What happens when a heroin-addicted prostitute dating a washed up and lobotomized punk rock star crosses paths with a violent, mentally disturbed serial killer? Total, utter chaos and heartbreaking tragedy, which would lead to her terrible death at just 22 years old.
Tiffany Bresciani was born on March. 10, 1971 in Metairie, Louisiana; a boring southern city where nothing really happens. She was an only child who dreamed of escape and fame, and her mother Cheryl said that she “wanted to live in the big cities… She was very happy and beautiful and loved people.” Tiffany’s grandmother nicknamed her “little lamb.”
She was a dreamy and idealistic Pisces girl of Italian-American descent with striking green eyes and reddish-brown hair; described as small, waif-like and pretty. Tiffany had a tattoo of a purple rose encircling her left wrist, and an Egyptian ankh set against a floral pattern on her left hip. She had an interest in alternative rock culture and pagan spirituality, and she dressed like a cool goth girl.
Tiffany’s goal was to become an actress, and she initially went to Hollywood. Deterred for whatever reason, she then headed to New York and set her sights on Broadway. However, life does not always go as planned. She ended up as a stripper instead; dancing at a sex emporium called The Big Top Lounge.
She dated Rick Wilder (the skeleton-looking founder of punk band The Mau-Mau’s) in a turbulent on-and-off relationship. This seemed to be the first stage of Tiffany’s downfall: becoming a stripper and rock’n’roll groupie.
Initially, however, things started out great. Tiffany reached the pinnacle of luxury by staying with Rick at his luxurious West 45th St Whitby co-op; occasionally inhabited by stars like Sinatra and the Barrymores. The place had an amazing view of the city, and made her feel glamorous and safe. Unfortunately, her life unraveled at a blinding pace.
Tiffany suffered from a debilitating heroin addiction which caused her to turn to prostitution. A neighbor at the Whitby said that “she was always stoned. I used to worry so much about her. Most of the time, she was on drugs.” Rick and Tiffany’s relationship disintegrated over her addiction and sex work, and soon she was selling herself on gritty Allen Street to fund her habit.
Love Will Tear Us Apart
Around this time, she met her new lover: Dave Insurgent, lead singer and co-founder of the hardcore punk band Reagan Youth. His birth name was David Rubinstein, and his parents were Jewish Holocaust survivors from Poland.
Surrounded by Nazi punks and skinheads, the Reagan Youth were one of the few anarcho-leftist bands in the punk scene at that time. Their band name was a satirical mashup of Ronald Reagan + the infamous Hitler youth of WWII.
They were the creators of such wonderful songs as Jesus Was A Communist and I Hate Hate, and regularly performed at the iconic CBGB nightclub. Quite honestly, their music is patently mediocre and I recommend the Dead Kennedys, Black Flag and the Misfits instead.
By the time Tiffany met Dave, he was extremely busted. Due to his erratic behavior, the Reagan Youth had disbanded in 1990. Dave was addicted to heroin and dealt drugs to make income, but he wasn’t very good at it and often pushed his luck. He used his own products instead of selling them, and when asked to repay his debts; he brashly informed seasoned thugs “you’ll get your money when I say you get it.” Wrong move.
During a smack deal gone wrong, Dave got his shit rocked for not paying up. A rival dealer beat Dave into a coma with a baseball bat, and he was taken to a hospital in emergency condition and lobotomized. Bandmate Paul “Cripple” Bakija described the horrific aftermath:
“The next day I visit Dave in the hospital and boy is it tough, he looks like hell. Dave’s eyelid was swollen so much it reached all the way down to his upper lip. His parents were there and I find out that he needed a lobotomy to save his life.
Eventually, he gets discharged from the hospital but Dave now has stitches going around his forehead from ear to ear. When Dave finally recovered, as best he could, I asked him what happened. Dave told me he couldn’t remember anything.“
Suffering from brain damage and post-surgical pain, Dave used marijuana to medicate himself. Sadly, the lobotomized ex-punk singer soon turned to heroin once again. He moved out of his parents’ home in Queens to an apartment on the Lower East Side. This is where he met Tiffany.
Dave once had a girlfriend named Susan Cordon, and she would cry and become extremely upset whenever he used heroin. Bakija said that she was the only thing preventing Dave from full fledged addiction. Once Susan dumped him, Dave became a junkie. She said that “after I left, he called one day freaked out that he had woken up in a crack house. Part of him knew what he was doing was scary and could have consequences.”
His friends now avoided him, and he couldn’t have looked too great with stitches running across his face from ear to ear. Dave was a shadow of his former self, and he would never perform again.
Despite all this, he somehow managed to hook up with beautiful Tiffany Bresciani. She was into alternative and edgy men, and dodgy Dave fit the bill. The clout from being in a known punk band, as well as their common heroin addiction must have created a strong toxic bond of love between the two. Without anyone to dissuade them from their drug use, the couple fell deeper into heroin abuse and degeneracy.
For some reason, Tiffany began to support Dave financially through prostitution; even though he was seven years her senior. Through her self sacrifice, Tiffany kept the couple afloat. Dave claimed to love her and even pronounced her his fiancée, yet he did not lift a finger to help the two out of the situation.
Instead, he often accompanied Tiffany while she went to solicit clients, and waited for her on the street. When she was finished, the two would go buy heroin together. If that sounds cucked, that’s because it was. Dave told his parents that Tiffany was a dancer. In a way, she was.
While she stripped at sleazy nightclubs, she caught the eye of a 34-year old unemployed landscaper named Joel Rifkin. He had seen her and been mesmerized by her performance, and was said to have been a regular customer.
On June 24, 1993, Tiffany would meet with Rifkin for the last time. Unknown to her and the other girls who worked the streets of New York; Rifkin was the worst serial killer in the city’s history. And now, it was Tiffany’s turn to die.
Who was Joel Rifkin and why did he murder women?
Joel Rifkin was a killer without a conscience. Born in 1959 and abandoned by his birth parents, he was adopted by a loving upper middle class family; so loving that detectives later on suspected that Joel’s mother Jeanne and sister Jan stayed silent despite knowing of his crimes.
While most serial killers have a fucked-up childhood filled with abuse and beatings, Rifkin’s family life was perfectly normal. What was problematic, however, was the bullying he faced in school. While in the gym showers, students threw eggs at him. Bullies dunked his head in toilets, and stole his clothes. Once some boys waited outside a library to beat him up, so he had to call his father to come rescue him. He was nicknamed “turtle” and “lardass” for his stooped posture and slow gait.
As for women, they though Rifkin was creepy and ugly and he was rejected by all of them. The only time he had a relationship with a woman was when he was in college studying horticulture; and a heavyset dark-haired classmate briefly dated then dumped him. She said he was “sweet, but always depressed.” In 1987, Rifkin’s father committed suicide after a fatal prostate cancer diagnosis. 7 months later, Rifkin was arrested for soliciting prostitution.
On the outside, people thought Rifkin was a normal guy. He seemed a bit shy and awkward, and was 34- years old yet still living with his mother and struggling to remain employed. But there was nothing on the outside to suggest alarm, and he was tested at a high IQ of 128.
On the inside, however, he was a violent monster. In 1989, Rifkin began a 4 year killing spree in which he murdered 17 prostitutes (or possibly even more); and dismembered and mutilated their bodies. He strangled them to death, then strew their limbs all across New York state. He dumped the corpses in forests, rivers, canals, fields, and abandoned properties.
Rifkin had no mercy for his victims, and killed sex workers because he believed their lives were worthless and that nobody cared for them. At his trial, he would realize that wasn’t the case. But any how, he was addicted to murdering women and he couldn’t stop.
After his apprehension, police found in his room books about Jeffrey Dahmer, Gary “Green River Killer” Ridgway, and Arthur Shawcross; sick serial killers who also murdered prostitutes. They also found a bondage manual on tying ropes and knots, and Women and Love by the feminist sexologist Shere Hite. Rifkin was obsessed with Hitchcock’s 1972 thriller Frenzy, and watched the strangulation scene hundreds of times. He developed a fetish for choking women.
Joel Rifkin was basically an incel who had snapped. While working at the Planting Fields Arboretum in Oyster Bay, he was rejected by a pretty blonde intern he was crushing on. It was too much for him. He lost it, and took out his rage on helpless and vulnerable sex workers. And unfortunately, Tiffany would be his final victim.
Pickup on Allen Street
It was a warm summer night, and Tiffany Bresciani was back on the streets after briefly trying to get help at a methadone clinic. She wanted to stop using heroin, but it was impossible. Tiffany’s mother and grandmother still cared about her and often mailed her care packages. The most recent one contained pictures, summer dresses and a white teddy bear. They asked her to come back home, but by now heroin had taken over her life.
Tiffany and Dave were hanging around outside waiting for a potential client, when a blue 1986 Toyota sedan pulled up. Joel Rifkin was on the prowl- in his mother’s car. Tiffany might have recognized him from a previous meeting, and trusted Rifkin enough to get in the car with him.
Rifkin later noted that he could not stop staring at her flattering outfit; a sheer green blouse and a black skirt that highlighted her figure, and that he liked her wrist tattoo. He also claimed that her murder was not premeditated (she was his second prostitute that night, and he had not killed the first girl), and that he assumed she was high on either cocaine or methadone.
Rifkin negotiated an encounter with Tiffany for $40, but some sources give that number to be as low as $20. Tiffany bid farewell to Dave and told him she would only be 20 minutes. Instead, he would never see her again.
Tiffany got into the vehicle, and Rifkin drove her to the nearby Manhattan Bridge. As they prepared for sex, a passerby nearly peered into the car; causing Rifkin to suffer from erectile dysfunction. This was a common occurrence with him, and he had once murdered a prostitute after she cried over his inability to get it up.
During sex, Rifkin decided to murder Tiffany. He squeezed her throat with his hands until her eyes were wide with fear, just like scene he desired to emulate from Hitchcock’s Frenzy. After a minute of strangulation, Tiffany died at around 5:30 AM. She was only 22- years old, and her life had ended in the most sordid and tragic manner.
When quizzed on Tiffany’s killing afterwards, Rifkin coldly summed the situation up as “it was someone I met in the city, and things didn’t go well.”
A gruesome serial killer comes undone
Pleased with himself, Rifkin stared at Tiffany’s body and admired her beauty and her auburn hair. He thought to himself what a shame it was that she was dead when she had been so attractive. The psychopath then drove to a supply store to buy blue tarp and long cord, and wrapped up Tiffany’s naked body in a deserted parking lot.
By the time Rifkin arrived home, it was 9 AM and his mother wanted her sedan back to run errands. Amazingly, his mother never realized there was a dead body in the trunk. Had she opened it, she would’ve uncovered a shocking surprise. After she returned home in 30 minutes, Rifkin removed the corpse and left it on an orange wheelbarrow in his mother’s garage. He then went inside his home and slept.
Tiffany was his 17th victim, and Rifkin was no longer phased by killing. When asked how he could do something as repulsive as dismember a body, he said that the act of murder in itself was the true point of no return. He killed mechanically, and took pleasure in all the acts that preceded and ensued from it.
During his interview for the A&E documentary on his life, Rifkin jokes about Tiffany’s decaying body being “nice and ripe,” and chuckles at how his mother never noticed it. The man clearly has a sick sense of humor, as there was a bumper sticker on the back of his vehicle which read “Sticks and stones may break my bones but whips and chains excite me.”
Almost four days later, Rifkin realized that the corpse was decaying in the summer heat. For whatever reason, he had lagged in disposing of the remains. At around 3 AM on June 28, he placed the body in in his white 1984 Mazda pickup truck, and drove around looking for a place to discard it.
A pair of cops spotted his pickup on Long Island’s Southern State Parkway, and observed that it had no license plates. Unfortunately for Rifkin, the plates fell off during that fateful ride. Gripped with fear and the knowledge that he would finally be apprehended, Rifkin hit the gas pedal.
A 20 minute-long high-speed chase ensued, in which Rifkin drove up to 90 mph trying to get away from the cops pursuing him. Tiffany’s corpse rattled around in the back of the trunk as he drove, and at one point the vehicle nearly tipped over. In his mind, Rifkin was hoping he could drive into a body of water, and swim away from the whole situation.
After a dangerous pursuit, Rifkin finally crashed the vehicle into a streetlight. As the officer walked up to Rifkin, he observed him sitting in the driver’s seat with his hands up and a calm expression on his face. The horrified officer then smelled the strong odor of a decaying body. He inspected the back of the pickup, and shone a flashlight onto its contents.
There he observed Tiffany Bresciani’s badly decomposed corpse; so rotten that he could not even tell her ethnicity or gender. Since the corpse smelled atrocious, Rifkin had put Noxzema skin cream under his nose to avoid inhaling the stench. He had learned this trick from the film The Silence of the Lambs.
Rifkin’s sick charade had finally come to an end. Yet officers at the scene noticed that he was oddly relaxed. It was as if he had wanted to be caught. He asked an officer to turn up the AC in the police vehicle, thanking him and stating “there won’t be any AC where I’m going.” Police captain Walter Heesch instructed fellow officers as such:
“This guy’s too calm. Here’s this body, it smells so awful, and he’s riding around with it. And he’s not excited; he’s not upset. It’s not like this is his first murder, where there were drugs and sex and he got excited and killed her. There have to be others. Start asking him if there are others.”
After two hours of interrogation, Rifkin cracked and confessed to 17 murders. After several well-publicized trials, he was sentenced to 203 years of life in prison. During his sentencing, the judge said he deserved to be in jail in his next life as well.
And what of Tiffany, who was was loved and missed?
Tiffany’s mother Cheryl became worried once her daughter stopped phoning her. They usually spoke three times a week, and when the calls stopped coming Cheryl said that she “had the most awful feeling.” The last time she saw Tiffany was 9 months ago. She had returned home to Louisiana to visit.
When she discovered her daughter was dead, Cheryl was heartbroken. She testified at Rifkin’s trial on behalf of the pain she felt as a mother. About him, Cheryl says “I don’t hate him, I don’t hate anybody. I just can’t understand that. It’s still a shock to me… I still have that heartache, you know, it never goes away. There’s that empty feeling without her.”
And what of Dave “Insurgent” Rubinstein? What became of him when his beloved fiancé disappeared? Let us go back to the night of June 24, 1993, when Tiffany vanished in a blue sedan, right before his very eyes.
The 20 minutes had passed, and turned into hours- yet Tiffany was still nowhere to be seen. A panicked Dave combed the city, going to familiar haunts hoping to spot his girlfriend. He went to the strip club she danced at, and searched through every local emergency room. Dave even phoned up police to report the vehicle Rifkin that had picked her up in, but it was to no avail.
Finally, he was informed that his girlfriend’s decomposed corpse had been found in the pickup truck of an infamous serial killer. Dave was devastated by the loss. They had shared their addiction and suffering with one another, and she had supported him financially and emotionally. Additionally, he may even have felt some guilt about the whole situation.
They had had a Panic in Needle Park and Sid and Nancy type of intense relationship. As if what had happened wasn’t bad enough, Dave was dealt another blow that would send him over the edge. On June 30, 1993, just two days after Tiffany’s body was discovered, a one in a million freak accident took place at the Rubinstein home.
His father, Ronald, had somehow run over Dave’s mother, Giza, with his vehicle and killed her. The cause of death was internal bleeding. How does that even happen? How does one accidentally run over their own wife in their home garage? It just seems absurd.
Giza Rubinstein had survived the Łódź ghetto of Nazi-occupied Poland, and was in the Auschwitz concentration camp when it was liberated in 1945. All of her family members were killed except for her sister. Dave’s poor mother had survived the worst circumstances, only to be accidentally killed by her own husband years later. The irony and cruelty of life is mystifying.
Unable to cope with the immensity of these two tragedies, Dave decided to kill himself. On July 3, 1993, three days after his mother’s death, Dave committed suicide by overdosing on heroin. His father Ronald buried his own wife and only son in the same week. Ronald himself had survived Stalin’s gulags, yet this truly was the worst time of his life.
The depression and loneliness of losing his girlfriend and mother at the exact same time understandably crushed poor Dave and obliterated his will to live. However, Dave’s ex-bandmate Paul Bakija had more insightful information into the situation:
“The last time we spoke was the night he died. He came over to my house. It all happened fast. I think his mom died a few days after his girlfriend, who was a prostitute. This wasn’t his main girl. His main girl is still alive. The one who ended up dying was some girl he picked up on the street. She was tricking, and she paid for his drugs. He put her in a car, and that was the last time he ever saw her. I think he committed suicide a week later.”
