classic city crime

The first episode of the "Classic City Crime" podcast plays on an iPhone on July 26, 2020. (Culture Editor/Anna Thomas)

Cameron Jay, creator and host of the "Classic City Crime" podcast, has now given the public an outlet for information on a murder which occurred right here in Athens.

The first season of the podcast centers around the tragic death of former University of Georgia law student, Tara Louise Baker.

Jay said the inspiration to start the podcast came from sheer boredom and his belief in fighting for justice. He also has a passion for helping the families of those lost in calamity, which he discovered when he worked in a funeral home.

Each episode consists of interviews from family members, friends and classmates of Baker. "Everything is centered around getting to know Tara,” Jay said, and the podcast focuses heavily on the testimonies of her loved ones.

By having these testimonies about Baker's life, Jay was able to create his vision of a true crime podcast which strays from the mainstream “whodunnit” metaphor, he said. He has formed genuine connections with the people he interviews. Jay and Virginia Baker, Tara's mother, often talk on the phone about their daily activities, he said.

Jay said he is grateful for the trust the Baker family gave him during this process. They helped fill in the holes of the story when investigative officials were absent, which was helpful because the overall investigation from the beginning was “incomplete at best,” Jay said.

Jay believes young women in Athens have struggled with getting attention from the Department of Justice, and it is disheartening that a woman has to be “beaten, strangled and stabbed” before someone pays attention.

“I’ve had people reach out to me every single day with new information that you can’t even imagine,” Jay said.

Jay focuses heavily on the lack of concrete evidence from professional departments within Baker’s case.

After 20 years, there is still no solid connection between a suspect and the crime. Jay reached out to multiple sources and experienced a lack of reciprocation from professional investigators who were hesitant to share the information they knew, he said.

Jay knew something needed to change in the investigation for Baker’s family to receive justice. This inspired Jay to approach his investigation from a whole new perspective. He said he believes it is best to analyze who the suspect was as a person and heavily focus on leading his podcast through personal analysis.

While this method may take more time, Jay said he will make “however many episodes” it takes to find clear answers. Classic City Crime takes a new angle on Baker’s case, and Jay hopes people will continue to help him achieve his goal of bringing her justice.

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