7 Suspects

1. Who Killed Aiden Croft?

July 07, 2022 ROLFE Episode 1
1. Who Killed Aiden Croft?
7 Suspects
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7 Suspects
1. Who Killed Aiden Croft?
Jul 07, 2022 Episode 1

Five years after the famous Aiden Croft was found viciously murdered, his widow reaches out to a reporter for help. She's looking for answers, and knows one of seven suspects must be responsible.

Created by Jon Rolfe
Featuring Chelsea Krause, Sarah Ruth Thomas, Jill Sperling and Alex Eller.

Show Artwork by O2bri
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Show Notes Transcript

Five years after the famous Aiden Croft was found viciously murdered, his widow reaches out to a reporter for help. She's looking for answers, and knows one of seven suspects must be responsible.

Created by Jon Rolfe
Featuring Chelsea Krause, Sarah Ruth Thomas, Jill Sperling and Alex Eller.

Show Artwork by O2bri
Follow us on: 

News Anchor: Live from NTX News, I'm Molly Quinn. Today marks five years since the murder of inventor and entrepreneur, Aiden Croft. Seen by many as a visionary pioneer, Mr. Croft was the founder and CEO of Cipher, the company responsible for revolutionary innovations in the field of computer science and sustainable energy. Mr. Croft's body was discovered in his secluded estate in the Sierra Nevada Mountains shortly after midnight. The death was the result of a violent attack. Although several guests were staying at his house at the time of the murder, no arrests were made, and no charges were ever filed. Authorities continue to insist the investigation is ongoing. When asked for reasons why progress has been slow, the police have cited the unusual circumstances of the crime. To date, a primary suspect has yet to be named.

News Anchor: Now, for the weather.

Narrator: Episode 1: Who Killed Aiden Croft?

Liz: Yeah?

Samantha: Is this Elizabeth Devereaux?

Liz: This is Liz.

Samantha: Elizabeth Devereaux, the writer?

Liz: (laughs) I was a reporter for The Globe, if that's what you mean. Who is this?

Samantha: My name is Samantha Hardaway. I hope I'm not interrupting anything?

Liz: Just re-runs and a hangover. Look, I'm not really interested.

Samantha: I'm a big fan of your work, your reporting. I followed your stories since you broke the Rinda Scandal. You have a knack for sniffing out bullshit. I'm sorry to hear you're no longer at The Globe.

Liz: Writing listicles wasn't for me. I write books now.

Samantha: I hadn't heard.

Liz: No one has. I'm still waiting for a publisher to call me back.

Samantha: I might have a story for you, if you're interested.

Liz: And what would that be about?

Samantha: Murder.

Liz: Hardaway, should I know that name?

Samantha: Not likely. But you should know the name Aiden Croft.

Liz: Uh, sure. He was that inventor out in California?

Samantha: He was also my husband.

Liz: Oh, I'm... I didn't realize. I- I'm sorry. Is there something I can do for you?

Samantha: Are you familiar with the events surrounding his death?

Liz: Well, I remember seeing the stories on the news, but I didn't follow it. He was stabbed, right? But no suspects, if I recall.

Samantha: There were plenty of suspects, but no arrests.

Liz: Um, listen, Ms. Harda-, Croft, Croft-

Samantha: Call me Samantha.

Liz: Right. Samantha, look, I'm not a detective, and it's been years since I've covered crime, even at The Globe. Um, maybe the police can, can help you. I just-

Samantha: The police have given up on this. It's been five years. It's possible something could come to light eventually, but well, uh, I can't wait that long. I don't have that long.

Liz: Wh- what are you not telling me?

Samantha: Do you know what AML is?

Liz: Is that someone's initials?

Samantha: It's my death sentence. Leukemia, bone marrow cancer. I was diagnosed last year. In almost all cases, treatment is successful. I'm afraid I'm one of the rare instances where it is not.

Liz: I'm sorry to hear that.

Samantha: My time is running out. It's natural to want to set some matters in order.

Liz: Sure, but why me? Because you like my writing? California is a long ways away.

Samantha: Because I know you're thorough, Ms. Devereaux, and that you care about the truth. If you'd allow me to explain before making up your mind?

Liz: Only if you stop calling me Ms Devereaux. It's Liz. And look, you'll have to start from the beginning.

Samantha: I can do that.

Liz: Uh, meaning, start with your husband. I gather he was some kind of tech-wiz, but I don't really follow that sort of stuff. I'm a little old school, I guess. Tell me about him.

Samantha: Right. Where to begin? Uh, well, the media adored him. (laughing) They saw him as some kind of genius, a tech-wiz, (laughs) like you put it. He was Thomas Edison to them. But the real Aiden, he was smart, sure. But he really wasn't a scientist, not in a traditional sense. But he had vision. And he was charming. He knew how to put on a show. His charisma was responsible for much of Cipher's unprecedented success.

Liz: His company?

Samantha: Yes. It was his legacy.

Liz: My ex tried to convince me to invest in stock. That's years ago. Oops (laughs).

Samantha: (laughs)

Samantha: Cipher's success changed our lives, for better, and for worse. After the G2 generators, everyone's expectations were so high. Everyone speculated about what would come next? The pressure made Aiden uncomfortable. He receded from public life. The last year, he became paranoid, distant, even from me.

Liz: How would you describe your marriage?

Samantha: It was unconventional. We both understood the importance of the work Cipher was doing, and I recognized that the public needed certain things from my husband. (laughing) Sometimes it felt like we were living different lives. But that doesn't mean that I didn't love him. I just believed Cipher was bigger than us.

