Profiles of Murder receives the Peer Blogger Award from Chick Swagger

Thank you to Misty and Josie from Chick Swagger for nominating my site for the Sunshine Award! I am truly humbled to be picked for this award. Surprised me, too, considering my topics are kind of dark. But after reading why I was picked, it made this award even more special to me because it’s exactly what I wanted to achieve when I created this site.

Here is what they wrote:

Profiles of Murder –by romantic suspense writer Diane Kratz. Profiles of Murder is a tremendously educational site about criminal profiling, serial killers, FBI terminology, and crime fiction writing. Even though there’s often scary stuff on this site, it’s deserving of the sunshine award because it often makes crime writers’ research easier. And it’s interesting even if you’re not a crime writer!”

Isn’t that sweet? Totally made my week!

Here’s what I’m supposed to do now:

*Include the award’s logo in a post on your blog.


* Answer 10 questions about yourself.

* Nominate other bloggers (we were supposed to do 10, but the Chicks didn’t so neither did I.)

* Link your nominees to the post and comment on their blogs, letting them know they have been nominated.

* Share the love and link the person who nominated you.

Misty and Josie: go for a visit. Their site holds nothing back on sexuality and what it means to be a woman. No holds bar there!

Here are my 10 questions Q&A:

  • My favorite color: Royal blue
  • My favorite animal: Cats, I have two–Figaro and Patches
  • My favorite number: 13 (It has shown up everywhere I go since 1996)
  • My favorite drink: Coffee
  • Facebook or Twitter:
  • Twitter: 
  • Facebook:
  • My passion: Family, writing and gardening.
  • Prefer giving or getting presents: Giving is so much better.
  • My favorite pattern: Greek Motifs
  • My favorite day of the week: Monday (I know I’m weird)
  • My favorite flower: Calla Lilies

And the other bloggers who deserve this award are:

forensics4fiction blog: Forensics Demystified for the Fiction Writer  by crime fiction writer Tom Adair.  What can I say about this blog other than it gave me my inspiration on what I wanted to do with my own blog. Tom is an expert in forensics and my go-to place when I can’t figure things out. He brings sunshine and ignites the imagination for any writer who needs to know if the forensics in their story is plausible. Tom had to be my number one choice. His site is well put together, and a goldmine of knowledge can be found there.

Jo-Ann Carson blog: Writing Dangerous Love Stories Filled with Mystery and Suspense. Jo-Ann’s home is in Canada. I love going to her blog and reading Jo-Ann’s posts. Her words take me away to a dreamland. She is an excellent writer whose descriptions are so vivid they pull you right in. I venture into her world and escape from my dark one.

SHERRY ISAAC blog: Psychological Sizzle -What Doesn’t Kill Us Makes Us Writers. Sherry writes about the unknown from ghosts to biblical wonders. Her blog posts always leave me thinking about other possibilities out there. It can be scary as hell if you think about some of these things!

Arlee Bird blog: Tossing It Out ( is another great blog I’d recommend. He calls himself “juggler of words and phrases.” This blog give authors, both published and unpublished, a chance to hijack his blog! Isn’t that awesome? This isn’t the only blog Arlee has. Nope, he has five blogs in total- Blogging from A to Z, April ChallengeWrote By Rote, A Few Words, and finally A Faraway View about dreams. Arlee loves blogging! And for this he deserves the sunshine award for all his blogging efforts.

I just wanted to say THANK YOU to all my followers out there for their comments on my blog and for making my first blogging experience phenomenal! You ROCK!

Also big (((hugs))) for Misty and Josie at Chick Swagger for giving my site the Sunshine Award!

How many serial killers are homegrown in your state?

The Darkside of Kansas

~Dedicated to my long time friend, Chris McKenzie for his help in remembering my taxi driver’s name~

 I have always been asked where do I get my horrific ideas. Well, they come from many places. Books I’ve read, TV shows and movies, but mostly from the news. However, I have also had a couple of life experiences that have stuck in my head over the years.


I remember walking home in the 1960s with my friend Christine Warren from school. We were going to her house to play with her rabbits. I was in fifth or sixth grade. We were walking downtown in Shawnee, Kansas, and passed a parked car on the side of the road. Christine, who was nearest to the car, turned and whispered in my ear, “That guy isn’t wearing pants.”

I looked at her and said, “Huh? No way!”

