Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Driven to Kill

The Chapter Excerpt

Westley Allan Dodd mugshot
Westley Allan Dodd

It was Labor Day, September 4, 1989, a Monday, the last day of summer vacation for most school children from all over the Pacific Northwest. The unbearable heat, as much as holiday tradition, had brought many people outdoors to barbecue and drink beer beneath the slightly cooler shade of the towering Douglas fir trees of the region's many parks and recreational areas. It also had brought out the kids, lots of them, who frolicked carefree under the sweltering sun, naturally oblivious to the oppressive heat, their surroundings, and to the stranger waiting in the shadows who wanted, more than anything else in his life, to do them harm. The last holiday of the summer should have been a day filled with joy and pleasant memories. But it wasn't. Instead, to the citizens of Vancouver, Washington, and much of the region, that particular Labor Day would be remembered as one of the darkest days in the annals of crime history, the day that Westley Allan Dodd, then 28, set into motion his plans to kidnap, rape, torture, and murder little children.

Dodd's sleepless nights started again two days before Labor Day, on Saturday, September 2, and even though he knew they spelled trouble for him, he didn't care. He couldn't help himself and, when he was alone, couldn't control himself. Something in his innermost psyche was driving his actions now, and before long he knew he would be totally consumed by something he did not understand.

Westley Allan Dodd's bed in his apartment
Westley Allan Dodd's bed in his

Dodd lay awake much of that Saturday night in the small, hot apartment that he'd just moved into and fantasized about the day that he had been planning for so long. Naked upon his bed, he masturbated fiercely as he recalled several of the previous incidents in which he had molested young children. Afterward, in an entry to the diary he kept, which had become a very special and intimate part of his life, he complained that he had been kept awake most of that night by a stiff erection. He liked erections, to be sure, but only those that succumbed to his fantasies coupled with masturbation. He wasn't at all happy when they lasted all night. He managed to get to sleep only after convincing himself that killing a young boy was the only thing that could satisfy him.

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