(NewsNation) — A film adaptation of “Where the Crawdads Sing,” a 2018 novel by Delia Owens, hit theaters July 15, 2022 — and puts the author back in the spotlight. Because just like the novel’s main character, Owens would have the attention of prosecutors looking to solve a murder.
Owens is wanted in Zambia for questioning in a decades-old murder case – a murder that occurred while Owens and her ex-husband Mark were carrying out conservation work in the country.
Their work, fueled by Owens’ love of elephants and hatred of poachers, was also the subject of a 1996 episode of ABC’s “Turning Point.” But while the ABC news team was filming in Zambia, something unexpected happened: the camera started rolling and a suspected poacher was shot dead.
“It was a horrible set of circumstances. We know this man was shot. He was lying on the ground, then someone shot him when he was already incapacitated. It’s horrible,” said federal defense attorney Tama Kudman.
In the episode “Turning Point” aired in 1996, Owens and Mark’s son from a former marriage was shown quickly leaving the country.
It was recently reported that Owens, Mark and his son were wanted for questioning by Zambian officials in connection with the murder, according to a report in The Atlantic shortly before the release of the film adaptation ‘Where the Crawdads Sing’. .
“Zambia has an extradition treaty with the United States. So they would be able to take legal action if they had enough evidence, or if something happened in this case, but there is no case,” Kudman added.
Some readers and moviegoers have noticed Owens’ parallels with Kya, the main character of the book and film. Kya is forced to grow up alone in the swamp and embrace nature until she is implicated in a murder.
“There are similarities, but between the actual event 30 to 40 years ago and the plot, you know, so in theory it should actually help it,” Schachner added.
“It seems to me that the Zambian authorities might try to gain some publicity following the success of this book and the impending film,” Kudman said.
NewsNation has contacted ABC, prosecutors in Zambia, as well as Delia and Mark Owens, but have yet to hear back.
Delia and Mark have previously denied involvement in the shooting.
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