hiker I am a total true crime junkie. Dateline, podcasts,documentaries... you name it if someone was killed, raped, kidnapped or drawn into a cult... I am interested. So when I saw this one pop up on Libro.fm's ALC choices for the month, I prioritized it. I need more true crime books in my life. Listening to it via audiobook sounded like it would fit right into my podcast junkie heart. Journalist Kathryn Miles tells us the story of the investigation into the murders of Julie and Lollie, two avid hikers who were brutally murdered in Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park. Kathryn is drawn to the story because of the way the case was treated. Julie and Lollie were gay and became the poster children for Ashcroft's new hate crime legislation. Miles tells us how inadequately the murders were investigated due to the politics of national parks. Then she has us follow the prosecution of the main suspect which was dubious at best. I wanted to like this one more than I did. It mired itself in too much political rhetoric which added necessary context but often meandered a bit. I didn't need so much content on how anti-feminist the hiker community is. I found the politics of national parks interesting but perhaps it didn't need to be an entirely negative portrayal of how they are run. I just felt like this one had a lot of rants that I didn't need. Also, the ending was not one. Not a fan of that. Hope some day it gets an epilogue with a real answer. Thanks to Libro.FM for access. All opinions above are my own.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Tanya R

    I'm not really a Non-Fiction reader but am trying to branch out into this genre a bit more and when I had the opportunity to read Trailed, I figured I would probably enjoy it. Growing up in Oregon, I can't even count the times that I went hiking either by myself, with my mom, or with friends. It was pretty much a required activity in the PNW. I do remember a few times feeling a bit scared for one reason or another but mostly, it just felt peaceful and I couldn't wait until my next opportunity to I'm not really a Non-Fiction reader but am trying to branch out into this genre a bit more and when I had the opportunity to read Trailed, I figured I would probably enjoy it. Growing up in Oregon, I can't even count the times that I went hiking either by myself, with my mom, or with friends. It was pretty much a required activity in the PNW. I do remember a few times feeling a bit scared for one reason or another but mostly, it just felt peaceful and I couldn't wait until my next opportunity to hike. After reading Trailed, I was (stopping to cover my face with my hands, shaking my head, trying to find the right word...) Captivated. Devastated. Heartbroken. I can think of about 10 other adjectives to put here but none of them seems quite right in summing up my feelings while reading, or even after finishing this amazing book. Trailed was so thoroughly researched and if nothing else I say peaks your interest, please pick up this book simply to read an amazingly detailed, researched piece of work that is written with such respect to the victims as well as in such an honest way as to invite the reader into the events that unfolded. It is obvious that Miles truly cared deeply for the victims (and their families) of her research and took loving care to be respectful in telling their story. Moving on to the subject matter. How is it, that I had no idea that there was/is so much violence happening on our nation's trails? Is my head buried in the sand? Are these violent acts not being reported widely enough? Yes and Yes! It's so scary! The facts of the reported cases and the sheer estimated number of unreported cases were astounding to me. Eye-opening is what this book is! I was heartbroken, pissed, disgusted, disappointed, shocked and horrified throughout this book. Simply staggering facts are provided and/or uncovered throughout the book. I would constantly walk into whatever room my husband was in to say "Did you know..." about every 15-20 minutes, with my jaw on the floor. If you are a lover of nature or our state parks, I implore you to read this book to understand what is happening in our country. To see the risks that I have unknowingly turned a blind eye to all my life. To see the inept and sometimes despicable practices of Law Enforcement and Park Rangers that are still happening to this day! The murderous tragedies that occurred and are still occurring were/are horrific. The targeted campaign by Law Enforcement to go after one man in the case of the Shenendoah Murders in the late 1990's-early 2000's, even when the evidence didn't fit, and to not seek the real killer(s), letting them continue to do harm and kill - It's infuriating! I can't describe how this book has affected me. I'm so saddened for the victims discussed in this book (all of them) and so thankful that Miles has been able to share with us her significant research. I'm not certain if this will have any effect on changing Park Ranger or Law Enforcement processes around violent crime investigations but I hope it allows more of society to hold those groups accountable for accurate investigations to seek true answers. 100% recommended reading! 5 Stars! Thank you to @algonquin for allowing me to read this spectacular Non-Fiction read!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Page Journeys

