Holiday Mayhem: 5 Thanksgiving Crime Mysteries

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Photo courtesy of baytowncrimestoppers.com.

The true purpose of Thanksgiving is to show gratitude for the wonderful things in your life. And to celebrate that appreciation with your loved ones.

Unfortunately though, for some, the holiday does not represent gratitude. But rather, the day has become synonymous with grief and terror.

Here are 5 horrific Thanksgiving crimes that have yet to be solved.

Exploding Briefcase

It was Thanksgiving 1985 in Lake Worth, Texas. A few members of the Blount family were returning home after a quick drive to the convenience store. When they arrived, 15-year old Angela Blount discovered a briefcase on the front porch of the family’s residence.

So, Angela decided to open the bag, which exploded. Angela died immediately, along with her father and cousin. The crime went unsolved for a decade. Then, a man named Michael Tony was arrested and convicted for the triple murder of the Blount family.

Years later, Toney’s conviction was overturned. Toney’s exoneration was a result of the prosecution’s withholding of crucial evidence that casted serious doubt on his guilt.

Officials have speculated that the killings were a case of mistaken identity, and that the briefcase was intended for their neighbors. This theory, however, never gained traction. And, no further evidence was ever produced in the case.

To date, no one has been held accountable for the crime.

Eureka Vanishing

It was 1997, and a seemingly quiet Thanksgiving in Eureka, California. A college student named Karen Marie Mitchell was home for the holiday to see her family and earn a couple of bucks at a part-time job.

After leaving work, Karen stopped by her aunt’s shoe store for a quick visit. They chatted for a bit, and then Karen headed home to prepare for the family’s Thanksgiving feast.

Sadly, Karen was never seen again.

Suspects were identified. The first person of interest was brought in, and admitted to several killings, but denied any involvement in Karen’s disappearance. Police eventually released him, as it became apparent they had the wrong guy.

Then, the next suspect was questioned. It was Robert Durst, the infamous killer that was profiled on HBO’s The Jinx. Eyewitnesses verified that Durst had visited the aunt’s shoe store on several prior occasions. And that he was in Eureka on the day of the vanishing. Unfortunately, however, the evidence tying Durst to Karen’s disappearance was weak. So, he was never held accountable for the crime.

Karen’s whereabouts remain a mystery.

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Photo courtesy of thegreatcourses.com.

A Century of Mystery

On Thanksgiving Day in 1919, a Schenectady, New York wildlife agent named John H. Woodruff left his home early in the day to conduct his daily patrol. Off into the wilderness he went, never to return home.

Two years later, Woodruff’s mutilated body was found buried in shallow grave near a forest waterway. His skull was broken in half, which indicated Woodruff had taken a blow to the  head from a rather large object.

Mrs. Woodruff claimed that her husband had received a threatening letter a few months prior to his disappearance, but that she had since discarded the note. Witnesses claim to have spotted Woodruff arguing, on the day in question, with another man. And that the two of them went off into the woods together.

None of these leads resulted in any real evidence. Not a single suspect was ever identified, and the case was never solved.

Thanksgiving John Doe

On Thanksgiving Day in 1997,  a woman was taking a stroll through the scenic landscape of Bucks County, Pennsylvania. The woman was an avid bird watcher, and had spent the better part of Thanksgiving viewing these creatures in the forest near her boyfriend’s house.

Suddenly, she spotted (what she thought was) a heron. Her heart raced with excitement, as she proceeded to get a closer look. The woman’s excitement turned to horror upon realizing that what she spotted was not a heron, but rather – a pair of sneakers. And that the sneakers were attached to the decomposing body of a young man, who was wedged between rocks on the shore of the Neshaminy Creek.

The man was dressed in nice Tommy Hilfiger clothing, but he had no wallet or any sort of identification.  It’s twenty years later, and his identity and cause of death remain a mystery.

The Mystery of D.B Cooper

On Thanksgiving Eve in 1971, a man named Dan Cooper boarded a Northwest Airlines flight from Portland to Seattle. Around mid-flight, Cooper approached a flight attendant to reveal he had a bomb in his carry-on luggage. And it wasn’t a bluff.

