Posts Tagged ‘ victims ’

Families of killers, forgotten victims.

“Moore is a part of an exclusive group, those who share blood relations with someone perceived by the public as a monster: a mass murderer. With that unenviable tie can come isolation, guilt, grief, fear, disbelief, even post-traumatic stress disorder, in addition to a very public stigma.
In the aftermath of a massacre, questions and criticism are frequently directed at the parents, spouses and children of the accused. The public sometimes sympathizes, often criticizes and even goes so far as to blame family members for the actions of their kin.”


Families of killers and what they go through.

So often forgotten victims.

Susan Klebold said in an essay:

“For the rest of my life, I will be haunted by the horror and anguish Dylan caused. I cannot look at a child in a grocery store or on the street without thinking about how my son’s schoolmates spent the last moments of their lives. Dylan changed everything I believed about my self, about God, about family, and about love. I think I believed that if I loved someone as deeply as I loved him, I would know if he were in trouble. My maternal instincts would keep him safe. But I didn’t know. And my instincts weren’t enough. And the fact that I never saw tragedy coming is still almost inconceivable to me. I only hope my story can help those who can still be helped. I hope that, by reading of my experience, someone will see what I missed.”


I can not even begin to imagine that, how she feels. It has to horrible.


Melissa worried that she might also be a killer, a bad person or have some kind of evil inside of her due to her father being a serial killer.

““When I was growing up, my dad had put so much pride in my last name, and he gave me lessons on how to be a good citizen,” Moore said. “My name was now known for these horrific murders, and it started to make me wonder if I was like my dad.”
Brown says it’s normal for the family members of killers to doubt their own moral integrity. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, right?”


Imagine for 1 second growing up with that fear inside of you. I can’t. It speaks of her courage, that she went on.


There is also often a survivor’s guilt for the families of the killers.

“Mildred Muhammad’s ex-husband and father of her three children, John Allen Muhammad, terrorized the Washington, D.C., area with random sniper attacks in 2002.
Soon, there were reports of shootings throughout the Washington metropolitan area. Once John Muhammad was captured, there were whispers that he had done it to get his ex-wife’s attention.
At first, Mildred Muhammad thought that if she’d only stayed with him, he would have killed her instead of killing 10 innocent strangers and wounding three. The guilt and disbelief were overwhelming.

It’s difficult to grasp the reality that a family member could cause nationwide sorrow, said forensic psychiatrist Helen Morrison, who has profiled dozens of killers. Also hard is the realization that it’s not the family’s fault.
Morrison said it’s imperative to get the individual to talk about their experience — their feelings, their doubt, their anger, their distress — and try to put that in a perspective that finally leads them to say, “It’s not my fault.”


This poor woman blamed herself for not being killed.


I can hope that there will not be anymore murders, but I don’t think that is a hope I can really expect to come to being.

So, I hope that in the face of a tragic event people can remember that the killer is alone in their blame.

The families are victims as well, even if that is hard to process.

Shattered Silence from Melissa Moore here.

Susan Klebold’s essay here.

Far From the Tree here.

Another excellent book on this subject, We Need to Talk About Kevin. This is a fictional account but it still has a lot of insight into this subject.

Victim of Oregon serial killer Dayton Leroy Rogers finally laid to rest after 26 years

Full article and slide show here.

As her thoughts turned to renewal and hope each spring, Cherrie Letter would call the funeral home to ask about the murdered prostitute. For 26 years the answer remained the same. The young woman’s family never claimed her ashes. They languished in a simple urn stored on a shelf.

But Letter couldn’t forget Jennifer Lisa Smith. The two were forever connected by what happened one night in 1987.

That Friday in August, Smith’s screams brought Letter running out the door of an Oak Grove restaurant where she was talking with a friend. Letter saw the 25-year-old Smith lying naked in the parking lot — the final victim of Oregon’s most prolific serial killer Dayton Leroy Rogers.

Letter knelt beside the bleeding woman, trying to stanch the flow from the wicked stab wounds, telling her to hang on until help arrived. But Smith died at the hospital.

The killer had taken off in his truck, chased by a man in a car. Rogers raced through Milwaukie and Gladstone at speeds up to 100 mph. But the man was able to note the license plate to the pickup and deputies arrested Rogers that afternoon. A fingerprint matching Smith’s right ring finger was found on the outside of the truck’s passenger door. The case led to Rogers’ conviction and he’s now in the Oregon State Penitentiary.

Letter, 32 at the time, learned that Smith’s body went to Finley-Sunset Hills Mortuary off of U.S. 26. She sent flowers and a card to the funeral home for Smith’s family.

“I expressed my sorrow,” she recalled. “I wanted her family to know that she was a brave woman who fought for her life. I wanted them to be comforted to know that she wasn’t alone. I was there with her.”

Smith’s family never replied.

“After six months I called the funeral home,” Letter said. “The card and flowers hadn’t been picked up. Her ashes were still there.”

When she checked again six months later, no change.

“All of that made me to not want Jenny to be forgotten,” Letter said. “So I started calling the funeral home each year with the sense of hope that her family picked up the ashes. I prayed for Jenny and her family.”

Each year, the same call.

And each year, the same answer.

“I felt such profound sadness,” Letter said. “No one cared.”

But she did.


A month ago, in late February, it was time to call again. The ritual had become her way — like the way some people light a candle in a church — to honor Smith’s memory. Long ago, Letter had realized the similarities between their two lives.

Now 58, Letter had once worked for the Portland Police Bureau’s vice squad. She was 19 and earned college class credit and a bit of money to pose as a hooker to help cops arrest customers who trolled for women like Smith, known on the streets as Gypsy Roselyn Costello. Letter knew that no girl decides to grow up and be a prostitute. Smith had been forced to make some terrible choices to survive.

And in 1983, when Letter was in her late 20s, a man broke into her Southeast Portland home and sexually assaulted her. When she managed to escape, the intruder — later caught and convicted — chased her down, stabbed her five times and beat her in a parking lot, breaking her collarbone and smashing her head onto the pavement.

This year, Letter made the call with a sense of urgency. Cancerous tumors have spread through her body. While doctors plot a course of action, Letter — divorced with a daughter and granddaughter and living near Lincoln City — feels time is precious.

