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Friday, April 29, 2016

Trespassing at Highfields

Morbid Streak is gradually going to be moving over to my new domain, hannahrtaylor.com.  That's where you can view my latest essay, "Trespassing at Highfields."  Please do not actually trespass at Highfields.  Read it here.

I am waiting to hear back on 3 publications, currently.  Upcoming articles will be on urban legends, skydiving and BASE history, and of course, Lindbergh.  Hopefully I'll have more news for you soon!

Monday, April 11, 2016

The Trial of the Century 6: The NJ State Police Archives

read this post on Reddit /r/UnresolvedMysteries

As I said on Friday, I had the privilege of rooting through the NJSP Archives last week.  It was an enjoyable, though overwhelming, experience.  I wound up leaving with a sheaf of photocopies and a minor headache.  All in a day's work!

The archives are located in the room next to the reception desk at the NJ State Police Museum. The room is filled with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves and file cabinets, the vast majority of which are materials related to the Lindbergh case. The archivist handed me a manila folder to start, which contained the preliminary case report, two binders of statements (I photocopied those of the Lindbergh household and immediate reporting policemen), and when I asked, I got a binder of crime scene photographs, as well.
I’m going to start with the photographs, because, well, those are the easiest to share! Also, I haven’t really gone through the statements in detail yet... that's today's project.
So far I haven’t seen anything we didn’t already know, although since the statements were given years before the trial, they’re a bit more detailed, and give us a better idea of the household's immediate reactions to the crime.

So, on to the pictures.

Anne Lindbergh's signature - You'll notice this isn't even in a sheet protector or anything. The papers were as thin as tissue paper, I was having a very quiet mental freakout the entire time I was touching it.

I'm going to list out all the documents I have the full text of right now. If you have questions about something in particular, ask!:
  • Major Initial Report - first police report on the case, Cpl. Joseph A. Wolf, 3/1/1932
  • Case report, Trooper N. DeGaetano, 3/3/1932
  • Statement: Trooper DeGaetano, 3/9/1932
  • Statement: Trooper Harry V. Cain, 3/16/1932
  • Statement: Trooper Frank A. Kelly, 3/16/1932
  • Statement: Trooper Lewis Bornman, 3/9/1932
  • Statement: Cpl. Joseph Wolf, 3/15/1932
  • Statement: Asst. Chief of Police of Hopewell, Charles E. Williamson, 3/9/1932
  • Statement: Betty Gow, 3/10/1932 [nursemaid]
  • Statement: Charles A. Lindbergh, 3/20/1932
  • Statement: Charles A. Lindbergh, 3/11/1932
  • Statement: Olly Whateley, 3/3/1932 [butler]
  • Statement: Elsie Mary Whateley, 3/10/1932 [cook/maid]
  • Statement: Anne M. Lindbergh, 3/13/1932
  • Statement: Violet Sharpe, 3/10/1932
  • Transcript of interview of Violet Sharpe, 3/24/1932
  • Correspondence from Scotland Yard re: Violet Sharpe
My next post will probably be the Violet Sharpe stuff.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Guess who has two thumbs and got to visit the NJ State Police archives today?!

This girl!

I had a blast, and it was only moderately overwhelming.
Can't wait to show you more! 

Morbid Mailbag: John Fiocco

Morbid Mailbag is a series where I post interesting stories or details that readers send me.  They usually want anonymity for privacy reasons.  I cannot independently verify the veracity of these statements.

My original post on John Fiocco's death

Here's a message I received on the John Fiocco case:

Thursday, April 7, 2016

 Hey! I just stumbled across your post on John Fiocco and wanted to reach out. I didn't want to just reply, because I'm not interested in making it easy for someone to figure out my "real life" identity.

So I went to TCNJ, not at the time John was there, but soon after. I was also a resident of that dorm for 4 years, 1 as a freshman (eerily enough, I lived in his old room) and for 3 years as an RA (we called them CAs).

So I read the report you posted about the layout of the basement, and there's some misleading info there. So yeah, you'd either walk or take the elevator to the first floor and then take the stairs down to the basement, because the elevators are keyed to NOT go down to the basement after a certain time of night. You walk down these stairs, which are well lit and not sketchy at all.

The basement is not a basement in the traditional sense. You go down the stairs into a brightly lit lobby/foyer area. There's a big cafeteria to the left, which serves late night junk food. I can't remember what time they closed, actually- but you should be able to look that up online, it's called T-Dubs. Around 3 I think?

Immediately after going down the stairs, T dubs is right in front of you, to the right are the elevators, and right across from the elevators are a few sets of doors. They're locked, and I think it's a small office and a boiler room. You'd have to go through at least one set of doors to get into the hallway where you'd access the trash room.

During the day, maintenance for the whole campus uses that hallway for various things (storage, processing work orders, whatever). Students don't go into that hallway, ever. Hardly anybody even knows there's anything back there. Students don't "know" where the compactor room is, and there's no way to get through those fire doors (the locked ones I mentioned) into the hallway, and then you'd have to get the trash room unlocked as well. In FOUR YEARS living in that dorm, as a CA who had access to the building was required to patrol is 3x/night while on "duty," I never once went down there, nor did I ever see a student go in there. Ever. I have accidentally thrown things away, and one of my residents accidentally threw away a $200 birthday card- not once was there a consideration of "oh, I'll go down to the trash compactor room and get it!" It's just not a thing that anyone in their right mind would do.

The only other bit of information about the trash room I can provide is that there's access from the outside of the building, as well. It's basically a big garage door, and you'd need a key to unlock it. I don't know if there was a keypad or anything, but I think not. Again, never once did I see anybody messing around trying to get that door open.

Maybe five feet away from the section with the elevators and fire doors is a big glass sliding door, which has access to the outside. You have to swipe using your ID card to get in, BUT (and the reports are right about this), students do sometimes prop those doors open. Not so much as night, that's not common, but it's possible. But sometimes on a nice day, or if they're bringing in laundry and stuff from the car, whatever. Normally the desk staff and CAs are supposed to go down to check those doors, but if it was after midnight, the CAs wouldn't have, and if it was after 2, the desk staff (DAs) would've been gone too. So it's definitely possible that a student came in after 2am and propped the door open, for whatever reason (maybe someone lost their ID and a friend blocked the door open for them, or a girlfriend/boyfriend was coming in late, IDK). Or even if people were coming in from a party and someone just followed them in, it's not like the students would've been like "woah! Do you live here?" It's a big dorm, people wouldn't stop to question some one.