Well, of course I had to step beside her and take a peek. I saw this nicely groomed, middle-aged man wearing sunglasses, a red pinstriped dress shirt, and a tie. As I looked down to his lap, I realized Christine was right. He wasn’t wearing any pants. He was naked from the waist down.

The man followed us in his car as we ran to Christine’s house. Her mother was in the front doing yard work, and the pantless man drove off. Christine’s mom called the police. They found him four blocks away. The police had received several reports of this man over the last two weeks.

Another time, I was with a group of older girls when a man pulled over and asked if any of us were available to babysit. He had his hand over his groin area the whole time he talked. When he saw he had our attention, he showed us what was underneath his hand. Being young and dumb we laughed and took off running. Knowing what I know now, we could have been in a lot of trouble both times.

How many of us have gotten that phone call from the pervert asking all kinds of personal questions? I know I have had at least three, maybe more.

But there is one encounter that has stuck with me over the years. It changed the way I view people. I worked at a plastic plant on the second shift, three thirty till midnight. I didn’t drive so my husband took me to work every day, then I called a cab to give me a ride home after my shift.

The taxi driver who picked me up was named DeLaTorre Collins. He had a five month baby girl named Satrina. He was nice and very personable. We struck up a causal conversation over the next few months. He talked about his girlfriend and his daughter. I talked about my husband and my son.

One night another driver picked me up. The next day I was shocked to read in the paper that Mr. Collins’ daughter had died. The newspaper reported they found bite marks all over the little girl. Their dog had viciously attacked her.

The police put the dog down and conducted an autopsy on the animal. The dog’s stomach contained no human remains. When the police confronted him, Mr. Collins confessed he threw his daughter against the wall for crying, and she stopped breathing. He got scared and decided he’d blame the dog. He took bites out of his own daughter to make the police believe his story.

I would have never guessed in a million years this guy was capable of doing such a horrible thing. The shock of that knowledge stays with me to this day. We never know what goes on inside another person’s mind. Serial killers and psychopaths fascinate us because they look like you and me. Yet they are not normal. And here in the United States we have many of them roaming around. This got me to wondering about my home state.

It might interest you to know that New York leads in the US with the most serial homicide cases  at (137). California (128), Florida (112), Texas (97), and, following shortly behind, is Washington (95) (

US holds the record for the most serial killers at 76%. Europe is second and has 17%. England has produced 28% of the European total, Germany produces 27%, and France produces 13%. As I dove into my research of Kansas Darkside, I discovered Kansas only rated a mere (24) in the break down of serial killers by state. But don’t let those statistics fool you. We had some notorious serial killers homegrown in the state of Kansas.

Let’s start with the Bloody Benders –a family who owned a small general store and inn in Osage township, Labette County, Kansas, from 1872 to 1873. They were not only Kansas’ first known serial killers but also the first known FAMILY of serial killers.

Bender Cabin near Cherryvale, Kansas Benders cabin

The family consisted of John Bender, his wife Kate (Ma), son John Jr. and daughter Kate. Their inn was a dingy place called the Wayside Inn. Kate Bender, 23, was cultivated and attractive. A self-proclaimed healer and psychic, she distributed flyers advertising her supernatural powers and her ability to cure illnesses. She also conducted séances and gave lectures on spiritualism.

Kate’s popularity became a large attraction for the Benders’ inn. Once inside Ma would fix them a hot meal while daughter Kate enticed them, and brother or father stood behind them with a hammer. Their house was rigged with a trap door under the kitchen chair where the men sat to eat. Once they were murdered and all their belongings stripped away from them, they would be stored in the cellar to await disposal.

Authorities found eleven bodies including one child buried on the property. The family fled town and was never found or convicted. To this day in Cherryvale Museum you can see the hammers they used as weapons.

Smith’s (above) and Hickock’s (below) mugshots taken by the KBI.

In 1959 Richard Hickock and Perry Smith murdered Herb and Bonnie Clutter and two of their children Nancy, 16, and Kenyon, 15, in their rural Holcomb home. They were killed for forty dollars and a transistor radio. Richard Hickock and Perry Smith were hanged at Lansing in 1966 for the murder of the Clutter family.

Truman Capote wrote a book called “In Cold Blood” about this case. He chose not only to write about the murders but about the Kansas community and the family members left to pick up the pieces of their life. Even though these two killers are considered “Spree Killers” and not serial killers, they are still killers from my home state. My husband drives to Holcomb, Kansas, every week, and in some small way, I feel connected to this family. I live in a small town in Kansas, on a small farm.

