I’m not a total idiot. The contingent of people on these here Internetz who believe John, Patsy, and Burke Ramsey conspired 12 years ago to rape, murder, and then conceal little JonBenet — for that is essentially what most Ramsey-haters seem to think, in a nutshell — is large, vocal, and relentless. They will try to shoot holes in any evidence that points away from John, Patsy, or Burke. They will do whatever they can to perpetuate their argument. In part, I’m convinced, this is because some people just freaking hate to be wrong.
Where the December 26, 1996 murder of JonBenet Ramsey is concerned, some people also just don’t want to believe what will eventually be revealed as the truth of the matter: someone slipped into the darkened Ramsey home and killed the little girl as the family slept in their beds. That’s a true American nightmare, and to accept that it could happen to the Ramseys is to accept that it could happen to anyone.
I made it clear some time ago that I believed the Ramseys were innocent. This was significant, for me. The boy who grew up poor in South Nashville tends to be suspicious and cynical about rich folks. My cynicism made me want to believe the overly made-up and histrionic mother was the agent of her child’s demise. My cynicism made me suspect the withdrawn and stone-faced father was perhaps a sub rosa molester, that perhaps the mother’s dysfunctional and unstable nature combined with his perversion to bring about their pretty little girl’s death.
Then I really looked at how the Ramseys lived before and after JonBenet. John Ramsey’s profile in the community, his success as a businessman. I examined Patsy’s successes as a young woman and beauty queen in her own right. I’m not a profiler or criminologist, but I truly believe that past behavior will predict future behavior — and in the Ramsey case, there was no known past behavior that might predict this child would end up dead in a basement.
Police flew here to Roswell, GA, where I live, to interview past associates of the Ramseys. They went to Michigan, and of course they talked to anyone and everyone they could think of in Colorado. They did what cops do — they tried to build a story of the family prior to the child’s murder, and that story held no foreboding.
Were the Ramseys dysfunctional? Probably. A lot of people might say all
families are dysfunctional. Was Patsy’s hobby of inserting JonBenet into pageants a little weird, to most outsiders? Hell, yes, it was weird. But not that
kind of weird. If anything, it was, at worst, incautious. It probably didn’t really occur to Patsy at the time just how much the kiddie pageant milieu attracts pedophiles and weirdos. That alone said something about the woman — she probably had a very different, and much more positive view of humanity prior to December 26, 1996.
The Ramseys had problems like everyone else, they had issues like everyone else. If I had known Patsy or knew John in real life, I doubt I would like them, personally. But they did not kill JonBenet.
The Boulder County District Attorney’s Office has published a letter online
detailing why the Ramsey family — John, Burke, and Patsy — are no longer suspects in the murder of JonBenet. From that letter:
In early August of 2007, District Attorney Lacy attended a Continuing Education Program in West Virginia sponsored by the National Institute of Justice on Forensic Biology and DNA. The presenters discussed successful outcomes from a new methodology described as “touch DNA.” One method for sampling for touch DNA is the “scraping method.” In this process, forensic scientists scrape a surface where there is no observable stain or other indication of possible DNA in an effort to recover for analysis any genetic material that might nonetheless be present. This methodology was not well known in this country until recently and is still used infrequently.
In October of 2007, we decided to pursue the possibility of submitting additional items from the JonBenet Ramsey homicide to be examined using this methodology.
The Boulder D.A. finally settled on using Bode Technology, located in Washington, DC, to perform the new tests.
The Bode Technology laboratory applied the “touch DNA” scraping method to both sides of the waist area of the long johns that JonBenet Ramsey was wearing over her underwear when her body was discovered. These sites were chosen because evidence supports the likelihood that the perpetrator removed and/or replaced the long johns, perhaps by handling them on the sides near the waist.
On March 24, 2008, Bode informed us that they had recovered and identified genetic material from both sides of the waist area of the long johns. The unknown male profile previously identified from the inside crotch area of the underwear matched the DNA recovered from the long johns at Bode.
Emphasis was added to the preceding quote.
The Boulder D. A. wasn’t done. Again, from the press release:
We consulted with a DNA expert from a different laboratory, who recommended additional investigation into the remote possibility that the DNA might have come from sources at the autopsy when this clothing was removed. Additional samples were obtained and then analyzed by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation to assist us in this effort. We received those results on June 27th of this year and are, as a result, confidant [sic] that this DNA did not come from innocent sources at the autopsy. As mentioned above, extensive DNA testing had previously excluded people connected to the family and to the investigation as possible innocent sources…
The DNA in question didn’t come from accidental contamination. It came from the killer. The District Attorney: “It is therefore the position of the Boulder District Attorney’s Office that this profile belongs to the perpetrator of the homicide.”
For the Ramseys, the most important paragraph of the letter was this one:
The Boulder District Attorney’s Office does not consider any member of the Ramsey family, including John, Patsy, or Burke Ramsey, as suspects in this case. We make this announcement now because we have recently obtained this new scientific evidence that adds significantly to the exculpatory value of the previous scientific evidence. We do so with full appreciation for the other evidence in this case…
One of the final grafs in the statement was just as significant. It began with this: “For reasons including those discussed above, we believe that justice dictates that the Ramseys be treated only as victims of this very serious crime.”
As I said, I know this won’t change the view of anyone who has been discussing this case online since 1996 — and make no mistake, Ramsey case threads probably marked the first truly widespread discussions of crime on the Web. Too many people have practically built a reputation on the argument that Patsy (and/or John, maybe Burke) did it. It won’t change those peoples’ minds, but it should.
It just affirms what I’ve thought for a while now, and been criticized for thinking. A stranger, or at the very least a non-family member crept into the Ramsey home the night of December 25/26, 1996. He probably had a plan of attack — hence the infamous ransom note. The goal may have been to molest JonBenet, but it may have actually been to kidnap the girl. Whatever it was, it didn’t work out the way the intruder planned.
JonBenet ended up dead in the cellar, and the killer ended up scot-free. The killer may have even escaped suspicion entirely at the time.
I’ve been asking this question for a while, so I’m asking it again: the parents didn’t do it; the brother didn’t do it; who did
Someone moved around that labrynthine house unseen. They were calm enough to write the fake ransom note — likely an indication of a psychopathic mind at work.
