Despite a lot of headaches, the journalist Rodrigo Fluxá preferred the truth to completely nullify the headline that many had been waiting for about the death of Ana María Villarroel. The young woman had a promising career in the music industry as DJ Anna Cook. But on August 2, 2017, the Chilean died at the age of 26 in the capital of her country. Various autopsies revealed the presence of various drugs in his body and the presence of semen in his mouth. The artist had publicly declared herself a lesbian years earlier, prompting various theories surrounding her death. In addition, he was involved with several men in the hours leading up to his death, although none of them had been fully investigated.
Was it a hate crime? Would the authorities have tried harder if the deceased woman had not been homosexual? Who Killed Anna Cook? This last question, which includes the previous ones, was shown on 8M at the Telefónica Tower in Santiago de Chile three years ago, on International Women’s Day. And it is the namesake of the journalistic podcast who reveals the mystery surrounding his death.
This in-depth investigation has put the case back on the front page of Chilean media for weeks, becoming the most-watched content in several Latin American countries. But the result disappointed friends, family and groups demanding justice for Anna Cook. The thesis put forward by various feminist and LGTBI+ associations is that the artist “was raped, strangled and beaten so badly that she broke five ribs”, as the Chilean feminist group denounced on the networks in the summer of 2020. tea club. But, defend the authors of this journalistic research, in reality the young woman would have committed suicide with an overdose of pills and drugs. She herself had announced it in the last days of her life in unpublished messages that journalists found on her mobile phone. This is what the podcast reveals in its latest episode, which will be broadcast this Wednesday, July 19.
Ana María Villarroel, better known by her stage name Anna Cook, was found dead in her home on August 2, 2017, raped, strangled and beaten so that she fractured five ribs, according to SML.
Illustration by Catalina Tapia pic.twitter.com/ilEvZyuu1Q
— Tea Club 🐇🌈 (@leclubdete) June 29, 2020
Who Killed Anna Cook? Divided into 11 chapters, it is produced by Podium Podcast Chile – part of the Prisa Group – based on a five-year investigation. A team of journalists led by 42-year-old Fluxá, along with journalists Sebastián Palma and Valentina Millán, were responsible for analyzing more than 400 pages of court documentation, conducting around 100 interviews with all those involved and compiling audiovisual and sound files deemed relevant to the case. The same team met during these years with the prosecutor’s office, the medical examiner’s office, the Institute for Public Health, the investigative police, outside crime experts and with the first team that provided legal advice to Anna Cook’s family.
“What happened to Ana is a generational tragedy, regardless of what people think happened to her,” Fluxá, from Chile, commented via video conference just before she aired the latest part of her investigation. “It was very difficult for me to understand because the generational differences are becoming more and more obvious. I have a hard time communicating with someone in their mid-twenties and understanding how they live without judgement. The confrontation between the concept of Ok, Boomer and the considered generation of Crystal [la generación Z] It’s a shame, but it’s the law of life. “At the level of journalism and activism in Chile, there is no in-depth analysis of this new generation and their problems,” he admits. Although the death happened in his neighborhood and he knew some of the suspects in the alleged crime by sight, Fluxá sought out Millán, a young journalist closer in age to DJ, so that she would first write a book about the case under his supervision. The project then jumped into the sound universe.
Despite being a documentary podcast, the content is presented in a screenplay form. This is done through the fictitious conversations of an experienced journalist with a younger one, with which Fluxá shows the weekly debates that he himself had with the younger members of his journalistic team. “Why isn’t anyone talking about a generation that numbs itself so it doesn’t feel?” they ask themselves in the final episode. “It’s a shame that the police investigation overshadowed Ana’s musical talent,” Fluxá laments from home. “The most committed activist currently does not know how to give a voice to the suspects of a crime, but traditional journalism should do it,” says the reporter, who includes the exclusive testimonies of several of them in the first ten chapters.
Valeria Millán is yelled at on the street because she supports a different theory than that of murder, says Fluxá. “The pandemic brought with it a very strong wave of irrationality, like the anti-vaccine movement. Now there are people with college degrees who don’t believe you even if you show them evidence. “Ten years ago I could not have imagined that my struggle as a journalist would be met with people who didn’t believe the facts,” he says. He himself has been criticized for sharing the results of his investigations, making his podcast buck the trend towards true crime with a cautionary tale.
The discussion that has arisen around Cook’s death in recent weeks was part of the project, the top manager comments: “The podcast was designed for this. For the first time in Chile, well-founded content goes beyond the niche, even the ladies from the neighborhood comment on it,” explains Fluxá. “It went down like a bomb on activism. Young people don’t understand the classic journalism process because it hardly exists anymore. And that’s why a dialogue of the deaf arises. Contemporary activism based on truth is incompatible with journalism based on doubt,” he defends. For the reporter, the two truths held by both sides are not inconsistent: Ana could commit suicide and the Chilean justice system has problems with bias in its investigations.
Kattia González, mother of Anna Cook, met with the research team at least nine times between 2020 and 2023. Three of these meetings were recorded interviews, excerpts of which appear in the podcast. The last time was on January 7, 2023, where she was made aware of the scope of the investigation. However, when she learned of the results of the investigation, which did not find a killer but rather found that the artist had threatened suicide days before her death, she decided to distance herself from the project. “We promised him the truth from the start. And that’s what we gave him,” argues Fluxá.
For its part, Podium Podcast met twice with Kattia González. The first on May 26, 2023 to inform you about the project, its contents and to advise you on the correct registration of Anna Cook’s musical work in the appropriate institutions. On this occasion she was escorted to the PRISA Media offices and took with her a legal document for Podium Podcast to obtain the license for Anna’s songs as she is the rightful heir to her work. Then, on June 8, 2023, they met her again, this time she came alone and with the legal document accepted and signed, explains Podium Podcast Chile.
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