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Google Street View of Knoxville Center Mall.
A shooting occurred in a Knoxville, TN mall around 4:30 p.m. today. Two people were hit, at least one was killed. The Knoxville Police say one person has been taken into custody. The shooting occurred inside the Knoxville Center Mall, which was formerly known as the East Towne Mall. (At least it was when I worked in the Florsheim Shoe Shop there in the early 90s. ~ Ed.)
The shooting may have stemmed from a confrontation between the shooter and at least one employee inside Reno Menswear. Knox County commissioner Greg Lambert was among the witnesses.
Witnesses told local TV station WBIR that they heard at least 3 shots. A witness who spoke to the Knoxville News Sentinel said that there might have been as many as “10 to 15 gunshots.” One person who left a comment on the article published by the station stated that they worked in the mall. Using the screen name k-rock23, the commenter wrote, “[My] manager said that it was a centralized shooting […] people might have died east towne or not and second there were previous shots around 3:35 or so because i heard them but no one ran until the shots rang out around 4:30. It was a semi automatic so there were more than 3 shots.”
Another comment on the same article (linked below — be sure to read the comments there) was from screen name “Tygrasong,” who wrote, “My husband and a friend were inside the mall when the guy came in. Thank God the guy at Game Stop warned them to get out. The shots rang out not long after they were outside. Neither of them are injured. He called me after he left to tell me what happened…”
WBIR reports that firefighters and police are on the scene, collecting evidence.
[Knoxville News Sentinel and WBIR.com.]
From the “saw it coming miles away department” — what network could be better suited to dramatizing the story of the mysterious disappearance of Alabama teen Natalee Holloway from the island of Aruba at the end of May, 2005? Lifetime, the women’s cable channel, of course. [WSB Atlanta]
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Google Street View of the Padilla residence.
Police in Independence, Kentucky are still trying to sort out the tragedy of the Padilla family. So far, it’s looking like a murder suicide.
A call came in about a fire at 1866 Freedom Trail in Independence on Tuesday night. Emergency responders were able to rescue a 2-year-old little girl found close to the front door of the burning home, but just after they recovered the child, they realized someone was shooting at them from inside the house.
The gunfire stopped and police and fire officials entered the home to find three dead bodies: Lori Padilla, age 45; her 43-year-old husband Seaward Padilla; and their daughter Jessica Padilla, age 22. The Padillas died from gunshot wounds.
Authorities haven’t told local media whether or not they recovered a weapon. They also gave no indication as to who may have fired the shots. Independence Police Sergeant Scott Paul told a local publication that a “tragedy of this nature takes some time to unravel.”
It seems clear that someone in the house was alive when EMS first got there, and that they died at some point after the child — Jessica Padilla’s daughter — was rescued.
Usually in cases like this — but not always — the father is the killer.
Yet Seaward Padilla, at first glance, didn’t fit the mold of the hyper-controlling and often rigid personality that tends to surface in investigations into family annihilations. The most classic example of such a “family annihilator” was John Emil List, a pathologically uptight Episcopalian accountant who was on the lam for almost 18 years after murdering his family in November, 1971. Then again, there may be substantial differences between men who kill their families and then commit suicide and men who murder their families and go on the run.
Padilla had been a bus driver in the past, and he was so good at his job that a parent once nominated him for an outstanding work award from the county school board, saying in part that Seaward was “absolutely wonderful” and “good with the children.” Seaward, who drove bus 17, was “the best bus driver we ever had.”
Seaward Padilla was also a photographer. He had a MySpace profile to host his photos: MySpace.com/SeawardPadilla. In his “About me” on that page, Seaward told a great deal about himself — including the fact that he struggled with something he referred to as “severe pain”:
I find it very relaxing while takening photos. I have a lot of PRO cameras and lenes and I feel (and many other people have told me) that I know how to use them. Because of my medical issues I sometimes will shoot a wedding for them. I just have such a peace when I have a camera in my hand. The phototgraphy has a way of helping me with my severe pain. I am sorry for having to place the initials SP in the majority of my pictures but since some of my pictures are for sale I must try to protect myself. I am sure that you can understand. I was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA and moved to Kentucky about 9 years ago. There were many plusses and minuses about the move but overall I would never think about moving back to CA. I am happily married to my lovely wife Lori, for almost 15 years and I look forward to living the rest of my life and getting old with her. I am a VERY PROUD GRANDPA! If you can stand to look at ALL of my shots of her you can see that she is worthy of every single shot and then some. Please check back often as I update the site. Thank you for sharing a moment of your time with me. I hope you will enjoy the eye candy and look forward to hearing from you soon…
The photos were clearly the product of a trained eye and for the most part, professional in appearance. One of Seaward’s more arresting photos was the one he chose for his profile pic. It showed a man in a fishing cap sitting at the end of a pier, the ocean stretching away to the horizon. The well-composed scene was both tranquil and lonely. Looking at it after reading about the death of the Padilla family lent the image a ghostly, mysterious quality. I wondered who the man was, and if it was Seaward, why he chose the photo for his MySpace. His last login was on October 7 — Tuesday.
