Browsing: Bizarre

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Today the saga of alleged non-custodial kidnapper and mystery man Clark Rockefeller took a turn into made-for-TV land. Investigators from Los Angeles have flown to Boston to speak with Rockefeller about a 23-year-old missing persons/possible murder case in San Marino, CA.
They want to talk to Clark Rockefeller about the San Marino Bones, and ask him if he is the man who once called himself “Christopher Crowe Mount Batten Chichester.”
Chichester was the name used by a man who certainly had a lot in common with Rockefeller. In 1994 the Associated Press reported that Chichester was described by friends as “an urbane gentleman with a trace of an English accent who joined worthy causes and made friends easily.”
Chichester told different stories about who he was: a computer expert; producer, even stockbroker.
One friend said, “Chris Chichester dressed well and was articulate and knowledgeable about whatever subject he happened to be talking about at the time.” That friend described Chichester as “an interesting character.”
The same was said about Clark Rockefeller while he was on the run — he was a character, a charming eccentric. And like Rockefeller, who once helped fund the building of a new city facility in the town where he lived in New Hampshire, Chichester was said to be civic-minded. He attended the Church of Our Savior in San Gabriel, CA and met new friends there. In 1984, Chichester reportedly even volunteered to help paint San Marino High School.
Like Clark Rockefeller, Chichester used aliases: Christopher Crowe and Christian Gerhartsreiter.
The last time anyone saw Christopher Chichester was in 1989, in Greenwich, CT. Chichester attempted to sell a truck and the potential buyer grew suspicious when he discovered there was still a lien on the vehicle.The vehicle was owned by John Sohus, of San Marino, CA. Sohus and his wife Linda had been missing since February 8, 1985.
John and Linda Sohus had supposedly gone to Europe. Some people even received postcards from Paris, signed by Linda. They’d been gone for two months when Chichester, who rented a home on property owned by the couple, also disappeared.
On May 8, 1994, workers in San Marino were digging a pool on that property when they uncovered plastic-wrapped bones from a dismembered body. It was later determined that the bones were most likely the remains of John Sohus.
Unsolved Mysteries covered the Sohus disappearance, and in that production the show stated that Christian Gerhartsreiter was Chichester’s real name. Only one readily available U.S. public record be found for that name. It was for a marriage that took place in Dane County, WI in 1981 between a Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter and Amy Jersild. Gerhartsreiter was 19 at the time — he would be 46 or 47 today. [An alternate spelling of the German name is Christian Gerhart Streiter — per the Boston Herald. ~ Ed.]
California authorities have never said that Christopher Chichester/Christian Gerhartsreiter was a “suspect” in the death of John Sohus or the disappearance of Linda Sohus. But they certainly got on a plane pretty fast when a fingerprint from Clark Rockefeller linked him to Chichester, and possibly some answers to the questions about the the missing couple from San Marino.
Yet Clark Rockefeller claims he can’t remember his parents. He won’t say where he was born, or who he really is. After all, if he is convicted of the charges related to his alleged abduction of his daughter Reigh, he won’t face life in prison. Answering questions about John and Linda Sohus — if the man has the answers authorities seek — might lead to a much more long-term acquaintance with life behind prison bars.
[BostonHerald.com; AP — archived article from Long Beach Press-Telegram; InsideSocal.com/Crime Scene Blog]

Dr. Bruce Ivins, the man the FBI says created the anthrax letters that killed 5 people just after 9/11, may have been a bit of a troll on YouTube, among other sites. It appears as though he was leaving strange comments as recently as 4 weeks ago.
In an add-on to this post, I detailed some of “JimmyFlathead’s” activities on Wikipedia, and how Bruce Ivins’s screen name on Reunion.com matched him to JimmyFlathead. Ivins’s/Flathead’s Wikipedia activity dovetails with a report published today indicating Ivins’s long-term obsession with the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority.
Five months ago, a woman named Deb posted her first attempts at juggling on YouTube. She received this comment from a user with the screen name “bruceivi”: “Way to go, Deb!!!! You probably don’t remember me but I’m your sister Jen’s Godfather, Bruce. Where did you learn to do all that great stuff? Did you ever try two in each hand? Start with doing two in one hand, then do two in the other, then you can put them together, either alternating throws or throwing at the same time. I used to juggle as stress relief – it’s hard to think of other things when you’re tossing stuff in the air and trying to keep gravity from winning! – bruce”
Bruce Ivins’s juggling hobby has been noted in many reports since the LA Times revealed his status as the FBI’s number 1 suspect in the “Amerithrax” investigation.
While bruceivi’s comment to Deb was pleasant and supportive, the same screen name was attached to a series of comments left on an entirely different video just 4 weeks ago. The comments were so unpleasant that others kept ranking them down, ‘burying’ them.
The clip was from Episode 7 of Season one of the ABC reality series, The Mole. You don’t need to know much about the show to read the comments from brucivi and wince.
bruceivi posted that readers should “Put the next 3 comments from bruceivi together.”
The comments put together as suggested are scary, even for comments left on a YouTube video:

