Netflix's The Keepers may be the next true crime obsession, but for its filmmaker Ryan White, it's a deeply personal project.
The seven-episode docu-series premiered today on Netflix, bringing awareness to the 1969 still-unsolved murder of Sister Cathy Cesnik and exposing the cover-up of alleged abuse going on at the Baltimore Catholic high school she worked at.
"My aunt actually went to the high school that's the epi-center of this story, she was Sister Cathy's student," Ryan White revealed to E! News. "She was also a classmate of the woman in our series who's known as Jane Doe, whose putting her face and name on Jane Doe in the series...my aunt found out about three years ago that one of her friends was Jane Doe. She had no idea that her friend had gone through this."
Jane Doe is revealed to be Jean Wehner in the second episode of the series, and White's aunt connected him with her three years ago, which lead to "a lot of back and forth meetings...off-camera to decide if this would be the next best step for her."
While Jean eventually agreed to be a part of the documentary, it wasn't without a lot of thought and consideration.
"Jean is a very careful, deliberate person, and although my aunt knew her, she still put me through the ringer before deciding to do this," White said. "Her story has been silenced for so long and she's suffered in silence that I think she's understandably wary...she really had to test me before she would do it."
Once Jean was on board, White said their conversations were often five to six hours long at her dining room table, and he remembered not knowing what to expect when he sat down with her for the first time.
"The only thing I ever knew about Jane Doe was all on paper. I knew that she said that she had been taken to see Sister Cathy's body and I knew that she was alleging she had gone through this unthinkable abuse. Those stories on paper I think are somewhat unbelievable... I remember saying to my aunt, 'Is this woman credible? Is she normal?'" he recalled. "And the first time I met with Jean, it was five hours at her dining room table, and I left with my producer and we looked at each other and we said, 'This woman is telling the truth and we need to be part of this.'"
To hear more from Ryan White about his family's connection to the murder of Sister Cathy, watch our interview with him above.
The Keepers is currently available to stream on Netflix.