Monday, July 15, 2013

And the lesson here is...

I hate to say it, but maybe be wary of dudes who offer "babysitting services." See:
72-year-old Lynn Coy Payne and his son, 46-year-old Bryan Martin Payne, were arrested last Friday at their house in Metzger, a town just southwest of Portland, where they both live. They are accused of sexually abusing at least two girls who were under 10 years of age, and the abuse is believed to have taken place at the Payne residence over the last two to three years.

“It was not uncommon for Bryan to provide babysitting services for friends and neighbors. The Washington County Sex Crime Detectives strongly believe there are additional victims of unreported sex crimes committed by Bryan and Lynn Payne,” the Washington County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.
To be clear, the investigating authorities didn't say whether the children who were assaulted by this hideous pair of (alleged) predators were actually their babysitting victims, but it's hard to not infer something like that.

I'm just saying, my father always said you should be suspicious of men who say they like children in general (as in, kids who aren't their own). That was probably an extreme view, but the lesson here is, maybe be vigilant of anyone, no matter who they are, who is offering any kind of "babysitting services." Sadly, you may want to be especially wary if the services are offered by a man.

[BNO News]

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Wow: Something's Afoot in Infamous Boston Strangler Case

The Boston Strangler occupies a unique place in crime history. On the surface, the case was solved, 13 sexually motivated homicides committed by one man. And that man was Albert DeSalvo, who confessed to the crimes. DeSalvo was murdered in prison in 1973.

If you follow certain crime stories closely, though, you quickly learn the Strangler remains an open-ended mystery, similar in some ways to the legendary unsolved Zodiac murders. Many who have written about or studied the case believe DeSalvo at the most committed only a handful of murders, still others think he was no more than dimwitted perv who wanted to establish some kind of forbidding reputation as a mass killer. He was never convicted in the case.

Now comes this, in today's Boston Globe:
Sources familiar with the case told the Globe that investigators have been reviewing evidence in the 13 murders that terrorized the greater Boston area in the early 1960s.

Officials are planning to meet with relatives of the women murdered by the Strangler sometime today. They will brief them on the latest [investigative] avenues used in the case at the meeting this morning, sources said.
The Globe describes the announcement to be made by Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley, Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis and Attorney General Martha Coakley's office today as "major."

[Boston Globe]

Friday, July 5, 2013

Who Killed Alanna Gallagher?

Alanna Gallagher / Screengrab, NBC 5
Some children playing in a Saginaw, Texas neighborhood made a horrific discovery Monday: the nude, bound body of six-year-old Alanna Gallagher. Alanna was found under a tarp, a bag around her head, in the middle of the street. The little girl had been missing for a few hours when she was found.

Crimes involving children are hard for just about anyone to write about. For me they eventually became such a deal-breaker they were a factor in backing out of writing about crime as a singular pursuit. I don't plan to cover many.

The murder of Alanna Gallagher is so strange and chilling it needs more coverage. National broadcast media seems mostly consumed with the trial of George Zimmerman and backfilling with international coverage of events in Egypt in particular, so anyone wanting more information has to go to regional, Texas based sources.

Here is some information from one of those sources, NBC 5 in Dallas, about the case so far:
Saginaw police also do not know if Gallagher was abducted, [police spokesman Officer Damon Ing] said. Her cause of death has not yet been determined, and investigators are still trying to establish a timeline of what led up to her death, he said.

Police believe the slaying is an isolated case, Ing said.

"I can assure the community of Saginaw and all surrounding areas that you're perfectly safe in this community," he said.
Pause. Reports so far indicate there are no suspects. Why, then, do police say this is an "isolated" case? A normal law enforcement desire to keep the community calm is understandable, but most police departments these days will be up front if they think a murderous sexual predator is loose in the community. They'll warn locals to lock doors and be even more wary than usual of strangers. Damon Ing isn't saying any of this.

Then there's this:
According to a FBI receipt of seized evidence, federal agents took a blue-gray tarp, electrical tape, and Wal-Mart plastic bags from a car registered to the victim's parents. The car is parked on the street in front of where the 6-year-old victim lived. Agents also searched the girl's home, where she lived with two siblings, her parents and another man.
It isn't the sketchy inventory of items taken from a car registered to the little girl's parents as the final, "and another man" that catches my attention.

In this article, no further reference is made to "another man," yet Damon Ing told NBC 5 that the family isn't under suspicion. Maybe that other man is a family member.

If he isn't, perhaps Officer Ing was being clever with words.

At the moment, make of that what you will.

With the bald facts as known it sounds like the child might have been the victim of a sexual predator. If that's the case and there are no suspects, yet police believe local children are safe--the predator is somehow hemmed in, whoever it is.

If that's the case, it sounds like the kind of crime the killer might have planned well in advance. That, or it wasn't his first time.

[NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth]

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

A Damned Edgar Allan Poe Story: Man's Wife Missing For 28 Years, Was Hidden Behind a False Wall

I have learned over time that a good blogger always tries to add a little something to the stories they aggregate. I've been avoiding this story because I can't think of what to add to it, other than "HOLY GOD, WTF?":
The hidden skeleton of a woman who had been missing for 28 years came to light when a contractor cleaned out a vacant home in the Town of Poughkeepsie, New York. 
The gruesome find was uncovered behind a 'false wall' in the basement of the home the woman had shared with her late husband, police said. 
Joann Nichols' remains were found inside a large plastic bin, inside a plastic bag and wrapped in a sheet, said Dr. Kari Reiber, the Dutchess County Medical Examiner. 
"The body was skeletonized and the hands were tied with rope. ... A large area of the right side of the skull was also missing," Reiber said.
Can't think of a thing to add to that, really. Yet it's so strange it's impossible to ignore. If you read the story linked below or any others about this deeply gothic tale of the missing and insane, you will learn the husband was a hoarder and most of the neighborhood believed he made his wife disappear.

And he'll never answer for the crime (it appears James Nichols bludgeoned his wife Joann Nichols to death) because he ended up dying of natural causes at age 82.

That's part of what bothers me. The neighborhood kind of knew. They just knew.

Too strange.