Steve had a great chance to Kill Kathryn that would go down as the primo moment in reality TV.
After the fake fainting he’d say, “Kathryn, do you know what a mole is? It’s a blind useless,animal that humans hate. And do you know what we do to moles? We kill them!”
[…]
With that he should have taken the hatchet and brought it down hard and sharply across her neck, severing her carotid artery and jugular vein. Then when she hits the ground, he completes the task on the other side of the neck, severing her trachea as well. The “Blind” mole is dead and Steve is a hero among heroes! I personally would have paid big money to have done it myself.
[…]
Maybe something really dreadful will happen to Kathryn Price. If so, she will richly deserve it! The least someone could do would be to take a sharp ballpoint pin or letter opener and put her eyes out, to complete the task of making her a true mole!

The commenter seemed to almost immediately think about what he’d written, posting, “Sorry if my comments offended people. This occurred several years ago. It was meant as a macabre twist to a pretty lame reality show […] burceivi. [sic]”
It will be interesting to find out if Kathryn Price ever received any suspicious packages in the mail. A screen capture of the comments can be seen below.
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UPDATE — As this post was being written, MSNBC reported that Bruce Ivins may have been obsessed with a particular sorority, and frequently posted messages about that sorority online — particularly in Wikipedia. There was even a user talk page with a screen name associated with Ivins: JimmyFlathead. That screen name could be found directly connected to Ivins at Reunion.com. Ivins — as JimmyFlathead — was apparently obsessed with the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority and may have altered Wikipedia entries about the sorority.
Here’s what someone wrote to JimmyFlathead regarding his “obsession” with that sorority: “I stand by my comment that most of the negative content on the page is merely there because you bullied folks with threats of adding negative content and through personal emails. I don’t much care for the tone.
“Furthermore, I can’t understand the obsession. Why do you feel the need to add all this? Why Kappa? All the fraternity and sorority pages have ongoing vandalism, I just can’t understand why you are so intent to contribute vandalism and negativity to ours. Just trying to correct what I perceive to be unfair bashing for no good reason.”
MSNBC also reported that a Kappa Kappa Gamma chapter is located just a few hundred yards from the mailbox investigators think the anthrax killer used to mail his messages of doom.
See: http://jimmyflathead.blogspot.com/ — Possible blog begun by Ivins, based on screen name. One entry only. Also: JimmyFlathead’s User contributions page at Wikipedia. That screen name contributed mostly to discussions about Kappa Kappa Gamma.
******
Original Post
Anthrax researcher Dr. Bruce Edward Ivins killed himself with an overdose of Tylenol with codeine last week. Federal investigators were closing in, preparing to charge the 62-year-old microbiologist with the “Amerithrax” murders that took place just after 9/11/01.
At the time of his death, Ivins’s therapist had a restraining order against him. In the papers filed for that order, Ivins was referred to as “homicidal” and “sociopathic.”
If Bruce Ivins was a homicidal psychopath, the essence of a truly “mad scientist,” it didn’t necessarily show in the way he presented himself to the public.
Ivins and his wife were frequently mentioned in the Frederick News-Post, and beginning in the late 1980s, Ivins’s own words were often published in the form of letters to the editor. What, if anything, could Ivins’s own words reveal about his mind, about the way he viewed the world around him?
Bruce Ivins wasn’t introduced to readers of the Frederick paper as a scientist. The paper first took an interest in Bruce Ivins, the juggler.

