Jim Cosgrove, a Mission-based author and children’s musician best known by his stage name “Mr. Stinky Feet,” is going in a different direction with his latest project, a true crime memoir about the disappearance and death of the son of a famous Kansas City family.
Why it matters: For decades, Cosgrove has researched the case of Frank McGonigle, the son of the well-known meat market family, who disappeared in 1982. Cogrove’s research started out as a master’s thesis in 1995.
Now, 27 years later, Cosgrove is publishing the true crime memoir “Ripple: A Long Strange Search for a Killer.” It takes readers through the McGonigle family’s own decade-long year search for Frank, as well as Cosgrove’s own experiences researching the case, which took him to a small South Carolina fishing town.
The book is set to be released on Tuesday, April 5.
McGonigle’s story: McGonigle, one of nine children who was known for being a free spirit and Grateful Dead fan, disappeared in 1982.
His family searched to no avail for nearly a decade before his remains were finally identified by authorities in the small town of Murrells Inlet, South Carolina.
Investigators had found the remains years before but couldn’t identify whose they were, leading them to refer to the remains as “the boy in the woods.”
Even after McGonigle was identified, though, the case remain unsolved when, four years later, Cosgrove became interested in it as a graduate student.
A 27-year journey: Cosgrove’s research took him to South Carolina in 1995 as he worked on his master’s thesis.
He poked around Murrells Inlet and met an energy reader, whom he says he was wary of at first, who described McGonigle’s death and probable killers in great detail — all the way down to knowing that McGonigle kept money in his socks.
Despite having suspected that he met McGonigle’s killers in the process of interviewing folks around town, Cosgrove said he respected Frank McGonigle’s mother Joan’s wishes when she asked him not to move forward with a book at that time.
About 10 years later, Joan McGonigle gave Cosgrove her blessing to move forward with a book.
As a new father himself at that time, he said he continued to put it off and simply told his the story to people over the years.
After a nudge from his nieces in 2018 and another visit to South Carolina alongside Frank’s brother Mike, Cosgrove said he finally had time to finish the book during COVID-19 shutdowns. That’s when “Ripple” came to life.
Key quote: “There’s never any true resolution to anything, but there is a place of peace where some people can arrive,” Cosgrove said. “That’s certainly where I am and, I think, the McGonigles and many of the people who I went and interviewed who were very vulnerable — and members of the families down there, of the guys who were implicated in the murder. They exposed their souls to me, and I think through that process, they came to some place of peace.”