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Fictional File: The Unsolved Murder of Beth Whitestone

Hello, my loyal true crime readers! I’m excited to present our very first Fictional File. When Harriet reached out to me about collaborating with her on a creative project I was thrilled. Learn more about Harriet and her work below. And we hope you enjoy stepping into the fictional mystery we’ve created.

As always, thanks so much for reading!

~ Christine

My name is Harriet Laws-Herd and I’m a second-year photography student at Norwich University of The Arts in the UK. I’ve always had a passion for crime, whether that’s reading crime fiction or watching documentaries and dramas. Delving into the mentality of those accused fascinates me, and the satisfaction of piecing together a case with clues is rewarding.

I’ve used this passion to drive my current university project, exploring and expanding the scale of my ideas. The intention was to create my own murder investigation, sourcing and photographing the crime scene, taking the viewer on a journey outside of reality and creating cinematic interpretations of the murder itself.

After coming across The True Crime Files I was immediately impressed with the details and gripping intensity of Christine’s writing. I wanted to learn from her established experience of unsolved investigations… someone who can professionally interpret concepts into a written form. We exchanged ideas and disseminated this fictional case together; our devotion was evident from the start.

“The Unsolved Murder of Beth Whitestone” is our creative outcome. I’m so excited by the results and I couldn’t wait to start photographing and exploring this case through a new medium. 

You can find me on Instagram: @harrietateniaphotography

Case File Overview

Beth Whitestone followed her usual routine on the morning of Tuesday March 27, 2019. 

After rushing around the house filling her backpack with a lunch and the books she needed for the day ahead at university, 20-year-old Beth enjoyed a quick breakfast with her parents – Bob and Linda Whitestone. Barely finished chewing, Beth kissed her mom and dad goodbye for the last time before heading out the door shortly before 9:00AM. 

Beth reportedly attended all of her scheduled classes at Norwich University of the Arts where she was in her second year of a bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design. Beth was the quiet, studious type and had not made that many close friends at school. So when she was invited to the library on campus for a study session by a small group of her classmates, Beth jumped at the chance. 

After a productive study session, Beth was ready to head home at around 5:30PM – her parents always expected her home for dinner. She packed up, said her goodbyes, and was last spotted by one of her professors – John Smith – heading northeast towards the Monastery Court Car Park where she had left her white Volkswagen Up earlier that morning. 

By 7:00PM, Beth’s parents were worried. They could not understand why their daughter had failed to return home and all their calls to her mobile went unanswered. Beth would never miss a family dinner unless she let them know in advance that she would not make it home. Bob called the local police and reported Beth missing. 

At 7:15PM a family out walking their dog in a wooded area near the St. Georges Street Bridge found Beth’s battered body near the banks of River Wensum. An autopsy later found that Beth had not drowned. Rather, she had been violently bludgeoned to death… likely with a hammer found at the scene, and then dumped near the river. Her pants were undone and appeared to be hastily pulled up and her panties were torn. 

Beth Whitestone Crime Scene Photo

Image of fictional murder victim Beth Whitestone
Source: Harriet Laws-Herd

Evidence collected from Beth’s body has been run through all of the pertinent DNA databases but a match has yet to be made.  

Beth’s murder remains unsolved. 

Case File Theories

Killed by Professor John Smith 

Did Beth’s art professor murder her? 

A couple of days after Beth was found dead, the police arrested John Smith and charged him with her murder. During their investigation, the police thought it was too convenient the professor had just happened to see Beth on her way to her car. They also discovered some emails between the pair that seemed too friendly for what you would expect from a professor/student relationship. Investigators suspected John had an affair with Beth and killed her to keep her quiet about their relationship so he did not lose his family and job. 

After intense questioning, John finally admitted to having an affair with Beth. He explained he saw Beth walking to her car on the evening in question and caught up with her to have a quick chat. He said that after they were together for only a couple minutes a young man showed up who Beth referred to as her boyfriend. The unidentified young man confronted Beth about her affair with the professor – something he had apparently learned about by reading Beth’s diary. 

John said he and the young man got into a physical altercation, accidently bumped into Beth, and she fell and hit her head on some rocks and lost consciousness. Afraid they had killed Beth, both John and Beth’s boyfriend panicked and fled the scene. The professor suggested someone must have stumbled upon Beth while she was still in this vulnerable state and sexually assaulted her, killed her, and then dumped her body near the river. 

