Of course I am a sucker for any television program that examines the criminal mind, especially when it’s a documentary that allows me to delve into the psychology surrounding the decision to engage in violent activity. While I never forget that I am watching the story of a real victim who left behind grieving family and friends, and that fact is of primary importance, what we have to learn from killers and their acts is fascinating and critical as well.
I just happened upon a 20/20 episode that was being replayed on TLC recently and that took only seconds to grab my attention. The story was about Leah Freeman, a fifteen-year-old girl from the small town of Coquille, Oregon who was reported missing in 2000 and found dead a little more than a month later. After a decade of dead ends and then a quiet suspension of the investigation, a new police chief breathed new life into the search by bringing in a group of forensic specialists known as the Vidocq Society. This organization, which I have featured on my blog before, consists of former FBI special agents, profilers, and other experts. Watching them discuss the smallest details of the case and put together the pieces that had eluded others for so many years was fascinating.
With the help of the experts, Freeman’s boyfriend at the time of her death, Nick McGuffin, was given renewed attention as the prime suspect. A review of his police interview, discussions with friends who shared that he wasn’t exactly grieving upon the disappearance of his girlfriend, and the revelation that Leah was concerned that she may have been pregnant by eighteen-year-old Nick eventually led to his conviction and ten-year sentence on charges of manslaughter.
If you are interested in forensics and criminal psychology, check out the work of the Vidocq Society. The members of this group have an amazing and enviable calling!
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