There is physically no way, absolutely no way in hell that he went down the chute itself from the 4th floor. First, you have to pull open this heavy metal door. The room that contains the chute is really small, you couldn't fit 2 people in it. Second, there's a recycling bin in that room, which is ALWAYS overflowing, I'm talking bags of recycling all over the floor. From the hallway/door, you can lean over and pull open the chute, and shove your stuff in. For frame of reference, you can't fit a regular size garbage bag or even a pizza box down the chute, it just won't fit. Grocery bags with garbage are all you can really fit down there. I distinctly remember that it's smaller than a pizza box, even when you sort of crush it/try to jam it down, because there was usually a pile of pizza boxes on the floor waiting for the cleaners. So, really, there is NO WAY that this tall, broad guy could maneuver into the room, get the chute door open (it pulls out into the room, not pushing into the chute), get up/over the chute door and into the chute itself. Plus, this garbage room is literally in the middle of the hallway, within eyesight of the men's bathroom and right next door to a single room (I think at that time, the singles were actually the CA's room, although I could be mistaken), and the other CA's room was maybe 10 feet away, just around the corner. He probably would've knocked things over, made noise, and generally woke people up & pissed off his CAs.

The way this dorm is set up, there's no way someone wouldn't have heard him trying to get in the chute. The doors are heavy and loud and slam shut. The dorm is like an angular U shape, and sound echoes like you wouldn't believe. At 3 am, I'd expect it to be pretty quiet. There's always some rowdiness when people are getting home after the parties, but it settles down around 1:30.

It's very strange, and sad, the whole thing. The only reason I knew about John Fiocco is because I was a CA, and because my boss would occasionally point to a specific security measure and say "that's because of John Fiocco," but really, nothing much changed between his death and when I lived there. The front desk staff still only stayed til 2. They were supposed to be stricter about signing people in between 8 p-2 a, but some were more lax than others. Doors were still propped open once in a while. It's honestly like it never even happened. If it wasn't for my weird fascination with morbid things, and this weird connection I had to him (living in his old room), I wouldn't have known.

Also, a random note about the trash chute I just remembered-- there are sprinklers INSIDE the chute. It's some weird fire safety code, I believe. It's basically so that if something on fire is tossed in there, the fire won't shoot up to the other floors thru the chute. But the sprinklers can also be triggered if something too big is shoved down there. That wasn't really a problem generally, because the opening to the chuteis so small that you couldn't get much down there. If a BODY had miraculously been fitted into there, the sprinklers probably would've been triggered.

My response: 

Thanks so much for all the information. Do you think John would've gone to the basement to retrieve something from the dumpster?...

Anonymous' response:

No, I don't think he would've gone downstairs, but of course it's a possibility...

Also, there was talk about the "hardcore drug scene" in the area. Completely ridiculous. The worst that TCNJ students get into is Molly or ecstasy at parties, which wasn't even big on the scene in 2006. Weed is common, but NOBODY goes into Trenton for it. The "dealers" are suburban white boys who get it through a friend of a friend, and who "sell" to their fraternity brothers. TCNJ is in Ewing, not Trenton. Ewing is very suburban, tons of students live off campus, and a lot of people in the community work for TCNJ is some capacity. There's no downtown- the biggest "party spot" in Ewing is Firkins, a sort of dive bar. Trenton is only a few miles away, yeah, but students don't go there. They might if they had an internship in downtown Trenton, but that's a decent area. Please believe that the huge majority of TCNJ students are sheltered white kids who would be scared shitless to go to the bad parts of Trenton.

What's interesting about TCNJ is that we saw a lot more mental health crises than you'd expect. I had multiple depressed/suicidal students, I had one who took medical leave because he had a psychotic break from recently developed bipolar.  I know of two students who killed themselves during my tenure at TCNJ.  Kids that go to TCNJ tend to be smart, highly motivated people, and with that comes a lot of pressure and expectations.

So the thought of a mentally ill former student getting in (he would've known the timing of student staff, known how to get in without an ID)... That's not absurd. I don't know how he would've got John into the compactor, though. Would a mentally ill person be able to come up with that plan? He'd have to be lucky that the doors were unlocked (unless, of course, they weren't as consistently locked back then as they were during my time), then hoist him in. That would be a lot of dead weight. I would think at least two people would be necessary.

Honestly, I don't know what happened. It just does not make any sense to me that he would go into that room. But I also don't see how someone could've forced him in. I've also heard the possibility there was a fight and John was accidentally killed, and one/two guys brought him downstairs already dead. But then again, I wonder how NOBODY would have noticed. These dorms are so echo-y, an altercation in the stairwells would've been very easily heard. Perhaps he voluntarily went outside (to avoid waking neighbors/CAs?) but he was accidentally killed, and the other guy(s) got lucky that the outside garage door access was open (OR it was a different setup at that time).

It's sad. By all accounts he was a decent person, but hardly anybody knows his name or even knows what happened.

I just found this article from Rider University [a college very close to TCNJ] which mentions that they made no policy changes as a result of John's death.  The only policy that changed was 24-hour swipe card access, instead of nighttime only swipe card access (and that was a result of reporters sneaking into the dorm to interview students).  All this means that I think there were no changes to the compactor room setup as I described it - it would've been the same as when John was there.

...So I just read some of the court documents, and I wish I could read the full affidavit from Michael Merkowsky. He said that the exterior door was routinely left open, which is really surprising to me because I never once saw them open. It seems very reasonable though that after an incident like this, staff for the building would've been diligent about locking up. If it is the case that the exterior doors were open, and that the door into the compactor itself was unlocked as well, then this incident makes more sense.

I really only see two possibilities, after thinking about this a lot today.

1) John accidentally threw something out, and went downstairs/outside to retrieve it from the compactor.

2) He happened to run into this intruder outside. Maybe he went outside for fresh air, or a smoke. The intruder blitzed/jumped out at him, and either knocked him unconscious or killed him. Intruder dragged him to compactor from outside. I don't think it would be feasible for someone to attack John on the 4th floor, get him through the fire doors and into the elevator, down to the lobby, around the corner and down a long flight of stairs, across another lobby and 20 feet to the trash room.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Julie Mott's Missing Corpse

Julie Mott was a beautiful 25-year-old living in San Antonio.

