It has now been five months and no one is currently in jail for his murder. The suspect, 23-year old Kyle Zoellner who was arrested at the scene, was released three weeks later due to a “lack of physical evidence” in a ruling by Judge Dale Reinholtsen.
As someone who sat through five days of preliminary hearings prior to Zoellner’s release, I often question the ruling because the circumstantial evidence was astronomical–which I felt established probable cause for Zoellner to be held for trial.
Arcata has about four local papers in a very small, rural town. Local papers have kind of accepted the court ruling and there has been little to no follow up on the sketchiness of Lawson’s murder investigation and Zoellner’s release.
In addition, the lack of transparency from the local police department has led to a lack of updates in the investigation.
This has allowed misinformation to be claimed as fact amongst community gossip and people are actively online attempting to control public perception through anonymous means.
Meanwhile, local officials turn a blind eye and continue their daily routines as if addressing the issues surrounding Lawson’s murder is not important.
I have covered the murder of Josiah extensively on my website, opening up a whirlwind of online hate and scrutiny from local community members. Those who seem to be rubbed the wrong way by a Black woman in a small town covering Josiah’s murder through her own platform.
I push forward because this is why Journalism is important to me. To give a voice to people who have historically been marginalized and stereotyped.
Please take some time to watch this video and hear about Josiah through his own words and photos from the family.
Rest in peace Josiah, your memory lives on always and I will continue to do what I can to make sure that accountability is served in your name and senseless murder.