That was the last day his daughter Jessica logged in as well. Her profile was private, but she was clearly a proud mother to her daughter, for her profile title was “Jaycee’s Mommy.” Jessica’s last mood icon read “excited.”
Picking apart someone’s online presence only yields guesses in the end, though. To figure out why a man might destroy his family along with himself is something that can only be done by studying that family’s history and how they interacted with one another.
Most of the time, that doesn’t happen. Such tragedies are usually too great to bear for those left behind. Talking in-depth about what might have led up to the fatal moments in question ends up being salt in the wounds. So we may, in the end, be left with that last image on Seaward Padilla’s profile, of the lone figure sitting in the sunlight at the end of the dock, the rolling blue sea in front of him or her. Peaceful, yes, but also mysterious and utterly alone.
From CantonRep on YouTube: an interview with one of Brett Smith’s neighbors.
A neighbor with whom murder victim Brett Smith has had confrontations in the past has been arrested and charged with felony vandalism. Police arrested William Douglas Perry, age 41, on Monday. They have not said if Perry is suspected of killing Smith.
Brett’s decapitated remains were found by his mother Judy, who called 911 and said, “His head isn’t there.” It looked as though someone also attempted to burn some rugs in the oven in Brett’s kitchen.
In August, Brett Smith told police that William Perry hit him in the face. Perry’s arrest appears to be connected to an incident that took place on September 30, when someone busted the glass cover on Brett’s electric meter.
While Perry does have a criminal history and has served prison time, his girlfriend, Susan Lockard, defended him to local media, saying “there are other suspects out there.”
William Perry is in the Stark County, OH jail on $100,000 bail.
Authorities in Neenah, Wisconsin have charged 16-year-old Zachary B. Reid with his father’s murder. Cops found Brett Reid, age 53, in the trunk of his own vehicle, which was parked in an elementary school parking lot.
One of Zach Reid’s mistakes was confiding in his friends. In fact, he evens sought their help.
On October 5 police came to the home that Suzanne Cayse shares with her 14-year-old daughter. The daughter, who hasn’t been named, had a story to tell. She and her boyfriend (they were referred to as KAC and JMTR in court documents published online by the Appleton Post-Crescent) had received a weird call that morning from their mutual pal Zachary B. Reid.
At first Zach said he couldn’t go out. Then he called back and said no, he could go out. Could they give him a ride?
The teen couple went to Zach’s home. He came out and told them to wait, he wanted them to follow him in his father’s car.
Zachary Reid came down the steps dragging a body inside a white bag. He lay the grisly package in the grass for a moment and went back to his friends. He told them that he’d murdered his father. Naturally, the couple became a little nervous.
Zach said they didn’t need to worry. According to court papers, he said he had it covered. Then Zach told them what happened.
The 16-year-old (the criminal complaint indicated that he was born in December, 1991) said he’d approached his father from behind and strangled him to death.
Zach allegedly then put his father’s body in the trunk of the victim’s car and his friends followed him over to an elementary school parking lot.
That was where police found Brett Reid. He was wrapped in a white blanket. A white plastic bag was over Reid’s head. The bag was secured to the dead man’s head with a black belt.
Police brought Zach Reid in for questioning. The criminal complaint against the teen states that he “choked the victim with the intent of causing him to pass out” but he “went too far” and killed his dad. Zach tried to enhance the story. He said that his father had pulled a knife on him. Here Zach tried to be the hero — he told police that he put his father in a chokehold. He said his father dropped the knife but Zach wanted him to pass out, so he maintained the hold, even as he said his father tried to kick him in the balls.