Has this person killed again? Has JonBenet’s real killer committed other crimes and been convicted of those?
If JonBenet’s murderer killed again, were the crimes similar in nature? Did he target other children, and was he still just as comfortable creepy-crawling through occupied homes?
I’ve wondered for a while if the State of Colorado has an unknown serial killer at work, one who has ranged from Denver, up to Boulder, and down to Colorado Springs. There are several unsolved crimes from that state’s recent history that are truly troubling and spooky. One example: The Bennetts
. On January, 16, 1984, someone entered the home of Bruce and Debra Bennett in Aurora, CO, a suburb of Denver, and viciously murdered Bruce, Debra and their older daughter Melissa. Debra and Melissa were also raped during the commission of the crime. Vanessa Bennett, the youngest child, barely survived. My wife, Dana, was a kid living in Aurora at the time, and much like the Marcia Trimble case
for me, the Bennett murders had a rather profound effect on her. It’s even crossed my mind — could the Bennett killer, 12 years older and not quite as motivated, have been in the Boulder area on Christmas night, 1996? Boulder is less than 40 miles from Aurora.
My reasons for asking if such a killer is at work in Colorado are purely intuitive at the moment. After all, I’d think that mystery DNA matches might have already indicated such a thing — DNA was how California found out a few years ago that the East Area Rapist/Original Night Stalker
was at work across that state for a decade, between 1976 and 1986. But in that case, it was happenstance that a DNA tech made the connection. Maybe that moment of serendipity hasn’t come to Colorado, yet.
The Ramsey case is officially wide open, now. Chances are good that short of a precise DNA match, it will never be solved. If it is solved, though, I can guarantee one thing, at least — the killer will have some allies among those folks who refuse to ever let go of the idea that John, Patsy and Burke all conspired together in some manner to kill the Ramsey’s youngest child. And if he’s a good little psychopath, he’ll manipulate the hell out of such folks whenever he can to try and get away with it.
(Larkin Vonalt is a writer living in Ohio and until today she was simply a long-time reader of the True Crime Weblog. This well-written contribution is thoughtful, detailed, and tells one of the saddest true crime stories you may ever read. Though her first post here is sad, Larkin’s jump from the comments section to a blog post is truly most welcome. I’m sure you’ll see why I say that once you read the following. ~
On a warm spring afternoon, Maple Hill Avenue is alive with activity. A man edges his lawn, a small boy pedals his Big Wheel the length of a short driveway, a woman up the street is planting flowers. Somewhere a radio is playing and Brenda Lee’s voice floats on the soft spring air: “I can’t understand/I can’t understand how life goes on the way it does…
” The winding tree-lined street is home to well-kept houses set in tidy yards. Number 642, near the crest of the hill, is not unlike its neighbors in that respect. Less than two years ago, it was a very different story.
July 13, 2006 was a warm and damp Thursday. Just before one o’clock the young mother living in the small brick ranch house ran outside to the neighbors’. Her house was on fire; her children were trapped inside. When the afternoon was over, her baby girl was dead, her young son airlifted to a Cincinnati hospital. The boy died two days later. By that time his parents had been arrested — his mother for murder and aggravated arson, his father for rape of a child under ten. A juvenile court judge allowed the father to remain free just long enough to see his young son draw last breath.
Heather Boyd of Kokomo, Indiana and Doron Silverman of Indianapolis met online in 2001. Heather’s mother, Debra R. Boyd, in an interview with the Dayton Daily News, described the young couple as “soul mates.” Kokomo is only 60 miles from Indianapolis, the couple soon met in person. In July 2001, they married at the courthouse and moved into the Indianapolis home of Doron’s adoptive parents, Martin and Deanna Silverman. He was 20; Heather had just turned 19 and was two months pregnant.
Only 4 foot 11 inches tall, and a little plump, Heather Silverman is childlike. Classmates at Taylor High School describe her as “really nice” and “sweet.” Doron Silverman had a juvenile conviction at age 13 for molesting a 5-year-old child. His adoptive sister, Batya, had leveled an accusation of rape against her brother. There is nothing to indicate that Heather was aware of her husband’s history. However, Batya’s enmity towards her brother and his wife is evident in statements she made to the press.
“They lived in my parents’ home while they were married and while she was pregnant with Mikel,” Batya Silverman, 22, told the Dayton Daily News. “My parents provided them with everything.” Her infant nephew, Mikel, born February 2002, shared her bed at the Silverman home.
“From the day I got back from Israel [where she had spent her freshman year of college — Ed.] Mikel was sleeping in my bed. Heather blamed not wanting to be with him on postpartum depression. But she did not bond with that child.”
Doron Silverman had worked at Chuck E. Cheese’s Restaurant in Indianapolis, where he repaired and maintained computer games. Doron was hired when the same job opened at a Dayton franchise, so the little family moved there.
They settled on the south edge of Dayton in the predominantly white West Carrollton. Though considered a suburb, West Carrollton, established 1815, retains its own identity and small-town atmosphere. Many young families make it their home. Doron and Heather bought their house on Maple Hill for $93,000.
Heather found a job at Meijer’s grocery store a few miles away. She worked until August 2005, when morning sickness from her second pregnancy forced her to quit. Heather developed an online presence, creating profiles on MySpace as mystic_kitten82 and on Grab.com and health.exercisefriends.com as babkitten7. She also had a largely unused profile on stupidvideos.com. Her favorite video was of a dancing cat.
On the Grab.com profile, she posted that she was “A stay-at-home mom with one child and one on the way. I also sell Avon.” In one section, she detailed her desires to “Support our troops, save animals, eat vegetables, sing, Be a Great Mom, relax, cook, find friends, play computer games.” The site also reveals that she was looking for friendship and that she hoped that “The world will one day realize that we are destroying our children’s only chance for life by destroying the world.” She posted five photographs of her son, Mikel. The couples’ daughter, Keylee Selena, was born March 6, 2006 in Dayton.
On Memorial Day weekend, Doron, Heather and their children went to Indiana to visit family and attend the Indianapolis 500. Arrangements were made for Mikel to stay overnight with his Aunt Batya and her boyfriend, Joseph Farber.
