cover image Trailed: One Woman’s Quest to Solve the Shenandoah Murders

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

Kathryn Miles. Algonquin, $28.95 (320p) ISBN 978-1-61620-909-4

In 2016, Miles (Quakeland: On the Road to America’s Next Devastating Earthquake) became obsessed with the unsolved case of Julie Williams and Lollie Winans, a couple in their 20s who were murdered in 1996 while hiking in Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park, leading her to spend four years researching this engrossing account. Through extensive investigations and the help of attorney Deirdre Enright and her Innocence Project students, Miles discounted the National Park Service rangers’ and FBI’s theories that Darrel David Rice was the murderer. Rice, in prison for assaulting a female cyclist in Shenandoah Park in 1998, was indicted for the double homicide in 2002, but the case was dismissed in 2004 when DNA evidence ruled him out. The loss of evidence by the time the crime scene was investigated and park service efforts to keep the deaths quiet for fear of losing tourists hampered the inquiry, but Miles makes a convincing case that serial killer Richard Marc Evonitz, who died by suicide in 2002 as police closed in on him, was the likely culprit, though the FBI declined to connect him to the Williams and Winans murders. Along the way, Miles takes a comprehensive look at police procedures in federal parks and violence against women in rural areas. This fascinating if often grim story is a must for true crime buffs. Agents: Wendy Strothman and Lauren MacLeod, Strothman Literary. (May)