According to the flight crew, Cooper (who the media dubbed D.B. Cooper) was exceptionally polite to everyone on board, and never showed signs of aggression during his hijacking. The pilot complied with his request to land in Seattle. And, upon landing, he asked for $200,000 in cash, and two parachutes. His demands were met by both the airline and FBI.

Once Cooper received his cash and parachutes, he released the unharmed passengers. But, the flight crew stayed onboard, and were instructed to fly directly to Mexico City. A short while into the flight to Mexico, Cooper advised the attendants to move to the cockpit, for their own safety. He then proceeded to open a cabin door, and jump out of the plane with cash in hand, and a parachute on his back.

Years later, a small portion of the stolen money was found in a forest located near Portland. But, although some of the cash was located – Cooper has never been found. In fact, no one even knows his true identity. In 2009, the FBI officially closed its file on this unsolved mystery.

These spine tingling true life mysteries confirm that we must always remain vigilant and aware of our surroundings. Are there any unsolved Thanksgiving crimes from your neck of the woods?

***

Click on more articles that might be of interest:

The Future of Forensics: 5 Cutting Edge Techniques

 

8 Key Traits of Highly Effective Detectives

 

10 Common Traits of Career Criminals

 

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The Reality of Forensics: 6 Myths Debunked

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Photo courtesy of care2.com.

Pop culture has a fascination with the world of forensic science. Whether it’s a television show, movie or novel. The public’s thirst for crime drama is unquenchable. And that’s because, crime has an inherent conflict on multiple levels, which equals great drama!

The problem is, much of what is portrayed on the screen is not accurate.

So, in honor of the women and men who dedicate their lives to forensics—here are 6 myths exposed.

#1           Crime Scenes

Myth:  A single forensics investigator collects and analyzes all the evidence from a crime scene.

Reality: Crime scene investigations are conducted by a team of forensic experts. Each investigator is well-versed in their particular discipline, and that’s what they focus on. It could be DNA analysis, ballistics, fingerprints or some other specialization.

So, in short—the proper processing of a crime scene requires several forensic experts. Both from a collection and analysis standpoint.

To that end, once the investigators collect all the evidence present at a crime scene, the evidence is sent off-site to a lab (or labs) for analysis. At that time, highly trained scientists dissect and analyze the evidence that pertains to their discipline. From beginning to end, the process is tedious and time-consuming.

#2           Crime Investigation

Myth: Detectives analyze crime scene evidence.

Reality: This is an interesting one. The answer is both yes—and no.  Of course, detectives piece together evidence as part of their investigation into criminal activity. But, they rarely (if ever) have a role in analyzing the actual evidence collected at crime scenes

At the crime scene, detectives are obviously present. But, as stated above, specific forensic personnel are present to collect the evidence.

Once the evidence has been collected, detectives work alongside the forensic investigators, who generally enter the process after the evidence has been sent to the lab for analysis. The detective relies on the expertise of the investigator to provide them with the salient details of the evidence analysis.

Basically, the detective handling the case defers the evidence work to the experts. And how about the detective’s role? Well, they only have the monumental task of putting together the intricate puzzle of the crime elements from opportunity to motive to evidence.

#3           Forensic Psychology

Myth: Forensic science and forensic psychology are one in the same.

Reality: Well, they both have forensic in their description. And they’re both based on science. So, they must the same.

Right?

No, not exactly.

It’s true that both spheres use science to solve crimes, but that’s where the similarities end. The main difference is this: forensics is a “hard science,” in that the conclusions are based on laboratory investigations of tangible items. Think blood, bullets and fingerprints. Whereas, forensic psychology is applying psychological knowledge to the context of a legal situation. Essentially, forensic psychologists use their education and experience, and apply that understanding to issues related to the law.

So, for instance, a forensic psychologist won’t use a microscope to make a concrete determination as to whose hair fibers were left a crime scene. But, they will use their expertise to help law enforcement understand the motive behind a killer charged with First Degree Murder.

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Photo courtesy of centreofexcellence.com.

 #4           Criminal Evidence

Myth: Every single crime scene is processed for evidence.

Reality: The fact is—processing crime scenes is an expensive and time-consuming endeavor. That’s why most crime scenes are not scoured for evidence. Law enforcement agencies have tight budgets, and limited resources. And sometimes, certain crimes do not make the cut for being processed.

