Ideastream Launches Mary & Bill: An Ohio Cold Case, a True Crime Podcast Series Investigating 1970 Columbus Double Homicide

Two sisters join Ideastream producer to investigate unsolved murders of their siblings, and explore ever-evolving legality of DNA as a tool for solving cold cases.

Mary & Bill: An Ohio Cold Case

Ideastream Public Media (Ideastream), in partnership with The Ohio Newsroom (TON), announces a new true crime podcast series, Mary & Bill: An Ohio Cold Case, about the murder of two college students, Mary Petry and Bill Sproat, in Columbus in 1970 - a case grisly enough to be called a copycat of the Charles Manson murders the year prior. Ideastream producer Justin Glanville and the sisters of the two victims work to track down friends, original investigation witnesses and Columbus police to understand why the case remains unsolved. Along the way, the three explore who really owns crime scene DNA - families or police? - and what it takes to resurface a 50-year-old cold case in an era when police departments are struggling to recruit and balance budgets.

Driven by a family connection to Sproat (a friend of Glanville's mother while they were both students at The Ohio State University), Glanville joins his parents, the surviving sisters of both victims and others to explore the facts of the case and advances in DNA technology, particularly its use in solving cold cases.

"This is not about punishment," said Martha Petry, Mary's twin sister. "It's not about judgment. I would just like closure - it's like, don't make me wonder anymore."

The idea of closure - and what it would mean to solve this case more than 50 years later - is one of the themes explored in the podcast, alongside an investigation of the facts.

"Did the murderer know Mary and Bill? Were there links to other crimes? Why has it taken so long for police to submit DNA for forensic genealogy? It is an unsolved mystery spanning five decades of asking questions, searching for answers and hoping for closure," said Glanville. "This series is both thought-provoking and emotionally high-stakes as we join the surviving friends and family of Mary and Bill, who share memories and recall their final days - and consider what kind of resolution is possible 50 years after this crime was committed."

Mary & Bill: An Ohio Cold Case airs on WKSU Ideastream Public Media and other Ohio member stations beginning July 26, with new episodes releasing weekly through September 6. Subscribe to the podcast for free on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and many other podcast platforms.

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About Ideastream Public Media

Ideastream Public Media serves as Ohio's largest independent, publicly supported media organization, producing free programs and services to 3.6 million people in 22 counties across radio, TV and digital platforms, meeting the communities we serve where and when they need us.

Ideastream is the home of Northeast Ohio's PBS, NPR and classical music public broadcasting stations: WVIZ, WKSU and WCLV. Ideastream manages The Ohio Channel, The Ohio Newsroom and the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau on behalf of all of Ohio's public broadcasting stations. All of this is accessible online at, the Ideastream Public Media app, the PBS app, the NPR One app and on major social media and digital content platforms.

About The Ohio Newsroom

The Ohio Newsroom is Ohio's largest daily statewide radio and digital news service and is a collaboration between seven of Ohio's public radio stations: WGTE, Toledo; WYSO, Dayton; WCSU, Wilberforce; WVXU, Cincinnati; WOSU, Columbus; WYSU, Youngstown and WKSU/Ideastream Public Media, Cleveland/Akron.

Source: Ideastream Public Media