Sunday, December 26, 2010

Century-old mystery forgotten

Richmond Byers vanished from Seeleyville, Indiana

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The Disappearance of Little Richmond Byers
by Robert A. Waters

Shortly after the turn of the century, the presumed abduction of Richmond Byers made national headlines. Before Catherine Winters and Charles Lindbergh, the inexplicable vanishing of the child horrified Americans. The boy’s father searched for years, bankrupting the family in a vain attempt to find his son. In the end, it was futile. He went to his grave wondering what had become of the six-year-old boy he and his family called “Rich.”

As time went on, Dr. L. S. Byers wrote to newspapers across the country explaining what had happened in the small town of Seeleyville, Indiana and urging editors to publicize the case. I’ve published one of his letters below. (Although Dr. Byers doesn’t use the term in his letter, it’s clear that he thought a group of “gypsies” had taken his son.)

The letter, published in the Fort Wayne News in 1906, reads:

“After coming to the ball ground at about 3:15 p.m. Sunday, the 29th of May, 1904, bringing home his tricycle, [Rich] immediately left, we supposing he expected to return to the company of children at the game. It has not been definitely settled that he got back there, but he was seen by Mrs. Coffy [a resident of the town], who called him back and asked him what he had said to a man to whom he was talking. He told her that he said to the man: ‘You have a blackened eye, where did you get it? At the saloon?’

“The man was in his shirt sleeves. Now, he had a coat somewhere. He would not have been dressed like that had he been a resident of any town near here, as everybody was dressed up, it being the first really fine Sunday that spring, which makes me believe he had a wagon somewhere near the town. Besides, five wagons passed through the town that afternoon and six wagons were together when they passed through Terre Haute, eight miles west of here.

“One of them came back next day. Four were overhauled the next night [and searched], but the sixth one has never been overtaken.

“A doctor of Clinton, sixteen miles from Terre Haute, wrote me that a covered wagon went into a lane four miles from his home that Sunday night. Now it is the custom for these rovers to go into camp before sundown, as they depend on the children to beg their food and let their emaciated horses graze. It is useless to try and convince me that that wagon did not have my boy in it. And then a covered wagon was seen over 100 miles north, near the state line, making good headway.”

Richmond Byers was described as having a light complexion, and gray eyes. His left eye was noticeably crossed. He had a V-shaped scar on the edge of his left ear. He was said to be small for his age, and very bright.

Shortly after the child vanished, citizens of Seeleyville turned out en masse to search the area. There were many deserted coal mines nearby and each was thoroughly searched. The fields and woods and ponds surrounding the town yielded no clues, nor did the abandoned houses in the vicinity. An article in the Logansport Journal described the search and concluded: “There was then only one solution to the mystery--that the boy had been kidnapped by a band of gypsies who had been camping in the vicinity and who left on the night of his disappearance.”

Later in the article, the editor wrote: “Persons who were near the camp of the gypsy band south of this city last week say they saw a boy fitting the description of Richmond Byers playing around the wagons. His face, they say, was scarcely tanned and it was believed that he had been with the band only a short time. While playing around the camp, he was reprimanded several times by the women and told to get back into one of the wagons.”

Dr. Byers and his wife Maggie began the long search for their child by visiting local law enforcement officials in cities surrounding Seeleyville. As reports of children who resembled their son came in, Dr. Byers would rush to another town, only to be disappointed to learn that the boy was some other child. He visited cities in Tennessee, Ohio, Kentucky, Arkansas and numerous other states. A $2,500 reward was established by friends of the family as Dr. Byers’ practice suffered because he was gone for so much of the time.

For years, the doctor and his wife had high hopes of locating his long-lost son. But it never happened. Richmond Byers was as lost as yesterday.

What happened to the boy?

Today, when a child goes missing, law enforcement officials always investigate the family first. Simultaneously, they track down sex predators and try to eliminate or include each in the investigation.

At the turn of the century, “gypsies” were always a convenient scapegoat when a child went missing. While there are few documented cases of these groups actually abducting a child in America, it’s always possible. But the more likely scenario is that the stranger seen talking to Richmond Byers abducted him for sexual gratification, then murdered him and hid his body.