Criminal justice agencies would love to process every single crime scene. Why wouldn’t they? More evidence would certainly bolster the investigation and eventual prosecution. However, due to the immense amount of resources exerted in the proper processing of crime scenes, many police departments either abbreviate the processing, or eliminate it altogether.

For example: large, urban police departments generally won’t process a burglary scene unless it meets a certain monetary threshold—like $5,000.

#5           Analysis of DNA

Myth: Modern DNA analysis can identify a person within minutes.

Reality: Even in ‘simple’ cases, DNA analysis takes at least several hours. And, at that point, the DNA processing is still not complete. In order for a thorough DNA analysis conclusion to be made, it generally takes 30 or more days.

So, although, the initial analysis could match someone within a few hours, such analysis is not going to be enough to convict someone.

The FBI’s Combined DNA Index System has over 8 million records, but the index does not store personal information. Thus, in order to confirm the identity of someone, the forensic investigator must scour a plethora of other databases, including convicted perps, missing persons and unsolved crimes. If that isn’t hard enough. The search has to be done sometimes at the local, state and federal levels.

#6           Criminal Profiling

Myth: A forensic psychologist exists only to conduct criminal profiling.

Reality: Criminal profiling is a fascinating, and deeply complex, discipline. But, it’s just one of many responsibilities of a forensic psychologist.

The myriad of items that forensic psychologists are tasked with include designing crime prevention programs for adults and juveniles. Advising police departments on cutting-edge criminal psychology theories, and the prevailing views on various mental illnesses. And consulting – on an array of psychological issues – with attorneys, judges and other criminal (and civil) court personnel.

Although pop culture often stretches the truth for dramatic purposes, many highly-regarded TV shows and movies use forensic consultants to ensure accuracy. In my opinion, the realism adds to the drama, as opposed to detracting from it.

Do you know of any more forensic science myths that should be demystified?

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HAPPY HALLOWEEN: 31 Things That Scare Me

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Photo courtesy downtowngreensboro.org

It’s the scariest month of the year and quickly coming to a close. I thought I’d keep up with the yearly tradition and post what actually scares a criminologist and crime fiction author. Some things stay the same, but I’m always adding new ones to the list.

Just in case you were wondering…

  1. People text messaging and surfing the Internet when they drive.
  2. Cleaning the cat litter box twice a day.
  3. Men who wear socks with sandals.
  4. People referred to with three first names.
  5. Children that know more about technology than I do.
  6. Gas station restrooms.
  7. The rapid growth of hypocrisy among the general population.
  8. Heat waves.
  9. Sink holes.
  10. Actually knowing the words to most 80s songs.
  11. Political debates on any side.
  12. Thinking it was only my imagination.
  13. Feeling completely comfortable and relaxed studying serial killers and crime scenes for hours.
  14. Not being able to buy new shoes and more shoes.
  15. The facial expressions of news reporters when things don’t go their way.
  16. Enjoying television reruns including reality shows and cooking channels.
  17. Knowing when the phone is about to ring.
  18. Thinking that real superheroes are actually forensic scientists and cold case detectives.
  19. Relating to Sigourney Weaver’s character “Helen Hudson” in the 1995 movie Copycat.
  20. Weeds growing in my yard that triple in size every single day.
  21. The ticking of the clock.
  22. People who don’t like black dogs or black cats.
  23. The increasing number of endangered species.
  24. People without a sense of humor—but think they do.
  25. Predatory people looking for child victims.
  26. Fast food French fries having the same shelf life as a Twinkie.
  27. Having to find a scarier book or movie than the last.
  28. Feeling comfortable in my own shoes.
  29. Not knowing what’s around every corner.
  30. Making this scary list.
  31. And finally… the most scariest thing of all… not being able to write every day.

So what scares you?

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It Happened One Dark Night…

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The blustery wind hammered the sides of the house and across the windows, but the rain refused to fall before darkness descended. High-pitched tunes of the winter season squeezed through the age cracks in between the old weather-stripping and electrical outlets.

Nothing seemed the same anymore. What began as a comfortable home in a new town and a new state gradually turned to dread.

The unexplained incidents never entered into everyday conversations, but the uncomfortable feeling was obvious by the subtle reactions from guests that fidgeted and made excuses to leave early. Something definitely wasn’t right about the house.

