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ABOUT KILLING KILLERS' BLOGGER: Eponymous Rox covers cops, curs and killers and has been featured in Crime Magazine and on NBC. The author is also a regular paid-contributor to CrimeMagazine.com, the Gather News agency and Yahoo's Associated Content. JUMP IN: The majority of cases presented on this site are unsolved so your opinion counts -- you don't need permission to start or join discussions, vote in crime polls or submit tips on Killing Killers, and can even do so anonymously if you prefer.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

In the USA 4 out of 5 poverty: Who murdered the American Dream?

4 out of 5 poverty -- and climbing
New poverty statistics have been released and the picture of America and its poor huddled masses yearning to be free is getting bleaker and bleaker by the minute.
Since 1980, those of us living at or below the poverty level has been escalating, and despite widespread misconceptions as to just which of our fellow Americans 'aren't making it' the face of the impoverished is, in fact, quite white.
For Caucasians a whopping 76 percent will now find ourselves at some point teetering on the brink of financial ruin or plummeting over that precipice, with the largest chunk of 'unfortunates' being represented by the working class.
But white, black, latino -- whatever -- by the time most of us reach age 60 our risk of joining the ranks of the impoverished jumps to 79 percent overall, or 4 out of 5 poverty.
And for a nation that thinks nothing of spending trillions upon trillions of our tax dollars on waging war and illegal secret surveillance programs, that's not just a disgrace, it's absolutely criminal.
What besides this governmental corruption and excess is to blame for the murder of the American Dream as we once knew it? Experts say that's simple to answer: The growing disparity between the rich and the poor and the lack of good-paying jobs. 
Indeed, based on these seemingly unstoppable trends, by the year 2030 roughly 85 percent of all working-age adults in the United States will experience serious, prolonged economic hardship.
"Poverty is no longer an issue of 'them', it's an issue of 'us'," explains Washington University professor, Mark Rank, who helped calculate the recent numbers. "Only when poverty is thought of as a mainstream event, rather than a fringe experience that just affects blacks and Hispanics, can we really begin to build broader support for programs that lift people in need."
Of course, the only truly effective program to 'lift people' up will be restoring jobs that offer citizens careers and benefits again, and curtailing the endless 'war effort' that has morally and fiscally bankrupted us.
In the meantime, with corporations picking, grooming and bedding all our politicians, and those political puppets exclusively doing their bidding, expect the rate of the poor and pilfered to keep exponentially expanding.
Maybe one day, in the not-so-distant future, it really will be 99 percent.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

CSI SUNDAY: Hudson River Boating Accident in Piermont NY — Murder By Mistake

For criminal justice students, the tragic Hudson River boating accident in Piermont NY this week, which killed a bride-to-be and the groom's best man, is an example of how murder can often result by mistake instead of malice.
CRIME SCENE - DO NOT CROSSStill, the law treats both types of killings equally harsh -- the operator of a boat that fatally crashed into an anchored barge near Manhattan on Friday night was charged this weekend with two counts of vehicular manslaughter and three counts of vehicular assault.
Everyone onboard his 21-foot power vessel was from future bride Lindsey Stewart's wedding party and all six were either injured directly in the head-on event or thrown from the watercraft and drowned.
Soon to have been wedded, Brian Bond, 35, was knocked unconscious from the impact and suffered a broken eye socket as well. He telephoned 911 when he regained consciousness, but rescue efforts were hindered because he didn't know where he was.
Although the barge's anchor lights were on at the time of the collision, officials say these would have been difficult to detect that evening, especially at the reckless speed which Jojo John, 35, is believed to have been careening.
He is also suspected of operating the vehicle while intoxicated and, accordingly, was arraigned in the hospital where he's currently himself recuperating.
Saturday the body of a woman presumed to be that of 30-year-old Lindsey Stewart was finally recovered from the river, and today crews continue to search for best-man Mark Lennon, 30, who still remains missing.
The crime scene of the Hudson River boating accident at Piermont NY is still being combed, but those criminal counts the driver now faces is an awful reminder that the rules of the road also apply when navigating busy waterways.
On land or at sea, drunk driving is against the law.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Dr. Cyanide Mr. Death: Robert Ferrante arrested for murder