Yikes. According to the way he tells it, it sounds like Dave was literally acting as Tiffany’s pimp, and cheating on her as well. Though technically, Tiffany was unfaithful too. It is shocking though that Dave told his friends that Tiffany wasn’t even his “main girl,” and there was some other more prominent woman in his life.
Did Dave kill himself out of guilt? Did he somehow feel that he was responsible? Tiffany had tried to get clean a few times before her death, and despite failing to do so; it indicates she had the will to make a better life for herself. She was only 22, and her life was cut short so abruptly.
Ultimately, the toxic relationship that Dave Rubinstein and Tiffany Bresciani had going on between them contributed to their destruction. Running into Joel Rifkin was a shocking stroke of bad luck, as their lives had already been filled with so much misfortune.
The saddest part is, Tiffany Bresciani’s life is now defined by Joel Rifkin and Dave Rubinstein- it as if she has lost her own identity between these two. Information on the girl herself is rare and scarce to come by. Rifkin said about his victims, “I killed prostitutes because they had no one. They had no lasting relationships. No family who cared. No one would ever come looking for them.” That is total bullshit, and he must be proven wrong.
Judging from the few photos and testimonies of her, Tiffany seemed like a sweet goth girl who was just lost in an awful addiction that ended up consuming her. She was an interesting, well-read, street smart, fashionable and fun individual, but she had lost herself in the end. Men had taken advantage of her when she was at her lowest and most helpless.
Some people hope that she and Dave are together in the afterlife. I just hope that wherever she is now, Tiffany is finally at peace.
Rohinie Bisesar is not an imposing woman. Standing at only 4’11” at 85 lbs, she appears utterly harmless and shy in her behavior and etiquette. She is pretty, and looks younger than the 40 years of age she was in the mugshot above. She is intelligent and highly educated, with an MBA and a Bachelor’s in Molecular Biology.
And yet; she stabbed a woman to death 2 weeks before Christmas in 2015, at a Toronto pharmacy while in the grip of a schizophrenic episode.
How did this attractive and well-schooled woman decompose psychologically? It is a complex tale of mental illness, child abuse, a strict Asian family, capitalism, careerism, delusion, abandonment, personal failure, and pure madness. This is the story of Rohinie Bisesar.
A Strict Childhood
She was born in 1975 in Guyana, to Hindu Indian parents. Guyana is a beautiful South American tropical nation, but it suffers from extreme poverty and a culture of domestic violence and misogyny. It has the highest suicide rate in the world, and was home to the 1978 Jonestown Massacre; when crazed cult leader Jim Jones induced over 900 of his followers into “revolutionary suicide” via cyanide-laced Kool Aid.
Her parents moved to Canada in 1980, with their two oldest children. They left behind their youngest daughter, five-year old Rohinie, in the care of relatives. By all accounts, she was not their favorite child. After earning enough money to buy a house, her parents finally brought her to Toronto to live with them. They had another son shortly.
Rohinie occupied the lowest hierarchical position in the family: she was the second daughter. Her parents were more proud of their two boys, and they viewed her as the extra daughter they didn’t need.
She was compared to her successful older sister Chandra; an ambitious investment banker and chartered accountant living in New York City.
Her parents ran a small clothing store called Sandra’s and Chico’s, and worked part time gigs as well. They were serial workaholics who expected Rohinie to have the same drive for labour that they did. Any time she was not at school, she was made to work at the family store.
She had no time for a social life or dating. Rohinie’s father was a super strict traditional Hindu, and she grew resentful at how her parents controlled every aspect of her life. Her father forbade her to wear makeup, well into her 20s.
Finally, she rebelled: Rohinie ran away from home as a teenager, but was discovered by a truck driver who took her to a police station.
This was the last straw for her religious nut father. He took her to a Hindu faith healer, and they performed a bizarre and disturbing cleansing ceremony. They forced Rohinie to strip naked, and poured chicken blood onto her. With a father like that, who needs an enemy?
After this, Rohinie became skeptical of her religion; often ridiculing superstitious aspects of Hinduism. Her antipathy towards her abusive father may have driven her off dating Indian men. Later on, when asked out by men of her race, Rohinie would politely inform them that she only dated tall white men.
After graduating high school in 1993, Rohinie attained a Bachelor’s degree in Molecular Biology at the University of T Scarborough, and an Administrative Studies degree in General Management from York. She also had a certification from the Canadian Securities Institute, and a certificate in mining as well. She worked as a technical writer and computer technician at York’s math department, and attained her MBA in 2007. Her future looked promising.
Leaving the Nest
2003 was the year that Rohinie could not stand living with her parents any longer. She was 28 years old, yet still bound by a curfew and her parents had access to her bank account. Her life was one of mere work and study. It was no life at all.
Her traditional religious parents thought it was blasphemy for a woman to leave the home before marriage. But Rohinie defied them by moving out to live with a female roommate, prompting her parents to accuse her of being a lesbian.
She acquired a deadbeat boyfriend five years her junior. When interviewed later on about the murder by Toronto Life, he hides under an alias and basically just throws Rohinie under the bus and covers his own ass throughout the interview.
People who claimed to know Rohinie described the boyfriend as “a sloppy, ripped jeans and stained t-shirt type of guy who did not take care of himself.” This may just be slander, but the story gets even more eyebrow-raising.
They met when he and his male friend were driving down the street and whistling at Rohinie. She was initially annoyed, but Rohinie gave him her MSN messenger ID.
Their first date consisted of going to a restaurant for Thai food, then a dance club. Rohinie did not have many friends and was sheltered, so this must have been exciting for her. She appeared to be naïve about him as well: he was unemployed, living with his mother, and trying to launch a music career. Not exactly a prize catch.
At this point, Rohinie was in her 30s and wanted to make up for the years she lost living at her parents’ house. The boyfriend described her as “this outgoing, strong, assertive woman. She was a Type A personality. She helped to put me on a new path that benefitted me.”
Indeed she did. She became his mommy gf.
Dreaming of Success
Rohinie financially supported the boyfriend while he attended York University to attain a degree in commerce. She rented them an upscale apartment in heart of the city. This was a far shot from living with his mama and making mixtapes in the basement.
She struggled to stay afloat at harsh investment firms where 12 hour work days were the norm. She was overwhelmed and stopped showing up for weeks at a time. She was fired by her firm after 4 months.
For two years, Rohinie was unable to find a new job. She began taking out loans and huge lines of credit to support herself and her boyfriend, and amassed a crushing amount of financial debt.
In 2010, Rohinie finally managed to get a new job as a mining analyst associate. The couple moved into a better and more expensive apartment. The entirety of the couple’s financial responsibilities fell on her, and she tried her best.
Rohinie’s days were long and often lasted from 5 AM to 10 PM. Her work consumed her life, and she did not have money to indulge in luxuries. She had only a few outfits, and took her boyfriend out for dinner at swank restaurants whenever she could afford it.
And yet, she could not conform to the toxic codes of corporate culture. She was a small ethnic woman at a mostly male finance firm, but she still had the nerve to criticize her superiors in front of other people.
Rohinie grew extremely paranoid that her co-workers were going through her computer. She wanted to place a spy camera on her desk to prove this. These appear to be the first exterior indications of her schizophrenia. She was fired 7 months into the job.
Rohinie retook exams to become a chartered analyst despite failing six times, and applied to dozens of jobs to no avail. Nobody would hire her.
She now felt that someone, or something, was conspiring against her through nanotechnological mind control; that her ex-employers were somehow preventing her from getting hired somewhere else.
The stress she felt about being in debt probably contributed to her decline. Why didn’t her boyfriend chip in at this point and help take the pressure off of her shoulders? Why didn’t her parents provide assistance to their struggling daughter?
The boyfriend criticized Rohinie for not applying to lower-status jobs, yet did not help out himself. Despite the fact that she was over $60k in debt, she kept using credit to pay monthly rent. The boyfriend’s six year-long gravy train had come to a halt, and he wanted out.
He began to avoid interactions with her, admitting he “would wake up, shower and leave for work as soon as I could. I just wanted to leave and let Rohinie do her thing.” This was the time in which she needed help the most, but he abandoned her.
He dumped Rohinie, and said that she “became hysterical” and screamed at him. He left the apartment, and told her to move back in with her parents as well. This was her worst nightmare.
Rohinie dreaded going back, and stayed alone in the apartment for 6 months. Later that autumn, the boyfriend gave her the measly sum of $2,500 and helped her move back in with her parents. She was doomed; sent back to the very same horrible environment she feared and resented.
She and her parents butted heads immediately. Ever the strict Hindus, her parents placed a curfew on their daughter even though she was nearly 40 years old. She didn’t even have her own house keys, and if she returned home after 10 PM, she was effectively homeless for the night.
Even when she attended networking events to gain employment, her parents still refused to allow her inside after curfew. Rohinie would sleep at Tim Hortons for the night. Her life was a walking nightmare.
Her parents, on the other hand, claimed that they were afraid of her, begged her ex-boyfriend to help her get therapy, and locked their doors at night out of fear of their daughter.
The ex-boyfriend sometimes saw Rohinie walking down city streets, and said she looked like a bag lady and reminded him of the Russell Crowe character in A Beautiful Mind.
Things all came to a head in March of 2014.
For whatever reason, Rohinie threatened to burn her parents’ house down and pushed her mother so hard that it damaged a door. Her parents called the police, and she was taken away to a mental ward and diagnosed with schizophrenia.
The ex-boyfriend came to visit her, and found that she had been administered a strong dose of antipsychotics. With the medicine in her system, she was able to talk to him like a rational human being and finally admitted to hearing voices in her head for several years. One of the voices was an old white male business executive.
They had a touching moment where they cuddled in the bed of the mental ward. However, Rohinie would not recover because she refused to take her meds.
Not many people realize how strong antipsychotic drugs truly are. Countless schizophrenics struggle to stay on medication that keeps them assimilated into society, yet destroys their mind and body in other ways.
One of the drugs Rohinie was prescribed was Olanzapine. Common side effects are weight gain, sleepiness, a rise in prolactin which weakens the bones, dizziness, high cholesterol, pancreas issues, erectile dysfunction, OCD, suicidal thoughts and hyperglycemia/diabetes. And these are a few of the side effects.
Following her release, Rohinie moved in with her aunt and landed a contract job at a business firm. She tried to go straight, but once she was off the meds it was over.
Her parents attempted to get her institutionalized, but they had no legal precedent to do so. The stage was set for a disaster. Rohinie left her aunt’s house in the autumn of 2015, resigning herself to a life of homelessness and drifting.
Lost on the Streets of Toronto
She was known to wander around the city all day, most often on Bay Street; which is the main part of Toronto’s Financial District and like a shitty Wall Street, and in the PATH System; a rat-like maze of underground tunnels which contains thousands of shops and offices.
An eyewitness who worked at Goodlife Fitness gym described Rohinie as polite, yet disturbed. She spent 5-8 hours a day in the gym bathrooms, showered and groomed there, and even washed her underwear in the sinks. She stared at her reflection in the mirror for hours, sometimes screaming at it. One day, she had a psychotic episode and destroyed a blow dryer.
While being thrown out by security, she apologized profusely and claimed that “it was all because of these voices in her head who ruin everything, they’ve deprived her of her house, fiancé, and a career.”
Toronto is a city with a New York, Paris, and London tier price tag; but it is bleak and frozen and without style or uplifting scenery. It is a depressing, cold, lonely city; where the weak and impoverished often get crushed within the walls of the harsh and unforgiving concrete jungle.
She visited the same Starbucks on Yonge and King each day, and would “come in and always get an ice water or a tall pike coffee and would sit at a laptop turned away from the wall.” When she had no money, she just ordered hot water with cinnamon in it.
Rohinie stayed there from morning until closing time, and had only a few outfits which she wore over and over: a smart black pantsuit and a lavender or white shirt. When Starbucks employees tried to converse with her, Rohinie appeared awkward and was slow to answer.
They described her as “very antisocial. We knew something was off because she would stand at the cash and give us a blank stare.”
She put up small signs at her table offering financial services, walked around trying to give people her business card, and dropped off her resume at offices and firms.
At this point, Rohinie was functionally homeless. She emailed people and begged them for money: “I am asking all my friends to contribute, if they can and wish to, denominations of $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50 or $100. My goal is simply to ensure I have basic necessities (food, water, shelter, clothing, and products for hygiene and beauty).”
The only people who helped were men who had a crush on her, or those who pitied her. Rohinie still had her looks, and she was a pretty and petite size 00 who attracted many admirers. A broker who hit on her in public said she rejected him, but he allowed her to crash on his couch regardless. This man claimed that she was $200k in debt.
80-year old Trueman MacHenry, Rohinie’s former mathematics professor from York University, tried to help her out as well and took her out for meals. He said of her:
“She was very friendly, she was very good with people, she was bright. Everybody who knows about [the stabbing] at work feels very badly, and I almost had a nervous breakdown over it.I tried to keep her from starving to death…
Rohinie bought a gym membership downtown, using it as a place to bathe and sleep until staff asked her to stop. Then she tried sleeping on the subway, a dangerous situation that she disliked very much. She slept in corners of the underground city and couch-surfed. The idea of staying in a shelter never came up: She was kind of a patrician.”
Rohinie would also go to classy hotels and restaurants with her makeup and hair done, and sit there for hours not ordering anything. When asked to; she would tell the servers to first create a better menu, and instead ate sliced apples from a little container and a granola bar.
A server on Wellington Street saw her with a succession of different men each time, noting that “they looked like lonely guys probably trying to pick her up. They were older men who obviously didn’t know her.”
Professor MacHenry said that Rohinie once did obtain a place to live through social assistance money, but it went downhill quickly. She moved in with a man she knew, and things went sour when “he came onto her, and I don’t know if she moved out or what she did. She was angry,”
Before Rohinie snapped, she sent a final disturbing email to all her colleagues and friends:
“I need to speak to the top professionals in artificial intelligence, military and government. I need to get to the bottom of something that has been quite disruptive. Something has been happening to me and this is not my normal self and I would like to know who and why this is happening. There is either a single person or more responsible and who and why would be nice to know…. I am sorry about the incidence…. I felt the need to be extreme to see if it would work. I would normally not do such a thing.”
She truly believed that the government or some kind of powerful entity had inserted a microchip into her body, and was using nanotechnology to control her brain and actions. Rohinie had stopped taking her medication, was under extreme stress from being homeless, and was estranged and alienated from her family and loved ones.
Something terrible was about to happen; something gruesome that would shock all of Toronto.
Murderon Bay Street
If you’re a Canadian, you’ll be familiar with Shoppers Drug Mart; an overpriced pharmacy/drugstore/convenience shop hybrid that is literally everywhere. Nobody expects to get knifed while they’re grabbing groceries, but that’s exactly what happened on Dec 11, 2015 at the 66 Wellington St W location of Shoppers.
Rosemarie Junor was a 28-year old ultrasound technician who was newly married and well liked among family, friends and colleagues for her cheerful and uplifting spirit. Like Rohinie, she was of Indo-Caribbean descent (a Guyanese mother and Trinidadian father).
At 2:35 PM, Rosemarie left work to walk to the Shoppers located in the dungeon-like underground PATH system. As she browsed the aisles for lotion, she spoke with a friend on her cellphone. Suddenly and without warning, Rohinie Bisesar walked up to Rosemarie and stabbed her once in the heart. Rosemarie’s horrified friend heard her scream through the phone line.
The stabbing proved to be fatal, as the knife had pierced through Rosemarie’s heart and vital organs. Rohinie left the kitchen knife she had purchased at a local Dollar Store on a cosmetics display, and calmly walked out.
A bleeding Rosemarie collapsed at the pharmacy in the back of the store and yelled out, “Help me, I’ve just been stabbed!” When an employee asked her if she knew her assailant, Rosemarie told her that she did not. Tragically, Rosemarie died after five comatose days in the hospital. She was in a vegetative state, and her family was forced to take her off life support.
Earlier that year, a hopeful Rosemarie had posted this on her Facebook: “Dear God, Thank you for another day of Life. Thanks for another day of waking up healthy and happy.” Young, in love and successful; her life had been cut short abruptly.
Rohinie remained on the run for four days, during which she was the most wanted woman in the country. She was finally captured and set to a maximum security prison. When Rohinie’s father was quizzed by reporters, he gave a cryptic and strange answer: “People need to know what happened. Because she was highly educated.”
In prison, investigators tried to uncover why Rohinie committed the crime when she didn’t even know Rosemarie personally. Some felt like there was a connection between the two women because they were both Indo-Caribbean, as it is not often that women of South Asian descent randomly kill one another.
Rohinie gave police a surprisingly cold answer. She told them that she chose to stab Rosemarie because they were both of the same height. However, she claimed that she was being controlled by the voices in her head, and that they instructed her to kill.
