Pineapple Street Studios and Gimlet present “The Clearing,” a true crime series hosted by Josh Dean. Josh met April Balascio in an Ohio law office when he was reporting on her criminal father, Edward Wayne Edwards. Growing up, April knew that something was wrong with her father years before his crimes were unearthed. At 40 years old, April followed her instinct and dove into her father’s life, tracing any clues she found and sought a detective’s help in 2009 to learn more. Throughout the series, listeners learn how April discovered the disturbing truth that her father was indeed a murderer.
“The Clearing” was host Alesha Renée’s True Crime Fix Pick on a recent episode of Podsauce. She was fascinated with the investigation, and recommends starting the series from episode 1 to hear the story in chronological order. Each episode is under an hour long, and all 8 episodes are now streaming.
It took over 30 years for her father to be convicted for an onslaught of crimes. April explained her unstable upbringing, as Edward was abusive and had a criminal record, often running from the law and moving the family at a moment’s notice.
April clearly remembered a crime occurring at the same time her father did maintenance at a local dance hall next to a campsite. Two kids had gone missing and were later found dead. April recalls clues she remembers, such as how her dad returned from “work” that evening, covered in mud, and kept telling her the police would find dead bodies in a field. April was 11 years old at the time. As an adult, April was suspicious and began searching crimes reported in the same timeframe her family lived in the various cities. April spotted potential links between her dad and crimes.
The first two episodes explore how April determined her father’s connection to the dance hall case. By episode 3, listeners learn how one murder case opened two more. Episode 4 uncovers the mythologized persona of Edward the serial killer as reported online. Episode 5 wonders what other crimes Edward could have committed, and finds some unnerving answers. By the 7th episode, April makes a connection to another city, Akron, OH. Throughout the series, April will share what she remembers of her father’s behavior on the days, now confirmed, he committed crimes.
Josh was originally documenting Edward’s story for a publication, then switched focus with producer Jonathan Menjivar to create a podcast told by April in her own words. In addition to this podcast, Josh hosted Season 1 of “Chameleon: Hollywood Con Queen.” His books include Show Dog, The Life and Times of the Stopwatch Gang, and The Taking of K-129. Earlier this year, Josh appeared in Netflix’s documentary, Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel.
Check out all eight episodes of “The Clearing,” now streaming.