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Host AMAsMarissa
AMAs > Marissa Jones

Marissa Jones

show The Vanished Podcast
When March 13 2018 @ 09:30AM (UTC)

Marissa is the host of The Vanished Podcast 💠 Her fascination with the true crime genre was born out of the many stories she heard growing up of the disappearance of her great grandfather in 1928. It was that family tragedy that inspired her to launch her podcast, which she did in 2016. Before diving full-time into the world of podcasting, Marissa was a paralegal. She grew up in the Philadelphia area and continues to live there to this day with her three sons. 

Marissa will be live on Mar 13 starting at 9.30am ET for one and a half hours to answer as many questions as possible. Feel free to start asking Marissa questions any time in the lead-up to the AMA.

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Ask a Question

Can’t attend the live event? Ask a question now and Burnie will answer it on Sep 22 2018 @04:30pm(ET) and we’ll let you know via email when your question has been answered.

27 Questions
27
1
Chelsea asked this question 1 year ago

Has learning more about missing persons made you do things differently for yourself and your family ? If so, how?

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Marissa Jones replied 1 year ago

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I am more aware of my surroundings now. I have also changed how I talk about things with my children. I no longer say “don’t talk to strangers” and I pose questions to like “what would you do if someone asked you to help them find their lost puppy?” Asking questions opens up a dialog and makes them think about these scenarios more. My kids also have gps/phone watches that they will wear if they are going for a bike ride or something. I don’t watch their every move but it gives them the ability to call me if something goes wrong.

Lanie asked this question 1 year ago

How do you decompress after talking to the missing persons family?

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Marissa Jones replied 1 year ago

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Spending time with my kids really helps me to disconnect from the sadness of the show.

Kristi Lee asked this question 1 year ago

Hi Marissa! How do you balance having a family and being a successful full-time podcaster?

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Marissa Jones replied 1 year ago

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Honestly, it is really hard. As time has gone on, the amount of time I’ve spent on each episode has increased. I also get so many messages on every social media platform, it’s hard to keep up. Since my office is in my house, I have a hard time leaving my work like you would leave your workplace and go home at the end of the day. I often work late into the night. I make sure to set time aside for my kids. I have found that taking little trips together helps me since I’m finally away from the office!

Josh Late asked this question 1 year ago

Hi Marissa! Congratulations on the ever growing success of The Vanished Podcast. I am listening at every new episode. Is there a point where you will branch out and grow this series into something new or add new features for the listeners or the families of the victims?

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Marissa Jones replied 1 year ago

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I have been approached many times about turning the podcast into a tv show (while keeping the podcast). I spend so much time on the podcast that the idea of that is a bit overwhelming but it is something that I’m considering in the future. What you don’t hear on the show is that I often stay connected with families long after their episode airs. I try to connect people with resources that could help them or just be there to listen.

Tom Slack Staff asked this question 1 year ago

Hey Marissa, thanks for joining us for this AMA! I’d love to know the case you’ve covered that’s stuck with you the most, and why?

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Marissa Jones replied 1 year ago

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I have a few but most recently it was the Christopher Abeyta case. Things really hit home when you have a life circumstance that is similar. Christopher was 7 months old when he disappeared and my baby is the same age. When I was interviewing his sister and she was telling me about all of the things he was doing like he had just learned to slurp spaghetti and thought that was funny…my son is doing that right now too. I can’t even imagine the fear and panic of having a missing infant. Trying to imagine that was very stressful for me.

Mike asked this question 1 year ago

What is the most challenging case that you have covered?

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Marissa Jones replied 1 year ago

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The ones that are really tough are the ones with very little info. These people deserve to have their stories out there but it’s tough when there is almost nothing to go on. What do you talk about? Zachary Kennedy’s episode was like this. I felt like I was pestering his friends trying to get them to speak to me. His dad lives on the opposite coast so he didn’t know much about his day to day routine.

Mike asked this question 1 year ago

If you could go back in time to when you started your podcast and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?

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Marissa Jones replied 1 year ago

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I get messages from people wanting to start podcasts quite often. They ask me for advice and I always tell them to have several episodes prepared before you release the show. You are bound to get sick or have some kind of technical issue. I did not do this and I’m always working week to week on a deadline. I’ve worked through being sick many, many times!

