One day Barbara Louise Cotton was a 15-year-old daughter, sister and friend in Williston, N.D. The next day she was just gone.

Since that morning, April 12, 1981, the story of Barbara Cotton has focused on the one thing that cannot be put into focus -- her absence. We may not know where Barbara Cotton is or where she ended up, but we know one thing for certain; she’s not here. She has not been here, among us, for 40 years. We don’t know a whole lot more than that.

What is clear is that a lot of people want to know what happened to her. The story of Barbara’s disappearance has travelled to more than 40 countries and, over the course of Season 5, the Dakota Spotlight Facebook group swelled from approximately 550 members to a current 3,300.

Somehow the void Barbara left behind has become a gathering place where seekers connect and new friends meet. Barbara Cotton may not be here, but she is a connector and in no way forgotten.

In episode 14, host James Wolner takes a momentary interlude and steps away from the investigation to talk about music, crime and Barbara Cotton with two musicians: Lili Trifilio of the band Beach Bunny, and North Dakota born Isaac “Ike” Turner of Kalamazoo, MI.

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Also in this episode, we travel to the State Historical Society of North Dakota where Dakota Spotlight will become the first podcast to be preserved in the state archives.

Listen to Episode 14

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True Crime podcasts BY JAMES WOLNER

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