“The clock is ticking and I’m not sure how many ticks I have left,” she said. “Her own people never came to get her. When I go, everyone will have forgotten about Jenny.”

Letter said she started to recount her tale to the funeral home receptionist and was transferred to Evone Manzella, the mortuary manager hired six months earlier after moving from California.

“The call seemed strange,” Manzella said. “It was almost hard to believe the story. But there was something in her voice that touched me.”

Before getting into the funeral industry, Manzella had worked as a 9-1-1 dispatcher in Northern California. One call in particular haunts her.
“A young woman was being attacked and got away to call for help,” she said. “I took it. She was on the phone with me when the attacker chased her down. I heard her die.”

Manzella took Letter’s telephone number and said she’d get back to her.

After checking the Internet to verify Letter’s account of Smith’s murder, Manzella found a ledger book in the mortuary’s office safe. She flipped through the pages and found Smith’s name. Her unclaimed cremated remains had been at the home longer than anyone on record.

A file showed that in 1987 Smith’s parents had paid to have the mortuary take care of their daughter’s body. When they didn’t pick up the remains, the funeral home left phone messages and sent certified mail. They never responded. At a certain point, the mortuary decided to wait for them to come forward.

Manzella was moved by what she found out.

“I’m a mom,” she said. “I would hope that no child is ever forgotten.”

She was also impressed with Letter.

“Here’s this woman who has been carrying this burden for so long,” she said. “The right thing was to do something for both of these women.”

Manzella took the story and the records to the funeral home managers. Her bosses were amazed that someone who wasn’t a family member had cared for so long. They donated a niche in the ornate mausoleum and provided a bronze faceplate engraved with Smith’s name, birthday and the day she died.

When the paperwork had been completed, Manzella called Letter. They planned a memorial service for a day last week. Letter said she’d be there, along with two members of the clergy she asked to say a few words.

But about 15 minutes before the service, the receptionist told Manzella that Letter had called to say that one of her tumors had put pressure on her adrenal gland, causing her blood pressure to skyrocket and her heart to race. As a precaution, doctors wanted her spend the night in the hospital.

Three days later, when Letter felt better, the funeral home held a second memorial.
As services go, it was the smallest in the funeral home’s history: Letter, Manzella and a couple employees, one of whom would screw the faceplate over the niche.

Standing before the wall where Smith’s remains would be laid to rest, Letter reached into her purse and pulled out a small piece of blood amber in the shape of a heart that she found at the beach more than 25 years ago. She opened the urn’s lid, set the amber inside and closed it again.

“This,” she said, “goes with her.”

After the urn was placed in the niche and the faceplate solid, Letter walked to her car and pulled out 25 white helium-filled balloons.

Each one represented a year in Smith’s life.

She let them loose.

“Fly, Jenny,” she said. “Fly.”

— Tom Hallman Jr.

By Tom Hallman Jr., The Oregonian

R.I.P. Jennifer

R.I.P. Jennifer

Crime Library article on Rogers

This article made me tear up. How beautiful and inspiring. The people who work for the mortuary are outstanding and Ms. Letter is amazing.

Killer’s Families Are Victims As Well

This is a moving article that depicts the plight of the families of killers. SO often they are blamed or forgotten.

Danyall White, a sister of the confessed killer Richard Paul White, used alcohol to help deal with the situation. 