She passed away on August 8, 2015 after a long battle with cystic fibrosis. Her memorial service was held on August 15, what would have been her 26th birthday. She had requested her body – embalmed, so that friends and family could say their final goodbyes - be cremated afterwards.
The next day, her body was to be transferred to an offsite crematorium. When staff went to move her, they discovered an empty casket.
Julie’s body has not been seen since.
Suspicion immediately fell upon Julie’s ex-boyfriend, Bill Wilburn, who had dated her for six years, though they had broken up two years before her passing.

According to friends and family members, he had been harassing Julie with calls and text messages in the weeks leading up to her death. Bizarrely, he had also been the last person to see Julie’s body – hanging back until after even the family left.
But – here’s the best part. I’m sure at least some of you morbid freaks have heard of MyDeathSpace.com. Originally a site to view the MySpace (oh boy, I’m dating myself here!) profiles of deceased people, it’s expanded into an online forum. Julie Mott’s profile was posted to the site, and after her body was stolen, a discussion sprang up.. and who should appear but the ex-boyfriend.
Before I get into his posts, this is what is known:
  • Julie’s funeral service wrapped up at around 1pm.
  • After this, her body was wheeled into a viewing room. Friends and family left the viewing around 1:30pm.
  • Bill Wilburn was the last person to see Julie’s body. He claims the doors were locked behind him by funeral home staff.
  • The funeral home closed for business on August 15th at 4:30pm.
  • Police estimate that Julie’s body was stolen between the hours of 1:30pm-4:30pm. There were no signs of forced entry, so they believe that it was taken when the funeral home was open.
  • Some damage was done to the coffin Julie was removed from, so it’s believed that an outsider took her who was unfamiliar with how to properly unlock the coffin.
  • The funeral home did not have security cameras. There was security camera on a nearby building, but it either was broken or didn’t record anything of interest.
  • Julie’s missing body was discovered on August 17th, when staff went to transfer her to the crematorium across town.
Using the name “Heartbroken1,” Bill begins to post on the MyDeathSpace forums:
It's been a breath of fresh air to read this thread...
Let me start out by saying that it's me.....I'm the "obsessed" man.
We dated for almost 6 years and met on facebook. We talked for two years before ever meeting and I instantly fell in love with her.
Through out our relationship, I was at odds with her family. I had a tough time finding steady work while trying to make it in the real estate business and we weren't getting much help from either of our families. There's a sense of bitterness from her friends since our relationship really caused them to grow apart. Most of her friends she knew from childhood and all throughout high school but I was her whole life.......and I hadn't realized it until it was too late.
I fell into a horrible depression and was starting to abuse adderall just to get out of bed in the morning. I was working from 4am to midnight at two jobs that were across town from each other and I rode the bus for 4 hours total every day just to commute. I couldn't afford getting my eyes examined to pass my driving test in order to start driving again. If you've ever lived in San Antonio, it's like living in Mexico with paved streets....once you get into a hole there it's hard to get out with no support system in place. Neither one of our families was jumping in to help and I was too stubborn to ask for it.
I really wanted to have kids and we had stopped being intimate for almost half of our relationship. She stopped taking care of herself and she was in fact extremely depressed as well.
We started to fight every time we were around each other. It finally came to a point when we had decided that it'd be best that she go back home and be with family.
Her family was living in a house that I found for them when Dick Tips fired her father from being his private pilot. Dick tips was known as Dick "head" Tips around the house.....nobody liked that fucking asshole.
Now it's fucking beyond me why they would choose to use his services but...whatever. Anyway here is what we really know..... The service started at noon on the 15th and ended a little after 1pm.
A couple things freaked me the fuck out/ bothered me during the funeral. 1 ....the Dad didn't say one word to me......not that surprising but what is surprising is that he would take a trip to Costa rica weeks after she was found passed out in her room with extremely life threateningly low blood sugar. It's amazing that she survived that episode. Why would he do something like that and think any less of me....fine.... I'm just venting a little. 2. The crying usher......I sat in the pew closed to the front right section next to her family. The usher standing to our immediate right was crying during the funeral......he was not related to the family nor did anyone know him. 3. Richard Garcia. the funeral director spoke with Julies Mother immediately after the service (before everyone left) to discuss the steps in the funeral process to follow.....odd considering that that should have been handled way ahead of time and not in front of everyone else.
I was the last person to leave and there were approximately 3 - 4 employees still there. One of whom was a female that locked the front door behind me as I left. No the crematorium is not onsite. It's at Mission park South where she was supposed to be moved on the 17th. I left around 1:30pm The crime is said to have happened between 130 and 430 pm There are no cameras on site with the exception of a industrial complex next door with one disabled camera...Dick head Tips has yet to put up cameras to this day. The coffin has been said to have been "tampered with" "opened improperly" and "broken into"....which really doesn't mean shit to me because it was a service coffin for those to be cremated.
There were fresh tire tracks in the grass and tire marks to the rear of the building on the South end opposite the side of cherry ridge but not near the back doors. The tire tracks looked as though the vehicle made a u-turn on the grassy side of the back alley. The back side of the building is pretty much all doors. According to her brother she was placed in one of three rooms and the funeral home "is not very big" according to him. When I was there having my 15 minutes with her after not seeing her for 2 years....I can easily say that it was extremely quiet in the building. I've emphasized to him that if the place is that small.....someone should have heard something or seen something. The back side is mostly garage doors.
He's adamant that the funeral didn't make a mistake and that no one that works there did this.
I don't know why he defends the funeral home to no end. I don't know why he won't tell me what evidence proves it was from the outside. I don't know why the fuck they would go to public parks or why the press would be called to his dog and pony shows but not actual HR dogs trained professionals.
I do know that Tips offered the exact same dollar amount for an award about an hour after I posted the same exact reward on my facebook page. I will be filing a complaint with the funeral homes licensing board and since I've been stirring the pot on the Mission Park Facebook page, they've deleted every single one of their post.
It's a law that the funeral home must secure the body in a location inaccessible to the public. Regardless of whether it was a mistake in transport, an outsider or an employee.....I will do what it takes to make sure they pull his license.
