7 Suspects

5. The Reporter

July 28, 2022 ROLFE Episode 5
5. The Reporter
7 Suspects
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7 Suspects
5. The Reporter
Jul 28, 2022 Episode 5

After Ryleigh refuses to talk, Liz reaches out to Casey Adams. The reporter provides further info about Cipher and the Croft legacy, but also lets slip an interesting detail about Samantha...

Created by Jon Rolfe
Featuring Chelsea Krause, Devon Chandler, Jimmie Yamaguchi, Jill Sperling and Alex Eller.

Show Artwork by O2bri
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Show Notes Transcript

After Ryleigh refuses to talk, Liz reaches out to Casey Adams. The reporter provides further info about Cipher and the Croft legacy, but also lets slip an interesting detail about Samantha...

Created by Jon Rolfe
Featuring Chelsea Krause, Devon Chandler, Jimmie Yamaguchi, Jill Sperling and Alex Eller.

Show Artwork by O2bri
Follow us on: 

Ryleigh: Hey there, this is Ry. Who am I speaking with?

Liz: Hi Ryleigh, this is Liz Devereaux. Thanks for returning my call.

Ryleigh: Of course. I'm always happy to take time for fans. First off, let me just say thank you.

Liz: Um, sure. I have been interested in your work. Your career, it's really impressive how much you've accomplished, um, on social media. You have quite the, uh, brand.

Ryleigh: (laughs) You're so sweet. I think it's all about staying positive, you know? Positive energy, positive people.

Liz: Uh, absolutely. Uh, I'm not sure how much you've been told, but I'd like to get some background information from you.

Ryleigh: Background? Yeah, of course. Is this for an expose? What's the site?

Liz: Oh, not an expose. I'm looking into the events surrounding Aiden Croft's death several years ago. I understand you were a witness.

Ryleigh: Wait. Is this a tabloid?

Liz: Oh no, no, this is an investigation. The family has asked me to look into some facts of the case. Uh, I've been speaking to the guests who would-

Ryleigh: Well, you can speak to my fucking lawyer. I don't talk publicly about those things. I don't appreciate you taking advantage of the situation.

Liz: Uh, uh, I'm sorry if-

News Anchor: Today marks five years since the murder of inventor and entrepreneur, Aiden Croft. Seen by many as a visionary pioneer, Mr. Croft was 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. To date, a primary suspect has yet to be named.

Narrator: Episode five: The Reporter.

Casey: Uh, there's no way, Lizzy. I'm telling you, Ryleigh was an outlier in this crowd. I doubt she coulda been involved in the murder. Think about the complexity of the crime. No offense to Ryleigh, but I don't think an Instagram model could be the mastermind here. Although I'll admit, she might've been used by the killer.

Liz: Used. Meaning who? Her husband?

Casey: Fred Hollister would be a much more realistic possibility.

Liz: Why would you say that?

Casey: (laughs) If you'd ever met Fred Hollister, you wouldn't be asking me that question.

Liz: All right. Uh, about that night. You were there to interview Croft. Did you know him personally?

Casey: (laughs) Me know Aiden Croft. Aiden collected Rothkos to hang on his bathroom wall. We didn't exactly run in the same circles. No, I never even met the guy before that weekend. I was just a big fan of what Cipher had accomplished.

Liz: Uh, to be honest, most technologies are a little lost on me.

Casey: Aw. Don't tell me you're the kind of reporter who still uses a typewriter.

Liz: I would, but the carriage release broke, and I can't find a replacement.

Casey: I'm not sure if you're joking, Lizzy.

Liz: It's Liz.

Casey: What?

Liz: Forget it. Tell me more about Cipher.

Casey: Well, what gets the most press is the clean energy stuff, but anyone who's paying attention knows that quantum computing was the real breakthrough. That's, that's where the revolution is taking place. People take processing power for granted these days, but we're only now beginning to understand the potential. Quantum computers provide exponential growth and processing speed while using a fraction of the amount of energy your smartphone does. That kinda speed doesn't just change the game, it's a whole new game. The applications and cryptology and artificial intelligence are, well, they're unfathomable.

Liz: Right. You know a lot about this.

Casey: I've written extensively about the company. It's kind of like my specialty.

Liz: You have sources inside Cipher, I assume.

Casey: What good journalist doesn't? Mostly it's, uh, ex-employees or, uh, a few mid-level execs blowing off steam. You can get a lot just from that, you know.

Liz: Sure. But did you speak to anyone who worked directly with Croft?

Casey: Hey, look, I'm not about to give up names, you know.

Liz: Oh, no, no, no, uh, I wouldn't dream of it.

Casey: Uh, I had one source who was close to Croft.

Liz: Yeah?

Casey: I never met him. We only ever spoke on the phone.

Liz: He contacted you?

Casey: He called me outta the blue, oh, several months before all the craziness.

Liz: And this person worked with Croft.

Casey: Let's just say he must've been involved. He knew things. And I trusted him. He, he was the first one the mention Croft's life might be in danger.

Liz: In danger.

Casey: That's right. He said he was worried about Croft, that he'd, uh, made enemies and he was afraid for his life. That's why he'd gone into seclusion.

Liz: Did you tell the police all this?

Casey: When they questioned me, I told them about the calls, sure, but I wasn't about to give up my source.

Liz: When was the last time you spoke to this person?

Casey: After the murder, I didn't hear from them again. I don't know, maybe, maybe he got spooked, thought he was next.

Liz: Or maybe he was more involved than you thought. Let's talk about that night. The rumor was Croft planned to reveal whatever he was working on.

Casey: I thought I was only there for an interview. You, you gotta understand no one had sat down with Croft in almost two years.

Liz: You were pretty excited. What do you remember about the evening?