She gave a disturbing firsthand account of the murder during her psychiatric assessment:
“The day started as usual…I showered and dressed…was reading business newspapers to keep up my knowledge…I don’t recall how I got downtown…I heard the voice downtown in late morning… It said what is the worst thing you can do…I was really agitated and upset…phased out, not thinking, like those river stones again…stepping one at a time.
I’m usually in the Starbucks at Adelaide St., East and Yonge Street…It’s easy to sit and do work, I had my laptop…I pretend to read but I’m zoned out…distracted by the voice and the movements and communication.
The voice said to get a knife…went to the Dollar store to buy the knife…I’m familiar with the place and it’s close to the subway.
I went back through King or St. Andrew subway entrance…went to the bathroom in First Canadianplace…didn’t want to hurt someone…A lady asked if I was okay…I’m in the concourse, moving fromone bench to another…
Then the voice, communication and movements made me sit up, turn, walk straight into the Shopper’s fast…I was not an agreeable participant…went right up to the person (victim) with no hesitation, barely took it (knife) out of the bag…My arm was in L-shaped.
The voice said, if you mean it do it…The voice and movements raised my hand, pushed forward…It was like the knife was sticking to my hand and couldn’t be dropped…I was spending all my energy fighting the voice and communications…fighting the invisible entity…As soon as it happened I wanted to get away…traveled back home…The voice said I should have kept the knife.”
Following her apprehension, Rohinie was charged with first degree murder. The media was shocked at how such a small and harmless looking woman could lash out so violently. Her former colleagues were surprised as well, with a friend named Andrius Pone describing Rohinie as a “professional career woman and a sophisticated individual. Rohinie is a very gentle person, she speaks in a whisper. I don’t know what has happened with her but it’s just so incredibly out of character.”
Karl Gutowski, a friend of Rohinie’s for eight years, had this to say about her:
“She seemed very sweet but odd. She’s been able to sustain herself from a large network of friends, but I speculate the list got shorter and shorter. She got that one job, but she didn’t get to keep it for too long. She couldn’t adjust to pretty normal office politics.”
In court, Rohinie was disheveled and confused. With no access to makeup and hair grooming products; her acne scars and dark undereye circles were visible, and her hair was wild and uncombed. Her lawyer Calvin Barry said she was “very upset and like a deer in headlights.”
During a 2016 appearance, she ranted and raved in court about being involved in some obscure terrorist plot that went all the way up to the prime minister and the military, and was then hospitalized and medicated before the trial was resumed.
She had also claimed that she was being “damaged” somehow by those in charge, requested a “body scan” and had strange bruises on her face which she attributed to a microchip being implanted inside her.
Rohinie told the court that the voices in her head were “a real time, progressive dialogue and conversation. Whoever it is will tell me something, I’ll tell them to go away. I have somebody [else] communicating with me. I have to listen to both of you at the same time”
In 2017, Rohinie was declared unfit to stand trial due to her severe schizophrenic symptoms. She even denied that Rosemarie was really dead. The judge sent her off to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto for psychiatric treatment.
In November of 2018, the court found Rohinie not criminally responsible for the murder of Rosemarie Junor, because she was in the throes of a psychotic episode during the homicide.
In early 2019, The Ontario Review Board decided to keep Rohinie in the CAMH mental hospital because she was still in denial about her own involvement in the murder. The board continued trying to rehabilitate her; keeping her on “a strict regime of medication, cognitive behavioural therapy and psychotherapy.”
In May of 2020, the board granted Rohinie more freedom and access to the community, due to the fact that she is now supposedly of sound mind. It is now up to her case officer to decide whether or not she can leave the facility unsupervised, and even live outside of it.
The only conditions are that she must report to her review officer on a weekly basis, as well as refrain from purchasing firearms and weapons.
Rohinie appears to have changed her tune about the killing, almost seeming to express remorse and awareness of her actions:
“I did not plan to go murder someone…It was just like time stopped with all the chaos in my mind…I feel sorry for the person (victim) caught in my illness.”
Rosemarie Junor’s family members and the broader public were not happy about the court’s recent decision. Less than five years after the unprovoked killing, Rohinie is being given lenient privileges that could perhaps go terribly wrong in regards to public safety.
Even weirder is the fact that Rohinie is still trying to apply to jobs, to this very day, deluded to the fact literally nobody will ever hire her again.
During her appearances, the courtrooms were usually packed; as Torontonians were fascinated with the macabre case and its odd defendant. The presence of so many spectators led clueless judge John Ritchie to remark, “What does Rohinie do? Is he a sports figure or something?”
A spectator tried to give Rohinie’s lawyer David Burke his contact info on a small folded note of paper as he left the courtroom; stating that he wanted to go on a date with Rohinie. Burke refused to be an intermediary.
Rohinie’s story is shocking and saddening, yet it is not surprising. Had she received proper medical treatment earlier, Rosemarie Junor would have still been alive.
Instead, the combination of parental abuse, abandonment from a man who she loved and devoted herself to for six years, schizophrenia, homelessness, debt, work-related pressures and unemployment all came together to create a volatile outburst of unpredictable violence. Being a South Asian woman in Canada is tough, and this may have contributed to her stress and frustration as well.
At the time of the stabbing, Rohinie was 40 years old and most likely in the grip of a midlife crisis, without a home or anyone to care for her, and Christmas was fast approaching. She snapped and did something awful that the world will never be able to forgive her of, due to things beyond her control.
The question remains- will they really release her from the institution? Should they? While she should not rot her life away in a traditional prison, the memory of her crime still seems too fresh and new. She needs help and long term care.
What will become of Rohinie Bisesar? Only time and her own sense of guilt and repentance will answer that.
Halloween: a time of celebration and candy; of horror and ghouls and costumes and elaborate parties. There are phantoms and ghosts, but the scariness is all in good jest and one goes home at the end of the night with a sense of merriment.
But on October. 31, 1958 in Coconino County, Arizona, a young girl lay dead 10 miles southeast of the Grand Canyon. Something horrible had happened to her. And even now, over 60 years later, we still have no idea of who she was and how she met her demise.
Authorities gave her the fittingly haunting nickname of Little Miss X. Her body was found on a remote hillside dirt road off Skinner Ridge in totally skeletal condition, and therefore no cause of death could accurately be determined. They estimated that she had lain there undiscovered for at least 9 to 18 months.
With such a long postmortem interval, it would prove impossible to find any evidence or suspects in her case.
Little Miss X was anywhere from 5′ to 5’3″, approximately 105 lbs, and was white with Hispanic ancestry. She had reddish/dark brown hair that was dyed a lighter shade. Her hair was wavy, but possibly because she had gotten it permed. She was thought to have a brown skin tone.
She was determined to be anywhere from 11 to 17 years old. This is odd because anyone with even a basic knowledge of forensics knows that female skeletons show obvious signs of puberty in their pelvis and bone structure.
So how were police investigators so unspecific and clueless in their estimation of her age? An 11-year old’s skeleton is very different in appearance from a 17-year old’s, and the forensic pathologist performing the examination should have been easily able to differentiate. Something smells botched here…
Her teeth were well-cared for and in good condition, proving she was from some sort of middle class background. She had had seven fillings in four of her teeth during her lifetime.
Disturbingly, Little Miss X was found naked. But she did have a bunch of clothing and items lying next to her.
There was a powder puff, a tiny jar of Pond’s cold cream, an 18″ 10-karat gold chain, a white nylon comb, and a blue plastic nail file with the letter P imprinted onto it, and R written by hand.
There was also a short sleeved white wool cardigan, a size 34C white cotton Maidenform Alloette bra, size small white rayon underwear, and GRAFF California Wear pedal pusher capris with a green, brown and red plaid pattern.
Weirdly, the clothes at the scene were too big for her. Investigators were unable to tell if the clothes even belonged to the girl. They probably didn’t.
Could the killer have left these items at the scene to throw off police and cause confusion? Could these items be from a different crime scene, from a different dead girl?
Or were these just random personal effects the killer had somehow accumulated? Some even wonder if the killer was a woman.
If Little Miss X really was an 11-year old, why would she have this type of clothing and these items anyways? This suggests something alarming, like the presence of child exploitation and a possible sex trafficking ring.
This was a case that was cold from the very beginning. Little Miss X’s identity eluded authorities, so they gave up and buried her. Four years later in 1962, she was exhumed and her body was re-examined.
Unfortunately, when the clueless authorities re-buried her; Little Miss X’s remains stayed lost for years because they had forgotten where exactly they had interred her. According to the Doe Network, her remains were finally re-discovered in the summer of 2018.
Little Miss X’s NamUs page once had an image of her skull, but it was taken down. This is important because this picture would have helped artists and amateur e-sleuths to create newer and more accurate reconstructions of her.
It is also possible that Little Miss X had shovel-shaped incisors, a common trait in those with indigenous DNA; which could be why police suspect she was of Hispanic descent. It would have been useful to concretely know this as well, as web sleuths could compare Little Miss X to missing people who also had this trait.
There is a clue as well in the pants found at the scene. As previously stated, they were Graff California Wear brand capris.
Graff was founded in 1933, and became popular in the 1940s and 1950s among Californian women for their comfy and tacky two piece suits and slacks. It was modern clothing for modern women, who were constantly on the go and wanted to resemble Joan Crawford in Mildred Pierce.
These were not pants that an 11-17 year old would wear, and they didn’t seem to fit Little Miss X anyways. Were authorities ever able to trace back who purchased these capris? It doesn’t seem so. Was the killer then from California? God only knows.
A case this mysterious causes all kinds of speculation, and in the past false theorizing led investigators down several dead ends.
It was suspected at one point that Little Miss X was Donnis “Pinky” Redman, a California girl who vanished without a trace on March. 1, 1958. 14-year old Pinky and her 18-year old boyfriend Mike Griffin (creepy age difference imo) eloped to Las Vegas, Nevada, but their journey was cut short before they could marry.
The couple disappeared along the way, and Mike’s abandoned 1950 Dodge Clipper turned up in Williams, Arizona. Their bodies were never found.
Williams is an approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes drive to Skinner Ridge, where Little Miss X was found. Naturally, people would connect these two cases together; as the body and car were found just 59 miles apart.
However, Little Miss X had lain there dead for at least 9 months minimum, whereas Pinky vanished just that March of 1958. The time frame is off.
Other clues that led people to suspect Little Miss X was Pinky Redman was the fact that the latter also had a petite frame, at 5’2″ tall and 105 lbs. The age bracket also fit, and Little Miss X was found with the nail file initialed “PR.” Did it belong to Pinky?
Pinky was last seen wearing a yellow sweater and brown capris, similar to the clothing found near Little Miss X.
What didn’t fit was the fact that Pinky was blonde, blue-eyed, and white; whereas Little Miss X was dark haired with swarthier skin and was most likely a Latina. Investigators eventually ruled out Pinky Redman as a possible match.
It is possible, however, that the person who killed Pinky and Mike + Little Miss X was one and the same. Was there a serial killer operating in the Arizona desert in 1958?
In Pinky and Mike’s case, anything could’ve happened along the dusty stretch of highways that connected California to Vegas. They could’ve picked up some unruly hitchhiker, who preyed upon the young, naïve couple and stole their car.
Mike was a small ginger boy who only stood 5’3″ tall and weighed 120 lbs. Any form of criminal could have taken advantage of the poor pair. Hopefully one day their bodies are recovered from the vast and giant Arizona desert, or wherever they may lie.
Another dead end that occurred in the Little Miss X investigation was was when she was suspected of being Connie Smith.
Constance Christine “Connie” Smith was a 10-year old girl from Wyoming, whose grandfather was a former Republican governor named Nels Hansen Smith. She ran away from Camp Sloane in Salisbury, Connecticut in the summer of 1952, after being bullied by fellow campers.
On July. 16, after being punched in the face by girls the day before, Connie nursed a bloodied nose with an ice pack. She left the camp and wandered down Indian Mountain Road. People witnessed Connie walking down the road with tears in her eyes, picking daisies and trying to hitchhike back home.
After this, she was never seen again. Despite attempts by her wealthy family to track her down, Connie had vanished into thin air somewhere down that highway.
Police once suspected that Little Miss X was Connie, and tested the former’s teeth against Connie’s dental charts. The results proved to inconclusive, and Connie was ruled out.
And anyways, Connie was a bit too young to be Little Miss X, and physically she was much smaller; standing at 5′ tall and weighing 85 lbs.
The only explanation would then be that Connie was held captive for at least 4- 5 years, and then murdered and dumped in Arizona. But that seems to be a stretch. Also, Connie had no Hispanic or Native American DNA. It is very unlikely that she is Little Miss X.
It is disheartening that Connie Smith’s killer was never found. Neither was Pinky Redman’s, or the person who murdered Little Miss X.
The 1950s were a troubling era for crime; where the lack of technology rendered the identification of murderers, and even victims, as a difficult and sometimes impossible task. In Little Miss X’s case, there is so much mystery and so few answers. Though her killer is perhaps dead and gone, it could still be possible to discern her identity.
If police have not yet located Little Miss X’s body, they should do so immediately. It is tragic that faulty police work caused them to lose the unknown girl’s remains and therefore botch her case.
Little Miss X lay out there in that lonely desert for perhaps a year, decomposing until she became a skeleton. She was once forgotten, but then found again on Halloween of 1958. It is time we find out who Little Miss X was, and give her back her name and dignity.
What do you think of when you imagine Alaska? You conjure up a grand, snowy vision of unconquered terrain: vast, far and endless. It is as if the icy territory lasts forever in continuous isolation and secrecy.
Since the inception of Alaska, Americans who could be categorized as misfits and unconventional loners have taken advantage of the privacy and desolation of this state, and its sparsely populated lands.
In many areas of Alaska, you are completely alone: surrounded by wild, untouched nature. You are undisturbed by the burdens of being social and fitting in.
You are free and in your natural state…. if you can survive in such an intimidating environment, that is.
Robert Hansen was a serial killer who used the remoteness of Alaskan terrain to torture, rape and murder young women. Many of them were sex workers, as well as young girls struggling to survive the harshness of their environment.
Eklutna Annie is perhaps his most famous victim. She is a total mystery; unidentified for over 40 years without even a glimmer of clue to who she may have been.
Annie is one of Hansen’s earliest victims, and was killed anywhere from November 1979 to June 1980.
Electricians found her badly decomposed body in a shallow grave, buried alongside a set of power lines that stretched down South Eklutna Lake Road, approximately a year after her death. Her body had been eaten away at by wild animals (particularly bears), and was left unrecognizable and in mostly skeletal condition.
Investigators tried their best to create a profile of Eklutna Annie from the remnants of her body. She was a short girl with a small frame, between 4 ft 11″ and 5 ft 3″ tall. She was thought to be anywhere from 16 to 25 years old, and had auburn/strawberry blonde hair.
She was thought to be white, but with a degree of Native American DNA. She wore a light colored sleeveless knit sweater, a brown leather jacket, jeans, and red knee-high heeled boots with a nylon zipper on the side.
Judging from her apparel, Anchorage PD officer Maxine Farrell assumed that Eklutna Annie was either a topless dancer or a prostitute. Hansen himself claimed this, but he seemed to say this about all of his victims.
Farrell was mocked by other officers for her theories:
“Shortly after that I got a report of another one missing, she was a street prostitute and I thought this is a prostitute missing, so that would match up with Eklutna Annie. After that, almost every month I had two or three women missing. That’s when I started asking questions.
I got the missing persons reports and I began to get information about relatives and information about jewelry they wore. I was a psychology major, so I knew a lot of these serial killers kept souvenirs. I finally made a spreadsheet of it …
By the time I got finished, I had about 10 girls. I went to my superiors, advised them that there was a serial killer because of the number of girls I was collecting as missing persons and they laughed at me and said no, you’re wrong. They thought I was stupid. Stupid woman thinking there’s a serial killer. I wasn’t stupid.”
Just as Farrell had claimed, officers would eventually discover that Hansen actually did keep souvenirs of his victims.
Officers also pondered whether she was a runaway from California, Washington, or Canada- a hitchhiker who was not originally from Alaska. Hansen, however, said she was from Kodiak, and spoke to him about living there with her family.
No ID was found on the victim, and neither did she match any missing persons reports. Who was this mysterious woman? The secret died with Robert Hansen. But then again, even he claimed to be unaware of her identity.
According to his story, he had picked up Eklutna Annie from a bar and given her a lift. He told her that he lived in Muldoon, and that he would give her a ride home. As Hansen sped past Muldoon Road, she grew suspicious and afraid, and asked him to let her out of the vehicle.
