When he first started the journey of creating the podcast “Hide and Seek” investigating the disappearance of Tenino woman Nancy Moyer, James Baysinger never thought the case would take the twists and turns it has since the first episode dropped in March.
Since then, the case received its first major break in 10 years, when Eric Lee Roberts reportedly confessed to killing Moyer, was arrested, recanted the confession and is now under active investigation. He's currently being held in the Snohomish County Jail on an unrelated domestic violence charge.
The development has led to a significant spike in Hide and Seek’s listening audience.
“Back then, if I had 1,000 or 2,000 listeners over a day, I was like ‘Man, doing good,’ but now you’re looking at 70,000 in the last week, so it’s growing significantly. … And I’m glad that it’s doing well, but this has always been about Nancy, this has always been about the Moyer family,” said Baysinger — a Kennewick resident with a lifelong fascination with the true crime genre.
It was exactly this fascination that led to the creation of “Hide and Seek” — Baysinger’s own attempt to use the audio medium to uncover new details in a case that sat cold for a decade. He was inspired by other nationally recognized podcasts that have swarmed the true crime market in the past few years like “Up and Vanished” and “Serial”.
After finding articles about Moyer’s disappearance, he became fascinated with the case and decided that would be the subject of the first season of the podcast. He’s now been digging into it for about a year, and recounts a deep personal connection with the Moyer family that has cultivated since — “a genuine friendship,” he said of the people he’s met along the way, like Moyer’s daughter Sam and husband Bill.
“They’ve seen my motives,” he said, saying it took some trust on their part to open up to a stranger about their loved one’s disappearance and presumed death.
“I’m not in this for the wrong reasons, I don’t want to get rich or famous,” Baysinger said.
But now, 10 episodes down, it’s not clear what the remainder of the season will look like or how long it will last. The situation has essentially boiled down to a game of “hurry up and wait” as Thurston County Sheriff’s Office investigators work to continue their investigation into Roberts and his alleged involvement in the disappearance. The Thurston County Prosecutor’s Office has opted against filing charges against Roberts until the investigation is completed.
In the meantime, Baysinger said he hopes to pin down an interview with Roberts. At this point, he said, there are two angles worth exploring — either investigators will find there is evidence he killed Moyer, or his confession — both to 911 dispatchers and detectives — was a fabrication. For either one of those scenarios, Baysinger said, Roberts has something to answer for.
Working on the podcast has put a significant workload on Baysinger and his crew, as he already balances a day job in Kennewick. His staff at the insurance office he runs back in Kennewick have been understanding, he said.
His wife has been supportive and gets that sometimes, like when news of Roberts’ confession first broke, Baysinger’s going to hop in the car and head out to Tenino to follow the breaking story.
Other times, it’s good to disconnect from the whole thing and take a breather, like when he’s with his child.
“I kind of have to put my phone down and walk away from it for a while, just because it’s so consuming,” he said, adding that it’s easier said than done, and he’s trying to grapple with balancing time between the personal and the podcast.
Before the latest development in the case, Hide and Seek was set to take the stage at CrimeCon’s CrowdSolve event in Seattle between Oct. 18 and 20. The purpose of the event is for an audience to help dig up new leads in cold cases. However, with the recent development, Moyer’s case might not be that cold anymore. Now, it’s uncertain whether Moyer will be the subject of the event anymore, said Baysinger. However, it will be a subject in one way or another, whether it’s in the form of an update or a chance to talk with family members.
For more information, visit https://www.crimecon.com/crowdsolve-seattle.
Baysinger said, regardless of how long it takes, he plans to release continual updates in Moyer’s case.
Hide and Seek can be found on iTunes, Spotify, Google play, Soundcloud, Tunein, Stitcher and Podbean.