‘Where the Crawdads Sing’ Author Delia Owens Wanted for Questioning in Murder Investigation

by Craig Garrett

African authorities believe that author Delia Owens may have information regarding the shooting death of a suspected poacher. Owens wrote the bestselling novel Where the Crawdads Sing. The novel follows the murder investigation of a young man in North Carolina. An upcoming film produced by Reese Witherspoon is based on the novel. The incident occurred almost three decades ago, reports The Atlantic.

Delia Owens present for footage aired on ABC

The American author had established a reputation for her animal conservation efforts. The incident was captured on video, according to Zambian authorities. The identity of the victim is unknown. Despite this, the video of the incident aired as part of a documentary. Shockingly, this was on the ABC News program “Turning Point.” Zambian authorities want to question Owens, even though it’s been nearly 26 years. In addition, her son Christopher and husband Mark are also wanted for questioning.

“There is no statute of limitations on murder in Zambia,” Lillian Shawa-Siyuni, Zambia’s director of public prosecutions, told The Atlantic. “They are all wanted for questioning in this case, including Delia Owens.”

In the 1980s and 1990s, Delia Owens worked as a consultant on anti-poaching efforts in Africa. An ABC news crew documented their work. Journalist Meredith Vieira headed the production. This then resulted in aired footage of someone shooting a suspected poacher to death after lying in wait for them at their camp. In addition, Vieira claims bodies are left for wild animals to eat in narration for the documentary.  The cameraman approaches the obscured victim on the ground a bit closer in the video.

A documentary crew member of the incident names an Owens as the shooter

Chris Everson was a cameraman for the ABC documentary. He told The Atlantic in a 2010 interview that it was Christopher Owens who shot the man. Delia Owens denied this to the Atlantic. She claimed that people had mistaken her son for the cameraman. Her son shared the same first name with the cameraman. Interestingly, Meredith Viera was questioned in the same interview. She claimed that the ABC crew agreed not to identify anybody if a shooting took place.

There was considerable public outrage after the footage aired. Delia Owens and her family returned to the United States swiftly after. Granted, the United States Embassy advised them not to return. Of course, this was due to security concerns. Owens has not publicly commented on these recent developments.

In 2019, Delia Owens released her first book, Where the Crawdads Sing. It became a New York Times bestseller, with over 15 million copies sold. Producer Reese Witherspoon was instrumental in the success of the novel. The actor selected it for her popular book club. Of course, this helped with the enormous sales of the novel. “Shortly after, one of my very dearest friends and closest collaborators called me and said, ‘So we make it into a movie? And I was like, ‘Yes! That would be amazing!” Witherspoon told ET.