I loved Julie very much. She became my best friend in these last two years and I'm truly blessed to have known her. She was an absolutely pure soul. She never said anything bad about anyone. Never complained. All she had was love for this world. She loved horses and when she road it was with such dedication and passion that it was as if nothing else mattered for those brief moments. She had complete control of her horse and "Bling bling Benny" would not let anyone else touch him.
I did not take her but everyday I will take what she taught me and try to be a better man. Please keep this discussion going. The more facts that get out there and the more people know, the closer we can get to finding out what really happened.
He goes on - unprompted! - to give his account of his activities after the funeral:
After the funeral I sat in my car for a good 15 minutes balling my eyes out and contemplating my entire existence......then I bought some weed, smoked until I couldn't remember Math and went to visit my Grandparents. My grandmother just found out she had a tumor so....figured it'd be great to spend time with her while I was in town....I live in Austin.
I then went to Sam Ash to visit a friend and then went to Logans for lunch with my parents. I made the comment while we were eating that I'd leave flowers on her grave every year for her birthday. My parents looked at me strange and said.....she's gone......she's going to be cremated.
That was a moment of realization to me....she was not just gone .......but gone gone.........even typing this brings tears to my eyes.
The cops ran with my parents statement that I was beside myself when I had heard that she was going to be cremated.
They grilled me for 2 hours and walked my Grandparents property for 6 hours with hr dogs, checked my car and my house in Austin.
After we ate I drove back to Austin and sat in the parking lot of some bar calling anyone who would have a drink with me.......no one answered so I shut my phone off again and drove my self home into a pit of more self destruction.
I got a text from my Mom after I woke up on Sunday around....I don't know 2pm and it said...."▣▣▣ call me Julie is missing". I assumed it was a mistype or old text that didn't come through....I just didn't know what to think of it so I went back to bed... I woke up again around 6 and checked my voicemail......18 missed calls......"▣▣▣▣ this is Detective ▣▣▣▣ please call me as soon as possible" I then called my Mom and I could barely understand her.....I've never heard my Mom ever sound so distraught. "▣▣▣▣ someone broke into the funeral home and took Julie........" Me: Oh my god my....this can't be real Mom: "▣▣▣▣▣ ....listen to me.....they think it's you"
I then called the detective and Austin pd were at my house within minutes after I had given them my address.
Anyway, since the start of this I've lost my job, my phone, wrecked my car and I've probably pissed off everyone of Julies friends and family members by stirring the pot.
I couldn't give less of a shit about any of that.......number one priority is finding out what happened.
I'd love for someone that works there to actually speak out about how things went down. Someone must fucking know something.
[he then posts again]
Just realized that sounded all out of order...
funeral Sat in my car... Bought weed.. Grandparents Logans drove to Austin...sat in some bar parking lot went to sleep... Woke up and heard the news....called parents...called detectives. Travis county showed up and ran search ....Monday was when I drove down to work with detectives and walk my grandparents property....
I know it doesn't really matter because I didn't fucking take her but.....just clarifying things.
Some points forum members made about this:
  • Bill reveals a lot more details about the crime than were released in any newspaper article. As we'll see later, these seem to be acknowledged as true, but one wonders where he gets the information from.
  • He's careful to allot 15 extra minutes of his caring being in the funeral home parking lot.
  • He claims both his phone and his car were destroyed shortly after the body was stolen.
  • He also notes that his phone was shut off for a period of time - meaning, as I'm sure you know, it can't ping any nearby cell towers.
  • Bill blames the funeral home for losing the body. At this point, some people still agree with him. Surely the funeral home is ultimately liable. It's posited that the body was lost (it does happen) or cremated incorrectly or early, and the ashes mislabeled. However, when this happens, the body/cremains are usually found.
Bill then goes on to post a conversation on Facebook between himself and Julie’s brother:
Facebook conversation between Julie's Brother and I Jon Mott For the record, regardless of what you may read on Facebook or anywhere else, my baby sister Julie was stolen from the funeral home. She wasn't moved or misplaced by the funeral home. She was stolen by a very selfish person or persons. We don't know who did it but we will find out. We will get her back. And the person or persons will be dealt with accordingly.
ME: How do you know for sure that the funeral home didn't fuck up? Don't you think that all avenues should be explored?
Jon Mott It's been almost two months, all avenues have been explored.
ME: What about the former police officer Jim Wilbourn? he was moved the same day Julie was.
Jon Mott Are you referring to Jimmy Willborn who's funeral was on the 14th and was buried on the 14th?
ME: I read different
Jon Mott Where? It's in his obit
ME: Regardless, I've filed a complaint with the licensing board. They will run an internal investigation.
Jon Mott Maybe the funeral home wasn't as secure as it should have been but they didn't lose her. All evidence points to her being stolen. Did you receive a complaint number from the TFSC?
ME: Sure.....? I'll get it too you asap.
ME: On the road right now.
Jon Mott I just had a conversation with the owner of Mission Park, they would have been notified of a complaint within 24 to 48 hours. Yet they haven't heard anything. When did you file this complaint?
..............Sub Comment ME: I wonder why Dick Tips is being called a "friend of the family". You guys have never said one good thing about him in the entire time I've known you.
Jon Mott You're right. For a time that's the way it was. But people change. Situations change. People learn to put differences aside. I'm wondering why that has anything to do with finding Julie?
ME: It couldn't have been long before the funeral that there were "differences" and I'm wondering why you would choose to have the funeral there in the first place....and I'm saying this with the utmost respect for you and your family. Also, why hell was the press at his "dog and pony"shows he calls searches and not actual HR dogs and trained professionals?
Jon Mott When you walk into your daughter's room to find her dead and you know someone in the funeral business, wouldn't you call him? It's not a good time to dwell on the past. As for the searches, the reason the press was there the first time was due to us finding a body. The second was to raise awareness that we haven't given up. But there have been many others that the press wasn't there for.
ME: Dick head Tips would have been the last person I would have called. He's already shown how little he cares about the welfare of your family. Not to mention that funeral home has half a dozen suites for damages within the last 10 years. Jon I love you like a brother and we're going to get through this.
Jon Mott You're right ▓▓▓▓▓, we are going to get through this. And when we find out who did this, he's going to jail. And I hope he gets ass raped.
ME: It was a few days ago. Please message me the details of the evidence you mentioned earlier in the other post.I'd love for you to work with my PI's on this.
Jon Mott I didn't realize you hired private investigators. Thanks for that Bill. Can you send me the their contact info? I'd also love to work with them.
ME: Absolutely. Give me few. Still on the road.
ME: They think I was "obsessed" with her...wait until I find the person who did this.
Jon Mott I thought you said the funeral home is responsible? You've seemed so sure of it. Are you beginning to think that someone stole her?