While articles about the vanishing of Richmond Byers can still be found in the old newspapers of the time, the case has largely been forgotten today.

If anyone has additional information about this case, please contact me.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Georgia Tech Student Turns Tables on Career Criminal

Yuhanna Williams brought a knife to a gunfight

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Another self-defense shooting
by Robert A. Waters

After the shooting of armed robber Yuhanna Williams, Alice Johnson, executive director of Georgians for Gun Safety, is reported to have said: “It’s certainly appropriate to defend yourself if your life is in danger. [But] I really have to wonder why anyone would want to kill another human being over the money in the cash register.” Unfortunately, more often than not, the reverse is true. Thousands of clerks have been killed by thugs after they gave robbers the “money in the cash register.” This story, however, is not about a clerk complying with the orders of an armed psychopath--it’s about a carjacker who got what was coming to him.

Just before 8:00 p.m., on December 11, 2010, twenty-three-year-old Ryan Moore stopped in the parking lot of Ingles supermarket in Rockdale, Georgia. A student at Georgia Tech, he’d just completed his last final exam for the semester. He borrowed a friend’s car and drove to the store to buy orange juice.

Police reports state that when Moore stepped out of his car, two men approached and tried to rob him. At least one of the assailants had a knife. Newspapers reported that the robbers attempted to take Moore’s car.

There was a brief struggle, and Moore was cut on the chin and arms. The victim, who possesses a concealed carry permit, drew a .357 Magnum and fired. Yuhanna Abdullah Williams, 30, died at the scene. He'd been shot in the head. The second robber fled and, as of this writing, has not been identified.

Ryan Moore was taken to Rockdale Medical Center and later released. He has not been charged.

Yuhanna Williams was transported to the morgue.

A month earlier, a customer at a video store in the same plaza shot and killed another robber.

According to an article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, at least six self-defense shootings have occurred in or around the metro Atlanta area this year.

• A clerk at a liquor store in Cobb County killed a robber in an exchange of gunfire.

• In Stone Mountain, a barber shot a suspected burglar and held him at gunpoint until police arrived.

• The owner of a tattoo parlor killed one of three armed robbers.

• A resident in DeKalb killed one burglar and wounded a second one.

• A homeowner in Ellenwood killed one of three armed intruders as his children lay asleep in another room.

• Three armed home invaders were captured by police when a Decatur resident heard them kicking in his back door--the homeowner shot one of the men.

None of the victims who fought back were charged with any crime.

In most of the incidents described above, the assailants had long criminal records. Yuhanna Williams, for instance, had been arrested numerous times in the nine years since he turned 21. Charges included simple battery, disorderly conduct, public indecency, DUI, violation of probation, and possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute at a school.

Lucille Giscombe, a frequent shopper at Ingles, perhaps said it best. “I feel everyone has to defend themselves,” she said. “These people [robbers] are ruthless. They have no regard for human life. I have a gun. I am like Rambo, so they need not bother me.”

Friday, December 17, 2010

Quirky Quotes from Old Newspapers

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Vintage Quotes
Compiled by Robert A. Waters

From the Statesville (GA) Landmark, March 8, 1907

"The jury in the case of William T. Gilpin, charged with the murder of W. W. McDonald, a prominent attorney, of Douglas, Ga., tonight brought in a verdict of not guilty, after having been out several hours. Gilpin shot McDonald in his wife's room at the Rimes House in Vidalia one night last October. He had concealed himself in the closet of the room. After McDonald had entered, Gilpin sprang from his place of concealment and emptied two revolvers at McDonald, and the latter subsequently died from his wounds. (Gilpin was, of course, guilty of premeditated murder, but the unwritten law is that a man has a right to slay the despoiler of his home.)"

From the Statesville (GA) Landmark, March 8, 1907

"John Bullard was hanged Friday at Marietta, Ga., for the murder of his 17-year-old daughter last September. He was a victim of consumption and it had been a question whether he would die before the day of his execution. He was so weak from the disease that he had to be supported on the scaffold and with his dying breath he declared that the death of his daughter was due to an accident."