According to police, Dr. Robert Ferrante chronically suspected his much-younger wife of having affairs on him. So in April 2013 the celebrated neurologist ordered up some cyanide, concocted a deadly brew with it, and served it to her smiling.
Dr. Robert Ferrante arrested
It was 30 times the lethal amount and his spouse collapsed almost instantly, dying from acute cyanide poisoning a few days later in the very same hospital where she was head of obstetrics and gynecology.
Thus ended the brilliant career and life of Autumn Klein, a 41-year-old physician and mother of one ... and thus began the investigation into her highly suspicious premature death.
A no brainer
Across the globe tens of thousands of homicides are committed annually, and in the vast majority of these cases the victims are acquainted with or related to their killers.
In fact, sometimes they're even married to them.
Those unwavering crime statistics take the guesswork out of most murders, especially obvious ones like Dr. Autumn Klein's, a woman with everything to live for who was definitely not suicidal.
Klein was also much too healthy to have succumbed to a sudden massive "stroke" or cardiac arrest, as her husband claimed when emergency personnel arrived at their home in Pennsylvania this past spring and found her comatose but still clinging to life.
Over three months later detectives have made it clear: They've never bought into the acclaimed neurosurgeon's on-the-spot diagnosis.
They arrested Dr. Ferrante yesterday for the poisoning death of his bride.
When neuroscientists get neurotic
Like paranoid professor of neuroscience Dr. Amy Bishop gunning down three university colleagues and wounding three more in a campus massacre she'd plotted for months after being denied tenure, a twisted scientist can prove to be quite deadly.
As to the source of Dr. Robert Ferrante's own madness, no evidence of his deceased wife's *affairs* has yet materialized. But a man whom he jealousy believed was her latest paramour has confirmed she intended to discuss with her assassin something he would "not like."
Apparently as early as February 2013, Autumn Klein, weary of her husband's "controlling nature" and his routine accusations concerning her "infidelities," confided in that same male friend that she planned on terminating her unhappy marriage.
That's a fairly standard motive for spousal abuse and homicide, whether done with bare hands,  conventional weapons, or a vial of cyanide.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

JESSICA HEERINGA AND AMY DEPOY: Lookalike Blondes Missing from Norton Shores

Michigan police say Jessica Heeringa 'was abducted', but as to Amy Depoy, who disappeared practically three months to the day, they have no idea yet.
MISSING: Amy Depoy and Jessica Heeringa
Depoy's disappearance a few days ago is similar to Heeringa's in that both abruptly vanished without a trace, leaving behind their cell phones, purses, and other valuables.
Depoy is 38-years-old and just like Heeringa, 25, is an attractive, slender blonde who sometimes wears glasses.
They both have children as well and reside with live-in boyfriends.
Suburban Norton Shores Michigan isn't exactly a high crime area, but the bold abduction of Jessica Heeringa on the night of April 26, 2013 from her place of employment, and the fruitless search for her and the kidnapper/s, has frayed nerves in this area.
Now the possibility of a second woman, almost identical in appearance, disappearing under equally suspicious circumstances leads many residents to fear a serial predator may be living among them.
Certainly, if that is true, abducting another victim doesn't bode well for the first...
Amy Depoy is 5' 8" tall with blonde hair and blue eyes. She was allegedly last seen by her son and reported missing by her mate.
Anyone who has information about Depoy's whereabouts, or that of Heeringa, is asked to call 911 or the Silent Observer at 231-72-CRIME. Tips may also be phoned in to the Muskegon Police Department at 231-724-6750.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

CLEVELAND BODIES FOUND: Another neighborhood serial killer?

Three Cleveland bodies found so far in one of that city's boarded up suburbs -- all African American females, all in the fetal position, all wrapped in plastic garbage bags.
The seemingly endless reports of people being abducted, held in bondage and/or slain in and around this northern metropolis is genuine cause for concern now, and it's suspected that the current carnage may be only the tip of the iceberg.

Held without bail for further questioning in this gruesome case is Michael Madison, a black male in his mid thirties who is said to be "unstable."
According to police the suspect is a registered sex offender living at his mother's address.

They also say this former prison inmate has an obsession with the Sowell series of killings and may therefore be a copycat.
Serial killer Anthony Sowell used his own Cleveland home to torture and kill 11 women he either lured there or abducted. He was sentenced to death in 2011 for multiple homicides and his house of horrors razed.
Today investigators will continue their grisly search on the block where three Cleveland bodies found murdered were unearthed. Officials in charge have intimated they're still unsure if there are more victims and, if so, whether these are also female.
There are many young women missing from this region, including petite blonde Jessica Heeringa who was abducted from Norton Shores, Michigan, less than five hours away. So, based upon the coroner's findings and pending DNA tests, closure may be on the horizon for some bereft loved ones and friends.
Like the Cleveland neighborhood where recently apprehended serial kidnapper and rapist Ariel Castro operated for over a decade, this one too is rundown, with numerous abandoned buildings and vacant lots for predators to lurk and work in...
This case is developing - updates will be filed here or the comment section 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