ME: I do think it was someone from the funeral home.
Jon Mott So are saying that an employee stole her or that Mission Park misplaced her? I'm getting confused
ME: I think it could have been either. I don't differentiate between the two. If you want to get technical, the funeral home is a building.
Jon Mott I've had many conversations with Detective Ortiz. Can you give me the contact info for your PIs? I'd like to speak to them about what they have uncovered.
I left them a voicemail. They've been very systematic about this whole thing, so I'd like to speak to them first.
Jon Mott That's understandable but I'll be honest, I think it's weird that they haven't reach out to a member of Julie's family. Seems that if they were doing their jobs properly, that would have been one of the first things to do. I hope you're not paying them too much.
ME: ......whatever it takes.
Jon Mott Have you heard back from them?
ME: No. Several missed calls though. Handling some other issues in San Antonio. May have to wait until Monday.
Jon Mott Man I'd be pissed if the people I'm paying weren't returning my calls.
ME: They told me in the beginning to not reach out to them during their investigation. I promise they are good at what they do. I'll let you know once we stop playing phone tag.
Jon Mott So they took your money and said don't call us? Where did you find these guys?
ME: haha...I'm sure we'll get an update Monday.
Jon Mott I look forward to talking with them
ME: Well I don't. This is fucking awful. Awful but obvious that not all avenues have been explored. Keep in mind that every effort in my search is not for you, your family, my family or even me. It's for Julie and I promise I will find out what happened to her.
Jon Mott I know it's for Julie. I'm sure you, just like us, want her returned so she can be cremated as she wanted. Do you feel that your PIs haven't explored all avenues?
ME: I don't want to speculate. They update me every Monday though.
Jon Mott What did they say last Monday?
ME: I can't disclose anything more than I already have until the final report but I'll definitely let them know that you'd like to speak to them.
Jon Mott If they have leads or new information, don't you think a member of Julie's family should know? Have they talked to Detective Ortiz?
ME: We're luck to have Ortiz on this but none of my questions were being answered. Number 1 priority though is finding out what happened. Nothing else matters.
Jon Mott I think they have a pretty good idea of what happened... someone stole her body.
ME: A pretty good idea?
Jon Mott Yup
ME: Pretty good is not definitive.
Jon Mott Well if it was definitive, we'd have Julie back and that piece of shit would be behind bars.
ME: If it's not definitive, we don't know that someone from the outside did it.
Jon Mott Very true but we don't know that it was someone on the inside.
ME: What we do know is that the only people who knew where she was moved were the people that worked there and your family.
Jon Mott She was in one of only three rooms. Not a big place. Plus there is some information that I don't want to disclose that points to it being someone from the outside.
ME: Please message me!!!
Jon Mott Why?
ME: When I left there were approx 3- 4 staff members there and it was so quiet you could hear a pin drop. A female locked the front door behind me as I was leaving and if you're telling me someone went in there and took her without anyone seeing or hearing anything....in such a small place...someone is lying. Garage doors make a ton of noise....not sure if she was in one of those rooms or not but....just saying.
Jon Mott Again there are details that I know that says a person stole her from the casket and that person didn't work there.
ME: I've heard "tampered", "may have been broken into..." and "someone opened the coffin that didn't know what they were doing". That's all circumstantial. What we do know is that that coffin has been used numerous times. What else do we know?
Jon Mott I've been asked not to disclose the information I have to anyone.
ME: ....interesting.
Jon Mott If you're interested in it, you should call Ortiz
ME: Next time you talk to him, tell him to answer his God damn phone when I call....I know intonation is lost in text so please use those exact words.
Jon Mott I'll be sure to do that. In fact, would you prefer if I had him call you?
ME: Absolutely! While you're at it, please have Mr. Tips call me....so many questions for him. ME: I'm sorry....not trying to direct any anger toward you. Please excuse my sarcasm.
Jon Mott It's fine. Jon Mott Don't you think it would be better for your PIs to talk to Dick? He may be more willing to call them.
ME: How those guys do things is really out of my hands but the more facts, the better. ME: Imagine what someone there might have to do to make it look like an outsider. Is't that possible? I find it odd that it only takes them seconds to come outside and harass me when I've been there but they didn't hear an intruder while they were there.
Jon Mott I don't get you ▓▓▓▓▓. When all evidence points to a sloppy individual with no knowledge of what they were doing, you remain hell bent on proving Mission Park misplaced her or an employee of Mission Park stole her. Don't you have some doubt that it was an inside job?
ME: I've yet to see any evidence. All I know is they were responsible for her and until I know what happened, I can't find her but I'l find out whatever you're not telling me son enough. ME: If they were on-site they would have heard an intruder. Either way, I'm absolutely horrified that you'd defend the people responsible. Ask Tips why he hasn't put up camerasyet. Ask him why he hasn't called me to apologize. Has he apologized to Julie's Mom? ME: I was I was there when ▓▓▓▓ called him out when they were at the park. He just walked away....another great opportunity apologize. What a fucking coward.
Jon Mott Yes he has apologized to my parents and to me. I'm defending him because he didn't steal her. And he's helping with getting her back.
And more:
.............Sub Comment
Molly Cuny ▓▓▓▓, regardless of what our theories our we have to show the Mott family the respect and privacy they deserve. As hard as this is for us we must practice more self control.
Me: Thank you Molly, Although I have gotten alot out of this conversation. Sometimes you have to stir the pot. 562 people have seen this conversation....that's 562 ip addresses.
Jon Mott So are you threatening to hack the people who have read our conversation?
Me: No
Jon Mott Kinda seems like you are
Me: Lets not speculate :)
Jon Mott Yet you've been speculating that Mission Park misplaced Julie. Then you speculated that an employee of Mission Park stole her. Neither of which has a shred of evidence.
Jon Mott Also, is this just stirring the pot with you? Here I am thinking that we were having a real conversation about what happened to Julie, and this is fun and games for you?
Me: I thought we were having a real conversation. This isn't fun for me and I don't play games....If no one else finds out what happened, I will.
Jon Mott I guess ▓▓▓▓ decided to end our conversation and take himself off Facebook...
Jon Mott What happened ▓▓▓▓?
Not to inject personal opinion, but from those conversations alone (which Bill himself posted!) I think he's guilty as hell.
It becomes clear as the discussion progresses that Bill never hired PIs or filed a complaint against the funeral home.
Bill goes over his breakup with Julie, followed up his relationship with a stripper with kids. He then posts Soundcloud links to a recorded phone call of himself and Julie. He claims Julie knew he was recording this phone call to play to his stripper girlfriend, to convince her that nothing was going on between him and Julie. Yes. Really.
Here is a forum member’s transcript of the now-removed Soundcloud file (not all of the call is transcribed, but "the most important bits" are):
