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How Criminal Records Made a Serial Killer Scout

He is a small-town guy from Manhattan, Montana, population 900. A former Boy Scout, Vietnam War Marine Sergeant, a carpenter, and a converted property owner. build old houses. David Meirhofer is friendly enough, but he doesn’t talk much and is a bit socially awkward — a 24-year-old virgin who doesn’t smoke or drink, “likes talking to the police” and whose favorite movie is The sound of music.

Meirhofer also had a terrible secret: he was a serial killer who murdered four people, chopped two of them into small body parts, burned them in a trash can outside an abandoned farm , then wrap some other parts, label it “deer meat. ,” and kept them in his freezer.

If this sounds like a “typical” serial killer story, the kind we’ve become all too familiar with thanks to Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy, et. al., and countless real-life and fictional depictions in books, movies, and TV are, in a way, right. But the 1974 Meirhofer case had this unique distinction: When local police were confused about finding the killer, they appealed to the FBI for assistance, making it the first case in which new science about Criminal profiling is used to help solve a case. crime.

Ron Franscell, author of ShadowMan: The Elusive Psychological Killer and the Birth of the FBI Profile, a book about the Meirhofer murders and record connections. “A lot of the advice they get is about people who don’t come from that background. The remoteness of Western Montana played an important role, because the law enforcement people at the time were there, they were limited in their training and budget, and it required that kind of effort. power that a larger city could of course do. In that county, they only handle one or two murders in a decade. They were not prepared for this. “

Enter Patrick Mullany and Howard Teten, who are teaching a course at the FBI Training Institute in Quantico, Va., called “Psychological Profiles.” Mullany has teaching experience in criminal psychology, while Teten teaches a workshop on the relationship between crime scenes and characteristics of crime. They decided to collaborate on a course that presented the physical characteristics of crime scenes and crimes, and then explored the psychological disorders most likely to be indicated. The thing is, this is still J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI, and the big boss, who thinks what Mullany and Teten are doing is a bad act, guarantees to keep them for a very short period of time.

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“Today’s profiling is based on massive databases of information accumulated over the past 50 years,” says Franscell. “Mullany and Teten didn’t have that road map, they made interesting conjectures. That was true at first, and to a certain extent today, supporters on the ground don’t believe it. They think the way to go is knocking, and these are the people who say we can read their minds when looking at a crime scene. “

Although Meirhofer had been a suspect from the beginning of the investigation, he was not easy to catch. He passed a lie detector and truth serology test, but was eventually arrested for failing to pass a voice-printed “squad” based on threatening phone calls he made to one of the victims’ families. But although Mullany and Teten worked together to narrow down the suspect pool — they initially believed that the killer was, rather, a schizophrenic masochist with a sexual element — Franscell emphasized that profiling ” work best when they have a lot of evidence. The worst times are when they have no proof, which even without proof is proof. And the profile doesn’t work like it plays on TV. They’re often called in to offer a sort of short course in forensic psychology, and look at a case and say, ‘Here are some things you should look at.’ They submitted their report, ate lunch, and headed back to Quantico. “So the criminal investigation finally brought Meirhofer to justice.

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David Meirhofer was put under house arrest in 1974.

Mattconz / Wikimedia Commons

A secret man called the era of the Meirhofer murders the “golden age” of serial killers, a period when famous cases like those of Gacy, Bundy and Blue River Killer attracted national attention and contributed to a serial killer obsession that persists to this day. “The criminal mind has always fascinated us,” says Franscell. “When particularly deviant crimes occur, our reason wants to put things back in order. So our first question is ‘Why?’ We want to understand the threats that exist. I don’t think our passion has changed [over time], our media has changed. It allows us to bask in the dull details from a distance with this pain actually happening.”

And despite the evidence that the United States may be the serial killer capital of the planet – it has three times as many serial killers as any other country, and 2/3 of all known serial killers—Francscell believes that statistics like these stem from the fact that “we generally have better-trained and better-funded forensic sciences and law enforcement, which means about Overall, we find more serial killers.”

“Six hours after the interrogation ended, Meirhofer hanged himself in his cell, leaving his motives a complete mystery.”

Not surprisingly, Franscell’s book comes from an author who specializes in crime fiction and real-life crime fiction, an engaging and easy read. But in the end, it is still extremely frustrating that the fault is not the author’s. It seems Meirhofer is willing to confess to two murders of which investigators know nothing, if they ignore the death penalty. So in a long interrogation, Franscell covers a good part in A secret man, the police asked a lot of questions about how Meirhofer committed the murders, what he did with the bodies, etc., but never asked him why he did what he did. i did. Their intention was to return the next day for more questions, but six hours after the interrogation was over, Meirhofer hanged himself in his cell, leaving his motives a complete mystery.

“I agree about the frustration of not knowing more,” says Franscell. “[The interrogation] was an attempt to get him to confess to two murders they didn’t know about, and they rushed it so they could deal with it as quickly as possible. They knew they would come back and ask more questions, but unfortunately, Meirhofer exercised her final act of control by killing herself.”

This was doubly disappointing as it later became known that Meirhofer’s younger brother Alan was a serial child rapist, suggesting that something was going on in the boys’ scene that created the this criminal. But one sister interviewed after the fact, Franscell said, confirmed “there was no physical or sexual abuse” in the family. Franscell suggested that Meirhofer could be conflicted about her gender, and that “in the 1960s, Montana was gay, you could be judged in confusing ways by people you know. Was that enough to generate this rage? I do not know.”

Final, A secret man Franscell said it was “about depraved love, despair, rage. I think A secret man like a novel where I have absolutely no control over what happens. We have another example of evil out there, and we’ve added in the possibilities what it looks like. “

https://www.thedailybeast.com/how-criminal-profiling-foiled-a-serial-killing-boy-scout?source=articles&via=rss How Criminal Records Made a Serial Killer Scout

Russell Falcon

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