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Welcome to Junction.


Ken Botham Jr. has served 39 years in prison for the murder of his wife Patricia, his neighbor Linda and her two young boys, Troy and Chad. Unanswered questions still surround the case.

My name is Blake Higgins and I'm telling the story of what happened in Grand Junction, Colorado, during the summer of 1975. I'll be discussing these events in a podcast that you can listen to on this website, on Soundcloud, via the RSS feed or on podcast providers like iTunes and Stitcher.

You can also dive deeper into the case by going through the behind-the-scenes blog.

If you'd like to help me tell this story, here's what you can do.

I take ethics very seriously. Please visit the ethics page to find out more.

I also answer questions and respond to comments at the story's subreddit. If you have new information about these events, please contact me here.

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Welcome to Junction.


Ken Botham Jr. has served 39 years in prison for the murder of his wife Patricia, his neighbor Linda and her two young boys, Troy and Chad. Unanswered questions still surround the case.

My name is Blake Higgins and I'm telling the story of what happened in Grand Junction, Colorado, during the summer of 1975. I'll be discussing these events in a podcast that you can listen to on this website, on Soundcloud, via the RSS feed or on podcast providers like iTunes and Stitcher.

You can also dive deeper into the case by going through the behind-the-scenes blog.

If you'd like to help me tell this story, here's what you can do.

I take ethics very seriously. Please visit the ethics page to find out more.

I also answer questions and respond to comments at the story's subreddit. If you have new information about these events, please contact me here.

Overview

There are a few things that aren't up for debate. On August 22nd, 1975, Ken Botham Jr. left his house in Grand Junction, Colorado, to take photos in a town called Ouray, located about two hours away. He came back to his home the next day to find his two young children left alone and his wife Patricia nowhere to be found. The authorities were called to find out what happened.

After further investigation, police determined that the Bothams' neighbor Linda Miracle and her sons, Troy and Chad, were missing as well. There didn't appear to be any signs of foul play, but both women had left behind their cars, purses, cigarettes and clothes. Police also discovered that the oven and stove top in Linda's home were left on, and dinner dishes were still on the table. The houses were not declared crime scenes until five weeks later when the bodies of Patricia, Linda, Troy and Chad were discovered in the Gunnison River, about 20 miles away from the homes.

Linda, Chad and Troy Miracle

Linda, Chad and Troy Miracle

The jury heard eleven days of contentious testimony. One day after arguments closed, the jury issued a guilty verdict. Ken was sentenced to death.

He spent the next five years in prison as lawyers worked on an appeal that eventually was heard by the Colorado Supreme Court. The court ruled that the first trial was not carried out fairly in Grand Junction, and the convictions were struck down.

A second trial began in 1982 in Golden, Colorado, with a new judge presiding. The proceedings went largely the same way they did in 1976, and Ken was pronounced guilty once again. The prosecution didn't seek the death penalty this time, and Ken has been in prison ever since.

Many details, though, are up for debate. Timelines, evidence, witness reports and many other aspects of his case have come into question. New facts have also come to light that weren't heard during the trials. It's possible there may be DNA evidence that can be tested to prove once and for all if Ken Botham Jr. really did commit these murders.

Patricia Botham

Patricia Botham

Autopsies revealed that the women had died from asphyxiation. The boys had each been shot in the head with a low-caliber firearm. Each of the four bodies was bound with cable to a railroad iron to weight it down.

The case was handed over to the Mesa County Sheriff's Department, and the investigation to find out who killed the women and children began. After six weeks of questioning suspects, deputies arrested Ken and charged him with the murders of all four victims. Prosecutors, defense lawyers and the courts slowly worked through pre-trial arrangements over the next year until the the trial finally began in December 1976.

 

Ken Botham Jr.

Ken Botham Jr.

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Podcast


This is where the vast majority of the work and research done on this story will be presented. New installments will be uploaded as soon as humanly possible. You can listen to the story on the website, your smartphone, via the RSS feed, on Soundcloud or on podcast providers like  iTunes and Stitcher.

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Podcast


This is where the vast majority of the work and research done on this story will be presented. New installments will be uploaded as soon as humanly possible. You can listen to the story on the website, your smartphone, via the RSS feed, on Soundcloud or on podcast providers like  iTunes and Stitcher.

#1-Welcome to Junction

On the first episode of the podcast I'll walk you through a brief overview of the story from 1975 to the present day.

Show Notes

 

#2-Questions: The Shoe

In this episode I talk about some of the difficulties I've been having telling the story away from Grand Junction. I also present a question from the case about the curious circumstances of Patricia's shoe.

 

#3-Questions: The Boyfriends

In this episode I discuss Linda's boyfriends and the roles they played on the night of the disappearances.

 

 

 

 

 


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Blog


I enjoy reading about how stories get told, so I thought I'd do the same here.  I'll be posting updates about the story, how I'm making it and what I'm learning along the way. 

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Blog


I enjoy reading about how stories get told, so I thought I'd do the same here.  I'll be posting updates about the story, how I'm making it and what I'm learning along the way. 

Click here to read all the blog posts from the story.