    Trailed One Woman's Quest to Solve the Shenandoah Murders by: Kathryn Miles narrator: Gabra Zackma release date: May 3, 2022 audiobook publisher: Workman Audio Trailed is a powerfully gripping account by Kathryn Miles of an unsolved case of the 1996 murders of two women in Virginia's Shenandoah National Park. Miles, a journalist, writes with passion, honesty, and compassion in her well-researched narrative. I listened to the audiobook, expertly read by Gabra Zackman. I became so engrossed and emotion Trailed One Woman's Quest to Solve the Shenandoah Murders by: Kathryn Miles narrator: Gabra Zackma release date: May 3, 2022 audiobook publisher: Workman Audio Trailed is a powerfully gripping account by Kathryn Miles of an unsolved case of the 1996 murders of two women in Virginia's Shenandoah National Park. Miles, a journalist, writes with passion, honesty, and compassion in her well-researched narrative. I listened to the audiobook, expertly read by Gabra Zackman. I became so engrossed and emotionally invested in the book that it was hard to take breaks from listening. Miles opens by introducing us to the lives of Julie Williams and Lollie Winans and how they loved the outdoors, hiking, and leadership in the backcountry. Unfortunately, the young women were killed while doing what they loved, backpacking while enjoying nature and each other's company. Their bodies were found at their campsite near Bridal Trail, which is close to the Appalachian Trail. The book covers the known details of the crime and the subsequent investigations. Miles began researching the case on the twentieth anniversary of the murder, sharing what she learned through her hands-on work and discoveries. She writes with attention to details and in a compelling manner. It is obvious that Miles has a respectful and heartfelt connection to Julie and Lollie's story. She sheds new light on this case, hoping to solve it while remembering the adventurous spirits and far too short lives of Lollie and Julie. I'm a lover of the outdoors and trails myself, and I was very moved by this account of their story.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    This had a number of similarities to I'll Be Gone in the Dark including an author who does a great deal of research and ultimately obsesses about the subject and some crowd sourcing for assistance. The crime's impact on perceived safety is also similar. This book is about a single cold case that the author suspects is linked to other cold cases. The author also illuminates what appear to be the failures of the investigating agencies which has resulted in the case still being unsolved. This had a number of similarities to I'll Be Gone in the Dark including an author who does a great deal of research and ultimately obsesses about the subject and some crowd sourcing for assistance. The crime's impact on perceived safety is also similar. This book is about a single cold case that the author suspects is linked to other cold cases. The author also illuminates what appear to be the failures of the investigating agencies which has resulted in the case still being unsolved.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Rachel Kelly

    This is one of those nonfiction books that I am going to rate because it was so damn good. Yesterday, I took my dog on a 12 mile hike, and I was listening to this book while doing so… a bad idea for obvious reasons. About 6 miles in I freaked myself out and had to turn it off, especially since the trail was dark and gloomy. But, I really liked this book because it put a voice to the fear that myself and a lot of other female hiker friends have about being alone in the woods, or not even feeling This is one of those nonfiction books that I am going to rate because it was so damn good. Yesterday, I took my dog on a 12 mile hike, and I was listening to this book while doing so… a bad idea for obvious reasons. About 6 miles in I freaked myself out and had to turn it off, especially since the trail was dark and gloomy. But, I really liked this book because it put a voice to the fear that myself and a lot of other female hiker friends have about being alone in the woods, or not even feeling safe in groups. The whole subject matter of the book, the murders especially, is just tragic and upsetting. The author did an outstanding job of deep-diving this case and the highlighting issues for women in the outdoors. Highly recommend.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Steph

