He Found Secrets Under the Water. Then Came an Accusation

The 'New Yorker' profiles salvage diver Jared Leisek and his viral YouTube channel
By Steve Huff,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 12, 2023 5:15 PM CDT
Updated Aug 12, 2023 5:51 PM CDT
He Found Secrets Under the Water. Then Came an Accusation
A rope of crime tape is shown around a small, ice-covered lake.   (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Some tales of mysterious disappearances have taken an unexpected turn after family and friends seeking answers discovered "Adventures with Purpose" (AWP). Oregon-based salvage diver Jared Leisek initially filmed himself finding things like iPhones in lakes and rivers but stumbled into his mission in late 2019 thanks to a viral YouTube video showcasing the recovery of a missing Missouri man's remains from a submerged car. In Rachel Monroe's in-depth New Yorker article about Leisek's rise as a true-crime star and the way in which the tables have turned on him, the writer details how Leisek first made a name for himself and his AWP team by being able to rapidly pull up cars and remains that had often eluded law enforcement—and how it all began to erode once an accusation from Leisek's past caught up with him.

Last year, a cousin of Leisek's accused him of raping her when she was nine or 10 and he was in his teens; Leisek was subsequently charged with rape (the case has yet to go to trial). The true-crime community was initially a driving force behind the popularity of AWP, and the allegations against Leisek ended up turning many who felt betrayed against him. Still, as Monroe writes, despite the blowback and the loss of team members and subscribers, Leisek has persisted, trying to find some kind of solace and possible redemption in diving and searching for answers. Monroe's compelling piece dives deep into the intersection of true crime, internet culture, and the complex personal histories that shape the lives of all involved. (Read it in full in the New Yorker.)

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