Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Until Evidence Proves Otherwise, I just see a Cop and a Citizen

Following my CNN appearance discussing the Walter Scott case, I have been accused of racism, supporting racist cops, and acting as though black lives don't matter. I guess part of this reaction to my analysis of the case is a result of an underlying problem in our country; that racism still exists and affects the lives of many and also that many of our population see race first before thinking of any of the other issues that might be behind whatever behaviors they see. For example, Michael Slager's killing of Walter Scott is seen by many as a racist act, if not overtly, than a result of some deep-seated hidden racism, some dislike of African-Americans that came out at that moment. Some also see my discussion on CNN as an example of some racist mentality rather than a criminal profiler trying to point out the evidenciary and legal issues of the case.

I can't speak to Michael Slager's mindset (which is what has to been proven in court) because I don't know the guy. But I know myself, so I can speak to my own thinking. When I saw the video, I saw a cop shooting a citizen. The video was concerning which is certainly why Slager was arrested and charged. There was enough of a distance between him and Scott to question whether he pulled the trigger our of fear for his life. But, at the moment I saw the video, I did not say, "Oh my god, a white man has shot down a black man." Why? Because that white cop could have been my son-in-law a white man who has been a deputy for a local Sheriff's department.

"Aha!" you say, "See? you can identify that white cop with one of your family!" Yes, I can, but I can also identify that black citizen with one of my family because I also have an African-American son. For that matter, I can furthermore identify that cop with my daughter who is a police officer and is bi-racial.

I care about cops and citizens of all races becaue I have a family that represents both law enforcement and non-law enforcement, black and white, bi-racial, and multi-racial, American and non-American. In fact, I have relatives that represent law-abiding citizens (my children) and not-so-law-abiding citizens (a few in-laws - some of which I like and some not so much). I see individuals before I see race or employment or status or even criminality. What I look for is evidence that tells me what happened. And each crime stands alone until and unless there is proof of some connected set of crimes - a serial killer, organized crime, or a politically protected governmental organization. Certainly, in history - past and present - there has been police misconduct by individual officers and by law enforcement agencies - but we shouldn't claim immediately a single case is representative of systemic racism within a particular police department or the entire police system until there is evidence that this is so.

Sadly, the media has been all too willing to fan the flames of anger and discontent that exist within the population into a bonfire, ratcheting up certain issues in specific incidents without concern for whether those incidents are true examples of a particular problem  or not. Not every unfortunate incident is an example of racism or sexism or terrorism or corruption or whatever ism that can make a news story go from a local concern or an isolated one-off crime to a national disaster that must fill the airwaves 24/7 with self-righteous pundits and protests and angry tweets.

What we need in our country is to return media to be an unbiased reporting of news and in proportion to the actual severity of the event. We need to reestablish the ability for all of us to have an intelligent conversation without hositility and name-calling. If we cannot learn to be civil and save our venom for times when it is truly called for, we just become not a melting pot but a vile muck that has lost all of its fine flavor.

We need strong leadership in politics and in media and in the community, leadership that isn't about stirring up trouble but moderating the problems in our country and working together to find solutions in a cooperative and calm manner. I hope we see this kind of positive change in the very near future.

Crimial Profiler Pat Brown

April 16, 2015

Sunday, April 12, 2015

The Walter Scott Shooting

I recently appeared on CNN to talk about the Walter Scott case and a lot of people are angry over what I said or what I was trying to say. The host of the show had her own agenda of what she wanted me to talk about and kept trying to cut me off, so I lacked the time to present a complete analysis. Some have called me a shill which, if anyone has followed me for any length of time, they know I always just say what I think and I do not speak on behalf of any "side" or organization. I don't have an agenda except for the truth and keeping things in perspective and not going on some campaign outside of the issue of crime scene analysis, to be objective and not subjective, to explain what is the issue facing prosecution and defense, and not to score brownie points with anyone.

