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Stalking as domestic terrorism

In 2009, the US Justice Department released the results of the largest survey ever done in the USA on stalking. The report stated that 3.4 million Americans had identified themselves as having been stalked during a one-year period. Some were male; the vast majority of those being stalked were female.

In this study, stalking was defined as a course of conduct directed at a specific person on at least two separate occasions that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear. The most common forms of stalking were unwanted phone calls (66 per cent), unsolicited emails or letters (31 per cent) or having rumors spread about them (36 per cent).

Nearly 75 per cent of the victims were familiar with their stalker who, in most cases, was an ex-spouse or ex-boyfriend.

A spokesperson for the US National Victim Center recently states un-categorically: ‘All stalkers have personality disorders.’ Narcissists, those with Borderline Personality Disorder, and Psychopaths are the most likely to stalk ex partner.Forensic psychiatrist Dr Park Dietz agrees. “None of the people who engage in stalking behavior are normal individuals.”

Criminologists say that non stranger stalking is triggered by the same emotionally inadequate response to losing control that serial killers exhibit. Robert Keppel, the lead detective in the Ted Bundy case, says that stalkers are typically “people who have abnormally short tempers, who snap at those around them during stress, who are prone to violence as a first resort . . . and who are almost pathological about exerting control over others and over events around them.”

The majority of domestic stalkers express their hostility towards a rejecting wife or girlfriend without murdering them. They stay at whatever is for them a ‘compensatory ‘level of violence. But the threshold between that and domestic homicide is ‘frighteningly narrow and the numbers of people on the edge so great,’ says Keppel.

According to experts, stalkers should be regarded as ‘terrorists’: whether they are stalking an ex-wife by spreading false rumors about her and sabotaging her employment, or breaking into her home.

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How a psychopath thinks

Ted Bundy once described the typical serial killer as possessing “ a consciousness which is comparable to a predator.” He said his behavior was not restricted by any “intellectual, moral, obvious considerations.” So what was he talking about?

“Predatory violence is not independent of the psychopathic process and, in fact, appears to be quite dependent upon psychopathy,” forensic psychologist Dr J. Reid Meloy explains in his book Violent Attachments. In recent years, criminologists have established that 95% of serial killers are psychopaths; so are up to 90 percent of serial rapists. To a psychopath, everyday life is a jungle. If he’s not dominating, manipulating and controlling other people, he is merely prey. And, he cannot allow that to happen. “Psychopaths say there are predators and prey. When they say that take it as factual,” states Dr. Robert Hare, who invented the Psychopathy Checklist, a diagnostic tool applied by doctors and criminal profilers around the world.

Psychopathy is a ‘personality disorder.’ It is estimated that one in 25 people are psychopaths. They are born, not made. Brain scans have shown psychopaths have little to no activity in the two areas of the brain that are connected to empathy and conscience. Answering the question of whether he felt guilt for murdering innocent people, David Gore said it was the opposite: “I actually thrived on killing.” The high Gore felt in taking away a life is a not dissimilar from the elation that a psychopathic businessman feels when he “crushes” the opposition. Both live for the “hunt.” They regard other humans as prey, and themselves as successful predators.

Stig Larsson and the U.S. Congress

In 2009 President Obama declared a National Sexual Assault Awareness Month. “Sexual assault is pervasive in the United States,” stated the President. “One recent study found that 18 per cent of women in this country have been raped in their lifetimes.” Barack Obama issued a rallying cry. “ I urge all Americans to respond to sexual assault by creating policies at work and school, by engaging in discussions with family and friends, and by making the prevention of sexual assault a priority in their communities.”
Well, he did his best. Did it become a priority in most communities? Nope. Did it become a priority for state governments? Hardly. The President’s call to action pretty much fizzled, while statistics for sexual assault continued to rise. Does this nationwide indifference  encourage rapists to believe no one takes attacks on females seriously? Of course. How could it not?
Several years ago TV journalist Jane Velez-Mitchell declared that there was a “war on women.”’ She’s right. With nearly one in five women in the USA having experienced at least one rape, that’s a useful way to look at it. After all, Congress has a history of funding wars with taxpayers’ money. Now, imagine if Congress became just as committed to fighting the “war against women. ” Imagine if from middle school on, all females received training in how to escape dangerous individuals and situations.
Schools are mandated to instruct students —female and male—on what to do if a gunman is loose on school premises. So, ironically,  girls learn how to protect themselves against a mass killer— it is unlikely they will have to use these skills, but better safe than sorry! —but they don’t learn how to fight off a sexual assault. Although twenty percent of them will face that situation one day!
As well as training girls how to deal with dangerous individuals and unsafe situations, schools should be training boys as well. Not just how to lead other students to safety when a gunman roams the halls—although that is laudable— but how to stop a rape, and ensure the victim’s safety. There are a lot of boys who would welcome that training.
Stig Larsson was once a boy like that. As a teenager, he witnessed a gang rape. He felt powerless. He didn’t know what to do. His failure to act haunted him for years. As a result he created the character of Lisbeth Salander in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. From a young age, Salander trained herself how to defeat any man who attempted to hurt her. The author said through his protagonist’s example he wanted to empower girls to be able to fight back effectively.
Wouldn’t it be something if Congress saw the same need, and actually did something about it?