B: And, um, when she met me she said, she just recently admitted that, um, she broke up with him to be with me or whatever. I don't know if there's, like, a hundred percent truth to that or whatever.
J: That she broke up with him [inaudible]?
B: She said that she left him partly because of me.
J: Hmm.
B: Go back to what you were saying. You said that I only want to be with her because I don't want to be alone and she only wants to be with me for sexual reasons.
x x x
B: So...how does it end? I just call it, that's how it ends? [silence]
J: Uh. You...just suck it up and be strong, or you get somebody else.
J: ...her, and [inaudible] don't wanna be alone.
B: Yeah. Don't you think there's other things I could do to not feel so lonely?
x x x
B: I get it. Well, what do you think will happen to Jeannine (sp)? [silence]
J: Uh. [long pause] I guess she would be fine if she just stops talking to you.
B: If she stops talking to me, she'll be fine?
J: Mm-hmm.
B: I agree.
J: [inaudible] I feel like both of y'all have kind of the same problem, where you're in the relationship more than she is.
B: Yeah. [silence] Well, what advice would you give her to just, to, like, well let's say that she looks at me as if I'm like a drug for her, you know. And it's something she just needs to quit. What, what advice would you have given her?
J: I don't know. She said that she's wanting me to die, so I don't have any really good advice for her.
B: [laughs; silence] She said that she wanted you to die. That you couldn't die soon enough. You couldn't, you couldn't die soon enough. I don't know anybody who would ever say some shit like that. [laughs] That's fucked up. [silence] Anyway, what are you doing? Are you eating?
J: I'm eating ice.
B: Yeah. Your favorite.
J: Hmm?
B: I said, yeah, your favorite. [pause] She's jealous of you and I, you know.
J: I don't know why.
B: Because we get along, and she knows that. Even though you and I broke up, she, she says things like, she's like, 'Because you used to stick your penis inside her.'
J: [crunching ice]
B: [laughs] That doesn't gross you out a little bit?
J: It does, I guess. It's just weird.
B: [laughs hysterically] It's gross? When she's like, 'Because you used to stick your penis inside her,' I'm like, ew, ew, Julie penis. I don't, I don't think--
J: Whatever.
B: I don't think if you're--
J: You're the one who had sex with her.
B: What?
J: I said, you're the one who had sex with her.
B: I don't, well, the point is that I don't...There was a time, Julie, that I had a hard time getting over you, and now? [laughs] You're, uh, I can't, I can't think of you like that.
[No response]
B: Does that make sense?
J: What? [crunching ice]
B: Will you stop eating ice for, like, a second?
B: [laughs hysterically] Like, doesn't the thought of sex with me kinda gross you out a little bit?
J: [long pause] Yeah.
B: [laughs hysterically] That's funny.
J: [crunching ice, louder]
B: Seriously?
J: Huh?
B: Are you, are you almost done chewing ice?
J: [pause] The thought of sex with me grosses you out?
B: No, it doesn't gross me out. It's just that I don't think of you like that...any more. I love you, Julie, and I love you in a very different level of that.
x x x
B: It grosses me out because I really do love you, but we're a little bit past the point of the fucking earth in what we are.
x x x
B: No, it's not about me being stupid. I'm actually pretty smart. It's about, you get one chance on this planet. You get one opportunity, you know, and regardless of what you think, um. I think the way that I do, and you think the way that you do. And, um, there's no difference really, between right and wrong.
J: Whoa.
B: Don't you think that? Like--
J: No, I don't.
B: You being you, don't you think that, like, at the end of the day...there's a little bit of a gray area between the right and the wrong?
J: [long pause] No.
B: Really. [silence] Interesting.
x x x
B: Yeah. [silence] You gonna call me if you can't sleep?
J: No.
B: Will you lie to me and say that you will?
J: Yes. Sure. I will call you if I can't sleep.
B: I appreciate that. Good night, Julie.
So then – who shows up on the discussion thread but Julie’s brother, using the handle Heartbroken.my.ass. Turns out Bill had sent him the link to the forum:
Greetings all. I'm Julie's brother. My family and I have been monitoring this site for a little while now. I just wanted to come on here because I know this is one of Bill's outlets and no doubt will be reading this.
Bill, Stop being such a chicken shit and take the polygraph that you originally agreed to take on 8/16. It's been 3 months. Your constant flip flopping of "I'll take the polygraph" to "No, my mom doesn't want me to take it" is getting on everyone's last nerves. And now you want us to believe that you'll take it but have a local news station do it opposed to SAPD? Enough of your bullshit lies. Everyone knows you didn't hire private investigators. I mean, come on. Why would you hire private detectives in Austin when the crime occurred in San Antonio? Doesn't make sense. Just take the polygraph with SAPD. If you pass, they can move on from you as the suspect. Hell, you said yourself, it's inadmissible in court. What do you have to lose?
Bill responds:
Jon, I can only imagine what this is like for you but I'm horrified that you would continue to disrespect Julie like this...... and what you said while we were looking over her casket is the creepiest fucking thing I've ever heard anyone say.
I can't even being myself to type it and honestly she deserves better than that.
Your mom has been facing a nightmare every day and you're perpetuating it.
Ask Dick head Tipps why they waited until after your Mom had picked up the flowers to report her missing.
I'm done with this. I'm doing the best to take everything Julie has given me and trying to live my life the best way I can.
I didn't take her and if you want to know why I didn't take the polygraph..... fuck you. That's why.
I've poured my heart out to you people but now I have to move on with my life.
Jon responds:
Remind me what I said. I can remember saying she looked beautiful and I remember pointing out to you that the crease in her elbow was still soft. And that was what my mom called "still Julie". I remember you hugging me and telling me that you loved me like a brother. I remember thinking "man, I'm glad I'll never have to see this guy again". I remember thinking it was weird that you stayed back to be the last person to say goodbye to Julie. I thought that was disrespectful to the family. I thought it was extremely disrespectful that when I got up to speak, you left your seat in the back of the chapel, walked up the center isle, and sat where I was seated. Next to my wife and my parents. Like you were a part of the family. I've got big news for you, bud, you're not a part of our family. I remember as we were walking out, my dad telling the funeral director to watch you because you might steal something. Oh the fucking irony on that one! So remind me what did I say that was so creepy?
Let's talk about flowers. The reason why I'm not going to ask Dick why they didn't discover Julie's body missing until after we picked flowers up on Sunday, is because I fucking know why. I just not going to help you develop your timeline.
Disrespecting my sister? How? By trying to find out who stole her?
The reason you won't take the polygraph is because you know you're going to fail it. And be exposed as the sick fucker you are. The sick fucker who drives by the house asking for Julie to peek out the window just so you can see her, which she never did. The sick fucker who comes over in the middle of the night and finds Julie truck unlocked. How long did you sit in the truck, Bill? I believe Julie said 2 hours. Why don't you tell the nice people what you took as a keepsake? Was it a brush? Or was it a headband? I honestly can't remember.
Now to your "after the funeral" story. I'm not going to give you the details, but I know at least one stop you made that you've never brought up. Was it good seeing her? ~~~
And so on…
It’s just a complete trip.