Hansen relayed the story to cops while in custody:
”I just pointed the gun and I tell her, I says, ‘Now look, if you do exactly what I tell you and don’t give me any problem whatsoever, there’s going to be no — you won’t get hurt any way, shape or form.”
But that wasn’t how it went down.
During this ride of terror, Hansen’s car got stuck on a muddy road, and he told her to get out of the car to help him. She took this as her chance to escape.
As she tried to run away, Hansen pursued and overpowered her; grabbing her by her long hair. He claimed this was when she pulled out a knife from her purse, and attempted to stab him in self defense. To the very end, she fought for her life.
Hansen managed to tear the knife away from her, and stabbed the unknown woman in the back until she was lifeless. During the struggle, as the terrified woman realized she was going to die, she screamed out “You’re going to kill me!” in hysterical fear.
For all her bravery, she could not survive the scourge of her deranged killer. When reflecting back on Eklutna Annie’s murder, Robert Hansen said it gave him a sense of sadistic pleasure.
There was nothing he hated more than a woman who fought back against him, and nothing gave him more satisfaction than subduing and killing a wily prey.
During his 1984 interrogation by police, Hansen claimed Annie was his very first victim. However, this seems unlikely as he is suspected of killing even more women before her.
Who was this sick man?
Robert Hansen was born in 1939, and grew up a shy, skinny, nerdy kid in Iowa; suffering from a stutter and chronic acne. Like his Danish immigrant father, he grew up to be a baker. Later on the media would grant him the moniker “The Butcher Baker.” He killed anywhere from 17 to 21 women until his capture, maybe even more.
His humiliating high school years, filled with rejection and inceldom, would cause him to hate women with a passion as he grew into an adult. These misogynistic tendencies would eventually become violent.
At the age of 20, he lost his virginity to a prostitute while in the army.
At the age of 21, Hansen attempted to burn a school bus to gain vengeance for being a loser in high school. A series of petty crimes followed, which then escalated to murder in the 1970s.
Although Hansen had a track record of kidnapping, raping and abusing women, police did not suspect him of murder for many years; which allowed him to easily kill dozens of women for a decade.
Hansen was a sadist and psychopath who took refuge in Alaska to torture and murder women in a more private setting. He drove women out to remote areas, forced them to strip naked, and shot them as they ran through the snowy wilderness.
It thrilled him to hunt live victims, and he often tortured them for days before the final coup de grace. He even had a private plane which he used to fly out victims to distant cabins where they could never be found.
Hansen was finally captured and imprisoned in 1983, after one of his victims escaped alive and spilled the beans on his disgusting antics. Although he was finally caught and locked up like the animal he was, Eklutna Annie remained unidentified.
Usually, Hansen kept his victim’s possessions as souvenirs- especially their jewelry. Not in Eklutna Annie’s case: it was one of the rare crimes in which he left the jewelry alone, most likely because she was one of his earliest murders and he was then an inexperienced killer.
She had on her a plethora of beautiful and unique handmade jewelry: a copper bracelet with three turquoise stones, a heart shaped pendant, gold hoop earrings, a white shell ring, and a gold plated Timex wristwatch. She also had a pack of Salem brand matches in her pocket.
Some believe that Eklutna Annie’s jewelry was of Native origin, but authorities were never able to trace any of it back to its source. It is also worth noting that most Native jewelry is made from silver, and not gold as she was wearing.
From her jewelry, you get the impression she was an interesting woman with exquisite taste in jewelry. That morning, she had dressed herself with care and attention, never knowing it would be her last day on earth.
So if Eklutna Annie was well dressed, wearing distinctive jewelry, and a possible topless dancer/sex worker in Alaska- why didn’t anyone ever come forward to identify her? Officer Maxine Farrell had some theories:
“The fact that a prime source of information in these cases was women who worked the streets was the first obstacle. These women have very little trust in the police, which is understandable given the fact that most of the time we’re adversaries. As a result, most were reluctant to talk.
The second obstacle was the constant movement of these women. In a year’s time, one of these women might work in a club, then out on the street, then in a massage parlor. She might also work the circuit and move city to city… those circuits tracked from Seattle to Anchorage to Honolulu. And after all that upheaval, this same woman might get sick of the routine and quit without giving notice…
A third obstacle was the fact that many of these women used stage names. Investigators would talk to a woman on the street or in a club, who’d tell them she had worked with a woman named ‘Tania’ a few months before — and hadn’t seen her in a while. In checking out the lead, investigators would go to some of the other clubs in the Anchorage area. At ten different clubs, they’d find 15 different ‘Tania’s.’ So which Tania was that, anyway?”
This is exactly what Hansen, and other serial killers of his ilk count on. They victimize sex workers and transient women, as it is often more difficult for authorities to identify and search for them.
Hansen believed his victims were not worthy of life because they dwelled in prostitution and vice. He used excuses to justify his cruel murders. Even during his confession in which he admitted to killing Eklutna Annie, he tried to blame her by claiming she had pulled a knife on him, therefore she deserved to die.
In his twisted mind, the women he killed were nothing but his pawns. But this is untrue. This woman he killed belonged somewhere, had a family, dreams, hopes and goals. And there are many of us out there who want to find out who she was in her lifetime.
Although investigators possess Eklutna Annie’s DNA, and have tested it against other suspected murder victims, none have ever matched up so far. The case has gone cold, to the point where we can only pray that something substantial eventually turns up.
Although she was killed near the small village of Eklutna, which has only about 70 inhabitants; she was buried in Anchorage Memorial Park Cemetery, about a half an hour’s drive away. Her grave is simply marked “Jane Doe/Died 1980.”
Occasionally, visitors leave flowers on her gravestone. Sometimes, Alaskans even hold reenactments where actresses assume the role of Eklutna Annie and describe the limited details we have about her. But most importantly- she is still remembered and thought about, despite remaining nameless for over 40 years.
Sarah Gonzales-McLinn is a girl who killed her 52-year old ex-boss and sugar daddy Harold Sasko, back in January of 2014, at the age of 19. She is now currently serving a 50-year minimum sentence for first-degree murder.
Following the homicide, Sarah was immediately slandered as a “gold-digger” and “psychopath” by the media and police; while Sasko was turned into a martyred saint. After killing her former manager, Sarah wrote “FREEDOM” on the wall in his blood. What did this signify?
Not many understand the truth of what really happened, and it is time that it be told.
Sarah was born on Jul. 9, 1994, and grew up in Topeka, Kansas. She was naive and sheltered due to being home-schooled for years. Following her parents’ divorce, she was molested by a neighbor.
This traumatized her, and she began sneaking out of her home at odd hours to drink her sorrows away.
Despite all this, Sarah had a kind streak. She always looked out for her disabled younger brother, and once rescued an abused horse.
But fate was not kind to the struggling teen.
At 15, she was brutally assaulted by an older male friend: he pushed her into a coffee table, breaking it in the process; and proceeded to burn her with cigarettes and rape her.
She suffered from PTSD flashbacks and nightmares, and was hospitalized at a mental institution after attempting suicide when she was 16.
Sarah’s parents’ divorce had caused her to feel unwanted and out of place. She no longer felt welcome or comfortable living with family, and desperately searched for a way out.
Escape would present itself in a terrible form. When she was 14, she got a job at CiCi’s Pizza parlor.
Her manager was a well-off yet sleazy individual named Harold Sasko. He was in his 50s, owned two locations of the restaurant chain, and had a creepy reputation.
Terry David managed one of Harold’s restaurants, and claimed that his boss told him “to only hire young, attractive girls.” When Terry warned female employees to watch out for Harold, he was incensed.
Harold presented himself as a devout Christian, but Terry said he was a “wolf in sheep’s clothing… he had ulterior motives, and I know that for a fact.”
Later on, when Terry heard of his boss’ death, he stated that “the first thing I said to my wife was, ‘I wonder which one of those girls’ dads went over there and killed him.”
And it gets even worse.
Ann Tau’s young children worked at CiCi Pizza, under the employment of Harold. During their shifts, she waited for her kids in the parking lot; since they could only work a limited amount of hours due to their age.
In this time, Ann became a sort of confidante for the midlife crisis-having pizza boss. Harold would get into her car and openly rant about his problems.
Ann recounted the disturbing time she spent in Harold’s company:
“He wanted to die… He was Catholic, so he didn’t believe in suicide, but he asked me if I would kill him.
He told me how to kill him, and I’m convinced he told Sarah the same thing. He was a very sick person. I’m an adult woman with five children, high functioning, and he weighed me down.”
This occurred a year before Harold’s death.
Before Sarah’s trial, Ann went to the district attorney and told him everything, but he declined to allow Ann to testify.
She said that “the jury should have heard how he was messed up, and that this was the environment Sarah was part of.”
Alas, it was not so. The saintly picture of Harold that was presented in court went against Ann’s own experiences with the man. The game was rigged.
Anyways, let us return to Sarah. Due to her unstable home situation, Harold asked her to move in with him. She was 16, and he was 50.
And so ring the alarm bells…
At this point, Sarah was not even working at CiCi’s Pizza anymore. Her ex-manager had somehow reconnected with his vulnerable former employee, and found the perfect opportunity to exploit her.
Harold tried to gain her confidence by picking her up from school and taking her to Taco Bell, and asking questions about her life. Once she turned 17 and graduated high school, Sarah finally took the plunge and moved in with Harold.
Sarah explained to her suspicious family how “he said he would show me a better life and pay for me to go to college.”
They didn’t buy it.
Sarah’s mother Michelle Gonzales said that the living arrangement upset her, and caused her and her daughter to have fights when Michelle advised against it.
According to Michelle, Sarah was delusional about Harold’s real intentions:
“She’d say, ‘He’s a Christian man!’ He preyed on that whole Christian thing with her, and wanted to rescue her from her broken home.”
To Sarah, Harold was just a harmless father figure. He initially requested that Sarah refer to him as “dad,” and told inquisitive friends that the girl living with him was his stepdaughter.
Things got weird real fast.
As she neared 18, Harold became more brash and sexual. He gave her weed and alcohol, and discussed the idea of them dating. Sarah tried to refuse, but the implication became clear: no sex, no home.
God had officially left the premises.
In addition, she claimed that Harold also gave her cocaine and ecstasy, and got her extremely drunk to make her more susceptible to his perverted advances.
He wanted her to feel indebted to him. Harold began leaving out a copy of a printed running tab, which listed all the things he had bought for her since she moved in.
He told Sarah she could only leave once she paid him back for everything, and warned against legal retaliation if she did not. She was working at Bed, Bath & Beyond, but only made minimum wage.
Despite this, she was giving Harold most of her pittance of a salary. It was still not enough, and he demanded she pay him back rent. This was ironic coming from the man who once offered her a better life.
Finally, Sarah got drunk, steeled her nerves, and gave in to the older man’s sexual advances. Why? Her mother has a theory: “She told me she thought she couldn’t come home, because he told her no one would want her there.”
Feeling displaced and hopeless, she began having sex with the man who once called himself her second dad. She most likely felt too guilty to return home after these disturbing experiences.
Dr. Marilyn Hutchinson, psychologist for the defense, said that after interviewing Sarah for 17 hours during her trial; she found that “her sense of captivity was pretty intense.”
Sarah said she could only stomach sex with Harold while she was completely inebriated or drugged, and most often she was barely conscious while he had his way with her.
She “would just lay there and check out’’ and was “disgusted” with the encounters and said no repeatedly, but he just held her arms down and ignored her.
The prosecution later argued that all this was consensual. But try and see it from her perspective: if you were a broke and homeless teenager who had to have sex with a man in his 50s in order to survive, would that really be a voluntary situation?
Rumors began to spread in Kansas that Harold and Sarah’s relationship had a sexual bent to it. An anonymous businessman from Lawrence had some inside dirt on the situation:
“He took the girl in and was supposed to be getting her back on track, but… a [CiCi’s] manager told me that they were having a big time affair… that it was pretty torrid… and (Sasko) had kicked her out five or six times and she had worked at CiCi’s and she’d been fired there a number of times.”
Harold arrived late for work, often with hickeys on his neck.
Co-workers at Bed, Bath & Beyond described Sarah as shy, quiet, and fashion-model good looking at a slim 5’8, 120 lbs stature. When they tried to pry into her relationship with Harold, she was quick to assert that he was her stepfather. But everyone suspected something sleazier.
Their living arrangement was basically an open secret, yet nobody intervened to help Sarah.
She later testified that:
“I would leave the house sometimes when he was gone. I would have to sneek (sic) around because he would get mad … I think more than anything he made me feel he owned me. I was a toy to him like his personal barbie doll. That’s what he tried to make me.”
This manifested itself in Harold pressuring Sarah to get butt implants, because he wanted her to be a “curvier Barbie.” Cringe.
Due to pain resulting from the procedure, Sarah took hydrocodone all summer long. The drug is a powerful painkiller derived from codeine, and said to be nearly as addictive as morphine.
He also paid for her to undergo a nose job, and wanted her to get a boob job in the future, telling her that “no man would find her attractive because her breasts were not big enough and her butt was not big enough.”
Okay there, Harold.
The surgeries totaled $16,000, and Harold demanded that she pay him back- or he would sue her if she tried to leave him. She was in his debt, and he warned her that if he took legal action, “she would never be able to own a house or anything.”
She testified that:
“He was very nice at first and called me his daughter. After the relationship turned sexual he was very mean, he would always belittle me.
He owned me at that point, and the surgery just solidified it for him. I was so embarrassed and I hated myself because it had gotten that far. My sister and I used to make fun of girls who did that, and that was something we’d never do.”
Sarah was unraveling mentally. Her previous psychological issues had been exacerbated by living with a weird old guy in his 50s who kept trying to have sex with her.
She was too humiliated to return back to work and face her coworkers’ questions, so she spent her days lying on the sofa drunk and high, wondering how she would escape her financial quandary.
Cyle Ossiander, a CiCi’s Pizza’s manager, went to visit Harold at home and witnessed an incident that disturbed him.
He found that Sarah had killed, skinned, cleaned, and cooked a rabbit for dinner. But it wasn’t just any bunny, it was a domestic one she had bought from Pet World.
Cyle said “It was a household rabbit, not game. I don’t know of many people that would kill a rabbit and eat it.”
Actually people do eat rabbit, Cyle. But usually not pet ones. And this one wasn’t the first: Sarah butchered and ate several of them, and later used the exact same knife and method of execution on Harold.
She was on antidepressants for six months up until Harold’s death, switching from Zoloft to Pristiq a few days before shit hit the fan. She later told detectives that:
“I had violent thoughts for two years and they progressed, I guess. They just became really intense. I’ve not been in a good place. It’s like really hard to explain. Little things make me turn and see red almost.”
She had finally had enough of her perverse living situation.
By all accounts, Sarah was emotionally and psychologically exhausted, plagued by financial and mental issues. She said the period leading up to the killing was hazy and “felt like dreams.”
Five days before, Sarah cemented her plan to murder Harold. Police would go on to find that she had googled “neck vulnerable spots.”
On January 14, 2014, Sarah slit Harold’s throat. She drugged him first so he would not feel pain, but also so he would not be able to fight back.
That fateful day, Harold returned home and started working on a speaker system. He asked Sarah to bring him a beer, and she did.
She brought him three beers- but she laced the fourth one with crushed Ambien she had hidden on top of the microwave, so he would be drunk first and less likely to taste the pills.
After 5 Ambiens masked in a few more beers, Harold passed out cold on the floor. Next, she bound his wrists tightly with zip ties.
He mumbled a few words in his barely conscious state. Feeling guilty, Sarah had second thoughts about the murder. But she had already come too far…
She retrieved her hunting knife (the one she’d used on the bunnies), and touched Harold’s neck to feel for his pulse. Sarah stabbed into his carotid artery, then sliced into his neck horizontally, sawing in a side-to-side motion into his spine.
This nearly decapitated him. Sarah said it was difficult to penetrate his neck with the blade, so she held his head in place with her left hand the whole time.
She initially told detectives that as she killed Harold, she “just didn’t feel anything.” However, she then claimed that as she saw Harold die, “everything was screaming at me.”
Detective M.T. Brown, who interviewed Sarah after the murder, testified that “she said she wanted to see someone die… she wanted to see what it felt like to kill someone.”
She went to the sink to clean off the knife, then wrote the word “FREEDOM” on the wall in Harold’s blood. Sarah then showered and washed off the blood, listening to music while doing so. She called into work, saying she would not be in for a few days due to a relative’s death.
Sarah straightened her hair, packed up her bags (including a photo of her sister Ashley), grabbed her chocolate Labrador dog Oliver, and took off in Harold’s 2008 Nissan Altima. She vanished, leaving a trail of confused cops in her wake.