Kelly Williams asked this question 1 year ago

How long does it take to put together an episode?

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Marissa Jones replied 1 year ago

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It varies. Some episodes take more time depending on the amount of research material that’s out there. Others take much longer to edit. This show is much more than a 40hr/week job. It has turned into my life.

Kelly Williams asked this question 1 year ago

What is your favorite part of doing the podcasting?

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Marissa Jones replied 1 year ago

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When I feel like I have had the opportunity to help someone, it makes it all feel worth it. I got a message just last night from someone I covered who was found alive and it was moving to read.

Kelly Williams asked this question 1 year ago

What made you want to be a podcaster?

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Marissa Jones replied 1 year ago

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I just started it as a hobby. I kept asking other shows to cover some of these cases that weren’t getting attention. Then, I just decided to do it myself.

Kelly Williams asked this question 1 year ago

What is a True Crime case you are interested in that you haven’t covered in your episodes?

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Marissa Jones replied 1 year ago

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I have many because my show has a narrow focus so there are many cases that interest me that wouldn’t fit in with The Vanished. What I usually do with those is try to get my friends to cover them! One that I would like to see another podcast cover is the Abt Family Massacre. It’s a local case and one where you can see how bullying pushes some people over the edge. Another one is the murder of Shaun Ritterson. A story that recently came onto my radar that I’m interested in is the murder of Mabel Kretshmar. All three of these are local cases.

Kelly Williams asked this question 1 year ago

What is your favorite true crime podcast not your own?

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Marissa Jones replied 1 year ago

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I have a bunch that I like but I just don’t have as much listening time these days. I will name a few: The Apex & The Abyss, The Generation Why Podcast, They Walk Among Us, Misconduct, Canadian True Crime, In Sight Podcast, Dark Topic, True Crime Fan Club and Sword & Scale.

Kelly Williams asked this question 1 year ago

Are you a cat or a dog person?

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Marissa Jones replied 1 year ago

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I’m an animal person. I actually have 3 dogs and 3 cats! I will say the cats are my favorite! They also don’t bark when I’m trying to record.

Kelly Williams asked this question 1 year ago

Do you ever have to travel for your podcast?

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Marissa Jones replied 1 year ago

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I have but it’s not something that I do often. I traveled to do some research that had to be done in person for an old case. Files were in boxes. I have also traveled to go check out some places when they aren’t too far from home. I don’t like being away from my kids for long periods of time though.

Marissa Jones replied 1 year ago

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I have but it’s not something that I do often. I traveled to do some research that had to be done in person for an old case. Files were in boxes. I have also traveled to go check out some places when they aren’t too far from home. I don’t like being away from my kids for long periods of time though.

Jess asked this question 1 year ago

How has the way you approach your cases evolved since starting the podcast? Have you learned anything that you would have never realized before starting?

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Marissa Jones replied 1 year ago

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I think that I’ve become more sensitive and careful about every single word that I say. The families are going through enough and I don’t ever want to say or do something that would add to their trauma.

Kelly Williams asked this question 1 year ago

Are you hiring?

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Marissa Jones replied 1 year ago

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Not at the moment but maybe in the future.

Jess asked this question 1 year ago

Besides families reaching out, how do you choose the cases you are going to cover?

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Marissa Jones replied 1 year ago

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My process is kind of confusing. I get so many requests, it’s a lot to juggle. When someone contacts me, I start scheduling interviews and I’m usually booked for a couple months. In that time, I start doing FOIA requests and other research. I don’t really pick them anymore but the order in which they air is influenced by many factors. Shuffling old and new cases gives me more time to research the old ones while continuing with a weekly show. I don’t really seek out stories anymore because I hate to ask someone if I can cover their case and then tell them I can’t even interview them for 3 months.

Kelly Williams asked this question 1 year ago

Have you ever had a family member go missing?

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Marissa Jones replied 1 year ago

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Yes, it’s mentioned above that my great grandfather went missing in 1928 and he was never found. That influenced many generations of my family. My grandfather (his son) developed Alzheimer’s years ago and he went missing on an number of occasions. You see stories like this in the news. Luckily, he was found each time. Once, he was found down in a muddy ravine after a storm and had to be rescued with a crane. It was at that point that my family had to find a facility with an alzheimer’s lockdown unit. It’s hard when you have someone who is in great physical shape but they mentally aren’t there anymore.

