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40th Anniversary of 'Unsolved' Case, Series to Air on Lake Effect

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Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

This weekend marks the 40th anniversary of the disappearance of John Zera, a 14-year old Franklin High School student. Zera was murdered, and his body was found eight days later in Whitnall Park. Despite several seemingly promising leads in the case, no one has ever been charged in connection with his death.

The case re-emerged in the public eye recently with a print series and podcast by Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter Gina Barton.

For the next eight days, Lake Effect will air that podcast - slightly edited for time.

Barton joined us in studio to talk about her reporting and gives some perspective on the significance of the case.

"It was really, I think, one of the cases that kind of took the innocence from the suburbs around Milwaukee and really made people realize that maybe they should be a little bit more careful, maybe there are some crazy people out there that they should be more aware of," says Barton.

Episode 1: On Feb. 20, 1976, freshman John Zera disappeared from a high school in suburban Milwaukee. In the early days, John's family hoped for his safe return. Later, they prayed whoever was responsible for his disappearance would be brought to justice. Finally, they clung to hope that advances in technology or someone with a guilty conscience would someday offer an explanation of what happened to their Johnny. And why. In this episode, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter Gina Barton looks at how the case began and what drew her to it.

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Listen to Episode 1 of the "Unsolved" podcast.

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