She left her cellphone and tablet behind, so authorities could not track her.
Police broke into Harold’s home on Jan. 17, three days after the murder, when he did not show up for work and was reported missing. A cop peered through a window after knocking on a door and receiving no answer, and saw Harold lying in a pool of his own blood.
What caused her to snap?
Two days before she killed Harold, Sarah sent the following telling text to her sister:
“I’m starting to realize I don’t want the dream everyone wants for me. I don’t want the American dream. I want real freedom, and I know how to get it and I have to give up a lot. I feel like a caged animal.”
While the media portrayed her as a bloodthirsty monster, the truth was much more complex.
This young and vulnerable Latina, made putty in the hands of an older, more powerful, and financially controlling man; longed for freedom that went beyond subservience to a former manager. She needed to escape the sexual constraints he had placed on her, to be more than just his “Barbie” and pawn.
It was perhaps misguided, and a deranged act of violence; but Sarah had killed out of pure desperation. She killed the authority figure who had sexually abused and confined her to a life of financial and mental slavery.
Sarah was on the lam, and managed to evade capture for 11 days. Police initially put Sarah down as a missing person, but soon realized that she was guilty of Harold’s murder.
Her post-homicide adventure reads like a bizarre crime novel. Knowing her capture was inevitable, Sarah fled boring Kansas for Texas.
Sarah often woke up in shaking cold after sleeping in the car all night, and wanted to go somewhere warm. She then drove on to Florida; because she thought the ocean view would be much nicer there, and she also wanted a certain tattoo from a specific artist. Gotta love her priorities.
En route, she slept in the car, at occasional rest stops, and once even shacked up with a kind pastor and his wife. They fed her dinner and housed her for the night. Other than that, she mainly ate fast food and takeout, paying for everything in cash.
She was tattooed by Florida artist James Baker, and he provided some interesting testimony into Sarah’s mind and personality. He said that the two had a mutual interest in serial killers, which they discussed as he worked on her tattoo.
Sarah was a fan of the 1992 murder mystery novel “I” Is For Innocent, by Sue Grafton. She paid James $200 for a rib cage tattoo that took two hours to complete. It was of her favorite quote from the book:
“Beware the dark pool at the bottom of our hearts. In its icy, black depths dwell strange and twisted creatures it is best not to disturb.”
She also had roses tattooed onto her shoulder.
Sarah was finally captured at the Everglades National Park on Jan. 25 at 10:30 PM, after an officer found her sleeping in the stolen car. They rudely woke her up, and found she was lying right next to a loaded gun.
Inside the vehicle, police discovered $2,399 in cash, two knives (one of them was the blood-stained murder weapon, hidden in the map pocket of the driver’s door), two guns, an ax and hashish.
This spelled the end for her short and violent burst of freedom.
The trial was an utter disaster for Sarah, and so was her initial interrogation. Sarah admitted to the police that she had “wanted to see someone die,” and the media and prosecution ran wild with this quote.
Suddenly, all the evidence proving that Harold had kept her as a virtual sex slave was brushed aside, and Sarah was depicted as a psychotic individual; a femme fatale who had lured Harold to his demise- despite the fact that she was a mere teenager suffering from years of mental issues, exploited by a man 33 years her senior.
The media kept pushing the narrative that Harold and Sarah were “roommates”– perhaps wishing to not disgrace the dead man, but willfully ignoring the truth and spreading outright lies by doing so.
Police even found a questionable text from Harold; in which he apologized to Sarah a few days before the murder, for trying to force her to have sex once again.
This too was ignored, among all the other enlightening testimony from people who knew the darker side of Harold.
Sarah also said that Harold was suicidal due to business and personal issues, and often talked to her about killing himself. This is backed up by Ann Tau’s testimony, with whom he also discussed such subject matter.
The court instead chose to focus on the grim physical evidence against Sarah: which included a stick-figure target she had created at home to throw knives at; with major organs, blood vessels, and even the groin marked out especially.
The conservative Kansas elite gathered in droves to condemn Sarah yet were quick to defend Harold, as she was turned into a villain and a cold-blooded killer in the eyes of her community.
At her February 2014 hearing, Sarah was upset to see her family appear in court, gathering to support the once-abandoned teen. Her defense attorney Carl Cornwell said that “she was embarrassed. She didn’t want to see her family there. She was embarrassed.”
In 2015, after only four hours of jury deliberation; Sarah received a Hard 50 Penalty- a life sentence, with a chance of parole only after 50 years.
The District Attorney Charles Branson ridiculed and doubted Sarah’s claims that she was raped as a child, despite the fact that Sarah cried while showing the court her cigarette burn scars.
Her mother Michelle was dismayed at her daughter’s harsh sentencing, and the court’s unwillingness to acknowledge that Harold kept Sarah in sexual slavery and financial bondage.
Michelle admitted her daughter would have to go to jail for the crime, “but not the rest of her life, because he had no business doing what he did to her.”
Despite the fact that Sarah’s family paid defense lawyer Carl Cornwell $40k in legal fees and they had a legitimate case, Carl used an extremely idiotic defense. He argued to the court that Sarah had Multiple Personality Disorder, informing her they could win if they used that defense.
And so, Carl preached to the court about how Sarah had many different, violent personalities named Alyssa, Vanessa, and Myla- is it any wondered the jury condemned her to life in prison?
Even the prosecution’s psychiatrist, Dr. William Logan, admitted that Sarah showed symptoms of PTSD, major depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Yet Carl did not use this evidence to his client’s advantage.
The trial was totally botched, and her ship sank immediately.
Michelle does not ask her daughter to contemplate her crime, as Sarah is not receiving any psychiatric therapy in jail. She says “I don’t encourage her, because if I open that box, who’s going to help her with what falls out?”
Her prison is infamous for rape and violence, yet Michelle says “what’s saddened me the most about her being there is she told me she’s safe now.”
Even the confines of jail seem less disturbing than her life outside- one in which Sarah had to be sexually subservient to an old man just to keep a roof over her head.
Such is the tragedy of Sarah’s life: she killed the man who sexually abused in her a pathetic bid for freedom, but only doomed herself to a lifetime of imprisonment.
As of 2020, Kansas Department of Corrections facility in Topeka lists her earliest possible release date as Feb. 1, 2064. The American prison system is harsh and unforgiving; merciless towards those who need justice the most.
"The queen wants me; I must live and die near her."
We’ve all heard of Queen Marie Antoinette, and her unlucky fate at the blade of the revolutionary guillotine. But not many know the tragic tale of her best friend, Marie Thérèse Louise of Savoy, Princesse de Lamballe.
De Lamballe was killed a month before her beloved queen, humiliated and beaten to death in a crowded street by enraged revolutionaries. This is her melodramatic story:
Marie Thérèse was was born to a German princess and a Sardinian prince on Sept. 8, 1749. She was, quite simply, a bourgeois bitch: a descendant of the prestigious House of Savoy.
She would have been your typical dispensable aristocrat, had her family not arranged a prodigious marriage on her part.
A Lovely Wedding
Thanks to internal connections, de Lamballe was swiftly married off to Louis Alexandre, Prince of Lamballe – great grandson of Louis XIV a.k.a. The Sun King, and consummate French royalty.
The prince was also a spoiled brat and a notorious womanizer.
He was red-haired, with a tall, strong build and luminous eyes. The prince was said to be attractive to women, who he pursued readily. He was even rumored to have been friends with the perverted libertine Marquis de Sade.
This arranged marriage was his father’s bid to subdue the wily prince: he felt the shy and reserved de Lamballe would chastise his perverse son.
Most importantly: she was nonthreatening and not the sharpest pencil in the box. Madame du Barry, infamous mistress of Louis XV, called Marie Thérèse “destitute of wit.”
Marie Thérèse was not conventionally attractive: she had a big nose, a giraffe neck, and sloped shoulders; plain in both mannerisms and appearance.
There were some positives about her, like her smooth skin that was described as “delicately fair,” as well as clear blue eyes and long golden hair that was compared to Raphael’s madonnas. Overall, she was considered a righteous, moral, kind woman with a good temperament.
In January of 1767, the couple was married off in a luxurious 10 day ceremony with celebrations and feasts taking place in both France and Italy. She was now officially a princess!
She was only 17 years old and the prince was 19. The pair were both Virgos with close birthdays: two hard-headed individuals meant to clash.
Before the wedding, the prince went to go see his future bride to bring her a bouquet of flowers, disguising himself as his own servant. Upon discovering his gag, de Lamballe was charmed and intrigued.
She said of it:
“I hope[d] my prince will allow his page to attend me, for I like him much. What was my surprise when the Duc de Penthièvre presented me to the Prince and I found in him the page for whom I had already felt such an interest!
We both laughed and wanted words to express our mutual sentiments. This was really love at first sight.”
The couple spent their honeymoon at the Château de Nangis, a pleasant mini castle where Joan of Arc had once walked.
At first, the couple was said to be enamored by one another as there was a strong physical attraction between them. The princess must have been getting some good dick, as she wrote to her mother “it is very pleasant to find thus in my duties my sweetest enjoyments.”
Soon enough, however, the prince fell back into his degenerate, polygamous ways.
Sins and Punishments
After a few months of marital bliss, the prince began affairs with numerous women, even impregnating an opera singer at one point.
The prince also used his wife’s diamonds to pay off his debts, as well as cruelly re-gifting them to his mistresses.
Princess de Lamballe was humiliated by her husband’s errant behaviour and infidelity. She found consolation in her social life at the royal court at the Palace of Versailles.
The princess also became close with her husband’s father, Louis Jean Marie de Bourbon, Duke of Penthièvre. The duke was one of the richest and most powerful men in France, and he was very fond of his daughter-in-law.
In May of 1767, the princess sent a lamentful letter to her mother:
“Why is it that monsieur de Lamballe… warms my heart but all the fires of the love he has for me have suddenly changed?
In vain I seek in my conduct that which might have caused this change, but I cannot find any cause… Can it be because I’m not with child? Is that a crime? His indifference kills me.
But one thing that distresses me… is that I cannot doubt that the life he leads alters his health. A thousand forebodings overwhelm me. Oh my mother! Sympathize with my sorrows, and I will feel less bitter.”
Due to her husband’s neglect, she began to faint and have nervous fits. Doctors diagnosed the princess with hysteria and so-called “convulsive vapors” and melancholia, when she was really just an upset teenager who was dismayed at being cheated on.
Soon enough, the partying prince’s health began to deteriorate as well, but for different reasons. Louis Alexandre grew pale, tired, and ill, and was plagued with skin ulcers.
He also badly injured himself by falling off a horse, so he went home and had his cuckolded wife and sister care for him.
Karma was hitting him hard: the prince started wasting away, and was constantly feverish, exhausted and suffering from skin rashes. He had syphilis!
Louis Alexandre had contracted venereal disease from one of the orgies he had attended. Doctors prescribed seven pounds of mercury to treat the syphilis, but it was to no avail.
It completely was over for the pernicious prince. Louis Alexandre confessed his sins to a priest, and died on May 6, 1768, in the arms of his loyal wife. He was only 20, and their marriage had lasted a little over a year.
Now a widow at only 18, the princess briefly considered joining a convent. But really, why would she? It would be such a waste, and so boring.
Marie Thérèse had just inherited a large fortune from her dead husband, and was ready for a new life. The Duc de Penthièvre took the young widow under his wing, and brought her to live with him in his gorgeous Château de Rambouillet.
The château was far removed from the hustle and filth of Paris; a lush green country castle where the super-rich spent their days in utmost leisure. The princess enjoyed her relaxing days at this fair château, taking long walks in beautiful country forests and sitting by the window-side writing letters and self-reflecting.
The princess and her father-in-law also spent time engaging in charitable projects to appease the jealous proles, and were called the “King of the Poor” and “The Angel of Penthiévre” respectively.
And so began Princess de Lamballe’s grand courtly life: she was so well reputed that she was even considered for a time as a possible wife for King Louis XV.
However, nothing materialized of it, as he was already too enamored by his slutty mistress Madame du Barry.
A Beautiful Friendship
The princess was introduced to dauphine Marie Antoinette in 1770, at her wedding bash to future King Louis XVI. Despite being six years older than her, the princess became fast friends with the dauphine.
Marie Antoinette described her as “the only woman I know who never bears a grudge; neither hatred nor jealousy is to be found in her.”
The outgoing, fashionable, pretty, strawberry-blonde haired Marie Antoinette was, personality wise, quite the opposite of de Lamballe. But they enjoyed the stability and consistency of one another’s affections.
Marie Antoinette helped the princess grieve and heal from the recent death of her sleazy husband, for which she would be grateful for until the end. The princess said:
“It was amid this gloom of human agony, these heart-rending scenes of real mourning, that the brilliant star shone to disperse the clouds, which hovered over our drooping heads…
It was in this crisis that Marie Antoinette came, like a messenger sent down from Heaven, graciously to offer the balm of comfort in the sweetest language of human compassion…
From that moment I became seriously attached to the Queen of France.”
In return, the princess gave her the utmost loyalty. Within the court of Versailles, Maire Antoinette was surrounded by bitchy haters who constantly criticized her for being unconventional and imprudent.
Many courtiers were incensed by her foreign heritage, and she earned the pejorative L’Autrichienne (the Austrian bitch).
Within this sea of bitterness, is it any wonder she needed a friend?
Marie Antoinette and the princess bonded by going on wintertime sleigh rides together, resplendent in fine ermine and sable furs. They were pulled through snowy Paris by horses that were decked in jingling bells and lux white head-plumes.
On May 10, 1774, King Louis XV died of smallpox. His grandson, the awkward and portly Louis XVI, succeeded him. Marie Antoinette went from despised dauphine to Queen of France in the abrupt blink of an eye.
Princess de Lamballe was now in a place of immense power and influence.
When the princess was away from the court for two months, Marie Antoinette missed her dearly, and had de Lamballe’s portrait painted in her looking-glass room. The two even started wearing matching coordinated outfits. They were, like, total BFFs forever.
The Queen was said to have remarked to Louis XVI that “the Princesse de Lamballe’s friendship is the charm of my life.”
In September of 1775, Marie Antoinette attracted controversy when she appointed de Lamballe the title of “Superintendent of the Queen’s Household.”
This post was so contentious that it had been left vacant for 30 years, as it was a very highly-paid and influential position. And now, with this honor bestowed upon her, Princess de Lamballe was the highest-ranking Lady in Waiting in all the court.
Many were unhappy with this appointment, as they felt de Lamballe was too much of a fragile drama queen to handle such responsibility. She was once said to have fainted of shock when a lady-in-waiting unexpectedly and noisily yawned near her.
The princess’ brother Eugène was also promoted to regiment commander in the French military, thanks to his sister’s connections.
Marie Antoinette’s mother Empress Maria Theresa grew concerned with the amount of influence the Princess de Lamballe was accumulating.
Comte de Mercy-Argenteau, an Austrian diplomat that Marie Antoinette’s mother used to keep an eye on her, reported to the Empress that:
“This lady joins to much sweetness a very sincere character, far from intrigue and all such worries… the choice is excellent…
All the same, I have taken the precaution to point out to the Queen that her favour and goodness to the Princesse de Lamballe are somewhat excessive, in order to prevent abuse of them from that quarter.”
In the spring of 1775, starving French peasants rioted due to extensive grain shortages. This was nicknamed the Flour War. Louis XVI was not doing a good job feeding his people. Consequences were to come…
But not yet. Marie Antoinette was still enjoying her sexy, exciting royal life. And she had made a new friend: Yolande Martine Gabrielle de Polastron, Duchess of Polignac.
The pretty, violet-eyed, charismatic duchess caught the Queen’s eye immediately. The duchess was more attractive and smooth than the neurotic and humble de Lamballe, but she was also more gossipy.
Marie Antoinette was turned on by the duchess’ cavalier devil-may-care attitude. The Queen paid off the duchess and her husband’s 400k franc gambling debts so they could permanently move into Versailles.
There was also a strange coincidence: Princess de Lamballe and the Duchesse de Polignac were born on the exact same day, of the exact same year! This bode well for a blooming friendship, right?
The two hated one another, and vied for Marie Antoinette’s affections. The Queen began to prefer the duchess’ company over the princess. She was, after all, way cooler than the dorky, fainting Princess de Lamballe.
At this time, the Queen’s advisers complained de Lamballe was getting paid way too much for her Superintendent position. She was already rich via her father-in-law, and owned many empty homes that she did not even live in.
De Lamballe refused to relinquish any privileges or her 50k crown salary, and rumors spread that she was a greedy bitch.