    This was an interesting but frustrating and heartbreaking look into the unsolved 1996 double homicide of two young women in Shenandoah National Park. There was a tremendous amount of research done by the author and it was obvious how much the author wanted to get justice for the victims and their families. The flawed investigation and refusal of the FBI even now to release information or re-examine the evidence is so frustrating. I thought her book did a great job showing the mismanagement and s This was an interesting but frustrating and heartbreaking look into the unsolved 1996 double homicide of two young women in Shenandoah National Park. There was a tremendous amount of research done by the author and it was obvious how much the author wanted to get justice for the victims and their families. The flawed investigation and refusal of the FBI even now to release information or re-examine the evidence is so frustrating. I thought her book did a great job showing the mismanagement and subsequent cover up done by the investigation teams. I did think the inclusion of the author’s experiences were interesting, but also made it harder to track on audio because of the many jumps between the victims pasts, the crime timeline, the present with her interviews and her past experiences. The narrator for this did an excellent job, and I’d definitely recommend the audiobook version to true crime fans. Thanks to @Libro.FM and @hachetteaudio for the #Gifted ALC. Trailed will be out on May 3!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kennedy

    This book was so frustrating!! I can't understand why the law enforcement dealing with this case has seemingly purposely buried their heads in the sand about the possibility of their original suspect not being the real killer. So so frustrating and brings up questions of how many other cases have been treated the same way. This book was so frustrating!! I can't understand why the law enforcement dealing with this case has seemingly purposely buried their heads in the sand about the possibility of their original suspect not being the real killer. So so frustrating and brings up questions of how many other cases have been treated the same way.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Bookishbrookeish