But Brett Reid died, and Zach set about wrapping his dad’s body to take it out to dump. Zach told the detectives that carrying his father’s body down the steps was awkward, and even noted his father’s head bouncing on the steps as Zach dragged him along.
Zach Reid was searched prior to being taken to jail. Police found a prescription bottle full of oxycodone with Brett Reid’s name on the label. They also found some weed.
Lisa Reid, Zach’s mom, may have revealed the reality of the situation — she told police that Zach had been grounded. She also said that she’d never seen any sort of physical confrontation between Zach and his dad. She did say, though, that Zach was physically larger than his father, and that her son had appeared to sometimes use this to his advantage. Lisa Reid told the cops that her husband was, in the words of the criminal complaint, “probably afraid” of his son.
The DA for Winnebago County, WI told the Post Crescent that Zach Reid had a journal in which he spoke of killing Brett Reid, removing his teeth and burning the body. He also alleged that Reid has threatened to cut out the tongues or even kill people who pissed him off.
Zachary Reid is being held on a $300,000 cash bond.
[Postcrescent.com and MyFoxNEWisconsin.com.]
Emergency Dispatch: North Canton Emergency.
Caller: Ah, yes, this is Judy Smith. I-I’m at my son’s trailer park.
Caller: And, we just broke in and it looks like he’s in the bathroom, but his head’s missing.
Dispatcher: But what?
Caller: (Makes a noise) His head isn’t there. I don’t know, I know it sounds really weird, but —
Dispatcher: Wait a minute. You’re in his trailer. And —
Caller: Yeah —
Dispatcher: You see him in the bathroom?
Caller: It looks like him. The legs do.
Dispatcher: There —
Caller: I don’t know. Ah, could you just dispatch an officer?
Brett Smith doted on his 4-year-old niece. When he didn’t show for his regular visit last Saturday, his mom went to his trailer home to see what was wrong.
The transcript above makes it clear as to what happened next.
Police arrived at Brett’s Balsam Street residence around 7:30 and they found that the dead man’s mother was correct — Brett Smith’s head was gone. The Stark County (OH) coroner confirmed it for North Canton, Ohio media. Speaking to a local paper, a police investigator stated that Smith’s head was found inside the trailer.
Another resident of the Evergreen Mobile Home park told a Cleveland news station that there “was blood on the wall” inside Brett’s trailer and “burnt rugs in the oven.” Those seemed to indicate an attempt to burn the place down.
While the cops are being close-mouthed about their investigation, it seems as though Brett had some trouble with a neighbor. His neighbors Les and Mary Louise Erb told the Canton Repository that Brett was rarely unhappy, save for the day he came in to use their phone. The Erbs said Brett looked like he’d been in a fight.
In August, Brett filed a complaint with police, saying he’d been struck in the face by another man. Then on September 30, Brett had another complaint — someone had broken the glass cover on his electric meter.
Police have searched the home of one of Brett’s neighbors in connection with the murder.
It looks like the victim was BrettSmith33 on MySpace.com. There wasn’t much to his profile — he last logged in some 9 months ago. Under “About me,” Brett wrote that he was “Single and Looking for Miss Righet [sic].” He stated that he lived on his own and had his own car. Brett was “Looking to fine [sic]me a women [sic]that would love to have my kids for me some day soon.”
In General, Brett posted that he loved working out in the garden and loved to get his hands “massiy” [sic].
Brett Smith’s profile photo showed him with a little girl. He captioned it “me and my neice [sic].”
Speaking to the Fox affiliate in Cleveland, North Canton Police Chief Mike Grimes said that since he has investigators “actively working the case” he would give no details about the investigation into this gory crime, as he didn’t “want to do anything that’s going to hamper this investigation.”
That’s a good thing. You really don’t want to do ANYTHING that might mess with an investigation into someone psycho enough to behead another man. The inhuman criminal who killed Brett Smith needs to be off the street as soon as humanly possible.
[CantonRep.com and MyFoxCleveland.com.]