The icy fingers slowly crawled up her spine as the instant shivers and cold sweats rattled her bones. The normal ambient temperature fluctuated from comfortable to the bitter depths from beyond. It wasn’t just the usual miseries of the drop in temperature from the time of year; it was something much more sinister.

Deep, guttural voices and heavy footsteps from one of the upstairs bedrooms amped up the imagination and sent her heart racing against an unknown entity. A constant presence pressed down in her personal space, a breath on her neck or heaviness against her arm. Annoying games of hide-and-seek with everyday items around the house further proved a solid case for the paranormal.

The wind blew harder outside and the tree branches reached out like the tentacles of the undead.

Alone in the house again, the teenage girl stood at the threshold with her hand steady on the doorknob, she turned it slowly, and the door burst open. The rush of winter air slapped her face and chilled her body.

Leaving the door wide open, she jogged down the driveway to retrieve the mail and pushed her mind to think of something else besides the house.

Before she reached the street, the front door slammed shut, but the deadbolt slide into place with an incredible force. A gesture demanding some type of final recognition made it almost unbearable to grasp.

She glanced up at the window above. A distorted, shadowy face stared back at her with monstrous eyes too terrifying to describe but it was impossible to look away…

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Do you think this is a work of fiction or something much more sinister? You be the judge…

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Antiquity to Modernity: A Timeline of Criminal Justice and Criminology

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Photo courtesy of withmydegree.org.

Our modern notions of crime and punishment are the result of millennia of human advancement. From antiquity to modern times, criminal justice and criminology have evolved due to significant contributions from a diverse array of civilizations. Here is a brief timeline of some of the most notable contributions.

Sumer (3500 BC)

Sumer is generally accepted as the first known urban civilization. The ancient land of Sumer is located in modern-day Iraq.

Before Sumer, people lived in small agricultural communities. Once Sumer developed, city-states appeared. This led to the formation of primitive governments. In order to control the crime that naturally derives from urban life, these governing bodies began to establish the origins of law and order.

Rise of the Romans (500 BC)

The Roman Republic established itself as Western Civilization’s first “super power.” Law and order was maintained  by soldiers, who would walk the streets of cities, towns and villages. The mere presence of the soldiers was a solid deterrent, and it helped keep crime under relative control.

Plato (428 – 347 BC)

As a student of Socrates and teacher of Aristotle, Plato introduced the concept that people are inherently good. This belief greatly influenced the thoughts on crime and punishment as the centuries progressed.

Aristotle (384 – 327 BC)

Expanding on the teachings of Plato, Aristotle’s views relied heavily on scientific observation. As the tutor to Alexander the Great, Aristotle would impart upon him the significance of science and its impact on decision-making. These teachings had a heavy influence on early forensic science and crime scene investigations.

Assassination of Julius Caesar (44 BC)

Many historians believe that the first historical recorded autopsy was conducted upon Julius Caesar.

De Materia Medica (50 – 70 AD)

Widely considered to be the groundwork for forensic toxicology, De Materia Medica, is a publication that categorizes an array of flora. Written by Greek physician Pedanius Dioscorides, the book discusses both the medicinal benefits and the poisonous aspects of various plants.

Frankpledge (1035)

After the collapse of the Roman Empire, the Western world was highly destabilized. This led to families and small communities policing themselves. After hundreds of years of no centralized policing, the English concept of Frankpledge was introduced.

Under this concept, males over the age of 12 were formed into groups of ten. Their job was to capture and detain members of their own clan who committed a crime. This was all done under the supervision of a Constable, who was appointed by the Crown.

Summa Theologica (1265 – 1274)

Exploring the concept of Natural Law, Saint Thomas Aquinas wrote the Summa Theologica in furtherance of Plato’s concept of people’s inherent “goodness.”  Aquinas opined that crime was both an affront to God and society. And that criminal behavior damages both the victim and the soul of the criminal.

Justices of the Peace (14th Century)

The English Crown began appointing Justices of the Peace to assist Constables in their efforts to control crime. These magistrates issued warrants, held arraignments and tried minor criminal cases.

Social Contract (1625 – 1762)

Introduced by John Locke, the theory of the social contract discusses the various roles of people and government in maintaining a balanced society. Essentially,  the theory holds that people cede authority to the government in exchange for security and prosperity.

