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For June 2022, Oxygen Book Club read "Trailed: One Woman's Quest to Solve the Shenandoah Murders" by Kathryn Miles. Miles has spent years investigating the murders of Lollie Winans and Julie Williams, a couple who were found murdered in their tent on a backpacking trip in Virginia's Shenandoah National Park in May 1996. In the book, she draws a compelling and vivid portrait of two interesting and vibrant young women who were victim to a horrific tragedy, and explores who the culprit could've been — including floating the possible theory that a serial killer was behind their deaths.
Once you've finished reading the book yourself, consider examining these discussion questions with your friends:
1. What are your initial reactions to the book? How did it differ from other true crime books you may have read?
2. Does anyone in the group remember first hearing about Julie Williams and Lollie Winans murders in 1996? Describe what you remember from that time.
3. What difficulties do you think law enforcement could face investigating any crime that occurs in the wilderness?
4. If a crime occurs in a national park, what would you want the protocol to be for notifying hikers or locals?
5. Bill Thomas is the brother of Cathy Thomas, a victim in the Colonial Parkway Murders. Miles and Thomas connect over the cases. What are ways you think either case could be solved?
6. Wendy Carr in “Mindhunter” is inspired by Dr. Ann Burgess. If you were able to sit in Dr. Burgess’ class, what case would you wish to discuss and why?
7. What do you think about the possible alternative suspect Miles explores, serial killer Richard Marc Evonitz?
8. Kara Robinson Chamberlain was kidnapped by Evonitz and escaped when she was 15 years old. She details getting away from the serial killer and her story of survival in Oxygen’s “Escaping Captivity: The Kara Robinson Story.” Has anyone in the group watched the documentary special?
9. Look up what is the closest National Park to your neighborhood. Discuss what would you like to see done to ensure the wilderness is safer and inclusive for everyone?
And if you have more thoughts let us know! Use the hashtag #oxygenbookclub to keep the discussion going on social media.
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