Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Bobby Joe Long

The FBI Gets Involved

HCSO sent a summary of the common factors from the crime scenes to the BSU, and agents there worked up a profile of the killers probable background and personality traits. Flowers indicates that this occurred after the second victim, while Ward shows it after the fourth. Ward offers a retired agents discussion of the various profile points, but Flowers reproduces the entire profile:

The agents thought the factors from both cases that were most important to their analysis were:

  • the victims had to depend on others for transportation
  • the victims were essentially nude when found
  • the victims had been similarly bound, while one was posed
  • they had been picked up in Tampa
  • they had been left near interstate highways in rural areas
  • there were tire tread impressions at both scenes
  • they were found at quite a distance from where they were last seen
  • carpet fibers confirmed the relationship of the crimes

From these facts, it was clear that the killer was mobile and probably had or borrowed a vehicle. The leash-like ropes around the necks and the brutal beatings that exceeded what was necessary to kill them showed a certain deviance. It seemed more likely that the victims had been randomly selected because they were easy prey than that they were known to the killer.

He was deemed to be a white male, in his mid-20s, gregarious, extroverted, and manipulative. In general, he seemed to be what they classify as organized. He would operate normally in society, but he would be argumentative, self-centered, and exhibit little or no emotion all common to a psychopath. Being narcissistic, he would want to be the center of attention. He would also be impulsive, albeit not sufficiently so to risk being caught. It was likely that he lied easily and had a macho self-image. He might even have tattoos to that effect, and carry a weapon as a statement of his manhood.

At best, hed have a high school education. If hed even tried college, it was likely that hed had trouble adjusting to the discipline and would have dropped out. He would be intelligent but have issues with authority. He may have been truant and disruptive. In keeping with his self-image, he would probably take masculine jobs or a job where his manipulative skills would be useful. He probably had difficulty holding down a job and would have had multiple short-term employments.

As a child, he probably was delinquent and difficult to control, and exhibited resentment toward efforts to impose discipline. He may have a history of bedwetting, arson, and animal cruelty.

If he had served in the military, he would have joined a masculine unit, such as the Marine Corps. Even here, his issues with authority would have gotten him into confrontations.

On the issue of relationships, and in the tradition of organized killers, he probably would have a woman in his life. He would date regularly, but not have long-term commitments. He would brag about his sexual exploits, and probably date younger women. If married, he would be unfaithful, and his chosen type of woman would be dependent and easily controlled.

His car of choice would be flashy, like a sports car.

It was also likely that he would have a prison record, or some record of problems with the law. Prior to these murders, he may have committed neighborhood crimes, such as voyeurism or burglary. Yet if he was ever in jail, he would have been a model albeit manipulative prisoner.

In these crimes, he was sadistic: he probably used some scheme to lure the women into his car, and then proceeded to torture them mentally and physically, keeping them alive for some period of time. He would leave little or no evidence behind. In all likelihood, he would kill again.

He could be a police buff. After the crime, he may return to the scene of the crime and participate in the investigation both to deflect the investigators and to relive the experience. He would continue his lifestyle without change after the crime. On the anniversaries, as a way to relive his pleasure, he might contact the victims family members, the police, or the media to gloat.

In addition to personality traits and probably background, the profilers also offered recommendations for interrogating a suspect, should they make an arrest. They suggested that whoever interrogates him know the facts of the case well, and ask questions with confidence. He should dress formally and appear to be a figure of authority, fully in control and not easily manipulated. He can demonstrate this by dropping facts from the crimes in a timed manner to give the killer the impression that his entire background is known.

The BSU sent this profile to HCSO, but the killer had already struck again, and this time there was a difference.

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