Liz: Was he working on something new?

Samantha: Yes. But whatever he was, he kept it close. He'd cut back most of his R&D staff and worked along. A few years back, we'd purchased an estate north of Lake Tahoe, as a summer retreat. He built a lab in one of the wings of the main house so he could focus without distraction. He spent the entire last year there.

Liz: You weren't living with him?

Samantha: Uh, no. I stayed in the city, San Francisco I mean. In retrospect, I should have come. I think the isolation made things worse.

Liz: So, why was everyone there that weekend? I take it that was unusual?

Samantha: Very unusual. He'd sent invitations for a select few to join him at the house for the weekend. He asked me to come up as well. None of us knew the purpose until we arrived.

Liz: And what purpose was that?

Samantha: A demonstration. He was going to reveal whatever he was working on.

Liz: How many guests were invited?

Samantha: There were six of us, including myself. Plus the housekeeper, so seven total. I have a list.

Liz: I'd like to see it. But, please go on with your story. What happened that weekend?

Samantha: Right form the start, it didn't go well. First, there was the storm. This was February. A blizzard had swept in earlier that evening. It was causing power to go off all over the property. On top of that, there was Aiden's behavior. He refused to see his guests. He didn't greet anyone, and he never even came to dinner. It made all of them furious he'd dragged them to the middle of nowhere only to ignore them.

Samantha: Aiden's new invention didn't make an appearance either. After teasing his guests, he delayed it altogether. It was something about the power failures.

Liz: Well, how was Aiden providing these messages?

Samantha: The housekeeper, Isabel, made the announcements. She kept coming in and out with messages she received periodically from Aiden. It was peculiar.

Liz: The housekeeper? But you didn't see your husband that night?

Samantha: No. He treated me the same as the others.

Liz: Well, that must have bothered you?

Samantha: Not as much as you might think. I knew Aiden. I understood his eccentricities. They irritated me too, but I understood them.

Liz: Right. Uh, please, go on.

Samantha: Everyone was disappointed and frustrated, but what could we do? The storm continued all night. After an awkward dinner, everyone went to bed.

Liz: Was everyone staying in the main house?

Samantha: Uh, that's right. All of the guest rooms were on the second floor. At around midnight, there was screaming. We all heard it. From the east wing, from Aiden's lab. Of course, I went to see what was going on. All of us did.

Liz: And what did you see?

Samantha: I saw Isabel standing outside the door. She was hysterical, and I could see why. There was blood everywhere, and something lying on the floor just inside the lab. The body... well, you've read the news stories. He... he was dead.

Liz: Suicide wasn't a possibility?

Samantha: He'd been stabbed in the back. And his throat was cut.

Liz: So, why have the police never made an arrest? I mean, it has to be one of the guests, right?

Samantha: Remember I said my husband was paranoid? Well, about a month before he died, he'd installed video cameras in the east wing, including outside his lab door. There were none inside the lab, but Aiden could monitor anyone coming and going. The police reviewed the footage. At 10:00 PM, Aiden went into his lab. And no one else went in or out. Not until his body was discovered.

Liz: I assume that's the only door?

Samantha: The only one.

Liz: Then, what you're saying is impossible?

Samantha: It's not impossible, it's a puzzle. And it's a story. Five years have passed and still no one knows how my husband was murdered, or what he was working on.

Liz: Wait, there were no records left of his work? No notes?

Samantha: There were none. Whatever he was working on, the killed must have removed it.

Liz: Okay, and so what exactly do you want me to do? Solve your husband's murder?

Samantha: I want you to interview the suspects and tell me who's lying.

Liz: (laughs) That's it?

Samantha: It has to be one of them. There's no need for you to even travel, I'll arrange all of the interviews. A phone call with each suspect. It shouldn't take more than a week of your time.

Liz: A week? (laughs) All right, and, and when I don't find anything?

Samantha: You'll still be paid. Name your price. But if you do find something, then you're free to use the transcripts to tell the story. To write the kind of book a publisher might be interested in. Either way, I'd be grateful for your assessment.

Liz: Only one week?

Samantha: Only one week.

Liz: Okay. All right. I'll do it.

Samantha: Thank you, Ms. Devereaux. If there's any other questions, anything, don't hesitate to let me know.

Liz: Oh, like I said, please call me Liz. Oh, and believe me, I'll have plenty of questions. I'll have a million questions. But, Samantha, I can't promise any answers. I hope you understand that.

Samantha: Yes. Of course.

Liz: Okay then. Send me the names and phone numbers. Let's get this started.

Narrator: 7 Suspects is written, directed and produced by Jon Rolfe. Liz Devereaux is voiced by Chelsea Krause, Samantha by Sarah Ruth Thomas, the news anchor was Jill Sperling. Sound design and engineering by Randy Greer. The theme music is Cold String by Tiny Music.

Narrator: Shows like this and other audio drama isn't possible without support from our fans. More than anything, we appreciate you listening. If you've been enjoying so far, please take the time to rate the show on Apple, Spotify, or wherever you listen. This goes a long way to helping us reach other listeners.

Narrator: If you have a theory about who did it, we'd love to hear from you. You can find us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram @7suspects, that's with the number seven. You can also email us at 7suspectspodcast@gmail.com. Remember, that's the number seven.

Narrator: Please be sure to tune in for our next episode, The Detective. Until then, I'm Alex Eller. Thank you for listening, and good night.