‘Tom Brown’s Body’ reinvestigates the unsolved death of 18-year-old Tom Brown – and everyone is a suspect

True Crime June 2, 2022
Listen to ‘Tom Brown’s Body’

In the fall of 2016, 18-year-old Tom Brown was the president of the senior class, a stand-out in the drama department, and an offensive lineman on the state champion Canadian Wildcat high school football team. Suddenly, the day before Thanksgiving on November 23rd, he disappeared. For two years and two months, the entire town of Canadian, Texas, along with members of neighboring towns that reached as far as Kansas, searched for the young man.

Tragically, in January of 2019, his remains were finally found just outside of the Texas Panhandle town. And here, years later, there is still no definitive answer about what happened to Tom Brown. “Tom Brown’s Body” investigates just what happened in that small Texas town that November night. Seemingly everyone in Canadian became a suspect: the Sheriff, a private investigator hired to find Tom, even Tom’s family. Someone must be lying, but who? And why? Host Skip Hollandsworth investigates the case that has ripped this 1.3 square mile town apart.

“Tom Brown’s Body” consists of nine chapters around 30 minutes a piece. In this podcast, our host, a veteran true crime journalist, journeys to that tiny city near the Oklahoma border. Through interviews with friends, family, and law enforcement, all of which made up a hearty percentage of the town of just 2,600, Skip hears the numerous theories that spiraled out of control as the hunt for Tom — and maybe even his killer — continued on.

He also speaks with Philip Klein, a private investigator hired shortly after Tom’s disappearance. In the first episode, Skip provides us a clear image of the town of Canadian and the residents of it, setting the scene for us to best understand our cast of suspects and the tragedy they experienced.

Skip finds out what fear can do to a small town and how an unsolved death can stoke division in even the most tightly knit communities. As Skip tells us, this case continues to be an Agatha Christie novel come to life with too many twists and turns to count. Despite four law enforcement agencies working to find the cause of Tom’s death, there are still no answers. There are too many unanswered questions about the night he vanished and even more about why his body ended up under a tree near Lake Marvin.

Skip Hollandsworth is an author, journalist, and screenwriter who has been writing true crime tales for three decades. He is also the executive editor of Texas Monthly magazine. He authored The Midnight Assassin: Panic, Scandal, and the Hunt for America’s First Serial Killer about the 1885 slayings attributed to a serial killer nicknamed the Servant Girl Annihilator. He also co-wrote the 2011 film Bernie about the 1996 murder of 82-year-old Marjorie Nugent by Bernie Tiede.

In every episode, Skips continues to tell Tom’s story while simultaneously exploring some of the many theories about his untimely death. It’s not over-dramatized for the sake of drama; this story is obviously still very raw to the many people who knew Tom, and listening to them speak about him is often heartbreaking. While there’s still no resolution to Tom’s case, “Tom Brown’s Body” is an incredible piece of storytelling that’s spreading Tom’s story far past the small town. Be sure to check out “Tom Brown’s Body.”

Listen to ‘Tom Brown’s Body’

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