Let me break down what happened with this appearance, what I was saying, and why I have been so misinterpreted by a number of people who are sending hate mail and making hate phone calls.

My job as a profiler is to analyze the known evidence and the totality of the known evidence. Prior to the show, I gave a pre-interview discussing what I was going to say, how I wanted to specifically point out that the whole issue comes down to was whether Michael Slager had a right to shoot Walter Scott, to pull the trigger, and how this is what was going to have to be decided in court. I was under the impression I was going to be on the show alone and not on a panel. I was never told we were going to be including another police incident on the show and that the show focus was not going to be on the Scott case but on police brutality and overuse of force.

When it came my turn to talk, I was asked a question by the host about the Slager's demeanor after the shooting. I chose not to talk about that in isolation because it is meaningless in isolation and, in reality, has little to do with his guilt or innocence. His guilt or innocence lies in exactly the point I kept trying to make on the show; was he justified in pulling the trigger or not. The only evidence that matters is what happened THAT day from the time Slager and Scott came in contact. EVEN if Slager had a history of overuse of force (which has not been proven in spite of the ex-policewoman said on the show; so far just one complaint in six years) and EVEN if he had danced a jig after he shot Scott down. EVEN if he planted evidence (which has not been clearly proven) after the fact because we don't know if that would have been done because there he knew there was NO justification for the shooting or because he was so in shock that he panicked and thought he needed to add justification because he was scared that he wouldn't be believed. Believe me, the last thing cops want is to have to shoot someone because that means suspension and investigation and possible loss of the career one worked so hard to get. In fact, most police officers never fire their service weapon in their entire years on the force. But, again, all of this is not the issue. All that matters is, when Slager pulled the trigger, did he have a reasonable belief that if he failed to do so, he would be killed in the next few moments or someone else would be killed in the next few moments. Slager has now to prove in court that the EVENTS LEADING UP TO HIS DECISION where such that he was justified in shooting Scott.

This is why I attempted to take the viewers back to what happened prior to the shooting. What I said on the show was up to the end of the altercation, there is nothing to suggest Slager was not doing his job properly. He was polite at the traffic stop. He went back to his vehicle to do his check. Scott then acted improperly, fleeing the scene. Slager pursed and caught up with him. Scott resisted arrest. Even after being tased, he was not complying. He fought with police officer and again fled the scene. All of this shows Slager was dealing with someone who was acting in a violent and criminal manner.

So far, Slager appears to be in the right. Then, comes the end of the tussle and the taser issue which is a bit unclear. What exactly happened with the taser, who had it when, when was it dropped. I preferred not to get into this because it will take quite a bit of analysis to come as close as possible to what truly happened and this is the crux of the case that the prosecution and the defense will battle over. Then, when that is sorted out best as possible, the next issue is at exactly what range did Slager shoot Scott and is there any good reason, considering all the elements and evidence up to the point of pulling the trigger, that Slager or anyone else in his place have to shoot Scott down as he ran? Reasons in the mind of an officer in this situation that might be defensible would be 1) at the time he went to fire, he thought Scott had the taser and could turn and fire on him, incapacitating him, and, thereby allowing him to access his police weapon, or 2) that he thought Scott had a second weapon and could turn and fire and fire on him. One has to keep in mind that all events leading up to such a moment become extremely condensed in and heightened in the human mind which is why a split second decision can be hard to understand in retrospect. Slager might have thought Scott was closer than he was when he shot, thought Scott was more threatening (a taser didn't take him down), was terrified Scott had a hidden weapon, would take a few steps, spin around and kill him. THIS is what he has to prove to a jury if he doesn't want to spend his life in prison for pulling that trigger.

The other scenarios as to why Slager may have shot Scott could be that he was pissed Scott was going to make him run again or Scott had bested him and was going to maybe get away. Maybe Slager is a control freak who doesn't like losing. THIS is what the prosecution has to prove, that none of the events leading up to the moment of pulling the trigger justified Slager in believing that he had the right to shoot Scott.

