Wondery and Campside Media’s “Suspect” is a Halloween whodunnit for the books, when a victim was murdered after an apartment complex’s themed party in 2008. After hosting her event, software programmer, Arpana Jinaga, was found dead inside her home. A suspect is identified, arrested, and convicted, but this morphed into a greater mystery when journalists began investigating the case years later.
The story began when journalist Matthew Shaer received a tip in 2016 from an inmate in Seattle, stating that he was in jail with a young man who he believed was innocent. The DNA evidence that incriminated him seemed contradictory. Matthew had reported on the criminal justice system before, and he often received letters of this nature. But, this story struck him differently.
At the time he was contacted by the inmate, Matthew had just published a piece on Touch DNA, research that shows how matter can be carried by a 3rd party to the scene of a crime and lead to incorrect evidence. While DNA is treated as valid evidence, sometimes human error comes into play.
Matthew eventually headed to Redmond to return to the scene of the crime, and recruited fellow journalist Eric Benson to work on the story. They learned that Arpana dressed as Little Red Riding Hood, and her unit was one of the themed rooms of the evening for the building-wide Halloween event. Listeners hear of an individual at the party named Neil who interviewees said put people on edge. Fights erupted, and certain guests were ejected from the party. But was Neil the killer? Why would Arpana be a murder target?
For this podcast, seemingly everyone wanted to participate. Partygoers from that infamous night, police officers, and more are interviewed to find new leads.
“Suspect” will be released in nine parts, and new episodes are posted weekly.