Clark Rockefeller has been arrested in Baltimore, Maryland. According to media reports, Rockefeller’s 7-year-old daughter Reigh was recovered unharmed.
Rockefeller was on the run for almost a week after he took Reigh during a supervised visit in Boston. That was long enough for the police, press and public to figure out that no one really knew who the guy was. Though his daughter is okay and he is in custody, the questions as to who this “Rockefeller” really is remain.
WBZTV.com; For a in-depth look at the mystery surrounding Rockefeller’s true identity, see the London Telegraph.

A restraining order taken out against anthrax letter suspect Bruce E. Ivins shortly before Ivins committed suicide reveals a good deal more about his behavior towards others.
Maryland court records show that Ivins ended up in a Maryland psychiatric in July after he made death threats counselor Jean Duley. Ivins was Duley’s long-time client up until early July of this year.
On July 9, according to Duley’s petition to the court, Ivins made “threats of homicidal intent.” Ivins was committed to a mental hospital, but he signed himself out on the 24th. That was when Duley asked for the restraining order because, in her words, “client has a history dating to his graduate days of homicidal threats, actions, plans, threats & actions towards therapist.”
Duley continued, writing that Dr. David Irwin, Ivins’s psychiatrist, called the researcher “homicidal” and “sociopathic.”
Duley’s handwritten testimony on the back of the petition ended by noting that the FBI was “involved” and that Ivins was going to be charged with “5 capital murders.”
In the end the petition was rendered moot by Ivins’s July 29 suicide.
[The Smoking Gun]

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On Tuesday, July 29, 2008, a well-respected scientist named Bruce Ivins died in Maryland, an apparent suicide. Doctors say Ivins may have ingested an overdose of Tylenol mixed with codeine. If the Federal Bureau of Investigation is right about Bruce E. Ivins, he may have had good reason to go.
In June, 2008, the United States Government paid a scientist named Steven Hatfill nearly six million dollars. For 6 years or so Hatfill had been the FBI’s main suspect in the 2001 anthrax attacks.
The attacks started shortly after September 11, 2001. Letters containing a finely milled, powder form of the toxin were mailed to NBC, the New York Post, and the National Enquirer. When all was said and done, five people were dead and the public was terrified. The anthrax scare served to ratchet up the national level of paranoia over terrorism to a true fever pitch. It briefly crippled even the venerable U.S. Postal Service.
Steven Hatfill’s payday came about because by 2006 the FBI had begun to move away from him as a suspect in the case. They simply couldn’t connect the man to the weaponized anthrax. Nothing would stick.
By the time Hatfill received his money and an exoneration on June 27, 2008, the feds had another suspect in the crosshairs. The Los Angeles Times reported early Friday that soon after it was clear that Steven Hatfill was safe to take his money and sink back into blissful anonymity, 62-year-old U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) scientist Bruce Ivins began to sweat.

Crimes as savage and public as the murder that took place on a Greyhound bus traveling the Trans-Canada Highway from Edmonton, Alberta, to Winnipeg, Manitoba on Wednesday night (already mentioned here) are truly rare. Hearing the details of the bus murder also bring home how surreal the attack must have seemed to those who witnessed the event.
Garnet Caton was a passenger on that bus, and he has been extensively quoted in the press. No wonder. The tale he tells of the attack on the as-yet unnamed young, male passenger by a knife-wielding maniac is the stuff of nightmares.

