I’ve been sucked into an endless marathon of murder porn. I tried watching documentaries about historical events, or literary figures, or food, but my brain wants crime. The rhyme & reason behind the full English breakfast is nowhere near as interesting as the sordid details of the BTK Killer case, or all of Henry Lee Lucas’ false confessions.
I’ve always been fascinated by crime, and criminals, whether in detective stories, films, or on television, and I even considered studying criminal psychology. (There is too much math involved in any kind of psych degree for me, so I stuck with books.) I’ve read my fair share of true crime books, and am a big fan of Ann Rule. These days, it’s documentaries, though. I stumbled across the website DocumentaryAddict.com a few months ago, and have been going back ever since. They have a wide variety of programs, ranging from episodes of crime television shows, to award-winning documentaries. Back when I had a television, I watched several of these crime programs on a semi-regular basis, along with shows like ‘Law & Order: CI’, ‘Bones’, and ‘Rizzoli & Isles’. (These days, I do everything online.) However, I can’t remember ever seeing an episode of any fictional show that got under my skin the way some of these real life programs have.
I’ve learned about an 11-year-old girl in England who murdered two little boys; she was convicted, but they didn’t know where to send her! So she spent 12 years in a state school, getting therapy & an education, then did 12 more years in a women’s prison. She was released, and has led a normal, happy life since then, apparently. I share a house with an eleven-year-old, and even at his worst, I cannot imagine him killing anyone! Then, there was the man who lived in my home town, Grand Junction, Colorado. He called 911, saying his wife and daughter were missing, and that there was blood in the master bedroom; he claimed that this was how he found things when he returned home from work. After nearly a year of investigation, the Mesa County Sheriff’s Department (which includes some folks I know!) found this poor woman’s body buried in the landfill. Her husband had shot her in the head while she slept, then put her in the trash compactor at the plant he managed; they never found the little girl. It was heartbreaking, and at the same time, made me very proud of my home town; dozens of people gave their time to comb the desert and foothills around Grand Junction, looking for them, and spent weeks sifting through garbage, all for people they didn’t even know. There are stories of women who kill for a baby, literally. Stories of truly evil mothers-in-law, who go after their daughters-in-law with guns, knives, and in one case, run her down with the car! (I want to take this moment to say that my former mother-in-law is not in this category. No way, no how.) And these aren’t even the BIG serial killer cases! These are just “normal” people. Well, not the girl from England. Not any of them, really.
One of the first things I watched was about some great unsolved cases in history. Among them were Jimmy Hoffa, the Black Dahlia, JonBenet Ramsey, and Adam Walsh. Watching the Adam Walsh story reminded me of what an amazing thing John Walsh has done; he has taken a tragedy, something that easily could have destroyed his family, and turned it into something good. He & his wife were instrumental in getting the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children going, as well as getting the Child Protection and Safety Act passed. His work on America’s Most Wanted led to the capture of over a thousand criminals. It’s said that the show has captured more criminals than it has aired episodes! John Walsh is a hero.