The first was a boy playing with a friend who was shot as if from a sniper. It was put down as an accident, perhaps a hunter who never knew his stray bullet hit someone. The second was a Boy Scout, who was killed in his tent one night while sleeping there with a friend. The boy was bludgeoned then stabbed while his friend never awoke. A young woman, 22, disappeared after a night out with her friends. Then at the same campground, a seven year old girl was taken in the night from her tent, her older sister still sleeping.
The local police knew right away that this was beyond their resources. They called in the FBI. The FBI also made little progress although they did find the last two victims' bodies, burnt and smashed and scattered around an old deserted farmhouse. But a new investigative unit had been created back at FBI headquarters. Called the Behavioral Science Unit, it was headed by an experienced crime investigator, Howard Tetan and a criminal psychologist, Patrick Mullany. They believed that it was possible to create a profile of the offender from the characteristics of the crime and the crime scene. This case was the first one in which their theories were put to the test.
When the killer was revealed, it was a shock to everyone in Manhattan. Twenty-five year old David Meirhofer was the son of the richest businessman in town. Most people thought of him as a pleasant, helpful guy about town, a little odd but nothing too strange. But David hid his well of rage deep behind a smiling face and when he was arrested, he confessed to all four murders. Police believe he killed other victims but it was never proven.
This was a fascinating book for true crime readers. The author extensively researched the crimes and the birth of criminal profiling. In additional material after the crimes were solved, he also outlined potential other cases Meirhofer may have committed and disclosed that other members of the Meirhofer family also had sexual perversions that resulted in crimes. This was my first read of a Ron Franscell book but it won't be the last. This book is recommended for true crime readers.