In the 1970s, 19 families made their homes on Bald Head Island, one of North Carolina's barrier islands:
"They went for jogs and spotted sunning alligators and foxes that seemed to wonder who they were and why they were there. They watched loggerhead sea turtles trudge up onto the sand to lay their eggs and then used mesh wire to protect the nests from hungry raccoons. They picked up the prettiest shells.
"They gathered frequently for cocktails, cherishing ice cubes, calling them 'Bald Head diamonds.'
"They played golf in spikes and nothing else just because they could.
"Or so goes the story.
"So many stories."
PUBLISHED: May 10, 2013
LENGTH: 12 minutes (3201 words)
Did Joy Hunley give away her daughter, or was the baby taken from her?
"Something happened in July of 1981. It triggered a process at the end of which Joy no longer had custody of her toddler daughter. For more than a quarter century, she convinced herself she had made an awful mistake, had signed something she shouldn't have signed. Over the last few years, though, she had learned new information. She believed she had been the victim of a fraud.
"This was last year, the afternoon of June 26, just before 5. Her attorney brought the records into a small side room and put the papers on the table.
"Somewhere on the consent form in front of her, Joy thought, was going to be the truth — proof of an incomprehensible crime. The other possibility was terrible, too, in its own way — that she had signed it, and had spent more than half her life telling a lie.
"Victim or liar? Wronged or deluded?
"She took another breath.
"She looked at the consent."
PUBLISHED: Jan. 6, 2013
LENGTH: 13 minutes (3383 words)
Inside was an old silver sedan. The doors were locked. He looked inside and saw a white blanket on the back seat. There was a pillow on the floor. Hanging from the rearview mirror was an air freshener shaped like a pine tree. Wedged against the console was a thin white candle. He stopped on what he saw in the passenger seat. In the passenger seat was the mummified body of what looked like a woman.
PUBLISHED: July 22, 2011
LENGTH: 10 minutes (2735 words)