By Adam J. Pearson
There is currently a serial killer on the loose in the Long Island area. Linkage analysis has connected him to the grisly murders of 8 women, one baby girl (the daughter of one of the women), and an Asian man. [See the articles “Police Hunting Long Island Serial Killer Find Body in Marsh” and “Serial Killer Responsible for Long Island Beach Murders Police Say.”]
What can we tell about his criminal profile based on the little information the police have released so far? Based on criminal profiling techniques and dominant trends in serial killer psychology, I’d make the following predictions.
First of all, the killer is likely to be male. The overwhelming majority of serial killers are male and kill people of the gender they are sexually attracted to (men if homosexual, women if heterosexual). The few female killers in recent history have all followed the same pattern by killing men. Moreover, this killer’s profile has has similarities with the profiles of several other previously apprehended male serial killers.
Like the Green River Killer and Robert Pickton, his victimology is largely composed of female prostitutes. The Asian man might not seem to match this victimology, but he was dressed as a woman when he was killed and was likely working as a prostitute when he was apprehended. If the killer has a hatred for prostitutes, then he may have killed the baby for being the child of a prostitute.
The Long Island killer disposes of the bodies in a similar way to killers like Edmund Kemper: mutilated and usually in bags (specifically burlap sacks). Since the bodies were discovered over a large distance, it’s likely that the killer is very comfortable with the area. As Commissioner Dormer commented, “the body parts have been spread over an area of great distance. There’s a connection that indicates that this person feels comfortable enough to drive with remains in his vehicle.”
What is this killer’s psychology likely to be like? First, as I mentioned earlier, I predict that he’s likely to have a deep hatred of women and prostitutes in particular. Either he hates women in general, like some serial killers, or he has what is called a “Madonna-Whore complex,” which leads him to view women as either saintly Madonnas or valueless “whores.” In the first case, he will hate all women; in the second, he will hate only women he considers to be prostitutes. In either case, this hatred would have transferred over to the female-dressed male prostitute and, tragically, to the child of one of the prostitutes (who has been genetically linked to her by DNA tests).
Second, this hatred is likely to translate into extreme violent aggression against the subjects of the killer’s hatred. The autopsy of the Asian man’s body revealed that he was badly beaten to the point of having several teeth knocked out prior to his death. The killer acts on hatred by violent beatings. He is not content with a quick gunshot kill like Son of Sam or the Zodiac killer. Instead, he wants to make his victims suffer through extensive beatings. Killing is a personal act. Moreover, he may be a sexual sadist. Most prostitute-killers have rich fantasy lives in which sexuality and violent murder are inseperably intermixed.
Third, he is an organised killer. He likely plans his murders out meticulously in advance. We know this because he takes great care to hide the bodies in a systematic way. He does not, like some other serial killers, simply dump the bodies on the side of the road. He tries to hide them very carefully in order to prolong the interval of time before they are found.
Fourth, he is likely to have been a victim of sexual abuse, physical abuse, or both as a child. Most serial killers are the children of abusive situations. In all likelihood, he may have killed animals as a child. Most serial killers kill animals prior to moving on to humans as adults.
Finally, he is likely to be of moderate to above average intelligence; he hides his tracks very carefully and likely killed with some sort of gloves on and some sort of hat to cover his hair, since he left no hairs or fingerprints at his crime scenes. In all probability, he has taken time to learn about criminal investigative techniques in order to maximize his likelihood of going unidentified for as long as possible.
Only time will tell whether this profile is accurate or not. Criminal investigative techniques and scientific evidence-gathering tools are far more developed and diverse today than they were in the days of Ted Bundy and John Wayne Gacy. In all likelihood, this killer will make a fatal error and be apprehended. Many serial killers get more and more reckless and cocky over the years and usually become sloppier over time. This means that they end up leaving more evidence for investigators to find. Thus, it is very likely that the Long Island Killer will be caught in due time. Hopefully, for the sake of his potential victims, his capture will happen sooner rather than later.