Bringing murder out of the shadows
By Nick Zacharias
PHOTO BY DENIS TESSIER
Kelly Fraser, a Saint-Lazare resident, drew on personal experience as her motive for creating a podcast to give a voice to the families and loved ones of murder victims, and to focus on having the victims remembered over the murderers.
Kelly Fraser, a resident of Saint-Lazare, has found a unique way to give a voice to people that too often go unheard – the families and loved ones of murder victims. She’s created a podcast called Mourning the Murdered that gives people the chance to talk about the difficulties that come with losing a loved one to violent crime.
“It started as something that I’d been thinking about for a long time,” said Fraser, who drew the original notion from a tough personal experience. “A friend of mine was murdered 21 years ago, and I got to see the effects that had on her family, on friends, on people surrounding it.”
Hesitant to talk
“There’s a really strange thing that often happens to those left behind when someone is murdered. When someone dies of more natural causes, people are willing to talk about it, to let their family members share their memories and their sadness and deal with the loss. But when it’s murder, people can get really uncomfortable around the family – it’s like they’re afraid to bring it up because they don’t want to upset people. But we need to talk about these things in order to heal.” Fraser says that was her motivation in starting the podcast – to give people the chance to talk. “They hear things like, ‘time to move on’ or ‘put it behind you,’ but there can be a lot of unresolved stuff there and the podcast lets them talk about what they’re going through.”
The start of a project
Things started rolling around the beginning of the pandemic, when Fraser listened to another true crime podcast and thought to herself, “I could do that – that could be a way to help these people.” She reached out to police services and support groups close to home and across the country and beyond, offering murder victims’ families a platform to share their stories. “The response has been incredible,” she says.
Fraser and her family spend about 15 to 20 hours producing each weekly episode of the podcast, and they’re now up to episode 36. “It is definitely not about making money,” says Fraser. There is a tab on the website to contribute money to help support their continued efforts, but she says donations don’t come close to covering the cost of production. “Really we’re doing this to give the families of murder victims a voice.”
A voice for the victims
“Too often we hear about the murderer but not the murdered,” says Fraser. This isn’t some peek into the dark corners and gritty details. She says the actual crimes are of course sometimes discussed, such as in a three-part series they did on Marnie Frey, one of the victims of notorious Canadian serial killer Robert Pickton but, “…for about 90 per cent of each episode the killer isn’t even mentioned. I don’t want it to be like that; we should be thinking about the victim, not their killer.”
The podcast has been having the desired effect.
“The people we interview are always very thankful to have someone to talk to about it,” says Fraser. “We actually can get very close and often stay in touch. They are just appreciative of having a place to share some of their frustrations and struggles, and most importantly to share stories and memories of a loved one lost, of who they were and why they’re so missed.”
A complete list of episodes of Mourning the Murdered can be found on Facebook or at mourningthemurderedpodcast.com