I am not a dude who is ashamed to cry.
Sean Kipe is a master story teller who has a series of podcasts about events in different parts of Georgia that deserve to have their story told. Real people, in real places. Some are a mystery, others seem like they may have been made up as part of an HBO series. But all of them are true. And it is because he is so good at his job that I found myself connected with a pair of families who have been carrying the burden of a question mark for too long.
Rhonda Sue Coleman was just 18 years old when her car was found abandoned on a dirt road in Hazelhurst, Georgia, with the headlights on, door open, and engine still running. They would find her body a few days later in a neighboring county, and her murder is unsolved to this day.
The Fox Hunter Podcast tells Rhonda’s story through the lens of her family’s grief and their relentless desire to see justice in her case. Each person that is involved in the story are like links in a chain that has been lengthened with each interaction and has kept Rhonda’s legacy alive.
The latest episode of Fox Hunter gives us an update on where the case stands, but also highlights my own contribution to that chain. My personal part in the story began way after the real story had been decades old and would not have been possible without Sean Kipe. But I am keenly aware that all I am here is a link in that chain. The next link will be fashioned when, I hope, a new member of the GBI’s Cold Case Unit finally solves her case. We pass along the mantle to those who will write the next chapter and become the next link, because the story isn’t over yet.
And because I listen to podcasts while driving, I had to pull over today as I wept when I heard Gayle Coleman, Rhonda’s mother, express her gratitude and what it meant to see the Coleman Baker Act signed into law. The hope in her voice… it was a culmination of months of work, and stress, and trying to manage expectations… but to hear that hope….