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* Casey Anthony, at the Bottom and Digging — (Orlando, FL) Casey Marie Anthony‘s story is that her little girl Caylee vanished on June 9, after Casey left her with a babysitter named Zenaida Fernandez-Gonzalez. Casey then tried to find her daughter, even going to clubs she thought Zenaida might frequent. I guess that’s how Casey ended up in a series of good-time party-girl photos made on June 20, smiling as if she didn’t have a care in the world. Wonder what her mom Cindy (who has been great with coming up with excuses for Casey since prompting her daughter’s arrest) will say to explain those? And did Casey Anthony break into a shed in her parents’ yard to steal gas cans some time early in July? Her parents reported a burglary around that time. Whatever happened, it looks like no one should expect the truth from Casey any time soon. [Fox News]
* Illinois Gothic: Mother Allegedly Kills Newborn, Burns Home (Champaign, IL) Illinois authorities say Cayla Wheeler, age 23, gave birth to a baby on July 2. They believe she drowned the child and hid the remains in a hole in the woods near her home. Wheeler wasn’t done with mayhem, though. One week later Wheeler allegedly burned her and her husband’s home to the ground. Wheeler’s recent pregnancy came to light during the investigation into the house fire. Cayla Wheeler has been charged with arson, concealing a homicide, and murder in the first degree. [AP/MSNBC]
* Former NBA Ref Sentenced to 15 Months — (Brooklyn, NY) NBA referee Tim Donaghy took part in a betting scandal that sent shockwaves through the NBA. On Tuesday Donaghy learned his fate: 15 months in a federal pen. Donaghy gave a brief statement in federal court. He said, in part, “I brought shame upon myself, my family and the profession.” Donaghy could have been sentenced to nearly 3 years in prison, but he earned the less lengthy term by cooperating with authorities during the investigation. [NYDN]
* Blue-Clad Men Rob Armored Truck in West Palm — (West Palm Beach, FL) A robber shot a Loomis armored truck guard outside a Wachovia Bank branch about 10 a.m. this morning in suburban West Palm. It sounded like a pretty organized robbery. A group of robbers with handguns and an assault rifle arrived as the Loomis guard was re-stocking an ATM. Shots were exchanged and the guard was hit in the leg. He was in good enough shape to take himself to the hospital. Police say they have one suspect in custody, but they’re looking for at least four others. Witnesses report that the robbers all wore blue and they left in a blue van. [WPTV]
* Boyfriend of Woman Stuck to Toilet Gets Probation — (Wichita, KS) It was one of the weirder stories in recent memory: a woman discovered on the toilet in her boyfriend’s bathroom, where she’d been stuck on the john for a month. Her muscles had atrophied and her skin basically glued to the seat. Her boyfriend, Kory McFarren, was arrested and charged with mistreating a dependent adult. McFarren was sentenced yesterday to one year of probation and a mental evaluation for his part in the whole thing. [KAKE]
* THIS DAY IN TRUE CRIME HISTORY: Jimmy Hoffa — (Oakland County, MI) On July 30, 1975, labor leader (and pardoned ex-con) Jimmy Hoffa vanished from the parking lot of the Machus Fox Restaurant in Bloomfield Twp, MI. Hoffa’s disappearance and presumed murder — still unsolved, to this day — soon became part of American pop culture. Jimmy Hoffa has been joked about during late night talk show monologues, been the central figure in pop songs and the subject of numerous books and movies. [TruTV]