Court documents allege that after spending the afternoon swimming at the pool in his Aunt’s apartment complex, Mikel was getting ready for a shower when Batya Silverman noticed him “pulling on his penis.” Batya claims that the child, while pointing to his penis, said “Poti, put your mouth on it.” “Poti” was the child’s nickname for his aunt.
Farber was called into the room. When he asked the child about the remark, Mikel did not answer. Farber launched a series of questions: had Mikel seen that behavior in a movie, or had he seen his parents engaged in “such behavior?” In each instance, Mikel said he had not. When Farber asked the boy where he’d learned the behavior, Mikel is reported to have said, “Daddy did it. No more talk.”
Batya Silverman was an undergraduate student in social work and had just completed a class on techniques for interviewing children. The next day she sat Mikel down with pens and a notebook, serving him lunch while she questioned him about the events of the day before.
Batya testified at an evidentiary hearing that after revisiting the queries her boyfriend made, she and Mikel had this exchange: “‘Do you do it to daddy too?’ And he said, ‘Yes.’ And I said, ‘Well, what do you do to daddy’s pee pee?’ And he didn’t respond to me. So, I asked him, ‘Do you kiss it?’ And he very clearly replied, ‘No, I lick it.'”
Batya Silverman asked her boyfriend to watch Mikel, and went to her parents’ house to await her brother’s return from the Indianapolis 500. Heather and Doron arrived to an impromptu “intervention” with Batya, Deanna Silverman, Cindy Rottinghouse (Doron’s biological mother) and Pam, a friend of Cindy’s.
According to court documents, Batya confronted her brother with what Mikel said. When Doron didn’t respond, she accused him of molesting her years before. Doron said that he didn’t remember molesting Batya and he fled the house with Heather following, Batya on their heels. Heather asked Doron if he had “done anything” to Mikel.
“Maybe I did, I don’t remember these things,” he said.
The Dayton Daily News
reported that the day after the “intervention,” Heather Silverman characterized her mood as “angry” on her MySpace blog.
“If I collected my tears thru my life they would fill the Grand Canyon,” she wrote. “Be kind to others, be good, don’t lie, don’t injure, always ask before accusing, always love and care, never ever yell it never helps.”
In a collective decision, Cindy Rottinghouse took Keylee and Mikel for a week, intending to hand them off to Deanna and Martin Silverman for ten days “so that the children would be safe, and Doron could get help,” Batya Silverman testified. However, on June 5 Batya discovered that the children had been returned to their parents rather than following the prescribed plan. She called Childrens’ Services in Montgomery County, Ohio.
Based on Batya Silverman’s complaint, Childrens’ Services enacted a “safety plan” for the Silverman family, which forbade Doron Silverman’s presence in the home, and also stipulated that he “not be around children.” Silverman continued to work at Chuck E. Cheese, as his job maintaining gaming systems didn’t require interaction with children. He moved from the Maple Hill house to a Red Roof Inn in a neighboring town.
Five days after her call to Childrens’ Services, Batya Silverman complained to the West Carrollton police department. Detectives Mark Allison and Robert Bell launched an investigation, starting the next day with a visit to the Silverman home. They spoke with Heather, who agreed that she and Doron would appear for questioning at the West Carrollton police department the next day.
Heather and Doron were interviewed separately, Heather first. Some specifics of the interview with Doron Silverman have been contested in Silverman’s appeal to the state Supreme Court, though initially both parties agreed that Doron Silverman “admitted to having Mikel’s penis in his mouth while in the bathtub with him and to fondling his son.”
Bell testified in a hearing in the Montgomery County Court that Mikel “would crawl over (Silverman’s) naked body like ‘a jungle gym’ and sometimes touch his father’s genitals.” Silverman told the detectives he was so distressed by his behavior with his son that he sought counseling and avoided seeing his son naked. He also offered that he would have to resign his job at Chuck E. Cheese as he was “sexually interested” in the children he observed there.
Doron Silverman left his job the very next day, June 14. He met with the restaurant manager, explaining that he was under investigation, due to a “child abuse” complaint made by his “in-laws,” and that Childrens’ Services stipulated that he was “not to be around children.”
Later that day, detectives appeared at the Silverman’s motel room, wanting to search his laptop computer. They were rebuffed, according to an affidavit filed in the case. On June 21 a search warrant was issued and police searched the couples’ house, vehicles and motel room. Among the items seized were cell phones, a computer, a video recorder, computer disks and a “nanny-cam” that was in one of the bedrooms.
Twice the West Carrollton police department interviewed Mikel Silverman. Jeffrey Rezabek, Heather Silverman’s attorney in the child abuse case, stated that after both interviews there were allegations that the boy was being “coached.” The “safety plan” put into place by Childrens’ Services was due to expire Thursday night, July 13. Rezabek believed Childrens’ Services planned to seek custody of the children at a hearing, as caseworkers felt that Heather would not sign another “safety plan.”
In the days leading up to the July 13 deadline, Heather went online to ask for prayers. The Dayton Daily News
quoted writing from her My Space page: “I ask of any (and) all to pray for our family. It is being ripped apart and I’m gonna lose everything.” She did not disclose exactly what was going on, but her distress was clear.
On a rainy Thursday a caseworker from Childrens’ Services visited the Maple Hill house to tell Heather that a hearing was scheduled in Juvenile Court that afternoon at 3 p.m. The agency would be seeking custody of the children. Heather was reported to be “cooperative” and mentioned that she might bring her attorney to the hearing.
Heather Silverman then set out candles in the bathroom. Later she told investigators she was preparing to take a shower. Wrapping gasoline soaked rags around the lit candles, she closed the door. The Dayton CBS affiliate reported that she closed the children inside the bathroom, but this was never confirmed in print media or in any court document; it may have been a leap made by the television station.
News reports state that Heather helped her son to the front door, where he was rescued by J.W. Lunsford, a mover working in the neighborhood. Lunsford grabbed the boy and ran across the street with him. Mikel sat on the grass in shock, his body and clothing smoking. Heather Silverman was treated at the scene for burns on her hands, said to have occurred while she was trying to extricate Keylee from her infant seat. Sarah Busby, a neighbor, tried to get into the house to save the baby, but was prevented by flames and smoke. Her mother, Pattie, across the street, made a desperate call to 911.