PUEBLO, Colo. – On a summer night not long ago, Maureen White sat alone in her living room staring at a DVD she had avoided watching for years. On the screen was her older brother, Richard Paul White, the person who taught her how to ride a bike and who tried to protect her from their mother’s abusive boyfriend when they were children. He was confessing to murdering six people. Toward the end of the videotaped police interrogation, Ms. White reached for a razor blade and began to slice her left leg. “I felt such rage and anger and so many emotions I did not know what to do,” said Ms. White, 34. When she was done, she needed dozens of stitches and staples. Mr. White, 39, will spend the rest of his life in prison for three of the murders, to which he pleaded guilty in 2004. Ms. White, whose life has always been fragile, is still struggling. Like relatives of other violent criminals, she has found herself ill prepared to deal with the complex set of emotions and circumstances that further unhinged her life after her brother’s crimes. Under treatment for anxiety and depression, among other conditions, she has nightmares about serial killers and snipers. She is startled by loud noises and gets nervous around strangers. And for more than a year after viewing the video, she continued to cut herself – something she had never done before. “By cutting myself,” she said, “I wanted people to see on the outside how ugly and bad I feel on the inside.” In a society where headlines of violence are almost commonplace, the families of the perpetrators are often unknown and largely unheard from. But now some relatives have decided to share their stories. In interviews with members of numerous families of varying social and economic status, siblings, parents, partners, cousins and children of convicted killers recounted the hardships they have experienced in the years since their relatives’ crimes. In the flash of a horrifying moment, they said, their lives had become a vortex of shame, anger and guilt. Most said they were overwhelmed by the blame and ostracism they had received for crimes they had no part in. Yet many of these families stay in close touch with their imprisoned relatives. Nat Berkowitz, the father of David Berkowitz, the New York City serial killer known as the Son of Sam, said he regularly talked to his son on the phone more than 34 years after his arrest. “I am 101, and it still goes on,” he said. A Cousin’s Livelihood On Nov. 5, 2009, 13 people were killed and 32 others wounded at Fort Hood, Tex. By the next day, the repercussions had reached a small law office in Fairfax, Va. The head of the firm, Nader Hasan, is a cousin of Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, the man accused of carrying out the rampage, and the two had grown up together outside Washington. “Our phones went completely quiet, dead,” Mr. Hasan, 42, a criminal defense lawyer, said at a large oak table in his impeccably neat office, where a painting of the United States Capitol hangs above a fireplace. “It was devastating since we relied on referrals. I lost dozens of prospective clients, and it still happens.” Internet accounts reported that the two men were relatives. An interview Mr. Hasan gave to Fox News soon after the shooting in which he said his cousin “was a good American” created an impression to some that he was condoning what his cousin was accused of doing. Soon after, Mr. Hasan said, a father in a custody dispute he was handling filed an appeal to a lawsuit against Mr. Hasan in which he referred to him as “the cousin of the Fort Hood shooter.” The appeal argued that Mr. Hasan should be removed as guardian of the two children in the case and highlighted his link to Major Hasan. The petition was dismissed, Mr. Hasan said. But during the first few months after the shooting, he said, he felt such humiliation that he was loath to appear in court. “We got continuances on a lot of cases until the next year because I did not want to be seen in the courthouse since I felt so embarrassed,” he said. The discomfort crept into his personal life. When he returned to a local school where he had been a volunteer assistant wrestling coach since 2000, he said, he was asked to leave because of his connection to the Fort Hood violence. He packed up. By March 2010, Mr. Hasan’s situation was improving. Referrals were on the rise, and his wife was pregnant with their first child. But he was agonizing about staying silent about religious extremism. With a lawyer friend, Kendrick Macdowell, he formed the Nawal Foundation, named after Mr. Hasan’s mother, and set up a Web site to encourage moderate American Muslims to denounce violence in the name of Islam. It was not an easy thing to do. “There was a tremendous amount of family pressure on him to do nothing public, to not remind the world we are related to the Fort Hood shooter,” Mr. Macdowell said. Late last year, Kerry Cahill, a 29-year-old woman who lost her father in the shooting, contacted Mr. Hasan to discuss the foundation, whose message she liked. They met at his home for several emotional hours. She said that Mr. Hasan was very apologetic and that she sensed he was burdened. She recently accepted his invitation to sit on the foundation’s board. “We are both angry at the same thing,” she said. A Lover’s Remorse Debra Kay Bischoff was not the woman who arranged for Ronnie Lee Gardner, a career criminal with a history of escapes, to get his hands on a gun in a Salt Lake City courthouse, a weapon that he used to kill a lawyer and wound a sheriff’s bailiff in a failed escape. But for the nearly 25 years that Mr. Gardner was on death row for that 1985 murder until his execution, Ms. Bischoff, who is his former girlfriend and the mother of two of his children, felt a sense of responsibility for much of his violence, including a previous killing of a bartender. Ms. Bischoff cites her decision around 1982 to move from Utah to Idaho with their daughter and son to get away from Mr. Gardner and start a new life. Though she loved him deeply, she said, he had become terrifying to her. Nonetheless, Ms. Bischoff, now 52, said: “I felt such remorse leaving. What if? What if I hadn’t? He lost it because he lost us, the only people who ever showed him love.” In a letter she sent in June 2010 to the prison warden and the state parole board pleading for Mr. Gardner’s life about two weeks before his execution, Ms. Bischoff wrote, “You see, he opened his heart to us and then we broke it, and I honestly believe it was too much for him to take and he reacted in violent ways to release his anger and hurt.” That Mr. Gardner died by firing squad – a method he chose over lethal injection – has left her with an even heavier conscience. And she says she has misgivings that her husband of 27 years knows how deeply she loved Mr. Gardner. “I never did get over Ronnie, and I don’t know it ever ended with him,” she said, adding that she is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in social work and volunteering at a youth program, all to help troubled youngsters so that they may have a better upbringing than he did. Ms. Bischoff, her husband and the son she had with Mr. Gardner, Daniel, 31, live in a one-story house they built next to potato and grain fields in a middle-class neighborhood in Blackfoot, Idaho. Soon after the execution, Mr. Gardner’s brother Randy and his daughter with Ms. Bischoff, Brandie, were allowed to observe the bullet wounds in his chest to make sure he had died as quickly as the authorities said he would. “To look at his face and chest has haunted me,” Randy said. “I have night sweats and nightmares.” As for Brandie, 34, who works at a bakery earning $8 per hour, the fact that her father had been absent virtually all her life has left her bitter and distrustful of men. “I wanted to be a daddy’s girl, but I did not have a guy to raise me or a first guy to love, and that affected my relationships with men,” said Brandie, who had an eight-year marriage that fell apart. “I have kept myself walled off so I won’t get hurt again by any man.” Brandie was in alcohol rehabilitation by the time she was 14, she said, and more recently was charged with felony domestic battery after fighting a man while drunk. “I have been destructive like a tornado because I have been so mad,” she said. Soon after the execution, Brandie said, she attempted suicide by downing large quantities of pills and washing them down with beer. She ended up in the hospital for about three days. Less than a month later, she was drinking Jack Daniel’s and swallowing more pills. “The last time I tried to kill myself, honestly, I felt like I was done,” Brandie said, standing in a bedroom of the worn bungalow she rents on a tree-lined street in Idaho Falls. In her hands was a plastic box containing some of her father’s ashes. A Brother’s Fears Ever since Aug. 18, 2005, Robert Hyde has been leery about what perils may lie outside, beyond his home near the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. That was the day his older brother, John, long plagued by mental illness, embarked on a homicidal spree that spanned about 18 hours and left five people dead in scattered parts of the city, with two police officers among the victims. Mr. Hyde had never known his brother to be violent or cruel. He understood that John, who like himself was adopted but from different biological parents, had been paranoid and odd, but he did not think John was prone to violence. Knowing now that John had descended into such savage behavior has changed the way Mr. Hyde perceives people. “The world is darker to me now; I am more nervous when I go out,” Mr. Hyde, 51, said as classical music softly played in the living room of his modest Pueblo revival-style house. “Who knows who else is out there somewhere who could change so drastically?” he said. “Maybe anyone could.” The first time Mr. Hyde traveled after the shootings, on a trip to a lake with his girlfriend, they feared that others there might assault them. “It was paranoia,” he said. “It was a degree of post-traumatic stress.” Then there was simply the matter of his last name. He was self-conscious when it was called at a doctor’s office. His son, he said, a high school senior when the shootings occurred, endured nasty taunts from fellow students: “Are you going to go Hyde on me?” Not long after John, now 55, was arrested, he told his legal guardian that he wanted to kill Mr. Hyde and their cousin Christian Meuli, a recently retired physician. “I was so scared John was shrewd enough to escape that I was prepared to flee from my home,” said Dr. Meuli, 60. For the next four years, he carried a 3-by-5 index card on which he had written phone numbers and other critical information he would need in case he had to disappear. Mr. Hyde used to work in the field of substance abuse research and now makes a living selling antiques and other collectibles. He has devoted time to speaking about the need for better access to quality behavioral health care and greater communication between providers. He says he believes that could have made a difference in his brother’s mental health and possibly in preventing the crimes. “I have tried to get more involved in this issue, but I don’t have the power,” Mr. Hyde said. “My last name is a hindrance.” A Sister’s Guilt In 2003, life looked promising for Danyall White, another sister of Richard Paul White. After a difficult childhood, everything seemed to be falling into place. She was studying to be a court reporter at a school outside Denver and had a job answering phones for a pay TV provider. For about a year, though, her brother had been telling her that he had killed women throughout Colorado. But Mr. White, then 30, often “said off-the-wall things,” she recalled. She dismissed the morbid claims as fantasies. One day Mr. White told her that he had fatally shot a close friend by accident, another tale that she considered imaginary. That was until he showed her a newspaper article about his friend’s death. The article said it might have been suicide, but Ms. White, imagining the guilt the victim’s parents might feel, decided she should inform the police about her brother’s claim. He was arrested on first-degree murder charges. Soon after, Mr. White confessed to killing five women he believed to be prostitutes (though the police found the bodies of only three of them). Now, Ms. White is grappling with her own guilt. “It wasn’t just the guilt of my brother being behind bars, but the guilt of watching everybody’s life falling apart because of what I did, the phone call that I made,” said Ms. White, 37. “Some of my family shunned me, and it ate away at me.” Soon enough, Ms. White said, she found “a friend and confidant” who never left her side: alcohol. For several years, her days were soothed by Jack Daniel’s and dozens of bottles of beer. After the arrest of her brother, Ms. White abandoned her studies and was dismissed from her job because, she said, the company told her it could not assure her safety against colleagues’ threats and insults. When her ailing mother died, Ms. White could barely function. She said life’s toll since turning in her brother had led her to attempt suicide four times. In 2010, Ms. White entered an alcohol rehabilitation program and says she had been sober for 20 months before briefly relapsing recently. “I told no one in rehab who I was, that I was R. P.’s sister,” she said. “In sobriety, I have realized that I was taking responsibility for someone else’s actions. A lot of the guilt has subsided.”