* No, Seriously, Who the Hell is Clark Rockefeller? — (Boston, MA) Call him J.P. Clark Rockefeller, James Frederick, Clark Mill Rockefeller or Michael Brown. Call him that crazy rich dude who putters around town on a Segway. Whatever his real name and family history, the man known as Clark Rockefeller is on the lam today, and he’s taken his blond, blue-eyed 7-year-old daughter Reigh (say it like RAY) with him. Boston Police say Clark Rockefeller was on a walk with Reigh and a supervising social worker during a court-mandated visit in Boston on Sunday the 27th when a friend in a SUV helped Rockefeller kidnap the little girl. The social worker tried to give chase and was dragged for a bit along Marlborough St. for his trouble.
Clark Rockefeller may have taken Reigh to Long Island, N.Y. intent on escaping aboard his yacht, “Serenity.”
A warrant has been issued for Rockefeller’s arrest. He may be charged with assault (on the social worker) and custodial kidnapping.
There are mysteries within mysteries here, for Rockefeller could be anyone. Though he is a man of means, the storied, wealthy Rockefeller clan has flatly denied any relation to the man. Rockefeller himself has been cagey about the association in the past, once telling a reporter that his blood ties to the Rockefellers were not something that he “would either confirm or deny.”
Aside from being the proud owner of a Segway, Rockefeller is well-educated and is said to have “a European accent,” whatever that means. I found one peculiar post on the Web that may have been written by Rockefeller in late 2007. It only seems to underscore reports that Rockefeller is an eccentric, for “Clark Rockefeller” from Boston, MA wrote in part, “The book reads like a journey through the human soul with no signposts along the way. To stay on the path requires firm reason, so we think, but when the signs fall down, only faith guides the reader’s way. Corporation well understood the limitations of reason as an infallible guide in maintaining our faith in humanity.” He wrote the preceding about a book filled with numbers. Specifically, the RAND Corporation’s A Million Random Digits with 100,000 Normal Deviates.
Even if it was an attempt at humor, Rockefeller’s review of the book was worded in such a dry and blank-faced way that it veered from humor into sheer, inexplicable weirdness. Perhaps no surprise, since someone familiar with the details of Rockefeller’s divorce from wife Sandra Boss told the New York Daily News that he was “a very [expletive]bizarre guy.” [AMW; NYDN]
* Casey Anthony Doesn’t Meet With Parents; Has New Hearing Today — (Orlando, FL) Cindy and George Anthony, grandparents of missing Florida 2-year-old Caylee Anthony and parents of Caylee’s jailed mom, Casey Anthony, arrived at the Orange County Jail around 9 this morning to meet with their daughter. Even though Casey doesn’t have a hearing at the Orange County Courthouse until 1:30 this afternoon, her parents were told she was ‘unavailable.’ During Casey’s hearing today, her attorney is expected to request the judge to block the release to reporters of Casey’s jailhouse phone convos. Lawyer Jose Baez filed his motion around the same time the Orange County Jail released a 15-minute phone call between Casey and her brother Lee. During that call, Lee asked Caylee if she thought Casey was okay. Casey said, “In my gut, she’s still okay […] It still feels like she’s, she’s close to home. That’s still my best feeling at the moment.” [Orlando Sentinel]
* Stepbrother, 15, Arrested for Murder of Stepsister, 14 — (Tucson, AZ) Late Monday Pima County Sheriff’s Deputies answered a call at the home Sheldon Andrew Pruitt, age 15, shared with his family, including his 14-year-old stepsister, Alexandria Salinas. According to authorities, Salinas was on the phone earlier that evening when her stepbrother came into her room and shot her in the head. No adults were at the home at the time. [KOLD Tucson]
* Georgia Scout Leader Charged With Molestation — (Lawrenceville, GA) Lawrenceville Cub Scout leader Harry Brett Taylor, age 44, has been charged with child molestation. He’s accused of fondling a child in his care. Taylor may have been molesting a relative for what the Atlanta Journal Constitution described as “an extended period of time.” An 8-year-old boy was spending the night with one of Taylor’s kids when Taylor allegedly fondled him. The boys knew each other through Cub Scouts and Taylor was their leader, but the sleepover was not a scouting event. Taylor is being held without bail in Gwinnett County detention. [AJC]
* King Cuyahoga to be Deposed? — (Cleveland, OH) In January, 2007, Jared Klaus wrote “King Cuyahoga” for the Cleveland Scene. Klaus’s article detailed the wheeling and dealing that was afoot in Cuyahoga County, OH government, and its central character was portly county commissioner, Democrat Jimmy Dimora. Klaus’s portrait of egomaniacal back-slapping pols may have been prophetic in tone, at least — it was clear by the end of the story that something shady was up in the halls of Cuyahoga County power.
Yesterday, at 9 a.m., a major corruption probe was launched with a bang in Cleveland. Two hundred agents from the FBI and IRS raided Cuyahoga county offices, businesses and homes. One of the main targets: Jimmy Dimora. A good deal of evidence was gathered from several locations, including a U Haul truck’s worth of stuff from Dimora’s home. At this time, no charges have been filed and no arrests have been made. [Cleveland.com]

On August 19, 1982, David J. Steffen murdered Karen Range, of Roselawn, Ohio. Steffen came to her door under the pretense of selling cleaning products. He forced his way in, intent on assaulting the 19-year-old woman.
The ensuing crime was so gruesome that some jurors from Steffen’s murder trial would later tell of knots in the stomach, of nausea and queasiness. Others described feeling faint, shaky or nervous. After all, jurors were subjected to images of Karen Range’s beaten and bloodied body, her slashed throat. They ended up handling her bloodstained clothing.
The jury found Steffen guilty of aggravated murder and rape. They gave him the death penalty.
David Steffen seems to have been a peculiarly honest killer. He has admitted that he beat and stabbed Karen Range. Steffen admitted that he tried to rape her.
But he always insisted that he never actually raped the victim. The semen found inside Range’s body in 1982 wasn’t his.
Turns out he was telling the truth.

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