License plate scanners and the Jessica Heeringa abduction


Fixed or on police cruisers, license plate scanners are being used to track millions of  unsuspecting Americans, it's been revealed this week. Broad illegal searches which have civil libertarians rightly up in arms.
That recent disclosure, coupled with revelations of the government's nonstop internet peeping, made by ex-CIA contractor Edward Snowden in early June this year, shows that indoors or outdoors Big Brother is now watching all of us 24/7.
And yet on the night of April 26, 2013, when underpaid Exxon Mobil-mart employee Jessica Heeringa was abducted as she closed up shop for the night, there where no cameras in her place of business and, allegedly, no license plate scanners along the route that the suspect and his silver minivan took...
Or was there?
A baffling abduction with no searches
Alerted by would be customers who found the Exxon station in Norton Shores Michigan curiously deserted, police were on the scene within minutes of Ms. Heeringa's April kidnapping.
Still, they say they found no clues, except a tiny droplet of blood which later through DNA analysis proved to belong to the 25-year-old blonde mother-of-one.
Fuzzy surveillance video of the suspected vehicle leaving the area that night was obtained from nearby businesses and that silver minivan singularly hunted for in the days, weeks and months since Heeringa has been gone without a trace.
Indeed, so sure was law enforcement about this aspect of the case, that they became fixated on the elusive van, refusing to launch any official ground searches for the victim, and further urging no one else to do so either.
But today stumped investigators worry that what and who they sought for so long may be a red herring in Heeringa's abduction. After all, no one has seen this vehicle ever since that date, nor a 30-something man who supposedly resembles the police sketch of its driver.
Never too late
Of course, as the Cleveland kidnappings have clearly shown us, it's not too late to organize search teams to scour the Norton Shores suburb for a missing woman. In fact, it's a darn good idea because most people who are abducted are taken by men they somehow are acquainted with.
Yes, men.
Generally, though, if a woman or child isn't found within 72 hours, the odds are they've met up with foul play, but, still, that shouldn't prevent folks from hunting for Heeringa, nonetheless.
One way or another, a family in Michigan needs closure now, even if all that is returned to them is their missing loved one's remains.
In the meantime, maybe local police agencies should just man up about their own warrantless surveillance of innocent motorists and cough up their license plate scans for that evening.
Sadistic stranger, fiendish friend, or even a corrupt cop, it couldn't hurt to see who actually was in the vicinity of the crime at that particular hour.
You know? 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

George Zimmerman free: The Trayvon Martin travesty


Little doubt, if Trayvon Martin had been white he'd be alive today.
But walking, driving -- doing anything -- while being black is clearly grounds for suspicion in the United States, a nation with one of the most dismal human rights records for people of a color.
George Zimmerman 'not guilty'
In New York City, it makes you the target of the NYPD, who sees that nonwhite complexion as proof positive you're armed and dangerous, or else some dirty lowdown crack dealer.
Dark skin, dark eyes, dark hair ... yep, that's really all the probable cause needed in America.  

Cops can stop you then, right outside your door, or at the bus stop, or on your lunch break, and, at the very least, subject you to a frisking.
In Florida, you could be but a youth, talking on a cellphone with one hand, carrying candy and a soft drink in the other.
Doesn't matter if those aren't deadly weapons; doesn't matter if you're where you're supposed to be; doesn't matter if you're doing nothing illegal. 
Your race is menacing, your skin color a threat
You can get stalked by a truly armed and dangerous nutter because of it. Assaulted even.
And, should you try to stand your ground and defend yourself from his attack, prevail in the ensuing battle, you can also get yourself shot to death.
It'll be okay, too, as far as the criminal justice system is concerned.
So long as your murderer isn't 'black'.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

YARNELL HILL INVESTIGATION: Where There's Smoke There's Fire

State and federal investigators in Arizona continue to probe the deadly Yarnell Hill fire which killed 19 Hotshot firefighters a week ago, leaving just one survivor from the 20-man crew unharmed -- convicted felon Brendan McDonough.
Brendan McDonough December 2010 arrest photo
McDonough, who served as the team's lookout, was arrested in December 2010 for burglary and trafficking stolen goods, but also had prior problems before that date. Some of which involved alcohol and illegal substances.
He successfully pleaded down the three charges related to felony theft by "acting remorseful" and turning against his crime cohort, Seth Taylor. Otherwise he wouldn't have been permitted to join Granite Mountain's elite but doomed firefighting unit shortly thereafter.
The 21-year-old continues to maintain that he was stationed on a nearby ridge overlooking his colleagues as they were constructing a fire barricade below, and that he informed them the path of the wildfire had dangerously shifted.
He says he then abandoned his post and crew to flee for his own safety.
By today, however, officials are still unable to verify McDonough's alleged location that afternoon and are pressing him to provide further details.
Also hindering their inquiry into the Yarnell Fire is the fact that radio communications between Brendan McDonough and his now-dead teammates apparently weren't recorded.
Drought conditions and dry lightening are believed to be the initial cause of the mountainside blaze, but a dramatic change in wind speed and direction is what prevented the firefighters from reaching their established safe zone only a quarter-mile away.
Investigators say it appears that a wall of flames rapidly encircled the men as they were retreating, although it remains unclear why they would've waited until it was too late to begin to head for shelter.
All 19 victims succumbed in the field from smoke inhalation and burns. As with McDonough, most were only in their twenties.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Smiley Face Killer interview with family of Jeffrey Woodruff