Research was contributed by Jack Styczynski, Toby Lyles and Sheelagh McNeill. New York Times

Serial Killer or Serial Confessor

Why would someone confess to being a serial killer when they aren’t? I know, lots of people do and I always shake my head.

‘Serial killer’ confesses to police but officers find three of his ‘victims’ alive and well

Police in Mississippi were left baffled when a man arrested for a traffic violation confessed to killing 11 women – at least three of whom turned out to be alive.

Charles Krauss from Tennessee was caught driving a stolen truck as he was passing through Pearl, Mississippi, on his way to visit relatives in Florida.

But when he 49-year-old was questioned by police, he made a chilling confession they weren’t expecting.

He claimed to have abducted prostitutes from five states, raped and strangled them before digging their graves.

Krauss even went as far as providing names of his alleged victims and the locations where he had murdered them.

Krauss later recanted, but the confession was convincing enough that police decided they had to investigate.

Police spokesman Butch Townsend told ABC News, ‘He appeared to be a lucid individual.

‘Shortly thereafter he recanted, but his stories were good enough that we felt an obligation to [check] with the jurisdictional agencies involved and see what would match up with his stories.’

Police examined his claims in Tulsa, Oklahoma; Knoxville, Tennessee; Indianapolis, Indiana; Dallas, Texas; and two cities in Georgia where he confessed to committing murder.

In Knoxville, police were able to track down three people Krauss claimed to have murdered.

‘They were alive and well,’ said Knoxville police spokesman Darrell DeBusk.

Meanwhile in Tulsa, where Krauss confessed to strangling a woman after meeting her in a grocery store, police are still taking the claims seriously.

Krauss was visiting the area at the time he claimed to have committed the murder.

He claimed to have killed a woman there called ‘Nikki’, but police are not aware of any missing women by that name.

However the description of the location where he claims he killed her was very exact, so police are investigating.

Krauss also described a cold murder case that took place in the area in the 1980s, although Tulsa homicide sergeant Dave Walker pointed out this information is available on the Tulsa police website.

Police are planning to look through CCTV footage of a shop in the area where Krauss claims he bought caustic soda, garbage bags and rope.

Police in Athens, Georgia, are still bemused as Krauss’s description of where he left a body does not appear to be any recognisable place in the area. Further still, there are no reports of missing people in the vicinity.

Police plan to give him a lie detector test today to determine which of his statements are lies.

If it is confirmed Krauss lied about the alleged murders, he will be charged with giving a false statement to police officers.

He is currently in jail in Mississippi with a $500,000 bail and has been charged with receiving stolen property.

I am happy that he is locked up even if he did not kill anyone. He is obviously not right and needs help before he does do something stupid.

Sister of Possible Serial Killer Victim Speaks

The loved ones of the people murdered by serial killers suffer everyday of their lives. The killer’s damage far outreaches just those that he actually kills.

Christine Moore

Christine Moore


Michelle Skidmore thinks tragedy is right around the corner or just a phone call away. In fact, the San Antonio woman believes that her immediate family — one-by-one — will meet a tragic end. Her critical thinking or pessimism stems from the murder of her older sister.

The case remains unsolved by the Baton Rouge Police Department. However, there is heavy speculation that Skidmore’s sister, Christine Moore, is a victim of Derrick Todd Lee, a man considered as the south Louisiana serial killer.

Investigators from the Multi-Agency Homicide Task Force probing a string of women murdered in southern Louisiana said Lee is connected to the killings of seven victims by DNA. Yet, his alleged terror has been cast on the unsolved murders of other women in the Baton Rouge area. Moore is one of those cases.

According to authorities, the LSU graduate student vanished around May 23, 2002. She reportedly went jogging. Her car was found abandoned. Skidmore remembers a detective calling her parents’ New Orleans home asking permission to open Moore’s trunk. She said her mother broke into tears. The trunk was empty.

