Thursday, January 18, 2007

Missouri kidnapping suspect

To be honest, I don't think I know enough about this case to provide a detailed analysis. All this article says is that the suspect has pleaded not guilty, and that the county prosecutors are reconsidering another abduction case from 15 years ago in light of his arrest. The suspect is 6'4" and weighs 300 pounds, and the man described as being with the abducted boy was "tall and thin." I'll buy tall, but 300 pounds is not thin, even on a 6'4" frame. For comparison, Edmund Kemper, the "Coed Killer" who terrorized Santa Cruz in the 1970s, also weighed 300 pounds, and was 6'9", but no one ever called him thin.
The boys were found in the suspect's apartment, which leaves me wondering how he could plead not guilty. His lawyers say that he couldn't get a fair trial in the county with all the publicity surrounding the case. But in the 15-year-old abduction case, it seems that the authorities are trying to pin a cold case on a new suspect, which has happened before. When Ed Gein was arrested in the 1950s, almost every missing persons case in the Plainfield, Wisconsin area was attempted to be tied to him. Henry Lee Lucas confessed to practically every unsolved murder his interrogators threw at him, and ultimately evidence forced him to recant his staggering confession. When Atlanta was in the grips of the infamous Child Murders in the early 1980s, and Wayne Williams was officially charged with two of the murders loosely linked in the case, he was presumed guilty for all of the murders. Although the murders stopped when Williams was arrested, and there is conclusive evidence linking him to the two victims for whose murders he was charged, most criminiologists now believe that more than one killer was operating in Atlanta at the time. Even if this Missouri kidnapper is guilty of the abduction of the two boys found in his apartment, that doesn't mean he's guilty of an admittedly similar abduction. Sadly, hundreds of children are kidnapped every year. In a desperate attempt to close the case, Missouri investigators might rely on coercion to get a confession, even if the real kidnapper is someone else. In the words of Nice Guy Eddie from Reservoir Dogs: "If you torture him enough, he'll tell you he started the Great Chicago Fire, that doesn't make it so."

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