From the Frederick (MD) News, September 26, 1902

Nashville, Indiana, Sept. 25--"Mrs. John Browning missed her 2-year old baby. After searching for the child over an hour, she found it 100 yards from the house, sitting in some tall grass and in its lap lay a large rattlesnake. The baby was patting the snake on its head and body, and the snake lay coiled. The mother screamed and the snake moved slowly into the grass. The child was taken to the house and was found to be unhurt. Afterward, Mrs. Browning went to the spot where the child was found, and a few feet away she found the snake and killed it. It was almost three feet long, and had eight rattles and a button. What puzzles the family most is the fact that a small gold ring worn by the child was found on the ground close to the snake. The reptile had undoubtedly carried it to the place. Perhaps it fell off the child's finger, but maybe the snake took it off. The snake was charmed by the rlng, so the Brownings think."

From the Atlanta Constitution, January 26, 1910

MAN WHO WROTE "GOO-GOO EYES" PUT IN THE POOR HOUSE BY BOOZE

"Hugh Cannon, who wrote Goo Goo Eyes, Ain’t That a Shame Bill Bailey and other classics of ragtime, was sent to Eloise poor house today at the age of 36. He told the story of his life in short expressive sentences. 'I quit the coke easy,' he said. 'Fifteen days in the jail cured me of that. I hit the pipe in New York for a year and stopped that. I went up against the morphine hard and quit but booze--red oily booze—that’s got me for keeps. I started when I was 16. I’m 36 now and except for seven months on the wagon I’ve been pickled most of the time. It was twenty years--twenty black, nasty, sick years--with only a little brightness now and then when I made good with some song.'"

NOTE: Hughie Cannon died two years later in a Toledo infirmary. Cause of death was cirrhosis of the liver. Cannon sold the rights to all his songs and died in abject poverty.

From the Iowa Press Citizen, December 21, 1920

TWO BANDITS TAKEN AFTER HARD BATTLE

MILLTOWN, N. J., Dec. 21--"Two bandits were captured by a citizens posse here shortly after midnight following an unsuccessful attempt to rob the First National bank. Two other bandits escaped. A watchman heard the noise in the bank and sounded the alarm. Thirty citizens responded. Armed with rifles, pistols, shotguns, axes , etc., they started for the bank. Two of the robbers surrendered. They said they were Clifford Jackson of New York and Frank Voorhees of New Brunswick. They refused to identify their companions."

From the Ukiah (CA) Republican Press, November 22, 1939

"NEWS DISPATCHES the other day carried a story [that the] failure of the Ham and Eggs amendment to pass at the recent election was believed responsible for the suicide of 72-year-old Henry Brutt, of Los Angeles. The unscrupulous heads of the Ham and Eggs racket have the blood of this unfortunate old man on their hands, if the story is true. Aged men and women all over California were led to believe Ham and Eggs was a panacea for all their misfortunes. Some method must be found to drive this racket, the most infamous and cruel yet devised, from California."

NOTE: The Ham and Eggs Amendment was an effort to give all unemployed Californians (about 800,000) $ 30 per month. It was to be funded, of course, with a massive set of new taxes and bonds.

From the Waterloo (IA) Courier, December 26, 1894

"DIED IN PRISON.—Charles Holchrist, who was sent to Anamosa in 1878 from Grundy county for life, for murder, has recently died. A letter from Anamosa says that Holchrist was a farmer in Grundy county and while riding through the country in a wagon with two other men (all three of them in a drunken condition) a quarrel arose and Holchrist struck one of his companions with a hammer and killed him. The murdered man was his farm hand and a mere boy. An arrest followed and a trial resulted in Holchrist's conviction and sentence to prison at hard labor for life. When the penitentiary doors closed upon him Holchrist left a wife and daughter and a little property in Grundy county. He was assigned to the stone shed and worked there faithfully for fifteen years. The prison officials speak of him as an orderly and good workman. His courage did not desert him and his cheerfulness was habitual until a year ago. Mrs. Holchrist and the daughter communicated regularly with the husband and father until last year, when the wife importuned him in a letter to give her a deed to the family property, which consisted of some town lots. He hesitated about doing so, but finally yielded. As soon as the wife obtained possession of the property she began an action for divorce, obtained a decree and is now married and living at Lake Park, Iowa, near the Minnseota line. Then his daughter, who is a school teacher, stopped writing to him, all of which tended to crush him. He lost his strength, became unable to work and was sent to ward No. 6, which is peopled by old and infirm men. Here he merely existed for the last six months."

