My Top Crime Stories for the Week

MISSING. In Evansdale, Iowa, 8-year-old Elizabeth Collins and 10-year-old Lyric Cook were last seen by their grandmother on Friday when the two cousins left to go on a bike ride. Their bicycles were located hours after they were reported missing near a lake. A massive volunteer search over the weekend failed to locate the girls. Scent dogs used by searchers looking for signs of two missing young girls in Iowa ran around a lake and stopped at the water’s edge, but the mother of one of the girls doesn’t believe the girls had gone swimming. She believes the girls were abducted.


ARRESTED. Police have made an arrest in the abduction attempt in South Philadelphia that was caught on video. The surveillance video shows a 10-year-old girl, with her 2-year-old brother, walking home on Tuesday afternoon. The video shows an unknown male following them in a white vehicle. The video shows the suspect grabbing the girl and attempting to carry her away, but she bit him causing him to drop her. He tries again, but the girl fights as her brother screams. The man eventually let the child go and ran back to his vehicle. A suspect was arrested after turning himself into authorities.

IDENTITY THEFT. An Estonian man was sentenced to seven years in prison on Thursday for his role in stealing more than 240,000 credit card numbers. Aleksandr Suvorov hacked into a computer system belonging to the Dave & Buster’s restaurant chain to steal the credit card numbers of 81,000 customers. Suvorov attempted to sell more than 160,000 stolen credit card numbers to a buyer in San Diego.

ART CRIME. Undercover FBI agents in Florida found what investigators believe is a stolen Henri Matisse painting that had been missing for nearly a decade. Pedro Antonio Marcuello Guzman, 46, of Miami and Maria Martha Elisa Ornelas Lazo, 50, of Mexico City were charged with transporting and possessing the stolen painting after trying to sell “Odalisque in Red Pants,” valued at $3 million to undercover agents.

And finally…

STRANGE. A woman in Texas was charged with child endangerment for leaving her children after her car collided with a Houston bus. She allegedly walked to a nearby CVS drug store and started taking off her clothes as she ate ice cream. The Texas mom’s three children, ages 5, 12 and 16, were in the car when the collision occurred.  Officials say all three suffered minor injuries and have since been released to their grandmother.

And this is why I write crime fiction…

Justice vs Vengeance

An Ohio jury this week recommended the death penalty for convicted serial killer Anthony Sowell. He showed no reaction at the sentence and he left the courtroom to applause from the audience for the sentence.

Sowell killed 11 woman and presented no defense in his trial. During the sentencing phase he explained his actions were due to being abused physically and sexually as a child.

Those that debate the death penalty often discuss Justice versus Vengeance. An Eye for an Eye. Is it our right to take a life? Isn’t it what a serial killer deserves?

Justice is usually defined as the quality of being fair and reasonable. Vengeance is a punishment exacted for a wrong.

Is the punishment given to Sowell the Justice he deserved? Is it purely Revenge for what he has done? Or is it most likely a little of both.

The Death of Mitrice Richardson

A lot has been said about the LA Sheriff’s possible mishandling of the arrest of Mitrice Richardson on September 16, 2009. Whether they should have released her in the dead of night with no transportation, no cell phone and no identification is up for debate.

What’s more alarming is what happened after she walked out of the Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station at 1am. Mitrice disappeared.

Nearly a year later, on August 9, her nude remains were found in the Lost Hills/Malibu Canyon. Sheriff’s officials stated there was no sign of foul play. Nor do they believe she fell to her death. A spokesman for the Los Angeles County coroner’s office estimated that her remains had been there at least six months, or possibly the entire time she had been missing.

In November 2010, during a family excursion to the remote, rugged area, Latrice Sutton, the victim’s mother found a finger bone. In February, eight more bones were discovered by the Coroner’s office and search and rescue teams. All nine bones have been confirmed to be from Mitrice Richardson. Just recently, some of the clothing found near the scene was finally sent to the LASD Crime Lab for examination.

It can be confusing that a young beautiful woman, with bi-polar disease could be released in the middle of the night with nothing but the clothes on her back, but what’s more disturbing is no one is searching for a possible killer.

Assistant Chief Coroner Ed Winters at the LA County Coroner’s office has agreed this case was not handled properly from the start. Among the issues, Sheriff’s deputies removed the bones from the site against the will of the Coroner’s office. Also, certain tests of the remains were overlooked prior to her burial.

Mitrice’s remains were exhumed on July 13 and will finally undergo important analysis overlooked two years ago. Maybe now we can find out what really happened to Mitrice Richardson and search for a possible killer to face justice.

Ripped from the headlines…

Crime novels give us something real life cannot. A sense of justice, understanding, and closure.

Casey Anthony will be released from jail this week after she was acquitted of killing her two-year-old daughter. People everywhere are asking how someone so obviously guilty of killing her child can be set free. Why would she destroy the life she brought into this world. How could the jurors not want to give justice to little Caylee.

Rodrick Shonte Dantzler, the man that murdered seven people (including his own 12-year-old daughter) held the entire city of Grand Rapids hostage for nine hours last week before killing himself. Why did no one try to help this man before the rage and violence escalated to the unstoppable? Why did he kill himself before we could ask why?

Real life never gives us what we need. My prayers go out to the innocent victims.