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South Korea

   From 1999 until 2004, I worked as both a staff writer and photographer  for Pacific Stars and Stripes, the overseas newspaper for U.S. military personnel. It is owned by the U.S. Defense Department but has a charter from Congress to operate as any other commercial, uncensored newspaper. The last year I was in Seoul, I freelanced for a variety of publications. The following are some of the stories I wrote over those years.

To play, press and hold the enter key. To stop, release the enter key.

Life on the line - Tensions hit home for troops on DMZ       

Pacific Stars and Stripes, Jan. 6, 2003


Bush eyes 'evil' N. Korea at DMZ

Pacific Stars and Stripes, Feb. 22, 2002


Combat veterans discuss coming storm after 9/11 attacks 

Pacific Stars and Stripes, Sept. 28, 2001


After 9/11, Marines search for missing colleague in rubble

Pacific Stars and Stripes, Sept. 23, 2001 


Handshake ushers in historic Korea summit

Pacific Stars and Stripes,  June 14, 2000


Seoul pastor lone survivor of North Korean commando unit

Pacific Stars and Stripes, March 21, 2000

Gradual withdrawal of U.S. troops from South Korea strains alliance as North's nuke threat looms

Newsday, May 1, 2005 


No mobile phone? In South Korea, that's not cool

Morning Calm (Korean Air in-flight magazine), September  2005 


The scientist behind the stem cell success story

San Francisco Chronicle, May 29, 2005 


North Korean defections strain ties

Washington Times, Feb. 11, 2005


U.S. set to pull out from S. Korea bases

Washington Times, Dec. 17, 2004


  I was the lead on a team of reporters investigating the murder of an American exchange student in Seoul in 2001.  The complex case involved a multitude of possible suspects, a botched police investigation, a retracted confession and international jurisdictional problems.  We consistently broke news on the case.


    The reporting involved contacting witnesses who left shortly after the murder, interviews with suspects and law enforcement while maintaining sensitivity in light of a terrible crime.  The case eventually attracted international media attention. ABC’s “Primetime” program produced a segment on the case, as well as a similar investigative program on a major Korean television network.  A book – “Murder in Room 103” – was also written by Court TV.

Death of American college student in Seoul hotel baffles investigators

Pacific Stars and Stripes, May 6, 2001


Suspect in Penich case extradited to S. Korea

Pacific Stars and Stripes, Dec. 22, 2002


Suspect in Penich death claims to be 'scapegoat'

Pacific Stars and Stripes, March 8, 2003


Snider's mom in daughter's court

Pacific Stars and Stripes, April 13, 2003


Agent: Unnerved by inconsistencies, Snider confessed

Pacific Stars and Stripes, May 24, 2003


Not guilty verdict in Penich killing; judges cite lack of physical evidence

Pacific Stars and Stripes,  June 21, 2003


Despite acquittal, Snider may be tried again in Penich case

Pacific Stars and Stripes, June 22, 2003


Snider details a confession she repudiates

Pacific Stars and Stripes, Aug. 24, 2003


Acquittal in Penich death survives appeal in Seoul

Pacific Stars and Stripes, October 16, 2003


Penich murder featured on TV news show

Pacific Stars and Stripes, Jan. 25, 2004

To play, press and hold the enter key. To stop, release the enter key.



    I was the first journalist to get an exclusive interview with Sgt. Charles Robert Jenkins, a U.S. Army soldier who defected to North Korea by crossing the Demilitarized Zone during a routine patrol in 1965, after he left North Korea. The interview, conducted in secret in Jenkins' Tokyo hospital room in August 2004, explored the bizarre and fascinating details of what life in North Korea was like for 39 years.


    The story originally ran in the Far Eastern Economic Review (at the time a weekly Hong Kong-based news magazine), and an abridged version ran in the Wall Street Journal. The story and photos later ran on the Associated Press wire. About 72 newspapers worldwide either ran the story itself or cited the Far Eastern Economic Review'’s exclusive interview.


    As a result, I was one of several journalists interviewed for "Crossing the Line," a documentary by British filmmaker Daniel Gordon about the last living American soldier in North Korea who defected by walking across the border in the 1960s. 


    The film, narrated by Christian Slater, was shown at several film festivals worldwide. I spoke about claims of mistreatment made by Jenkins after he left North Korea, which are denied by another defector, James Joseph Dresnok, who maintains his life is better in the isolated communist country than it would have been in America.

Far Eastern Economic Review version: 

Wall Street Journal version: