Rolling Stone


From dating columnist to cold-case investigat­or


Catherine townsend’s career — dating columnist, private investigat­or, true-crime podcaster — is straight out of a hard-boiled detective novel. But the jobs intersect. “There’s no better training than being out on tons of first dates,” she says. “It teaches you a lot about reading people.”

An Arkansas native, Townsend grew up obsessed by true crime. In 2004, she began to follow the local unsolved murder of 22-year-old Rebekah Gould, a few years her junior. But it wasn’t until 2017 — a dozen years after founding the U.K. Independen­t’s “Sleeping Around” column, and four years after getting her California P.I. license — that she took on Gould’s case. “Rebekah reminded me of myself,” she says. “Someone actually told me she was a high-risk victim because she was dating different guys. Come on.”

Townsend spent six months unraveling the story for Hell and Gone, her popular iHeartMedi­a podcast, which arguably helped authoritie­s arrest a suspect last November. As she preps Season Four, she’s also looking into “real-life American psychos” on Red Collar, her new podcast for Audiochuck. “It mixes two of my favorite topics,” Townsend declares. “Fraud and murder.”

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Townsend’s new podcast covers “reallife American psychos.”

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