In Cold Blood.jpg

In 1974-Dennis Radar murdered Joseph and Julie Otero by strangling them and two of their children, Josephine, 11, and Joseph II, 9, in their home at 803 N. Edgemoor, Wichita, Kansas.  The murders unleashed the beginnings of BTK, a serial killer in Wichita who, through the next 25 years, would often grip the city in fear. He sent the police and media letters demanding attention for his crimes. All told, police would eventually link him to ten murders in the Wichita, Kansas, area. He calls himself BTK for Bind, Torture, and Kill.

 Dennis Radar, dressed in his dog catcher uniform.

I think this would make a great story to tell from Dennis Radar’s daughter’s POV. Not many people know this, but his daughter helped the police capture him by giving her permission for them to use her DNA for comparison. Talk about conflict and having to pick up the pieces of your life after your father was convicted of such horrible crimes. What a great story that would make.

Rev. Bird

In 1983-Rev. Bird and Lorna Anderson- The car of Sandra Bird, wife of the Rev. Thomas Bird, ran off the road near a Lyon County bridge just outside Emporia. Sandra drowned in the Cottonwood River. Martin Anderson was shot and killed. The pastor of Faith Lutheran Church in Emporia, Rev. Bird, was discovered to be having an affair with his church secretary, Lorna Anderson. They met in church and planned to kill Anderson’s husband, Martin Anderson, and Bird’s wife so they could be together. The two were convicted of their spouses’ deaths. Again, they were not serial killers, but premeditated murders from my home state.

I attended Emporia State University and earned my undergraduate degree there. Sandra Bird worked at the University years before I went, and I have been to the bridge mentioned above. Again, there is that connection.

Robert Andrew “Bob” Berdella- The Kansas City Butcher

In 1988, Chris Bryson was found running down a Kansas City street naked, beaten, and bloody wearing nothing but a dog collar and a leash. He told police about Bob Berdella, a local business person who owned Bob’s Bizarre Bazaar, a novelty shop that catered to occult type tastes. He told police how Berdella had captured him, held him hostage, raped him, tortured him, and photographed him over a period of several days.

Police later arrested Berdella and searched his home where they found several hundred Polaroid photographs, a detailed torture log, envelopes of human teeth, and a human skull. It was soon discovered that Berdella had murdered 6 young men in his home after drugging them and performing his sick acts of sexual torture. Some lived the horrors for only a few days, one for 6 weeks. After they were dead Berdella would cut up the bodies with an electric chain saw and a bone knife and place the body parts in empty dog food bags for trash collection on Monday. Neighbors petitioned (and were granted) to have the city tear down his house.

In 1989 Richard Grissom Jr. murdered Joan A. Butler, 24, Overland Park; Theresa Brown, 22, and Christine Rusch, 22, roommates living in a Lenexa apartment. A career criminal on parole for burglary and theft, at age 16 he had killed a Lansing, Kansas, woman.


Richard Grissom

He had connections to a Wichita woman found dead in her apartment about two weeks before Butler disappeared. Someone had viciously mutilated the body of 25-year-old Terri Maness. Dozens of officers on both sides of the state joined the investigation. A day after the roommates vanished, authorities found Grissom’s car abandoned at a Grandview apartment complex. Identification cards belonging to Rusch and Brown were inside along with keys to the women’s apartments. He was caught and convicted, but to this day, the bodies of these women have never been found. His neighbors and the city voted to burn his house down after his conviction. This would make a great police story on how they connected him to the murders.

John Robinson, husband, father, grandfather and serial killer

In 1990 John Robinson Sr. sought out and targeted lonely, troubled women. He also met some of his female victims through Internet sex and bondage networks. The Johnson County man left bodies in Missouri storage sheds and in barrels on property he owned in Linn County. Again, this story could take on a new life with a modern twist-Internet Murders.


Mass murderers Terry Nichols and Timothy McVeigh- Army buddies. Terry Nichols of Herington and Timothy McVeigh, formerly of Fort Riley, conspired to blow up the Oklahoma City federal building, in 1995, killing 168 people and injuring 500 others.  This is not just an Oklahoma tragedy, but a nation’s tragedy. The stories that come to my mind about what could be written are about the firefighters and police who risked their lives to save people. Also the FBI’s impressive tracking techniques and so many others.