    Thank you to Libro.FM and Hachette Audio for an ALC. This one was not really what I expected. It was half memoir half crime investigation and I for me, it didn’t ever successfully achieve either of those goals. It was short so I finished it, but I would have DNF’d if it was much longer.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    I generally like true crime best when it’s written by a woman, especially if the victim(s) are women. That is the case in Trailed so I felt like I was predisposed to like the book and for the most part, I did. Kathryn Miles certainly put a lot of effort and thought into solving the case. Almost too much effort as she describes the rabbit holes she goes down (looking up uniforms from local places in the late 1990s, watching hours of disturbing pornography because of some strange picture of an impri I generally like true crime best when it’s written by a woman, especially if the victim(s) are women. That is the case in Trailed so I felt like I was predisposed to like the book and for the most part, I did. Kathryn Miles certainly put a lot of effort and thought into solving the case. Almost too much effort as she describes the rabbit holes she goes down (looking up uniforms from local places in the late 1990s, watching hours of disturbing pornography because of some strange picture of an imprint at the crime scene) and her mental health really seems to suffer. She decides to learn how to shoot a gun and seems to worry people are going to break into her home. She talks a lot about how people can hide their criminal activity and how she wouldn’t know if someone close to her was a serial killer. My main issue with the book was that it was sort of disjointed. It takes to the 75% mark to get a retelling of the events leading up to the death of Julianne Williams and Laura Winans (aka Julie and Lollie as she referred to them through the book). Why wasn’t this earlier in the book? She sprinkles information about the women throughout the book, the unusual, outdoorsy college they attended, their interest in hiking, and encouraging other women hikers but takes a very long time to get a full picture of the women and what happened at the time they went on their last trip together. I hadn’t even realized they had been separated at some point and apparently using the trip to reconnect in some way. A lot of the book is about miscarriages of justice and how certain pieces of evidence against the main suspect seemed to have been taken completely out of context. His lawyers truly believed he was innocent. It also tells the background of some hate crime legislation and how it was politically important to have the murder of two blonde, white lesbians not only be solved but considered a hate crime. He ultimately had charges dropped because of other DNA evidence in the scene but the police did not seem to have tested it against who the Innocence Project people feel is a better suspect. She was very upset by the murder rate in these large parks and maybe it’s the Baltimore in me but the numbers didn’t seem that unexpected if you consider the millions of people who visit these parks and how remote many of the areas in these parks are. I honestly think the number must be artificially low. Not that any murder is acceptable but when you have many people in very remote and isolated areas, it does seem prime for crime. She said we wouldn’t accept a similar rate of murder at Disneyland and maybe not but Disneyland has more security and every corner in monitored. You can’t expect that level of surveillance at a rural public park. She also talked about how park numbers were artificially high because if you left a park and came back the same day, you are counted twice. How many people actually do that? Many national parks have caps that wouldn’t allow you to return anyway. In my experience at state and national parks people pack meals/supplies and plan to stay at least the day. Are people really coming and going multiple times a day and driving up the rates? She really focuses on this in a strange way. There were just a few details and leaps in logic (or lack of logic) along these lines that stood out to me. She spent a lot of time dwelling on things like a possible indent in a sleeping bag but doesn’t think too deeply about other details she includes yet dismisses for what seems like no reason. Early on in the book she shares a story of a park ranger tearfully remembering seeing a “pot” of uneaten couscous filled with rainwater at the scene and dog food–clearly distressed at the idea that these women and their dog were probably getting ready to have a meal when they were attacked. She then says that says their meal wasn’t in the crime scene photos so he must be confused. She makes the point of the fragility of human memory and sort of condescendingly discredits him a bit but later she talks about waterlogged macaroni spilling out of a bag and upturned dog bowls being on the scene. Isn’t it obvious that is what he was talking about? Macaroni and couscous are both small white shapes of pasta that would have been sitting out in the rain for days. Dogs get fed in bowls. It had been decades and I can’t imagine he spent a huge amount of time studying their food to figure out the exact shape of the pasta when the cause of death was readily apparent. How many murder victims could this man have come across as a ranger? It was not a leap in logic to think that if the women had food out and the dog bowls out they were getting ready to eat. The point of sharing the couscous memory was, I would think, to illustrate the distress of the man who saw the crime scene. Why be so dismissive of that by saying he’s misremembering that, throwing the whole firsthand account into doubt only to talk about uneaten pasta and dog bowls being on the scene later? I don’t think the very jumbled and nonlinear format did the book any favors. It read like the author’s research journal and I had the strong feeling things were written about when they happened in her investigation or occurred to her rather than in a way that made sense and provided a narrative anyone outside of the case could follow. I ended up having to Google various aspects of the case to connect some pieces and clarify some details. I’ve never had to do that in any book I’ve read before. I truly think she was writing the book as she investigated and didn’t go back to make sure it made sense or was the best way to present the information. It felt like she only knew the broad strokes at the beginning and then finally was able to interview people about their life leading up to their deaths about 3/4 of the way into her investigation. Where are the editors? She did do a good job of pointing out some of the bizarre missteps of the park service investigator including their odd insistence on a particular death day despite witness testimony that seemed solid. The waitress who said their food came with breakfast meats that the women said they didn’t want but asked if it could be wrapped up for their dog was discredited by an investigator because the women were vegetarian despite the waitress’ clear description of their quirky appearance and apparent discussion of their vegetarianism. He thought she was influenced by posters, which does seem less than likely. The investigator also quibbled over odd details like dark blue vs royal blue for a jacket or the shade of jeans or the weight of their dog. So strange and a good point to how odd the investigation was. All of this was important because of the waitress had seen the women then their suspect couldn’t have done it because he was in Annapolis. I do think the book gave back some humanity and depth to the women and eventually, we do get a picture of who they were. I liked how she showed how broken the justice system is and how people can be accused and imprisoned for crimes that they didn’t commit. I also think a stronger editor was needed to make sure the story was readable. I really had to press through parts and started to be tempted to take notes myself, information was so scattered in the book. All in all, well worth it if you are interested in the case and failures of the justice system.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jamie Canaves

