Monday, September 24, 2007

Criminal Profiling Topic of the Day: Out of Sight, Out of Mind

Many Americans are closely following the story about missing Madeleine McCann, a child who is not even from the United States or went missing in the United States. Meanwhile, little Devon Epps, age seven, hardly makes the news. Such is the problem with being dead rather than being a missing person. An incredible amount of money is spent on publicity if a child's fate is unknown, but if the poor little creature is brutally murdered and the body is found, the story is often yesterday's news even if no justice has been served and the killer is still out there. Sadly, this means a lot of money and effort is often wasted on pointless searching for children who are likely just as dead as those whose bodies aren't still undiscovered.

Devon Epps' story is quite tragic. In May, this little boy's bedroom ended up on fire and he barely escaped alive. He had to use a cloth to open the burning knob on the bedroom door to escape and then he ran to wake up Mom who seemed not to want to deal with him at that moment.

Then, in August, his mother, 26-year-old Amanda Reagan Smith, claims she got carjacked, and while she survives (with hardly a scratch) the big, brutal criminal who wielded a knife and made her drive to a lonely spot in a wooded area, little Devon is smothered to death by the carjacker. Ms. Smith claims the man made her get out of the car, and when she did, he locked the doors and proceeded to snuff out her son.

I hope Devon Smith gets justice since he did not get to live a full life, but I wonder if his own community will spend more time paying attention to where Madeleine McCann is rather than ensuring that their own community is safe and that someone pays for the murder of this young, innocent child. I wish we would get our priorities straight and put our concerns and energy toward what would really make a difference in making our world safer.

Criminal Profiler Pat Brown

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Criminal Profiling Topic of the Day: Is Maddie in England?

IF the evidence we have heard recently exists concerning Maddie's DNA and hire in the boot of the hire car and the McCanns were involved with the disappearance and death of their daughter, Madeleine, here is what I think could have happened. I have been considering WHY anyone would move a body from one location to another after twenty five days. If Maddie's DNA from decomposition of her body is really in the hire car, what purpose would there be in moving her body at that time?

I can think of only one: they would have to be afraid the Portuguese police were getting closer and closer to discovering what happened to Maddie and they took action. One possibility would be to move her to a location where she could never be found: at the bottom of the ocean. The other would be to move the body back to a location they controlled (the later villa they had rented), they would not have to worry about the police stumbling across their daughter’s remains. With all their traveling about, leaving and entering the apartment with a suitcase is not going to raise any eyebrows. Apparently, the police never brought the sniffer dogs to the new villa and, therefore, Maddie’s body could have remained in a suitcase in a storage area until the McCanns decided to move on. If the decomposition stage was late enough, the issue of odor would be less of a problem).

Kate McCann has stated she would never leave Portugal without her daughter and maybe she was telling the truth. Madeleine is but a small and very portable child. She weighs little and, if she had been decomposing for so long, she would weigh even less. The McCanns returned to England with four large black suitcases. Was Maddie in one of them?

It may unbelievable behavior for a parent, but, many a body has been shipped in suitcases over the course of history and parents have done strange things in desperation or in grief, so this would not be an impossibility. If the McCanns chose to do this and succeeded in not getting caught, they would have outsmarted the Portuguese police, avoided a jail sentence and no one would ever find out what really happened to their daughter. Because the McCanns were familiar with air travel, airports, and entry and departure points, they could determine whether their luggage was likely to be searched upon arrival (and the answer from my experience with travel to England is the chances of them having any problem with scrutiny and searches is low).

If the evidence holds, the British police might search for Maddie right there in Leicestershire, England; who knows what they might find.

Of course, this all depends on whether any of the leaked information about the DNA and hair in the boot of the hire car has any validity at all. If it doesn't, then regardless of the negligence of Maddie's parents in leaving her unattended out of eye and earshot (and I do not think this acceptable parenting even if there are no kidnappers likely to take her), then we are back to a pedophile snatching her. One way or the other, there is little likelihood Madeleine is alive.

At the heart of all crime scene analysis is evidence, both forensic and behavioral. Theories that then prompt investigative avenues are based on what evidence one has in the case. If the evidence changes, then the theory will change with it. This is why no one is guilty until proven so in a court of law. Even the most suspicious of suspects is not guilty until the jury says so.

Are the McCanns guilty or not? I have no idea since I am not inside the homicide investigation. But if there is really any evidence pointing toward the McCanns, then the police should do what they suggest and "Leave No Stone Unturned."

Criminal Profiler Pat Brown

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Criminal Profiling Topic of the Day: Just Say Yes to Net Neutrality

Justice Department Says No To Net Neutrality

The Justice Department announced today that Internet service providers should be permitted to charge customers extra fees to access certain web sites or to load some web sites faster than others.

“The agency told the Federal Communications Commission, which is reviewing high-speed Internet practices, that it is opposed to "Net neutrality," the principle that all Internet sites should be equally accessible to any Web user."

That’s right; the cable and telephone companies want to charge us more money to load some web sites that were previously available to anyone with access to the World Wide Web.

Wait, it gets better.

