A fascinating Facebook post from Jamie Long today. Long was the woman who played a primary role in helping convicted murderer Sarah Pender escape from a prison outside Indianapolis in August 2008. Her 136 days on the run is the subject of my book, Girl, Wanted: The Chase for Sarah Pender, which came out last year.
Long’s post reads:
“To all my friends. There has been a book written about Sarah's escape filled with misinformation and misleading information that has hurt me and my family deeply. It is a great work of fiction from my viewpoint, but omits so much of the real truth. Now there is a movie coming out on Lifetime on Dec. 29th, that after reading the reviews, I believe it is even more atrocious and filled with more lies than the book. The production company will not respond to my emails which in itself says they know how much a work of fiction and an overactive imagination and false information it took to create this "real life" drama. If people want to write about me or make a movie, at least get the facts and the story right. The book is called "Girl Wanted; the Chase for Sarah Pender, and the movie is titled "She Made Them Do It". I don't know how the writers of either one can sleep at night with all the lies and BS they spread with their stories.”
Of course I sent a letter to Long when I was writing the book and she never replied. It’s always like that. This is what I sent her in March, 2010, as the final edits were being done:
“Ms. Long –
I am finishing a book on the escape of Sarah Pender and have reviewed your case file, included some things from it, seen the arraignment video, the AMW stuff, and spoken with a number of people about you. The book is mostly written and it is exhaustive. But your input would be a positive thing for yourself. I seek at all times to be fair and in doing so, invite anyone involved in a particular subject I write on to tell their own story. So I ask you for your input and your side of this tale. It will be a lot more flattering than the information that is out there now, and there is little downside in visiting with me for an hour at your place.
I’d be glad to come to Indiana for a visit. “
She also refers to a Lifetime movie that hits in December, which was done in a particularly unprofessional way; it used the book as a blueprint – there was no other written material – and avoided paying the writer.I recall talking with Adam Parfrey about What We Do is Secret, the movie based on a book he co-wrote, Lexicon Devil: The Fast Times and Short of Life of Darby Crash and the Germs. While they wouldn’t pay Parfrey, who wrote the book with Brendan Mullen and Don Bolles, the book, he told me, was all over the set of the movie. I never checked the movie out, simply because I prefer real life over fiction. More on that at a future date.
There have been a number of television episodes made on the Stephen Grant case without anyone involved ever talking with the authors of A Slaying in the Suburbs; The Tara Grant Murder, nor did anyone interview the prosecutors in the case, who did all of the heavy lifting. There is an episode of A & E's Biography on the Grant case coming up, in which I discuss the case. It's being done by Story House Media Group.
I’m sure Gary Tieche, who is credited as the writer of this Pender movie based on the Pender book, has never seen the inside of a court file not has he sat down with inmates or knocked on doors of murder victims in doing a re-creation of an existing work. But the script was sold and money was made, somewhere along the chain. I’d look for another movie based on this book at some point. Only this will be the real deal.