At this point in history, theories of crime and punishment shift from theological to secular.

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Insane Asylums (1750)

The emergence of insane asylums across Europe led to the study of inmates. People were considered “insane” for various archaic reasons, and the people who studied them were known as “alienists.” The work conducted by the alienists laid the foundation for modern psychiatry.

Adolphe Quetelet (1827)

Using national crime statistics from France, Belgian statistician Adolphe Quetelet determined that there were correlations between demographics and crime. His studies led criminologists to understand how a person’s age, gender, education and socioeconomic status could have bearing on their propensity for criminal behavior.

Metropolitan Police Services (1829)

Established in London, the Metropolitan Police Services became the first full-time, professional and uniformed police force. Each officer was issued a copy of Sir Robert Peel’s “9 Principles of Policing.”

Prison (1850)

The concept of a modern prison first arose in Europe during the mid-19th Century. Doctors were given access to the prisoners, so that they could conduct studies into criminal behavior. Governments were particularly interested in the doctors’ findings, as it allowed them to understand what prompts criminal behavior.

As governments became stronger, the officials demanded empirical evidences, so that they were better equipped to control the populace.

Kodak (1888)

The Kodak camera, by George Eastman, was a revolutionary piece of equipment on numerous levels, including its impact on policing. As a result of the easily available Kodak camera, investigators could now memorialize crime scenes.

Crime Lab (1910)

The father of forensics, Dr. Edmond Locard, established the first modern crime lab in Lyon, France.

DNA Evidence (1988)

For the first time ever, DNA evidence was used in criminal court.  As a result of DNA evidence, Tommie Lee Andrews was found guilty of rape in a Florida courtroom.

Since 1988, there have been many significant advancements regarding both the manner in which crimes are investigated, as well as the methods for convicting and punishing the offender. Not only do our modern advancements help convict wrongdoers, but they also assist us in exonerating the wrongly accused.

What developments would you like to see in the future?

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DEAD COLD, An Emily Stone Thriller

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Here are some recent Reviews of DEAD COLD:

“Real and Vivid. I liked the way that Jennifer Chase wove her tale. Characterization was huge in this novel. The characters were all very well developed and had their own motivations and faults. It made them seem more real to me as the reader. I also really liked the flow of this novel. “ ~ Texas Book Nook

“Dead Cold is not for those with weak hearts or nervous dispositions. Every page will have your heart pumping so much you’ll feel like you’re running a marathon. The story gets off to a cracking start in the prologue with high speed action from the first line.” ~ Darryl Greer for Readers’ Favorite

“Reading a Jennifer Chase novel and especially these Emily Stone novels reminds me of when James Patterson was at the top of his game. Jennifer’s writing has that same elusive quality and it makes for brilliant novels. Emily’s character is awesome and Dead Cold is not only my favorite novel in the series but also has the best conceived plot. Emily’s character was made for the big screen, I hope she makes it there because films of these books would be great.” ~ Amazon Reviewer

“Dead Cold is its own creature with a gritty sense of reality that makes it feel wholly authentic. Given Chase’s qualifications in serial crime and criminal profiling this shouldn’t come as a surprise and here she uses that knowledge too but as good as the characters and dialogue are, Dead Cold is at its best when it focuses on twisted nature of Stone’s latest assignment and its consequences” ~Book Viral

“Wow, this one really delivers in many areas. It is a thrilling novel with teeth. Yes, it took a bit of catching up to understand what was going on,  but once in the heart of it, Jennifer Chase has the reader hooked. As far as characters, plot, and flow, everything was very well developed and smooth.” ~ On A Reading Bender

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The Feds: 6 of America’s Top Law Enforcement Agencies

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Photo courtesy of vice.com.

The United States is a federal republic. Simply put, this means that Americans are governed by elected officials at both a federal and state level. And, to a lesser extent, a local level.

Federal law enforcement agencies exist for one purpose. And that is – to enforce the laws enacted by the federal government.  Here’s a brief overview of America’s top 6 federal law enforcement agencies:

Drug Enforcement Administration

Established in 1973, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) was formed for the purpose of coordinating and consolidating the federal government’s drug control efforts.