Television can be a strange animal, especially in a short panel situation. While I was trying to make this point, I had little time to speak and was not allowed to get a thorough statement out. Meanwhile, what I was hearing from the panel were broad negative brushes about law enforcement and assumptions and hearsay. All of this type of discussion does nothing but emotionalize the situation and fuel anger. I was trying to get people to look at the incident itself, in isolation from some bigger political or personal agenda, and allow ALL the evidence to be gathered and presented in court.

There are bad cops out there; some officers have control issues, some love power, some love the hell out of weapons, some are racist, some are assholes. Guess what? Same is true for the teaching profession, the medical profession, etc. While departments need to do the best job they can hiring, the best they can in firing problem officers, the best they can in running their department in as ethical and pro-community as they can, sometimes a portion of the employees just aren't the greatest. I have spoken out quite strongly against certain officers and departments during my life, against incompetence and corruption. We all should but we shouldn't become irrational with anger without evidence to back it. Right off the bat with this case, we had the racism issue go full force simply because the officer was white and the victim was black. Yet, when the dash-cam video came out, that rage has softened a bit because we did not see a cop acting in a racist manner. The argument seemed to change to police brutality and overuse of force. I say, let's make sure we thoroughly understand the whole event properly before we decide if there is a political issue to make of this or just possibly a poor decision made by one lone individual.

The media needs to stop whipping up emotions based on a lot of junk reporting and hyperbole. It needs to start being responsible for what it prints and airs. And, as for us American citizens, let's not take on a lynching mentality. Let's discuss issues civilly and, when it comes down to cases like this, allow some time for the evidence to be gathered and understood and  let the outcome be decided in court.

Criminal Profiler Pat Brown

April 12, 2015

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Why the "Perfect Crime" is Becoming Easier, not Harder

The Alligators Ate Her, so Ha Ha!
One would think with the advances in science these days - better DNA analysis, greater analysis of all physical evidence, the ability to track phones and discover Internet search history - all of these things would mean a case is easier to prosecute and to see a murderer put away for good.

And, yet, in my opinion, science is actually turning out to be a bit of a disaster for seeing justice done; while more cases are solved and closed (via DNA matches), less of these are actually being successfully prosecuted. Did I just contradict myself? No, let me explain further.

Solving a case simply means you are sure enough who did it that you don't need to investigate further.                   If you have enough evidence, you can go to prosecution. But, sometimes, the case is simply closed administratively because the suspect is dead. Other times, cases are called solved without actually proving who did it, they are solved because the investigators believe or claim to believe they know who did it (by way of circumstantial evidence or limited physical evidence) and the case is closed administratively. Sometimes, someone is simply railroaded because it is easy to get a jury to believe he did it or someone simply gets the label of perp in an administratively closed case because it is believable and comforting to the family and citizens and increases the closure rate for the police department. Doing so also gets the family, press, and community of their backs. Often crimes linked without true proof are glommed on to serial killers who are already serving time and it isn't a stretch to think they committed yet another crime even if it is never actually proven.

So, while added scientific evidence can close cases, some properly and some questionably, does science really help in the courtroom? I don't believe so...I think science and TV CSI shows along with lay juries and squirrelly defense attorneys and their bought experts combine to make it nigh impossible to convict these days especially since a good portion of crimes still just don't have strong physical evidence; circumstantial evidence must take the criminal down. Once upon a time, it was almost always circumstantial evidence that brought a guilty verdict but now juries overwhelmingly mistrust even solid circumstantial evidence;, they want solid proof that the party is guilty, incontrovertible proof that doesn't allow for a smidgeon of a doubt, no matter how minuscule and ridiculous  that doubt might be. Juries don't have faith in their own ability to determine guilt by the totality of thee evidence; they want science to do the determination for them and, oftentimes, that level of physical proof does not exist. The prosecutor doesn't want to wreck his win rate (a politically bad move) by taking anything but slam dunks to court so we THINK the system works because the citizens are unaware of how many cases are shoved under the carpet and forgotten over time. Most of the time when tough cases (well, tough in terms of getting lay juries to convict) go to court, it is because the press has put so much pressure on the police

