People die all the time. But one of our commenters posted a link to a story about a reporter’s death. It happened almost a decade ago.
But it might be worth revisiting.
On August 25, 2013, Fox News investigative reporter and producer Martin Burns died.
Another hiker discovered his body in a ravine below a trail leading to Inspiration Point in the Angeles National Forest. The cause of death was trauma sustained from a fall off the steep trail.
He produced TV segments exposing child victims of abuse and trafficking.
He investigated alleged corruption in CPS and Family Courts.
Burns was investigating child victims and child trafficking at the time of his death.
Tammi Stefano, Executive Director of the National Safe Child Coalition, worked with Burns. She was also his girlfriend.
She wrote, “He was an avid hiker, I almost went with him that day. I was informed by his neighbor… that a Sheriff came by his house and was there for an hour alone in his home. The neighbor finally went over to see what was going on and he told of Martin’s death and claimed he was looking for info for the next of kin. Note: Martin’s wallet was on his person, in it his Fox News ID…. Additionally, many recorded interviews… have disappeared.”
A source, “John,” wrote Burns, “interviewed me two weeks prior to his ‘accident,’ and we had met on three occasions prior to that interview regarding corruption of family court judges and DCFS. He also recorded certain things regarding my work, none of the tapes/films were ever found!”
Three Georgia state senators, Nancy Schaefer (R), Bobby Franklin (R) and Robert Brown (D), and documentary maker Bill Bowen, died while investigating or combating child sex trafficking in Georgia.
Schaefer died on March 26, 2010.
A few days before her death, she announced the completion of a documentary about crimes against children.
Her death derailed its release.
Franklin died from heart disease.
Georgia State Senator Robert Brown.
Brown died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to his head.
Bill Bowen [above] said of CPS, “I decided to investigate what appeared to be a criminal organization to me, and that trafficked in the lives of children.”
Bowen was a former federal law enforcement officer. He released a 30-minute documentary, “Innocence Destroyed,” in 2009.
“Innocence Destroyed” was to be a precursor to a feature-length film.
Bowen died the following year, in 2010, reportedly from a heart attack, before he could finish the film.
He worked on class action lawsuits against Child Protective Services agencies in all fifty states.
Bowen was discovered dead on a golf course in mid-September 2010.
He allegedly went there to meet someone interested in his work.
He was alone. The cause of death was a heart attack.
Writers Die Like Everyone Else
It is important to note that a reporter or investigator does not have to investigate child trafficking to die untimely.
Gary Webb wrote the book Dark Alliance: The CIA, the Contras, and the Cocaine Explosion. Webb claimed the CIA brought crack cocaine to the United States in the 1980s.
After publishing the book, Webb committed suicide by shooting himself twice in the head. Before his death, he told a friend that if he were found dead, it would be murder. He reportedly had a “long bout with depression.”
Mike Hastings, 33, died in a car crash.
He was an investigative reporter for Rolling Stone magazine.
His June 2010 article, “The Runaway General,” exposed the behind-the-scenes failure of U.S. General Stanley McChrystal’s counterinsurgency strategy in Afghanistan.
Richard Clarke, the counterterrorism chief under Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, told the Huffington Post that Hastings’s crash looked “consistent with a car cyber attack.”
In an interview with Occupy.com, Stefan Savage, a computer science professor at the University of California, described experiments he conducted in which they remotely hacked a car’s computer systems. “If you’re talking about where people have arbitrary control of a car, that takes a significant amount of time,” Savage said. “If you want to take it over and break it, that’s less complicated.”
Savage explained, “We could listen to conversations in the car, and could take over everything in the drivetrain, like acceleration and brakes, through a cellular network.”
Nuclear safety whistle-blower Karen Silkwood died in a car accident while driving to meet a reporter and turn over her files on Kerr-McKee. She fell asleep and crashed. There were skid marks on the road and fresh dents in her rear bumper. Her files were missing.
All these deaths happened some years ago. Have others involved in serious investigations died prematurely since then?