California Woman Reunited with Family a Decade after Alleged Abduction

Photo Courtesy: Santa Ana Police

Photo Courtesy: Santa Ana Police

In recent years, we have seen the 24/7 news cycle consumed with several stories of kidnap victims who are reunited with their families after many months or even years of separation. A decade ago, we all were stunned when Elizabeth Smart was discovered with her captors not far from her home in Utah nine months after she was abducted. Then five years ago we were even more stunned to learn that a California girl named Jaycee Lee Dugard was found eighteen years after her kidnapping. And last year we all recall the story of three women in Cleveland who had been held for a decade in a house of torture before finally deciding the time had come to scream and find freedom.

In all instances, these innocent young girls were raped by their abductors. In the latter two cases, children were born as a result of this horrific crime. Now, another story is unfolding in California of an alleged kidnapping a decade ago that resulted in what neighbors believed to be a happy family.

The kidnapping victim, who was fifteen at the time, was allegedly drugged by her mother’s boyfriend and taken to a garage. She then was told by her kidnapper, Isidro Garcia, that her mother did not care that she was gone and she would be deported if she went to the authorities. Over the next ten years, the two got married and had a daughter together. They both held jobs, took part in neighborhood gatherings, and gave the impression that all was well inside their home. Neighbors were shocked upon learning that the woman got in touch with authorities earlier this month and told them she had been held against her will for years.

Mr. Garcia and his attorney maintain his innocence and insist the two had a consensual relationship. Despite these pleas, Mr. Garcia remains behind bars on one million dollars bond and will stay there even if he provides the money as immigration officials have an interest in him as well.

There appear to be many details of this story still to emerge to create a clearer picture of what happened over the past decade. The psychological components of these situations are so complex, with victims sometimes developing emotional attachments to the predators or instances in which the fear and brainwashing take over for years. I hope that this young woman is receiving the counseling that she needs, both for herself and to create a safer and healthier life for her daughter.

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Take a Look Behind the Scenes with Serial Killers and Emily Stone

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Photo: Courtesy of Petri Entertainment

Emily Stone is a woman with four independent novel adventures (a fifth to be released soon) and a growing list of captured serial killers to prove it.   Every case, every missing child, and every serial killer stalking victims on the west coast is scrutinized by this woman.

It’s her life calling and she wears the badge of honor as a phantom detective and angel of justice.  With each new case, she hones her investigative skills and continues to compile a growing list of serial killer profiles.

I have managed to corner my heroine character Emily Stone again, and that’s difficult to do with her schedule, to ask her some questions that have been posed recently by readers.

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JC: Why do you hunt serial killers?

Emily Stone:  Why not?  I conduct my crime scene investigation and criminal profile, anonymously and covertly of course, and email my entire investigation to the detective in charge of the case.  I know how the investigations typically go with local police departments.  There’s generally a lack of training for these complex cases, too much media interference when the case is deemed a “serial killer case”, and the lack of qualified work force to conduct these types of investigations with dogged integrity.  So many times the F.B.I. must intervene, but don’t get me started on that topic.

Jennifer, I think the better question is… What can we do to stop these predators before they become serial killers and shatter lives?

JC: How do you make a living?

Emily Stone: Do I ask you about your bank account and how you spend your money?  Well, I can put the readers at ease and not to worry about how I pay for monthly expenses and a few nice computer gadgets to help with my cases.  In Compulsion, it was first disclosed that my uncle who looked after me when my parents were murdered made some solid investments, along with family money, and his royalties from awesome patents keep me hunting serial killers. My finances are lightly touched upon in Dead Game and Dark Mind.  In addition, the love of my life Rick Lopez retired from a police department to take up my quest and has a pension with a comfortable savings.

JC: Will you ever go back to being a police officer or maybe become a FBI agent?

Emily Stone:  No, never.  That’s all I’m going to say on the subject.

JC: What’s the toughest part of being a serial killer hunter?

Emily Stone:  The physical and mental challenges of conducting the investigations after the police have finished with their process pushes me to my limits.  Some days I even question my own abilities.  It’s grueling and dangerous, and you never know what or who is around the next corner.  You never know if it’s going to be the day you lose your life.  Every serial case and every child abduction takes a piece of my soul with it.  Even with my 90% solve rate, it still does not factor in what it has taken from my life.  Nevertheless, if I had it all to do over again, I wouldn’t change a thing.

JC: What scares you?

Emily Stone:  I cannot answer that question in all honesty because I would be giving away some of my secrets, not to mention my creator’s secrets too.  What I can say is that I hate feeling vulnerable and sometimes very alone in my quest.

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Do you have any questions for Emily Stone?  Feel free to ask and I’ll forward them to her.