A good example of prosecuis when Robert Durst was found not guilty of the murder of his neighbor, Morris Black. Mind you, he confessed to pulling the trigger, confessed to killing Black. He admitted to shooting Black with his own gun in his own apartment. He confessed to chopping up Black's body and getting rid of the parts and cleaning up the apartment. While many parts were found (and some showed signs of severe bruising indicating the victim was beaten), the head with the location of the bullet hole was hidden well enough to never locate. Durst never told police where the head was. Durst had a motive (stealing Black's identity along with other possible motives) and following the crime, he went on the run. If that isn't a solid circumstantial case, I don't know what is. The jury let him off though because they accepted Durst's explanation (created, I am sure, of his lawyer) that he shot Black in self-defense when Black (after somehow getting into his apartment and locating his gun) came at him with the weapon. Durst claims he grabbed the weapon, and in the struggle, shot Black. And because the jury did not have physical 100% absolute proof this did not happen, Durst walked.

Casey Anthony also walked because the jury was willing to accept a ridiculous alternative theory conjured up by her attorney. OJ Simpson walked, I guess, because there wasn't a videotape of the crime. Now, mind you, there are some people who get convicted by juries based on nearly zero evidence but these are scapegoats selected because it is pretty obvious the jury won't like these defendants and the prosecutor is quite sure they would be happy to convict him. But, if there is a chance the jury will feel the slightest bit sorry for the defendant, a circumstantial case is likely to go down in only because too much science has made juries not trust circumstantial evidence (and the lawyers  and experts who present it).

There never has really been such a thing as a perfect crime, just a good-enough crime that won't be closed in court. Serial killers get away with most of their crimes simply because they are strangers and the police have no idea who to connect to the evidence. Bodies that disappear rarely have justice meted out to the one that turned them into just a body because the jury almost always has to have proof that the person is dead. Elizabeth Johnson, in spite of the fact she told her estranged husband she killed their baby and he hasn't been seen in six years, only got a short sentence for false imprisonment (interfering with custody) and she is already out of prison. But, since she also claimed she gave the baby away to a stranger in the park, the jury thought the less horrible of her claims might be true and didn't convict her of homicide.

Killers now know that if you can hide enough of the evidence well enough (especially a body), you won't need to have committed a perfect crime because a good-enough crime will have the jury rule, "Not guilty."

Criminal Profiler Pat Brown

March 24, 2015

Friday, March 20, 2015

The Brenda Leyland Inquest and the Suicide Ruling

The ruling came down today that Brenda Leyland committed suicide, that no one else was else was involved in causing her death. Already there are those who say they will never accept the ruling, that they have no doubts Brenda was murdered. Others accept the suicide ruling but believe that there are those who are responsible for pushing Brenda to the edge, in a sense, pushing her off the cliff. I certainly see their point of view; Brenda might be alive today if Martin Brunt hadn't doorstepped her, if the newspapers hadn't run a vicious campaign of name-calling, labeling Brenda a troll in large black letters across the top of tabloids, perhaps, if she hadn't been targeted by certain pro-McCann groups that turned over a certain list to the McCanns/Summers&Swan/SKY/the police/whomever that started the ball rolling.

But, as far as the manner of death is concerned, there is a large gap between criminal behavior and bad behavior. Just as Brenda Leyland's tweets did not meet the standard of criminal behavior, those who outed Brenda did not commit any criminal acts as far as I can see, just rather mean ones. Now, defamation is another matter and this is a civil one which Brenda Leyland's family can decide to pursue or not.

But I want to discuss the matter of suicide, why people choose this option and how often families and others often refuse to accept this manner of death as what really happened, why they so often believe someone has gotten away with a homicide staged as a suicide.

