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NewsJun 16, 2022

‘Someone Knows Something’ examines unsolved case

Filmmaking graduate’s documentary delves into disappearance of Massachusetts woman

By Georgia Sparling

In “Someone Knows Something,” Digital Filmmaking graduate Gina Foley ’22 puts a spotlight on the disappearance of Sandra Crispo, a case that has remained unsolved for almost three years.

Crispo, a resident of Hanson, Massachusetts, was last seen on a gas station’s video surveillance footage on Aug. 7, 2019, walking toward her home shortly after her son-in-law had given her a ride. The following day, her daughter, Laina McMahon, called Crispo and got no response. Feeling uneasy, McMahon stopped by her mother’s house on Aug. 9 and found the door unlocked with no sign of Crispo. The ensuing and ongoing investigation has yielded no sign of the missing mother and grandmother either.

Gina Foley pictured on a pier
Gina Foley ’22

The case intrigued Foley, who wanted to make a documentary for her senior capstone project.

“Over the pandemic, I’ve found I’m really into true crime. Those stories are the most important ones that need to get out there,” she says.

A kid with a camera

Watching “West Side Story” with her mom at the age of 9 first ignited Foley’s interest in filmmaking. She was mesmerized by the story and started making her own.

“My mom had gotten me a little camera, and I started recording as many things as possible,” Foley remembers. “I loved to get my friends together and do stupid little skits.”

Many years later, the newness of Lesley’s filmmaking program and the promise of getting her hands on professional equipment, attracted her to the university.

Foley experimented with a variety of genres during her undergraduate career, including a music video and a short film about drug addiction, before landing on documentaries.

Crispo’s disappearance had stayed with Foley, and she decided to revisit it for her final project.

“I really felt connected to it in a way,” she says. “The whole story is just really tragic.”

Making contact

Embarking on a documentary about a family tragedy was intimidating for the 22-year-old Foley, but McMahon, who has maintained a Facebook group to help find her mother, was open to the idea.

Gina Foley with a mask, black and white photo, working a professional video camera
Gina Foley ’22 behind the camera.

Foley interviewed McMahon and her husband, Tim, over the course of a few hours at their home.

“It was my first time interviewing anyone about anything,” Foley says.

The topic always weighed on her mind.

“It’s so different from hearing it on the news. Getting to sit with them and talk with them, it was a really intense experience. It really allowed me to feel close to them, to learn more about Sandra, to learn how special (McMahon’s) mom was. That was the most important part of the documentary.”

The approximately 9-minute film doesn’t uncover new clues into Crispo’s case, but it recaps the details of her disappearance while also giving a sense of who Crispo was to her family through McMahon’s testimony and family photos.

“In the way that I know how, I’m trying to get the story out as much as possible. It helps bring public pressure and attention to the case,” says Foley.

“Someone Knows Something” is nearing 6,000 views on YouTube, and the young filmmaker plans to enter it into film festivals soon. She’s also looking for the subject of her next documentary.

“I’m hoping to take on more projects like this, to bring public attention to those cases that may not have it.”


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