Thought Crimes and Gilberto Valle.

Last night I watched the documentary ‘Thought Crimes’ on HBO. Did you see it? The subject was the Gilberto Valle trial. You’ll remember that he was freed by Judge Gardephe on appeal. The judge’s decision still baffles me. He ruled that Valle’s plans to kidnap, rape and cook women existed only in his own imagination. The judge said he was persuaded by the defense argument that the Cannibal Cop was merely sharing fantasies on the internet to like minded deviants: they were ugly, and misogynistic but essentially harmless.

But Valle had specific women in mind, not fictional ones. And he admitted to using police computers to track down addresses of the individuals he had described to his online buddies as his “prey.” To me, that shows he wasn’t musing; he intended to carry out the detailed plans he described. He was found guilty of “intent” to commit a crime.  Judge Gardephe’s decision that Valle doesn’t pose a risk to society disturbs me. Would the judge have felt the same way in a case where a man had not only been online discussing plans with co-conspirators to bomb City Hall, but had also done illegal searches on police computers, and tried to learn how to make bombs (in Valle’s case, it was chloroform) If the man argued it was merely a “fantasy”, would the Judge have released him back into society. I don’t think so. And what about Jeffrey Dahmer? If he had been chatting to fellow cannibals online about his heinous plans to capture and dismember young men,and he had done surveillance on them too, would the judge dismiss Dahmer as a harmless fantasist? He’d be irresponsible if he did. Anyway, I came away from the documentary believing that Valle was a dangerous individual who poses a danger to women, including his own wife.  I wrote a post a while back, addressing the Judge.  Here’s what I said:

Why was Gilberto Valle released yesterday after being found guilty in 2013 of conspiracy to kidnap? Oh yes, the judge who heard his appeal, decided the former New York City cop was harmless. Just a regular guy —like Jeffrey Dahmer was a regular guy. “This is a conspiracy that existed solely in cyberspace,” said the judge, Paul G. Gardephe. Well, I’m never going to get to meet you in person Judge, so I’ll just have an imaginary conversation with you in cyberspace.

I disagree with your decision, Judge Gardephe. I believe you’re wrong to regard the internet as a forum where psychopaths reveal murder fantasies to each other to great applause, but that’s as far as it ever goes. Recently, Elliot Rodgers went online to PickUpArtists, another website where men express hatred of women. Rodgers outlined his plan to shoot as many women as he could, and he went out and completed the task. He killed six people and wounded 13 others near the University of California before his rampage was ended.

Now, I have a question. If you had been given a transcript of Elliot Rodgers’s chat room conversation where he announced his intention to murder women, would you have dismissed it as insufficient to prove intent to harm? If you had, that decision would have come to haunt you. Well, Judge, like Elliott Rodger, Gilberto Valle was writing of his intent. And you have released Gilberto Valle. I hope that decision doesn’t come back to haunt you.

You ruled that a plan to commit a crime if it is shared on the internet —no matter that the research has suggested extensive planning—should not be taken seriously. I can assure you that if a plan to kill the President was discussed on the internet and the offender had been to scout out the White House, it would be treated as a credible assassination plot. No federal judge would release the prisoner from jail so he could walk free around Washington. DC.

And what if you were the intended victim? If a rage-fueled individual with a hatred of the justice system shared his plan online to break into your home and abduct, torture and kill you, and if he had located your address and followed you there, would you dismiss it as harmless fantasy and sleep peacefully in your bed at night? I doubt it.