English: Booking Photo for Terry A. Blair

2004–Terry Blair-aka The Prospect Killer in KC, Mo., was an African-American man who had just gotten out of prison for killing his wife and mother of his children because she was a prostitute. He was eventually convicted of killing seven prostitutes. I discovered no books were written about this case. I’ve asked myself why not? Is it a racial thing? A social economic component? These prostitutes had names. They were daughters, mothers, sisters, and friends. They counted in this world, and as a writer we have the ability to bring their story to life.

Books related to post:

The Bloody Bender -Books:

The Saga of the Bloody Benders, by: Rick Geary

Celebrated Criminal Cases of America, by:  Thomas Samuel Duke

History of Labette County, Kansas, by: Nelson Case

The Benders in Kansas, by:  John T. James

The Clutter Murders-Books

In Cold Blood, by: Truman Capote

Sentenced to Death: The American Novel and Capital Punishment, by: David Guest

Dennis Radar- Books

Bind, Torture, Kill: The Inside Story of BTK, the Serial Killer Next Door, by: Roy Wenzl

Inside the Mind of BTK: The True Story Behind the Thirty-Year Hunt for the Notorious Wichita Serial Killer, by:  John E. Douglas

CASE CLOSED: Serial Killers Captured – Bundy, Dahmer, BTK & More (Serial Killers Series) by: RJ Parker

The BTK Murders: Inside the “Bind Torture Kill” Case that Terrified America’s Heartland by: Carlton Smith

Unholy Messenger: The Life and Crimes of the BTK Serial Killer by: Stephen Singular

Rev. Tom Bird and Lorna Anderson Book

Caged Bird by: Dave Racer

Movie-Murder Ordained

Richard Grissom Books

Suddenly Gone: The Terrifying True Story of a Serial Killer’s Grisly Kidnapping-Murders of Three Young Women by: Dan Mitrione

Bitter Harvest by: Ann Rule

John Edward Robinson Books

Tracker: Hunting Down Serial Killers by Grover Maurice Godwin

Online Killers: Portraits of Murderers, Cannibals and Sex Predators Who Stalked the Web for Their Victims by: Christopher Berry-Dee and Steven Morris

Digital Evidence and Computer Crime, Third Edition: Forensic Science, Computers, and the Internet by: Eoghan Casey

Anyone You Want Me to Be: A True Story of Sex and Death on the Internet by: John E. Douglas

Terry Nichols and Timothy McVeigh Books

Others Unknown: Timothy McVeigh and the Oklahoma City Bombing Conspiracy by: Peter Israel and Stephen Jones

By Blood Betrayed: My Life With Terry Nichols and Timothy McVeigh by: Lana Padilla

Secrets, Plots & Hidden Agendas: What You Don’t Know about Conspiracy Theories by: Paul T. Coughlin

Terry Blair Books-NONE

Story edited by: Sally Berneathy

Did you know there are eleven personality disorders?

Did you know there are 11 personality disorders?

We often hear about the antisocial personality but there are actually eleven personality disorders listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR). They are divided into clusters A, B and C.

Published by the American Psychiatric Associat...

Published by the American Psychiatric Association, the DSM-IV-TR. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Personality Disorders

Cluster A

Individuals with these disorders often appear odd and eccentric. These can usually (but not always) be seen in people who have some type of chronic psychotic disorder (e.g. Schizophrenia).

1. Paranoid Personality Disorder will display a pattern of distrust and suspiciousness that others motive are interpreted as malevolent (malicious).

2. Schizoid Personality Disorder will display a pattern of detachment from social relationships, and a restricted range of emotional expression.

3.  Schizotypal Personality Disorder will display a pattern of acute discomfort in close relationships, cognitive or perceptual distortions, and eccentricities of behavior.

Cluster B

Individuals with these disorders often appear dramatic, emotional, or erratic.

4. Antisocial Personality Disorder will display a pattern of disregard for, and violation of, the rights of others.

5. Borderline Personality Disorder will display a pattern of instability in interpersonal relationships, self-image, and affects, and marked impulsivity.

6. Histrionic Personality Disorders will display a pattern of excessive emotionality and attention seeking.

7. Narcissistic Personality Disorder will display a pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration, and lack of empathy.

Cluster C

Individuals often appear anxious, fearful, needy, or preoccupied.

8. Avoidant Personality Disorder will display a pattern of social inhibition, feelings of inadequacy, and hypersensitivity to negative evaluation.

9. Dependent Personality Disorder will display a pattern of submissive and clinging behavior related to an excessive need to be taken care of.

10. Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder will display a pattern of preoccupation with orderliness, perfectionism, and control.