Princess de Lamballe began to get an inkling that the tides were turning against the monarchy.
Many peasants and courtiers alike began to make apparent their disdain for Marie Antoinette’s expensive and bimboish obsession with fashion and fancy living, which was seen as especially distasteful during periods of terrible famine and starvation for the lower class.
The Queen laughed off the princess’ advices against being too decadent, and joked with the Duchess de Polignac at what a bore the princess was.
Comte Mercy-Argenteau witnessed their constant disagreements, noting:
“Constant quarrels, in which the Princesse seemed always to be in the wrong…
The Princesse de Lamballe loses much in favour. I believe she will always be well treated by the Queen, but she no longer possesses her entire confidence…
The Princesse is very little seen at court. The Queen, it is true, visited her on her father’s death, but it is the first mark of kindness she has received for long.”
The cunty duchess also did her best to create a wedge in the princess and the Queen’s friendship.
When the Queen retreated to the colossal 1,500-room Château de Fontainebleau in autumn of 1776, she chose to bring the princess with her, instead of the duchess.
At the end of 1776, de Lamballe was plagued by a bad attack of measles. The Queen sent her heartfelt, touching, worried letters inquiring about her health.
In 1778, when the princess’ mother died, the Queen and King both wrote sweet letters of consolation.
Marie Antoinette signed off with “I embrace you again with my whole heart, as I shall love you all my life.”
Louis XVI added “You know how much we love you. May God be with you.”
Despite the fact that both her parents had died that year, the princess was there for moral support when the Queen gave birth to her first child: Marie-Thérèse Charlotte, or Madame Royale.
It was a horrible 12-hour labour, in which Marie Antoinette almost died of suffocation. The delicate de Lamballe of course fainted after witnessing this.
Extravagance and Depravity
There were rumours spreading around Paris that Marie Antoinette was cheating on her husband, as well as having lesbian relationships with the Princess de Lamballe and the Duchess de Polignac. Did the Queen really eat muff? Who knows?
One must note that Princess de Lamballe was not known to have taken any lovers after her husband died. She appeared to have a limited interest in love affairs and men. Could it be that she was into women? It is impossible to prove or disprove.
Marie Antoinette, on the other hand, really knew how to trigger people. She was a gambling addict, took the company of men who were not her husband, and loved the theatrical arts.
The Queen, herself, acted in plays, and was said to have been a terrible performer. The Duchess de Polignac ensured that the Princess de Lamballe was barred from attending any performances.
In 1790, when Marie Antoinette’s mother died, she withdrew to mourn with the princess and the duchess in private. Subsequently, the Queen increased de Lamballe’s salary to match her loyalty.
The princess was having a fun time giving tea parties and riding hot air balloons at the wonderful Hôtel de Toulouse, which was owned by her father-in-law, the Duke of Penthièvre. Her bedroom was an opulent salon gilded in gold and velvet.
In December of 1784, a bandit named Pierre Poulailler tried to burn down the Hôtel. The princess awoke the duke at 1 AM, and they escaped the inferno. Police extinguished the fire promptly.
As for Pierre, he was said to have killed 150 people in his life of crime. He once even sealed a man alive inside a building. When Pierre was captured, his bones were broken on a torture wheel and then he was burned alive.
Wasn’t 18th century France just lovely?
Following the infamous 1785 Affair of the Diamond Necklace, Marie Antoinette’s already questionable reputation was irreparably tarnished. The peasants nicknamed her “Madame Deficit,” blaming the Queen for the country’s dire financial plight.
In 1787, the princess was in poor health and France was on the brink of bankruptcy. Political troubles were brewing steadily.
The princess set off to England for a health retreat. She viewed Herschel’s Forty-Foot Telescope, and had dinner with writer Horace Walpole.
Like the condescending gout-ridden Englishman he was, Walpole remarked “I have no particular penchant for sterling princes and princesses, much less for those of French plate.”
By 1788, most of Louis XVI’s parliament and a veritable array of aristocrats had turned against him for attempting to tax them. They simply refused to pay up, even though there was a poor harvest that year and French citizens were facing starvation.
This was the period when the Jacobins banded together, and republican Maximilien de Robespierre started his rise to glory and power.
The conflict between the King and his unruly subjects finally climaxed with the Storming of the Bastille prison in 1789.
The prison was supposed to symbolize all of the King’s tyrannies and evil. But when the approximately 1,000 partisans of the Third Estate broke in, there were only seven prisoners within!
99 citizens died during the action.
Bernard-René de Launay, governor of the Bastille, was captured and horribly beaten.
When he could no longer take the abuse, he cried out “Enough! Let me die!” and kicked a pastry cook in the nuts, as his final act of defiance. In return, he was stabbed, beaten, and shot to death by the angry mob. Afterwards, his head was sawed off then paraded around on a pike.
A British Doctor by the name of Edward Rigby described the scene:
“[We] perceived two bloody heads raised on pikes, which were said to be the heads of the Marquis de Launay, Governor of the Bastille, and of Monsieur Flesselles, Prévôt des Marchands.
It was a chilling and a horrid sight! … Shocked and disgusted at this scene, [we] retired immediately from the streets.”
This was a disturbing omen of violent things to come.
The Unraveling of the Monarchy
Unable to control the angry mobs of rioters any longer, the King advised his supporters to flee the country for their own safety, as he could no longer protect them.
While this was all going down, Princess de Lamballe was in Switzerland on a leisure trip.
When the third estate demanded that the nobles cough up some of their baubles to help pay France’s national debt, the princess was very hesitant to contribute.
Marie Antoinette was the same: she unwisely chose to wear her most beautiful and expensive jewelry while attending a delegation in August.
Three months later, another monumental event occurred: The Women’s March on Versailles.
On October. 5, following a large feast at the king’s palace; a mob of almost 10,000 starving, enraged women and revolutionary agitators set off from the Parisian marketplace to Versailles, armed with weapons.
Why were the starving peasants forced to pay taxes, while the comfy aristocrats were exempt? It was time for an answer.
When they arrived, the mob demanded the king provide grain for their hungry families. Louis XVI relented and promised to take care of the issue, then he and his family settled in to sleep for the night.
But the suspicious mob broke into the palace and attacked and murdered the guards. Again, they decapitated their victims and placed the guards’ heads onto pikes.
Marie Anoinette nearly escaped being bayoneted to death in her bedchambers by angry rioters.
By now, the mob had reached 60,000, and they forced the King and Queen to leave Versailles and return to Paris: to live in the dilapidated Tuileries Palace. Louis XVI was now at the mercy of his people.
Two days after this chaotic event, the ever-loyal princess went to Tuileries to provide emotional support to her Queen. Upon her arrival, Marie Antoinette collapsed into the princess’ arms and began sobbing.
The princess resumed her superintendent position, and moved into the Pavillon de Flore to stay close to the Royal family. She referred to her apartment there as a “dungeon” compared to what she had had in Versailles.
Since the King and Queen were virtual prisoners at this point, they decided to try and escape Paris to go to the royalist stronghold of Montmédy; which bordered Marie Antoinette’s beloved Austria.
The Queen gave the princess a very affectionate farewell before her escape. The princess found out next morning, and set off to meet them in Montmédy.
The attempt failed disastrously, and the King and Queen were captured in Varennes on June 21, 1791, and forced to return back to Paris.
De Lamballe was steadfast, and after waiting in Montmédy for a week, she sent Marie Antoinette this lamentful letter:
“I … wait [for] your Majesty’s command… When your Majesty wears fetters, can liberty be of any value to me? When your Majesty is bathed in tears, can any tranquility enter in to the bossom.”
The princess desperately wanted to help her Queen, but was advised to stay afar in Brussels. Marie Antoinette did not want the princess to return as she feared for her dear friend’s life.
The Queen wrote to de Lamballe:
“Your friendship is my consolation and my only happiness… Do not return, do not throw yourself in the tiger’s jaws; the present is too terrible.”
Marie Antoinette sent the princess a gold ring which was looped with strands of her own her that had been “turned white by misfortune.” Oh the drama.
Even the Duc de Penthièvre tried to halt his daughter-in-law’s return; entreating de Lamballe’s cousin, the King of Sardinia, to try and convince her to go hide it out with the Savoy family.
She wrote him an epic letter declining all help:
“I do not recollect that any of our illustrious ancestors of the house of Savoy… ever dishonored or tarnished their illustrious names with cowardice.
I cannot swerve from my determination of never quitting them, especially at a moment when they are abandoned by every one of their former attendants, except myself…
“During the most brilliant period of the reign of Marie Antoinette, I was distinguished by the royal favor and bounty. To abandon her in adversity, Sire, would stain my character, and that of my illustrious family, for ages to come with infamy and cowardice, much more to be dreaded than the most cruel death.”
Princess de Lamballe would never betray her friend of more than 20 years. It was unthinkable.
Against all safety and common sense, de Lamballe decided to return to Paris and go down with the sinking ship. She made out her last will and testament, then arrived back in France on Nov 4, 1791.
Princess de Lamballe brought the Queen a red and white spaniel as a gift to cheer her up, but a dog could not fix Marie Antoinette’s busted life. She was now aged and haggard, with her hair turned totally white.
On the other hand, the Queen’s old friend the, Duchesse de Polignac, was far away; not one to be found near any danger. The Queen wrote to the duchess that “the good Lamballe … seemed only waiting for danger to show what she was worth.”
Only five ladies-in-waiting remained at the court, and de Lamballe was one of them.
At this time, the Jacobins wanted the King’s young son Louis-Charles to have a tutor who was sympathetic to the revolution. For that purpose, the princess suggested future psychopath dictator Maximilien Robespierre as a candidate.
Marie Antoinette adamantly refused, and after that, Robespierre held a hateful grudge against the Princess de Lamballe.
By 1792, Paris was saturated by pamphlets accusing Marie Antoinette of being a whore. A particularly comedic one told a story where de Lamballe supposedly supplied the Queen with massive dildos, implying that the King was too small to satisfy her.
After Louis XVI vetoed a decree for a constitutional monarchy, partisans stormed into the Tuileries Palace on June 20. The violent mob threatened Marie Antoinette, who responded that her place was by the King’s side.
Fearing for the Queen’s life, the princess cried out “No, no, Madame, your place is with your children!”
The princess courageously stood by the Queen through the whole debacle, and was more protective of the Queen’s life than her own.
While revolutionaries declared war on Austria, Louis XVI went behind France’s back to make a deal with Prussian royals. The Brunswick Manifesto declared that if the French monarchy were harmed, then French civilians would be attacked in turn.
Now that Louis XVI was viewed as a traitor, French revolutionary insurrectionists became bold and attacked Tuileries Palace on August 10.
When she saw the approaching army, Princess de Lamballe declared to the Queen: “My dear, my dear, nothing will save us. I think we are lost.” It was completely over.
The King and Queen, as well as their frightened children and entourage, were forced to take refuge in the Legislative Assembly.
Once the most dignified crop in Paris, they were now relegated to sleeping on the floors of dingy jail cells on flimsy mattresses.
On August 19, the Princess de Lamballe was forcibly separated from the Royal family. Marie Antoinette was devastated. Who would she get her nails done with now?
Like a movie, the princess fell to her knees to kiss the Queen’s hand. But before she could do so, the indignant guards dragged the princess off.
Marie Antoinette’s daughter Madame Royale claimed that“they tore her away, saying that such an act was enough for a slave toward tyrants.”
The princess was taken to the La Force Prison and interrogated by members of the Paris Commune.
The princess was imprisoned alongside the Royal governess Louise-Élisabeth de Croÿ de Tourzel, and her daughter Pauline.
Mme. de Tourzel said that “the Princess de Lamballe bore her sad lot perfectly. Sweet, good, and obliging, she showed us every little attention in her power.”
But the princess had her haters too. The Duc d’Orléans’ (ex-brother in law and now enemy of the princess) salty mistress, the Comtesse de Buffon, took pleasure in kicking the princess when she was already down:
“The princesse de Lamballe is without a maid and has to look after herself. For a person who affects to feel ill before a lobster in a picture this must be a rude position.”
Not very nice, bitch!
The princess showed major toughness of character by having none of her usual fainting attacks while imprisoned.
Meanwhile, the princess’ loving father-in-law, the Duc de Penthièvre, was doing his best to try and free her; even offering the Commune half of his massive wealth as a bribe.
The principled fellows declined the cash.
Princess de Lamballe was dead meat. The revolutionaries would have no mercy for the delicate and refined 42-year old widow with Savoyan blood. She was just another head soon to be impaled sky high.
A Savage and Vicious Murder
On Sept 3. 1792, the last day of her life; the princess was dressed in angelic white silk with her curls neatly arranged under a cap.
At 6 AM, jailers came into de Lamballe and Mme. de Tourzel’s cell, and asked the women their names. Immediately knowing something was wrong, they began to pray.
The princess gazed out the window of her tiny cell, frightened. She saw a rabid, screaming, bloodthirsty mob gathered outside. A man threw a rock at her face, which cut her cheek and drew blood.
At 11 AM, a jailer led the two women out of their cell into the nightmarish courtyard. Drunk and belligerent, the men outside taunted and insulted the princess.
The princess bore her lot with dignity, according to de Tourzel:
“We clasped each other’s hand … and I can state positively that she displayed much courage and presence of mind, replying without hesitation to all the questions put by the monsters who joined us for the sole purpose of contemplating their victims before leading them to death.”
De Tourzel managed to escape the courtyard, due to the help of a mysterious man known as Monsieur Hardi.
The princess, however, was not so lucky. She waited with other doomed political prisoners, to be sent before an impromptu revolutionary tribunal.
The trials, of course, were a farce: they existed only to expedite the killings of political enemies. This was the period of the September Massacres, where thousands would be put to death under the guise of revolution.
And it was the princess’ turn.
Brought before the tribunal in a dank, grim room; the revolutionaries demanded that she “take an oath to love liberty and equality and to swear hatred to the King and the Queen and to the monarchy.” The dialogue went as follows:
Princess de Lamballe had become fearless in her indignation.
Unlike the other cowardly courtiers who once swarmed Louis XVI’s bustling court- and then fled like rats when trouble hit, the princess actually had values and ideals.
She would not beg for her life like a dog, or shit on the hand that once fed her.
The princess simply responded: “‘I have nothing to answer. Whether I die sooner or later is a matter of indifference to me. I have made the sacrifice of my life.”
And with those words, she sealed her fate.
The tribunal called out “Let Madame be set at liberty,” which was actually code for “throw her to the wolves.” Without understanding what was happening, the princess was escorted into the street by two guards.
She was greeted by the scene of a horrific massacre. Piles of naked, bloody corpses were laid out in the open.
An angry mob of men, women, and even children were assigned to slaughtering those who the tribunal deemed as guilty; and they seemed more than happy to do so.
The frightened princess fell back on the guards and tried to escape, crying out “Fi horreur!” or“I am lost!” But they clamped her mouth shut to prevent her screams, and pushed her further into the bloodthirsty mob.
A member of the mob described the princess years later as a mere “little lady dressed in white.”
That did not prevent them from murdering her in a terrible manner. A witness described the scene:
“A journeyman barber, staggering with intoxication and infuriated with carnage, endeavored, in a kind of brutal jesting, to strike her cap from her head with his long pike.
The blow fell upon her forehead, cutting a deep gash, and the blood gushed out over her face.”
The princess’ golden hair came undone, and from her cap fell a letter from her beloved Marie Antoinette.
As blood dripped onto her white silk dress, the mob became emboldened. A man came forth to deliver the final death blow; by bludgeoning her head.
The princess was piled upon and stabbed; then grabbed by the hair and decapitated by a random maniac with a sabre. They went full on slasher movie villain, it seems.
There is also this dramatic firsthand account from a bystander by the name of Jean Némery:
“A quick and horrific scene unfolded before my eyes. On seeing the bodies lying on the ground, the Princess made a gesture of horror and stepped back sharply.
The two men who stood beside her seized her by the arms and spoke to her; she replied, with gestures, but I could not hear her words.
Some of the executioners approached the small group and laughed, probably mocking the fear of the princesse. One of them threatened her with his pike.
She stepped back and raised her arms, as if to protect herself. The executioners had parted and I thought they were going to pass.
I breathed when, suddenly, two of those devils stood before her and beat her, one with a pike, the other with a sword.
She screamed, staggered, put a hand on her chest, then fell onto a pile of bodies … she tried to get up, but she received fresh blows, her arms fluttered a moment, then did not move again.“
Wild rumours later circulated that the princess was raped, dismembered, and sexually mutilated. However, that is all unsubstantiated.
It is fairly likely that they stripped the princess’ corpse naked, and disemboweled her.
