Friday, April 23, 2010

The FBI and serial killers

So, as promised here I went to the FBI's seminar on its Highway Serial Killings Initiative yesterday (thanks for not breaking into my house while I was out!).

It was both fascinating and educational. There was a lot of info about the various tool that the FBI is using to collate information about these killings and, hopefully, catch the unsubs doing them.

"Unsub" is an FBI word, short for "unknown subject," feel free to use it.

Anyway, we heard about FBI programs like ViCAP, which is an amazing tool that cross-references every scrap of info you can imagine about the victims, the killings, and the suspects. I have no doubt that it will work wonders in years to come. Read about it here, if you want to know more.

The best part of the program, for me, was when the senior special agent from the BAU (aka profiler) showed us pics and gave us details from a real crime scene, then went through the steps of analysis that led to a correct profile and the killer. Mesmerizing.

But if you are too lazy (okay, busy) to check out the FBI's web page on the initiative, here's the gist:
Yes, that's a map of 500 bodies found alongside highways, murders that the FBI wants to solve.

But it's not just that there are a lot of bodies - I had no idea that there were 200 men (oh yes, always men) suspected of killing women. 200 murderers floating along the highways and by-ways with blood on their hands. Truckers? Mostly, yes.

And it's not just that there are a lot of suspects - the FBI actually knows many of their names! Seriously, I was hugely impressed (and surprised) that they have done enough work to have a list of people they believe are guilty of murder. Names, birth dates, pictures. Your time is drawing nigh, fellas. (I checked, trust me, and my name was not on the list but I thought. . . thought, I saw yours. . . .)

Actually, I've been a little jokey here but these guys are dedicated and working so hard to catch some truly despicable people. Truck driver Adam Lane, for one. And so far, at least 10 suspects believed responsible for some 30 homicides have been placed in custody.

In my book, that's a dashed good start.


  1. This is fascinating! Thanks for sharing it. Did you get any good ideas for future books? :)


    I know this isn't Texas law. But I wondered what your thoughts were on a city refusing to prosecute in this case?

  3. Sadly, using the term "unsub" will only get you pegged as a "Criminal Minds" watcher.

  4. Jen:
    Yes!! Absolutely, several story ideas.

    Lemme look at the link, just got out of court.

    The seminar opened with a clip of that show (Which I do watch and love) and then the agents laughed and said, "Yeah, that's what it's like." I think they were perhaps being sarcastic...


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