Library event spotlights ‘WVU murders’ podcast

ELKINS — The Elkins-Randolph County public library presented an Author Fair Friday featuring 15 writers in a variety of genres presenting their work, along with a presentation by the authors, producer and investigative journalists of the “Mared and Karen: WVU COED Murders” podcast.

The podcast follows the true case of two West Virginia University college freshman who failed to make it back to their dorm in January 1970.

Geoffrey C. Fuller, Kendall Perkinson and Sarah James McLaughlin from the podcast presented all their findings from the notorious case at Friday’s presentation.

The foundation of the podcast began with McLaughlin’s spark of interest in the case, with Perkinson and Fuller joining the project shortly after.

“I started doing research through newspaper articles and found out there was a whole lot more to the case then I knew.” McLaughlin stated.

Perkinson talked about what it means to him to write and tell the stories of Mared Malarik and Karen Ferrell.

“To be able to put all of these details into a narrative style that people are used to in radio, podcast or television, it gives life to this story,” Perkinson said. “It helps people remember Mared and Karen as they should be remembered, rather than the ghost story that they turned into.”

Many individuals at the panel had questions about the series of events that played out the night of Mared and Karen’s death, and about the subsequent trial.

Fuller and McLaughlin provided their own conclusions about the case and who they believed were the individuals behind the murders.

“We really don’t know if we will ever get any closer to the story but I think that it’s really important that we never forget it,” McLaughlin stated.

All of the information provided at the presentation can be found in the eight episodes of their podcast and their upcoming book about the case.

Stephanie Murphy, director of the Elkins-Randolph County Public Library, commented on the library’s ability to host the new Author Fair event during the Mountain State Forest Festival.

“It was so great to share this form of West Virginia culture with the visitors of the Mountain State Forest Festival,” Murphy said.

Fuller, a New York Times’ bestselling author, is also known for his other investigative novels, including the best-selling “Full Bone Moon,” and “Pretty Little Killers,” which is about the murder of Skylar Neese, which took place in Morgantown in 2012. All of these books were available for purchase at the Author Fair.

Other local authors also presented their children’s stories, mysteries, nonfiction and poetry books at the event.

“We were thrilled to have the podcasters here and tried to include every genre and format of reading and listening that we could,” Murphy said.

The event was very well-received by the public, and officials plan for it to become an annual event at the library.

“All the authors were very happy to be included, and would like to come back next year,” Murphy stated.