So, what is it about the internet in this particular case that makes it a crime free zone for you? I don’t understand why you believe Mr. Gilberto Valle—a man with a manifest rage against women—did not have the intention to carry out his heinous plans. After all, he made plans. What if plans for the kidnapping of the famous Lindbergh baby had been discovered before the event actually occurred in the 1930s? Should a judge dismiss such plans as ‘fantasy’ because the child hadn’t yet been kidnapped? Should the conspirators be given their freedom even if they had tracked down the address of the Lindbergh baby, and had started lurking outside? Of course not. They had intent. And in the case of the Cannibal Cop, he had crossed the boundary from planning into action. He had taken the risk of illegally searching for his proposed victim’s addresses on a law enforcement data base, and he had begun stalking them. Doesn’t that imply intent to kidnap and kill?

“The highly unusual facts of this case reflect the Internet age in which we live,” you ruled. When it comes to sex crimes, the boundary between fantasy and realization isn’t as thick as the Great Wall of China, Judge. It’s thin. Every criminal profiler knows that. In the 1980s FBI profilers interviewed hundreds of homicidal sex predators in jails around the USA. John Douglas recalled: “One of the things we clearly established was that in any sexually related predatory crime, the fantasy always precedes the acting out.”

Roger Depue was head of the FBI’s Behavioral Sciences Unit at Quantico at the time. In his memoir, he wrote that it is inevitable that once a violent fantasy takes root, the homicidal sex predator becomes obsessed with figuring out how to bring it to life. Other interests are pushed aside. I’m guessing Gilberto Valle didn’t have much time for other hobbies while he was researching torture. The guy was a ticking time-bomb.

But let’s give the last word to serial killer Edmund Kemper who brought mayhem, death and suffering to eight women. “I knew long before I started killing that I was going to be killing, that it was going to end up like that. The fantasies were too strong. They were going on for too long and were too elaborate.”

You should have done your homework, Judge Valle before you let the prisoner walk.

B.T.K. wants to tell his story. Is that a good idea?

In August 2005, Dennis Rader pleaded guilty in a Kansas courtroom to 10 murders. Addressing the judge in a monotone, Rader, otherwise known as the B.T.K. Strangler, provided graphic details about each murder. He might as well been reading a shopping list. Rader’s flat delivery in the witness box added to the horrors he was describing. There was never a hint of remorse. Rader seemed to enjoy having everybody’s attention, and the TV cameras proved that he was no longer a nobody. Pausing in his testimony, he instructed the judge on the difference between “trolling” and “stalking.” His manner resembled a boring headmaster The only times there was a glimpse of the monster inside was an occasional smirk, quickly suppressed.

Since Rader is serving ten life sentences in the El Dorado state prison, one could reasonably expect that would be the last we heard of him. But not so fast. Serial killers are highly narcissistic. Rader was no exception. The attention-seeking prisoner missed being the spotlight. He even considered writing a book. Why not? He couldn’t profit from it of course, because of the Son of Sam law, but he would be back in the headlines. Luckily for the victims’ families as well as the rest of us he didn’t write his self-serving memoir. However, last year, Katherine Ramsland, a well-respected non-fiction author of 54 books, reached out to him. She wanted to write a book to help investigators and criminologists understand serial killers like Rader: would he co-operate with her? Would he what? Rader didn’t need any persuading. He embraced the idea.

Katherine Ramsland is a professor of forensic psychology at DeSales University in Pennsylvania who has in mind, she says, a “non sensationalist” book. Rader has in mind something different: a return to public attention. It’s a pity he will get it. Shortly after agreeing to co-operate, Rader sent a four page handwritten letter to a Kansas newspaper, to announce a book was on its way. The letter was labeled “From the Desk of: Dennis L. Rader.” He claims his intention is to help the victims’ families. “I can never replace their love ones, my deeds too ‘dark’ to understand, the book or movies, etc. is the only way to help them.” Obviously he’s hoping that his story will reach the big screen, too.

I’m not sure profilers will learn anything about the mind of a serial killer that they don’t already know. From the 1980s on, FBI researchers and criminologists have interviewed hundreds of serial killers in American prisons. There is also a first rate book written by veteran profiler John Douglas and Johnny Dodd called “Inside the Mind of BTK”. Still one has to applaud Professor Ramsland’s fortitude: I can’t imagine a more odious and unpleasant task for an author than to be in regular contact with Rader. Getting the truth from him is also going to be hard. As a psychopath, he will be determined to control the material. He might believe he can manipulate Professor Ramsland. He’s wrong of course. Ramsland is a highly respected psychologist who will recognize such tactics, but I don’t envy her the tug of war. The only person who will be enjoying himself is the subject. Just when you thought you had heard the last of him, Dennis Rader is back.

