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Sitdown Sunday: The search for a serial killer... who was very close to home

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

Image: Shutterstock/Daniel Tadevosyan

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. The serial killer of Laredo

A piece on the hunt for a murderer targeting sex workers. A murderer who turned out to be in plain sight.

(Texas Monthly, approx 29 mins reading time)

He usually showed up after dark, slowing as he came to the four-block section of San Bernardo a couple of miles north of downtown that many Laredo residents called “the prostitute blocks,” an area dotted with fast-food restaurants, gas stations, convenience stores, and low-rent office buildings. On any given night, there were six to ten women working the blocks. Whenever the man would pull up beside one of the women in his pickup, he would give her a smile. He told some of the women his name was Juan; with others, he went by David.

2. Mr Rogers

Fred Rogers isn’t a household name here in Ireland, but with a movie about him starring Tom Hanks due out soon, it’s a good time to find out more about this American icon.

(Esquire, approx 36 mins reading time)

Once upon a time, a long time ago, a man took off his jacket and put on a sweater. Then he took off his shoes and put on a pair of sneakers. His name was Fred Rogers. He was starting a television program, aimed at children, called Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. He had been on television before, but only as the voices and movements of puppets, on a program called The Children’s Corner. Now he was stepping in front of the camera as Mister Rogers, and he wanted to do things right, and whatever he did right, he wanted to repeat.

3. We didn’t stand a chance against opioids

A heartfelt and frank piece by Joshua Hunt, about how the opioid crisis affected his family in Alaska – from his grandmother to his cousin.

(The New Republic, approx 13 mins reading time)

In the spring of 2003, I visited Alaska after a long time away, and found something new in her medicine cabinet. It was a painkiller called Oxycontin. Swallowing these opioids made her bright and cheerful, I noticed, then, as the hours passed, quiet and withdrawn. When the time for her next dose drew near, she grew irritable and anxious. 

4. Stolen children

Thousands of Chilean children were stolen from their mothers during the rule of General Augusto Pinochet. Here is one mother’s story.

(BBC, approx 10 mins reading time)

Sara, who still lives outside Temuco, has been looking for her son for the last 30 years. She is convinced he was taken abroad. She says a local taxi driver told her about a woman taking a crying baby to the local airport on the same day Camilo disappeared. The child was apparently wrapped in the same distinctive baby blanket she had used. Her situation is not unique.

5. Nepali women who deliver birth control by hiking

A fascinating look at the women who deliver contraception to women in hard-to-access places in Nepal.

(Outside, approx 10 mins reading time)

Chaudhary was daunted by the new terrain. Nepal’s midhills rise to between 3,000 and 10,000 feet, and although they’re considered a preamble to the snowy peaks of the Himalayas in the north, they’re challenging to navigate. Villages in Baitadi are scattered over an area half the size of Yosemite, linked by steep, rocky trails. The women hike for eight or nine hours at a time, in the winter tramping through snow, in the summer sometimes fording rivers with gear balanced on their heads.

6. He loves Crystal Palace

You’re not a football fan. But then your young son develops a love for Crystal Palace… Written by the excellent Max Porter.

(Mundial Mag, approx 10 mins reading time)

For midweek games with an after-bedtime final whistle, my son would ask me to write D, W, or L on his hand so he could find out what happened the second he woke up. And I’d find myself writing ‘W’ on his clammy little hand, attempting to add, in tiny letters, ‘Benteke, 86th min’ underneath and, in the morning, he’d come in with pen all over his face, a black smudge on his hand. ‘Well?’

…AND A CLASSIC FROM THE ARCHIVES…   

The great Nora Ephron wrote in 2006 about falling in love with an apartment after her marriage broke up.

(The New Yorker, approx 24 mins reading time)

But my true religious zeal focussed on the Apthorp itself. I honestly believed that at the lowest moment in my adult life I’d been rescued by a building. All right, I’m being melodramatic, but that’s what I believed. I’d left New York City a year earlier to move to Washington, D.C., for what I sincerely thought would be the rest of my life. I’d tried to be cheerful about it. But the horrible reality kept crashing in on me.

More: The best reads from every previous Sitdown Sunday>

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