Chase Andrews: Where the Crawdads Sing’s Murder Victim

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform summary of "Where the Crawdads Sing" by Delia Owens. Shortform has the world's best summaries of books you should be reading.

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Who was Chase Andrews in Where the Crawdads Sing? And who killed him?

Chase Andrews in Where the Crawdads Sing was a popular boy in town, and later the victim of a scandalous murder. Chase Andrews in Where the Crawdads Sing also had an affair with the main character, Kya, who is accused of his murder.

Chase Andrews in Where the Crawdads Sing: The Affair

Kya was transfixed by Chase Andrews in Where the Crawdads Sing and his strong tan shoulders. At one point, the football was tossed close to where she was hiding. Chase caught it, and when he pulled back to throw, he saw Kya behind a tree. He threw the ball, then turned and stared at her in the eyes, a small smile creeping across his mouth.

Kya held her breath and felt a warm sensation course through her body. As he ran away, she was overcome with desire. Kya didn’t want to want Chase. In her heart, love no longer existed. She tried to stay away from Point Beach, but her desire for human contact was stronger than her will, and she went back again and again, hoping to see him.

The Revelation

Chase spent New Year’s with Kya, ringing in 1967 walking arm in arm along the coast and making love.

For Chase’s birthday, Kya wanted to make a special dinner and birthday cake. She took her boat into town one early March morning to buy supplies at the Piggly Wiggly. She was most excited about the cake, figuring she better learn to bake if she was going to be a good wife. Chase had continued to make comments about saving money for their dream home. 

When Kya reached the docks at Barkley Cove, she tied off her boat and walked the path to the row of shops. At the end of the dock, Chase was hanging out with his friends, his arms around a young perky blonde. Kya had never seen Chase in town and wasn’t sure what to do, but the only way to the store was to pass their group, so she kept on. 

When Chase and his friends saw Kya, he immediately removed his arms from around the blonde and casually said hi. He asked if Kya remembered his friends, then introduced her to everyone, his voice losing strength. Kya had been waiting to meet Chase’s friends for so long, and she held her breath, hoping this might be the moment when they could be together for real. She searched for something to say, but the others only eyed her cooly and turned away. Chase lingered, saying he’d be out on Sunday, then hurried away before she could respond. 

Kya finished her shopping and went home. She’d purchased a local paper to read about the new lab opening in Sea Oaks. She read the article at the kitchen table, but when she turned to the next page, her heart stopped. Staring back at her was a large picture of Chase and the blonde he’d had his arm around. It was an announcement for their upcoming marriage. Chase Andrews in Where the Crawdads Sing had replaced Kya.

Chase Attacks Kya

Early one morning, Kya motored to Cypress Cove, an area near town she rarely visited. She was looking for mushrooms in the cool, damp brush. She had Tate’s compass tucked into a pocket of her old backpack, and though a month had passed since receiving it, she hadn’t thanked him yet. 

Kya sat on the ground drawing the mushrooms she’d discovered when she heard footsteps. A voice followed and said, “Well, look who’s here. My Marsh Girl.” Kya stood to meet Chase Andrews in Where the Crawdads Sing. She had no idea how he’d been able to sneak up on her. She hadn’t heard a boat. She gathered her items and told Chase to leave. 

Chase reached for Kya’s arm. He apologized for the past, but Kya must have known they could never have been married. His breath reeked of whiskey. Kya pulled her arm away, but he grabbed it again, this time with force, and told her he knew she still loved him, and he wanted things to go back to the way they’d been. He pulled her in toward his body, and as Kya struggled, he kissed her. 

Chase pushed Kya to the ground, got on top of her, and started to pull his pants down. Kya tried to push him off, but he punched her in the face. Chase leered, saying Kya was his. He wasn’t going to let her get away again. Chase held Kya with one hand and pulled down her pants with another. From somewhere deep inside, Kya’s survival instincts kicked in. She used all her force to push Chase off with her knees, then elbowed him in the face. She threw punch after punch until he was on the ground. She kicked him hard between the legs and in the lower back. 

Kya pulled up her pants, grabbed her bag, and ran to her boat. As she started her boat, she saw Chase getting to his feet. She motored hard toward the open water, where another fishing boat sat, two men watching.

The Aftermath

Kya stumbled into the shack, knees and face swollen from the attack. She cried on the floor knowing there was no one to help. Jumpin’ would want to call the police, but she knew they’d never take her word over that of the former star quarterback. One thing she couldn’t stop seeing was the shell necklace around Chase’s neck. She couldn’t believe he still wore it. His words drifted through her head—“You’re mine”—and she knew he would come after her again.

The Murder of Chase Andrews in Where the Crawdads Sing

On the morning of October 30, 1969, two Barkley Cove boys climbed to the top of the old fire tower in the swamp outside of town. They stared at the landscape from the top until their eyes landed on someone lying in the mud below. After yelling to try to get the person’s attention, they ran back down the stairs and found the dead twisted body of Chase Andrews.

Normally, the town sheriff, Ed Jackson, didn’t bother with crimes committed in the swamp. He figured trash killing trash was beyond his jurisdiction, but when the boys told him who the victim was, he jumped into action. He and the town doctor drove out to the fire tower and examined the body.

Both men, along with everyone in town, knew who Chase Andrews in Where the Crawdads Sing was. He was a charismatic child who grew into a popular teen. He was the star quarterback in high school and had joined his father at the auto shop business as an adult. He was married and lived a charmed life. Chase’s parents would be devastated when they found out their only child was dead. 

Along with the report were samples of a red fiber found on the body. Ed held up a plastic baggy holding a small clump of wool fibers. For the first time, the lawmen had a lead. All they had to do was find the red wool garment, whether hat, scarf, or sweater, and match it to the sample. 

The Truth About Chase Andrews in Where the Crawdads Sing

After all the mourners had left, Tate walked to Kya’s studio and labeled the samples she hadn’t gotten to yet. Her looked at her collection, fifty years in the making, and knew he would keep it just as she’d left it. She’d wanted it donated to Tate’s lab, but he wasn’t ready to let go yet.

Tate went back to the cabin and started preparing food for the birds. He stirred a pot of mush absentmindedly, thinking of Kya. Then, he saw something that brought him back. Next to the kitchen stove lay the wood pile Kya had always kept stacked high, even in the warm months. At the edge, he noticed the new tiles they’d installed didn’t reach underneath the pile. 

There was another envelope that housed only one poem called “The Firefly.” The words described something unmistakable. Kya’s poem was about watching a lover fall into another world, taking his life and their love with them. Tate gasped. He made sure no one was outside before he reached for the smaller box. He didn’t need to open it to know it held Chase’s shell necklace. 

Chase Andrews in Where the Crawdads Sing is an important character. Much of the story revolves around his murder, and Chase Andrews in Where the Crawdads Sing also helps shape Kya’s story.

Chase Andrews: Where the Crawdads Sing’s Murder Victim

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Like what you just read? Read the rest of the world's best summary of Delia Owens's "Where the Crawdads Sing" at Shortform.

Here's what you'll find in our full Where the Crawdads Sing summary:

  • How Kya Clark's abandonment as a child affected her through her entire life
  • How Kya discovered love despite steep obstacles
  • The murder trial that embroiled Kya's town, and the ultimate truth behind the murder

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