Monday, December 13, 2010

Twenty Quotes About Murder

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Murder quotes
Compiled by Robert A. Waters

"There's the scarlet thread of murder running through the colorless skein of life, and our duty is to unravel it, and isolate it, and expose every inch of it." Sir Arthur Conan Doyle from the Sherlock Holmes book, A Study in Scarlet.

"There are 4 kinds of Homicide: felonious, excusable, justifiable, and praiseworthy." Ambrose Bierce, Writer.

"Civilizations die from suicide, not by murder." Arnold J. Toynbee, Historian.

"What the detective story is about is not murder but the restoration of order." P. D. James, Author.

"I didn’t want to harm the man. I thought he was a very nice gentleman. Soft-spoken. I thought so right up to the moment I cut his throat." Perry Smith, as quoted by Truman Capote in the classic true crime book, In Cold Blood.

"Deliver me from the workers of iniquity, and save me from bloody men." Psalm 59:1-3, New King James version.

"You feel the last bit of breath leaving their body. You're looking into their eyes. A person in that situation is God!" Ted Bundy, serial killer.

"The boys with their feet on the desks know that the easiest murder case in the world to break is the one somebody tried to get very cute with; the one that really bothers them is the murder somebody only thought of two minutes before he pulled it off." Raymond Chandler, Author.

"It is impossible to say how first the idea entered my brain, but, once conceived, it haunted me day and night." Edgar Allan Poe, from "The Tell-Tale Heart."

"These concerns (for orphan children in India and elsewhere in the world) are very good, but often these same people are not concerned with the millions that are killed by the deliberate decision of their own mothers..." Mother Teresa (1910-1997).

"I know what you're thinking. Did he fire six shots or only five? Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement, I've kinda lost track myself. But being as this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, and would blow your head clean off, you've got to ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya punk?" Clint Eastwood, in the movie Dirty Harry.

"Political language...is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind." George Orwell, Author.

"You shall not murder." Deuteronomy 5:17, New King James version.

"The very emphasis of the commandment: Thou shalt not kill, makes it certain that we are descended from an endlessly long chain of generations of murderers, whose love of murder was in their blood as it is perhaps also in ours." Sigmund Freud, Psychoanalyst.

"I never killed a man who didn't need it." Clay Allison, western outlaw.

"Unnatural death always provoked a peculiar unease, an uncomfortable realization that there were still some things that might not be susceptible to bureaucratic control." P.D. James.

"You know, everybody uses this word [closure] and banters it around...I don't have any closure and most parents of murdered children or crime victims don't really have closure because your life is changed forever by that event." John Walsh, whose son Adam was kidnapped and murdered.

"There is a legitimate argument over whether the death penalty effectively deters violent crime, although my personal observation is that not one of the criminals who have been executed over the years has ever killed again." Dinesh D'Souza, Author.

"I can't express the feeling. I felt so much better. I'm so glad Florida has the guts to keep the electric chair. At least there was a split second of pain. With lethal injection, you just go to sleep." Raymond Neal, brother of murder victim Ramona Neal, after serial murderer Gerald Stano was executed for her slaying.

"There is a generation that curses its father, And does not bless its mother. There is a generation that is pure in its own eyes, Yet is not washed from its filthiness. There is a generation--oh, how lofty are their eyes! And their eyelids are lifted up. There is a generation whose teeth are like swords, And whose fangs are like knives..." Proverbs 30: 11-14, New King James version.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

AMBER Alert for Twelve-Year-Old Brittany Smith

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Suspect’s mother asks him to “come home”
by Robert A. Waters

On Friday, December 3, when Tina Smith, 41, didn’t show up for work at the Richfield Retirement Community in Salem, Virginia, a co-worker called police. Investigators found Smith murdered inside her home. (Details haven’t been released concerning the cause of death.)