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Check out the Award-winning EMILY STONE THRILLER SERIES available at Amazon, Amazon UK, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Sony, iTunes, Smashwords, and most online and book retailers.

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White Supremacists Proud of Vigilante Murder of Sex Offender

AP/Spartanburg Herald-Journal, Tim Kimzey

Photo: AP/Spartanburg Herald-Journal, Tim Kimzey

I have spent years developing a series of novels around a woman, Emily Stone, who takes matters into her own hands to rid her community of pedophiles and murderers. She uses technology and weapons and simple instinct to bring these criminals to justice with all of the evidence the police need to finish the effort. So, I can see the noble purpose in wanting to engage in vigilante justice, however ill-advised without the proper training. When the people who have decided to take on such a task appear to be rather despicable individuals themselves, however, the sense of justice becomes murkier.

Jeremy and Christine Moody were sentenced last week to life for the murder of Charles Parker and his wife Gretchen. Charles was a convicted sexual offender, including a 1991 assault on a child and a 2003 third-degree criminal misconduct against a woman, but had no known previous encounters with the Moodys.

The Moodys entered the home of the Parkers under false pretenses and then proceeded to stab and shoot both of them. The couple was caught on surveillance video and quickly found due to “white power” and “skinhead” tattoos on Jeremy’s face. Prior to their sentencing, the Moodys claimed to regret their crimes and spoke of their histories of mental problems and sexual abuse. They were hoping for a sentence of thirty years, allowing them to grow old together and be with their children at some point again. Once they learned that life behind bars would be their fate, their demeanor completely changed. As they exited the courtroom, the Moodys yelled that killing the Parkers made for a great day and they would kill more pedophiles if given the chance.

So, we are left with two people dead, one who previously exacted horror on his own victims and the other guilty by marriage, and two admitted white supremacists who will live out their days in prison. While anger against sexual predators is understandable, making the decision to rid the world of them is not an appropriate response. Allow the justice system to work, help where you can, and speak up when you think a wrong has been done. Let the vigilante efforts stop there.

What are your thoughts on vigilante justice?

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Check out the Award-winning EMILY STONE THRILLER SERIES available at Amazon, Amazon UK, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Sony, iTunes, Smashwords, and most online and book retailers.

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DeadBurn_Gold_Action_covRecent Reviews of DEAD BURN:

“Fast paced, leave no stone unturned and the story is equivalent to the caliber of Vince Flynn reads. “

“Author Jennifer Chase knocks the ball right out of the park with this story. Reminiscent of Daniel Silva reads the author creates a powerful story that twists and turns – keeping me white knuckled more than once.”

“I really enjoyed this book. It has all the ingredients of a good suspense, mystery story, and it’s well written. “

***

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Reader Appreciation with a Special Boxed Set #EmilyStone #99cents

EmilyStoneBoxedSetI appreciate all my readers!  Thank you for your continued support and enthusiasm.  For a limited time the EMILY STONE BOXED SET on Amazon Kindle is just 99 cents!   The first three novels are included with added bonus features of an original Emily Stone short story and author notes.

DARK PURSUIT will be coming out soon!

Amazon US

Amazon UK

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A Phone Call That Likely Saved Many Young Lives

Image Courtesy: CNN

Image Courtesy: CNN

Many of us hesitate to get involved when faced with potentially dangerous situations. Maybe when we see someone driving erratically or even witness an accident, we assume someone else will call the police. If we notice an individual engaging in what appears to be suspicious activity, we may not want to speak up in case we are bothering an innocent person or if this person is not innocent, we could be putting ourselves in danger by pointing him out. But one woman in a small town in Minnesota did choose to get involved, and she likely saved dozens of lives.

Chelsie Shellhas saw a young man struggling to get inside a storage shed while she was in her home washing dishes last week. She eventually saw him disappear inside the shed and her gut told her something was not quite right, so she called the authorities.

The police who arrived on the scene found seventeen-year-old John LaDue sitting amongst a large supply of gunpowder and chemicals and a pressure cooker. The warrant then ordered for his home revealed that LaDue had bomb materials and many guns in his bedroom.

LaDue admitted to authorities that he had planned to kill his family, set a fire as a diversion, and then head to the Waseca Junior/Senior High with the goal of killing as many people as possible. The aftermath of such a plot being successful is horrific to imagine.

Shellhas observed activity that struck her as odd and did something about it. Are we as aware of our surroundings? I wonder if I would have made the same call if I noticed some teenage kid messing around near a storage locker. While I don’t want to walk around imagining the likelihood of every man and woman on the street being some sort of criminal, this story and Chelsie Shellhas’ quick thinking certainly has reminded me that we all have a responsibility to be aware of our surroundings and to look out for one another in our communities.