Mikel, 80 percent of his body covered with second and third degree burns, was airlifted to Shriners Hospital in Cincinnati. Despite many attempts, no one could get to Keylee Silverman and she burned to death inside the house. Her tiny body was removed after the fire was extinguished.
On Friday, the police department issued an arrest warrant for Heather Silverman. She was taken into custody at her son’s hospital bedside. On Saturday, a warrant was issued for Doron Silverman on the child rape charges, but he was allowed to stay with Mikel in the child’s last hours. He was said to be holding Mikel’s hand when the boy died.
Batya Silverman learned of her nephew’s death by reading about it online, even though Cincinnati is only 110 miles from her residence in Indianapolis. She told Dayton reporters that she believed Heather had killed her own children to prevent Batya from “getting” Mikel.
Cathy Mong, of the Daily News
, wrote that Batya “painted a picture of Heather and Doron as parents who were cold and aloof, manipulative and emotionally needy, a mother and father who never bonded with their children.” Along with unsubstantiated charges that the children were malnourished, the aunt told the reporter “Neither of them deserved a child so exceptional,” and that “(she) would have gone there and died for him.”
In sharp contrast, Debra Boyd remembers her daughter and son-in-law as attentive and interested parents. Her recollections are of a doting couple, devoted to their son, and thrilled with their new baby girl. Though both families saw the couple frequently, and Batya Silverman described her family as “supportive” of her brother, all were absent when the chips came down.
In the months after the fire, numerous Internet groups turned their attention to the Silverman tragedy. One group, VOCA (Voices of Children Alliance) engaged in ending what they see as Gestapo tactics of childrens’ welfare organizations, decided that Heather Silverman had killed her children ‘pre-emptively,” to prevent their loss to the system. A white supremacist group blogged, “Jewish Parents Rape and Kill Children.” (Doron Silverman’s adoptive parents are Jewish, but Heather and Doron are not.) On sites like Websleuths and Mydeathspace, posters called for the rape, mutilation and murder of both Silvermans. The D.A., Mathias Heck, issued a statement calling the Silvermans “evil and twisted” and cast aspersions on the media for their “sensationalist” coverage.
Heather Silverman’s case was assigned to Christopher Tucker, a public defender. She was examined by two independent psychiatrists, found to be not competent to stand trial, and remanded to Twin Valleys Behavioral Health Center for six months.
Doron Silverman stood trial in December 2006 and was found not guilty of rape, but guilty of gross sexual imposition on a person under thirteen years of age. He was sentenced to five years in prison. In February of this year, the state Supreme Court heard his case on appeal, overturning his conviction on the basis that the testimony on Mikel’s behalf was hearsay made by an admittedly hostile witness. He has been released from custody.
Heather Silverman was re-examined a year ago and found to be competent. Her trial was to begin this week. However, on April 23, she went before the court and pled guilty to the murder of her two children.
Now there are only questions. Was Heather Silverman planning to immolate herself in the fire as well? Were her actions some kind of terrible manifestation of post-partum depression? Did she kill her children to save her husband? Even if we know the answers, it doesn’t change the facts.
Two small children are dead. A woman who wanted to be “a great mom” has committed a terrible crime and will say no more. A man convicted of gross sexual imposition on his four year old son walks free.
And in the Silvermans’ old neighborhood, the radio plays Brenda Lee:
Why does my heart go on beating
Why do these eyes of mine cry
Don’t they know it’s the end of the world
It ended when you said goodbye.
SEE UPDATE AT BOTTOM OF ENTRY.
Carmine Edmund Baffa, 52, ran seminars across the country, stalking through starry-eyed crowds hanging on his every word, wearing a headset mic as he instructed others on how they could achieve “life improvement.” Baffa was all about “Human Performance Engineering.” He tacked Ph.D. at the end of his name
, and apparently, plenty of people bought into what Baffa was selling.
Baffa, a resident of Lawrenceville, GA, was arrested April 9 and is in the Gwinnett County Jail, charged with raping two teen girls, aged 13 and 19. While local Atlanta media has referenced
“two separate incidents,” Baffa’s charge sheet, available online
as of April 17, shows multiple charges. They include aggravated sexual battery, aggravated child molestation, and rape.
While Baffa traveled nationwide for seminars, his alleged crimes occurred in a private setting at his Georgia residence. The victims told police that they were raped during therapy sessions. Though Baffa was supposedly a hypnotist, his alleged victims were not under any kind of hypnotic spell. Police believe Baffa committed rape as part of furthering the patients’ “treatment.”
Gwinnett County Police Department spokeswoman Cpl. Illana Spellman told local reporters that adults being treated by Baffa “[S]aid they knew what was going on, but were convinced that it would help their treatment.”
Spellman also said that legitimate therapists referred patients to Baffa, who presented himself as a psychotherapist. In reality, Carmine Baffa was “not a licensed therapist” in any way, according to Cpl. Spellman.
For his “Mindsight” seminars, Baffa traveled to Chicago and Los Angeles in addition to holding seminars in the Atlanta area.
Baffa’s website, Carmine.net
, appeared to be “under construction,” but at one time it contained a great deal of writing by Baffa, some of it quite creepy in light of the recent charges against him. He’d posted many of the articles as responses to various discussions in Usenet groups, message boards that have been online in one form or another since the 1980s. Some were still online as of April 17, 2008, but it looked as though any links to the writing from the main page of Baffa’s website had been severed.
One “Internet Response From Carmine Baffa, Creator of Human Performance Engineering,” was titled, “NLP and Sex
.” NLP referred to “neuro-linguistic programming
.” Wikipedia described NLP as “an interpersonal communication model and an alternative approach to psychotherapy” that was “based on the subjective study of language, communication and personal change.”
In “NLP and Sex,” Baffa wrote the following:
This, by far, is one of my favorite subjects. At least that’s the way I feel today. I often wonder about how so many people could experience anything other than wanton desire that moves toward passionate sexual arousal. My question has been the opposite. How do I turn it off?