Nearly a month later, Moore’s skeletal remains were found near a church not far from Baton Rouge. Investigators believed she was killed by blunt force trauma. What was left of a vibrant beautiful young woman had been exposed to the elements too long to get a DNA sample.

“Nothing was the same after that,”  her 30-year-old sister said. “I wanted to know what really happened.”

‘I will never know’

Conclusive answers have eluded the family for almost a decade. Speculation and the probability of victimology about Lee is as good as it gets. That’s still not enough for Skidmore.

“I will never know if  that man murdered my sister,” Skidmore said.

However, she’d like to have a conversation with a man who is allegedly linked by DNA to the murders of  41-year-old nurse Gina Wilson Green,  21-year-old LSU grad student Geralyn DeSoto, 21-year-old Charlotte Murray Pace, 44-year-old mother and wife Pamela Kinamore, 23-year-old Dene Colomb, and 26-year-old Carrie Lynn Yoder.

Each was either reportedly strangled, stabbed, beaten, sexually assaulted, killed or some combination of the above.

“If I could ask him did you really kill her,” she said. ” I need to know. But would he tell the truth?”

Lee was convicted for the capitol murder of Pace. He remains in prison on death row awaiting execution by way of lethal injection. The so-called serial killer was also found guilty of killing DeSoto.

Moved to San Antonio

Justice seems only a dream for Moore’s family. Skidmore moved to San Antonio because of Hurricane Katrina. She still lives in the shadow of the tragedy. Her move to the Alamo City did not allow the pain to escape.

“I remember my dad telling me maybe someone was after my sister because of the work she did at LSU,” she said.

Moore was majoring in social work. Then, their father changed his mind. He felt Lee was his daughter’s killer. It put the family in the shadow of the so-called south Louisiana serial killer. They were ready to join other families in a fatal bond no one wanted to share.

“There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about that and what happened to her,” she said.

It’s something Moore younger sister said she has to live with everyday of her life. She struggles with the inner guilt of “what if.”

“I didn’t lose just a sister,” she said. “I lost a best friend.”

There are other siblings. In fact, six children remain alive. Their mother died in 2009 of health issues. Skidmore thinks her sister’s unsolved murder ate away at their mom little-by-little.

“She never thought it would happen to one of her own,” Skidmore said.

‘Bad things happen to good people’

The Louisiana native recalls praying for her family’s safety. She calls that a naive wish.

“Sometimes bad things happen to good people,” she said. “We are not immune to any of the sufferings of this world.”

That harsh reality has given her strength. She claims it has helped her cope. But, many questions remain unanswered and closure appears a lofty dream. So, she believes that tragic deaths in her family are not over.

“It prepares me for the worst,” she said.

Christine Moore’s murder is a story this sister rarely tells because she admits there are still issues to overcome.


I hope that she finds ways to overcome these issues soon.

Crime library story on Derrick Todd Lee

Tanja Doss speaks about escaping Anthony Sowell


In April this year, she said, he invited her over for a beer. They went to the third floor of his house and were talking.

“And then he just clicked,” Doss said. “I’m sitting on the corner of the bed and he just leaped up and came over and started choking me.”

Shocked, she said she lay back and tried not to struggle.

“He said, ‘If you want to live, knock three times on the floor.’ And I knocked on the floor,” she said.

Still holding her throat, she said, he told her using profanities that she could be “dead in the street” and no one would care.

He made her strip off her clothes and lay on the bed but did not try to rape her, Doss said. She said she curled up in a ball and tried to talk him down, saying things like, “Why you gotta act like that?”

Then she prayed.

Sowell wouldn’t let her leave, Doss said, so she fell asleep and awoke to him acting as if nothing had happened.

“He said, ‘Hi, how you doing? You want something from the store?'” Doss said.

She picked up her cell phone and pretended to call her daughter.

“I said, ‘Oh, wow, my granddaughter is sick. She’s got the flu,'” she said. “He asked if I wanted to go to the store with him, but I told him I had to go home. He went to the store, and I went in the other direction.”

Doss didn’t immediately report the confrontation to police because she had done jail time on a drug charge and assumed they wouldn’t take her seriously.

It is an amazing story. Ms. Doss goes on to speak about the guilt that she felt for not reporting it.

“Now, I feel bad about it, because my best friend might be one of the bodies,” she said.

I hope that she can come to grips with the fact that she did not kill her friend, or any of the victims. She should not feel guilty, Sowell should. Her reporting it might have helped catch him sooner, it might not have. I hope that she can let that guilt go.

At the time, Doss said, she didn’t think about what had happened with Sowell. She assumed he had just lost his mind for a few minutes. And Cobbs, she said, didn’t know Sowell.

Now, it’s all she can think about.

“It goes through my mind all the time,” she said. “Every time I think about it, I start shaking. I can’t get it out of my mind.”

Doss said she finally reported the attack to police on Monday, three days after news surfaced of the discovery of bodies.

Survivor’s guilt is terrible and can lead to depression and worse. I hope that Ms. Doss gets help.

“A tattoo on your brain”

The ripple effect of murder is so often overlooked.


David Wallin’s wife Teresa, who was 7 months pregnant, was murdered by Richard Trenton Chase in 1978. David came home to find his wife lying murdered on the floor of their bedroom, shot twice in the head, her body disemboweled. The article is about how David has survived and coped since then.

For David Wallin, who found her in their North Sacramento home on Tioga Way, the image is still fresh.

“Every time you see something on TV, read anything, it takes you there,” Wallin said. “That image, I wish it could’ve been eliminated, but you can’t get it out of there.”

Instead, as the survivor of a loved one who was murdered, he has had to learn to coexist with the memory.

“You see a lot of victims say there’s no ‘closure,’ ” Wallin said. “You can throw the word out. I don’t care if you put the guy to death – my loved one is not here. It goes on.”

I can not imagine finding my loved one murdered never mind finding in the horrific display that Chase caused.

Soon after the murder, Wallin said, he went back to work, while friends looked after him to make sure he didn’t “go over the deep end.”

But for many survivors of murder victims, the pain of loss is “like a tattoo in your brain,” said Carole McDonald, founder of Volunteers in Victim Assistance, a Sacramento organization that provides crisis intervention and counseling to victims of violent crime and trauma.

