“How Sara Gruen Lost Her Life”

Sara Gruen’s friend Abbot Kahler gives detailed information about how Gruen suffered a health decline and became broke because of her quest to free an incarcerated man.

Sara Gruen

Canadian-American Writer

”How Sara Gruen Lost Her Life” is the title of an article by non-fiction author Abbot Kahler about bestselling author Sara Gruen’s quest to free a man named Charles Murdoch, who was sentenced to life imprisonment for first-degree murder. The article was published on a March 24, 2021 issue of Vulture, an online newsletter.

Sara Gruen and Abbot Kahler share a friendship of over twenty years, and Kahler gives an up close and personal account of how Sara Gruen obsessed over freeing Murdoch and the backlash on her health and quality of life as she became paranoid, worsened her vertigo, and even suffered a bout of Transient Global Amnesia and other stress-related disorders. The Murdoch case also cost Sara Gruen financially as her husband claims they have lost about half a million US dollars on the case.

Sara Gruen’s involvement with Charles Murdoch

Sara Gruen got to know about Charles Murdoch in 2015 when he sent her a letter praising her novel Water for Elephants and telling her how a character called Lottie in the novel resembled his grandmother who was a circus performer in the 1930s. Sara Gruen, who hardly replied to letters from fans, took particular interest in that letter and replied that, indeed, she had found a character called Lottie in her research for Water for Elephants.

From then, Gruen and Murdoch began a regular correspondence, and Murdoch told Gruen that he was convicted unjustly. Gruen replied to him with a letter that ended with the phrase ”may justice finally prevail” with autographed copies of all her novels. But then decided to take it upon herself to help Murdoch find that justice.

She began to research his case, the evidence used against him, and the trial proceedings. From her findings, she believed that Murdoch was not given a fair trial. She hired a lawyer and doled out huge sums of money to finance legal investigations into Murdoch’s case. And she maintained correspondence with Murdoch all the while, visiting him and prison and writing him regularly.

The Effect of Charles Murdoch’s case on Sara Gruen

In addition to paying huge sums of money for investigation and legal services on the Murdoch case, Sara Gruen was actively researching the case by herself, going through details of the trial, gathering evidence, following leads, and reading an extensive range of paperwork. As a result, Sara Gruen’s health declined both physically and mentally. She experienced financial setbacks and could no longer meet up with her writing deadline with her publisher.

She eventually stopped corresponding with Murdoch, leaving her husband to continue the correspondence on her behalf and had to leave her home in Ashville, regularly moving in and out of apartments because she feared her involvement in the Murdoch case endangered her life.

Also, because of the Murdoch case, Gruen took a hiatus from appearing in public for many years and even virtually. Gruen had received an online backlash from the public when she bought ”hatchimals” on a large scale and tried to resell them at a profit to make up for her financial losses. She was dubbed a ”hatchimal hoarder” who deprived children of having their choice toys for her selfish gains. A ”Hatchimal” is a toy that appears in the form of an egg and ”hatches” into the form of an animal when rubbed. The scandal brought threats and insults upon Sara Gruen and triggered some of her mental health issues.

Despite all of Gruen’s efforts, Murdoch is still in prison and has not gotten another trial. Sara Gruen continues to pay for legal services with hopes of eventually making justice prevail in Charles Murdoch’s case.


Is Sara Gruen still alive?

Yes, Sara Gruen is still alive. She currently lives in the United States with her husband and numerous pets.
There is an article titled ”How Sara Gruen Lost Her Life” which misleads some people into thinking that she’s dead. But the article is a metaphorical way of referring to the health decline and financial losses Gruen suffered while trying to get freedom for an incarcerated man called Charles Murdoch.

How old is Sara Gruen?

Sara Gruen is fifty-three years old in the year 2022. She was born in the year 1969, on the 26th of June.

Is Sara Gruen on social media?

Yes, Sara Gruen is on social media.
Her only known social media platform is her Twitter handle with the username Sara Gruen.

Onyekachi Osuji
About Onyekachi Osuji
Onyekachi is a lecturer of Public Administration and a Literature enthusiast. After gaining accreditation in English Literature, Onyeka analyzes novels on Book Analysis, whilst working as an academic and writing short stories.
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