karraestarr.jpgBianca Starr died last weekend. She was only 3 years old. Police were called to a Herrin, Illinois apartment complex on Saturday, where they found the little girl with her mother. Bianca was unresponsive.
Bianca’s mother, 18-year-old Karrae Starr, was taken to the Williamson County, IL County Jail, where she is currently being held without bail. Everyone close to Karrae has told local media that they just can’t believe this has happened. Karrae’s ex, not the child’s father, said he knew that Karrae spanked Bianca, but he didn’t see it as abusive.
Something must have happened to Karrae recently, though. Neighbors at the complex where she lived with her daughter spoke of her drinking.
They also said she had blood on her shirt.
Online Karrae presented herself as a tough chick, someone you wouldn’t want to mess with. Her full MySpace headline read, “If you really want to know I am the REAL CRAZY BITCH! and dont forget it.”
She did, however, want her softer side known. Her MySpace profile URL ended with “my_baby_bianca” and her “About me” on the profile page read as follows:

HEY!!! well my name is Karrae Nicole Starr. I just turned 18 on Febuary 1st. go me!! lol anyways I have a beautiful daughter named Bianca Nicole Starr. She is two and a half as of right now. I am single once again. But hey it isn’t so bad. Well I guess I love to sing. I hope one day I will make it. Take a look at the page and let me know what you think. peace love and hair grease!!!

Karrae’s profile indicated that she was in a relationship and that she was bisexual. In her MySpace blog, Karrae posted an entry in February this year titled “I need a hot lesbian.” In that post she wrote, in part:

if i can find a girl that is one hot and two nice and shit then i might just give that up.
I am really getting sick and tired of guys and their thinking that they are superior to women.
Just to let you know, just because you have two heads doesnt mean there are brains in any one of them.

Then again, she seemed to be more frustrated with a relationship she was having at the time than anything, writing earlier in the same post that she was engaged to a guy named Mike but that they were “always fighting” and she “was about ready to give up on it.”
biancastarr.jpgKarrae’s blog also indicated that she’d lost custody of little Bianca at some point. On April 27, 2007, she wrote that she was “getting married” and getting her child back. Karrae wrote that her daughter had been “taken becauese [sic]of finacial [sic]reasons.”
In April of this year Karrae posted a longer entry in her MySpace blog that seemed to reveal a confused, possibly disturbed personality. These were Karrae’s “ten odd facts” about herself:

1. I am very afraid of cotton balls. I hate the saound they make when they are rubbed together. It makes me feel like throwing up.
2. I am a nympho but I can not get off. ( weird I know)
3. I can not sleep naked with a person in the bed with me.
4. I randomly burst into song as though my life is a depressing musical.
5. I have OCD. Every thing has to be in place and in perfect alingment with each other.
6. I am gay ( well bi ) but I have never had sex with a girl. I want to but there aren’t that many girls out there that are actually like that and would be willing to.
7. I am a complete bitch and very angry at the world.
8. I hate the song Cheer up Charlie form the original Willy Wonka movie.
9. I never have to study for any test and or quiz. I pass them with either perfect or almost perfect grades.
10. I want to be back with two of my exes.

Karrae also had a personal profile on Bebo.com. Again, she highlighted how important her daughter truly was to her:

Well, I’m pretty much out going, untill you get me in a awkward positon then I’m not so out going. I love spending time with the peeps and just chillin. I also love my daughter Bianca Nicole Starr. I don’t really have much more to say, so if you want to know just ask.

Karrae wrote on the same profile that she was scared of “COTTONBALLS (I HATE THEM!!!!!).”
Karrae’s next statement about what she was scared of, in light of her current status as her daughter’s alleged killer, was terribly ironic: “Also my daughter being hurt in anyway. I will fuck some one up over her so dont even fuckin try the shit.”
Under the Bebo profile’s place for the owner’s number 1 love, Karrae Starr gave her daughter’s name: Bianca Nicole Starr.
An unstable sense of her own identity, a potentially volatile, sometimes aggressive personality — was the greatest danger in Bianca’s life her seemingly loving mother? At the moment, police seem to think so.
The only silver lining here is that at age 3, little Bianca was far too old for her mother to cry pregnancy-related depression.
This story is disturbing and there’s something about delving into Karrae’s online world that is unsettling, makes me feel as though I need a shower. It also makes me think of what it might have been like if we could have had a good look at the real online presence of someone like Casey Anthony before she had the presence of mind to start scrubbing what she could from the ‘Net. I have to wonder if she didn’t actually have a helluva lot in common with an alleged monster like Karrae Starr.
EXTRA LINK: Check out what my friends at the Dreamin’ Demon have to say about this story: Karrae Starr Is “The REAL CRAZY BITCH!”

