Ann Rule, the best-selling true crime author with policing in her family history, recounted with humor how police work has evolved to a breakfast crowd at a Bellevue, Wash. police fundraiser Friday.
Her speech touched on how far women have progressed in policing and how technology has transformed investigations, but she also briefly touched on a case with which Coronado has become very familiar.
Though she was many miles from Southern California, the celebrated author noted to the roomful of law enforcement supporters that she doubts killed herself.
Rule said she is working on two new books involving recent cases, including the death of Zahau – ruled a suicide, a finding disputed by her family – which came right after the fall of six-year-old Max, the son of her boyfriend, Jonah Shacknai. The child died three days after Zahau.
Rule noted late last year that . She is a longtime friend of Anne Bremner, the Zahau family's attorney.
Rule is also working on a book about the Susan Powell case. She disappeared in December 2009 in Utah, and her husband He then set his house ablaze; authorities found his body along with the boys'.
Rule said had sworn not to write stories involving dead children because it was upsetting.
"When I started, the children were still alive," she said. "But I promised the grandparents, so I'm going forward with it."
Rule, who spent a short time with the Seattle Police Department in her twenties, described how one criminologist speculated that someday suspects would be identified with one drop of blood – about 15 years before DNA testing became commonplace.
"We all thought, 'Yeah, sure you can,'" she said.
"I don't know how people solved anything then," she joked.
She said that today cases that had been considered cold for decades are now being solved because of vast improvements in science and technology.
"Things are just getting so much better," she said.
"I'm writing about cases that I wrote about as unsolved in the 1970s," cases that are now being solved with DNA, she said.
Rule, who said she wrote her first true crime stories under a male pen name because editors thought a woman wouldn't be taken seriously, based her first book, The Stranger Beside Me, on serial killer Ted Bundy.