Louisiana

Tenderfoot TV Investigates Unsolved Death Of New Orleans Woman In ‘Undetermined’ Podcast

indefinite is a new podcast from Tenderfoot TV and Resonate Recordings in which investigative journalist Jessica Noll and former police detective Todd McComas try to find out what happened to Jessica Easterly Durning. The title of the podcast is a reference to Durning’s 2019 death in New Orleans, which was ruled undetermined in a coroner’s autopsy report.

The 42-year-old Mississippi Native American, who disappeared from her home on August 14 and was found on August 22, was revealed to have injuries to her nose, ribs, jaw and c4 vertebrae. Durning’s body was discovered just blocks from where she lived with her husband, stepdaughter and father-in-law. There was insufficient evidence to make a more accurate classification, although Durning had called her friend in desperation, saying she wanted to leave her home and feared her husband’s behavior.

The verdict of indecisiveness has both haunted Durning’s family and slowed investigations into what really happened to her. Noll and McComas interview Durning’s friends and family members and travel back in time to trace the first 48 hours after her death and before her body was discovered. During the investigation, Durning’s family also learned about her hidden lifestyle.

Jessica Noll is a triple Emmy Award-winning storyteller specializing in investigative journalism. As a podcast producer at Resonate Recordings, her work spans that of Dateline Missing in Americathe true crime podcast Bardstownand various podcasts created in collaboration with Tenderfoot TV and Resonate Recordings such as B. the second season of Guilty and This day in crimeamong other.

Forbes spoke to Noll about what intrigues her about the case. We also talked about how law enforcement failed the victim and his family, and what they hope listeners will gain from this podcast.

Risa Sarachan: How did you first learn about this case?

Jessica Noll: I first heard about Jessica Easterly Durning’s case when I first started working with Resonate Recordings. It was a story ironically brought to her attention by my partner on the show, retired Detective Todd McComas. Shortly after joining their team, they sent both of us to New Orleans to investigate, with the premise that it would be the second season of Guilty. But when Todd and I hit the ground and started digging deeper, we realized this wasn’t one Guilty Story. That was different. That was indefinite.

Sarachan: What is unique about this cold case?

Noll: Jessica’s case is not only unsolved; it’s not just a cold case. Jessica’s case is on hold. I have been dealing with and investigating crime – and particularly cold cases – for several years and this case caught my eye almost immediately. We didn’t know how she died; we didn’t know how she ended up where she got to. Our fascination grew even more when we landed in New Orleans. When we started peeling off the layers, this wasn’t just a case with no solution. This was a case that virtually no one investigated.

Sarachan: what are you hoping for indefinite brings to his listeners and to the family of the victim?

Noll: I hope indefinite draws attention to Jessica’s case and ultimately leads to answers. I want listeners to get to know Jessica through those who loved her and knew her best. This is her story and she has been silent for far too long. Through indefinite, I hope Jessica gets the vote she deserves. I also want those who hear her story to understand the injustice her family endured for three years. I’m sure many listeners will walk away angry at the end of this podcast, but like the family, I want that feeling to spur them into action. As you’ll hear on the podcast, “It’ll take a whole village” to solve their case. With indefinite, Jessica’s village is growing. I hope listeners feel compelled to speak up and speak up for Jessica. That is, I really hope so indefinite fills her and the family with a sense of hope – hope that answers, justice and solutions are on the way.

Sarachan: This story has many twists and turns. What surprised you when you found out about this case?

Noll: I think what surprised me the most while we were on the ground in New Orleans was the confirmation of something we had already suspected — that nobody was really investigating Jessica’s death, and that actually revealed a systemic problem in New Orleans, in between the police and coroner’s office. Together, Todd and I have 40 years of experience investigating crimes, and neither he nor I have ever encountered this problem anywhere else in the country.

Sarachan: Do you feel like the New Orleans Police Department let down the family?

Noll: Based on our interviews and our investigation of Jessica’s case, there were many in positions of power and protection who failed Jessica and her family. The good news is that it’s never too late to turn things around.

Sarachan: How did Jessica’s sisters help you tell this story?

Noll: For Jessica, Audrey and Amanda were nothing short of incredible warriors. They have led the charge and insisted on justice for them. Their toughness is indescribable; From social media to online petitions to sitting prosecutors demanding answers, they just didn’t do it her Voice heard, but also Jessica’s voice. And because of that strength and determination, they really were the catalyst that helped us tell their story. They put their trust in our investigations and our storytelling—and without them, Jessica’s story is in there indefinite would not be what it is.

This interview has been edited and shortened for clarity.

indefinite is now available on Apple Podcasts and everywhere you listen to podcasts.

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