This post deals with violence and sexualt assault and might be triggering for some readers.
When McNamara died in 2016, aged just 46, she was suffering anxiety and insomnia from the book she was writing about the man who murdered at least 10 people and raped at least 50 women. That book, I’ll Be Gone In The Dark, was published after her death, and the killer was caught two months later. The book has now been made into a TV docuseries of the same name.
McNamara’s obsession with unsolved murders was sparked at the age of 14 when a young woman she knew from church, Kathleen Lombardo, had her throat slit while jogging a block and a half from her house in Oak Park, Illinois. Two days later, McNamara went to the alley where Lombardo had been murdered and found pieces of the Walkman that she believed the young woman had been carrying at the time of her death. Lombardo’s killer was never found.
“What gripped me that summer before I started high school wasn’t fear or titillation but the spectre of that question mark where the killer’s face should be,” McNamara later explained in Los Angeles Magazine.
Watch the trailer for the true-crime documentary series I'll Be Gone in the Dark below. Post continues below.
McNamara moved to Los Angeles to work as a writer. She met The King Of Queens star Patton Oswalt at a comedy show, after she’d gone along to see an old boyfriend perform, and the two bonded over their fascination with true crime. They married, and in 2006, at Oswalt’s urging, she launched her website, TrueCrimeDiary.
“I said, ‘Let’s build you a website. You have hours and hours to have to research and write about these cases – have a year where you can just work on this and figure out what it is,’” Oswalt told Vulture “Of course, it turned into this whole career.” .