    This is part of the new true crime subgenre that melds memoir with true crime. The true crime aspect is the still unsolved murders of Julie Williams and Lollie Winans, who were murdered in 1996 in Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park. The memoir aspect is Kathryn Miles talking about how she came to learn of this case, her ties to hiking and how this case spotlighted the dangers of hiking and camping for especially people who aren’t cis men. The true crime part really focuses on who Lollie Winans a This is part of the new true crime subgenre that melds memoir with true crime. The true crime aspect is the still unsolved murders of Julie Williams and Lollie Winans, who were murdered in 1996 in Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park. The memoir aspect is Kathryn Miles talking about how she came to learn of this case, her ties to hiking and how this case spotlighted the dangers of hiking and camping for especially people who aren’t cis men. The true crime part really focuses on who Lollie Winans and Julie Williams were: their lives growing up, how they met, and their lives at the time of the murders. While there was a suspect in the case, a man in prison for assaulting a woman that was publicly named, and Attorney General John Ashcroft said he’d seek the death penalty in the case and try it as a federal hate crime, he later suspended the case. To this day the same person has remained accused but not tried and the case is unsolved. Miles lays out the case and doesn’t believe the accused is the killer. She also meets and interviews the accused’s legal team, who always believed him innocent, as well as criminal investigators, and even presents the case to a class to get the student’s opinion on who they think the killer is. I can’t say I was sold either way in the argument mostly because I did feel there was a feeling of the end of the book being rushed (can you put publishing deadlines on investigating cold cases?) and Miles posits herself that investigators will zero in on someone they believe and only use the facts to prove that, and questions whether she too was doing that in the reverse. There were a few parts where it felt that. On the plus side Miles steered clear of giving unnecessary gruesome or graphic details. And I really hope this case gets the right kind of attention that may finally help solve what happened so the women’s loved ones can at least have answers. What I did find absolutely fascinating about this book was the deep dive into national parks, their history, how they operate, and most importantly their safety. How safe is it for people, especially non cis white men, to hike and camp out in national parks? Again, you can miss me with any hiking and camping trip, no matter how much I love nature, but that didn’t stop me from being fascinated by all the information related to those activities. (TW child sexual abuse, not graphic/ date rape recounted, not graphic/ stalker/ brief suicide, detailed/ women and girls sexual assault cases/ mentions past child abuse) --from Book Riot's Unusual Suspects newsletter:https://link.bookriot.com/view/56a820...

  22. 5 out of 5

    Ruben

    Once or twice a year I have this craving for true crime. This one is quite interesting, because the it looks at a double murder in the mid-1990s that is unusual for two readons: it's committed in a National Park and the victims are a young lesbian couple. It is a very engaging story, but I have a big problem with it, which is that far too much of the book feels like an introduction and is not about solving the case. There are lots of digressions on national parks, the victims lives and personali Once or twice a year I have this craving for true crime. This one is quite interesting, because the it looks at a double murder in the mid-1990s that is unusual for two readons: it's committed in a National Park and the victims are a young lesbian couple. It is a very engaging story, but I have a big problem with it, which is that far too much of the book feels like an introduction and is not about solving the case. There are lots of digressions on national parks, the victims lives and personalities - they felt a bit like fillers to me. Only the last two hours or so of the nine hour audiobook you get some more in-depth research. But most of it is dedicated to dismissing the FBI's prime suspect, rather than trying to figure out what actually happened. To be fair the author seems aware of this limitation (she explains at some point she's afraid she has too little to show for the time invested, and also that she misses the deadline for the book), and there is only so much an author can do in terms of testing for example. But I would have appreciated more in-depth analysis of the people that were in the park, the physical surroundings, the potential suspects, etc.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Maggie Tokuda-Hall

    Smart and personal.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Meagan

    Thank you to Libro.fm for the ALC! This book blew me away. Trailed is creepy and stomach turning and frustrating and tranquil and enlightening and fun in turns. Miles’s perseverance in her reporting has so much soul, and the way she talks about the back country makes you want to be there even as you question its safety. I really enjoyed this book, what I learned, and the story I was told.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Leah M