Due to the booming international drug trade in the 1960’s and 70’s, the United States yearned for a single federal agency that would strictly focus on enforcing federal drug laws. And that’s what the DEA is – a singular federal agency that’s mandated with combatting drug smuggling, and use, within the United States.

The DEA’s formation was a consolidation of several then-existing federal agencies, such as the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, and the Office of Drug Abuse Law Enforcement.  Currently, the DEA is the lead agency for the domestic enforcement of the Controlled Substances Act. And, it is primarily responsible for pursuing and coordinating drug investigations – both at home and abroad.

United States Customs and Border Protection

The US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is one of the largest law enforcement entities in the world, employing over 60,000 people. The CBP has one primary mission. And that is – to the keep terrorists and their weapons out of America. The agency’s other mission is the facilitation of lawful international trade and travel.

Responsible for enforcing hundreds of federal laws at America’s borders, the men and women of CBP greet roughly one million visitors a day. Also, in a single day, the CBP arrests more than 1,100 people, screens more than 67,000 cargo containers and seizes almost 6 tons of illegal drugs. Additionally, the CBP facilitates an average of $3 trillion in lawful international trade.

United States Marshals Service

Created under the Judiciary Act by the First Congress and signed into law by President George Washington, the United States Marshalls Service (USMS) was formed in 1789. At its genesis, the USMS’ primary role was to execute all lawful United States warrants issued by the federal courts. Essentially, the USMS was created to assist federal courts with law enforcement duties.

Currently operating under the supervision of the Department of Justice, the USMS is America’s oldest law enforcement agency. Today, the USMS has several key functions: federal prisoner transport, protecting  officers of the court and fugitive recovery operations. The USMS handles all federal arrest warrants, and operates the federal Witness Protection Program.

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Photo courtesy of csgjusticecenter.org.

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) was officially formed in 1972. Prior to that time, the ATF was a division of the IRS due to the ATF’s role in collecting federal revenue from the sale of alcohol, tobacco and guns.  In 2001, the ATF was moved from the Treasury Department to the Justice Department, and it was renamed the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.

The ATF has numerous tasks, which include the enforcement of federal laws involving the manufacture, use and possession of guns and explosives. They also investigate the illegal trafficking of tobacco and alcohol. The agency works closely with local law enforcement in regulating the interstate sale and transportation of ammunition, firearms and explosives.

Also, the ATF is heavily involved in the investigation of arson and bombings. And, in fact, they operate a highly sophisticated fire research laboratory in Maryland, where acts of criminal arson are reconstructed.

United States Secret Service

Formed in 1865 solely for the purpose of combatting counterfeit US currency, the United States Secret Service now has a myriad of investigative and protection responsibilities. Spanning 150 worldwide offices, the Secret Service is mandated with protecting the President, Vice President, their families, and several other key American leaders.

The agency is also tasked with enforcing and investigating financial crimes, such as bank fraud, identity theft, counterfeiting US currency and cybercrimes.  Prior to 2003, the Secret Service was under the control of the Treasury Department, but has since been reassigned to the Department of Homeland Security.

Federal Bureau of Investigation  

Last but not least – the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Known for being on the cutting-edge of forensic technology, and innovative investigative techniques, the FBI is America’s principal law enforcement agency.

Established as the Bureau of Investigation in 1908, and later changed to the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 1935, the FBI is headquartered at the J. Edgar Hoover Building in Washington, D.C.  In addition to law enforcement, the FBI is mandated with domestic intelligence gathering, and national security.  Although the FBI is under the control of the Department of Justice, it reports to both the Attorney General (head of DOJ) and the Director of National Intelligence (President’s Cabinet).

The FBI is America’s leading domestic counterintelligence, counter-terrorism and criminal investigation organization. Whereas the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has no law enforcement authority and focuses on international intelligence work, the FBI focuses its intelligence work on the domestic front, while possessing the authority to arrest.

Currently, the FBI maintains 56 field offices in major American cities, while also maintaining more than 400 smaller offices in lesser cities.

Maintaining law and order in such a complex and dangerous world is no easy task. The men and women who work for these agencies work tirelessly to ensure America is kept safe from both domestic and foreign threats. Is there a federal law enforcement agency that you find particularly interesting?