[WSIL TV]

Some things are just so awful that there’s not much more to do than report them. Any commentary, blog-style, is rendered moot by the sheer wealth of ugliness in the facts of the case.
It seems like that’s what’s happening in the story of Renee Bowman, in Lusby, Maryland. Apparently, she was the adoptive parent from hell.
On Friday, September 26, the Calvert County Sheriff received a call about a “found child” on Pawnee Trail, in Lusby.
The little girl was 7 years old. According to the Sheriff’s press release, the child “showed signs of extreme abuse and neglect.”
Investigators figured out that the little girl had escaped from an address on Buckskin Trail.
rbowman2.jpgThat’s where they found 43-year-old Renee Bowman.
Bowman said she’d hit the 7-year-old with a “hard heeled shoe.”
She was taken to the Calvert County Detention Center.
Cops needed more evidence, so they entered the Buckskin Trail home with a search warrant in hand to gather whatever they might need to shore up the first degree child abuse charges against Bowman. That was when they opened the freezer in the basement.
According to the Washington Post, there were two small children in the freezer, “encased in a block of ice.”
Investigators learned that at some point, Renee Bowman adopted 3 little girls who had once lived in the District of Columbia. In interviews with the police, Bowman said that the remains in the freezer were her other two adopted children. Bowman said the bodies had been in the freezer since February this year, when she moved to her current address from Rockville, MD.
The Medical Examiner in Baltimore had the freezer moved to the ME’s office. Speaking to the Post, Calvert County Det. Michael Moore said that all they can see right now “is a big block of ice with these two children” inside. Moore said that an autopsy won’t be done until Tuesday because “we’re still trying to thaw them out.”
Like I wrote at the beginning of this post — sometimes no further comment is needed. At least not from me. Feel free to vent below.
[Calvert County Sheriff’s Office and WaPo.]


From KXLY news on YouTube.
I’m basically putting this here as something of a public service. I needed to read this story as a reminder, and I think a lot of people who like to read true crime tales online might need it, too. Especially if you’re also fond of discussing these stories on message boards, where the dogpiling on a given subject can get pretty bad, at times.
Sometime back a Spokane, WA firefighter named Todd Chism was arrested by the Washington State Patrol. They accused him of owning kiddie porn.
Then they had to release him. They checked everything Chism owned that might be used to download or save child pornography. Nothing. Nada. Zilch.
What happened? Someone used a Yahoo account and a credit card number linked to Todd Chism to acquire the images in question. Whoever the porn downloader was, he wasn’t the fireman. From the Associated Press:

[Fraudulent] activity had been reported on three of the four credit card numbers associated with the Chisms’ Bank of America account but not the fourth, which was the one used to buy the porn […] [Chism’s] investigative file includes a letter from Bank of America confirming that a fraud complaint had been made for the fourth number in August 2007…

Unfortunately for Todd Chism, investigators didn’t get the letter from the bank about that crucial fourth account until after he’d been arrested and publicly accused of owning child porn.
Naturally, Lt. Todd Chism is going to sue. His family feels the effects of what happened “daily,” said Chism. They’re trying to cope, but he told the AP that “it has been very difficult.”
I haven’t bothered to check, but I can almost guarantee you that prior to his innocence being declared, Chism was probably pilloried on some blog or message board, somewhere. It just seems inevitable, considering his status as a firefighter, therefore one of those guys society tends to automatically idealize as a “hero,” no matter his actual accomplishments. Such a reaction tends to be automatic, and because so many people on the Web are anonymous, the rhetoric found online is frequently unusually vicious.
I don’t know about you, but stories like Todd Chism’s make me stop and think about my own reaction to such things when I read them. I find I’m just a little less quick to judge after one news report.
Chism’s story also underscores just how scary it can be to have your information stolen. My wife had it happen to her two years ago. While nothing as horrible as an arrest happened, it was still an unending source of stress and aggravation.
Chism probably won’t sue anyone who slammed him on the Web. There really wouldn’t be any money in it. But I hope he makes a mint off of the suit he does intend to file. It won’t fix the trauma experienced by Chism or his family, but it damned sure won’t hurt, either.
[Seattle Post Intelligencer/AP]


