SALT LAKE CITY — When Dave Cawley decided to tell the story of what happened to Joyce Yost 36 years ago in the podcast COLD Season 2, he knew it would present very different challenges than he faced when he told the story of Susan Powell in the first season.
“Talking Cold” podcast digs into issues
“It was so much more difficult with Joyce because the only recording that we have, that is known to exist of Joyce, is one of the worst moments of her life,” Cawley said in a new KSL podcast, Talking Cold, which will explore the issues raised in Season 2 and offer insight into why he made the journalistic choices he did. “And I think the risk becomes as it was with Susan Powell. That that horrible event that happened to Joyce becomes the sole defining characteristic by which we talked about her. And you’ll see this if you go back and look at old news clippings, if she’s identified at all, it doesn’t talk at all about who she was where she’s from, her family, you know, the things that she loved.”
Cawley said he can’t remember the exact moment when he decided to focus on Joyce Yost, but he does know the issues surrounding her rape and disappearance will resonate nearly four decades later.
“For me, personally, I recognized that this woman’s experience, even though it was 35 years ago, in my view is just as relevant today as it was back then, in spite of everything that’s changed in culture and technology in the years since,” Cawley said.
Giving Joyce Yost her voice back
He said the fact that not many people know about the case is “tragic.” Cawley said he struggled with how to help listeners to see and understand Joyce Yost because he didn’t have the recordings and journals that he had for Susan Powell in Season one. He said he relied on family and friends to help listeners to connect to her.
“It’s a challenge mostly because again, we don’t have Joyce to to ask,” Cawley said. “And so it requires building the trust with the people who knew her. Joyce’s children have not often talked to outsiders about their mother. And for me to come in as somebody who they don’t know, and say, ‘Let me get into the intimate details of your missing mother’s young life.’ Those are not conversations we often have with strangers.”
Telling the story in the COLD podcast
Cawley started the season with an episode that weaves the back stories of Yost and the man who assaulted her, Doug Lovell. He said he wanted people to understand who they were when they meet in episode two. People, he points out, are the sum of all of their decisions, good and bad, and it’s important to understand that when exploring why horrible things happen.
“Normal people make monstrous decisions,” Cawley said, “and if all we’re doing is telling stories about angels and demons, we’re not being honest with each other.”
The type that sends roses
Episode one begins with the mysterious delivery of multiple bouquets to a loan officer at a credit union. Cawley said he chose to start with something that may seem peripheral because of what it said about Lovell.
“We will see in future episodes why this was significant,” he said. “It’s less about the roses themselves, and more about the behavior behind them.”
He said the roses also reminded him of how Josh Powell, from season one, would give roses to women he found attractive, and it seemed a remarkable connection.
“We know that Josh often would give flowers to girls he was interested in, as a romantic gesture, often in cases where they weren’t warranted,” Cawley said. “He didn’t have the type of relationship with these people that would justify giving them flowers. And the behavior behind the delivery of these roses to me was just such an amazing parallel with Josh Powell, that it felt like it was a good place to start the story.”
How to listen
Listen to COLD and Talking Cold for free, no subscription required, on Amazon Music. You can find bonus content, including videos, pictures and case materials at the COLD website.
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