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Was There a Rush to Convict in Nation’s Oldest Cold Case?

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Photo Courtesy: DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department

I want all of those who commit violent crimes, particularly those who harm children and others who are the most innocent among us, to be held accountable for their actions. But, I also want to know that the justice that they face is done fairly and that guilt is proven beyond a reasonable doubt, as our legal system demands. I read about a man convicted in 2012 of a decades-old cold case for whom it seems a verdict and sentence was handed down with too many questions remaining.

Jack Daniel McCullough was convicted in September 2012 for the kidnapping and murder of Maria Ridulph back in 1957, making it our nation’s oldest cold case to be solved. The crime occurred in Sycamore, Illinois while the seven-year-old girl was out playing with a friend in the snow. Her body was not found until the following spring. I can only imagine what Maria’s family and that entire town went through first not knowing where the little girl was and then making that awful discovery.

McCullough has now filed an appeal, stating that much of the evidence that would exonerate him was not allowed to be introduced at trial. His alibi of being miles away with military recruiter, the police interviews done decades ago, and the determination by an investigator about twenty years ago that another man, since deceased, had committed the crime were all deemed inadmissible because the members of law enforcement associated with these details had all since passed away and would not be able to provide affirming witness testimony.

On the other side of the courtroom, Mc Cullough argues that his mother’s deathbed confession of her son’s guilt was vague and not reliable as she was heavily medicated and confused. And the girl with whom Maria was playing that day did not identify a photograph of McCullough as the assailant until more than five decades after the crime was committed.

I encourage you to check out the entire piece about McCullough’s appeal and read some other articles on the case. It is a really thought-provoking situation that weighs our justifiable anger at crimes against children with the need to make sure we have all the facts and rights to the accused are afforded in full. It is very likely that McCullough did murder this young girl—there is evidence to support it—but his appeal arguments are compelling as well.

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Check out the Award-winning EMILY STONE THRILLER SERIES available at Amazon, Amazon UK, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Sony, iTunes, Smashwords, and most online and book retailers.

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DeadBurn_Gold_Action_covRecent Reviews of DEAD BURN:

“Fast paced, leave no stone unturned and the story is equivalent to the caliber of Vince Flynn reads. “

“Author Jennifer Chase knocks the ball right out of the park with this story. Reminiscent of Daniel Silva reads the author creates a powerful story that twists and turns – keeping me white knuckled more than once.”

“I really enjoyed this book. It has all the ingredients of a good suspense, mystery story, and it’s well written. “

***

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Woman Killed Her Own Hit Man but Now Fears Ex-Husband’s Release

blogpostI like reading stories about strong women who fight for justice, whether it is in their own lives or behalf of those around them. In fact, such depictions are so important to me that I created protagonist Emily Stone, a woman who acts as a vigilante crime solver in her efforts to rid communities of the most heinous criminals, to star in a series of my novels.

For this reason, I am captured by the story of Susan Walters, an emergency room nurse who came home from work one day in 2006 to find a man waiting to kill her with a hammer. Despite being struck in the head, Walters fought back, eventually gaining control of the hammer and the upper hand on her assailant. As she had her hands around his neck, she offered him the opportunity to save his life by telling her why he had been sent to kill her. He declined. As she shared in a recent interview, “I didn’t choose my attacker’s death for him. I chose my life.”

As it turns out, she did not need the confession of her attacker, later identified as Edward Haffey. Authorities were able to determine that Walters own husband, Michael Kuhnhausen, had paid Haffey $50,000 to kill his wife. Apparently Kuhnhausen was not pleased with Walters’ decision to seek a divorce after seventeen years of marriage.

Walters agreed to a plea deal that put her estranged husband in jail for ten years, but he now is preparing for release after only eight years due to good behavior. Walters is understandably nervous about Kuhnhausen’s imminent return to society and is speaking out in hopes that authorities will put measures in place to protect her should Kuhnhausen decide to finish the job that he started.

Susan Walters showed great courage and calm resolve, both when fighting for her life and again when facing her ex-husband in court. I hope that she is granted the sense of security that will allow her to live without constant fear.

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Check out the Award-winning EMILY STONE THRILLER SERIES available at Amazon, Amazon UK, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Sony, iTunes, Smashwords, and most online and book retailers.

***

DeadBurn_Gold_Action_covRecent Reviews of DEAD BURN:

“Fast paced, leave no stone unturned and the story is equivalent to the caliber of Vince Flynn reads. “

“Author Jennifer Chase knocks the ball right out of the park with this story. Reminiscent of Daniel Silva reads the author creates a powerful story that twists and turns – keeping me white knuckled more than once.”

“I really enjoyed this book. It has all the ingredients of a good suspense, mystery story, and it’s well written. “

***

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