Of course, the results of having internalized the skills of NLP has only added to my misery. Now, not only do I live in a state of heightened sexual arousal, it has become very contagious. Or is that contiguous, as the feelings have connected to everything else. I can’t go anywhere without profoundly eliciting in those I come into contact with deeply felt arousal and attraction…
Baffa paused the slithery digression into his “heightened sexual arousal” to explain some things:
Putting the fun aside for a moment, let me seriously answer your question. First, you learn, in so far, the entire skill set called NLP, then you elicit anything you want, period…
Later, Baffa expanded on what NLP had done for him when it came to getting “anything” he wanted:
For me, the process of learning NLP/DHE(TM) has been an adventure. One that has enhanced every single area of my entire world. Life for me is fantastic! I continue having the ongoing experience of being able to do what ever I want to do. I only work an average of three hours a day while making as much money as I want to. I am involved in the most enjoyable, caring, fun, loving, dynamic, pleasurable, intimate relationship imaginable. I do what I want, learn what I want, go where I want, get what I want, experience what I want to experience – always! In fact, my life while awake is far better than any dream I have ever had. And since I only need about three hours of sleep in every twenty-four hour period, I have plenty of time to enjoy it all.
Why stop at just sexual arousal and attraction when you could live all of your dreams? Every single one of them!
Carmine Baffa’s words described an ideal existence for a predatory, antisocial personality — little to no work and constant self-satisfaction. In light of the charges against him, his words about neuro-linguistic programming and sex induce some queasiness. The message — for it was originally posted in a newsgroup that by and large loathed him — seemed to hint that he’d been doing what he wanted for some time.
A similar “Internet Response” from Baffa addressed “Kids Learning NLP
.” Baffa wrote:
Pretty much as a rule, when people have attended one of my trainings their children were always invited for free. I have had children ages seven to over sixty attend trainings.
As I think about it, when there were children in the trainings, they always wound up becoming my assistants. It was as if they were learning the information by osmosis…
Baffa is now charged with multiple counts of child molestation, so there was no small amount of irony in a later part of the same “Response”:
Some of the side effects, if you will, that have materialized through the children who have attended these trainings are: 1. the automatic ability to effectively calibrate how far a particular person can be trusted, 2. accelerated learning abilities – where actual study time was cut to a fraction while comprehension increased (not only that, but how they were able to usefully utilize what they were comprehending was uncanny), 3. the automatic ability to make better decisions about the choices that were offered to them in all contexts…
If the charges against Baffa are true, those children who learned how to “calibrate” a level of trust for another through NLP should have run screaming from the seminar leader himself.
Because Baffa traveled a great deal and had other potentially vulnerable patients, anyone with more information about the phony therapist and alleged rapist should Gwinnett County investigator Diane King at 770-513-5356.
I’ve started a thread about this case here
Carmine Baffa was also a freelance videographer
with a full set of camera equipment.
One of Baffa’s confirmed e-mail addresses led to this private MySpace:
Note the age given on the profile. Baffa is 52. Public records indicated a marriage in Texas to a woman in her thirties in 2001, but she would be approaching 40 now.
Other blogs: The Dreamin’ Demon has a post up about Baffa
UPDATE, 6:18 p.m. ET
Carmine Baffa’s birth date, according to the list of inmates
currently in the Gwinnett County Detention Center (he was first on the list as of 4/17), is 02/15/1956
In Broward County, Florida court records, partially available online
, there was a felony case involving a defendant named Carmine Baffa from October, 1985. That
Carmine Baffa’s birthdate was 02/15/1955
. The charge was for “dealing in stolen property.” The case’s status read “disposition entered.” Here’s how the Broward County Courts website explains that status:
Case and count status of “disposition entered” signifies that although either a Court ruled on or disposed of the underlying case or count, or it was otherwise disposed of by operation of law, it nonetheless allows for the possibility that there may still be other actions or matters pending or due on or related to that case or count, including but not limited to, fine, fee or cost payments due; probation, restitution or special conditions pending; attorney’s fees motions pending; defendant declared unable to stand trial and committed to a hospital; appeals pending; and others…
This post may be updated and revised.
(The video below was another promotional video Baffa posted on his website. He titled it “Changing Personal History.” Something he’d probably like to do right now.
If you recall “Klutzo the Clown and his International Travels
” from October 11, 2007, then it is my duty to inform you that Klutzo, Amon Paul Carlock, may have been tased into eternity
by his jailers on Friday, November 16, 2007.
Carlock, a former preacher, cop, and corrections officer, was facing charges of possessing child porn, among other things.
Apparently Carlock began “having problems” after a guard used a taser to “subdue” him.
But officials at the jail where Carlock was being held initially blamed his death on a “medical condition.”
Fifty-thousand volts from a taser alone may seem a just fate for an accused child pornographer and molester, but Carlock’s death
may be yet another instance that calls the use of the taser by corrections and law enforcement officers into question.
Still, if a man Paul Carlock’s age thought he could get into some sort of “struggle” with a guard and get away without being hurt… it seems like it was either stupid or suicidal, on his part.
Maybe a bit of both.
Springfield, Illinois resident Klutzo the Clown was arrested October 9, 2007 and charged with possession of child pornography. Authorities allege that Klutzo, who is actually named A. (for Amon) Paul Carlock, Jr., took photos of nude little boys at an orphanage in the Philippines.
It’s tempting to make some sort of joke relating to Krusty the Clown
and that other Springfield, but there’s really nothing funny about this story, if you just stop and think about it.
On paper, Paul Carlock Jr. looked like a true pillar of the community, the kind of guy you might actually want to be around your kid: he’d worked over 2 decades in law enforcement, as a Juvenile Counselor for the Illinois Department of Corrections; he’d been a patrolman and then a Youth Division detective for the Springfield PD; he was an ordained minister.
Carlock frequently performed as a clown with his wife — he was Klutzo, she was “Smilee.” No hint of anything inappropriate could be gleaned from the couples’ website (his wife is not charged with anything and may have even filed for divorce):
[link goes to archived version, original site down].
If the charges against A. Paul Carlock Jr. are true, he was a predator. Hindsight makes some messages that Carlock left on the Web look more suspicious than they probably seemed when he made them.
According to the complaint
filed against Carlock by the feds, he was stopped at the San Francisco International Airport on June 12, 2007 in part because he was coming from the Philippines, and that country is “considered high risk for child sex tourism and child pornography.”