Why hasn’t the Equal Rights Amendment been passed?

I guess it was rather idealistic of me when I was a high school student to think that the birth of the women’s movement had been the death knell to gender discrimination. In fact, I confess that way into my thirties I always assumed the ERA had been passed. But more than forty years after it was introduced,the Equal Rights Amendment still hasn’t been ratified. Now obviously if the ERA ever passes, it won’t mean the end of misogyny. Legislation doesn’t end hatred. We know that from the continuing prevalence of racism. Nevertheless the passing of civil rights legislation that affirmed the races were equal and must be treated as such did result in sweeping changes. Passing the ERA would be evidence that women and men are also regarded as equal under American law. Refusing to pass it is proof they’re not, that the fight for equality isn’t over. It’s still a battle that needs to be won.

Psychopathy and its Relationship to Serial Murder

I came across this recently.  The FBI Symposium happened in 2005 but its findings are just as relevant today.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation hosted a multi-disciplinary Symposium in San Antonio, Texas, on August 29, 2005 through September 2, 2005. The goal of the Symposium was to bring together a group of respected experts on serial murder from a variety of fields and specialties, to identify the commonalities of knowledge regarding serial murder.

Attendees at the Serial Murder Symposium agreed that there is no generic profile of a serial murderer. Serial killers differ in many ways, including their motivations for killing and their behavior at the crime scene. However, attendees did identify certain traits common to some serial murderers, including sensation seeking, a lack of remorse or guilt, impulsivity, the need for control, and predatory behavior. These traits and behaviors are consistent with the psychopathic personality disorder. Attendees felt it was very important for law enforcement and other professionals in the criminal justice system to understand psychopathy and its relationship to serial murder.

In  my first book The Girls’ Guide to Predators; the Games Some Men Play I recommend something similar: that women who are being stalked, learn all they can about the characteristics of psychopathy.  These guys actually do seem to play by the same rulebook, so it can’t hurt to Know they enemy!   Estimates vary among the experts but the general consensus is that between 50 and 90 percent of men who stalk women are psychopaths. (So that’s somewhere between half of them, and almost all of them!)  If she understands how a stalker thinks and behaves, a target will be better able to anticipate his next move and take precautions, rather than being caught off guard. One excellent resource is the Love Fraud website, which is run by Donna Anderson.

Cannibal Cop Leaves Jail

Why was Gilberto Valle released yesterday after being found guilty in 2013 of conspiracy to kidnap? Oh yes, the judge who heard his appeal, decided the former New York City cop presented no danger to the women he made plans to rape, torture, dismember and cook. In other words, despite tracking down their addresses, and researching ways to abduct, kill and cannibalize their remains, he was harmless. Just a regular guy —like Jeffrey Dahmer was a regular guy.

“This is a conspiracy that existed solely in cyberspace,” said the judge, Paul G. Gardephe. Well, I’m never going to get to meet you in person Judge, so I’ll just have an imaginary conversation with you in cyberspace.

I disagree with your decision, Judge Gardephe. I believe you’re wrong to regard the internet as a forum where psychopaths reveal murder fantasies to each other to great applause, but that’s as far as it ever goes. Recently, Elliot Rodgers went online to PickUpArtists, another website where men express hatred of women. Rodgers outlined his plan to shoot as many women as he could, and he went out and completed the task. He killed six people and wounded 13 others near the University of California before his rampage was ended.

Now, I have a question. If you had been given a transcript of Elliot Rodgers’s chat room conversation where he announced his intention to murder women, would you have dismissed it as insufficient to prove intent to harm? If you had, that decision would have come to haunt you. Well, Judge, like Elliott Rodger, Gilberto Valle was writing of his intent. And you have released Gilberto Valle. I hope that decision doesn’t come back to haunt you.

You ruled that a plan to commit a crime if it is shared on the internet —no matter that the research has suggested extensive planning—should not be taken seriously. I can assure you that if a plan to kill the President was discussed on the internet and the offender had been to scout out the White House, it would be treated as a credible assassination plot. No federal judge would release the prisoner from jail so he could walk free around Washington. DC.