Bill Wilburn's Soundcloud no longer contains the calls with Julie, but does have a call of him speaking to an investigator with the case, who tells him the case is being referred to the DA's office: Soundcloud
In January 2016, Julie's family filed suit against the funeral home: article here

Monday, April 4, 2016

The New Mentor: Short Story

View a modified version of this story on /r/nosleep

Generally, Melanie required 24 hours notice. 48-36 hours for trips out-of-state. One week for overseas. 4-6 months advance notice for high-profile celebrities.

This one was a simple, a 24-hour gig. Melanie was a bit old-school: she preferred receiving information on her prospects in writing. She maintained a drop box at the local post office. For some, this might be seen as risky, but Melanie maintained cordial relations with the local police chief -- he had enlisted her services earlier to take care of a particularly greedy ex-wife. She suspected that he knew he sometimes investigated her hits, but it was never a problem – “a professional never leaves evidence,” that was one of the mantras of her mentor. Melanie was well-versed in digital encryption techniques, but felt that maintaining a paper trail was easier: papers could be burned. Digital files couldn't.

She had walked through the doors at promptly 4pm to check her mail. She had been expecting this hit -- she had received a call on her sat phone last night from the capo of the local mob. A city councilman had been causing trouble regarding a profitable business investment. He needed to be taken out before the council vote on Friday, and the capo’s persuasion techniques had proven unfruitful.

Melanie smiled, replaced the papers in the envelope, and tucked it carefully into her glove compartment. The councilman had reservations tomorrow night at a restaurant downtown. She tapped her manicured nails on the steering wheel as she drove home, considering the possibilities. The councilman made it a point to be involved in the local community; she favored quick, clean, execution-style hits, but she wouldn't be able to get him alone to get a clean shot without being seen.

Melanie turned into her development and pressed her garage-door opener with a slender finger, thoughtfully. It'd been a while since she'd done a poisoning, and she wanted to stay on top of her game. Murders are linked together based on the killer’s style, her mentor had said. If you have no style, you can’t be tracked.

Melanie's home was clean, modern, and bare. Everything was immaculate and neat. It was more room than she needed, truly, but she knew that a display of her wealth would serve to deter her enemies. Money was power, after all. Melanie would work for anyone with the cash.

Her "lab" was the second guest bedroom. Melanie had never finished school, but her lethal knowledge base was vast and expansive. She had access to drugs both exotic and common. She ordered from online laboratories and drug dealers; personal contacts and anonymous industries.

She pondered her options: an overdose always made an excellent hit that was rarely questioned by the authorities. Unfortunately, this councilman was one of the few who truly was drug-free. Something more subtle was needed.

Melanie thoughtfully walked over to a plain metal cabinet and found it, in alphabetical order, on the second shelf from the top. Barium sulfide: stored in a tightly closed container in a dry space; water soluble; poisonous and nearly undetectable. It would look like a heart attack.


At 5pm the following day, Melanie showered. She slicked her wet jet-black hair back with maximum hold styling gel, catching the rest in a hairnet. The lump of extra hair would be hidden beneath the trendy waves of a mousy brown wig. Brown hair makes up the majority of the population, her mentor had explained: if you want to be inconspicuous, go brunette.

Usually Melanie had more refined tastes, but she knew that to blend in completely you had to succumb to the part. The dress code was a button-down white top with black bottoms. She made a face at the feel of the polyester against her thighs, but quickly smiled brightly into the mirror. Cheap eyeliner and clumping mascara obscured her eyes; she made her foundation a few shades darker than usual, blended down her neck.

She arrived at the restaurant at 6:00. The councilman's reservations were for 7. Busy kitchens always have employees coming and going; this was not the first time she had done a hit from this location, anyway.

Bussing tables is an easy way to blend. You don't have much interaction with the customers, and it's easy to dash about undetected. The councilman and his wife meandered in at a respectable 7:10; Melanie could tell as the waitstaff's backs straightened. Fighting against a rising tide of handshakes, the councilman made his way to his table at the rear of the dining room, secluded from the plebians' hustle and bustle.

The wine order was the recommended pairing with the main course. Typical - the councilman didn't have the sense to make the choice for himself.

Melanie's face never twitched a muscle as she judged the beverage with the taste of a sommelier. "Will that be all?"

They needed more time to review the menus, so Melanie excused herself and left to go supply their wine.

Barium was best dispensed in a powdered form; back in her lab, Melanie had carefully spooned a fatal dose into a capsule she had tucked into the pocket of her button-down shirt. She slipped it out of her pocket and into her palm before she picked up the tray and made her way back to the table.