Coming up next in my Smiley Face Killer question-and-answer sessions, I'll be interviewing the family of Jeffrey Woodruff who disappeared and *drowned* late April 2013.
Voices For The Dead, hosted by Eponymous Rox
The athletic 25-year-old had visited Wally's Bar and Grill in Saugatuck Michigan after finishing work on April 27th. But around 10:30 PM that same night he mysteriously vanished from the pub.
His bruised body was found three days later at the bottom of the Kalamazoo River.
The Woodruffs will discuss missing voice messages, deleted video surveillance, midnight calls to 911 about "an unconscious man" in a nearby lot, odd graffiti on the waterfront, and present other forensic evidence that will help shed light on this classic-sounding Smiley Face murder. 
So familiarize yourself with the case of Jeffrey Woodruff in the interim, and keep an eye out for my next Q&A session, coming soon on Killing Killers.
You can also read more Smiley Face Killer interviews already on file in the Voices For The Dead feature. 
Updated from July 3, 2013

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

BURNED ALIVE: Deaths of 19 firefighters killed in Arizona wildfire investigated

That's the question investigators are asking right now in the wake of one of the worst firefighting tragedies since 9/11 took the lives of over 300 of New York City's fearless firemen.
In the immediate aftermath of the Yarnell fire this week, no one was sure yet what went wrong that could have caused all but one member of Granite Mountain's elite 'Hotshot' unit -- Brendan McDonough -- to perish in a mountainside inferno.
Lone survivor and lookout of the Yarnell fire Brendan McDonough
Erratic summer winds, record high temperatures, tinderbox conditions from an unprecedented drought, and perhaps even a deliberate refusal to heed danger or follow lifesaving protocols because the doomed crew members were defending home territory, are all factors currently being explored.
As well, questions surrounding lone survivor McDonough's role in failing to divert the carnage have also been posed, and it's too soon to tell if he's answering these satisfactorily.
As it turned out, Brendan McDonough was spared the same grisly death as his teammates, he says, only because the 21-year-old was stationed at a lookout point well away from the main fire zone.
There, he had been positioned to observe and advise his colleagues on the ground in order to safeguard them as they worked and, if necessary, tell the crew when to drop everything and retreat.
But that didn't happen, or at least not in time. And, even though each man allegedly managed to deploy a fireproof tent at the last minute, the heat and duration of the flames that engulfed the group was just too intense for their apparatus to protect them.
All 19 firefighters killed in Arizona, ranging in age from their early 20s to early 40s, burned to death in the Yarnell fire while McDonough fled to safety.
As a result, nearly a dozen state and federal agencies are now feverishly working side by side to determine once and for all: Was it an accident? Negligence? Or homicide?

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The Mysterious Disappearance of August Reiger

Father's Day, June 16, 2013, an American family of four vacationing in Ecuador takes a jungle hike together on the scenic but hilly trails overlooking the tourist town of Banos. Two brothers suddenly race up ahead ... but only one of them returns. What happened to the other? Was he kidnapped? Did he fall? Is he a runaway? Or was he murdered?
Missing in Ecuador: August Reiger, 18, from OklahomaFulbright scholar, class valedictorian and Oklahoma resident, August Reiger, 18, vanished in thin air on June 16th while exploring Ecuador's picturesque countryside with his mother, father and younger brother, Laithe. 
Laithe ReigerAt one point in the trek the two boys had dashed ahead of their parents, yet, minutes later, only the youngest son rendezvoused with them again.
"He was sitting there waiting," explains Mr. Reiger, "but he hadn't seen his brother."
The steep and winding path the Reiger family took, while secluded, is a popular tourist attraction in this region, and the small town where they were staying, dependably crime free.
In fact, although U.S. and Ecuadoran officials are jointly investigating August Reiger's strange disappearance as an abduction, and even offering a reward to his potential kidnappers, the reality is there's never been an abduction in this area.
Moreover, no ransom note has been delivered...
Adding to the mystery, some locals have since been claiming they might've spotted the youth riding in the back of a pickup truck, apparently headed for the Amazon rainforest.
But others think that's a bit farfetched. They're speculating that Reiger is probably at the bottom of a ravine somewhere, his body hidden from search parties by dense foliage.
What do you think? Is this brilliant young man still among the living? And, if so, where?
[Updated on 7/2/13 from July 1st to include photo of Laithe Reiger]