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Craigslist Killer Caught: When He Stereotyped Singles August 31, 2013

Posted by Onely in Food for Thought.
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The long story is in this Atlantic article, but the short story is this:

Serial killer Richard Beasley targeted middle-class, unemployed, *unmarried* men. He lured them with a Craigslist ad where he asked for someone to manage a small, isolated ranch with some cattle for 300 dollars a week and free board. He made it sound like an easy, reliable way for a man (and it had to be a man) to earn some money and get a leg up in life, possibly after having been beat up a bit by fate (divorce, unemployment, etc).

However, he was actually planning to kill these single men because he wanted to steal their possessions and make some money by selling them. Applicants who didn’t intend to come to the ranch with a big trailer of large-screen TVs (or whatever) were turned away. His favorite applicants: single men. He figured no one would come looking for them.

He figured wrong.

****

In Memoriam:

Ralph Geiger: Single. The killer (out of disrespect for the killer I will not use his name anymore) stole Geiger’s identity. Geiger is survived and remembered by his longtime daughter-like mentee Summer Rowley.

David Pauley:  Single. His best friend Chris and twin sister Deb notified the police, which helped them track down the killer.

Timothy Kern: Single. His sons Zack and Nick realized immediately that he had disappeared and notified authorities. By then, the killer was doomed.

Respect:

Scott Davis:  Single. He escaped the killer even after having a gun pointed at his face. Though unmarried, his mother was expecting him soon to come fix her house. His experience alerted the police to the killer’s existence.

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When the killer was seeking out single men, he was actually seeking out what might have been his toughest victims, the ones most dangerous to his mission.  Author Hanna Rosin describes this phenomenon:

As traditional family structures are falling apart for working-class men, many of them are forging new kinds of relationships: two old high-school friends who chat so many times a day. . .; a father who texts his almost-grown sons as he goes to bed at night and as he wakes up in the morning. . . When the old structures recede for men, they find ways to replace them with alternative attachments. . . these improvised families can prove *more* intense because they are formed under duress and, lacking a conventional domestic routine or recognized status, they must be constantly tended and reinforced.

Copious Readers – particularly our male readers – what do you think of this phenomenon? In what ways do you find yourself building these “alternative attachments”?

Comments»

1. Alan - August 31, 2013

I think this phenomenon depends upon the person.

There are people who are single (divorced, widowed, never married) that seek to create intense, marriage-like relationships without marriage, similar to the type described in the article. If I remember correctly from the Atlantic article, one of the victims spoke to a friend up to 50 times a day. Most married couples don’t even have that much contact.

And then there are single people (like me) who want relationships but not ones that are marriage-like in intensity. Ordinary friendships and family relationships are sufficient. Even with my immediate family and my best friend, I don’t want to spend more than a few hours with them at a time. I certainly wouldn’t call them multiple times a day.

Not sure what the difference is between the two types of singles, whether it’s introversion/extroversion, or degree of loneliness experience, or some other personality or lifestyle factor. Would be interesting to compare some of these men creating alternative attachments with someone like Dick Pronenneke who you previously profiled here.


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