True Crime Analysis, Breakthroughs, Insights & Discussions Hosted by Bestselling Author Nick van der Leek

True Crime Rocket Science – how to have conversations on this site, and how not to

True Crime Rocket Science is supposed to be – and meant to be – exactly that.



Intelligent discussion about true crime. Are your conversations and comments here intelligent?

This site is also meant to build the brand of a line of books. Incidentally, have you read any?

How to have conversations on this site

The idea is that people come here and make discoveries about crime, criminals, society and themselves. It’s meant to be a growing experience, a learning experience, and an affirmative experience. It’s meant to be interesting and meaningful, but meaningful above all.

How do we make sure it stays meaningful, and how do we avoid getting messy with one another?

Get personal about you

We can have meaningful conversations when we personalize what has happened in true crime, especially where we see errors of judgement or character flaws, and apply those to ourselves and our lives. Getting personal means being sincere – about ourselves. Am I materialistic? Is my community too preoccupied with appearances? Am I on social media too much? Is my work turning me into more of machine than a human being?

These are the conversations we want to have that enhance our coming together here.

Share technical or factual evidence

We can also extend the knowledge of cases by sharing information that we come across, or by providing facts, photos, forensic data, logic analysis etc. There have been some stunning contributions to date by a handful of readers, and what they all have in common is modesty and curiosity.

Test insights

This blog is also an excellent forum to test theories and insights, but it’s important to be humble when doing so. Is your theory off-the-top-of-your-hat, or have you thought about it, and do you have reinforcing information. Whichever it is, be honest about it.

Deepen the Hypothesis/Prove it Wrong

The narratives contain various hypotheses, one example being that Shan’ann’s murder took place downstairs. In order to deepen these theories, one has to have a superlative knowledge of all the evidence. If any information has been overlooked that supports a particular hypothesis, please be sure to let me know.

It’s not the goal of Rocket Science to be dogmatic about its own positions, especially if they can be improved upon, fine-tuned, or worse, if they are demonstrably wrong. All factual corrections are much appreciated.

It’s okay to be wrong

Nobody’s perfect. Mistakes happen. It’s okay to be wrong about something, but it’s not okay to always be in someone’s face about it. Move on. Remember the brief is:



What Rocket Science is not about

It’s not about you. It’s not about me, either. It’s not Rocket Science when comments devolve into attacks, and it becomes us/me versus you/them. This isn’t high school, or a popularity context. We’re interested in true crime first, everything else is secondary.

As soon as the attempt to score ego points begins to dominate a particular discourse, everyone becomes distracted from the conversation, and concentration is squandered – thanks to your immaturity.

ALL CAPS, expletives, excessive use of question marks and quotation marks, name calling etc are all symptoms of this. If you’re doing that, you won’t last long here. If you’re doing that, I’ll see that and you’ll be on my radar. If you think you can misbehave and come back under a different email address, and a different avatar, ask the dozens who have already tried to do that and remain permanently banned from this site.

Insulting me will get you an express ticket off this site. I built this site. You’re welcome to take it all in, but if it’s not your cup of tea, please don’t stick around. If you don’t like it here and you do stick around, it will probably show. Just as in the real world, I decide who I want in my living room, and if I don’t like what you have say, or the manner in which you’re saying it, and if it’s the same negative stuff on repeat, just know it’s my prerogative to decide whether you stay or go, not yours. Like it or lump it, being here is privilege.

One way to avoid nasty repartee here, or on any forum, is by making sure you share your thoughts about the case and the characters involved. Not your thoughts about what someone else said. Your thoughts about the case and the characters. That’s all. That’s why we’re all here. So let’s discuss the case! If someone disagrees, be curious rather than threatened, and test your differences by referring to sources. What do the sources say? Do the sources agree on everything? Be interested in fact checking to advance what we know, not ego attacks, to advance your sense of self at the expense of knowing more.

On a personal note, I find moderating this site extremely tedious, frustrating and time consuming. I hope that will improve with time. Honestly, I would much rather be researching and writing, but I do see the value in having and growing a community, and exchanging new thoughts and ideas. It will obviously take time to gather a group of like-minded and smart people who want to engage with one another in a mature, and stimulating manner.

I would like the assistance of regular commenters to this site who have been here a while to assist in moderating the newcomers and guiding them where necessary. If the slurs and the nasty knee-jerk responses and the sarcastic shooting from the hip conversations continue, I will disable comments permanently. This is easy to do, I am tempted to do it and it will make life a lot easier for me. So it’s your call.

I also want to mention another ugly aberration that occurs from time to time at this site. Someone arrives, doesn’t like something they’ve read, don’t like something that’s said, and they then go straight to the books and leave troll reviews.

It’s spiteful, it’s malicious and it’s damaging.