And what if you were the intended victim? If a rage-fueled individual with a hatred of the justice system shared his plan online to break into your home and abduct, torture and kill you, and if he had located your address and followed you there, would you dismiss it as harmless fantasy and sleep peacefully in your bed at night? I doubt it.

So, what is it about the internet in this particular case that makes it a crime free zone for you? I don’t understand why you believe Mr. Gilberto Valle—a man with a manifest rage against women—did not have the intention to carry out his heinous plans. After all, he made plans. What if plans for the kidnapping of the famous Lindbergh baby had been discovered before the event actually occurred in the 1930s. Should a judge dismiss such plans as ‘fantasy’ because the child hadn’t yet been kidnapped? Should the conspirators be given their freedom even if they had tracked down the address of the Lindbergh baby, and had started lurking outside? Of course not. They had intent. And in the case of the Cannibal Cop, he had crossed the boundary from planning into action. He had taken the risk of illegally searching for his proposed victim’s addresses on a law enforcement data base, and he had begun stalking them. Doesn’t that imply intent to kidnap and kill?

“The highly unusual facts of this case reflect the Internet age in which we live,” you ruled. When it comes to sex crimes, the boundary between fantasy and realization isn’t as thick as the Great Wall of China, Judge. It’s thin. Every criminal profiler knows that. In the 1980s FBI profilers interviewed hundreds of homicidal sex predators in jails around the USA. John Douglas recalled: “One of the things we clearly established was that in any sexually related predatory crime, the fantasy always precedes the acting out.”

Roger Depue was head of the FBI’s Behavioral Sciences Unit at Quantico at the time. In his memoir, he wrote that it is inevitable that once a violent fantasy takes root, the homicidal sex predator becomes obsessed with figuring out how to bring it to life. Other interests are pushed aside. I’m guessing Gilberto Valle didn’t have much time for other hobbies while he was researching torture. The guy was a ticking time-bomb.

But let’s give the last word to serial killer Edmund Kemper who brought mayhem, death and suffering to eight women. “I knew long before I started killing that I was going to be killing, that it was going to end up like that. The fantasies were too strong. They were going on for too long and were too elaborate.”

You should have done your homework, Judge Valle before you let the prisoner walk.

Obama urges students to do more to help prevent campus rapes

In 2009, President Barack Obama declared April to be National Sexual Assault Awareness Month. “Sexual assault is pervasive in the United States” said the President, in a solemn address from the Rose Garden. “One recent study found that 18 per cent of women in this country have been raped in their lifetimes. ” After detailing the worrying statistics, Obama gave a call to action : “ I urge all Americans to respond to sexual assault by creating policies at work and school, by engaging in discussions with family and friends, and by making the prevention of sexual assault a priority in their communities.”

Yup, that what he said back in 2009. Talk about a fizzler. Did “all Americans” respond to sexual assault in the ways the President recommended? Uh, nope. Now I’m not letting ordinary citizens off the hook, but even more striking than our lack of action was the deafening silence from those in positions of power.   Where was the church? The university chancellors? The senators, congressmen, state governors and city mayors? I guess they thought they had better things to do with their time than declare war on sexual violence.  Instead of the vast improvement Obama called for back in 2009, the statistics for sexual violence against women and girls continued to worsen.  In 2012 a study by the US Centers of Disease Prevention and Control reported that one in five women in this country has been raped or experienced an attempted rape, and “1.3 million women annually may be victims of rape or attempted rape. (New York Times 4/9/2012). Law enforcement officials also voiced the opinion that the country is in the midst of an “epidemic of sexual violence”.

When did society start accepting sexual violence against females as something sad but…well, inevitable?   Politicians are so complacent about sexual violence that it’s not an issue they even bother to campaign on. Is that because sexual assault is predominantly a crime against women and girls? It’s looking that way, isn’t it? I’m pretty sure that if 1.3 million males were raped in the USA in the year 2012, it would not only be unacceptable, it would be the number one issue on every politician’s lips. A situation where  one in 5 women is a rape victim adds up to millions of victims living in this country. It tells us something else: with such high numbers, there are a lot of rapists out there.   The FBI also tells us that most rapes are committed by repeat offenders. In fact, according to FBI experts in sex crimes, there is no such thing as a non serial rapist; there is only a rapist who was sent to jail before committing a second rape.  Rehabilitation has been proven not to work on serial rapists, which makes it a baffling decision whenever parole boards release violent offenders early for ‘good behavior’.  In jail these predators were removed from their prey. . Good behavior towards guards and fellow inmates does not guarantee future good behavior towards women and girls.   The Center for Missing and Exploited Children reports that of more than 560,000 registered sex offenders in the country, “at least 100,000 are ‘missing.’”

