Hae Min Lee

Like millions of other listeners, I have become deeply entrenched in Serial, an episodic treatment of the murder of Hae Min Lee in 1999.

The podcasts are mostly riveting and leave the listener grasping for answers.

But some things demand to be confronted emotionally, not just in the clinical language of forensics, but in the enduring vortex of loss and grief.

I have hunted for archival traces Hae Min Lee–glimpses of the girl from before her life taken and then reduced to jurisprudential conjecture.

Who was Hae Min Lee to those who loved her? A picture, a memorial–something. I found this– a piece on her memorial.

She played lacrosse…

left a grieving family…

…a family whose grief is indicated mostly by their present silence. Surely they would be appalled by the surgical reduction of this vivid girl to…a piece of evidence not properly disposed of.

I keep returning to the snowstorm; days her family must have spent hoping and praying for her safe return.

When she could not.

Would not.


Because she had been rendered helpless, cold, and alone in the shallow grave, in the silence of falling snow.

It seems to me American justice requires a return to that quiet wood and all the things that were stolen from Hae Min Lee.

Perhaps we are all too accustomed to our fictional procedurals to realize that real crime leaves empty places in the heart and a grief that never lifts or relents.