11. Personality Disorder Not Otherwise Specified The individual meets the general criteria for a personality disorder and traits of several personality disorders are present, but the criteria for any specific personality disorder are not met. Or, the individual personality patterns meet the criteria for a personality disorder, but the individual is not included in the classification (e.g. passive-aggressive personality disorder).

Everyone connects crimes to the anti-social personality. Let’s take a minute and examine the criteria for this type of personality.

The Anti-Social Personality is the USA version of what other professionals describe as the sociopath and psychopath. This type of personality fits about 54% of American’s. In fact the terms sociopath and psychopaths are not even listed in the USA version as a mental health diagnosis. The anti-social personality does NOT totally fit into Dr. Hare/Checkley’s versions of the psychopath.

Pic of the DSM-IV English: My wife reading in ...

Pic of the DSM-IV English:  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Specifics for Anti-Social Personality Disorder according to the DSM-IV-TR.

 A) There is a pervasive pattern of disregard for, and violation of, the rights of others occurring since age 15 years, as indicated by three or more of the following:

•   Failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviors as indicated by repeatedly performing acts that are grounds for arrest.

•   Deception, as indicated by repeated lying, use of aliases, or conning others for personal profit or pleasure.

•   Impulsiveness or failure to plan ahead.

•   Irritability and aggressiveness, as indicated by repeated physical fights or assaults.

•   Reckless disregard for safety of self or others.

•   Consistent irresponsibility, as indicated by repeated failure to sustain consistent work behavior or honor financial obligations.

•   Lack of remorse, as indicated by being indifferent to or rationalizing having hurt, mistreated, or stolen from another.

B) The individual is at least 18 years old. Children cannot be diagnosed as ASPD. Childhood diagnosis similar to ASPD are; Conduct Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder and Reactive Attachment Disorders.

C) There is evidence of conduct disorder with onset before age 15 years.

D) The occurrence of antisocial behavior is not exclusively during the course of schizophrenia or a manic episode.

Writers Note:

In America, we have always struggled with giving people labels.  The American Psychiatric Association who wrote the DSM(4) resisted using the terms sociopath and psychopath because they reflect a negative image.

I say if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it a duck.

A new version of the DSM(5) is expected out in May 2013. With the United States holding the highest of any other country in world for serial murders, my hope is they will include a more realistic version of what Checkley and Hare have described.

Any one of these personality disorders types could be used for a character in your book. All you have to do is look at the symptoms to get the picture of characters in your mind . The human experience is fascinating and those with an abnormal psychology can make the best villains.

You could have a disorganized killer from Cluster A, who leaves evidence everywhere. The calculating killer or cult leader from Cluster B, whose charisma radiates others to do his deeds. Or a psycho-stalker girlfriend from hell using Cluster C. Even better…have all three! LOL!

Hope I’ve ignited a image in your mind for your next character in your book!

Happy writing,

Diane Kratz


The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Orders, fourth addition DSM-IV-TR published by: American Psychiatric Association (2000), pgs-93-102, 127-130, 685-729.

Blog Edited by DeAnn Sicard

Diane Kratz

About Me:

Diane Kratz is crime fiction writer. She has been married to her wonderful husband Tom for 25 years, lives on a small farm in Kansas and has worked as a social worker in domestic violence shelters, hospice, and in county mental health.

She graduated from Emporia State University bachelors in Sociology, and from Washburn University with a Masters in Social Work. She is accredited as Licensed Master Social Worker from the Behavioral Sciences Regulatory Board in Kansas. She is also a member of NASW (National Association of Social Workers). She has a Golden Lab named Maggie, and a very old cat named Figaro, and another named Patches.

She is an active member of Kiss of Death, Midwest Romance Writers, Romance Writer of America, Sister In Crime and International Thriller Writers Association.

Her favorite authors include Karin Slaughter, Jeff Lindsey, Steven King, Tess Gerritsen and CJ Lyons.

She is currently working on her first novel in a series of five books, Victims of Love Genesis.

Do you know who was the first profiler in the FBI?

Howard D. Teten was the first FBI Agent to give a profile for the FBI.

Mr. Teten started out as a veteran police officer from the San Leandro Police Department in California, joined the FBI in 1962. He was appointed as an instructor in applied criminology at the old National Police Academy in Washington, D.C. Teten was greatly interested in the offender profiling, and included some of the ideas in his applied criminology course.