    Thank you to libro.fm for providing me with an ALC of this book. This is one of those true crime stories that reads like a fictional story - it kept me intrigued right from the start, even though I wasn't aware of these murders when they were actually news. The author clearly explores the hiking life, the lives of the women who were murdered, the murders themselves, the investigation, and her revisiting of these cases two decades later. The complete mishandling of these cases was appalling, as we Thank you to libro.fm for providing me with an ALC of this book. This is one of those true crime stories that reads like a fictional story - it kept me intrigued right from the start, even though I wasn't aware of these murders when they were actually news. The author clearly explores the hiking life, the lives of the women who were murdered, the murders themselves, the investigation, and her revisiting of these cases two decades later. The complete mishandling of these cases was appalling, as well as the serious efforts that are still taken to cover up how poorly this case was managed. I couldn't believe how many mess-ups were involved in the investigation, as well as how it is still being somewhat covered up. While the cases are considered solved, and this book doesn't change the outcome, I was so intrigued with the author's alternative suspect theory. I couldn't help but wonder how the investigators missed all this information - it doesn't look good for them, but the author did such a good job of laying out her theory and providing valid evidence to the best of her abilities. My only problem with this as an audiobook was that it jumped back and forth a bit, between the author's experiences, the lives of the victims, and the past, when the crimes were actively being committed. But other than that, I was hooked in the story and couldn't stop listening.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jane

    Trailed by Kathryn Miles is one of the best true crime works I've read recently. I didn't know anything about the murders of Julie Williams and Lollie Winans when I started the book. Author Miles does a really good job helping the reader get to know the two women and understand their passion for life and the outdoors. Miles also does a good job questioning many of the steps that were taken by law enforcement in the first hours after the bodies were discovered and as the months wore on. This incl Trailed by Kathryn Miles is one of the best true crime works I've read recently. I didn't know anything about the murders of Julie Williams and Lollie Winans when I started the book. Author Miles does a really good job helping the reader get to know the two women and understand their passion for life and the outdoors. Miles also does a good job questioning many of the steps that were taken by law enforcement in the first hours after the bodies were discovered and as the months wore on. This includes the astounding initial suggestion that the deaths were a murder/suicide. Members of law enforcement also continue to cling to a date of death that was four days before the date of death approximated by the medical examiner. Miles makes a good case that decisions were made and minds were made up in spite of much evidence to the contrary. As a woman who likes to do outdoor things, the author also made me think about my own safety when camping or hiking. “Although the FBI does not keep statistics on gender and backcountry crime, my own archival research finds that the majority of reported murder and rape victims in our national wilderness areas are female, despite the fact that we still constitute the minority of backcountry users and that national murder rates are skewed overwhelmingly towards male victims,” Miles writes (chapter 2 of the advance reader copy). Miles doesn’t shy away from the uncomfortable truth that the wilds are a convenient place for predators to look for victims. Miles tells us that she became obsessed with this case and her book, and it shows. Her obsession may have had a negative effect on her personal life but it pays off in her narrative. Although she visits different points in time, I never felt confused. She immersed herself in the lives of the two women and in the investigations into their deaths, and the book seems exhaustively researched. The author projects a profound sense of “there but for the grace of god go I” when describing the women and their tragic end. The book is deeply personal for the author, which I think is part of why I was so absorbed in the story. The author sprinkles facts about the Appalachian Trail into her book, which I appreciated. If you like to read absorbing, thoughtful works about true crime, you might want to pick up Trailed. I read an advance reader copy of Trailed from Netgalley.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Amelia

    Such a great and fascinating book. I haven’t returned to true crime in awhile, but this is informative, beautifully written and infuriating. I hope they solve this case - the author seems to have a great rationale for the real killer and is clearly knowledgeable on the subject. I don’t think I’ll go camping for awhile though.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Caitlin