What indeed was factual was that the mob placed the princess’ severed head on a pike, and grotesquely paraded it around the streets of Paris.
The deranged procession screamed out the Princess de Lamballe’s name in a macabre trance of celebration and drunken dancing. And to be fair, can you imagine being an 18th century French peasant? This was the highlight of their week.
Execution was an art, a form of entertainment. And here was the Queen’s best friend: whose fortune had been enough to buy whatever she desired, a million times over. She was now headless; a dismembered body in the hands of those who despised what she stood for, of those barely able to even afford bread.
The mob first stopped at a barber shop, and insisted he groom the decapitated head by applying makeup and curling her hair.
The mob then stopped to show the severed head off at a café, where spectators drank to de Lamballe’s death.
Finally, the mob attempted to break into the Temple: the fortress where Marie Antoinette was imprisoned.
If they had succeeded, the mob would have forced her to kiss the decapitated de Lamballe’s lips, as many had assumed she and Marie Antoinette had once been lesbian lovers.
*Insert obligatory joke about giving head here.*
Fortunately, guards managed to prevent the mob from breaking into the Temple, and the King and Queen’s windows were kept closed to prevent them from seeing the princess’ severed head.
When Louis XVI asked why their windows were being shuttered, a guard responded “they are trying to show you the head of Madame de Lamballe.”
A horrified Marie Antoinette nearly fainted away.
Their daughter, Madame Royale, described the scene as such:
“My mother was seized with horror; that was the sole moment when her firmness abandoned her.
The municipals scolded the officer, but my father, with his usual kindness, excused him, saying it was not the officer’s fault, but his own for having questioned him…
My unhappy mother did not even try to sleep [that night]; we listened to her sobs.”
Jean-Baptiste Cléry, valet of Louis XVI, described in his journal the peasants’ attempts to try and show Marie Antoinette her BFF’s decapitated head:
“They had raised the victim’s head so that it could not escape her sight; it was that of the Princesse de Lamballe. Though bloody, it was not disfigured; her blond hair, still curling, floated around the pike.”
It’s nice to know that the princess still looked pretty, even after they cut her head off.
Like a marauding circus, the celebrating mob next went to seek out the Duc d’Orléans and his mistress the Comtesse de Buffon (who as I mentioned before, were not fans of the princess.)
The pair were dining with English gentlemen at the Palais-Royal, when the mob started waving the princess’ severed head by an open window.
The irritated Duke brushed off the bizarre spectacle, commenting “‘Oh, it is Lamballe’s head: I know it by the long hair. Let us sit down to supper.”
The Comtesse, on the other hand, was duly alarmed and cried out “‘O God ! They will carry my head like that some day!”
Luckily for her, that would not happen. However, the cavalier Duc d’Orléans was guillotined the very next year.
The mob couldn’t play with the princess’ detached head forever, could they? They had to be stopped.
Knowing she was in deep trouble, the Duc de Penthièvre had send emissaries to the princess’ trial. They had tried to help her, but they were no match against the thronging mob.
As she was being beaten to death, the emissaries cried out for mercy to try and halt the killing. But the mob disdainfully screamed “Death to the disguised lackeys of the Duc de Penthièvre!’
Now that the princess had been slaughtered, they were charged with obtaining her remains. It was not an easy task. They had to pretend to befriend the mob, so they took the exhausted marauders to an ale house to get them shitfaced.
While the drunks were distracted, an emissary named Jacques Pointel managed to steal the princess’ head off the pike it was impaled on. He wrapped the head in a napkin, and whisked it away; secretly burying it in a children’s cemetery.
Her skull was never found, despite attempts to unearth it in 1904. As for the rest of her body, that is also a mystery.
Poor, old, sickly Duc de Penthièvre was heartbroken when he found out what happened to his much-adored daughter-in-law. She was the light of his life, and he had took her to his bosom like she was his real daughter. He never forgot her, and said:
“I think I always hear her … I always think I see her sitting near the window, in the little study … with what assiduity she used to work there, from morning till night, at the labours of her sex, for the poor? … and this is the angel they have torn to pieces!”
If that doesn’t bring a tear to one’s eye, then what the hell will?
Louis XVI was guillotined in January of 1793. His last words were, “I die innocent of all the crimes laid to my charge. I forgive the authors of my death, and I pray God that the blood which you are about to shed may never fall on France.”
Marie Antoinette was inconsolable after this, and her daughter said she became wholly indifferent to life and death.
She met her end via guillotine in October of the same year. Marie Antoinette accidentally stepped on her executioner’s foot, so her last words came to be, “Pardon me, Sir, I did not do it on purpose.”
Their daughter Marie-Thérèse Charlotte (aka Madame Royale) managed to survive until age 17, after which she escaped France to live in Vienna with relatives from her mother’s side.
Louis-Charles, their son and heir to the throne, was not so lucky. He was imprisoned, abused, and neglected- dying from tuberculosis at the age of 10.
Who was this murderous mob of aristo-killers anyways, and why were they so violent?
They were the sans-culottes (without breeches), the lowest of the low; the poorest of the poor.
The sans-culottes were radical militant revolutionaries from the bottom class of French society. There were some career criminals among them, and many seemed to take delight in bloodshed and carnage. Years of destitution had made them monstrous.
There are stories of cannibalism, the murder of priests, and of boiling people alive; all said to have been perpetrated by the sans-culottes. It becomes hard to tell fact from fiction. Marxists brand them as misunderstood heroes, and conservatives as commie devils.
Under Robespierre’s control, these frustrated poor became pawns to carry out acts of violence and mayhem.
Throughout the Reign of Terror, 17,000 French citizens were said to have died. Princess de Lamballe was just one of many victims.
Was it better to be a puppet of the psychopathic Robespierre and his hypocritical bourgeois Jacobins, or a puppet of the decadent and buffoonish King Louis XVI and other selfish monarchs of his ilk?
In the end, the French Revolution achieved everything and nothing. Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were deposed and executed, but what followed?
A Napoleonic dictatorship and wars that claimed millions of lives, and a Bourbon monarchy that was restored in 1814- only to be overthrown yet again.
France went through several revolutions and republics, the way Marie Antoinette went through pastries.
And yet- would we claim that any of us are truly free men and women? Why celebrate Bastille Day when there is now a Bastille around every corner?
It also begs the question: did the Princess de Lamballe deserve her headless fate?
It depends on how you look at it. To some, she was just a dutiful member of the monarchy; wrongfully caught up in the zeitgeist of her time, inside something that was totally beyond her control.
The princess was not a particularly offensive royal, unlike vulgar thots such as the Duchess de Polignac, or Madame du Barry.
By all accounts, the princess was a restrained, dutiful individual- not one for excessive indulgences, starting feuds, or participating in racy love affairs. She was a surprisingly chaste and upright woman.
Not only this, but the princess showed remarkable strength of character and bravery towards the end of her life. She died with dignity, unlike Madame du Barry- who, in comparison, begged for her life like a dog before the executioner guillotined her.
The princess lived a life of wealth and privilege, and, grateful for all that fate had given her; she chose to give her life in return, as payment for the fabulous existence she was briefly granted.
Her loyalty is inspiring, and even surprising. Not many would die for a friend the way she did.
A contrary argument could also be made: why should we pity a woman who had so much, in a time where others had so little?
She had two extremely wealthy benefactors: Marie Antoinette, the literal Queen of France + her father-in-law, the richest man in France, the Duc de Penthièvre. She refused to reduce her salary or riches, even though she knew those below her were suffering.
The princess received a massive dowry at her wedding: it was said that the amount of jewels that the Duke gifted her could fill up literal pages of text if recorded. When she made out her will, she left a comedic amount of monetary provisions to care for her dogs.
Meanwhile, the diet of the average Frenchman was limited to overpriced bread, and even that was difficult to obtain due to famine and shortages. The princess could arguably be described by her detractors as just another clueless rich bitch.
Marie Antoinette did not actually say the words “Let them eat cake.” However, her ignorant actions were sufficient to prove that she was not fit to govern. But then again, how many political leaders are today? There are many others who deserve the guillotine, yet she was just unlucky enough to actually receive it.
The Royalists (those that were for the monarchy) used the princess’ horrific death as propaganda to discredit the Revolution, and to depict the lower classes of France as senseless barbarians. In death, the princess became a politicized martyr, and many depict her as positively Christ-like
On the other hand, corrupt and degenerate elected officials tell us that the French Revolution was necessary, as the flesh and blood of fallen monarchs paved the way for a more equal, democratic society. Ironically, we now need a revolution in our current time period more than ever.
There is no clear-cut conclusion to be reached in this story, no obvious moral lesson to be preached.
But! If a woman as mild-mannered as de Lamballe can be slaughtered in the name of liberty, we can surely guillotine a celebrity or politician or two…right?
To conclude, the internet is full of histrionic individuals worshiping the tragic bromance of Princess de Lamballe and Marie Antoinette. The princess perhaps may be the ultimate Ride or Die. She is the type of girl we all need by our side.
Images of the princess’ gory demise have consistently been painted and engraved, for hundreds of years after the fact. The world is obsessed and captivated by this woman’s death, as it came to symbolize everything that was deranged and scary about the French Revolution.
Regardless of everything; the princess and her decapitated head will definitely live on forever in infamy, tragedy and controversy. She embodies the darkest side of glitz and glamour; the highest high, and the lowest, bloodiest end.
And now, I will definitely have nightmares about levitating disembodied heads after writing this massive wall of text.
Laurie Wasserman Dann lived a charmed life. Money, men, educational + career opportunities, luxury cars and clothes, constant vacations, a polished and respectable suburban existence- and she threw it all away, to shoot up an elementary school.
Plagued by severe mental illness for years; Laurie lived in a state of perpetual psychological torment. No amount of expensive psychiatry and medication could help her. She would only be appeased by blood and chaos, eventually ending her own life after a final disturbing spree of violence.
Poor Little Rich Girl
She was born in Chicago on October 18, 1957 to Norman “Norm” Wasserman and housewife Edith Joy, the descendants of Russian-Jewish immigrants. Her father Norm was a wealthy accountant with a net worth of $4 million. Adjusted for inflation, that is equivalent to $11 million today.
Laurie grew up a sheltered child in the suburbs of Northern Chicago. Her parents were distant and emotionally cold, choosing instead to show their affection by taking her and brother Mark on impromptu trips to Disneyland, Florida and Hawaii, and buying costly gifts.
Laurie claimed that when she was hurt or ill as a child, her mother often ignored her. Edith did not work, and was completely dependent on her husband, afraid to even drive on her own.
Laurie would go on to imitate her mother’s helpless and clingy attachment to her husband in her own relationships.
Their home was kept immaculately clean. At the age of 5, Laurie already had obsessions with “good” and “bad” numbers, and displayed OCD symptoms. There was also a strong genetic predisposition for mental illness, as Norm’s grandma and Edith’s mother had suffered from clinical depression.
Around the age of 12, Laurie was placed in special help classes for the learning-disabled. Laurie was an unattractive and awkward child, and her peers said she had a “spaced out” look to her.
A classmate recounted how:
”She was very, very quiet, and she was very strange because you`d walk down the hall and say `Hi` and she wouldn`t say anything. It didn`t seem she had many friends in junior high.”
As a teen, her parents paid for an otoplasty procedure (a cosmetic surgery to reduce large ears), and a rhinoplasty for her big nose. These surgeries, combined with a growth spurt which increased her breast size, suddenly turned the shy and mousy Laurie Wasserman into a beautiful young woman.
Her introduction to the opposite sex was ruthless: the first boy who asked Laurie out went on to break up with her two months later because he was embarrassed to be seen with her.
Laurie was enraged but learned a valuable lesson: she switched to a new high school and began to wear tight-fitting designer clothes to emphasize her petite yet top-heavy 5’3, 100 lbs build.
While she was popular with boys, girls hated her, even though she bought popular girls gifts of jewelry and candy. One female classmate recalled how she ”perceived a paranoia when girls were around. She always had a boyfriend and was really clingy, draped around him. That really struck me, that she was somehow frightened and had a real unhealthy attachment to boys.”
Perhaps they were jealous?
In 1974, a football player named Rob Heidelberger began dating Laurie. During her shifts at K-Mart, Laurie would not scan Rob’s purchases, and instead passed him the items for free.
Rob described their high school romance as such:
”I had a LeMans convertible, and we would drive around after school, listening to Beach Boys tapes. We would go over to her house and listen to the radio. I can`t remember that she had any friends of her own.”
The couple broke up after only one month, following a mediocre prom date.
Ironically, Laurie was supposed to have been in a relationship with another boy at the time. She had developed a cruel streak. Laurie had one of her lovers call the boyfriend that she was now tired of, and he relayed this brutal message:
“You should know that I’ve been going out with Laurie. We’ve been having a great time together, including sex. She really likes it from me. She thinks I’m great. And those times when you dropped her off for work or the country club? Well, she called me up and I came to get her and we went out.”
After high school, Laurie began her never-ending odyssey of failed studies: she drifted between universities in Iowa, Arizona, and Wisconsin; changing majors constantly from teaching to home economics to psychology, etc.
Her grades were weak, but she told friends she was only at college to find a rich husband anyways. She joined and was ejected from a sorority, and dated dozens of men simultaneously.
In 1979, Laurie found love with a pre-med student named Stephen Witt, and planned to marry him. Unfortunately for her, he wanted to see other women. Stephen quickly grew fed up with Laurie’s clinginess, but kept her around to cook, clean and care for him while he focused on studying.
Once he was done his courses, Stephen dumped Laurie for being too possessive. Laurie constantly phoned him whilst crying and begging for another chance, but he refused. She was left heartbroken.
AtLong Last Love
Since she had failed in her quest to find a husband, Laurie gave up on university and went back home to Chicago, finding work at a Jewish country club as a cocktail waitress.
There, she would meet 25-year old Russell Dann, a cocky sales exec who worked at his father’s insurance company. Like Laurie, he was riding on daddy’s gravy train of plentiful cash.
She fell for him immediately. He was short and boyish and resembled the Monkees lead singer Davy Jones, who she had a crush on.
Unlike shy, withdrawn Laurie; Russell was extroverted, charismatic, and enterprising.
Laurie lied to him that she was a graduate in hospital administration, feigning success in order to impress. Nine months after they began dating, the couple were engaged.
Laurie told a friend that “Russ is the first person who gave me a lot of warmth and a lot of love. I don’t even know how to deal with it.”
Poor Russell had no idea what he was getting into.
The couple married in September of 1982, in a traditional Jewish ceremony. Laurie didn’t have many friends to invite to the wedding, so they kept the guest list short. Russell’s friends and family constantly criticized her for being “weird” and introverted.
After a tranquil honeymoon in the British Virgin Islands, Laurie regressed into certain ritualistic OCD behaviours.
She refused to step on sidewalk cracks, never put lids back onto items, hoarded large piles of dirty clothes, stopped driving to tap her feet on pavement, and did not let Russell go to work until she touched the sofa.
When asked why, she simply said “something bad will happen if I don’t.” She would not step on certain rugs, tiptoeing around them instead, and rode bicycles with only one hand, almost causing her to fall off a bridge.
Russell realized Laurie was incapable of remaining employed. She was fired from dozens of jobs for incompetence, and often lied on her resume. Eventually, she gave up trying to work altogether.
She then spent her days in bed, watching TV until Russell came home. She was unable to handle even basic tasks. When Russell’s sister asked Laurie to help babysit her children, Laurie pretended she got into a car accident to avoid it.
When guests came over, Laurie was a ditz; serving them rotting potatoes and frozen vegetables, complimented by dying flowers.
After a year and a half of a troubled marriage, Russell insisted that Laurie see a psychiatrist. The shrink prescribed Thioridazine, a heavy-duty tranquilizer used to treat schizophrenia and psychosis. After 3 appointments, Laurie stopped showing up.
The psychiatrist was concerned, and wrote Laurie a letter telling her she desperately needed to continue receiving professional help.
An alarmed Russell asked Laurie’s dad to talk to her, but Norm told him “that there’s really not that much of a problem here. It’s a nonissue. I don’t believe in psychiatry. I don’t believe in that kind of stuff.” And that was that.
Two years into their relationship, Russell bought the couple a brand new suburban home. Laurie trashed it almost immediately, scattering her makeup in the microwave, putting food out to rot, leaving cabinet doors open, canned food in the dishwasher, money in the freezer.
When confronted, she would be flippant; surprised that anyone would even question her.
A depressed Russell lamented to his friends about how Laurie was “not happy. She’s not self-sufficient. She doesn’t do anything all day long. She has no life. Laurie is just somebody who needs to be taken care of, and I know I have to take care of her forever.”