Beth Whitestone Crime Scene Photo

Image of fictional murder victim Beth Whitestone
Source: Harriet Laws-Herd

At first the police found John’s story to be ludicrous, so he was arrested for Beth’s murder. But John has since passed a polygraph test, and to top things off when the tests came back John’s DNA didn’t match the evidence collected from Beth’s body. 

Beth Whitestone Crime Scene Photo

Images of the fictional murder victim Beth Whitestone
Source: Harriet Laws-Herd

The authorities eventually released John and made a statement to the press revealing the professor was no longer the primary suspect in Beth’s death. 

So if not John… then who killed Beth? 

Killed by a stranger 

Was Beth killed by a stranger while walking back to her car? 

This is a possible theory. It was dusk at the time the crime occurred and Beth had to walk through some wooded and rather secluded sections of pathway to get to her vehicle. There was plenty of opportunity for someone to hide out of sight and wait for a random victim to pass by to grab and assault. 

Or did John tell the truth? Was Beth injured and then abandoned by two men who should have protected her – her lover and her boyfriend – only to be killed by a murderous stranger who then happened upon her? 

Either way, it is quite strange no one reported seeing or hearing either the fight or the subsequent attack. Even in the early evening the pathways on and near the university grounds are well-travelled. Perhaps the perpetrator had a gun along with the hammer or whatever they killed Beth with – maybe the sight of a gun scared the young woman into quick and silent submission, especially if she was already injured.

Beth Whitestone Crime Scene Photo

Image of fictional murder victim Beth Whitestone
Source: Harriet Laws-Herd

If this is indeed what happened is anyone really safe out there on the streets of the city until the murderer is behind bars? 

Killed by someone from her inner circle 

Was Beth killed by someone she knew? 

Maybe. Someone Beth was studying with that afternoon in the campus library could have followed her when she left the building and attacked her. This would be a pretty risky move, though, since they would have just been seen with her. Would it be worth the risk? I hope the police thoroughly questioned everyone with Beth that afternoon and asked for a sample of their DNA. 

According to Beth’s parents she was not dating anyone at the time of her death. But if the professor’s story is true then Beth did indeed have a boyfriend and just had not shared this information with her parents. And a couple of Beth’s acquaintances at school did mention to police they thought Beth was seeing someone. 

The police are still searching for Beth’s supposed boyfriend but have not been able to identify him yet. If he does really exist, did her boyfriend perhaps return to Beth after the professor left and kill her in a fit of jealousy? 

And what about Beth’s ex-boyfriends? Little is known about who she previously dated or how those relationships ended. No doubt the authorities poked around in her history to see if there was anything worth following up on. If they found a person of interest in her past they have not shared this with the public. 

Beth Whitestone Crime Scene Photo

Image of fictional murder victim Beth Whitestone
Source: Harriet Laws-Herd

One last weird thing is that Beth’s mom and the professor both said she kept a journal. But the police have shared this journal is missing. Did Beth destroy her journal? If not, who took it? Where is it? Is the fact it is missing evidence her boyfriend does exist and he is the one who took it after he read it? Could the identity of Beth’s killer be waiting within its pages? I have a strong feeling finding this journal might be the key to solving this case. 

Who do you think killed Beth? 

Beth’s loved ones and the authorities refuse to let this case go cold. 

Linda, Beth’s mom, told the media what life has been like for her and her husband Bob since their only child was savagely torn from their lives, “We miss Beth every single moment of every single day. The hole in our lives will never be filled. All we have left is memories and all we pray for is to get some kind of justice… but it’ll never be enough to make up for all we’ve lost.” 

During a recent interview, Detective Sam Samuelsson called on the public to step up and assist with the investigation into Beth’s murder. “All we need is one person who saw something that night to bravely come forward and share what they saw,” he said. “I don’t want to count solely on DNA to move forward. Really, we’re just one small tip away from solving this case.”  

If you have any information about Beth’s murder, or know the identity of her boyfriend, please contact the local police at 8-888-888-8888. Your lead could be all it takes to give the Whitestones and the community the answers they are still desperately seeking. 

Interested in some real true crime cases? Check out our audio file on the disappearance of Sneha Philip and read our article on the unsolved murder of the Nation River Lady.

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Published inFictional Files



  1. JM JM

    This is a really good Fiction File! I’d love to read more, keep it up!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂 : ) 🙂

    • Christine Christine

      Thanks, JM! It was great to collaborate on a creative project. I’m happy you liked it!

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