2001-06-16: From CrimeNews 2000 Forum thread,
"Mindhunter" and 'ideas' for staging"
6/16/01 09:19 AM
"Mindhunter" and 'ideas' for staging [Post#: 8477 ]
I read in more than one source (and it's probably also in the search warrants), that among the books found in the Ramsey's bedroom -- including many books police believed JR had to help him deal with the death of Beth -- was a copy of "Mindhunter -- Inside the FBI's Elite Serial Crime Unit", by John Douglas and Mark Olshaker.
I was intrigued by the presence of this book, and how it might (or might not) figure in the mind of someone attemtping to stage a cover-up scene.
On page 298, Douglas talks about the case of a kidnapping/murder of an 18-year-old girl that took place in Columbia, SC in 1985.
The kidnapper made several phonecalls to the victim's family. He said a couple of things (quoted from the tapes made of the calls) that sounded familiar:
(p. 303) "You will receive instructions where to find us"
(ibid.) "Listen carefully."
(p. 311) "Okay, listen carefully."
When the victim's body was found, Doulgas says, "The sticky residue of duct tape was on Shari's face and hair, but the tape itself had been removed -- futher indication of planning and organization." (p. 303)
Later, the suspect, again in a call to family, said, " 'She said she was ready to depart, God was ready to accept her as an angel.' He described having sex with her and said that he'd given her a choice of death -- shooting, drug overdoses, or suffocation. He said she'd chosen the last one and he'd suffocated her with the duct tape over her nose and mouth." (p. 306)
We know, from the fact that the duct tape which had covered JB's mouth had a perfect lip-print on it, that it had been placed over her mouth when she was unconscious or after death. Why?
There are also accounts of female victims having foreign objects inserted in their vaginas (p. 256, 366).
A few other things in the book echoed some similarities with JBR's case. When he's talking about tracking down a someone who in the early 80s was sending letters threatening politicians, including the President, he talks about the significance of the signature on these letters -- C.A.T..
(p. 360) "There was a lot of speculation about what C.A.T. stood for or symbolized. I told the Secret Service not to spend too much time worrying about that, since it might not mean anything at all. There is often a tendency to read too much into every detail when, in fact, the UNSUB might just like the sound of it or the way it looked written out."
On the R's site (ramseyfamily.com), most of us are familiar with the "Evidence" portion, which now includes photos of bound and gagged Barbie dolls.
This, too, is in "Manhunter". Douglas writes, "I can think of several 'Barbie doll cases' brought to me over the years, all involving adult men", and that in some of these cases he thought the men could well be a danger if they went further with their fantasies.
On this subject, although he says, "... with a doll mutilator, one step further doesn't equal going after someone in his age group, it means going after someone younger, weaker, or lamer." he then adds, "That doesn't mean he's going to go for children necessarily. Barbie is portrayed as a mature, developed woman, not a prepubescent girl. No matter how warped this guy is, what he desires is contact with a mature woman. If he's mutilating or abusing a baby doll, we've got another set of problems."(p. 358)
I'm still rereading the book, but I'd really like to know where the Rs got their copy and who in the house had read it.
Of course, none of this is evidence, but IMO it's interesting just the same.
I also wondered whether I should have posted this because, in an indirect way it's a reminder to the R camp that this wouldn't look that good for them -- then I decided that it's not something they wouldn't be fully aware of by now. I'm sure they have their 'was given to us' ... 'never looked at it' ... 'belonged to Melissa' answers already prepared.
Just as an aside, if PR had ever read this book, the kidnapping/murder case may have stuck in her conscious/subconscious, if only because the only sister of the victim, "went on to do impressive things with her life. The year after the trial, she won the title of Miss South Carolina and was a runner-up in the Miss America pageant. She married and pursued her musical ambitions and became a country and gospel singer." (p. 319) (This would have been in the late 80s.)
6/16/01 06:05 PM
Re: "Mindhunter" and 'ideas' for staging [Post#: 8500 / re: 8477 ]
"Here's a post I wrote in February/2000 about this subject:
PROFILING A KILLER
“Mind Hunter” was found in the Ramsey home. Differing reports have it being seen by Smit on the floor of the Ramsey’s bedroom; Schiller states it was found in the bookcase. (PMPT Paperback page 108) I think it’s fair to say that one or both of the parents read the book.
In reading “Mind Hunter”, John Douglas has a chapter entitled “Hurting the Ones We Love”. The first case in the chapter concerns a 2-year old boy “kidnapped” from his single mother. Gregg McCrary is the profiler. The facts of the case are not identical to JonBenet’s case, of course. In this case the child was not found in the home, but was found buried in the woods in his snowsuit, wrapped in a blanket, then completely covered with a thick plastic bag. McCrary notes that even if the body had been found without being reported missing, he would still have suspected the mother.
A kidnapper or child molester would not have taken this much care to make him warm and “comfortable,” or to try to shelter the body from the elements. While many murder scenes show obvious and prolonged rage and dumpsites often show contempt and hostility, the hallmarks of this burial were love and guilt. The mother attempted to stage a kidnapping according to her perception of what a real one would be like.
The key to many murders of and by loved ones or family members is staging. Anyone that close to the victim has to do something to draw suspicion away from himself or herself. Another example of this type of staging was the case of a man that murdered his wife and staged it as a sexual crime. Too many staging elements. This killer felt the need to hide the body on the premises and it was classified as a “personal cause homicide.” He did not want to leave her body out in the open where another family member-particularly her son-could find it. That’s why he took the time to wrap her in the blanket and move her to the crawl space. Even though he staged a sex crime, he was uncomfortable with police seeing her bare genitals and breasts, so he covered them with the blanket.