After they were unable to locate Tina’s twelve-year-old daughter Brittany at her school, authorities issued an AMBER Alert. “We found out pretty quickly that Brittany had not shown up for school,” Roanoke County Police Spokesman Chuck Mason said. “Nobody seemed to know where she was.”

The chief suspect in the murder and the presumed kidnapping is Jeffrey Scott Easley, 32. According to police, he had met Tina online and had recently moved in with her and her daughter.

Yesterday, authorities released a video that allegedly shows Easley buying items at a local Walmart on Friday night. The suspect used a credit card belonging to Tina Smith to pay for his purchases. In the video, Brittany is seen with Easley.

Easley’s mother, Sallie Martin, held a news conference pleading for her son to return home. "Last night I went to bed and I was worried from what I know about you and Brittany,” she said. “I wondered if you were hungry or if y'all were cold. You know you can call me and I just want you to come home and I want you be safe."

Investigators have stated that they feel Brittany is in grave danger. Until the video surfaced, the pretty seventh grade student had last been seen on Friday morning. She was supposed to attend Glenvar Middle School, but never showed up. “We are extremely concerned for Brittany’s safety and have asked Virginia State Police to extend the AMBER Alert for another 24 hours,” said Roanoke County Police Chief Ray Lavinder.

Jeffrey Scott Easley is five feet, eleven inches tall and weighs about 265 pounds. Easley, originally from Wilmington, North Carolina, is likely driving a silver 2005 Dodge Neon sedan with Virginia tag XKF-2365.

Brittany is five feet tall and weighs about 100 pounds. She has straight brown hair and brown eyes. Brittany usually wears a bright green rubber bracelet in memory of her brother who died last summer.

If you know anything about Brittany Smith's disappearance, authorities urge you to call the Roanoke County Police at 540-777-8641 or the Virginia State Police at 800-822-4453.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Who Was the Tape Recorder Man?

Sheila and Katherine Lyon

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The Strange Disappearance of the Lyon Sisters
by Robert A. Waters

“Hope springs eternal,” wrote the poet. For families of kidnapped victims, those words often bring solace. On the other hand, once a child is missing for more than a few days, cops look at the odds and are much more pessimistic.

Occasionally, a victim survives and returns home. Steven Staynor was held captive for seven years before escaping from a brutal sex predator. Elizabeth Smart was kept for nine months. Shawn Hornbeck was rescued after four years and Jaycee Lee Dugard came home eighteen years later.

There seems to be little hope, however, that the Lyon sisters will ever be seen again. After all, it’s been thirty-five years since they were snatched from the streets of Wheaton, Maryland.

On March 25, 1975, Sheila Mary Lyon, 12, and her sister, Katherine Mary Lyon, 10, left their home sometime between 11:00 a.m. and noon. They planned to walk a half-mile to the Wheaton Plaza, a local mall, to buy a birthday gift for their mother.

Mary Lyon, the girls’ mother, told them to be home by 4:00. Their father, John Lyon, a well-known announcer for one of the most popular Bethesda radio stations, was working.

Sheila and Katherine were seen at the plaza by several friends as well as her brother. They ate pizza at a local restaurant and window-shopped. At some point, they were seen speaking into a microphone held by a middle-aged man. The sisters left the mall sometime between 2:30 and 3:30 and were last seen walking along Drumm Avenue toward their home.

Neither Sheila nor Katherine Lyon has been seen since. Despite a desperate door-to-door search and thousands of volunteers scouring the surrounding woodlands and fields, the girls were never found.

There have been few leads. Two men who lived in the area and were later convicted of crimes against children became suspects. Nothing was ever found to link either to the missing girls.

Perhaps the best lead is the man with the tape recorder. He was never identified, even though investigators requested that he come forward. If you lived in the area at the time, think back and try to remember someone you knew who would take a tape recorder in his briefcase and record young boys and girls at local malls.

Here’s what we know about him:

He was about six feet tall, middle-aged, and wore a brown suit. He carried a brown or tan briefcase. When he opened the briefcase, there was a portable cassette tape recorder inside. The recorder had a microphone attached to it.

