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Sitdown Sunday: 'I think there's something in these planters' - how a series of deaths were discovered in Canada

Settle back in a comfy chair and sit back with some of the week’s best longreads.

Image: Shutterstock/HiddenCatch

IT’S A DAY of rest, and you may be in the mood for a quiet corner and a comfy chair.

We’ve hand-picked the week’s best reads for you to savour.

1. ‘There’s something going on’

There is just one full-time forensic anthropologist in Canada, Kathy Gruspier. She was the one charged with finding out if something weird was buried in planters found on a quiet suburban drive. Jeremy McArthur has been accused of the murders. (Contains details some may find disturbing.)

(Vanity Fair, approx 16 mins reading time)

“I think there’s going to be something in these planters,” Idsinga remembers Gruspier saying. “But it could just be a chunk of ice, I don’t know.” He and his team drove to the lab. By then, the containers had been there for 10 days and were starting to emit a foul odor. In the forensic-examination bay, the police watched Gruspier saw the planter she had X-rayed in half. She peeled away the sides to reveal a human head, torsos, and limbs. Through dental and fingerprint analyses, Gruspier’s team eventually separated seven sets of remains.

2. Ted Bundy’s living victim

There’s been a lot of talk about Ted Bundy since the release of a new documentary about him. But his victims are too often ignored. Here’s the experience of Kathy Kleiner, who escaped his attempts to murder her.

(Rolling Stone, approx 20 mins reading time)

You wouldn’t know, watching her joke around, that Kleiner is holding a book about the man who almost killed her. She was 20 when Ted Bundy crept into her bedroom at Florida State University, 22 when he was sentenced to death, and 32 when he was finally strapped into Old Sparky, Florida’s electric chair. As the years went on, Kleiner could have tried to forget him, but instead she decided to figure him out — which is why she’s so comfortable in the true crime section of any bookstore.

3. A dangerous journey

This article explores how the hardline stance in the US on keeping migrants out “is pushing asylum seekers to take remote and dangerous routes into the United States”.

(New York Times, approx 10 mins reading time)

In December, which saw a record number of families arriving at the border, 27,518 migrants traveling in families were apprehended in areas outside normal border stations. The El Paso sector, which includes the suddenly busy area of rural New Mexico, saw a 1,866 percent increase in family apprehensions during October and November of 2018, compared with the same period a year earlier.

4. Meet the ‘cleanfluencers’

You might have spotted some unusual influencers recently – people whose USP is that they like keeping their home very, very tidy.

(The Guardian, approx 10 mins reading time)

Sophie Hinchcliffe, AKA Mrs Hinch, is one of the best known of these new Instagram “cleanfluencers”. The 28-year-old hairdresser from Essex has 1.7 million followers on the social network, where she shares pictures of her immaculate home as well as chatty videos of herself disinfecting her bins and scrubbing her sink. She has developed a whole branded vocabulary around tidying up – cleaning is “hinching”; buying products is a “hinch haul”; her followers are the #HinchArmy; and her enormous collection of cleaning paraphernalia is kept in a special wardrobe called Narnia. 

5. The real Lorena Bobbitt

You’ve probably heard of the infamous story of Lorena Bobbitt, who cut off her husband’s penis. Here’s an in-depth profile of her, which gives a much better look into what went on in her life, behind the tabloid headlines.

(The New York Times, approx 17 mins reading time)

These are the details everyone knows and the ones Lorena recites with the stoicism of the waiter at the Tortino Mare Italian restaurant who hours earlier had relayed the specials for us. It’s the actual story, she said — the one about a young immigrant who endured years of domestic violence, was raped by her husband that night, had nowhere to go and finally snapped — that she wanted to talk to me about. 

6. The Thai cave rescue

The inside story of the almost improbably rescue of the 12 young boys from the Thai cave.

(Maclean’s, approx 61 mins reading time)

The SEALs entered the black cathedral of the first chamber, stalactites plunging from the ceiling, boulders exploding from the floor. This cave made the grown men feel small. Then it squeezed the life out of them: some corridors were so narrow only skinnier divers could get through. It dwarfed them again, squeezed them tight again, but within three kilometres and a day and a half, the SEALs pressed on to Monk’s Junction, where the cave split in two and rapids could rip a mask off. 

…AND A CLASSIC FROM THE ARCHIVES…

This week has been a terrible one for Buzzfeed staff, with lots of people being laid off. The site has featured a lot of great reporting over the years – including this one on tennis match-fixing.

(Buzzfeed, approx 45 mins reading time)

The files contain detailed evidence of suspected match-fixing orchestrated by gambling syndicates in Russia and Italy, which was uncovered in the landmark 2008 probe, and which authorities subsequently shelved. “They could have got rid of a network of players that would have almost completely cleared the sport up,” said Mark Phillips, one of the investigators. “We gave them everything tied up with a nice pink bow on top and they took no action at all.”

More: The best reads from every previous Sitdown Sunday>

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