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DEAD COLD, An Emily Stone Thriller

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Here are some recent Reviews of DEAD COLD:

“Real and Vivid. I liked the way that Jennifer Chase wove her tale. Characterization was huge in this novel. The characters were all very well developed and had their own motivations and faults. It made them seem more real to me as the reader. I also really liked the flow of this novel. “ ~ Texas Book Nook

“Dead Cold is not for those with weak hearts or nervous dispositions. Every page will have your heart pumping so much you’ll feel like you’re running a marathon. The story gets off to a cracking start in the prologue with high speed action from the first line.” ~ Darryl Greer for Readers’ Favorite

“Reading a Jennifer Chase novel and especially these Emily Stone novels reminds me of when James Patterson was at the top of his game. Jennifer’s writing has that same elusive quality and it makes for brilliant novels. Emily’s character is awesome and Dead Cold is not only my favorite novel in the series but also has the best conceived plot. Emily’s character was made for the big screen, I hope she makes it there because films of these books would be great.” ~ Amazon Reviewer

“Dead Cold is its own creature with a gritty sense of reality that makes it feel wholly authentic. Given Chase’s qualifications in serial crime and criminal profiling this shouldn’t come as a surprise and here she uses that knowledge too but as good as the characters and dialogue are, Dead Cold is at its best when it focuses on twisted nature of Stone’s latest assignment and its consequences” ~Book Viral

“Wow, this one really delivers in many areas. It is a thrilling novel with teeth. Yes, it took a bit of catching up to understand what was going on,  but once in the heart of it, Jennifer Chase has the reader hooked. As far as characters, plot, and flow, everything was very well developed and smooth.” ~ On A Reading Bender

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Influential Minds: 6 Masters of Criminology

Drawing on philosophy, sociology, psychology and anthropology, criminologists examine the origins, nature and control of criminal behavior.

Over the centuries, the field of criminology has been influenced by some of the most gifted minds the world has ever known. Here’s six of the most gifted contributors –

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Photo courtesy of critical-theory.com.

Jeremy Bentham

An 18th Century British philosopher, social reformer and criminal jurist, Jeremy Bentham is credited as the founder of modern utilitarianism; a belief that actions are inherently “right” if such actions benefit a majority of society.

Bentham made significant contributions to the advancement of criminology, including his efforts to decriminalize homosexual acts, as well as abolish slavery, the death penalty and all forms of physical punishment.

He believed that all people are entitled to a plethora of individual legal rights, but he was opposed to the idea of “natural rights” or so-called God-given rights. Bentham favored a strong separation of church and state, which is evident in his position against “natural law.” Bentham was also an early advocate of animal rights.

Bentham was strongly in favor of education “for all” and, upon his death, he requested that his body be dissected for educational purposes. He further requested that after the dissection, that his body be permanently preserved and placed on display. His body is currently on display at University College London.

Cesare Beccaria

An Italian criminologist, philosopher, and politician, Cesare Beccaria is widely considered to be one of the greatest thinkers of the Age of Enlightenment (1685-1815).  His most famous work, the renowned treatise – On Crimes and Punishments ­–  condemns torture and the death penalty, and is regarded as the founding work in field of penology.

Many historians attribute Beccaria as the founding father of modern criminal law, and as the founder of criminal justice. One of Beccaria’s primary ideologies was the belief that any punishment must be close in time to the criminal action, in order to maximize the deterrence value of the punishment.  To that end, Beccaria believed that if the crime and punishment occur close in time, then the offender’s mind will make a clear connection between “crime” and the resultant  “punishment.”

It is believed that Beccaria’s work and ideas had a significant influence on America’s Founding Fathers.

Alexandre Lacassagne

Born in the mid-1800’s, Alexandre Lacassagne was a French criminologist and physician. He was the founder of his own school of criminology, which was based in Lyon, France.

Lacassagne was a founding member in the disciplines of criminal anthropology and medical jurisprudence. He was influential in the field of toxicology, with a particular expertise on analyzing bullet markings and blood spatter patterns.

In addition to his primary pursuits, Lacassagne had a strong interest in the fields of sociology and psychology, and their relationship to a person’s criminal propensity. He believed that each individual had a unique biological predisposition. And that such disposition coupled with a person’s social environment were the primary factors in understanding the motivation behind an individual’s criminal behavior.