Douglas profiled this killer’s postoffence behavior as overly cooperative and concerned at first, but would turn arrogant and hostile when challenged on his alibi. His postoffense behavior might include increased drinking or drug use, or perhaps a turn toward religion. He would have changed his appearance; maybe even changed jobs and moved out of the area.
Douglas talks about red flags. No evidence that an intruder brought any weapons into the home. Red flags include high-risk crime against low-risk victims. Manual strangulation is a personal-type crime. It is not a method a stranger is going to choose, particularly one who has planned enough and made the effort to break in. Anyone breaking into a house to commit a crime, any crime, is going to first concern himself with the greatest threat-the man of the house. Douglas talks about the utter illogic of the supposed intruder’s actions and behavior.
Douglas goes on to say that the problem posed by staged crimes for any (of us) in the law enforcement field is that you can easily become emotionally involved with the victims and survivors. If someone is in obvious distress, we obviously want to believe them. If he’s a halfway decent actor, if the crime appears legitimate on the surface, there’s a tendency to look no further.
Douglas talks about triggering events or incidents—what they call a stessor. Anything can be a triggering stressor; different things bother each of us. In profiling a crime, Douglas looks at the victim and crime scene to give the authorities the stressor information.
Robert Ressler, OTOH, believes the parents at least have knowledge of the murder that they are not sharing with the authorities; in fact he says they have built a wall around themselves. Instead of cooperating and trying to help solve the murder of their daughter, they have surrounded themselves with lawyers, which of course is their right.
Ressler admits he cannot profile the killer of JonBenet because he does not have access to the complete autopsy report files, crime scene photos and police reports which are essential to doing a profile. However, from experience he states the following: Kidnappers do not enter homes to kidnap children with few exceptions as in the Polly Klaas case of a sexual predator.
Children are kidnapped coming home from schools, going to and from playmate’s homes, etc. The risks involved in entering a home to kidnap a child are enormous. Secondly, if you have a ransom note, you do not have a body in the home. If you have a body in the home, you do not have a ransom note. He says the note found by Patsy Ramsey was false and completely fabricated to divert attention from the real murder(ers). He felt the sexual assault was staged for the same reason.
The risk involved for a person to enter a house, take a child from her bed (with her parents in the home), take her to a basement and murder her, stage the sexual assault, wipe down the body, and write a ransom note was way out of proportion to what you would find in reality.
JonBenet was found wrapped in her own blanket with her Barbie nightgown next to her.
While the experts disagree on prior sexual abuse, if the sexual abuse that night was staged to point away from the parents, in some minds it has done it’s job.
The ransom note points to a “small foreign faction”; not just out of towners, these people aren’t even from this country. The note’s job was to point the authorities as far from the parents as possible.
IMO, the broken window was staged and then for some reason John Ramsey changed his mind and said he had broken it that summer. Were the authorities (and Fleet) to believe that the broken glass had been there nearly 6 months? The housekeeper and the gardener did not remember seeing a broken window.
Inconsistent statements by the Ramsey’s about what occurred that morning between the A&E documentary and the CNN interview (who and when they checked on Burke, etc) are certainly red flags.
LISTEN CAREFULLY: Another odd coincidence, the very next chapter in “Mind Hunter” talks about a serial-killer/kidnapper that repeatedly calls the family of his victim and uses the term “Listen carefully!” I have always found that term used in the ransom note as strange because you would be reading a note, not listening on the phone, so this exact term from “Mind Hunter” really jumped out at me! Coincidence?
POST OFFENSE BEHAVIOR
Refusing to be interviewed by the authorities. The Ramsey’s had every right in the world to seek legal counsel. At stake unfortunately were answers only the people in the home that night could give. Where was the white blanket she was wrapped in? Where was the Barbie nightgown? Was she wearing the size 12 panties when she went to bed? Assuming these questions were answered in May 1997, nearly 5 months went by with valuable information needed.
Turning in the clothing the Ramsey’s wore the night/morning of the murder took over a year! Fibers that were found in and on the body, at the crime scene, went unmatched for over a year! The Ramsey’s refused to allow Burke to be questioned for months. Burke was the only person on the same floor as JonBenet the night/morning of the murder, yet his parents got him an attorney and would not allow him to be questioned (other than the brief time on 12/26) for months.
The Ramsey’s moved to Atlanta. Distance. They didn’t stay around Boulder to assist in the investigation. John Ramsey wanted to take his family to Atlanta immediately. Douglas talks about the UNSUB moving after a crime. Douglas talks about the UNSUB becoming uncooperative.
Would truly loving parents wake their son at 7am and send him off to the White’s house and not tell him that his sister was killed, or comfort him in his grief? Did the Boulder Police Department have to break it to him when they questioned him briefly that same afternoon? Was Burke’s well being even considered that day? After all, he was expecting to fly to Michigan that morning, not go to the Whites. Did he ask questions? If not, why not? All accounts from the parents indicate he was asleep until 7am, and was immediately taken to the White’s home.
From John Douglas’s own book “Mind Hunter” it seems to me that had he profiled this case cold, he would have had to consider the parents immediately. I found his book credible and informative. I would like to know more about why he has taken the stance he has and ignored his own experiences he relates in his book."