est. New York | c. Los Angeles
est. New York | c. Los Angeles

Field Reports

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Posted June 23rd, 2022 in Uncategorized by Billy Jensen

My statement concerning the Jenn Tisdale podcast:



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Posted June 23rd, 2022 in Uncategorized by Billy Jensen

My statement on recent events:


Last October, I attended an Exactly Right Halloween event with my wife and others at a brewery. It was the first event since the pandemic started, and I was excited to see people I hadn’t seen offline in two years. Admittedly, I was being very social and hugging my colleagues and friends. All of these hugs were out in the open, in front of everyone at the event.


Two months later, I was told that someone had made a complaint that my interaction with them at the event was inappropriate. I was surprised and horrified. I did not touch anyone with untoward intentions, nor was there a moment when anyone expressed any indication of discomfort — but I was hugging and putting my arm around my colleagues that evening and I did get into people’s personal space and assumed a level of comfort without asking. I now understand that was unwelcome, and I am deeply sorry I made anyone feel uncomfortable that night. I didn’t approach anyone with any ill intention, and I truly regret that my eagerness for shared camaraderie came across in such a way.


I was interviewed about the event, and three weeks later I received a short phone call and was told that my actions at the brewery event “were inappropriate.” There was absolutely no mention of “harassment,” and this was the only explanation I received. Subsequently, the Murder Squad podcast was then put on a hiatus.


I recently learned — through third parties and no official channels (corporate, legal or otherwise) — that the complainant may have had some sort of dispute against Exactly Right. However, I was not a party to that dispute, I did not take part in it as a witness or otherwise, I do not know what the issues were, and I do not know the outcome. Nor do I know the exact reasons why Murder Squad was ultimately discontinued.


This has been an incredibly difficult year with a lot of introspection and therapy, which I plan to continue far into the future. I understand some people in the community may have their minds already made up about me — believe me, I have heard you — but I will continue working to become more conscious of other people’s personal space and comfort levels.


Again, I am deeply sorry I made anyone feel uncomfortable.




The Suicide Project

Posted January 3rd, 2022 in Field Reports by Billy Jensen

**Trigger warning—#suicideawareness****


Still here? Ok. And if you left, that’s ok too.



I’m starting a new project that is a slight departure—but just as important—as true crime.


In the spring of last year, for the first time ever—or at least in a very long time—I had serious suicide ideation. I was in a really dark place. When I was 22, I was diagnosed with depression and obsessive compulsive disorder. Medication has helped since. But it just got really bad last year. Not being able to turn off thoughts. Best I can describe it is darkness. And I had some really, really dark nights. And to be honest, I’m amazed and happy I’m alive.


Somehow I pulled myself out of the darkness. For now. It’s a constant struggle. But one of the things that got me through it was this.


For 20 years, I’ve chased killers. 15,000 people die by murder in America each year.  50,000 people die by suicide. 800,000 people worldwide. Suicide claims more lives than war, murder, and natural disasters combined.


One person dies from suicide every 40 seconds. Someone just died by suicide as You’ve been watching this.


When I pulled out of that darkness back in the spring, I started doing a lot of research. There are not many books on suicide. I went to a Big bookstore chain and asked the salesperson for books on suicide. After a concerned look at me and a 5 minute search on the computer, I was handed a list of 4 books. There were more books in that store about quidditch—a fictional sport played by wizards—than something that kills 800,000 people a year.


So I started talking to a lot of suicidologists.


And they all said the same thing—talking about suicide should be done and we should be talking about how people who have had thoughts of suicide were able to survive.


We make movies about people who die by suicide. Particularly celebrities. But what about people who got to the very edge but were then able somehow to pull themselves back.


Just as much as a completed suicide can trigger other suicide attempts, a story of survival and resilience can create hope and second chances. And maybe even give other tools on how to survive and fight back.


You know, One of the best things I ever learned in therapy is “you are not your thoughts.”


If you have suicidal ideation—it’s not you. It’s an outsider. An invader. In true crime terms. It’s a  killer entering your head. Then why not tackle the subject like that? A killer who kills 800,000 people a year. If there was someone who survived that killer, you’d want to hear that story, right? Those stories are out there.


The last journey of the hero is to bring the boon, the reward, back home and share it with the people.


Be it a trophy or knowledge. And people have this knowledge. The knowledge to fight back these thoughts.


But virtually no one talks about how they pulled out, because of the stigma attached. There’s also issues of future employment, health insurance.


