The Orange Tree


Fifteen years ago, 21-year-old Jennifer Cave went out with her friend Colton Pitonyak to celebrate getting a new job. She never showed up for her first day of work. Two days later, Jennifer’s body was found at The Orange Tree, a condo complex near the University of Texas at Austin. Pitonyak, a promising UT business student who lived in the condo, had fled to Mexico … and he wasn’t alone. He had gone with another UT student, Laura Hall. The crime’s gruesome nature, Pitonyak’s surprising defense, and Hall’s mysterious involvement shocked the city of Austin.


The Orange Tree is reported and hosted by Tinu Thomas and Haley Butler, who started working on the story when they were journalism students who lived and went to classes just a few blocks from the crime scene. From The Drag, a new audio production house based in the Moody College of Communication at The University of Texas.



The Orange Tree climbed to the top of podcast charts after the release of its first few episodes and maintained steady listenership & widespread interest. 


Less than 2 weeks after partial release The Orange Tree ranked #6 on Apple’s Top True Crime Podcasts chart &  #25  in Top Podcasts. 

Further Press/Reception


Austin Monthly:   Best of Austin 2021- Best Podcast

BuzzFeed: The Best True Crime Podcasts You Haven’t Binged Yet

PopSugar: These Are the Most Fascinating New Podcasts to Debut in July 2020

Marie Claire: 50 True Crime Podcasts We’ve Been Hooked On This Year

CrimeReads: Eight True Crime Podcasts You Should Listen To This Fall

Pocketcasts: Behind The Podcast: The Orange Tree

Podcast Business Journal: College Students Launch True Crime Podcast

ABC24:  The Orange Tree 

Moody College of Communication: Growing The Orange Tree

Texas Standard: New Podcast Takes A More Sensitive Approach To True Crime

Austin American Statesman:  Student-led UT podcast takes a sensitive approach to true crime

The Austin Chronicle: Exploring the Life and Death of Jennifer Cave in True Crime Podcast The Orange Tree

Austin Monthly:‘The Orange Tree’ Creators Share Insight on Their True Crime Podcast

Reform Austin: Podcast Revisits Gruesome Texas Murder, Including Rare Interview

Alcalde: Two Longhorns Revisit a 15-Year-Old West Campus Murder in New Podcast

KVUE:The Orange Tree’ | 2005 murder of Jennifer Cave the topic of successful UT podcast

KXAN: UT-Austin journalism students spotlight gruesome Austin murder in new podcast

KIII-TV:The Orange Tree’ | 2005 murder of Jennifer Cave the topic of successful UT podcast

News Break: The Orange Tree: Podcast reflects on the murder of Jennifer Cave, 15 years later

AY Mag: Murder Mystery: The Murder of Jennifer Cave

YourStephenvilleTX: Student-led UT Podcast Takes a Sensitive Approach to True Crime

Stitcher: True Crime Week, 2020

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