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ReadAloud program delves into the murderous depths of Columbus history

Though Ohio State has been admired for its achievements since its founding in 1870, the campus has also been witness to the horrors of ax murder.

Columbus natives David Meyers, and his daughter, Elise Meyers Walker, authors of “Historic Columbus Crimes: Mama’s in the Furnace, The Thing & More,” said Columbus is filled with tales of puzzling homicides and mysteries, including those in the university area.

Meyers and Meyers Walker are scheduled to read selections from their work and will offer historical insight into the rise of the retail store, Lazarus, in their latest collaboration together, “Look to Lazarus: The Big Store,” from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday in the Mortar Board Centennial Suite (room 202) of the Thompson Library.

“If you open up any Ohio true crime book, there are going to be two huge chunks for Cincinnati and Cleveland … and maybe one or two stories for Columbus,” Meyers Walker said. “They are usually pretty old, pretty boring stories that if you have paid any attention to you have heard already.”

Growing up, Meyers Walker was active in softball and theater. Whenever Meyers Walker became involved in a new extracurricular activity, her father showed his support by adopting her interest as his own.

“Elise is my only child, but I have always wanted a daughter because I figured if I had a son there would have been a lot of pressure on the son to be like me,” Meyers said. “I always tried to be involved in whatever activities she was interested in.”

The father and daughter decided to work together when Meyers was presented with the idea of writing a historical book on Ohio prisons.

“Elise had grown up around prisons because she is my daughter,” said Meyers, who previously worked in corrections. “On Take Your Daughter to Work Day, she would go to prison with me. She had a perspective on that whole thing that was different than mine. So, I thought it would be kind of cool to involve her in doing the prison book.”

After their first book together, “Central Ohio’s Historic Prisons,” was published, the duo were asked to pitch another book to a different publisher. Since they had an interest in Columbus crimes, Meyers and Meyers Walker decided their second writing collaboration should be on murders and mysteries that occurred in Columbus.   

“We write the books we would want to read,” Meyers Walker said. “We both have been fans of true crime for a long time and particularly those related to Ohio history.”

Through their book, the two authors sought to bring more attention to some of the shocking crimes in Columbus that so few (aside from Columbus law enforcement) have noticed.

“We have two pretty heinous crimes that took place in the university area,” Meyers said. “One of which is well-known — the Dr. Snook and Theora Hix murder — but the other one is an ax murder and nobody recalls that. Everybody is surprised to learn about that one.”

ReadAloud events are held every Thursday at the Thompson Library. According to the ReadAloud program coordinator, Ruth Sesco, one of the purposes of the program is to showcase the writings of the people who have affected the campus area and the Columbus community.

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