First, to why people commit suicide; because it brings an end to the struggle, whatever struggle it is. Often, the full depth of that struggle is not apparent which is why the act of suicide comes as such a shock to those around the deceased. They might have understood that the victim had problems or was depressed, but they don't believe that it was so bad that the person would have taken his or her own life. Interestingly, sometimes they are actually right, but the person who has committed suicide lacked the ability to put things into perspective; that whatever misery they feel today may blow over in a couple of weeks, or they are overfocusing on the negative, or everyone in life experiences bad blows. Some people can handled massive trauma and others are felled by the slightest misfortune; people are very different but families and friends often can't fathom someone taking their life over something they think could have been weathered.

Brenda Leyland could have refused to talk to Martin Brunt. She could have shut down her Twitter account, stayed away from the Internet, and taken a vacation to the Canary Islands until all the nastiness in the news had blow over. She could have then returned to friends and family and taken up the rescue of abandoned animals. She could have, but she didn't. She simply couldn't stand the pain she found herself in after being thrashed in the media and she decided to remove herself from ever having to deal with it or think of it again. This is the way suicide happens.

But, some just won't believe it, in spite of no evidence to the contrary. Brenda had contemplated suicide; she said so to Martin Brunt. She researched ways to kill herself. She bought implements with which to take her own life. She went to a private place where she would not be disturbed. She carried out her wish to end her time on earth. There is zero evidence of anyone else in the room who assisted her in any way nor is there any evidence of trauma which might indicate someone forcefully took Brenda's life.

I can't tell you how many obvious cases of suicide are brought to me by family who claim their loved one was murdered. It doesn't matter to them that the death occurred behind a locked door, that there was no sign of violence, that there was a three page suicide note left beside the body written in the victim's handwriting, that the deceased had spoken of suicide prior to taking their life or had actually attempted suicide prior to this successful suicide. They cannot accept that the victim needed to go to this extreme, that if they had been that desperate, the family would have known it and they would have helped them.

And, I think, in the end, this is why the family refuses to accept a suicide ruling; they feel guilty. They feel like they should have, could have done something. They should have known their loved one was in such a bad way, they should have, oh, why didn't they know? Were they too involved in their own lives, did they brush off their loved one when they had asked for help? Did they roll their eyes or scoff at them when they spoke of their problem being so bad? Did they tell them to get over it, move on with their lives, grow a backbone? Did they tell them their significant other wasn't worth moaning about? Did they push them too hard in school? Did they, did they, did they? The recriminations go on because the truth of the matter is, you often have no idea if a person is ready to jump, really jump, this time.

Who knows if during another week or month of her life Brenda Leyland would have chosen to tell everyone to sod off and then taken a cruise around the world? Who knows if Brenda didn't have a myriad of other problems and this was just the straw that broke the camel's back? Who knows if the same treatment had been meted out to another "troll" that this person might have not have stood up and fought back? Who knows? None of us. 

My prayers go out to the family of Brenda Leyland in the wake of this tragedy. Whether they want to pursue a civil course of action is entirely up to them. But, as far as a criminal matter, this case is simply not one.

Criminal Profiler Pat Brown

March 20, 2015

Thursday, March 19, 2015

The End is Near in the Madeleine McCann Case

As most of you are quite aware, I have refrained from commenting on the Madeleine McCann case for months now as doing so has been both pointless and unpleasant. It seems that many feel a great deal of anguish as the Scotland Yard so-called investigation blunders on...with no inspiring results...and Andy Redwood retires (which is hardly something a man would do on the eve of a great investigative coup); frustrated, they are striking out rather viciously at anyone who dares suggest that all is not going to end well. In other words, the writing is in the wall - as it has been since Scotland Yard announced that the McCanns were not suspects, that they were only looking at an abduction, and that Jane Tanner actually saw a man with a child (even if there is no evidence he exists and he was walking in the wrong direction). This Met review and investigation clearly was never intended to include the Tapas 9 as a focus and there are many who do not want to believe that their hopes are going to be dashed after all the effort they have put forth to shed light on the evidence and the McCanns likely involvement in the disappearance of their daughter, Maddie.