He studied under, and was inspired by, Dr. Paul Kirk, the internationally renowned criminalist. The inspiration for his work also included the work of Dr. Hans Gross and Dr. Brussel. Teten met Dr. Brussel and exchanged investigative ideas and psychological strategies in profiling crimes. Although Teten disagreed with Dr. Brussels’ Freudian interpretations, he accepted other principles of his investigative analysis.

Hogan's Alley sign at the FBI Academy in Quant...

Hogan’s Alley sign at the FBI Academy in Quantico Virginia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Teten designed a method for analyzing unknown offenders.  His approach included an understanding of forensic science, medicolegal (pertaining to legal aspects of the practice of medicine), death investigations, and psychiatric knowledge, which became the corner stone of Teten’s investigative skills, and shaped his approach to criminal profiling.

He’d looked at the behavioral manifestations at a crime scene for evidence of aberrant mental disorders and other personality traits and then used that information to make deductions.

Teten initiated his criminal profiling program in 1970 for the Bureau. Later that same year, Teten gave his first profile as an FBI agent in Amarillo, Texas.

In 1972, the Federal Bureau of Investigation opened the new FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia. It was also the year the FBI’s Behavioral Science Unit (BSU) at Quantico was formed with Teten joining FBI Instructor Patrick J. Mullany‘s team.

Hogan’s Alley sign at the FBI Academy in Quantico Virginia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Teten and Mullany designed a method for analyzing perpetrators in unsolved cases. Their ideas on offender profiling were tested when a seven-year-old girl was abducted from a Rocky Mountains campsite in Montana. In the early hours of the morning, the offender overpowered the girl sleeping in a tent near her parents. When an intensive search for the missing child failed, the case was referred to the FBI.

Teten, Mullany, and Col. Robert K. Ressler employed their criminal investigative analysis technique to track down the unknown perpetrator. Their profile declared that the abductor was most likely a young, white, male, homicidal Peeping Tom; a sex killer who mutilates his victim after death and sometimes takes body parts as souvenirs.

The profile led to the arrest of David Meirhofer, a local 23-year-old single man who was also a suspect in another murder case. The search of his house unearthed “souvenirs” (body parts taken from both victims). Meirhofer was the first serial killer caught with the aid of the FBI’s new investigative technique, called criminal profiling.

Neither Teten nor Mullany, the formative minds behind early criminal profiling techniques used by the FBI, ever headed the Behavioral Science Unit.

A decade later, the technique became a more sophisticated and systematic profiling tool known as the Criminal Investigative Analysis Program (CIAP).

I have the utmost respect for the law enforcement profession. These professionals see horrible images of what human beings can do to one another. They see mankind at their worst on a daily bases. They work hard to find new ways of protecting families and communities. Imagine what our world would look like if we didn’t have them.

Hey an idea for another book just popped into my mind!

Happy Writing,

Diane Kratz


Criminal Profiling, An Introduction to Behavioral Evidence Analysis by: Brent Turvey (2005) pg. 16-17. , ,

Blog Edited by DeAnn Sicard

Did you know The Profiler at the FBI is actually a computer robot ruled based expert system programmed to profile serial crimes? 

TV show Criminal Minds

When researching the FBI for my character Johnny Gaston, (a FBI profiler ) I came across a lot of conflicting information about the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit.  First, the BAU has been called by several names. Second, it isn’t like anything television portrays it as.  Which is one of the reasons I wanted to make this blog, to set things straight.

FBI Academy.

FBI Academy. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


NCAVC- (National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crimes) is located at Federal Bureau of Investigation, Training Division FBI Academy at Behavioral Analysis Unit in Quantico, Virginia. NCAVC is the brains of the BAU.

Agents assigned to NCAVC do the following; coördinate investigative and operational support functions, criminological research, and training to give assistance to federal, state, local, and foreign law enforcement agencies investigating unusual or repetitive violent crimes (serial crimes).

The NCAVC also provides investigative support through expertise and consultation in non-violent matters such as national security, corruption, and white-collar crime investigations.

Every one of the FBI’s fifty-six field offices has at least one NCAVC Coordinator in residence. The coordinators are the primary liaison with the field offices and with local and state law enforcement. They’re working with local authorities every day, so they’re in a position to know when there’s something that would benefit from us looking at it. The coordinators are FBI’s front line.

Typical cases for which NCAVC services are requested include- child abduction or mysterious disappearance of children, serial murders, single homicides, serial rapes, extortions, threats, kidnappings, product tampering, arson’s and bombings, weapons of mass destruction, public corruption, and domestic and international terrorism.