Casey: Uh, let's see. Uh, I remember the house was a fricking palace. My room was bigger than my apartment. Of course, Croft wasn't around. It was his lady butler, Isabelle, that answered the door and got me settled in. She said everyone was meeting for cocktails downstairs later.

Liz: About what time was this?

Casey: I don't know, 5:00, 6:00. It was after dark. The snow had just started.

Liz: And Croft never showed.

Casey: No. After everyone got there, Isabelle told us why we'd all been invited, that, uh, Croft was gonna give us a sneak peek at Cipher's next product. I was completely floored.

Liz: How'd the other guests react?

Casey: They were caught off guard. Oh, Hollister went through the roof. I think he was angry he hadn't been in on this information before the rest of us.

Liz: Didn't you think it was strange Croft didn't make an appearance?

Casey: Yes and no. Uh, I'd covered him enough to understand he had a little bit of a flare for the dramatic. You know there was a rumor he was behind the Oakland blackouts? That they were staged to coincide with the G2 generator announcement?

Liz: I hadn't heard that.

Casey: Cipher denies it, of course, but, uh, Croft, liked theatrics. Anyway, uh, I assumed he was working up to some kind of grand hoo-ha.

Liz: I heard there was some trouble during dinner.

Casey: Uh, you mean the noises?

Liz: What noises?

Casey: Oh, toward the end of the meal, there was, like, a thud from upstairs. We all heard it. Sounded like someone moving furniture.

Liz: A thud. I don't suppose you remember what time it was.

Casey: No idea (laughs). I'd had too many-

Liz: (laughs).

Casey: ... glasses of wine plus cocktails by that point. Um, but I think-

Liz: Hmm.

Casey: ... it was during dessert. We all figured it was Croft up in his lab. Man, you have to understand, the whole night was weird.

Liz: Sure. What about the accusations?

Casey: Oh, that. Uh, Hollister just doesn't trust journalists. Childress was the one who got really upset, started claiming Cipher and Croft were using his research. To be honest, though, I didn't think he was completely off base. I thought he and Hollister were gonna come to blows about it, though. If the power hadn't gone off, they might've.

Liz: That must've been quite the storm.

Casey: It happened twice during dinner. I guess it was enough to give Croft cold feet.

Liz: So what happened after dinner?

Casey: I didn't stick around. Sitting in the dark listening to Hollister wasn't exactly my idea of a good time. I went back to my room. Didn't sleep, though. Even without the invention or interview, it'd been a wild night. I had to get some of this down.

Liz: Hmm.

Casey: I was writing until I heard the screams.

Liz: And you went to take a look.

Casey: I was one of the first ones who got there. I saw Samantha holding Croft. And, and the blood, there was so much, you could smell it. Someone was yelling to call the police. I ran downstairs for the phone.

Liz: What happened after that?

Casey: What do you think? We, we called 911 and waited. Hollister tried to take charge in the meanwhile. Uh, he finally got Samantha to let Croft's body alone. He, he made everyone wait in the library. In the end, it took the cops almost three hours, I guess because of the roads.

Liz: Uh, must've felt like days.

Casey: We were all in shock, Samantha especially, obviously. Aaron, Croft's holy man, tried to comfort her. You know, spiritual kinda talk.

Liz: Well, what were you thinking at the time? You must've realized one of them had done it.

Casey: I don't know. I think we were all thinking that, but no one said it out loud.

Liz: Well, can you clarify something? When you mention Martin's accusations, you said he wasn't completely off base. What did you mean?

Casey: Oh, uh, I just meant that Martin's suspicions weren't totally unfounded. Like I said, I've been a huge fan of Cipher and their products. And I found Croft interesting, but I've never been convinced the man's a total genius, not in the way the public likes to paint him. Maybe that's why he's so fascinating. There was something about him that, mm, that felt superficial, commercial. I don't know. I was surprised after he died that Samantha didn't take the reins. Did you say she was the one that put you up to this?

Liz: That's right.

Casey: Did, uh, she happen to mention what she's been doing these days? Is she still a part of RND at Cipher?

Liz: I wasn't aware she had a role at Cipher.

Casey: Oh, sure. Well, it, it, it's not well known outside scientific circles. Aiden Croft was Cipher. He cast a big shadow.

Liz: You make it sound like Samantha might've known what Croft was working on.

Casey: I don't know for certain. Everyone thinks of her as the supportive wife to the great genius, but she was way more than that. You know she and Croft met while she was at MIT? She's a gifted scientist in her own right.

Liz: Interesting. She never said a word about it.

Casey: Oh, you gotta do your research, Lizzy. Like I said, I did a whole in depth piece on Cipher's rise to prominence. It focused on, uh, some of the unsung heroes so I, I did a lot of off the record interviews with, uh, people close to their big projects.

Liz: These are the sources you mentioned earlier.

Casey: That's right. And they all said the same. Samantha was as much Croft's partner as she was his wife. Some in the industry even believe she was the real brains behind Croft, behind all their success. She never mentioned she worked at Cipher.

Liz: Not a word.

Casey: Oo. Sounds like you don't have all the pieces yet, Lizzy.

Liz: You can say that again.

Narrator: Seven Suspects is written, directed and produced by Jon Rolfe. Liz was voiced by Chelsea Krause, Ryleigh by Devon Chandler, Casey by Jimmy Yamaguchi. The news anchor was Jill Sperling. Sound design and engineering by Randy Greer. The theme music is Cold String by Tiny Music.

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. 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 at 7 Suspects. That's with the number seven. You can also email us at 7suspectspodcast@gmail.com. Remember, that's the number seven. Please be sure to tune in for our next episode, The Friend. Until the, I'm Alex Eller. Thank you for listening, and goodnight.