The Glen Carbon Killings—Tracking a Serial Killer

In continuing the celebration of the 10 year anniversary of THE PAWN, as promised, here’s another interview transcript from Crime View TV—this time, featuring Patrick Bowers.

TRANSCRIPT OF:

Crime View Primetime

EPISODE 414, Partition 1 of 3

TITLE: The Glen Carbon Killings—Tracking a Serial Killer

Air Date April 4, 2007—20:00 ET

SLATE GRAIN, GUEST HOST: Welcome to Crime View. I’m Slate Grain, filling in for Jordan Weathers. She’ll be back in the studio next week. Over the last three months six mutilated bodies—five women and one man—have been found near the quiet, idyllic village of Glen Carbon, Illinois, a small town on the outskirts of St. Louis. Police are baffled by the bizarre slayings. They’re calling on citizens for any leads.

Tonight we’re joined by criminologist and FBI agent Dr. Patrick Bowers. His specialty is tracking down serial criminals—killers and arsonists. Dr. Bowers, thank you for joining us.

BOWERS: You’re welcome. And you can call me Pat.

GRAIN: Okay. So far, Pat, at least six people are dead. Based on what the police have released about these murders, what’s your take on this? What kind of a person is capable of these brutal killings?

BOWERS: Well, I should start by saying that I haven’t yet been assigned to this case so I can only tell you what I know from the public record . . .

GRAIN: Sure, sure.

BOWERS: As far as what kind of person would do this—and I hope your viewers don’t take this wrong, but everyone is capable of terrible things, of doing something like this. Often investigators find that killers hold normal jobs, go to church, serve on the local PTA. We’re more like the people who commit these crimes than we care to admit. Each one of us is capable of the unspeakable.

GRAIN: That seems like a broad statement. I mean, could anyone really commit murder?

BOWERS: Let’s just say that more often than not in the cases I work, the public is shocked by the identity of the killer. People trust him, care about him. Maybe sit on the couch and watch the football game with him. Part of being human is the capacity to do evil. And that’s in all of us, not just in killers.

GRAIN: Scary thought. But I suspect this killer must have a lot of pent-up—a lot of anger to attack people like this. One of the victims was stabbed 42 times. That’s an awful lot of rage.

BOWERS: Maybe. It’s quite possible. But I’m not as concerned with guessing what’s going on in his mind at the time of the crimes. I’m more interested in narrowing down the suspect pool so we can actually catch him.

GRAIN: Yes. Tell us more about that—you’re an environmental criminologist, right?

BOWERS: That’s right.

GRAIN: So what are you looking for then? How does what you do differ from, say, a profiler?

BOWERS: Behavioral profilers tend to focus more on the state of mind of the killer, more on the psychological meaning of the crime. I’m looking at the significance of the crime’s location. I’m not asking why he did it, but rather why he did it there. Why then? Where did he first come in contact with this victim? If she was murdered somewhere else, or her body was left at a—in a different location, what does that tell us about his patterns, his familiarity with the area?

GRAIN: So you’re saying that, for example, that because he attacked Brianna Hastings on that jogging trail at Ridgeland State Park, then he might be a jogger? Or at least he knows the park pretty well?

BOWERS: Yes, he’s probably very familiar with the park. He knows which trails would give him the best chance for taking someone by surprise and where he could spend time alone with her without being discovered.

GRAIN: Uh-huh.

BOWERS: And then, he needs to get out of there, so he would have an exit route in mind where he can leave without being seen.

GRAIN: Fascinating. So, based on the information we know about this killer, these killings, where do you start looking?

BOWERS: Well, every murder has at least four locations—the place the killer and the victim first encountered each other, the abduction site, the location of the murder, and the place where he leaves the body. In this case, based on my understanding of the locations of the crimes—and I haven’t studied all the material yet—I suspect that the primary search area should begin with an area of about sixteen city blocks on the east side of St. Louis.

GRAIN: You’re kidding! You can tell that just by looking at where the crimes occurred? That’s where he lives?

BOWERS: Based on what we know about the location of the abductions, the murders, and where the bodies were found, it would be the most likely location for his home base—maybe where he lives, or a girlfriend or relative lives who he might be staying with. Or maybe he works somewhere in that area. I should add that if it appears he lived there early in the series of crimes, the data suggests that he might have moved since then.

GRAIN: But if he moved, how does your profile—

BOWERS: Um, I’m not a profiler, I—

GRAIN: I’ll just call it that, your analysis. How would your profile help detectives find the killer?

BOWERS: If I were working the case I’d suggest that the police interview residents of that neighborhood, study zip code transfers and county residential records, and compare the vehicle registration numbers of people who live in that area with known sexual offenders or people who have been convicted of assault. Then compare that information with the tips they’ve received, and the current suspect list.

GRAIN: But finding him isn’t enough, you also need to get that DNA for a conviction?

BOWERS: Convictions are hard get without physical evidence or a confession. Even eyewitness testimony isn’t completely reliable. Finding and stopping him is our job. Convicting him, building a case against him, that’s the job of the state.

GRAIN: Lots to think about.

BOWERS: Yes.

GRAIN: Thank you, Dr. Bowers, for joining us. Very interesting.

BOWERS: You’re welcome.

GRAIN: Again, if you have any information about this case, please call the toll free number on the bottom of your screen. After this break we’ll get a slightly different perspective on the case. We’re bringing in FBI profiler Jake Vanderveld, the man who is working with the St. Louis Police Department to climb inside the mind of the killer. Stay tuned, we’ll be right back.

END PARTITION 1 OF 3.

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