The unsolved 1978 murder of Miami University student Elizabeth Andes left a lot of unanswered questions, so Cincinnati Enquirer reporters Amber Hunt and Amanda Rossmann created Accused, an eight-part podcast in search of answers. They managed to track down quite a few, while also racking up a couple million downloads and the No. 1 spot on iTunes. We talked to Hunt about theories, responses, and what’s next.
What made you choose a podcast format? I knew it was a story. But the more I dug into it, the more I realized there were avenues the police didn’t go down, and I just wanted to know why. I figured we could try this, do something a little different.
Seems like the Serial podcast was a big influence. What Serial did for us is let us know that the audience was there. We get compared to it a lot, which is insane to me—that’d be like making your first movie and someone saying It’s in the vein of Kubrick. Oh, shit, really?
What’s the response been like from listeners? Most of that started after the last episode dropped. That’s when it went to No. 1—I think people were waiting to binge it. And yes, I’m getting a lot of e-mails. Some of them are certainly far-fetched, but I’ve also heard from people who were in Oxford at the time and remember some things.
How does the reaction compare to previous stories you’ve worked on? My gauge is that I usually only hear from people who are ticked at me. But this has been insane, the positive feedback. I’m recognizing this as something that’s probably once in a career, so I’m gonna save all of it for when I’m feeling bad about myself.
You were really open and honest about your opinions on the podcast. Did you land on a theory? The answer is, honestly, no. There are things that don’t make sense, but it would just be silly of me to think, even with the amount of work I’ve done, that I’ve got some kind of crystal ball.
Any plans for a follow-up? We’re in wait-and-see mode. My hope is that eventually there will be something newsworthy, but for now we’ll sit tight. We don’t want to force it.
To listen, visit cincinnati.com/series/accused