In the first two or three years after Obama first announced National Sexual Assault Awareness Month, there was little evidence of any nationwide change in sexual assault awareness. But then gradually the topic of campus rapes became hot news, and so did military rapes. In both those closed environments, the institutions—the military, the universities— had failed to treat the victims’ complaints seriously, and let their rapists go free, no doubt to prey on others. There is evidence that because of these high profile cases, ordinary people are getting fed up with the way rape victims are being treated, and so last week President Obama tried again. He called for a shift in the country’s response to victims of sexual assault, and a vast improvement in the way women are treated.   “Our society doesn’t sufficiently value women” he stated emphatically. He called for a “fundamental shift in our culture” .

Obama acknowledged that improvements to the problem of sexual violence against women had not progressed much under his tenure. “We’ve been working on campus sexual assault for several years, but the issue of violence against women is in the news every day.” So he tried a different tack. Instead of another appeal to those in positions of power to make fighting sexual assault a priority in their communities, an appeal which had previously produced such a lackluster response, he shifted his focus to the younger generation.   In a speech from the East Room of the White House, he announced a plan aimed at empowering students to do more to prevent sexual assaults on their campuses. Actually students have already been galvanized into taking action, so Obama is just encouraging the flames of protest, but it’s worth doing. The campaign’s name is “It’s on us,” and the intention, said the president, is send a message that every individual has a responsibility to confront the issue of sexual violence. We can only hope that students will continue to challenge the ongoing apathy of politicians and institutions to the issue of sexual assaults.  Now, that would be an example of a real community, one that looks out for each other.

Risky business. Attacks upon female real estate agents

The number of violent attacks on real estate agents has increased significantly over the years. The brutal slaying of 49 year old Beverly Carter, a real estate agent from Little Rock, Arkansas, is the latest tragic incident. Carter was killed while showing a home to a man she had thought was a potential buyer.   Her body was later found in a shallow grave about 20 miles north east of Little Rock, Arkansas. As Aaron Lewis was being brought into the police station by arresting officers, the 33 year old suspect answered reporters’ questions. “Why, Beverly?” one asked him.   Arron Lewis replied matter-of- factly, “Because she was just a woman who worked alone —a rich broker.”

Tracey Hawkins, a security expert who advises real estate businesses on safety issues, personally knows of at least six other attacks on realtors this year.   Homicides of female real estate agents have occurred all over the country. In 2007 Kosoul Chanthakoummane was found guilty of the murder of Sarah Walker, a top selling realtor for D, R. Horton in McKinney, Texas. Kosul had requested an appointment with a female realtor to see a model home. The body of Sarah Walker was found on the premises. She had been robbed, beaten and killed. In 2011, 27 year old Ashley Okland was killed on the job in Iowa.

A woman alone in an empty house is also seen as easy prey by serial killers. Mike DeBardeleben posed as a businessman who was about to be transferred to the Great Barrington area of Massachusetts, and needed to find a suitable home for himself and his wife.  One of the appointments he made was with Terry Macdonald.   When Terry didn’t make it back to the office, her colleague drove to the isolated home she had had been due to show DeBardeleben,. He found her tied up in the basement, where she had been asphyxiated with a pair of her own tights. “Mom was just a very unsuspecting, very trusting person” Terry’s daughter Lynn remembers. “She always looked for the good in people. She was always positive about them.”

FBI profiler Roy Hazelwood who specializes in investigating sex crimes, comments: “The real estate women are available, accessible. To me, it is the most dangerous legitimate profession in America. They go with total strangers to isolated areas on weekends, nights and holidays. And I think that’s the reason DeBardeleben chose them as victims.”

The murder of Beverly Carter this week has been a wake up call, according to the real estate office she worked for. From now on potential buyers will be required to show up at the office first, where their identification will be requested and checked. Tracey Hawkins, the security agent, hopes the industry will remain vigilant. “My fear is, for a while, agents will be all shook up…but what happens is everyone gets complacent.”