“You get to a place where you’re able to function, where you’re able to live your life,” McDonald said. “But that doesn’t mean you forget.”

Wallin lived a “self-destructive” lifestyle for months, he said. He sought counseling briefly. He found himself wondering if Terry’s life might have been saved had he come home earlier that night.

Survivor guilt is so destructive and I see it over and over again when reading of the loved ones of those murdered. Imagine how many “what – if’s” they must suffer through.

In the 1980s, he began volunteering with Volunteers in Victim Assistance, fundraising and helping to counsel other people who had lost loved ones to violence, he said.

“It gave him something positive to focus on, that he felt he could help somebody else,” Fandrich said.

Fandrich said Wallin himself usually emerged from talks with other survivors seeming to carry less of an emotional burden.

Wallin never went back into the house he shared with Terry on Tioga Way, which has since been torn down.

I am happy that he found a positive outlet.

Unnamed Victims Not Forgotten


Pickton’s unnamed victims far from forgotten


Shortly after his arrest in February, 2002, serial killer Robert Pickton bragged to a cellmate that he had intended to kill one more woman, his 50th, and then stop for awhile. He held up five fingers of his right hand and made a zero with his left. “I wanted one more [to] make the big 5-0,” Mr. Pickton said, giggling.

Nine years later, police are confident they have identified 33 of Mr. Pickton’s 49 victims.

But who are the other 16?

There were no names, no bodies, no crime scene. Just the words of a serial killer.

RCMP Inspector Gary Shinkaruk has not forgotten what Mr. Pickton said. “There is no reason at this point that I know of not to believe him,” he said. “When a serial killer tells you he’s killed this many people, I think it is responsible for us to look at that.”

Insp. Shinkaruk is in charge of the Missing Women Task Force, a joint initiative of the RCMP and Vancouver Police Department that started in early 2001.

With a provincial inquiry into the police investigation of Mr. Pickton to begin later this spring, the task force is busy responding to requests for decade-old documents. Six people – of the 50 members of the task force – have been assigned to that job. But at the same time, the task force is pushing ahead vigorously with its search for the missing women, Insp. Shinkaruk said, trying to gather information for the families of victims and identify anyone else involved in the crimes.

“Our investigation has never stopped,” said Sergeant Dan Almas, who joined the task force on Feb. 6, 2002, the day after police first went onto the Pickton pig farm.

After Mr. Pickton was convicted of second-degree murder of six women in December of 2007, the task force continued to prepare for the possibility of a second murder trial in the cases of 20, and possibly more, women. Crown prosecutors decided they would not bring any more murder charges against Mr. Pickton after the Supreme Court of Canada last summer upheld the trial results. The prosecutors had decided that additional murder convictions would make no difference, as he was already serving the maximum sentence of life in prison.

The task force then shifted its focus to those on the official missing-women poster, which features thumbnail photos of each woman and the day she was last seen. After spending around $122-million in the first decade, the task force this year has a budget of about $6-million.

“We are conducting interviews, inquiries and examinations of records,” Sgt. Almas said. Teams of investigators have undertaken full homicide investigations into each of the 31 women on the official poster still unaccounted for, as well as a handful of other missing-women cases. They are trying to figure out if the 16 other women were on the poster.

The task force is also taking a second look at the massive collection of items seized during the raid of Mr. Pickton’s pig farm. With advances in DNA analysis, technicians can extract information from smaller and smaller samples. Police are reassessing their thinking about some key items from the farm as they search for new investigative leads.

The task force has dedicated considerable resources over the past year to reaching out to the families of the missing women. Several weeks before the ruling, task force members met with representatives from the coroner’s office, the prosecution, victims services, parole services and federal corrections, trying to anticipate all the questions that families might have. They compiled binders with evidence in the case.

Once the Supreme Court issued its ruling, eight teams, each with two police officers and a victim services worker, fanned out across the country and into the United States to sit down with families.

Some families wanted more detail, some wanted less. The task force teams responded to queries about issues such as parole for Mr. Pickton and death certificates. They left it up to the coroner to talk about whether human remains, which were minuscule or in some cases non-existent, should be returned or cremated.

Despite the task force’s persistence, Insp. Shinkaruk did not indicate that more arrests are imminent. Mr. Pickton had told his cellmate that, if he was convicted, “about 15 other people are gonna go down.”

Police need evidence, not speculation, Insp. Shinkaruk said. “We do not have evidence that would support laying a charge against any other individual at this time,” he said. Police will recommend criminal charges “if and when we have the evidence.”

Insp. Shinkaruk acknowledged the task force may one day close down, even if no further arrests are made. But the investigation has no deadline.

“We’re going to continue to investigate the missings to the nth degree that is humanly possible,” he said. They will stop, he added, “when there are just no more stones to unturn.”


Not enough For Some

This week’s announcement of the expansion of the B.C. missing women inquiry didn’t resonate with one of the victims’ most outspoken advocates.

The commission, headed by Wally Oppal, was originally intended to conduct a formal hearing into the police handling of the disappearances and murders of the women plucked from Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside by serial killer Robert Pickton. That hearing will unfold much like a criminal trial, and could result in findings of wrongdoing.

Oppal, however, asked that his mandate be expanded to include a more informal study portion that would visit this region to hear from those connected to the 18 women who have gone missing along the so-called Highway of Tears, and possibly make policy recommendations based on those submissions.

But Gladys Radek, whose niece, Tamara Chipman, is one of the Highway of Tears victims, said a study is simply not enough.

She said a formal inquiry is justified for the Highway of Tears just as it is for the Downtown Eastside in order to examine the police investigations conducted here in the north.

“I haven’t seen any resolve or cases solved since Tamara’s gone missing. I haven’t seen any answers. And that’s since 2005, and there hasn’t been any movement on any of those 18 victims,” said Radek.

“The underlying message here is: maybe we’re dealing with another serial killer. But in that respect, I think that until you can prove to me there’s only one man that killed all those women up there, there is (actually) 18 killers out there.”

Radek is one of the founders of Walk4Justice, an advocacy group dedicated to raising the profile of missing women cases across Canada. She said her group hired a lawyer to speak on its behalf at the Oppal inquiry in Vancouver, but is worried now that doing so will effectively muzzle the group in public.

