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She disappeared in January Serial's investigative team "follows up on long-dormant leads, rechecks alibis, and questions assumptions. Adnan Syed and Hae Min Lee had a storybook romance, which was kept secret from their disapproving parents. When Lee broke it off, their friends had conflicting interpretations of Syed's behavior: he was either cool with it and sad, or in a rage and hatching a sinister plot to kill her. Syed consistently proclaims his innocence, but there are puzzling inconsistencies in the set of facts he tells. Lee had been missing for three weeks when a man on his lunch break, referred to as "Mr.
S", discovered her body. His account of how he found her body seems suspicious to detectives MacGillivary and Ritz, who questioned him, and his background check reveals some bizarre behaviors, including a series of streaking episodes. An anonymous caller leads detectives to subpoena Adnan Syed's cell phone records. As a result, the detectives discover calls to Jen, who is a friend of one of Adnan's acquaintances, a weed dealer named Jay. Detectives interview Jen and then Jay, who says Syed told him he killed Lee, and then forced him to help bury her body.
Details of Jay's story shifted in some significant ways over four interviews, but the detectives said they were able to corroborate his story using cell phone records. Producers Koenig and Chivvis test drive the prosecution's route and timeline of Lee's murder between , when school let out at the high school, and , when Jay said Syed called him for pick up in the Best Buy parking lot and then showed Jay Lee's body in the trunk of her car. While that timeline seems possible, though just barely, evidence from the call logs and records of cell tower pings do not quite align with Jay's testimony about the rest of the afternoon.
In addition to Jay's testimony, evidence against Adnan Syed included a palm print on a map that could not be dated, and cell phone records. Did Syed ask Lee for a ride after school to get into her car?
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Koenig goes through all the evidence, including the prosecution's timeline and "some stray things" that don't add up, including a neighbor's story, the testimony of Jay's friend Jen, and the sequence of cell phone calls after Lee disappeared. Deirdre thinks the evidence against him was "thin". She advises Koenig to keep revisiting all the evidence, allowing uncertainties to remain until there is a tipping point when her questions are resolved. They start with a presumption of Syed's innocence, and ask whether they can discover who really did kill Lee.
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They find some undeveloped forensic evidence, but Koenig is still uncertain. How credible was Jay's story? Koenig interviews a jury member, who said Jay seemed like a nice young man and believable. A professional detective says the investigation of Lee's murder was better than average, and Jay had handed the police the case on a platter. Koenig and Snyder visit Jay, who declines an interview. Jay's friend Chris recalls what Jay told him about the murder, a story not consistent with Jay's courtroom version.
Why did Jay agree to help Syed? Did Syed coerce Jay and threaten to hurt Jay's girlfriend Stephanie? His friends said Jay had a reputation for lying, but not about important things. Jay's friend Jen says she could understand why Jay might lie about some details, but she believed his story. Back to the question: what was the jury thinking? Koenig reveals she has new information about the call at First, Laura claims there were never any pay phones in front of the Best Buy, but Jay's drawing shows a phone booth in front of the Best Buy, and he claimed Syed was standing by that phone booth with red gloves on.
Second, Lee's friend Summer says that Lee could not have been dead by , because she had a conversation with Lee between and Others also saw Lee after school that day. Third, Asia saw Syed at the library in that same time frame. Sarah Koenig explores Syed's perspective as he was questioned, arrested, tried, and sentenced, as well as his letters to friends about life in prison. She mentions that she has reasonable doubt, not in the legal sense, but in the "normal person" sense. Did anti-Muslim sentiment affect the prosecution? The prosecution argued that Syed's community would help him flee to Pakistan if bail were granted, making suggestions that Syed murdered Lee as religiously motivated killing by a lover with "honor besmirched".
Defense attorney Cristina Gutierrez argued that someone else did it, and police did not look beyond Syed. His first trial ended in a mistrial, and in the second trial she cast suspicion on Mr. S and Jay as involved in the crime, but she did not present a clear outline of these arguments or scrutinize discrepancies in the call log timeline. Gutierrez discovered the prosecutor had secured an attorney for Jay — arguably a "benefit" worth money — in connection with his pleading guilty as an accessory and agreeing to testify, but the judge did not agree that this tainted Jay's testimony.
Koenig does not believe Cristina Gutierrez intentionally bungled his defense, but within a year after Syed's trial, Gutierrez became very ill, her career collapsed, and she was disbarred. Koenig investigates negative rumors about Syed, though the rumors do not directly connect him to Lee's murder, and the most troubling rumors cannot be substantiated. People from his mosque were scared when he was arrested, some describing his story as a cautionary tale.
Some believe Syed was duplicitous, capable of committing the crime. One rumor, that he stole money from the mosque, was partially confirmed by four people. Syed admitted taking some money when he was in eighth grade, but his mother found out, and he felt ashamed.