But we need to stop that. If someone fought off an attacker on the street, they would tell you how they did it. The same should be true for fighting off an attacker in your head.


This is by no means saying people who died by suicide were lesser. The killers in their heads were incredibly strong and overpowered them. And there is not a one-size-fits-all cure—everyone is different, everyone is going through different things, everyone has different brain chemistry. Everyone is different.


But sharing stories will help. The new world health organization guide “suggests that media counteract reports of suicide with stories of successful recovery from mental health challenges or suicidal thoughts.”


So today, the first real day of the new year, I’m launching a project to collect these stories — stories from people from all walks of life, from celebrities to your next door neighbor— who have had thoughts of suicide and fought them back.


The WHO has a goal— Reduce the suicide rate by 1/3 by 2030. Wouldn’t that be amazing to reach? Saving 250,000 lives a year?


Suicide rates are actually down globally—decreasing by 36% in the last 20 years.


But in the United States, the suicide rate has risen 17 percent.


Why? In the US, it’s much more complicated, and experts point to our relationship with firearms. Going on an anti gun rant here is not going to help anyone because the message will get lost, but The WHO does identify access to means and it will be part of the conversation. There are also the situations of self medication with drugs and alcohol, something that is a constant battle for myself as well. And it’s also worth noting, that more than twice as many males die due to suicide as females. And more than 65,000 US veterans have died by suicide in the last 10 years. That’s more than the number of soldiers who were killed during the Vietnam war. Depending on what state you live in, Suicide is either the second or third leading cause of death for people 15-24.


I know I’m throwing a lot out here. But now, I want to hear your story. How were you able to fight back against the killer in your head.


And share this message with people. Send it far and wide. It’s time to drag suicide out of the darkness and into the light.


If you don’t have a story, there is still a way to contribute. Coupled with this will be something I’m calling Project Reach Out. All I’m asking is every week or two, reach out to someone. Ask them to meet in person. Take a walk, go for coffee. Anything. People in despair often don’t reach out. But sometimes all it takes is someone reaching out to them to give them a tool to survive.


I talked about it on episode 100 of Murder Squad in June and it resonated. This is just the first public step in this project. We want to learn as much as we can from each other. If you have any suggestions, please don’t hesitate to send them in to A book and possibly a podcast will follow. But this is the first step.


Suicide ideation is an ongoing struggle. Hell, it was a struggle just to write all this out. Thoughts get in your head. I had to go to a burger place and be around people just to finish it. But I really think we can all move the needle on suicide.


And if you are having thoughts of suicide, please call the hotline at



And I know a lot of people don’t like to talk on the phone—so you can text a crisis line 24/7–

Text HOME to 741741 for a confidential response from a crisis counselor.


Thank you for listening, thank you for sharing, and thank you for reaching out.

When True Crime Gets Personal

Posted November 7th, 2019 in Field Reports by Billy Jensen

A few weeks after Chase Darkness with Me came out, I received an email that blew me away. I just wrote a story about it for Vulture.



By design, writing a book is a solitary affair.


You can do your research in the city streets, conduct your interviews in crowded coffee shops, huddle with your editor in dimly lit bars. But at the end of the day, it’s you alone with your words. And maybe a bottle. And The Office streaming in the background as you try to articulate what it is you’re trying to tell the world.


After months and months, you finish it — well, it’s never really finished, but you ship it. Then about a year later, that snarling, insatiable beast that you have been feeding and attempting to tame is unleashed upon the world, with a whimper or a roar. The book tour, the best-seller list, the airport flu, the airport bars, the hotel bars, the bar bars. It cascades into a blur.


And then the letters arrive.

Keep reading here.

My new book, Chase Darkness With Me, is now available for preorder only on Audible

Posted February 28th, 2019 in Field Reports by Billy Jensen

Order here.


Want to know what it’s about? Read below!


Have you ever wanted to solve a murder? Gather the clues the police overlooked. Put together the pieces. Identify the suspect.


Journalist Billy Jensen spent fifteen years investigating unsolved murders, fighting for the families of victims. Every story he wrote had one thing in common—it didn’t have an ending. The killer was still out there.


But after the sudden death of a friend, crime writer Michelle McNamara, Billy became fed up. Following a dark night, he came up with a plan. A plan to investigate past the point when the cops have given up. A plan to solve the murders himself.