Carlock said he’d been there to visit an orphanage named “House of Joy.”
He also said he’d been there before.
This appears to be the home page for the “House of Joy.”
A guestbook could be found here
. A third of the way down the page was this message, left sometime prior to 2006 — emphasis has been added:
I hope everyone is fine there. From your site it seems that all is well.
I hope to come again sometime in 2006. Would love to clown at the schools while there.
If it is possible, I would like to stay busy by helping your house parents. Maybe they could take a few days off with pay while I fill in for them free of charge.
Paul Carlock “Klutzo”
Springfield, Illinois USA
The next mention of Klutzo associated with the “House of Joy” was found halfway down this web page
House of Joy has a visitor from Illinois, USA. He is Paul Carlock, a policeman and a professional clown. He will stay for 3 weeks.
His daily schedule was very busy because he go to one school to another to share his talent to the children.
Mr.Paul Carlock, thank you for entertaining the children of House of Joy and the Children of San Isidro.
The photos accompanying the blurb about Klutzo were all uploaded in February, 2004.
Paul “Klutzo” Carlock Jr. had photos with him when the authorities stopped him in June, too. They were, according to the complaint, “numerous images of nude young males,” who were between 5 and 10 years of age. The boys were shown “playing, showering, and sitting clothed but with genitals visible.” Some children were aware of the camera, others were not.
A. Paul Carlock Jr. from Illinois also had an Amazon profile
. He said he was a “filmfanatic,” and he’d reviewed 10 movies. The movies are interesting by themselves, but it is more illustrative of where Carlock was coming from to note the “tags” he used for the movies he liked. Again, emphasis has been added:
boy (3), devotion (2), loyalty (2), bonding (1), child (1), coming of age (1), comitment (1), commitment (1), crafty (1), endearment (1), goofy (1), hope (1), kidnapping (1), love (1), miracle (1), mischievous fun (1), moving (1), parenting (1), relationship (1), silly (1), socialization (1), trickster (1)
It isn’t the sort of evidence that would make it into a court case against Carlock, but again, in hindsight, it is hard to read the list of tags above and not nod and think, “it figures.” To read Paul Carlock’s reviews of various DVDs, most of them with children prominently displayed on the covers, click here
Carlock tried to explain his way out of the situation in San Francisco. He said of the nude children, “That’s how they live.”
But by mid-September, the jig was up for Klutzo. Authorities in the Philippines interviewed three children, a 9-year-old and two 10-year-olds. From the October 9th complaint against Carlock:
All three minors made sworn statements in which they stated that they woke up to Paul Carlock fondling and caressing their penis and that he walked out of the room when they awoke.
Back in the States, Carlock’s wife told investigators that Klutzo had been in the Big Brothers program for about 2 months. A 6-year-old boy was assigned to Carlock.
The boy was interviewed. He had not been molested, but one of the two DVDs he’d been given by Carlock held photos of nude filipino boys and girls.
Investigators had seized computers and other media from Carlock by the end of September. The complaint stated that they found more than 20 movies on various items taken from Carlock’s home — all of it child pornography.
The feds will have the last laugh on Klutzo the Clown.
Consider, though — Carlock was born in 1949, and by his own account
, he’s been “involved in pastoral ministry, Christian education, Christian camping and evangelism since 1967.”
Reading about how Paul Carlock was into “Christian camping” (whatever that
is) 40 years ago was enough to induce some queasiness. After all, how long could this “orphan toucher’s” (thanks, BelchSpeak
) trail of victims be? Surely he didn’t start “touching” in his 50s?
If Carlock is
guilty of molestation, child-sex tourism, and the child porn charges against him, he has been a demonstrable hypocrite for more than 20 years. The Peoria Journal Star
reported the following on October 10:
In December 1986, Carlock wrote a letter to the State Journal-Register complaining about a cartoon. In it, he said he was a conservative Christian and not ashamed of the fact.
“I am not in favor of censorship, but do feel that far too much ‘smut’ has been poured into the minds of Americans by all forms of media,” he wrote.
“I have spent the past 16 years in law enforcement and related professions. I have spoken with victims and offenders and have read many case histories in which pornographic materials played an overwhelming role in the events that have left lives shattered and homes broken.”
Later in the letter, he wrote: “Why is it so unreasonable to assume the government has the right to protect the public from the harmful effects of pornography (especially in light of the vast amounts of evidence to support this claim)?”
There are plenty of adults who have an appropriate
interest in children. Coaches who just want to teach kids to love a game, to enjoy sports. Teachers who feel called to mold young minds: Ministers, rabbis or [even] priests who feel led to teach children spiritually.
When people want to bemoan a culture of fear, where a normal adult male might walk away from an unfamiliar child crying and alone in a shopping mall for fear of being viewed as a predator if he speaks to the kid, they are forgetting the reason that fear has grown — stories about guys who play the clown.
Tubby, funny, surely endearing, and just waiting for the time when the orphans finally fall asleep.
Magnanimous in their casual offers to help beleaguered single parents, foster parents, house parents, always “free of charge
The Springfield (Il.) State Journal-Register has a new article about Carlock up today. The lede is a statement that should come as no surprise:
One thing appears certain. Wherever A. Paul Carlock Jr. was, children were not far away.
Word to the wise: Know which Klutzo is which, people
. Some poor schmuck named Jerry Kautz had been using the same clown moniker for ages, and naturally (since the world is chock full of incredibly stupid people) after Amon Paul Carlock Jr. was arrested, poor old Jerry started getting hate mail and death threats.
*Sigh.* I just hope none of those nimrods read any of my blog entries.
Other Source: “Christian Clown Busted For Kiddie Porn,
” WaPo’s OFF/beat Weblog
This entry has also been published at In Cold Blog.
The story of Klutzo the Clown ends strangely. Go here to see what I mean.
Police in Nye County, NV have named a person of interest in connection with a tape of child sexual abuse turned into Nye County authorities. They are seeking Chester Arthur Stiles, a sex offender wanted by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. Click the image on the left to see a comparison between Stiles’s mugshot and a still from the video distributed by the Nye County investigators.
Chester Arthur Stiles is 6’3″, weighs 190, has brown hair and green eyes. He is 34 years old.
