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The Real-Life Murder That Inspired Where The Crawdads Sing

The Real-Life Murder That Inspired Where The Crawdads Sing

Some readers have spotted some eerie similarities between author Delia Owens and her protagonist

Isobel Pankhurst

Isobel Pankhurst

The trailer for the film adaptation of Where the Crawdads Sing dropped the other day and while some fans are loving, some social media users have pointed out some eerie similarities between the book and author, Delia Owens' own life.

The novel follows the "marsh girl" of Barkley Cove, Kya Clark, who raises herself in almost total isolation and prefers the company of animals to the company of people. When popular local resident Chase Andrews is found dead, Kya immediately becomes a suspect in his murder.

On the surface, the similarities between Owens and her character are quite clear - Kya prefers animals over people, and Owens is a keen conservationist. But that isn't the only thing that links the two...

Delia, and former husband Mark, are both wanted for questioning in Zambia for the murder of an unidentified victim.

Daisy Edgar-Jones stars Kya in the screen adaptation (
Sony Pictures Entertainment)

Delia and Mark originally moved to Botswana but were kicked out of the country in 1986 after criticising the government's conservation policies. Following this they moved to Zambia, to continue their conservationist aims there.

In 1995 an ABC camera crew arrived to film a segment on the couple and their conservationist efforts. This segment would eventually air in 1996 as a Turning Point special, titled 'Deadly Game: The Mark and Delia Owens Story'

The special documented the rising tension between the conservationists and local poachers.

Mark can be seen on camera telling scouts to shoot these poachers saying: "shoot at them first... when you see the whites of his eyes."

After the episode aired the Oweneses contacted investors to explain that: "The shoot to kill policy is only used by Zambian government Game Scouts in self-defence. It is not a policy of our project."

The Owenses arrived in Zambia to aid in animal conservation (

The Turning Point special then took a dark turn when an alleged poacher, identified as a trespasser, was shot several times on camera. The victim has remained unidentified, as has the person who shot them.

Meredith Vieira, the journalist who covered the story, spoke out saying that the ABC team were only allowed to cover the story if they agreed they would not identify individuals if a shooting should occur.

After the episode aired, the Zambian government began a homicide investigation and stated that they would like to question the Owenses in regards to this.

Tate Walker (Taylor John Smith) and Kya (Daisy Edgar-Jones) in Where The Crawdads Sing (
Sony Pictures Entertainment)

Delia and Mark left the country on a trip to the US and have not returned to this day.

One eyewitness, a cameraman, alleges that it was Christopher Owens, Delia's stepson who fired the first and final shots. However, Delia claimed that Christopher was not in Zambia at the time of the shooting.

No charges have ever been brought against the Owenses, or anyone else, in regards to this incident. Delia, Mark, and Christopher are still wanted for questioning in Zambia.

Featured Image Credit: Sony Pictures Entertainment

Topics: TV and Film