Her mentor had drilled her regularly in sleight-of-hand, essential for any assassin; she remembered long evenings, one motel room blending into another, when he made her perform 100 tricks before bed. “Again,” he would command, his face impassive and eyes blank. “I saw that one. Too obvious. Again.”

How grateful she was for that effortless muscle memory now, as she snapped the capsule open and poured the powder into the councilman’s glass, lost among the deep burgundy swirl of his wine.

She was out of the building long before his heart stopped.


Melanie hummed quietly to herself as she walked up to check her P.O. box. Some song she had heard on the radio; she generally wasn’t a fan of modern music, but this one was particularly catchy. Her key caught the lock with a faint metallic clink in time with an upbeat.

Just one envelope today – she stopped as she turned it over.

Most of her clients had the sense to handwrite their letters, since typing a document on a computer would only leave more digital evidence, but this was the first time someone had made a child write the letter for them. This was an all new low!

Melanie chuckled to herself and slipped the letter in her purse to read at home. She smiled all the way to her car.

She opened the letter at home, away from curious eyes and CCTV cameras. She set her purse on her ultramodern table in her dine-in kitchen and slit the envelope with a blood-red fingernail. Out spilled a handful of coins. With a clatter, dimes, nickels, and even pennies rained down on her table and onto the floor. “Shit!” Melanie cried, stepping back as if to pick them up, but then turned her attention back to the envelope. She pulled out a ten, a five, eight ones, and a letter.

The letter was written in crayon, in the heavy-handed, awkward scrawl of a primary-school-aged child.

Dear Lady,

I’ve watched you and I know what you do and I would like to hire you. I do not have much money so I hope this is enough.

The person is:

Harold Thompson
23 Round Hollow Road

Thank you,

Melanie understood immediately. The address was on her street – the opposite side, two houses down, to the right. But how…?

She was so careful. How could anyone have figured it out – let alone a child? “Harold Thompson” wasn’t in the business. She wasn’t familiar with the lower-level mafiosos, but they would have no idea where she was -- the kid couldn’t have picked it up that way. Still, though, she should check for leaks. She pulled out her phone, intending to call the local boss, but tapped it against her cheek as she thought instead.

Could a child have figured it out? Her hours were varied and often late at night. She parked her car in her garage to make it difficult for others to tell when she was home. Obviously, if what the child said was true, and she did figure out Melanie’s profession from watching her, she would have had to watch Melanie leaving and match the times up with missing persons cases. She hid the disappearances well, and it often took weeks, if not months, for some targets to even be reported as missing… most of them never even made the news. How would the child learn of them? Was Harold Thompson a cop?

Almost on autopilot as her mind spun wildly, Melanie fetched her laptop from her study and booted it up at the kitchen table, to check the local police’s personnel files. To catch her leaving for work… how much time did this kid spend at home, looking out the window? Did she ever sleep? Did she go to school? Did she leave the house?

Melanie tapped her finger against the paper as her computer churned out its results, studying the letter. She wasn’t an expert, but from what she could tell, the letter was genuinely written by a child. She had a handwriting guy she could consult, but she wouldn’t dare let anyone else know about this. She must not have any weaknesses.

Harold Thompson was not a cop. There were no cops with the last name of Thompson in her city. No lawyers. She texted a mob connection from a burner phone – Howard was not a made man. He was, however, definitely her neighbor. Divorced. Ex-wife was in prison. Drugs. He worked as a foreman at a steel mill in a town about a half-hour away. She ran his record. It wasn’t pretty. Similar to his ex-wife’s. Ran with a rough crowd.

One daughter. Stacy. 9 years old.

Melanie drummed a pen she had been using to take notes on the table. What if it was a child, alone all day, watching her home? Even if a case had no media attention, all missing persons reports were readily available online. Melanie could easily have worked it out when she was nine, but most children were not like Melanie.

The assassin shook her head, as if that would shake these troubling thoughts free from her skull. Mere speculation would get her nowhere. It was time to surveil her neighbor.

At least that would be easy.


Melanie yawned widely and stretched, cracking her back. She’d been reviewing the surveillance footage of her neighbor’s house from the past week. The results were modest, yet troubling.

Harold was a simple man. He left for work early in the morning and returned home around 6pm, unless he went out to the local dive bar. He didn’t stay out too late, and there didn’t seem to be any current drug use or gangland connections.

His daughter was what troubled the assassin.

She could see Stacy’s face in the windows often, but Stacy never left the house. She never went to school, never had friends over to play, never so much as set foot in her father’s backyard.

Melanie set her jaw as she zoomed in on the footage of the pale little face in the window.

She had made up her mind.


Friday night. Melanie tucked her black turtleneck into her black chinos, smoothing the fabric mindlessly as she completed the ritual. She slipped her holster over her black leather belt, pinned up her curls, and jammed a knit cap onto her head. Time to party.

At 5:40pm she crossed the street and slipped into her neighbor’s backyard. She easily picked the lock to the back door and waited quietly in the kitchen, listening. The house was quiet. Melanie suspected that Stacy was hiding – she certainly remembering doing the same when she was a young girl.

Harold’s aged Ford pickup grumbled into the driveway at precisely 5:59pm.

The front door opened. Melanie held her breath, feeling her pulse rise even after all these years. She heard Harold pulling off his work boots with heavy grunts, the thud of each boot carelessly thrown to the floor. A thick cough rattled through the foreman’s struggling lungs. Finally, she heard the front door close.

She crossed the room with three quick steps, and stepped into the hallway, facing a surprised Harold on his way to the living room. She fired two shots from her silenced Glock into his chest, stepped forward and placed a foot on his sternum, where the two bright cherries of bulletholes had barely begun to bloom, and fired a final third shot into his head.

When she looked up, the little girl was standing at the foot of the stairs. Her tiny, pale limbs were a map of bruises, and her eyes were huge as she took in Melanie standing over the corpse of her father.

Melanie smiled, remembering the day she met her mentor.

He had stepped over the bodies of her parents with disdain, the way a celebrity disembarking a limo steps over the sewers of New York. He was silhouetted in a sliver of light that had found its way through the ragged curtains of the crackhouse. She recalled his next words clearly, as she repeated them now:

“What do you feel?” she asked the girl.

“Nothing,” she replied, barely more than a whisper.

Melanie smiled and held out her hand.

Together, they walked away into the night.