Nye County authorities would not call Stiles a suspect in a press conference aired on MSNBC. They did give a description of Stiles and stated that they wanted to talk to him about the tape of a little girl being sexually abused that recently came to national attention after a man named Darren Tuck gave the tape to investigators [link].
In the same press conference, police gave a possible name for the young victim seen on the tape — it is believed she is named Madison.
Stiles is a fugitive already from non sex-related charges. His whereabouts are unknown.
This entry will be updated.
UPDATE 1, 3:55 p.m. ET
Chester Arthur Stiles is wanted in connection with another abuse case, according to The Smoking Gun.
In 2003 a six-year-old little girl reported to Clark County NV authorities that Stiles had touched her private parts and kissed her, sticking his tongue in her mouth. Stiles told the girl to not tell anyone because he liked her and wanted to be able to see her again.
America’s Most Wanted has an update to their pages about this case as well.
Chet Stiles lives in a very small world at the moment.
UPDATE 2, 4:19 p.m. ET
Stiles is a habitual criminal. He pled guilty to a charge of criminal conspiracy and motor vehicle theft in Clark County, NV in 2001.
In 1999 Stiles was charged in the same County with “aiming/discharging a weapon at” a person. With that came a charge of carrying a concealed weapon.
Stiles pled guilty to the latter charge and negotiated a sentence for the former charge.
He may be a danger to anyone he encounters if the charges from 1999 are any indication.
UPDATE 3, 9:14 p.m. ET
As was noted in the comments left on this entry, the little girl seen in the tape has been found and is said to be safe. Hopefully there may be some lead to the whereabouts of Chester Stiles to be found in the people around her.
(This entry has been cross-posted to In Cold Blog
Richard Allen Dobeski, age 59, has spent most of his life in prison. When he was just 16, Dobeski murdered a 6-year-old girl and her little brother, age 3.
On August 31, 2007, the 59-year-old Westville, Indiana resident was arrested again. His alleged crimes again involved children.
Police in Monterey, IN believe Dobeski offered two children age 11 and under up to fifty bucks to ‘pose’ for photos. Dobeski allegedly wanted to take the photos at a beach. Now the ex-con faces felony charges for enticing a child and “attempted criminal confinement.” His bail has been set at $100,000.
The Pulaski County (IN) prosecutor told the LaPorte County Herald-Argus
that Dobeski asked the children he approached in Monterey if they wanted “to be models.”
The murders that saw the teen Dobeski supposedly jailed for life occurred on August 31, 1964. Dobeski’s arrest in Indiana occurred exactly 43 years to the day after he killed Shawn Johnston and her brother Cary.
If you’ve never heard of Joseph Edward Duncan III
, the story of Richard Dobeski might sound new to you. If you’ve been through the archives related to Duncan at HuffCrimeBlog.com or even better, Jules Hammer’s The Cellar, (Jetd63.blogspot.com)
, then Richard Dobeski will be familiar. Too familiar…
Michigan State Police arrested Richard Dobeski on September 1, 1964 in New Buffalo, Michigan.
Troopers Darrell Wellman and Herbert Kuipers found the boy on the beach by Lake Michigan, in the Michiana Shores resort area. After authorities in Michigan and Northern Indiana hunted all night for Dobeski, someone tipped the State cops to a sighting of a boy walking on the beach. Wellman and Kuipers simply followed Dobeski’s tracks in the sand.
The tracks led to a tall, slender boy with a blond crewcut hiding in the dunes.
“Are you Richard Dobeski?”
Dobeski was arrested without incident.
The Dobeski family lived in Long Beach, IN, just south of the Michigan/Indiana state line. Their next door neighbors were Jack Johnston, an advertising executive, his wife Judy, and their children, Shawn and Cary.
Shawn and Cary didn’t come home on the night of August 31, 1964. By 8 p.m., an alarm was raised.
Richard Dobeski’s mother Lucille found the brother and sister around 10 that night. She opened a trap door covering a crawlspace beneath the Dobeski home. There, in a place Richard Dobeski called “The Pit,” were the brutalized bodies of the Johnston children.
Tightly knotted cords were around the siblings’ throats. Shawn Johnston’s hands were bound behind her back. An autopsy later showed that Shawn’s brother Cary died of multiple stab wounds to his neck and chest. Shawn was strangled to death.
Near the small bodies police found a blood-stained length of pipe, a pocket knife, and part of a brick.
He’d once been a “handsome teenage boy,” a “mathematics whiz and a regular churchgoer.”
In 2003 Richard Allen Dobeski was a fifty-something male with decades of prison behind him. A free man finally, he wanted a college education.
Allyn West, then a senior journalism major at Ball State University, believed that Dobeski deserved the chance.
Writing in a column titled “Charmingly Disheveled,” West briefly sketched Dobeski’s situation:
Dobeski was released from a Michigan City prison on Sept. 18 after serving half of his 80-year sentence.
People are trusting (or perhaps naive) to think that after 40 years in prison, Dobeski has been rehabilitated and changed. The weight of his crimes has sparred with his conscience since he was a teen-ager. Surely four decades of faithful, lonely incarceration have eliminated his threat…
West supported his argument:
Without a doubt, Dobeski has a dark, violent and frightening history, but that does not mean he will always be a dark, violent and frightening criminal.
The Indiana Department of Corrections thinks similarly. It has approved his release, and prison psychiatrists, with whom Dobeski spent years, have pronounced him “cured.”
The collegiate columnist took a preemptive strike at his school:
[Dobeski], and his application, will also be ridiculously (but rightly) scrutinized by the admissions office, the Muncie and Ball State news media and the city and university governance.
His leash is short enough that, if he gives authorities the slightest reason, he’ll be jerked right back into prison, probably for the rest of his life.
Dobeski poses no more threat to Ball State’s students and the surrounding neighborhoods’ children than rush-hour traffic, poisonous household chemicals or freak accidents. He is (and always will be) a convicted murderer. But the state’s professionals believe he is rehabilitated…
West’s faith in “the state’s professionals” was probably misplaced. “Professionals” had been wrong about Richard Dobeski before.
Richard Allen Dobeski’s need to molest, to harm children was already a problem when he lured the Johnston children into what Dobeski referred to as his “pit.”
