Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

John Joubert, Nebraska Boy Snatcher

Second Strike

Photo: Chris Walden
Chris Walden

Newton describes the second incident.  On December 2, two and a half months after Danny Joe Eberle was murdered, Christopher Walden was walking to school when he disappeared.  At least two witnesses had seen him get into a tan sedan with a white male.  Walden, 12, had lived in Papillon, Nebraska, which was in a different town, but only three miles from where Danny Joe had been found.  He was the son of a military officer at Offutt.  While the FBI had decided there was no connection between the newsboy missing from Des Moines (who still had not been found) and Danny Joe, this new incident appeared to have more similarities.  Almost at once, when Chris could not be found, they believed that the same killer had struck twice.

Photo: Police-sketch-of-suspect
Police sketch of suspect

The witnesses, both women, were put under hypnosis to try to get more details about what they might have seen.  They offered descriptions of the man with Walden, saying he was of similar build, short, thin, and young.  One person remembered that he'd also been wearing a woolen cap, pulled down over his forehead, although the other recalled no cap.  One had seen the license plate, and with her memory more focused in a trance, she offered the first seven digits.  But that gave the detectives the task of checking out over a thousand vehicles in Nebraska with those numbers.  It could be a time-consuming task, with no guarantee that she had even recalled the numbers correctly.  Hypnosis is not perfect, and it later turned out that both women had gotten several key details wrong.


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