Research and training programs support the operational services of the NCAVC. Requests for NCAVC services are typically facilitated through NCAVC coordinators assigned to each FBI field office. Special agents collaborate with BAU on research and training matters, but they’re involved in training, primarily at the National Academy, and are not operationally involved in cases. Yep, sorry to burst your bubble, but contrary to what the Television portrays, these guy’s are analysts and researchers.

The NCAVC currently consists of four units: 

Behavioral Analysis Unit 1 (counterterrorism/threat assessment)

Behavioral Analysis Unit 2 (crimes against adults)

Behavioral Analysis Unit 3 (crimes against children)

Behavioral Analysis Unit 4 (Violent Criminal Apprehension Program-ViCAP)

Special Agents Training in Behavioral Analysis Units

  • Basic psychology
  • Criminal psychology
  • Forensic science
  • Body recovery
  • Criminal Investigative Analysis
  • Death investigation
  • Threat assessment
  • Statement/document analysis
  • Crimes against children
  • Child abduction and homicide
  • Sexual victimization of children / Internet issues
  • Interview and interrogation procedures
  • Serial murder

The training is a 16-week program.

Names Previously Used by the BAU (Behavioral Analysis Unit)

BSU- (Behavioral Science Unit)-Started in 1974, to investigate serial rape and homicide cases, Serial Crimes Unit -Behavioral Science Investigative Support Unit -Critical Incident Response Group- Investigative Support Unit- Child Abduction/ Serial Killer Unit- Profiling and Behavioral Assessment Unit- Behavioral Analysis Unit East and Behavioral Analysis Unit West- Child Abduction and Serial Murder Investigative Resource Center (CASMIRC).


The Profiler- is actually a computer robot rule- based expert system programmed  to profile serial crimes.

 CIAP- (Criminal Investigative Analysis Program) is a computer program designed to investigate serial crime.

VICAP – (Violent Criminal Apprehension Program) a computer program that identifies and links the signature aspects in violent serial crimes. Pierce Brooks was responsible for its creation. Brooks was a detective from Los Angeles came across a case he knew the killer had to have killed before. He spent years researching other cities for similar crimes. He pushed to get a centralized database.

CIRG- (Critical Incident Response Group) – consists of a cadre of special agents and professional support personnel who provide expertise in crisis management, tactical operations, crisis negotiations, hostage rescue, hazardous devices mitigation, critical incident intelligence, and surveillance and aviation. CIRG will deploy investigative specialists to respond to terrorist activities, hostage takings, child abductions, and other high-risk repetitive violent crimes. Other major incidents include prison riots, bombings, air and train crashes, and natural disasters.

LEO- (Law Enforcement Online) – LEO is a secure, Internet-based communications portal for law enforcement, first responders, criminal justice professionals, and anti-terrorism and intelligence agencies around the globe. LEO catalyzes and strengthens collaboration and information sharing by providing access to sensitive but unclassified information and various state-of-the-art communications services and tools. It is available to vetted users anywhere in the world around the clock and is offered free of charge to members.

LEO started in 1995 as a small dial-up service with just 20 members. Now, it has more than 100,000 members across the world and a host of features and capabilities offered through a Virtual Private Network on the Internet.

What does LEO offer specifically? Here’s a rundown:

  • A national alert system directing members to the LEO site for information on emergencies (like the London bombings, for example)
  • Some 1,100 Special Interest Groups (SIG) that allows members who share expertise or interests to connect with each other, including sections on terrorism, street gangs, and bombs.
  • Access to important and useful databases, like those run by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
  • E-mail services, which enable members to submit fingerprints to the FBI for processing by our Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System.
  • A Virtual Command Center (VCC)—an information sharing and crisis management tool that allows the law enforcement community to use LEO at local and remote sites as an electronic command center to submit and view information and intelligence.
  • Distance learning, with several online learning modules on topics like terrorism response, forensic anthropology, and leadership.
  • A multimedia library of publications, documents, studies, research, technical bulletins, and other reports of interest to LEO users.

*I should note that LEO could also mean Law Enforcement Officer to other Law Enforcement Agencies.

IAFIS- (The Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System) – is a national automated fingerprint identification and criminal history system maintained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. IAFIS provides automated fingerprint search capabilities, latent searching capability, electronic image storage, and electronic exchange of fingerprints and responses. IAFIS is the largest biometric database in the world, housing the fingerprints and criminal histories of 70 million subjects in the criminal master file, 31 million civil prints and fingerprints from 73,000 known and suspected terrorists processed by the U.S. or by international law enforcement agencies.