"The Justice Department said imposing a Net neutrality regulation could hamper development of the Internet and prevent service providers from upgrading or expanding their networks. It could also shift the "entire burden of implementing costly network expansions and improvements onto consumers," the agency said in its filing."
Um… Isn’t charging extra fees to access web pages and content (which the ISP does not even own) the same thing as shifting the "entire burden of implementing costly network expansions and improvements onto consumers”? Keep in mind the added cost would be billed to customers who already pay more for high-speed Internet access than for dial-up, which is reasonable-up until now, anyway.

After the ridiculously inadequate explanation of the economic disadvantages of Net Neutrality for consumers, the Justice Department gives an example of the validity of allowing providers to charge us extra for mouse clicks.

"The agency said providing different levels of service is common, efficient and could satisfy consumers. As an example, it cited that the U.S. Postal Service charges customers different guarantees and speeds for package delivery, ranging from bulk mail to overnight delivery."

WTF? Loading web pages that are currently freely accessible and independently hosted and maintained by individuals and entities is similar to the labor and resources needed to transport packages by ground and air….how? "Could satisfy consumers?" You've got to be kidding me

I usually conclude that powerful government agencies make stupid statements like these because they arrogantly believe the general public are idiots. But lately I am considering the possibility that they aren’t arrogant at all, or thinking much of anything other than their greedy little thoughts because they're the ones who are morons.

My Cable TV and Internet service is provided by Comcast Cable Nazis. Two things already piss me off big time about their service. First, in order to receive network channels such as TBS, TNT, etc, it is necessary to buy the “Standard Cable Package” that includes “Basic and Expanded Cable.” Tough luck if you only wish to subscribe to a couple of HBO channels and nothing else because you must purchase the Standard Package before adding “Premium Cable” services. Not only do you have to buy “packages” or channels you don’t want in order to get others you do want, you have to pay money to view 3-5 minutes of local commercial advertising for every 10-15 minutes of programming on an out of state network channel. If I can pay for HBO with no commercial interruptions, why do I have to pay to watch something on an expanded cable station and still have to endure incessant commercial advertising too? Not to mention paying for 2 golf channels, 5 home shopping channels, and 30-minute infomercials on most of the other “Standard Cable” channels that I don’t want.

The second problem I have with the Cable Nazis is when calling their customer service line (3-4 times a month) due to Internet service interruptions; I spend 15 or more minutes on hold listening to nothing but sales pitches for additional services. Ok, I confess. I rather enjoy pointing out to the unfortunate tech help person that finally takes my call that the last thing a frustrated customer who is waiting for technical help wants to hear is repeated requests to spend more money on something that is not even working at the moment.

Start calling your legislators folks, or this one may sneak right past us. The Cable Nazis will not get so much as a penny from me for something I already do, no way.

Donna Weaver

Criminal Profiling Topic of the Day: Just say good bye, Senator Craig

All right, I give in. I have to finally put my two cents in about Senator Larry Craig.

Senator Craig, you are a manipulative, lying creep.

You plead guilty to trying to solicit sex in a public bathroom. No innocent man in his right mind would have done that, especially a public figure, if some aggressive cop had decided to use you to make his day. Furthermore, no man accidentally touches other men's feet under the stall or puts his hands or eyes into another man's personal space while taking care of business unless he is willing to risk getting beat up for trying to get a little something from someone he thinks wants the same thing.

I differ with folks who say even if you were trying to have sex with strange men in public bathrooms, it is no big thing. The word "public" is an important point here. When people are in public spaces they do not expect that they or their underage children will be exposed to sexual acts. What you do in the privacy of your own home or someone else's home is another matter. I don't care. Well, actually I do, if you are married.

Which brings me to the topic of adultery. Again, some people say adultery is a personal matter. No, it isn't. Adultery destroys family, community, and society. Maybe it isn't illegal any more, but I don't have to respect you for doing it and I should think someone who represents family values ought to have some of them himself.

Very few people have brought this issue up: you are a security risk. If you are trying this hard to hide your homosexual behavior, then someone can blackmail you, whether it be a lobbyist or an agent of a foreign power. You are a liability.

Finally, we can't trust a damn thing you say. You gave the speech I expected when you said you were resigning for the good of the country and so you wouldn't be a distraction in the course of the government doing business. You, of course, admitted no guilt; you only claimed to be a great guy who was railroaded, but in spite of that, would leave office so as not to cause more contention.

Apparently, you lied again, because now you are taking that back. You seem to have problems making "false statements" and then wishing you hadn't made them.

Go away, Senator Craig, please! You are a disgrace to your family, your state, and your country.

Criminal Profiler Pat Brown

Criminal Profiling Topic of the Day: Profiling for Dummies Case # 1

I thought I would start a series of homicide cases that will make newbie profilers and wannabes feel good about their profiling skills! Here is Case Number One! Ready?

Who Killed Kelly Gorham?

Nursing student Kelly Gorham went missing in Maine. She was engaged for two years to Jason Twardus. They broke up in June. Kelly went missing in early August and her body was found in a shallow grave during a search on the property of Brian Twardus, Jason's daddy.

Now put on your thinking caps! The police have not yet named a suspect in this crime, so you can be the first to figure out who could have committed this murder.

If you get this one right, you can go for the extra credit question!

Who COULD have killed Kelly Gorham? (warning: attorney profiling required for the answer to this one).

Hint: There is only one answer to the first question. There are a dozen answers to the second question depending on the lawyer's ability to tell tales and the estimated gullibility of the jury.

Criminal Profiler Pat Brown