Lacassagne was a proponent of the death penalty, believing that some criminals could not be redeemed.

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Photo courtesy of famouspsychologists.com.

Hans Eysenck

A 20th Century, German-born British psychologist, Hans Eysenck spent his career investigating, analyzing and understanding the varying types of  human personalities and individual intelligence. As a professor of psychology at the renowned Kings College London, Eysenck was instrumental in the advancement  of humane treatment for those who suffered from mental illness.

Eysenck’s work in developing personality types was so groundbreaking that  – at the time of his death – he had become the most frequently cited psychologist in peer-reviewed science journals. His theories concerning one’s personality and intelligence, led to many advancements in understanding  what types of people commit crimes.

In his lifetime, Eysenck published approximately 80 books and over 1,600 journal articles.

Enrico Ferri

Italian criminologist and socialist Enrico Ferri studied at the Italian School of Criminology, and focused his studies on the relationship between criminal behavior and a person’s socio-economic background. Ferri’s book – Criminal Sociology –  served as the basis for the development of Argentina’s penal code in 1921.

Ferri rejected the prevailing, contemporary idea that a person’s biological characteristics played an important role in the motivations behind criminal behavior. Rather, he believed that a person’s psychological state had a much more direct impact on criminal impulses.

He believed that a criminal’s psychological makeup was essentially comprised of that person’s inability to reject criminal tendencies and temptations. And that criminals had an ill-balanced impulsiveness that was akin to that of a child.

Robert D. Hare

Canadian criminal psychologist Robert D. Hare has spent a lifetime interacting with, and assessing, psychopaths. Prior to earning his PhD, Hare spent some time working for the British Columbia prison system, a field in which he had no prior experience. Hare often spoke about his early days working at the prisons. Specifically, he recalled how the prisoners took advantage of his inexperience by manipulating him.

After earning his Ph.D., Hare became a professor at the University of British Columbia, where he would spend the next 30-plus years teaching and studying psychopaths. Hare was often baffled as to why some prisoners would not change their behavior despite the strict punishments they would often receive. He concluded that these criminals were psychopaths, and that they are not deterred by prison or any form of punishment.

Hare was often taken aback at how charming and personable psychopaths were, even though they have – and are capable of – committing vicious acts of violence. After spending almost 50 years studying them, Hare is renowned as a foremost expert in understanding the mind of the psychopath.

These criminologists, who span centuries and continents, are truly fascinating individuals. Do you know of any other highly influential pioneers in the field of criminology that belong on this list?

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DEAD COLD, An Emily Stone Thriller

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Here are some recent Reviews of DEAD COLD:

“Real and Vivid. I liked the way that Jennifer Chase wove her tale. Characterization was huge in this novel. The characters were all very well developed and had their own motivations and faults. It made them seem more real to me as the reader. I also really liked the flow of this novel. “ ~ Texas Book Nook

“Dead Cold is not for those with weak hearts or nervous dispositions. Every page will have your heart pumping so much you’ll feel like you’re running a marathon. The story gets off to a cracking start in the prologue with high speed action from the first line.” ~ Reviewed by Darryl Greer for Readers’ Favorite

“Reading a Jennifer Chase novel and especially these Emily Stone novels reminds me of when James Patterson was at the top of his game. Jennifer’s writing has that same elusive quality and it makes for brilliant novels. Emily’s character is awesome and Dead Cold is not only my favorite novel in the series but also has the best conceived plot. Emily’s character was made for the big screen, I hope she makes it there because films of these books would be great.” ~ Amazon Reviewer

“Dead Cold is its own creature with a gritty sense of reality that makes it feel wholly authentic. Given Chase’s qualifications in serial crime and criminal profiling this shouldn’t come as a surprise and here she uses that knowledge too but as good as the characters and dialogue are, Dead Cold is at its best when it focuses on twisted nature of Stone’s latest assignment and its consequences” ~Book Viral

“Wow, this one really delivers in many areas. It is a thrilling novel with teeth. Yes, it took a bit of catching up to understand what was going on,  but once in the heart of it, Jennifer Chase has the reader hooked. As far as characters, plot, and flow, everything was very well developed and smooth.” ~ On A Reading Bender

 

 

 

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