    In Trailed: One Woman's Quest to Solve the Shenandoah Murders, author Kathryn Miles details the events surrounding the 1996 unsolved double homicide of a young couple inside Shenandoah National Park (Virginia). Miles has clearly poured herself into her research and her desire to find justice for the victims of this horrible hate crime is palpable in her well-written narrative. Miles has included interviews with investigators, legal experts, and friends and family members of the two victims, Loll In Trailed: One Woman's Quest to Solve the Shenandoah Murders, author Kathryn Miles details the events surrounding the 1996 unsolved double homicide of a young couple inside Shenandoah National Park (Virginia). Miles has clearly poured herself into her research and her desire to find justice for the victims of this horrible hate crime is palpable in her well-written narrative. Miles has included interviews with investigators, legal experts, and friends and family members of the two victims, Lollie Winans and Julie Williams. This story has layers of tragedy: the brutal murder of this young couple; the seemingly flawed investigation and wasted man-hours used to indict a man who was likely not in the park on the day the couple was killed; and the FBI's refusal to examine existing evidence that may connect a known serial killer to this case. Miles' book also spotlights how our justice system tends to fail victims of marginalized groups such as women, people of color, and the LGBTQIA+ community. She shows that those same groups experience national parks and outdoor recreational spaces differently because they are forced to think of their safety when entering spaces historically only enjoyed by cis het white males. This book unpacks a lot--and it does it well. Trailed a is a new classic for the true crime genre.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Cassie Gutman

    ~3.5 stars The front half of this book was exceptional, telling the story of the horrible murder case of two women in the Shenandoah National forest. The author centered the victims and the lives of the victims in the stories and did not overly discuss gruesome details of the case where unnecessary. I especially enjoyed the history of crimes in national parks, the history of safety while hiking, and the socialization of hikers that were portrayed in this book. By the end, in the more crime-solvin ~3.5 stars The front half of this book was exceptional, telling the story of the horrible murder case of two women in the Shenandoah National forest. The author centered the victims and the lives of the victims in the stories and did not overly discuss gruesome details of the case where unnecessary. I especially enjoyed the history of crimes in national parks, the history of safety while hiking, and the socialization of hikers that were portrayed in this book. By the end, in the more crime-solving-focused portion of the book, I felt it lost focus a little and wasn't much of a "solving a true crime" case. It was more debunking the one suspect held by authorities, which is fine, but I do think the book presented as "Solving the case" is a bit of a misleader. That said, I did really like most of it for its history and discussion on safety and crime in parks and do think it's worth a read, but it's not a traditional investigative true crime book I think a lot of people are coming to expect. CW: murder/death, rape and sexual assault and detailed descriptions of them (both of adults and of minors), kidnapping

  30. 5 out of 5

    Pam M.

    Fascinating. Shocking. Tragic. Frustrating. An obvious amount of work went into this book and it shows. As a woman and abuse survivor, I was physically ill at what has been done to overlook the crimes and the families involved...but not surprised. I grew up in the mentality and good ole boy culture that still exists. It's sad really that as a nation, we've come so far with DNA analysis and more...thank God...but we're still somewhat stuck in the dark ages regarding each other's true worth. One o Fascinating. Shocking. Tragic. Frustrating. An obvious amount of work went into this book and it shows. As a woman and abuse survivor, I was physically ill at what has been done to overlook the crimes and the families involved...but not surprised. I grew up in the mentality and good ole boy culture that still exists. It's sad really that as a nation, we've come so far with DNA analysis and more...thank God...but we're still somewhat stuck in the dark ages regarding each other's true worth. One of the more impressive nuggets in this reading were the statistical findings of murder and assault in our national parks and hiking trails. I'm strongly rethinking my desire to buy a camper. It was hard to put this book down and hard to comprehend the cruelty and pain so many suffered. I highly recommend this...especially if you have daughters, granddaughters, etc...

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