LCN Student Journalists Turned True Crime Detectives

How the Case of Adnan Syed is Making History Decades Later


Gina Hofbauer, Features Editor, Photographer

It was the 1999 disappearance of Maryland senior Hae Min Lee that shocked our nation. However; it is her murder that captivated us. In 2000, Lee’s ex-boyfriend Adnan Syed was charged with her murder. It seemed like an open-shut case to some. In 2014, 15 years after Lee’s death, Serial Podcast producer Sarah Koenig that brought the case back into question. Throughout Koenig’s skills in investigative journalism, sources and witness stepped forward who have not been investigated by the court. Between those years, Syed has been re-tried and attempted for an appeal.

In recent months, HBO released a four-part docuseries on the case proving once again, the world has not forgotten about Hae Min Lee or Adnan Syed. Although Syed has spent the last 20 years behind bars, there is no concrete proof that he committed the murder. The series aims to explore parts of the case that Serial could not. In March, Syed was denied a new trial by a 3-4 vote. A single person makes the difference if Syed will spend the rest of his life behind bars or possibly be reined a free man, but it seems Adnan will be staying put for a while.

Years ago, late Journalism teacher, Ms.Kozian implemented the Serial Podcast for all of the Journalism class to listen and investigate. This year the current Journalism teacher, Mrs.Macomber, is teaching her students about Serial and showing them the HBO documentary as well. Journalism students turned true crime detectives all have differing opinions on who committed the crime, how it was committed, and why Adnan is the one behind bars today. “Serial became the first viral podcast and it was revolutionary for that reason,” Macomber says. “I like how Sarah Koenig verbalized her thoughts as a while investigating the case.” As for the students, most have their own theories. John Jacobs ’19 believes Adnan is innocent and Jay, a friend of Adnan’s, is the true murderer. “He [Jay] has a long line of previous assault and abuse charges and was known for being forceful. I find it interesting seeing different perspectives on the murder case.”

For now, the fate of Adnan Syed is unknown; however; he has a large support team and many investigators, including our very own Journalism class, taking a closer look at the case. To learn more about the case, you can hear Serial Podcast (Season one) by searching or by purchasing episodes in the iTunes store. You can also watch HBO’s docuseries, “The Case of Adnan Syed”, on Sundays at 10:15 pm EST, or you may watch it online. If you watch either, let us know in the comments who you think should be in Adnan’s place, or do you he think truly capable of murder? The possibilities are endless and the truth is right below the surface. Perhaps HBO will strike just the right spot.

Gina Hofbauer