(NewsNation) — A film adaptation of “Where the Crawdads Sing,” a 2018 novel by Delia Owens, hit theaters on July 15, 2022 — and it’s putting the author back in the spotlight. Because just like the main character of the novel, Owens reportedly has the attention of prosecutors looking to solve a murder.
Owens is wanted in Zambia for questioning in a decades-old murder case — a murder which occurred when Owens and her ex-husband Mark were doing conservation work in the country.
Their work, fueled by Owens’ love of elephants and hatred of poachers, was also the subject of a 1996 episode of ABC’s “Turning Point.” But while the ABC news crew was filming in Zambia, something unexpected happened: The camera started rolling and a suspected poacher was shot dead.
“It was a horrific set of circumstances. We know that this man was shot. He was laying on the ground, and then somebody shot him when he was already incapacitated. It’s horrible,” federal criminal defense attorney Tama Kudman said.
In the “Turning Point” episode that aired in 1996, Owens and Mark’s son from a former marriage were shown quickly leaving the country.
It’s recently been reported that Owens, Mark and his son are being sought for questioning by Zambian officials in connection to the murder, according to a report published in The Atlantic shortly before the release of the “Where the Crawdads Sing” film adaptation.
“Zambia does have an extradition treaty with the United States. So they would be able to issue legal process if they have enough evidence, or if anything had happened with this case, but there is no case,” Kudman added.
Some readers and moviegoers noticed Owens’ parallels with Kya, the main character of the book and film. Kya is forced to grow up alone on the marsh and embraces nature until she is implicated in a murder.
“There’s similarities, but between both the real life event from 30-40 years ago, and the plot, you know, so in theory, it should help it actually,” Schachner added.
”It sounds to me like the Zambian authorities might be trying to pick up a little bit of publicity of their own as a result of the success of this book and impending movie,” Kudman said.
NewsNation has reached out to ABC, the prosecutors in Zambia, and Delia and Mark Owens, but we have yet to hear back.
Delia and Mark have previously denied being involved in the shooting.