But, four people seem to agree that this case is going to be put to bed as a stranger abduction that simply can't be solved or can't be prosecuted. These four people are Gonçalo Amaral, Tony Bennett, Joana Morais, and myself. Now, while we may not agree on exactly what happened to Madeleine McCann, while we may not entirely agree on how it all went down - who did what and what the timeline was - we all seem to agree that the outcome is going to be politically based and not one supported by evidence and proper investigation. In other words, four people from vastly different backgrounds and skill sets, four people who have a great deal of knowledge of the Madeleine McCann case, all agree that a whitewash is in the making.

Yet, there are many who are outraged at each one of us for daring to suggest that Scotland Yard has just wasted ten million pounds on a faux investigation, mad at all of us in spite of the fact absolutely nothing useful has come of four year of effort, that there has been zero progress, and they are calling us names even though it is a straight up fact that there has never been any focus on the Tapas 9 by Scotland Yard and it is also a fact that you can't make a case against someone by claiming in court that they are guilty simply because all other leads failed to put forth fruit.

We are about to hear the outcome of the McCann suit against Gonçalo Amaral but this matters little as far as the criminal case is concerned. I hope Gonçalo prevails enough to lessen the damage he has suffered, but it won't matter as far as putting the McCanns behind bars; the civil case truly has nothing to do with the criminal case. The criminal case is dead in the water and as recent news reports have pointed out, there are those who think the money being spent on the McCann case is a waste of resources. I totally agree because there is never going to be a true resolution unless Maddie's body is unearthed with sufficient physical evidence to link someone to the crime. Since Scotland Yard is looking in all the wrong places, this evidence is never going to see the light of day.

So, folks, all of you who think a good outcome is just around the bend, brace yourselves. I know all of you only want truth and justice but, as I have learned working almost two decades in this field, the one thing trumps truth and justice every time is politics.

Criminal Profiler Pat Brown

March 19, 2015

Cover for 'Profile of the Disappearance of Madeleine McCann'

By Pat Brown

Rating: 1 star1 star1 star1 star1 star
Published: July 27, 2011

What really happened to Madeleine Beth McCann in Praia da Luz, Portugal in 2007? Was she abducted as the Gerry and Kate have claimed or did something happen to Madeleine on May 3 in the vacation apartment and the incident covered up? Criminal Profiler Pat Brown analyzes the evidence and takes the readers through the steps of profiling, developing a theory that is intriguing and controversial.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Mother Shot Dead by Two-Year-Old Son was Indeed Irresponsible, Criminally Irresponsible

Yes, it is a tragedy that a beautiful young mother and a nuclear scientist, Veronica Rutledge was shot and killed by her own son in Wal-Mart. Yes, it was an accident in that there was no intent on the little boy's part to kill his mother. However, her husband is dead wrong that his wife "was not irresponsible" and his wife was dead wrong with her choice to be irresponsible which leaves her simply dead.

It seems it is pretty easy to forgive-and-forget because the young child shot his own mother dead but what if he had shot someone else's mother in Wal-mart? Would we see a lot more anger then directed at Veronica Rutledge for failure to control her firearm.

There is a simple rule of owning a firearm; you must be in control of it at all times. It should either be in a safe or on or nearby your person in such a way that NO ONE else can access the firearm. A firearm in a purse is okay IF and ONLY IF you are in control of the purse that is housing the firearm. Ms. Rutledge was clearly not in control of her firearm and, worse, she left the firearm within reach of her two-year-old son. This is not only being irresponsible, it is being criminally irresponsible. If the boy had shot someone's else's mother, I would want Veronica Rutledge to be charged as an accessory to murder.

