You might not see the twist coming in the documentary film Citizen Sleuth because I didn’t. It’s a seemingly simple story of a young podcaster in West Virginia digging into a local death that occurred some years earlier. A young attractive Black woman was killed along a stretch of highway near mile marker 181. Although ruled an accident, rumors have long persisted that it was, in fact, a murder.

The young woman’s mother, who happens to be white, is the most vocal of those who insist there was a cover-up in the coroner’s verdict. The victim’s father was well-off, and the group of friends she hung with were also wealthy. The friends are the ones that are the suspects in the persistent rumors. Our podcaster, Emily Nestor, freely admits she has no training in accident investigation and no education beyond high school. Nevertheless, she is very good at writing and delivering her podcasts and soon gains a large following.

When the documentarians interview a couple of the “suspects,” one of the women states that Emily should “go back to her double-wide,” which is so off-putting that the audience can’t feel any sympathy for her. Emily’s crisis comes when she learns new information about the killing; what she does is a test of her character. This film is a fast-paced, intriguing mystery that gets resolved to our satisfaction. I look forward to seeing more films from the director Chris Kasick.

Director: Chris Kasick

Starring: Emily Nestor

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