Delia Owens, author of “Where the Crawdads Sing,” the hit novel with a movie adaptation due out this weekend, is still a person of interest in the 1996 execution-style murder of an alleged poacher in Zambia.
Owens, her ex-husband Mark and his son Christopher were working with an ABC News documentary crew for a piece on the cruelty of poachers and hunters when the filmmakers stumbled across the man “executed while lying collapsed on the ground after having already been shot,” according to The Atlantic.
“Deadly Game: The Mark and Delia Owens Story” was about the couple, conservationists who dreamed of saving animals. But in The Atlantic’s telling, Mark was training scouts with guns and knives and Christopher taught hand-to-hand combat. The Owenses allegedly tied up poachers they caught and left them roasting in the sun
“To date I have flown eight airborne antipoaching operations over your area, including four in which I inserted scouts on ambush,” Mark Owens allegedly wrote in a letter to a hunter, obtained by The Atlantic. “Two poachers have been killed and one wounded that I know of thus far, and we are just getting warmed up.”
The Owenses have all publicly denied any involvement in the shooting death, but the cameraman who was filming the documentary claimed that Christopher fired the fatal shot.
“There is no statute of limitations on murder in Zambia,” Zambia’s director of public prosecutions, Lillian Shawa-Siyuni, told The Atlantic. “They are all wanted for questioning in this case, including Delia Owens.”
Owens, 73, published three memoirs, “Cry of the Kalahari,” “The Eye of the Elephant” and “Secrets of the Savanna” before her best-selling novel “Where the Crawdads Sing,” about a young girl, Kya, growing up in the North Carolina marsh who gets mixed up in a murder.
Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine production company has adapted the novel into a movie, starring Daisy Edgar-Jones as Kya.