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Syed had a reputation as a peacemaker, "a good guy", helpful and caring. People who knew him in high school cannot believe he planned Lee's murder. Did Syed "lose it", and nurse feelings of rejection? Could Syed have committed murder in a dissociative state, not knowing he did it? Koenig explores whether Syed has true empathy or anti-social characteristics, and consults with psychologist Charles Ewing, who has interviewed many young murderers.
Why does Syed not sound more angry about Jay or other people connected to his case? In an page letter to Koenig, Syed reveals his concern about being perceived as manipulative, and says it doesn't matter how the podcast portrays him.
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After spending over a year researching the case, Koenig still is uncertain what happened the day that Lee disappeared. She reveals new information that happened as a result of people hearing about the podcast: she has spoken with Don, Lee's boyfriend of 13 days at the time of her disappearance, and with Jay's former co-worker, Josh. Koenig reviews the phone records again with her production team and determines that neither Jay's nor Syed's story of that day aligns with the evidence.
Unresolved discrepancies also include Jen and Jay's stories about how they disposed of Jay's clothes and boots. Reviewing possible motives for the murder, Koenig and her producers reason that, if Syed is innocent, he had extraordinarily bad luck but several experts who reviewed the case tell them "the case is a mess". Syed's petition in the Court of Special Appeals is still alive but torn between two lawyers, he tells Koenig he will allow the Innocence Project to seek court approval to test the DNA found on Lee's body and a bottle found nearby, possibly pointing to another man, Ronald Lee Moore.
Koenig expresses her desire to avoid unsubstantiated speculation and to focus on only the facts. She concludes that from a legal perspective, she would have voted to acquit Syed, although she still nurses doubts. Private Bowe Bergdahl left his U. In telephone conversations with Mark Boal , an academy award winning filmmaker, Bergdahl said he wanted to report poor leadership at his post and air grievances, but enemy fighters captured him within hours of his disappearance.
Sarah Koenig will be using more of the 25 hours of recorded conversations between Bergdahl and Boal to tell his story. The capture of Bowe Bergdahl is recounted by Taliban members present that day and the weeks following. Other Army soldiers discuss the initial recovery efforts and their feelings about Bergdahl following his disappearance. Bergdahl said he tried to escape after he was captured, but his first attempt only resulted in about 15 minutes of freedom. He was chained spread-eagle to a bed and blindfolded for about three months. His next escape lasted only eight days, during which he was injured falling off a cliff in the dark.
He remained in captivity until Special Forces picked him up in What was going on with the captors? Bergdahl's description of his captors is confusing, largely because his perspective was from inside a cage, inside a locked room. Koenig interviews David Rohde , another American held captive by the Haqqani network for about seven months, who had been abducted with two Afghan colleagues who could interpret what his captors were saying and doing.
Hostage recovery was not at the top of list of priorities for the CIA , NSA , or other intelligence agencies, and resources were consequently not available. Because Bergdahl was held in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan, there were also complicated diplomatic issues. In , General John Campbell made it a top priority to recover Bergdahl, and Colonel Jason Amerine audited everything done in Bergdahl's case and in other hostage cases. Koenig observes that frustration was the central theme expressed by those she interviewed, who were struggling against competing interests and limits on what the U.
Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl gave a page statement to General Kenneth Dahl, telling the story of his deployment and what happened when he walked away from his post. Bergdahl had been a good infantry soldier up until that point, who even volunteered for extra duty, a "squared away" soldier.
He had become disillusioned at his first post in Alaska after basic training and found Army leadership to be lacking. The mission in Afghanistan was counterinsurgency and nation-building, but many soldiers expressed confusion over doing "humanitarian things," rather than seeking and destroying the Taliban enemy. Bergdahl wanted adventure and action, and was disappointed in his platoon's work. The platoon was assigned a rescue mission, but they were attacked on their return, in a firefight through a ravine, eventually limping back to the post with no losses, but they were upbraided for not shaving for six days.
Bergdahl was angry about the battalion commander's misplaced priorities. Bergdahl wanted to "kill the bad guys", and do better at engaging the regular Afghans, but he felt the Army was not fulfilling its counter-insurgency mission. When the battalion was assigned to dig trenches near Moest in degree heat of summer, the battalion commander aggressively berated them for being out of uniform, as a breakdown in discipline.
Bergdahl was offended by the punishment, feeling the commander was incompetent, and out of control. So was he selfish, or selfless?
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Has Bergdahl been telling the truth about his reasons for walking off base in Afghanistan, or just the version he could live with? Bergdahl says he left because Army leaders were dangerously bad. Dahl concluded Bergdahl's comments were truthful, that his motive was well-meaning, but based on incorrect assumptions. Mark Boal said Bergdahl's conclusions would make sense only to himself.
Kayla Harrison described him as an unusual, smart, creative teenager, who forged his own strict, uncompromising moral code, who believed if you know something to be wrong in the world, you must take actions to correct it, and he was "impossibly unrealistic". Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. More Details Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about The Wonderboy Serials Issues , please sign up.
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