In Chase Darkness with Me, you’ll ride shotgun as Billy identifies the Halloween Mask Murderer, finds a missing girl in the California Redwoods, and investigates the only other murder in New York City on 9/11. You’ll hear intimate details of the hunts for two of the most terrifying serial killers in history: his friend Michelle’s pursuit of the Golden State Killer which is chronicled in I’ll Be Gone In The Dark which Billy helped finish after Michelle’s passing, and his own quest to find the murderer of the Allenstown 4 family.


And Billy gives you the tools—and the rules—to help solve murders yourself.


Gripping, complex, unforgettable, Chase Darkness with Me is an examination of the evil forces that walk among us, illustrating a novel way to catch those killers, and a true crime narrative unlike any you’ve listened to before.


With a foreword by Karen Kilgariff of My Favorite Murder.


Chase Darkness with Me is available for preorder. You can order it here.

“I’ll Be Gone in the Dark,” Michelle McNamara’s Investigation Into the Golden State Killer, Is In Stores Now

Posted February 27th, 2018 in Field Reports by Billy Jensen

Michelle McNamara was a writer first. Then she became a citizen detective. Then she merged the two and we can now finally say she is the author of a true crime classic.


After months of going through all of her documents and chapters and notes and emails, pulling and pushing and putting it all together, and then trying our best in part 3 to follow some of the strings she left us to get out of the maze, seeing her beautiful prose and intense research in hardcover felt amazing.



Then I opened the book and saw Michelle’s photo on the inside jacket, and it was like a sledgehammer hit my chest all over again.


It’s the same feeling I get when I get a solve–elation, followed immediately by sadness, because no matter what, it will not bring the victim back. We should be going out for drinks and celebrating this week. This is by all accounts the true crime book event of the year. It’s already being called a “true crime classic.” But it’s still…grrrr, I’ll be drinking tonight.


The book jacket photo is from the same shoot as the photo to the right. The last time I felt that sledgehammer was when I walked into Michelle’s memorial at Largo and saw this pic blown up, giant-sized. Then they played David Bowie, and now I can’t hear the opening snare drum of “Five Years” without thinking of this badass woman.


That day Patton, Paul and I vowed to do everything we could to bring Michelle’s work into the light. Today is the day the world can see what she was working on.


So buy the book. It’s really good. I mean really good. Like you’ll be stopping yourself over and over saying “damn, that’s a great paragraph” good. If you don’t believe me, read this review here:


What we discover, beautifully, is McNamara’s interest in human beings. There’s a spooky, suspenseful magic to the way the author constructs bite-sized short stories — tales of jealous siblings, happy young couples, impulsive children and “stony” parents — and infuses them with that lurking inevitability of terrible, potentially deadly crimes.Entertainment Weekly (David Canfield)


And here:


“This book had to be finished,” [Patton Oswalt] said in a telephone interview. “Knowing how horrible this guy was, there was this feeling of, you’re not going to silence another victim. Michelle died, but her testimony is going to get out there.”


Shortly after her death, Mr. Oswalt recruited Billy Jensen, an investigative journalist, and Paul Haynes, who worked closely with Ms. McNamara on the book as a researcher, to comb through her handwritten notes and the roughly 3,500 files on her computer and piece together the story she set out to tell.


“I’ll Be Gone in the Dark,” due out Feb. 27, is both a vivid and meticulous investigation of a twisted predator who terrorized quiet, upper middle-class communities in California for nearly a decade, and a wrenching personal account from a writer who became consumed by her subject. It’s drawn accolades from some of the country’s top crime and horror writers, including Stephen King, Michael Connelly, Megan Abbott and Gillian Flynn, who wrote an introduction to the book.New York Times (Alexandra Alter)


And here:


​McNamara fascinatingly evokes the development of post-war Californian suburbia, “a predator’s paradise” where single-storey houses in communities planned by visionaries such as Joseph Eichler became “eerie” filmic tableaus, with their occupants displayed “like rare museum objects”.– The Independent (Alaisdar Lees)


And here:


By the time of her sudden death in 2016, McNamara had inspired an online community of sleuths who continue to research the crimes. With its exemplary mix of memoir and reportage, this remarkable book is a modern true crime classic.Publishers Weekly


And here:


McNamara’s background in fiction demonstrated itself in a superb ability to tell a story in a nonfiction context. She had a well-developed knack for presenting a situation in a single, memorable image. These ranged from a recollection of her mother in her beige armchair in the living room of their home, circling her finger in the air to tell Michelle’s friends ringing the doorbell to go around to the unlocked back door, to her description of retired homicide investigator Larry Crompton as looking “like the kind of tall, lean, honest-faced rancher John Wayne would have trusted in one of his Westerns.” New York Journal of Books (Michael J. McCann)