Some reports say the Tape Recorder Man, as he was called, said he was recording women’s voices to be used in an answering machine. Some children thought he was a reporter and volunteered to be recorded so they could see themselves on television. An eyewitness who helped police sketch a likeness of the man said that he saw Sheila and Katherine speaking to him.

“Are any of you two involved in sports?” the man asked. The boy moved on and didn’t hear the response.

The boy added that “the man was holding a microphone in his hand between the girls, and asking questions. He had a tan briefcase on the ground. It was one of the those hard ones that sat up.”

Many people saw the Tape Recorder Man and helped police develop a sketch of him. In the weeks before the girls disappeared, he was also seen at the Iverson Mall and the Marlton Heights Shopping Center in nearby Prince George’s County.

Whether he had anything to do with the disappearance of the girls is unknown. But police, who have never let the case go cold, would still like to speak with him.

If you have any knowledge of this case, or of anyone in the area at the time who had a briefcase with a tape recorder in it, please call Montgomery County Police Department at 301-279-8000.

Police sketch of the Tape Recorder Man

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NOTE: This message came from Adam Klein. He has developed an intriguing theory about who the Tape Recorder Man (TRM) may have been. Thanks to Adam for letting me share it with my readers.

The Tape Recorder Man was, I believe, James Mitchell DeBardeleben the II. In my trauma as a 9 year old boy growing up in quiet Kemp Mill, I held on to the pain and gripping fear of the Lyon sisters.

Later in life I was reminded of their nightmare once again. In my extreme curiosity I studied the case with enthusiasm. I asked the question to myself over and over again - if a man was going to kidnap two middle class white girls out from under their family's and community's noses - why the hell would he be seen in public talking to the girls before he kidnapped them? Would the public display help him? If so I could not work out in my mind how it would help him?

I thought about this question. I meditated on many more like: Did he want to get sketched? If so why? Was he taunting the police? What was he doing for the weeks before the kidnapping acting as a Tape Recorder Man? How does a full-grown man, well-dressed man, get his face drawn in the paper and NO-ONE in the whole community recognizes him?

Then I went to sleep one night and I had a dream. The dream related to me seeing a group of bullies in a high school in the late 1950's attempting to stuff the head of another teenagers/classmates head into the opening of a vending machine. The sadism was over the top and the rage toward the one getting bullied was intense. They were enraged at him for his violence toward a female classmate.

When I awoke I saw exactly how the crime could have happened. I sat on the edge of my bed and had an experience I have never had in my life and never had since: I literally watched my mind show me how this crime very likely could have happened. It answered every question I had puzzled over and then many many more.

At the edge of my bed I watched a "movie" of sorts delivered from somewhere deep inside of my mind. Whoever kidnapped them impersonated a police office. He either was a cop or he had a police uniform. His whole tape recorder man routine was his way of either tormenting the community and or communicating to someone is some sick psycho-sexual drama.

If he had a police uniform then he could sit in a car near the most obscure point on the normal route of teenagers on their way from Kensington to Wheaton Plaza. Such a move would allow him to immediately gain the girl's trust. Once they saw him as a police officer they would be willing to "help" the officer by speaking into a microphone in the middle of the mall. A simple lie, like "the Police force has been seeking a criminal -well known to come up here to Wheaton Plaza - I will change to plain clothes and come up to the mall -if you girls would be willing to speak into this mic this would help decrease the criminal's suspicion that he is be followed by the police...."

Then he could kidnap them when they are walking home. He could tell the girls "this is top police work there is no danger to you, but if you could not talk about it, at least till you have dinner with your family tonight, that would help the police". He can simply lie in wait for the girls return and then ask them for further assistance. If they could just get in the car and go up to the station for about 10 minutes. And if they get in the car, which they did, that's it.

I sat on the edge of bed slack-jawed. I said to myself well great but if their has been no criminals in the DC area that impersonate police, and kidnap girls/women such a theory is worthless. Since it is so many years later if any such person existed then forget it. Furthermore, I would have to believe that such a criminal would NOT be a cop so Police uniforms would have had to have been stolen.

