New Major Book Project – Unsolved Battle Creek

I am pleased to announce that I will be writing another true crime book this spring – Unsolved Battle Creek.   This book will be published by The History Press who did such a masterful job with Murder in Battle Creek.  I am even more excited that I will be doing this book with a very talented co-author, Victoria Hester.  Victoria comes by her skills genetically – she’s my daughter.

I have dropped hints, some subtle, some less-so, about the subject of this project over the last five months.  We were waiting to make sure we had extended contact to the family of the victim.  This is a matter of respect on our part.  We also had to make sure we properly initiated/filed the appropriate Freedom of Information Act request with the authorities to obtain access to the case files.  Having done our due diligence, we’re comfortable with saying that the subject of this book will be the unsolved murder of Maggie Hume August 17-18 1982.

On August 17-18 of 1982 Margaret “Maggie” Hume was brutally attacked and strangled in her apartment in Battle Creek Michigan.  It has been acknowledged as one of the city’s best known unsolved murders.  Maggie and her family were deeply respected fixtures in the Battle Creek community.  She was not the kind of person that generated enemies, yet someone savagely killed this young woman. She is a woman that deserves to have her story told and the facts/evidence laid bare for the community.  She deserves justice.

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Personally I have to consider any project like this carefully.  To me, it comes down to some basic questions.  Is the story worth telling?  Is there plenty here to keep people engaged when they read the book?  With an unsolved case, is there a chance to make a difference and perhaps help the case by generating attention and possibly new leads?  Are people even interested in this case?

I had no less than 15 people tell me that I needed to look into this murder, including several involved with law enforcement.  That, is what you call, “a subtle hint.”  Still, I did my due diligence and poked at the case just to make sure for myself that it was a sound potential project.  It is.  In fact, I think it is one of the most intriguing murders I’ve looked into in years.

Just from the handful of interviews we’ve done, it is clear that there is a lot of complexity in this case; many twists and turns.  There is much that the public never knew about the crime and the suspects.  Add into the mix that a convicted murderer, Michael Ronning, confessed the crime.  So why is the case still unsolved?  You’ll have to read the book for that level of detail.  Which means, of course, we have to get going and write it.

The Hume family has been through a lot and has asked for privacy on this matter, which we are respecting.   The Hume’s are deeply respected in Western Michigan and in Battle Creek proper, so I ask that anyone reading this extend them the same respect we are.

I decided to have my daughter write with me on this because she’s good at writing, she’s won awards for her historical writing and research  – and she’s the same relative age as the victim.  Sometimes a different perspective makes for a better product.  In this case, I’m sure it will.   At the same time, Maggie and I graduated the same year, 1980, (from different high schools) so this crime is something I can offer some perspective of – namely Battle Creek in the 1980’s.  Our writing styles are very compatible.  Between the two of us, this should be a good book for readers to consume. I’m once more relying on the good people of Battle Creek to help us.

Victoria and I are going to Battle Creek the first full week of January to do the bulk of the primary research (and some interviews).  Should you have information you think might be pertinent, we’ll be happy to discuss it with you.  Bear in mind, we can’t do the real heavy interviewing until we complete reviews of the case files etc..  In the meantime my email is bpardoe870@aol.com.

It will take us several months (at least) to research and write the book.  During that period we will be reaching out to the Battle Creek community to ask for your help, insights, memories, etc..  I encourage you to tell us any memories you have about Maggie or about the crime.

This case is solvable…I am convinced of that.  The few informal discussion I’ve had with individuals familiar with the case certainly points to possible resolution. I also know that any case like this has to be handled carefully.  There is a killer out there.  Unlike my book on Daisy Zick, this is not a senior citizen or dead person that committed these crimes.  This individual might very well still be alive and free.

Personally, I have already been contacted by people who don’t want this book published.  They have their reasons.  We understand their concerns but we have to error on the side of justice for the victim.  We, as always, are going to stick to the facts.

Our job is not to solve the crime but to tell the story in a compelling manner, present the facts, and engage the community.  One of you may hold the key to resolving this murder.

What was it that Shakespeare wrote in King Henry IV?  Ah yes, “…the game is afoot…”

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