From The Associated Press on YouTube.
David Meyers, age 52, entered a home in suburban Indianapolis, Indiana in the middle of the night. He was clad only in a mask and latex gloves. He also carried a knife, rope and condoms. The registered sex offender was after the 17-year-old girl who lay asleep in that home. After all, he knew the floor plan. He was related to the people who were renting the home to the girl’s family.
dmeyers.jpgBut Sunday, September 28, 2008 was the end of the line for the man who had already seen a decade in prison for “criminal confinement and sexual deviate conduct.”
Meyers had his goal in sight when the girl awoke and saw the masked, naked perv standing in her room. She screamed.
Her father came running. He managed to subdue Meyers with a choke hold while his wife dialed 911.
By the time police arrived, David Meyers was dead. Police still don’t know what killed him — his own pre-existing heart condition, or the chokehold.
No charges will be filed against the man who defended his daughter from the worst of the darkness.
You reap what you sow if you enter a family’s home in the dead of night with no clothes on and a bad ticker. This is as close as a story like this ever comes to a happy ending. A family has been traumatized, but a true predator has been taken off the street forever, and in a cosmically appropriate way.
Only one question nags me in connection with this story — was this the first time Meyers ever tried such a thing? Or had he perhaps succeeded in the past? Hopefully someone will take the trouble to pop his DNA into some databases and see.
[WISH TV 8, Indianapolis]

jleehampton.jpgA fisherman found a body floating in the Clinch River in Knoxville, TN on Saturday. No one seems sure yet as to the identity of the dead young woman, but the family of missing Alabama woman Jennifer Lee Hampton will hold a press conference this morning.
Hampton family attorney Eddie Daniel told local Knoxville media that the family realizes “the probability that the body is Jenny.” As a result, the family is making funeral arrangements.
At the moment it isn’t even clear how the 21-year-old woman died. At the moment the only safe guess is that her death wasn’t natural.
That said, Knoxville police have already stated that they believe Jennifer met with foul play. Now the most important question is simply who killed her? And are they in a position to kill again one day, if the opportunity arises?
[WBIR.com]

***NOTE*** Comments on this entry have been closed. They were reducing the collective IQ of the Internet. Y’all fight it out somewhere else. I suggest Topix.
On Thursday night, police in Jacksonville, Arkansas arrested a 33-year-old laborer named George Alan Smith. Smith has been charged with murder. The alleged victim was a still-unidentified woman whose remains were discovered earlier in the week in a wooded area, not far from Smith’s place of employment, Wright’s Cabinets.
sks.jpgArkansas authorities believe Smith may be connected to as many as 15 other homicides in several states. They say they aren’t done with their investigation, either.
As for Smith, his sister says, “He was set up.” She believes he was set up by an unidentified inmate currently being held in Faulkner County, AR. That man, according to Smith’s sister, Tiffany Stephenson, “is a suspect.”
The unnamed inmate may be a suspect in a double-murder in Vilonia, AR. George Alan Smith was slated to testify for the prosecution in that case.
The Associated Press reported today that Smith’s prior convictions were for “third-degree domestic battery, carrying a weapon and fleeing from police.” The AP also stated that Smith’s arrest came after investigators discovered what they think may have been the murder weapon in the case of the unidentified woman found in the industrial park.
It isn’t clear as to what Smith’s “involvement” in “at least a dozen” other homicides in other states may have been, but when reading of so many unsolved murders in several states being potentially attributed to one man, the serial killer question must be asked. Any guesses as to what’s really up here are welcome in the comments. Remember — at the moment, police have only said that Smith may be “involved” in the murders. This leaves open the possibility of contract killings, gang-related murders, and yes, serial crimes.
[KATV.com, ArkansasOnline.com and WXVT.com.]


The update and link in a moment, but first take a minute to hear comedian Kevin Craft expressing what I find to be a totally legitimate sentiment with this question: “Are white kids more important than black kids?”
Of course they’re not — but you’d never know it from mainstream media coverage of the Anthony case — or the Holloway disappearance, or the murder of JonBenet, etc., etc….
As I write this there are 7 active national Amber Alerts. Two of the children, Pablo and Alicia Hernandez, are hispanic. How many people reaching this post through a Google search on the Anthony case have heard of them? Damned few, I’d bet.
We who cover the disappearance of Caylee Anthony are in a damned if you do and damned if you don’t situation — we know there are a lot of people seeking info, and if you write a blog for pay and have advertisers on the blog, you need that traffic. If you run a news channel, you need those eyes on your advertisers’ commercials. At the same time, I am sure a lot of us recognize the inequity that Kevin Craft talks about in the video above. All I can say is that it drives me a little batty, too. I try to correct it when I can, but I rarely succeed. I’d like to know how to fix such a thing — I believe, as Mr. Craft does, that all missing children are important. I don’t know how to fix the inequity in coverage at the moment. I do know it’s a matrix — it isn’t all on the shoulders of folks broadcasting, writing, blogging about these things. It is partly on the shoulders of average citizens hitting the Web searching for information. I guess I’m saying we all need to search ourselves where this subject is concerned and try and find an answer to Kevin’s question. All children are important, and it is desperately important that we let the world know when a single one of them is missing and endangered.
That said, here’s your damned Anthony case update. It’ll be quick, because I can only hold my nose for so long.