And here:


We don’t review much true crime at Crime Fiction Lover – our passion is for fiction – but this book is exceptional in the way it captures a specific time and place, as well as some unforgettable, if brief, character portraits of victims and police investigators. McNamara obtained her MFA in fiction writing, and, although her accounts of the victims’ lives and stories are factual, they have all the vivid descriptive power and fluency that fiction can bring to the reader. Not only does it give voice to the victims and their families, it also does a brilliant job recreating that atmosphere of panic that gripped the state during that time.– Crime Fiction Lover (Marina Sofia)


And here are the Amazon reviews.


And the Goodreads reviews.


I have started some social campaigns and geo-targeted buys (targeted to people who lived in the areas of the crimes but have since moved away across the world) to try and dig up any new information, like I promised I would do.


The book is finally be on the shelves, but that doesn’t mean Paul, Patton and myself are going to stop. We won’t stop until this guy is identified and brought to justice, even if he’s already shuffled off his mortal coil, little prick and all (you’ll have to read the book to get that reference).


And when we do catch the guy, I want to meet him. I want to show him that picture of Michelle and say to him “This is the woman that helped catch you.”


In the meantime, ride shotgun with Michelle on her journey to find him. She may have paused her investigation down here for a spell, but I’m sure she is up there interviewing people as we speak.


Order “I’ll Be Gone in the Dark” here


Still need convincing? Here’s Stephen King’s review:


What readers need to know—what makes this book so special—is that it deals with two obsessions, one light and one dark. The Golden State Killer is the dark half; Michelle McNamara’s is the light half. It’s a journey into two minds, one sick and disordered, the other intelligent and determined. I loved this book. —Stephen King



Allenstown 4 Update: We have identified the killer, but still don’t know who he killed

Posted May 31st, 2017 in Uncategorized by Billy Jensen

I went back to New Hampshire to update my investigation on The Allenstown 4. We have answered the biggest question–Who is the killer? But with that answer came hundreds of more questions…and possibly more bodies.

Part 1

Part 2

Kimberly Long Murder Conviction Reversed: Credits Crime Watch Daily With Helping

Posted September 19th, 2016 in Field Reports by Billy Jensen
Kimberly Long's first interview since her murder conviction was overturned. The last time I spoke with her she was calling from a prison phone.

Kimberly Long’s first interview since her murder conviction was overturned. The last time I spoke with her she was calling from a prison phone.


As a journalist that focuses on unsolved cases, I get many of requests to attempt and prove someone’s innocence, but I have never taken one on. But when I found Kimberly Long’s case, there was just too much there to keep it in the dark.


In July 2015, I started my first television producing/investigating and on-camera gig by digging into the story of Kimberly Long, who was convicted of the 2003 murder of her live-in boyfriend Ozzy Conde.


The episode kicked off the second week of Crime Watch Daily’s first season. We laid out all the evidence–or rather lack thereof–for why Kimberly’s conviction should be overturned.


Nine months later, it happened. Kimberly walked out of prison.


Today, we kicked off the second week of Crime Watch Daily’s second season with Kimberly’s first interview since her conviction was overturned.




A Clearer Photo of the River North Puncher–Please Help ID

Posted July 25th, 2016 in Uncategorized by Billy Jensen

A Twitter user sent me this photo, which was apparently taken around the time of the incident. If you have any information on this man–his name or current whereabouts–please contact me. CoK5BvTWcAE3F8P 3

DB Cooper History Channel Special: FBI Interview Bonus Footage

Posted July 11th, 2016 in Field Reports by Billy Jensen

Last August I got a call from the History Channel asking me to investigate the DB Cooper mystery and vet a suspect that a team of citizen sleuths had uncovered.


I was paired with a former FBI man, assistant director Tom Fuentes, and together we traveled up to the Pacific Northwest to interview witnesses, former and current FBI agents, scientists, and a host of other people involved with the Cooper saga. We probably conducted around 25 interviews in total, and met some real interesting folks. The four-hound special: DB Cooper: Case Closed? airs tonight on History.


Here is a bonus video from our interview with retired FBI special agents John Detlor and Robert Furhiman, who were on the ground at SEATAC the night of the hijacking.