Inquiry spokesman Chris Freidmond said the study portion has seven days tentatively scheduled for northern B.C. in the middle of June.

“It will be places like Prince Rupert, Vanderhoof, Terrace, Smithers, those types of communities,” said Freimond, adding he was uncertain if Prince George would make the cut.

The schedule was expected to be finalized after press deadline.


walk4justice site

Another article on the missing women

CNN’s Easy Prey

Nine-year-old Jonathan Carmichael thought his mother was Superwoman.
He observed her unstoppable force, working double shifts as a medical secretary so they could live in a modest town house in a decent neighborhood. He saw her fly off to do overtime, and then surprise him and his sister with toy cars and video games and a trip to Disneyland.

But by the time he was 12, his super mother had vanished, replaced by a crack cocaine addict. He watched her pawn the gifts she’d bought him to feed her habit.

If Jonathan felt confused, his sister Donnita was angry. She was 18 when the mother she once knew went missing. Donnita loved her and she hated her. She argued with her and listened to her. She tried desperately to save her from her addiction. And when she failed, she stopped calling her “Mom.”

Sometimes, their mother, Tonia Carmichael, disappeared for days or weeks at a time. So on November 10, 2008, when her children heard she was missing, it seemed, sadly, like nothing new.

She was gone.

So were Crystal Dozier, 38,
and Tishanna Culver, 29.
And Le’Shanda Long, 25,
and Michelle Mason, 44.

They were all black women with ties to the quiet neighborhood of Mount Pleasant in the eastern part of Cleveland. They were all mothers, some grandmothers, some second cousins. Almost all struggled with a drug addiction at some point in their lives. Court records show many resorted to stealing and some turned to prostitution to support their habits.
Six more women would disappear after 52-year-old Tonia:

Kim Yvette Smith, 43.
Nancy Cobbs, 43.
Amelda Hunter, 46.
Telacia Fortson, 31.
Janice Webb, 48.
Diane Turner, 38.

When police found their bodies in October 2009 — all on one man’s property — everyone wondered: How could 11 women in the same town disappear over two years without public notice?

Police believe the women were easy prey for Anthony Sowell, a convicted sex offender who served 15 years for the attempted rape of a woman in 1989. Sowell, now 51, had moved to the home on Imperial Avenue in 2005, after his release from prison.

He has been charged with 11 murders, two rapes, one attempted rape and more than 70 other related charges. He has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity and is scheduled to go to trial in February 2011…..

Since the bodies were discovered, other women have come forward, alleging Sowell attacked them. His attorneys would not comment on those allegations either.

Criminologists say serial killers often target people whose lives may be messy or off the grid — prostitutes, runaways and drug users — because their absences might not raise red flags, even for their families.

And there is another suspicion echoing among Cleveland residents, particularly in the black community: that the lives of poor black women aren’t worth much, certainly less than had they been suburban white women.

“We’re saying you don’t have the right to judge whether or not a case is worth being investigated,” said Dave Patterson, a local activist who is pushing the legislature to reform the way police handle missing-persons cases, to give more priority to cases involving adults.

Almost a year after the discovery of the bodies, it is still hard to say why the disappearance of 11 women went largely unnoticed for nearly two years.

Note from me: I do not believe this. If it had been 11 white crack heads that were known to go off for periods of times they also would not have been looked for. The color is not anywhere as ‘important’ as the lifestyle to the press, the general public and yes, even the police. I do not want to sound cold hearted but if the police went chasing after every prostitute and or drug addict that was reported as missing by a family member or friend they would not be able to do anything else. I have had so many friends that get into this sort of circle. They drop out of sight and are found a few months later in some jail maybe even a few states away or they just end up stumbling into the families front door worn out and tired in need of a few months recuperation. They get themselves kind of straight and then the cycle begins again.

The reasons are complex, as were the roller-coaster relationships between the women and the family members who knew they were missing and miss them now.

“I had seen her high, missing, trying to put her life together,” Jonathan Carmichael, now 25, said of his mother. “I had seen her on a good streak for a long time and then she’d hit a bad number and fall right back onto the streets.”
There was no reason to think this time was any different.

A month after Barbara reported her daughter missing to police, a 40-year-old Cleveland woman, a deep gash on her right thumb and scratches on her neck, frantically approached a patrol car in the Mount Pleasant area, according to police records.

She told officers a man in a gray hoodie offered her beer, and when she declined, she said, he punched her in the face several times, tried to rape her and dragged her toward a house at 123rd Street and Imperial Avenue.
“He just kind of twisted my neck, twisting it, twisting it, twisting it,” Gladys Wade, who managed to escape from the man, told CNN last year. “I was gouging his face at the same time. At the same time, I was trying to take his eyeballs out. It was like the devil, you know? Eyes glowing.”

Note from me: I am sure her description of the events included descriptions like this which although to the general public paints a mental image of an evil attacker the police see as a person embellishing and possibly seeing things through drug hazed eyes. Again, I am not being cold hearted, I feel for this woman and she is in NO WAY to blame for the attack.
You also can not blame the police too much. From our living rooms it is so easy to say they should have been more vigilant but we do not hear the stories that they do. We are not privy to the many times prostitutes or ‘Johns’ come into the station telling tall tales that involve crazy descriptions. They may shock us but they hardly raise an eyebrow in the police station.

The man, who Wade said was known as “Tone,” was in fact Anthony Sowell, police reports show. Sowell told police a different story. He claimed Wade, who had a record for forgery and assault, had robbed and assaulted him, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper.

Sowell, who had spent 15 years in prison for attempted rape, had grown up in East Cleveland, a suburb of Cleveland. He had joined the Marines at 18, an opportunity that took him to California, North Carolina and Japan, according to authorities. He served eight years, then returned to East Cleveland. People who interacted with him after his release said he appeared to be “a normal guy,” known around the neighborhood for selling scrap metal.

