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'Where The Crawdads Sing' Author Wanted For Questioning In Suspected Poacher's Murder In Zambia

Zambian officials say they still want to speak to author Delia Owens and her former husband, Mark Owens, about the shooting death of a suspected poacher that was captured on film in the mid-1990s.

By Jax Miller
Delia Owens attends the "Where The Crawdads Sing" photo call

The bestselling author of “Where The Crawdads Sing” is reportedly wanted for questioning connection with a mid-1990s homicide in Zambia.

Novelist Delia Owens — along with her former husband and his adult son — is wanted for questioning in connection with the shooting death of a suspected poacher in Africa’s south-central Zambia, according to The Atlantic. The revelation comes just two days before a film adaptation of her New York Times bestselling novel is set to have its theatrical release.

Delia Owens and her ex-husband, Mark Owens, had long said — even in her own words — they wanted to end wildlife poaching in various parts of Africa. Their advocacy became the subject of a 1996 episode of the ABC News docuseries “Turning Point."

According to The Atlantic’s editor-in-chief Jeff Goldberg, who's chronicled the case, the crew of the episode, “Deadly Game: The Mark and Delia Owens Story,” had their cameras still rolling — though not pointed in the right direction — when a suspected poacher was allegedly killed.

When the unidentified victim suffered the fatal shot, he was allegedly already on the ground, suffering from at least one previous gunshot wound.

Goldberg wrote that he interviewed Delia Owens 12 years ago, and the author denied any knowledge of the murder.

“We don’t know anything about it,” she said at the time. “The only thing Mark ever did was throw firecrackers out of his plane, but just to scare the poachers, not to hurt anyone.”

She added that Mark’s son, Christopher Owens, wasn’t even there for the shooting.

“We don’t even know where the event took place,” Delia told Goldberg. “It was horrible, a person being shot like that.”

According to Goldberg, Zambian authorities — including Zambia’s director of prosecutions, Lillian Shawa-Siyuni — are still interested in speaking with the Owenses about the suspected poacher’s shooting death.

“There is no statute of limitation on murder in Zambia,” said Shawa-Siyuni. “They are all wanted for questioning in this case, including Delia Owens.”

Goldberg said he spoke with several officials during a visit to Zambia and that they “expressed both displeasure and wry amusement about Delia Owens’s recent publishing and cinematic success.”

Owens’ fiction novel, “Where The Crawdads Sing,” has sold more than 12 million copies and spawned a film produced by Reese Witherspoon. Delia Owens also penned three non-fiction books that garnered international acclaim, all inspired by her 23 years living in remote areas in Africa.

Requests to Delia Owens’ publicity manager were not immediately returned.

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