OVID — The murder of Kristin O’Connell in this small Seneca County community has gone unsolved for nearly 38 years.
The Minnesota college student’s body was found in a cornfield on County Road 139 in August 1985. She was stabbed to death, with her clothes found near her nude body.
A podcast creator has delved into the story and will air the first of a series of podcasts Tuesday. The debut episode is called “Method & Madness.’’ Creator Dawn Gandhi said it will be aired on Apple podcasts, Spotify, Google podcasts, Pocket Casts, Radio Public, Amazon Music, and Samsung platforms.
The first installment will cover O’Connell’s life and background, as told by her mother, Phyllis; her aunt, Barb; and her friend, Shannon. It will review the spring-break trip to Florida she took in March of 1985, where she met James Vermeersh of Ovid. In August of 1985, she traveled to Ovid to spend more time with him in his home. Gandhi said it was during that visit she was killed; she was taking a walk at night down County Road 139.
“Kristin O’Connell’s case was suggested to me by another podcast creator. I looked into it and immediately knew I wanted to work on it,” Gandhi said. “From there, I’ve been working with Kristin’s friends, family, private investigators and advocates to tell this story. The goal is to get as many listeners as possible to hear Kristin’s story and to get some answers.”
There are three episodes planned for this mini-series, but Gandhi said there will likely be more as updated information becomes available.
The second episode airs March 14 and goes to Ovid. Gandhi said she visited the community a few days after what would have been Kristin’s 58th birthday.
“We visited the area where she stayed, walked the route she walked the night she was murdered, and met with private investigators to see what they’ve uncovered in the past 10 or so years,: Gandhi said. “We will talk about how this quiet little town wasn’t as quiet as it seemed.”
The third episode will air March 21 and looks at some of the persons of interest, where the investigation stands today, and the New York State Police’s refusal to accept outside help to have DNA tested.
“More importantly, the mini-series talks about Kristin and what a beautiful, vibrant young woman she was, her lust for life and love of people,” Gandhi said. “It also goes into the fight that her mother, Phyllis, has endured for more than 37 years to get justice.”
Gandhi said the series raises questions, such as:
• Was O’Connell’s murder a crime of opportunity or “something more sinister?”
• Did she see or hear something while visiting Ovid?
• Did her death have anything to do with something she overheard during the spring break five months before her murder?
• Did her deeath have anything to do with an FBI agent that she had been in contact with prior to her trip to Ovid?
• Why won’t state police test the DNA or accept outside help to have an outside lab test the DNA?
“It also raises the question of who killed Kristin and who would want her dead,” Gandhi said.