Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Robert Garrow


Robert Garrow, police mugshot
Robert Garrow, police

The stocky, bullish-looking man studied the two girls as they walked down the deserted street in upstate Geddes, New York, on the morning of May 31, 1973. They were wearing neat, colorful dresses and an innocent, playful look; the kind he preferred and often fantasized about. He licked his lips and methodically rubbed his hands together with the anticipation of the moment when he would have them all to himself. He observed the girls carefully through his tinted glasses as he opened the door to his car and stepped onto the pavement. He glanced up and down the street, careful to take notice of anyone who happened to walk by. There was no one. The traffic light at the end of the block turned red, but the street was empty. The man then walked briskly, following the girls as they strolled past the row of houses that lined the avenue. He placed both of his large hands into his pockets, feeling the blade of the folded knife in his right hand. One of the girls sensed there was someone following her and she turned to see who it was. She wasn't too concerned, because she had lived there her entire life, all 9 years of it. The town was safe. Her friend, who attended the same school, had just turned 11. She absently glanced at the man over her shoulder. They made eye contact, the predator and the prey, and for one brief moment, he relished in the innocence of his victim.

The excited man quickened his pace until he came to within two feet of the victims. "Stop!" he called. They came to a sudden halt and looked behind them. "Police!" he said and showed them a phony badge, which he immediately placed back in his pocket. It really didn't matter since neither girl would know a real badge if they saw one. He told them that he was a police officer from the nearby town of Camillus. He said they had to come down to the police station to help him find a lost dog. He was polite yet firm. They had to come he said and emphasized that point. They had no choice he said. He escorted the girls back down the street and herded them into his car while he scanned the area for any witnesses. He drove around aimlessly until he spotted a place in the fields where there were no houses or farms. He parked his car on Maple Road in Camillus and took the girls out of the back seat. They walked up to the top of the nearby hills where, once he was sure there was no chance of being interrupted, he laid a blanket down onto the grass. It was a breezy, spring day.

"C'mere!" he said to the 9-year-old. The girl looked up, her wide eyes full of fear and worry. She froze when she looked over at her friend unsure what to do next. They didn't know what the man wanted. The stranger pulled a plastic handgun out of his rear pocket. It looked real and must have been terrifying to the children. He stuck the gun in the face of the 9-year old. "C'mere! I said!" he ordered.

 "I had the girls play with me, if that will help you any," the man told a jury later, "and one of them committed an act of sodomy, orally, and that is what happened." Their nightmare with this man lasted three long hours. The only redeeming factor of the encounter was that he let the girls live. He was fully capable of murder and soon he would kill others who weren't so lucky as these two.

His name was Robert Francis Garrow, the predator.

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