I have always been a proponent of the right to own a handgun and the right to carry. But, I also believe that if we want that right, we also must accept the responsibility that whatever happens with that gun is our fault. If any human being dies by being shot with that gun, then unless self-defense can be proven, we should be charged with a crime whether or not our own finger was on the trigger. The only time this should not be true is if the gun was stolen from us due to a break-in of our home or vehicle or purse (and this does not included "theft" of such a weapon by a relative who has legal access to our home. If our son or nephew knows where we keep our weapons in some unlocked location, we should be responsible for that person taking the weapon and we should be responsible for what he does with it).

Owning a weapon is a huge responsibility. We have no excuse for our gun killing people unless they are trying to kill us.

Criminal Profiler Pat Brown

December 31, 2014

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The Missing: How Close is the Series to Real Life?

I have to admit I only watched The Missing because there was muttering that it had some resemblance to the Madeleine McCann case; curiosity got the best of me and so I watched the eight part miniseries. In general, I am not fond of watching murder mysteries because they are usually too far off of what I know to be true of real life criminals and investigations and I also don't really get much fun out of watching stuff that is work for me. The only kind of mystery stuff I like is Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie because they are more about the atmosphere and the puzzle and the graphic stuff is kept to a dull roar.

Anyway, I watched the series and here are my thoughts on it.

The acting was fine. I thought James Nesbitt was extraordinary as the obsessed father searching for his missing son; the way emotions played out in his face was incredible and I think this is what I enjoyed most about watching the series. But, acting is not what I am here to talk about. How real is The Missing and does it have anything to do with the McCanns?

Well, I would say there is a certain similarity between the McCann case and the case of missing Oliver in that the parents are away from their home country when their child disappears and I certainly believe the directors had Kate and Gerry McCann in their heads as they made the series, an innocent Kate and Gerry, mind you. Other than that, the series isn't a fictionalized version of the McCann case but it does have some interested elements in it which one could compare to the McCann case, like the behaviors of the parents, police, politicians, and pedophile predators.

Oliver goes missing while he is out with his father in a crowded location when his father lets go of his hand and is distracted.

This is a not uncommon way for a child to disappear. The parent is not necessarily being negligent but, in the course of moving about, the parent and the child get separated and a predator may take the opportunity to grab the unprotected child.

The behavior of Oliver's parents is totally believable from the moment he goes missing  (well, at least up until the show goes off the rails - I will discuss this after SPOILERS AHEAD). Tony and Emily O'Conner are shellshocked, confused, devastated....bloody wrecks. They look like shit....they do nothing but stagger around trying to function; they do not look spiffy and well put together, they do not go jogging, they do not call the press. They are basket cases.

They search for their lost child, wildly running down streets and around in circles. In one marvelous scene, Emily thinks she sees Oliver and jumps out of a still moving car to pursue the child.

They fully cooperate with the police. In one scene - I think the finest scene with Tony where those emotions on his face speak louder than words - he is accused by the police of doing something to his son, Oliver. His reaction is spot he had just fallen into an alternate reality. He is totally stunned, horrified, scared, and confused. He is almost paralyzed, but still he cooperates with the police.....because he has no choice....these are the people he is depending on to find his son. He doesn't call them "fucking tossers" and leave town.


Tony becomes aggressive in doing his own personal investigation and ends up breaking into places, beating people up, and killing one of them. All of this is ridiculous. In real life, one of the most amazing truths is that parents of missing and murdered children are incredibly nonaggressive towards possible suspects, always saying they want to be sure it is the right person and they want to see him in a court of law. Even in cases where I have presented ample evidence of the likelihood that a particular suspect has murdered their child, even when the police do not ever arrest the suspect, the family does not take any action against the person. They wait for the law to do their job, even if decades go by.

Tony and Emily finally do leave France and go back to England. They aren't running away; the police       have shelved the case due to lack of any leads. Their marriage disintegrates due to alcohol abuse (Tony) and medication abuse (Emily), underlying guilt for losing his child (Tony) and underlying anger for him losing their child (Emily). Tony is also obsessed with continuing a daily search for Oliver; Emily wants to move on with a life, some kind of normal life. Marriages often fail after the abduction or murder of a child because the individuals can barely take care of themselves, much less a relationship.

