Daily News reporter Wes Franklin was in the top three for the title of “news writer of the year” in his division in the 2011 Best of GateHouse contest.
Franklin earned the distinction for “Comin’ in from the cold,” a series of stories in 2011 on a McDonald County detective’s efforts to find the identity of a woman whose skeletal remains were found in an abandoned farmhouse on Oscar Talley Road in 1990.
“Wes is a fine reporter and writer, one of the best,” said Daily News Managing Editor John Ford. “He strives to make every one of his stories the best it can possibly be, and really excelled with this series.”
Franklin’s series focused on Det. Lorie Howard’s efforts to put a face — and an identity — on the remains which had been rediscovered tucked away at the University of Arkansas for many years.
A sample from one of Franklin’s stories follows.
“PINEVILLE — Lorie Howard held her breath Monday as she opened the email attachment.
“The McDonald County sheriff’s detective had been working three years on her own time to find the identity of the murdered woman she calls Grace, whose skeletal remains were found in 1990 near an abandoned farmhouse on Oscar Talley Road in McDonald County.
“Now she waited at her desk as the photo sent by a forensic artist in Canada downloaded onto her computer screen. Howard desperately hoped that she would recognize from missing person files the face — Grace’s face — that she was about to see.
“ ‘I wanted to know her,” Howard said. “I wanted to know as soon as I saw her who she was.’
“No matter, though. Grace now has a face. And that’s more than something. It’s what will eventually solve the mystery of her killing, Howard believes.”