I could name a few of the folks that have come here and done that, but what’s more important is that you know who you are, and I know exactly who you are too, and obviously once that line is crossed, it’s over. In spite of your addiction to this case, and this site, you are never coming back.

That kind of behavior actually makes an excellent case to not bother to put up this site to begin with, and a strong case can be made that the time spent here offering up research and analysis for free, I could be investing in writing books that readers happily and willingly pay for [despite the troll reviews].

It’s incredible to me that on a site that’s about honesty, and talking about crime and deceit, and specifically a narrative called TWO FACE, people can behave in this manner. And they apparently feel completely justified in doing so.

These same people, on this site, have wondered why Chris Watts lied and thought he could get away with it.

Every so often, someone mentions that I don’t tolerate dissent. It’s true, like Ripley in Aliens, I have a low threshold for bullshit, as I hope the above illustrates and emphasizes. When you’ve been around the block and survived a few monsters in real life, having a low tolerance for other people’s bullshit is necessary.

But it’s not true that I reject a difference of opinion out of hand, as long as that opinion has a lot going for it. Does it? If it doesn’t, it’s not me being an asshole, it’s me saying you haven’t really thought your theory through, try harder.

A theory that is based on facts and information is one thing, an opinion that comes to you willy nilly, and that’s held up to be equal to my efforts, thought and the deep rationales that go into my narratives usually simply aren’t on the same level. Sorry if that’s tough to hear. If you think they are worthwhile and meaningful, prove it. If they are worth their salt, go on, prove it. Make your case, but put as much effort into making your case as I have. I’ve written a book. Put some thoughtful effort into your paragraph.

I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again; if you come here and you think the “opinions” expressed here are cheap, unfounded, biased and fictional, you should do yourself a favor and let yourself out. Either you get that a lot of work and mental focus has gone into figuring out these crimes and criminals, and is worth something, or you don’t. If you don’t, if you’re here to strut around and be dismissive, if you find you’re just not convinced there’s any merit to any position, please don’t waste your time and my time – find a resource that suits your standards.

If you’ve read this far, thank you for being so conscientious. You’re one of the good guys.

On a more positive and constructive note, I’d like to encourage those who live in Frederick, Colorado or the general area to send through photos of the environment if at all possible. The list of photos wanted include:

  1. The for-sale/foreclosure sign at #2825 Saratoga Trail
  2. #6508 Saratoga Trail
  3. #6507 Black Mesa
  4. The new fracking battery under construction now opposite Saratoga Trail


  1. Kim

    Thank you. Have you looked at these areas with the google Earth app? It allows you to take pictures.

    • nickvdl

      Yes, have looked. You can’t see up to date photos on Google Earth.

      • Ralph Oscar

        This morning, I needed to remember the street address where we lived almost 20 years ago for one year, and I didn’t want to have to go look it up, so I went onto Google maps (earth) to see a picture of the street view of the house to make sure I was remembering the house number right.

        There was a big yellow bulldozer in the way, driving past, completely obscuring the front of the house in the Google image!! Couldn’t see the house number or anything!

  2. joanne (@green_acres4me)

    Wow, so sorry to hear this Nick! Been a follower since the JA trial. Love your books! you are a brilliant writer! i can’t imagine anyone thinking for saying otherwise!
    Bummer about these trolls…hope it doesn’t cause you to give up on this really wonderful site you’ve put together!

  3. Kim


    Sent from my iPhone


  4. EllTee

    Nick, thank you for maintaining and moderating this site. It’s become my go-to since I became obsessed over this Watts case. I appreciate your insightful posts and your well-reasoned theories and ideas.

    Now I hope one of my kids gets the hint and gets me your latest book for my birthday at the end of the month!

  5. Marie

    Nick, I too thank you for this site. I have never been interested in all the new technology. I read your article on how the Kindle works and I intend to purchase one . Can’t wait to read your books.

  6. Shannon

    The way you write and all your knowledge about many factors in these cases is priceless. I read all, try to only comment with intelligent thoughts….sometimes I might not……eeek.
    Thank you.
    Ps: I’m getting all the books so far printed for my Xmas gift to me. On this case.
    Love you…

  7. Marie

    Lyssa,, are you drunk

  8. Karen

    You certainly don’t pull any punches. I can appreciate that

  9. Kerry-Jane Little

    Hi Nick

    Im new here and I appreciate the hard work you have put into this blog not to mention the youtube channel. Unbelievable (I guess not so unbelievable actually), that people think they can behave as you have described. Entitled, selfish people, to actually go and try to mess with sales of your books – your livelihood – just because they were banned from your site. Shocking to me, honestly.

    Well, you won’t get that kind of trouble from me, I’d rather stick around!

    Best regards
    United Kingdom

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