The excessive police corruption isn't political (which is more likely in the McCann case) but the result of bad behavior within the department; I didn't particular buy the issues. The mayor didn't want to reopen the case after many years because he didn't want to wreck the economy of the town once again and he didn't want to ruin his political career...that made sense. There were many red herrings and the amazing evidence that is found is all ludicrous as is the final scenario of what happened to Oliver or what is theorized to have happened to Oliver. Here it is:

Oliver and his Dad enter a bar that is nearby the swimming pool they were at and Oliver is distracted by the football game on the television screen. Oliver, in the midst of the crowd, looks out the door into the dark and sees a fox standing there. Oliver is obsessed with foxes and so he leaves the bar to go see the fox and when the fox trots off nice and slowly, Oliver follows it. He not only follows it, he follows it into a wooded area and onto a road. Then he gets hit by a car.

Gets even stupider. The driver is the owner of the hotel where Tony and Emily are staying. He is an alcoholic who has fallen off the wagon after years of sobriety. He thinks he has killed Oliver and quickly dumps his body in the trunk without even being sure the child isn't alive or needs medical attention. Then he calls his brother on the police force to help him with the mess. His brother orders the hotel owner to drive to a house where he knows the owner is out of town and leave the body inside there. Say what?  After he does so, the boy wakes up and the Eastern European criminal clean-up guy kills him because Oliver saw his face and spirits him away. Then, yet another man is called to clean up blood (why is there blood? Wouldn't the killer have just strangled him?) but he feels bad about the boy disappearing so he leaves a picture the boy drew on the wall so the boy's memory is there. Who wrote this crap?

Anyway, the hotel owner conveniently drops a sobriety coin from his collection which is found by another crooked cop who gives it to a news reporter who blackmails him for it yet never actually does any reporting on the hidden evidence of the case, so why he blackmails the cop for it I don't know. When that clue is figured out along with the location of where Oliver was kept (his lost scarf ends up in a thrift store where when it is sold and the owner writes down the buyer's name and address to send to the previous owner so they know their possession went to a good home....bwahahaha....meanwhile, they have a video of from a partygoer across the street that captures a few seconds of Oliver at a window). If only in real life such evidence existed.

The stupid scenario goes further amok; the hotel owner confesses (on his deathbed, of course), but his brother kills himself without giving up more information, so what Tony and Emily have is only the knowledge that Oliver was in that house and that it is claimed he was killed there. In a reenactment we see a big pool of blood on the floor, so that is supposed to show us all that Oliver is truly dead, but there is actually no evidence that there was any blood on the floor or that Oliver was killed. So, Emily accepts the ending and decides Oliver is gone, remarries and moves on with her life.

Tony, however, cannot accept the scenario as gospel and continues to search for his son. He is last seen in Russia accosting a young teen who looks enough like Oliver to leave a question in one's mind as to whether Tony, while crazy, is not necessarily wrong.

Emily and Tony's choices are not unlike real life. Some do go on like Emily and some never let go like Tony.  And, one more thing is for sure; no matter how crappy and crooked and uncaring a particular police department might be, parents of missing and murdered children never stop calling them, working with them, and begging them to find their loved ones. Never. Even when they should.

Criminal Profiler Pat Brown

December 31, 2014

Cover for 'Profile of the Disappearance of Madeleine McCann'
ThBy Pat Brown
Rating: 1 star1 star1 star1 star1 star
Published: July 27, 2011

What really happened to Madeleine Beth McCann in Praia da Luz, Portugal in 2007? Was she abducted as the Gerry and Kate have claimed or did something happen to Madeleine on May 3 in the vacation apartment and the incident covered up? Criminal Profiler Pat Brown analyzes the evidence and takes the readers through the steps of profiling, developing a theory that is intriguing and controversial.