Kelly Williams asked this question 1 year ago

Is there an aspect of podcasting that you dislike?

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Marissa Jones replied 1 year ago

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There is one thing that I dislike and it’s something that I didn’t foresee when I decided to start the show. That is internet trolling. It can really drain your time and energy.

Beth Lauren asked this question 1 year ago

Hey Marissa! I’m sure you get asked this all the time but what case, out of all the ones you have covered, would you most like to see solved? For me, I think it’s got to be either Chris Turner or Christopher Abeta… Their stories have really stuck with me. Thanks!

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Marissa Jones replied 1 year ago

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That’s a tough question because I would like them all to be solved and every family to get justice and closure. One that sticks with me that I would like to be solved because I believe there is a predator out there is Mark Himebaugh’s case.

Summer asked this question 1 year ago

Aside from a few, it seems like most cases you do are in other parts of the US besides the south. Is that because these other areas have a higher number of missing people?

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Marissa Jones replied 1 year ago

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I think there is a correlation between areas where I have a lot of listeners and the requests that I get from families. Often, they find the show because a listener suggested they contact me. Then, once I cover someone from an area, I get more requests from that area. For example, I had barely touched the pacific northwest but now I get tons of requests from there after I covered Henry Groeneveld. I also get many, many requests from Texas.

Justin asked this question 1 year ago

If you were ever accused of a serious crime that you didn’t commit, would you consider taking a plea deal to avoid prison?

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Marissa Jones replied 1 year ago

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I think most people assume that they wouldn’t ever take a plea if they were innocent BUT I can’t say for certain what I would do in that situation. What if you were facing spending the rest of your life in prison but they offered you a deal that would only mean 5 years? Are you a betting person? I’m not sure what I would do and I hope that I’m never in that situation!

Leah asked this question 1 year ago

Love the podcast, so very well done. I have a couple of questions if you don’t mind.
Do you make decent money doing the podcast? Sorry if that is too personal.
I’m amazed that you can get law enforcement or even family to talk to you. Is it hard to establish those connections and get people to talk with you or do you get turned down a lot?

1
Marissa Jones replied 1 year ago

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With the support of listeners and advertisers, I was able to walk away from my career as a paralegal to do this full-time. The podcast making money gives me the ability to pay for things like FOIA requests which can cost a lot of money. I think that being able to commit myself to this full-time (plus some) has improved the show and I also purchased better equipment. At this point, I get many families asking for the coverage so they are willing to talk to me. The response from law enforcement varies. Sometimes they talk to me and other times they ignore me. Most tv shows won’t cover a case without cooperation from law enforcement. This creates a barrier for many families so I will still cover a case even if law enforcement won’t talk to me.

Kelly Williams asked this question 1 year ago

How do you pick what cases to cover?

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Marissa Jones replied 1 year ago

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Most come from requests from families and also missing persons organizations. Listeners send me a lot of requests and I try to accommodate them when I can. It is usually the listeners who connect families to me.

Wyatt B asked this question 1 year ago

Most podcasts have at least another person to help out with editing, research, sound.. etc. I understand you do everything yourself, do you like it that way? Or would you prefer a team helping you with episodes.

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Marissa Jones replied 1 year ago

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I do it all myself and I struggle with the idea of how I would have someone help me with the process at this point because I’m so used to doing it this way. I have considered having someone help me with social media because that just keeps becoming more time consuming.

Wyatt B asked this question 1 year ago

The Vanished icon’s background is red, is that your favorite color and why you chose it?

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Marissa Jones replied 1 year ago

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My favorite color is blue! When I got the initial art for the show, I hired someone to make it and the colors ended up being black, white and red. When I joined the Wondery network and they suggested reworking the art, I wanted to stick with the same colors.

Wyatt B asked this question 1 year ago

Taking emotion out of it, if only based off the puzzling circumstances of the case and unanswered questions, which unsolved/missing case would you want to know all the answers to if you could choose just one?

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Marissa Jones replied 1 year ago

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It’s hard for me to set emotion aside because that is my personality but I will pick a case that I haven’t covered and say the Delphi murders of Abigail Williams and Liberty German. I thought for sure that would be solved quickly. It’s scary to think that person is still out there.

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