I googled police impersonator, Washington DC area. And there he was, one of the most dangerous serial rapists in the history of America was right here in the DC area - James Mitchell DeBardeleben. Between 1979 and 1983 he was named the "mall passer" because he loved to pass counterfeit money at shopping malls. He especially had a passion for committing crimes in crowded malls, and beyond that he liked crowded holiday malls. His counterfeit operation was a way of financing much darker and more sinister crimes - kidnapping, torturing and raping girls and women.

DeBardeleben was a sexual sadist. He was a murderer. He was a kidnapper. He was a highly sophisticated and extremely dangerous criminal.

He was all over the DC area - especially Wheaton. He robbed the bank that existed in the parking lot of Wheaton plaza. He followed the bank manager for weeks and watched his coming and going behavior. When he went to work one morning DeBardeleben went to his house and lied to his wife stating that he was a Federal Banking Official. When she opened the door he burst in put her at gun point, tied her up and gagged her. He called the bank and told the husband/manager that he would kill his wife if he did not leave $ 30,000 in the Wheaton Library bathroom. Again a highly sophisticated and extremely lethal criminal.

I wanted to know if Police uniforms had ever been documented as having been stolen. When I went into the Washington Post Archives I discovered 3 Maryland State Police uniforms went missing in a Robbery of A Baltimore Dry cleaning business in February of 1975. The article was published in Sept of 1975 when one of the stolen uniforms re-appeared in bizarre crime scene involving a police impersonator attempting to rape male truck drivers.

The February robbery of the dry cleaners coincided perfectly with the appearance of the Tape Recorder Man at area malls. This fits not only my crime theory but the profile DeBardeleben.

Further exploration of the crime brought me into another coincidental and highly compelling piece that I had never known before: A nearly identical crime took place at an outdoor mall in Fort Worth Texas on December 23,1974. 3 young girls went to a mall, very similar to Wheaton Plaza, and went missing, never to have been seen or heard of again.

I did more research on DeBardeleben. He lived in Fort Worth in 1974 - in the house his mother owned. She died in the Spring of 74 his wife (Carol Miller of Arlington Virginia) left him and went into hiding up in Arlington, VA in the Autumn of 1974. This reportedly enraged this well documented psychopath.

The sketch of the TRM is definitely an attempt at the schoolteacher face of one James Mitchell DeBardeleben - including the birth anomaly-related to his bizarre looking nose.

Furthermore, the sighting of Lyon Girls in Manassass fitsDe Bardeleben's crime profile as well. Arrogant, sadistic, seeking attention but only to a point. Well thought out escape routes, hoping to get spied, unlikely to get caught.

2 years ago I told the police my crime theory. They agreed that DeBardeleben was a very likely suspect. Politics likely prevent the Montgomery County Police from doing more. The Secret Service convicted DeBardeleben because of his counterfeiting crimes - and therefore they retained all evidence.

The family likely does not want tenuous or complicated legal matters to make their lives come back to the spotlight - they have been through WAY WAY TOO MUCH already.

The Fort Worth police blew there case as well but surviving family members and the Fort Worth police may be interested in helping.

The Secret Service is absolutely off limits to most mortals like me.
But Carol Miller may know something. I believe she may have known in real time who was doing this - so she may have extreme guilt. She has received immunity for her willingness to cooperate with police in previous criminal procedures related to James Mitchell DeBardeleben.

DeBardeleben is dead so she may be willing to talk more now.

The TRM had a very brief moment in public on March 25, 1975. He wore a brown leisure suit.

A brown leisure suit reminds me of a Maryland State Police uniform. An image of Maryland State Uniform from 1975 would be beneficial if produced for the sake of this exploration.

The Lyon girls were reported to have approached TRM almost immediately upon his appearance in public March 25, 1975 at the Wheaton Plaza.

They spoke to him immediately with seemingly no apprehension or in a more care free. Then the TRM left the plaza. Got what he needed and out.

Only in retrospect this "coincidence" was likely totally loaded. Boys, who were the same age as the Lyon girls looked on the strange TRM scene with cautious curiosity. If this made boys suspicious by all right and reason such a man would (AND DID) make most girls and women feel troubled. Why not the Lyon girls?

So some falsely induced trust makes maximal sense - if the girls thought that TRM was a police officer in plain clothes speaking into his microphone would make perfect sense.