I read the book Chase Darkness With Me by Billy Jensen. Jensen is a reporter that has become involved in studying true crime and advocates for citizen detectives. After reading the book, I had to go find his podcast: Murder Squad. Jensen says when someone asks why you study true crime, tell them it’s because “they [the killer] shouldn’t get away with it.” I agree with that. They shouldn’t get away with it. I take that one further, not only should killers not get away with murder, but we as people can take precautions to not become a victim. And if being a victim is inevitable, then you can do things to help solve your murder.
But to do any of this, you have to know and understand the types of murder, your risks for any of it, and the psychology of it. For the most part, I’d say my readers run a low risk of being the victim of a stranger murder. I say this and immediately think of serial killers like David Berkowitz, Zodiac, and the DC sniper, in which victims that are low risk end up murdered by serial killers.
As of late, the Delphi Murders have been on my mind a great deal. There is video and audio of the killer and yet, there are still two dead teen girls, whose murderer hasn’t been caught. The reason there is video and audio though, one of the teens was a true crime buff and she had the wherewithal to turn her phone on to record him as he approached them. Something about him creeped her out enough that it triggered her to video him and he didn’t take her phone for some reason (possibly because he didn’t realize she had hit the record button). Would most of us have thought of that? I think true crime buffs would have, but other people, maybe not.
That was such a great idea. When he is caught and convicted that video and audio will be a huge help to the prosecution. And in most cases, it would probably help catch the killer. For reasons that are too complicated for a single blog post, it hasn’t in this case, but it’s the exception not the rule.
The thing I can’t stress enough is that, if you are abducted by a stranger, even if they say they aren’t going to kill you, they are. Israel Keyes admitted he told Samantha Koenig that he wasn’t going to kill her, he just had to keep her long enough to get a ransom payment. He raped and strangled her a few hours later. Knowing this, is it better to die a victim or die while fighting back? Police have been very tight lipped about the cell phone recovery in the Delphi Murders case and I’ve wondered several times, if Libby German didn’t “lose” her cell phone on the way to the area where their abductor murdered her and Abby and that was why he didn’t take it. Neal Falls asked Heather Saul if she wanted to be raped and killed or just killed. Instead, Saul fought back while he strangled her. Falls was holding a gun on her. In the fight, she managed to get the gun and kill Falls. Since his death, police haven’t been able to connect him to any murders with enough evidence to say “case closed” but they do admit, Falls is a person of interest in several murders and the FBI does believe he was a serial killer.
Fight back. Scream. Make a break for it. Do whatever you need to do to not get in a car with someone who is trying to abduct you. Even if they have a gun or knife on you, it is better to fight back… If the person abducting you is willing to use weapons on you when you try to get away, then they were prepared to kill you anyway and for whatever reason, they didn’t want to kill you where they found you. This means you have a semi-decent chance of escaping if you put up a fight, because if they aren’t going to kill you, after they take you, then they aren’t going to kill you when you fight back.
Take videos and pictures of people who creep you out, and make sure to get audio of them as well, make them talk if they are being silent. Even if it’s just them telling you to “shut up” it will be valuable later. The point being, don’t just let yourself be a victim. There are things you can do and while, you might still end up dead (which is a terrible thought, I know), at least you didn’t go willingly. One of the things I don’t think is stressed enough, bite your attacker. Not just a little love bit, but work your teeth into their skin, worry and tear at it. This does two things; bites hurt like hell and saliva is actually very slow at destroying DNA evidence. A coroner friend of mine said flossing the teeth of female homicide victims is becoming standard practice in most autopsies. Also, bite wounds easily get infected if not treated with both topical antibiotics and oral antibiotics. They also leave nasty wounds that are hard to play off as anything other than a bite.
Furthermore, avoid risky behaviors. I know most people do not willingly become prostitutes or drug addicts, but both make you higher risk for running into a serial killer. Running with “bad boys” is also risky behavior. I blame romance novels for this, bad boys are bad boys for a reason and your love isn’t going to reform them. Dating convicts, drug dealers, etc, are a good way to end up dead, by someone you know as well as by a stranger.