On December 8, 2008, when police went to Sowell’s house after Wade’s complaint, they knew he was a sex offender, according to an e-mail from Nancy Dominik, a spokeswoman for the Cleveland Police Department.
He was in the Tier 3 category, the most dangerous classification in Ohio, the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Office said. Officers had checked on him numerous times at his home. During those visits, the officers didn’t notice a smell or anything unusual, said spokesman John O’Brien. He also pointed out that officers weren’t allowed to enter the home during the checkups.

But a police report from the December 8 visit shows authorities saw blood droplets on the walls and steps.

Note from me: I would REALLY like to hear more on this. Was it blood droplets or brown spots? This is the one quote from this article that disturbs me. I know information is still restricted since the case has yet to go to trial but I hope that more information on this detail comes out soon.

In a second report written two days later, a Cleveland officer said they did not see any “visible signs” of Wade being punched in the face. The officers told CNN affiliate WKYC that they dropped the case after Wade declined to press charges.

After Wade’s complaint to police, six more women would disappear.

The police have pointed out that only four of the 11 families reported their loved ones missing. The department has also said it is currently reviewing its missing-persons practices.

The Cleveland police received 1,576 missing-person reports last year, and as in most cities, missing children cases receive top priority.

Among the families that didn’t file a missing-person report was that of Amelda Hunter.
Her son, Bobby Dancey, recalls his mother whipping up pepperoni pizzas from scratch. They used to laugh and joke at the dinner table together. She taught him to dance in their living room, four houses away from where Sowell lived.
But she also abandoned her son countless times to use drugs. So when she disappeared in the summer of 2009, Dancey never filed a police report.
“She had left before,” he said quietly.

After analyzing more than 110 serial murders, Steven Egger, an associate professor of criminology at the University of Houston at Clear Lake in Texas, found at least 75 involved victims who were drug abusers, homeless or prostitutes.

“People are quoted on television saying they deserve it because of their lifestyle, forgetting about the fact that it’s somebody’s daughter, wife, possibly somebody’s mother,” Egger said.

There is no simple method of categorizing serial killers. Many people believe serial killers are reclusive misfits or white males, but that is not true, according to the FBI. Authorities have caught serial killers who are black, Asian and Hispanic, but they say white serial killers usually receive the most media attention.

Serial killers usually blend into their surroundings. A combination of biology and environment influences someone to become a serial killer, the FBI says.

“These killers know what they are doing is wrong, but they simply don’t care,” said Jack Levin, professor of sociology at Northeastern University.
“They choose to do it because it makes them feel good.”

The bodies at Sowell’s home were finally discovered when a 36-year-old Cleveland woman went to police.

On September 23, 2009, she reported that Sowell had invited her into his home for beer. Her description of what happened there was eerily similar to the events laid out by Sowell’s 1989 victim and, later, by Gladys Wade.
The woman said Sowell punched her in the face and began performing oral sex on her. She was able to escape, she said, by promising to return the next day.
Officers issued a warrant for Sowell’s arrest based on her account.
They entered his home on October 29, 2009. First, they discovered two bodies rotting in the attic, then five more more buried in the backyard. Eventually the body count reached 11.

Police continue to investigate Sowell. Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Bill Mason is reopening 75 cold cases. In East Cleveland, the suburb where Sowell lived in the 1980s, police are looking into three murders that involved strangulations and one missing person. They believe Sowell may be connected.

<img src="Anthony Sowell,serial killer” alt=”Anthony Sowell” />


I have read that by discussing serial killers and not using the victim’s names we are somehow making the killer into a public figure and forgetting those that they killed. I have to disagree.
I do think we often forget the names of those killed, but it is because we are horrified by their deaths we remember the one that did it. The names of the dead might not be screamed daily but we never forget them.
I also have an issue with what the general world and more so the media, considers a victim in these crimes. We forget that not only the dead are victims.
Those dead often have family. They suffer greatly. They not only lose a loved one they are dragged through years an years of court proceedings. They have to keep facing the person that destroyed their loved one. The press sticks cameras and microphones in their faces asking how the feel about the case, the killer, the dead, and so much more. No matter what the people say, how they say it, these family members are scrutinized and remembered for a moment in time when they where in pain, reacting to wounds that are not being allowed to heal.
The ‘victims’ of Dahmer will forever be burned into my mind by Rita Isabell. She is the sister of Errol Lindsey. She is the one that showed Jeffery what ‘out of control’ looks like. Do you think she wants to be remembered for that day? Not that she did anything wrong, but she will always be seen as the lady that “freaked out” on Dahmer. (Google it)
Sometimes they also have to deal with that loved one’s name being dragged through the mud. Fingers point at them even though they could have been a perfect family. If they were not the perfect family they end up defending the dead and themselves.
The killer often has family. They are scarred by the killer’s actions as well. There are many cases where the family was loving and tried their best yet the killer’s actions have now thrust them into unwanted and unearned spotlights and headlines. They did nothing to earn the shame, confusion and scorn but they get a lot of it.
Imagine being Ted Bundy’s mom for a minute. Or Dennis Rader’s kid or wife. How many times have they been asked how did they not know, how does it feel to have lived with a monster, what was he really like? Accusations, insensitive comments and the fact that you now have to live knowing that you loved a “monster”.
I have never contacted a serial killer and I have never spoken to the family of one. I do not think I want to.
I have been in contact with the son of a man that was killed by a serial killer. I am not going into too much of his information, I do not think he wants to be known as a victim. I will say that his life and the life of the others in his family have not gotten any better since then. “S” (what I am calling him) is a drug addict and so is his mother. I am not saying that either of them would be on the straight and narrow if S’s dad had not been killed in a very public serial killing case I am saying that it made life much much harder.
He wrote briefly about the fact that his mom >kind of< used this incident as a reason to delve deeper into drugs and alcohol. He also writes of how it affected him and his relationship with his mother.
S also wrote about the shame of having his dad connected to the drugs and seedy places and possibly things that allowed the predator to get close enough to him to kill him. Some true, some possible, some outright lies.
Imagine growing up with the shame of everyone knowing your dad was an addict, hanging out in seedy bars, being lured to another man's place for who knows what and then murdered. Not only did dad disappear when he was found everything bad that he did (or did not do but could have done) was public, front page news.
Yeah, the dead are far from the only 'victims' in serial killings.

Sorry for the rant.