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Ethics


Releasing a story in this format with this much transparency has serious repercussions. The safety and emotions of everyone involved are very important to me. There may be disagreements with the direction I take, but please know that I am filtering every choice through a rigorous decision-making process that you can learn more about here.

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Ethics


Releasing a story in this format with this much transparency has serious repercussions. The safety and emotions of everyone involved are very important to me. There may be disagreements with the direction I take, but please know that I am filtering every choice through a rigorous decision-making process that you can learn more about here.

Funds

All funds donated will go directly to the costs of storytelling. Gear, bandwidth and marketing will be where the majority of resources are directed. I also need to survive, though, so a certain portion will be used for food, gas and other costs of living. I take these gifts very seriously and none of this money will be spent frivolously. Any extra money not used on the story will be donated to charities benefiting women and children who have been victims of violence.

Victims' Families

The most prominent concern on my mind is the well-being of the families involved in this story. They didn't have any choice when it came to their loved ones being taken from them in such a horrific manner. To make matters worse, they had to deal with a barrage of attention from police, reporters and neighbors. I try to sit down and put myself in their position every time I ask a question, reveal a fact or choose a particular word. It's important to remember that these are real people, not just characters in a story.

Unfortunately, drudging up these old wounds is bound to be painful. My only hope is to minimize any negative effect as much as possible during this process. The goal of eventual catharsis is the only way I can justify the inevitable hurt that the victims' families will feel during the making of this story.

Ken

Taking Ken's well-being into account is a bit trickier than the others. On one hand, Ken could be a cold-blooded murderer of women and children who should be treated as such. On the other, he could be the victim of a horrendous miscarriage of justice who has lost a wife and a lifetime of memories with his children.

Regardless of his innocence or guilt, Ken deserves fair treatment just like everyone else. I won't leave out anything that makes him look bad, nor will I leave out anything that makes him look good. I have no allegiance to proving one side or the other; I simply want to tell an honest story.

Grand Junction Residents

Another group of people that I keep in mind during my decision-making process are the current residents of Grand Junction. Although it's grown bigger since 1975, the town is still relatively small to have such a large spotlight placed on it. I would love to spend more time reporting on the positive aspects of the city, but that's not what I'm there to do. I will try my best to emphasize that these crimes are not representative of the city as a whole.

It's also important to keep in mind that these crimes happened 40 years ago. Things have changed, people have matured and institutions have evolved. To blame Grand Junction for these incidents would be blaming the son for the sins of the father. 

Victims

The living take precedence over the deceased when it comes to ethical decisions, but consideration for the victims is still very important to me. I have no desire to turn this into a salacious tell-all that focuses on "digging up dirt." There are many sensitive facts in this case, but I will only be sharing the ones that I deem absolutely critical to the reporting. We all have skeletons in our closet, myself included, and just because someone isn't around anymore doesn't give me the excuse to expose their innermost secrets. My intent is to have this story serve as a worthy representation of lives that were ended too soon. 

Storytelling

I chose the word storytelling as opposed to journalism because I'm not really sure what it is I'm doing here. I'm not employed by any organization and I haven't done anything like this before. It's possible that I may never do anything like this again; I'm not quite sure at the moment. I do have a degree in journalism, but I also disagree with much of what I was taught. As you can see, I'm conflicted.

What I do know is that I want to see more of this kind of storytelling. I want professionals and amateurs to take the power back into their own hands and use the incredible new tools at our disposal to share their truth. Corruption and injustice can only operate in the dark. I hope that by telling this story as fully and fairly as I can, I'll be able to create a worthy example of what ethical storytelling can be in this new age. 

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Help Out


In order to tell the story how I think it should be told, I've decided to create and release Junction independently. This means that funds and word-of-mouth are seriously needed. You listening to the story is reward enough, but any extra help is deeply, deeply appreciated. 

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Help Out


In order to tell the story how I think it should be told, I've decided to create and release Junction independently. This means that funds and word-of-mouth are seriously needed. You listening to the story is reward enough, but any extra help is deeply, deeply appreciated. 

Donate

100% of donations will go straight to story costs. Words can't describe how grateful I am for any help you can provide. You can choose to donate via card or the podcast Paypal account at blake@junctionpodcast.com. Thank you so much.

Rate and Review

iTunes ranks its podcasts by the quality and number of reviews that are left. I'd greatly appreciate it if you could take a few seconds to leave a review that will help Junction climb the charts!

Connect

Word-of-mouth is crucial to the success of this story; getting involved with other listeners and spreading the word helps more than you know. The majority of the action will take place at the story's subreddit. That's where I'll be answering questions, responding to comments and where you can interact with other listeners. You can also keep up with Junction on FacebookTwitter and Soundcloud.

Donate
 
 
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Contact


I try to answer questions and respond to comments as much as possible on the story's subreddit. It's also a great place to connect with others and talk about the story. Please reserve this form for new information about the facts of the case, press inquiries or advertising offers. 

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Contact


I try to answer questions and respond to comments as much as possible on the story's subreddit. It's also a great place to connect with others and talk about the story. Please reserve this form for new information about the facts of the case, press inquiries or advertising offers. 

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Are you providing new information about the story?