Dobeski molested other children as early as 1961. He would have only been 12 or 13. Even though he was a highly intelligent, eminently presentable boy, his mother was finally convinced in 1963 that he needed to be institutionalized. She’d resisted for quite some time. An episode where Dobeski allegedly tied a young girl to a tree may have been the catalyst for Lucille’s acquiescence.
Dobeski spent 11 months being treated at the LaRue Carter Hospital in Indianapolis between mid-1963 and August, 1964. He was “on leave” from the Hospital when he murdered the Johnston children. After so much time under in-patient care, “professionals” at LaRue Carter believed their charge was making some headway.
Dobeski’s prosecution stretched through 1965. Interesting testimony was reported in October of that year. That was when three psychiatrists testified that Dobeski had a “character disorder.” The boy in the courtroom that day was not, in their estimation, psychotic.
It was not stated outright, but it seemed like these practitioners were talking about a psychopath.
A brief article published on September 4, 1964 supported such an inference. From UPI, by way of the Anderson, Indiana Herald — emphasis has been added:
Authorities Thursday questioned Richard Dobeski, 16, Long Beach, in connection with the slaying of two small children, while he laughed and smiled and showed no signs of remorse.
Richard Dobeski started early in life. Inside him two primal impulses were irrevocably fused. He was what he was, and he couldn’t change that. He could behave outwardly like any other kid, even while his own mother was trying to deal with the grisly scene she’d found beneath her pantry.
Dobeski was sentenced to life in prison in October, 1965.
Prison, if anything, may have made him an expert at seeming
From a thread in the Indianapolis forum at Topix.net, part of a post made on April 25, 2007:
The prison system and the philosophies it operates under is also a couple centuries old. It too needs an in-debth [sic] examination.
How can a state government think it is fair, proper, and conducive to rehabilitation to send its prisoner citizens 2000 miles away from their families — as in the case of the Arizona inmates being housed at the New Castle facility. And remember that Arizona is there because California backed out of a deal.
Indiana has also sent its inmates to New Mexico and Tennessee.
Maybe this is a warning call to get people questioning how their tax dollars are being spent.
From the arrest process (example: Chicago torturing confessions from suspects) through the trial process (example: this case only on “eyewitness” identification) and the subsequent incarceration after: The system need to be redesigned. There are just too many mistakes.
We may not be able to change the past, but do we have to continue doing the same old things into the future? Isn’t it time to bring “criminal justice” into conformity with the 21 st century?
The poster signed off:
Citizens United for Rehabilitation of Errants
It was a weirdly familiar refrain from an ex-con who had served time for violent, sexually-motivated crime. Read the following from a blog entry by Joseph Edward Duncan III, convicted serial killer of children:
I have been very patient with this whole injustice, telling myself that everyone suffers injustice of some kind. But I can feel it now starting to approach the limits of my tolerance. I can’t afford an attorney, and even if I could I don’t know if it would do any good. It seems the Law is dictated by popular opinion (and we all know how reliable that is) with no rationality. I feel close to cracking, and I don’t even know what that means. I keep feeling like I want to cry, I have not felt this stressed in a long time.
The message from both men seemed to be “I am an intelligent ex-con, and I know how to fix things for my brothers still behind bars.”
Viewed on the surface, Duncan and Dobeski might appear to share a sense of being called to assist others who have been in prison. A deeper look might reveal their pontificating on how best to reform “the system” as simply another expression of each man’s true self — the supremely arrogant, all-knowing stance of the psychopath, eternally a legend in his own mind.
Unlike Duncan, Dobeski seemed at first enough of a success that even the Indiana Department of Corrections saw fit to quote him in a press release
. In the release written by Java Ahmed in 2006, Dobeski touched on the theme he later covered in his Topix post:
Richard Dobeski served 40 years in the state prison system. When he got out, he says, he got “$75 and a pat on the back.”
Dobeski was a teenager when he murdered a 6-year-old girl and her 3-year-old brother in the crawl space of his home in the affluent Lake Michigan community of Long Beach. He says he paid the price the state set.
“The prisons system in this state was about punishment and housing prisoners. There was no rehabilitation, no re-entry,” he said.
Dobeski was fortunate to have a network of friends and family members to support him when he was released in 2003. Now living in Michigan City, he’s staying out of trouble, but said other inmates who gain their release often have little support in finding jobs, a place to live, and counseling.
Was Dobeski really staying out of trouble?
That’s the question to ask.
Joseph Edward Duncan III certainly seemed like he was staying out of trouble. Right up to the moment he absconded from his address in Fargo, ND and went on to massacre the Groene family in Coeur d’Alene, ID.
After Duncan was arrested, it became clear that he might have been killing children since the mid-’90s.
Duncan got started early. He entered prison at age 17. He spent 20 years learning how to become an even better manipulator, a better criminal
, and exited his incarceration ready to pick up exactly where he left off.
and Ed Kemper
followed similar patterns. Both committed violent crimes when they were young, and when they got out of lockup — or in Kemper’s case, “treatment” not unlike the treatment given to Dobeski — they simply started killing again. Profilers underestimated Shawcross’s age when he was still an unknown subject by nearly the same number of years he was incarcerated.
Even though Richard Dobeski began abusing children when he was still a child himself, even though he committed a truly horrific double murder at age 16, there is still a chance he was a perfectly upstanding citizen between his release in 2003 and his arrest on August 31, 2007. If he did attempt to take two children to the beach for “modeling,” it might have been a momentary aberration. Stress from elsewhere in his life might have sent Dobeski spiralling back into an inner place he tried to leave in his youth. Even the suggestion of the beach (again, if the charges are true) smacks of this.
I imagine, though, that authorities in Michigan and Indiana, perhaps nearby states like Illinois, are taking a hard look at any missing childrens’ cases, any unsolved murders of young people from the last 4 years.
A person who would laugh and talk normally with cops hours after he murdered two small children can’t really grow a conscience. They can, at best, only learn to restrain their predatory impulses, impulses as natural to them as breathing.
The state psychiatrists apparently considered Dobeski cured.
Maybe the state needs to cure itself of those psychiatrists, and any laws still on the books that might ever put another vicious double-murderer back on the street again.
Any updates will be added below.