The "Dakota Spotlight" true-crime podcast brings light to stories from the Upper Midwest, with powerful storytelling, compassion for the victims, and a search for understanding. The podcast was created by host James Wolner in 2019. Find documents, photos, and other content right here. Listen to all "Dakota Spotlight" episodes here or on Apple,Spotify, Stitcher or Google.And Find content related for each season below.
Joel Lovelien was beaten to death outside the Broken Drum bar in Grand Forks in the early morning hours of Oct. 28, 2007, amid a night of Halloween revelry. Nobody has ever been found guilty for his murder.
Suspicion immediately fell on a variety of costumed partiers that night, including some dressed as a lion, the joker and a hunter. Local police and prosecutors thought they had their man, the one dressed as a lion that night: Travis Stay. But Stay was found not guilty in December 2008 in a high-profile trial -- a sensational result that has made the case a staple of true crime shows, including the Dateline TV program.
Welcome to Dakota Spotlight's eighth season: "Unresolved: The Murder of Joel Lovelien." With unprecedented access to case files and evidence, prosecutors, police, witnesses and family members, Dakota Spotlight creator and host James Wolner will use his unique investigation and reporting style to pursue the case's central questions: Who killed Joel Lovelien? Why was Travis Stay found not guilty? And why does so much suspicion linger around others in this case?
Keep an eye on this page to get the latest episodes or subscribe on Apple, Spotify, Stiticher or Google Podcasts.
Season 7: Call Me Shelly — The Mysterious Disappearance of Michele Julson
Michele "Shelly" Julson's disappearance has been a mystery from the start. She dropped off her young son at his grandparents' home on an August day in 1994. She was expected back in just hours. She never returned.
Granted exclusive, unprecedented access by police to the cold-case file, Dakota Spotlight host James Wolner presents a play-by-play review of the initial investigation and further examines the strange events surrounding Shelly's life and her disappearance. All in an attempt to answer the biggest questions of the case: What happened to Shelly? Where is she now?
In season 6 of Dakota Spotlight, James is joined by FCC journalist Jeremy Fugleberg as the two look for answers in the mysterious disappearance of Kristin Diede and Bob Anderson. James and Jeremy work with family members and friends to untangle what happened, in a case that stretches from Minnesota to the Dakotas and remains unsolved after nearly three decades.
Barbara Cotton was reportedly last seen walking toward her Williston, N.D., home on 1981. The 15-year-old never arrived at her destination and was never heard from again. The clues have been few, and her case was never solved. "Dakota Spotlight" host James Wolner investigates this cryptic cold case and talks to the people left to grieve Barbara's disappearance.
In August of 1978, outside of the city of Fargo, North Dakota, a man canoeing in the Red River came across two plastic garbage bags. Police discovered the severed body of William Wolf Jr, otherwise known as Billy. To this day, the reason for Billy's murder remains a mystery to the community.
In Season 3, "Dakota Spotlight" looks into the gruesome, baffling, and heart-wrenching murder of Barbara and Gordon Erickstad. The two were killed in their Bismarck home by their son, 18-year-old Brian Erickstad, and his friend, 27-year-old Robert Lawrence in 1998. What emerged was a story of profoundly misguided loyalties among a circle of young friends.
Season three features both audio and video storytelling, taking advantage of news footage and images available.