Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Bobby Joe Long

Gathering Evidence - and Victims

The investigators followed the map that Long had provided and discovered the ninth victim, Vicky Elliot. Her skeletal remains were found with a broken hyoid bone, and the scissors were found in what would have been the vaginal cavity. A positive identification was made from her dental records. They also found tiny red fibers that definitively linked her to Long.

A missing person report of Virginia Johnson matched the description of the unknown victim. A heart pendant found on the corpse was linked to her, and she was positively identified by her dental records.

The knife mostly likely used in the Michelle Simms murder was discovered in Longs apartment and was catalogued as evidence.

After a grand jury hearing, Bobby Joe Long was charged with eight counts of murder and sexual battery and nine counts of kidnapping, with one count of murder pending for Virginia Johnson, which was decided by Pasco Countys grand jury. He was also charged with violating his probation for aggravated assault. Because of the murder charges, he was refused bail.

Then other bodies were found.

Bobby Joe Long, 1984
Bobby Joe Long, 1984
On November 19, 1984, a womans corpse floated up in the Hillsborough River. She had been strangled with some type of device. She was never identified, but she fit Longs profile. On November 22, 1984, another womans skeletal remains were found. She was identified as Artis Wick, and her remains were at least 6 to 8 months old. Her hands were bound, and her death is attributed to Long by the FBI and HCSO, although he never confessed to the crime and he was never charged. Police believed that while she was the last victim found, she may have been the first to die.

Long was formally charged for the rape and robbery of a Palm Harbor woman, and he was suspected in many more rape cases.

Holmes & Holmes discuss sex-related homicides in their book, Murder in America. To them, a sexual homicide is a murder that combines fatal violence with a sexual element. The violence usually ends with the death of the victim and is often preceded by various aberrant sexual acts.

Murder in America
Murder in America
Often its guided by a highly detailed fantasy and some degree of controlling the victim. Sometimes they consume parts of the victims, bite them, or cut them up, all of which is done for the purposes of erotic self-stimulation. Sometimes they use fetish objects, such as shoes or underwear, or rely on rituals. They have little control over this and it can become addictive and compulsive. Longs crimes were definitely compulsive.

Norris says that after each murder, Long would go home and sleep deeply. He apparently claimed that when he awoke, the entire incident seemed more like a dream than reality. He would then go purchase a newspaper to read about it. Via the press, he learned more about each of his victims. He came to hate these women, believing that as sluts they had deserved to die, anyway. Yet he did not want to stop what he was doing.

Finally, Longs case came to trial. Several times.

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