As part of their narrative series partnership with Skybound Entertainment, Audible is launching a new scripted true-crime podcast that takes a new look at a 40-year-old unsolved case. Death By Unknown Event explores what happened to Cindy James, a 44-year-old nurse in Vancouver, Canada who was found dead on June 8, 1989, seven years after she first began to report harassing, sometimes threatening, phone calls and other incidents. Prior to her death, James had been forced to move, change her last name, hire a private investigator, and take other measures to protect herself against an alleged assailant or assailants. She reported nearly a hundred incidents to Vancouver police, but according to police, there was no corroborating forensic evidence.
James’ death was categorized as a “death by unknown event” in the longest and most expensive coroner’s inquest in Canadian history. James’ family always believed she’d been murdered, though there were some theories that she had died by suicide. “Unknown event” was the official ruling, but what happened to James remains a mystery, one that writer Danielle Elliot and editor Eliza Smith plan to unpack in their new Audible series. Renée Lukacs and Flinder Boyd provide additional reporting. Death By Unknown Event aims to “illuminates the bizarre and chilling context surrounding Cindy’s life and the inscrutable circumstances of her death.” Audible’s just announced that Pamela Adlon will narrate the scripted podcast, which premieres October 21. The A.V. Club has an exclusive first listen of the trailer.
Over the years, information about James’ death has circulated in the media and online. The police were skeptical of her claims, even when she was found on multiple occasions with a stocking around her neck and other injuries, because they could never find signs of forced entry or an assailant. James reported a hundred separate incidents over the course of seven years; she never identified her assailant(s). According to her family, she began to withhold information, either because she feared for her life or theirs (or was just tired of being doubted by cops). The cryptic circumstances of James’ history of harassment and her death (her body was discovered near an abandoned house, far from her car, which had groceries and a gift in it) have been the subject of multiple books, as well as an episode of Unsolved Mysteries.
Death By Unknown Event will premiere October 21 on Audible; here’s the podcast page, as well as the cover art for the series.