It’s almost 9 a.m. on Tuesday, October 7, and no one has seen 13-year-old Tyler Pillsbury (or Washburn — reports conflict on his last name, for some reason) since 4:30 Monday afternoon. Police believe that this home-schooled teen’s disappearance is suspicious. Tyler has short, brown hair, hazel eyes and is 5’5″. He weighs around 90lbs. Tyler was last seen riding his black mountain bike in Jericho, Vermont. He was wearing an orange hoodie, jeans, white shoes, and a bike helmet. Call the Vermont State Police at 802-878-7111 if you have information regarding the boy’s disappearance.
** UPDATE **
The Burlington Free Press reports that Tyler has been found alive and okay. From the paper:
Police don’t know where he was, whether he was with anyone, or whether he went of his own free will. Troopers are working to retrace the boy’s steps.
Mack Ray Edwards was a monster. He was the boogeyman, the creature with a human form that your parents tried to warn you about.
When he was arrested by the LAPD in 1970, Edwards confessed to six murders. All the victims were children. All were molested prior to death.
Police recovered 3 bodies. Edwards pleaded guilty to killing Stella Nolan, Gary Rochet and Donald Todd and headed off to death row.
I guess the s.o.b. lost his patience with the system, though. Edwards killed himself on the day before Halloween in 1971.
Three of Edwards’s victims were never found, and though it’s been nearly 40 years, police in California today began the process of trying to recover one of them.
LA Weekly‘s “LA Daily” blog reports that “dozens of law enforcement and forensic experts” began digging today to try and find whatever may be left of Roger Dale Madison. Investigators believe that Mack Ray Edwards killed the 16-year-old and then buried the teen’s body near the 23 Freeway in Moorpark, CA. They’re focusing on an area where “four corpse sniffing dogs” have alerted to what may be buried human remains. The assembled techs and cops are also using ground-penetrating radar to try and zero in on anomalies that might indicate a given body’s location.
The dig in Moorpark may last as long as 10 days, and as Christine Pelisek writes in her post, titled “Body Dig Underway for Boy Who Disappeared 40 Years Ago,” the area “will look like a makeshift archaeological dig replete with tents, trailers and dozens of police vehicles.”
Christine also linked the LAPD’s live video feed of the dig — you can check it out here. LA Weekly had photographer Ted Soqui on the scene when the dig began, and you can see a slideshow of Ted’s shots from this morning by either clicking the image above and on the right, or by clicking here.
I fear that there may be more variations on this theme to come. A jobless financial advisor described as “despondent” killed himself and his family this weekend in the upscale, gated Porter Ranch community in the San Fernando Valley, north of Los Angeles. No names yet, but the man killed his wife, age 39, and his three sons who range in age from 19 to 7. He also killed his 70-year-old mother-in-law. The gunman left some explanatory letters behind. A police spokesman said the man’s letters “attested to some financial difficulties.” [LAT]
The last time I wrote about Hannah Emily Upp, the New York City school teacher who vanished early in September, I said that I wouldn’t update the case any more because Hannah was found alive and there didn’t appear to be any crime involved in her disappearance.
At the request of Hannah’s brother, Dan Upp, I decided to print a message Hannah sent to the Facebook group established to help find her. This the message in full:
Dear Friends (including those I have yet to meet!)
First of all, I send my most heartfelt thanks to all of you for your concern, support, and love during this past month. I understand that many of you have unanswered questions about the time that I was missing and I appreciate your patience while I have been under medical care.
I want to share with you that the time I was missing has been diagnosed as an episode of dissociative fugue. As is typical of a case of dissociative fugue, I was not aware of my own identity and I emerged from the episode with essentially no memory of what happened during the time I was missing. While this is a rare occurrence, information about the condition exists in medical literature and I would encourage anyone with more questions to consult those sources.
I wish I could thank each one of you individually, but since you number in the thousands, I will have to start with this message and hope that you understand how grateful I am to all of you for believing in me and welcoming me back.
All my love, Hannah
Dan followed up a little for me. Responding to this article in the New York Daily News, he said, “What this article doesn’t say is that this was not just a personal claim, but rather a medical diagnosis made by the team of psychiatric professionals who have been working with Hannah since she was found. The psychiatrist that is quoted here has not been involved in any evaluation of Hannah and is making his comments based on incomplete information. I ask you all to please keep an open mind before leaping to conclusions and judgment based on the slant of an article.”
I echo Dan Upp’s sentiments. Having had a family member with grave mental health issues, I can tell you that certain states of mind can never be properly understood based only on secondhand case studies.
Here’s hoping Hannah’s recovery keeps going well.