NGI – (Next Generation Identification) is a project of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The project’s goal is to expand the capabilities of the Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System, which is currently used by law enforcement to identify subjects by their fingerprints and look up their criminal history. The NGI system will be a more modular system (allowing easy expansibility). It will also have more advanced lookup capabilities, incorporating palm print, iris, and facial identification.

UNSUB – Unknown subject

Signature- Characteristics of idiosyncratic to specific criminals which fulfill a psychological need.

Serial Murder- A person who has killed three or more people.


http://www.fbi.gov and

Writer’s note:

Fiction is called fiction for a reason. It’s a made up world created by a writer. Writers give their story credibility through research. Readers expect us to know what we are writing about. On the same token, if reader’s think of a FBI profiler as they’ve seen on Criminal Minds or other TV shows, and buy a book expecting this same type of character, then they will be disappointed if the writer went strictly by research, and not buy another book by that author. I believe a successful writer will write a character with the reader in mind. My character is a FBI profiler, even if in reality the job title doesn’t exist in the FBI.

Happy writing!

Diane Kratz

A Look Inside the Behavioral Analysis Unit

“Chances are he will be wearing a double-breasted suit. Buttoned.” James A. Brussel

James A. Brussel

James Brussel holding his book, “Casebook of a Crime Psychiatrist” Picture courtesy of

Psychiatry is a branch of medicine that deals with the diagnosis and the treatment of mental disorders. A forensic psychiatrist specializes in the legal aspects of mental illness. Dr. Brussel’s method included the diagnosis of unknown offender’s mental disorders from their crime scenes.  He would infer the characteristics of an unknown offender by comparing their criminal behavior to his own experience with the behavior of patients who shared similar disorders. Up until this time it had been historically uncommon for psychiatrist to apply their expertise to investigative matters.

Dr. James A. Brussel of Greenwich Village, New York is considered by many to have advanced the investigative thinking behind the criminal profiling process.

Between 1940 and 1956, a serial bomber terrorized New York City by planting bombs in public places including movie theaters, phone booths, Radio City Music Hall, Grand Central Terminal, and Pennsylvania Station. In 1956, the frustrated police requested a profile from Dr. Brussel, who was New York State’s assistant commissioner of mental hygiene.

Letters sent to the media from the Mad Bomber.

Letter sent to the media from the Mad Bomber.
Picture courtesy of

Dr. Brussel studied photographs of the crime scenes and analyzed the so-called “mad bomber’s” mail to the press. Soon he came up with a detailed description of the offender.

In his profile, Dr. Brussel suggested that the unknown offender would be a heavy middle-aged man who was unmarried, but perhaps living with a sibling. Moreover, the offender would be a skilled mechanic from Connecticut, who was a Roman Catholic immigrant and, while having an obsessional love for his mother, would harbour a hatred for his father. Brussel noted that the offender had a personal vendetta against Consolidated Edison, the city’s power company; the first bomb targeted its 67th Street headquarters. Dr. Brussel also mentioned to the police that, upon the offender’s discovery, the “chances are he will be wearing a double-breasted suit. Buttoned.”

James Brussel's first case profile was of the 'Mad Bomber of new York'

James Brussel’s first case profile was of the ‘Mad Bomber of new York’ Picture courtesy of

From his profile, it was obvious to the police that the mysterious bomber would be a disgruntled current or unhappy former employee of Con Ed. The profile helped police to track down George Metesky in Waterbury, Connecticut; he had worked for Con Ed in the 1930s. He was arrested in January 1957 and confessed immediately. The police found Brussel’s profile most accurate when they met the heavy, single, Catholic, and foreign-born Metesky. When the police told him to get dressed ( He was in his pajamas) he went to his bedroom and returned wearing a double-breasted suit, fully buttoned, just as Dr. Brussel had predicted.

George Metesky mug shot. Photo Courtesy of,

Dr. Brussel assisted New York City police from 1957 to 1972 and profiled many crimes, including murder. Dr. Brussel also worked with other investigative agencies. Brussel’s profile led the Boston Police to the apprehension of Albert DeSalvo, the notorious serial sex murderer known as the Boston Strangler. The media dubbed Dr. Brussel as “Sherlock Holmes of the Couch”.

Resources: Criminal Profiling, An Introduction to Behavioral Evidence Analysis by: Brent Turvey (2005) pg. 13 - 14,  and