Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Clear Night 66° Clear
A&E >  Books

‘Where the Crawdads Sing’ author still wanted for questioning in 1996 murder in Zambia

July 13, 2022 Updated Wed., July 13, 2022 at 9:22 p.m.

By Kate Feldman New York Daily News

Delia Owens, author of “Where the Crawdads Sing,” the hit novel with a movie adaptation out this weekend, is still a person of interest in the 1996 murder of an alleged poacher in Zambia.

Owens, her ex-husband Mark and his son, Christopher, were working with an ABC News documentary crew for a piece on the cruelty of poachers and hunters when the filmmakers stumbled across the man “executed while lying collapsed on the ground after having already been shot,” according to the Atlantic.

“Deadly Game: The Mark and Delia Owens Story” was about the couple, conservationists who dreamed of saving animals. But in the Atlantic’s telling, Mark was training scouts with guns and knives and Christopher taught hand-to-hand combat. The Owenses allegedly tied up poachers they caught and left them in the sun.

“To date I have flown eight airborne anti-poaching operations over your area, including four in which I inserted scouts on ambush,” Mark Owens allegedly wrote in a letter to a hunter, obtained by the Atlantic. “Two poachers have been killed and one wounded that I know of thus far, and we are just getting warmed up.”

The Owenses have denied any involvement in the death, but a cameraman filming the documentary claimed Christopher fired the fatal shot.

“There is no statute of limitations on murder in Zambia,” Zambia’s director of public prosecutions, Lillian Shawa-Siyuni, told The Atlantic. “They are all wanted for questioning in this case, including Delia Owens.”

Owens, 73, published three memoirs, “Cry of the Kalahari,” “The Eye of the Elephant” and “Secrets of the Savanna” before her best-selling “Where the Crawdads Sing,” about a girl, Kya, growing up in the North Carolina marsh who gets mixed up in a murder.

Reese Witherspoon’s production company adapted the novel into a movie, starring Daisy Edgar-Jones as Kya.

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe to the Spokane7 email newsletter

Get the day’s top entertainment headlines delivered to your inbox every morning.