She was becoming a burden to him.
By the time Russell would arrive home from work at 6 pm, Laurie was barely awake, still dressed in a sweatsuit or pajamas. The house was usually filthy, as Laurie never cleaned, and Russell would have to do it all himself. He felt like she was more of a lazy child than a wife.
She begged him not to divorce her:
“Don’t leave. You’re the only person who ever cared for me. Even after all the shit I put you through, you were still a pal. We have a great house in the suburbs and we belong to a country club. Where would I go if I lost you?”
Once Laurie realized that Russell was serious, she tried to make efforts to improve. She attempted to do laundry, but ended up putting soggy, wet clothes back in the drawers, causing mold to grow on them.
She also became hypersexual, wrongly believing that sex could cure their marital problems. Laurie had odd fetishes: she admitted to fantasizing about dogs giving her head, and confessed to getting off in public pools, in the presence of her family!
Russell was just about done. He had encouraged Laurie to go back to therapy, but she wasn’t making any progress. He did, however, feel guilty, so he stayed with her on her 28th birthday, and bought her a flower bouquet and pink sweatsuit.
Laurie wore the sweatsuit for weeks, believing Russell wouldn’t leave her if she kept it on, and hauled the flowers around even after they died.
A Messy Divorce
In 1985, near their third anniversary, Russell told Laurie that they had to separate. She was an emotional wreck, sobbing because her parents were on vacation in Florida, unwilling to return home to console her.
Russell had to phone Norm and call him a “son of a bitch” to convince him to come back and care for his distraught daughter.
Laurie went home to live with her parents during the separation. She tried to convince Russell she was a functional human being, that she would change for the better.
Privately, she told friends that Russell would not get away with doing this to her, and that she would make him suffer.
Laurie went full psycho: threatening Russell that she would get pregnant to force her to stay with him. When he informed her that always pulled out, she told him she would just get a syringe and inject his semen.
They began having screaming fights, and police were often called to their residence.
Around this time, Laurie started an annoying and disturbing habit: she would phone Russell, his family, and friends repeatedly, often hundreds of times a day, only to hang up.
At one point, she was even arrested after the calls were traced back to her, but police released and never charged her.
The divorce dragged on for months, turning ugly fast. Laurie, a habitual liar, was telling everyone that Russell was physically attacking and raping her.
Once, like a scene from a horror film, Russell found Laurie in his closet, sitting in a pile of birdseed, listening in on his phone conversations. She became a stalker, intercepting and reading his mail.
She filed a false police report, claiming Russell had burglarized her home. When he asked her why, she told him:
“I don’t have any reason to go on living. And if I go, you’re coming with me. If I can’t have you, nobody can. That’s true love.”
At this time, she bought a Smith & Wesson .357 Magnum gun. Police asked Laurie’s parents to confiscate her gun, but they vehemently refused to do so. Norm blamed Russell for “ruining” his daughter.
Laurie called up her college ex Stephen Witt, now married and a doctor in New York.
She told him that she had his child, and had been raising it alone for years, nearly causing Stephen and his wife to break up.
When Stephen found out Laurie was lying, she phoned his office and told his coworkers that he raped her in an emergency room.
Stephen’s wife said that Laurie’s voice over the phone ”sounded like the Wicked Witch of the West.” She would soon receive several death threats from Laurie, directed towards her and their children.
In between bouts of psycho bitch behaviour, there were attempts at normalcy. Laurie dated a neighbour, and often baked cookies and pies for his mother.
The mother said Laurie seemed a lonely and sympathetic individual, who rarely laughed or smiled, but had a certain “modesty of the soul. She was naive, forlorn and lost, and wanted love and understanding and someone to talk to”
In the summer of 1986, Russell started dating a rich $100 million net worth blonde heiress. Laurie did not take this well. Somebody had to pay.
On Sept. 30, Russell was awoken in his bed by sharp pain in his chest. He had been stabbed with an ice pick!
The wound was an inch deep, and partially deflated his left lung. He was convinced Laurie was the perpetrator, but police claimed there was not enough evidence to prosecute her.
Bizarrely, Russell failed a lie detector test when questioned on the stabbing, and he said this was because police made him nervous. Indeed, the police on the case disliked Russell and thought him an entitled yuppie type.
Russell said of the incident:
“She actually told me she did it. I was talking to her on my car phone, and I said to her, I said: `Laurie, I mean, you know it`s one thing to hate me for the divorce, whatever. I mean, when you go to this extent, I mean, you need help.”
Laurie’s family and remaining friends were tired of her. Her parents still supported her financially, but were disappointed by the dissolution of her marriage and her ensuing bad behaviour. She felt unloved and unwanted, so she turned to the easiest vocation she could find: babysitting.
Technically, she didn’t even have to work. As a part of the divorce settlement, she received over $125k from Russell, as well as a $1250 monthly stipend for 36 months. But her life was empty, and she felt aimless.
Back to School
In 1987, Laurie moved into an apartment on the campus of Northwestern University in Illinois, despite the fact that she wasn’t even enrolled in any classes. It was a sort of regression into a better time, as if she were trying to relive her youth. But she was too far gone.
Laurie’s strange behaviour frightened her roommate. She refused to touch any doors or metal surfaces, using her sleeves or rubber gloves to open them instead.
She had extremely poor hygiene, and once followed one of the roommate’s friends into the bathroom to watch him pee, trying to shake his hand after he zipped up.
She left her dead goldfish in its bowl to rot.
Laurie spent her days riding elevators up and down, and watching TV static or shows without sound.
She stuffed public sofa cushions and carpets with fish bones and rotting raw meat that dripped red with blood, and threw spaghetti in the hallways.
She broke into the apartment of a man she was dating, in order to pee on his carpet.
When they went to a zoo together, the normally indifferent Laurie became sexually excited at the smell of elephant urine. What was happening to her brain?
The scared roommate began sleeping with a bat or knife at his bed.
Babysitter from Hell
After tenants complained about Laurie’s creepy behaviour, she was promptly evicted, much to the dismay of her exasperated father.
In November of 1987, Laurie bought a .32 caliber Smith & Wesson Terrier revolver. Despite the fact that their daughter was clearly deranged, her parents allowed her to possess guns.
Laurie had returned home, only to cause more aggravation by wreaking havoc via babysitting.
She cut open a client’s furniture, causing $1700 worth of damages. When police questioned her, Laurie cried and accused Russell of doing it to frame her. They let her go.
It wouldn’t end there: she would steal food, shoes, pills, perfume- you name it. She wrote on walls with crayons, and wrecked furniture.
People who hired her said she wore thick coats even in the summer, and had awful B.O. A client said of Laurie:
“‘She had an almost childlike quality about her. But she had a great uneasiness with adults. She also had body odor like a longshoreman.”
She let dogs inside a client’s home, and stood by while they tore the place up. Laurie’s father paid the family off to thwart a police complaint.
Norm and Edith sent Laurie back to therapy, as her behaviour was getting too wild for them to handle.
The shrink prescribed Anaxfraxil/Clomipramine, an antidepressant drug used to treat OCD. One of the many side effects of this medication is increased suicidal ideation, as well as the symptoms listed below:
Her exhausted parents sent Laurie to live in student housing in the college town of Madison, Wisconsin. She lived by the University Hospital, to be close to her psychiatrist, Dr. William Greist.
When he administered an OCD questionnaire, Laurie responded “no” to questions asking whether she fantasized about homicide and hurting others.
Dr. Greist prescribed more Clomipramine, as well as Lithium, and gave her lists of tasks to complete which were supposed to assuage her OCD.
Just when she started to improve, Laurie overdosed on her medication. She vomited continuously for 12 hours until her parents took her to the hospital.
That Christmas, she bought her last gun: a .22 caliber semiautomatic Beretta.
Laurie was losing it. Her psychiatrist was alarmed when he discovered she had stuffed a cloth-covered pencil into her ear, and then lit it on fire, in order to remove earwax. She had to be prescribed antibiotics to treat the resulting infection.
Back to School Pt. 2
You would think that after the Northwestern debacle, Laurie’s parents would be more reticent about placing her in collegiate environments. Well, that wasn’t so!
Instead, she moved right into the heart of the University of Wisconsin, in one of the most expensive residences. Purchased courtesy of Norman, of course.
Her new roommate quickly began to notice Laurie’s eccentricities. She had no friends, she didn’t bathe, and her room smelled like urine.
On her shelves were dildoes and Penthouse magazines. Laurie was obsessed with sex: when she and Russell were together, they had invested money in softcore porn films.
Laurie continued her elevator riding obsession, which earned her the moniker “Psycho Elevator Lady.”
She hogged the lobby room TV, and told others it was hers when they tried to touch the remote, obsessively switching back and forth from channels 7 to 21 over and over again.
She entered the cafeteria in fuzzy pajamas, and ate only with gloves on, taking massive quantities that caused her weight to balloon to an extra 50 lbs. It was as if she were ravaged by an insatiable hunger.
Soon, Laurie was bulimic, vomiting loudly after eating, to the point where other students became concerned.
Creepily, a student adviser found Laurie in a stairwell, stark naked and slamming doors repeatedly. She also set fires on campus, and broke her roommate’s stereo and computer.
The only male relationship Laurie acquired in this period was a friends with benefits situation, with an attractive but odd sophomore who had managed to bang her after offering her a back massage.
He claimed that although she had bad hygiene, he didn’t really care, as his laycount that year was supposedly 20. Sounds legit.
However, this guy had never been with a girl like Laurie before: She sliced up her FWB’s roommate’s clothing and textbooks when they were outside during a fire alarm drill, causing $650 worth of damages.
Laurie started plotting her final rampage as early as March of 1988.
It was here that her crank phone calls escalated into actual verbal death threats. She would call up Russell’s sister Susan and laughingly tell her “I’m a psychopath,”mocking her with chants like”Susie, Susie, Susie, you are going to die. Your children are going to die. Goodbye.”
Laurie then stole arsenic and lead from her psychiatrist’s hospital lab, as well as books on poison from the local library.
That month, Laurie was arrested for shoplifting 4 wigs, 2 hairclips, white pants, and a ring from JC Penney. She ran from the police, and when caught, she tried to give them a fake name.
Following her release, she skipped town to avoid her community service sentence.
In April, her distraught roommate left, and Laurie had her own lonely dorm to herself.
Laurie also stopped attending therapy, and her alarmed parents tried hard to convince her to allow herself to be hospitalized. She refused, and the stage was set for a horrific incident.
Due to the fact that she was now phoning up her enemies and threatening to actually kill them, the FBI finally intervened. They sought to seek an indictment against Laurie, but were too late.
She had already gone home to visit her parents for summer break.
Something incredibly disturbing had happened before Laurie left the campus. The janitor found her curled up on the floor of a garbage room, inside of a plastic bag, sweating profusely.
When he asked her what she was doing there, she said she was just looking for something and dashed away.
The frightened man called up his colleagues, who then went into her disgustingly horrific dorm room.
Her room was full of human waste, but an oblivious Laurie was sleeping nude on her mattress. She somehow managed to convince police she was alright, and then made her escape back home to Chicago via Greyhound bus.
Like the buffoons they were, police and FBI missed their last chances to stop Laurie’s killing spree.
When they searched her vacated room, they found hell on earth.
There was a news clipping about a man with OCD who shot himself in the head as a “cure.” There was an article about a mentally ill woman who pretended she was being stalked in order to gain sympathy. There were stolen items from Russell’s home.
Creepiest of all, there were illegible yet telltale rants scrawled by Laurie on scattered paper:
“ hate pain… get through to you… abuse , spit , hurt , spat… why gun . question of safety… bag lady , scum paraplegic… Threw away wedding tape terrified I was helpless . I’ll deny it . suffer forever . Harm children to pay a bill .”
May 20, 1988: the day where all the threads unraveled.
Laurie awoke at 5 am, and prepared arsenic-filled rice krispie treats, popcorn and juice packets. She was ready to harm the people who she felt had made her suffer.
It was sunny outside, and she was wearing a U of Arizona Medical Dept. t-shirt with a skeleton on it, paired with white bermuda shorts.
Stage 1: Poison
She then drove across town to deliver the tainted snacks to the homes of her enemies.
Ex-employers, babysitting clients. former in-laws, ex-friends, her psychiatrists, hated neighbours, college fraternities, ex-boyfriends, and Russell Dann- dozens of people received poisoned goods, as they were all on her kill list.
Few actually consumed the strange, foul-smelling packets of leaking food and juice, which were clumsily injected with poison via syringe. Her most potent victim was a dog, who vomited blood yet survived after consuming the tainted snacks.
Stage 2: Explosives
After this, she arrived at the home of the Rushe family, to babysit their two sons and take them to a carnival as she had promised.
It is bizarre that despite all her sick behaviour, many of her babysitting clients remained unaware and still hired her! Some think the fact that the Rushe family was moving cross-country triggered Laurie, since she took it as a betrayal.
Instead of taking the kids to a carnival, she instead drove to Ravinia Elementary School, and left a homemade bomb (created with stolen flammable chemicals) by the entryway.
Her intention was to kill Russell Dann’s nephews. She set fire to the bomb and ran away, but before it could detonate, a teacher and his students noticed the fire and called the cops.
Returning to the car, Laurie gave the boys poisoned milk in a Mickey Mouse cup. It tasted gross, so the children spit the liquid out and refused to drink more.
Laurie’s next target was a Jewish daycare center which Russell’s niece attended. She kept trying to enter the building with a gasoline can, but was escorted outside each time by puzzled teachers.
Stage 3: Arson
After that failure, she took the Rushe children home. While they were in the basement with their mother, Laurie started a fire upstairs.
The flames quickly spread and trapped the family, but heroic mother Marian Rushe managed to smash the tiny basement windows open. She used her hands to clear the broken shards of glass, badly cutting herself in the process.
She saved her two boys first, then herself.
Bloody and confused, Marian wondered if Laurie was alright. She could not believe her shy babysitter was capable of something like this, and would only find out later that it was Laurie who started the fire.
Stage 4: Firearms
Though her actions up to this point were (thankfully) incompetent, she would finally manage to harm the victims at her next target: Hubbard Woods Elementary school.
She arrived at around 10:30 AM, armed with three guns, which were tucked into her shorts. There were around 200 kids attending school that day.
Laurie first went to the boys’ bathroom, and a teacher saw her exiting and said “hello.” Laurie ignored the greeting and walked on.
She entered classroom #7, where teacher Amy Moses was giving the children a bicycle safety test.
Amy was a small woman, barely grazing 5 ft and weighing about 110 lbs. At this point, Laurie was very heavy, pushing 160 lbs. There was no way Amy would be able to fight Laurie off.
When Amy asked if she could assist Laurie in anything, she merely replied with a chilling “no.” Amy said that Laurie looked “so lifeless. Her face was so hard.”
Amy assumed that Laurie was a visiting student teacher, so she tried to engage her in conversation. Laurie stayed cold and blank, probably strategizing her next move, wondering what to do.
There was still time to call it off and go home, still time to save her conscience.
Suddenly, Laurie stood up from the desk she was seated at, and stormed into the hallway, like a woman possessed.
Laurie saw a 6- year old boy drinking at a water fountain, and pulled him into the bathroom. She fired a hesitant shot, but accidentally hit the tile wall. She shot again, this time hitting the boy in his chest.
Turning around to leave, she found that two boys had witnessed her crime. She aimed to shoot, but the gun jammed, and they ran away and informed a teacher.
The poor wounded boy asked the teacher if he was going to die.
Galvanized, Laurie returned to classroom #7. She pointed her gun at Amy and ordered the teacher to round her students into a corner.
Amy attempted to wrestle the gun away, but Laurie overpowered her. As she pulled another gun out of her shorts, Amy noticed that Laurie wasn’t wearing any underwear.
Laurie then walked up to five scared children, and shot them wordlessly, one after the other. The scene was horrific. Wounded children lay crying on the floor, covered in blood.
Here, Laurie killed her only victim: 8- year old Nicholas Corwin. The rest were left with terrible injuries that took months to recover from, but with mental scars that would last forever.
Fugitive on the Run
After injuring 6 children and killing 1 of them, Laurie escaped to her car. She panicked at the sight of police and accidentally drove into a dead end suburban street. She removed her blood-stained shorts, covering herself with a flimsy blue garbage bag as replacement.
Armed with two guns (she had thrown the heavy Magnum away after it jammed), Laurie ran through random people’s backyards in hysterics.
After running through dense forest brush, she came to 2 Kent Road, an 8 bedroom mansion which belonged to the well-off Andrew family.
She burst into the unlocked kitchen, and found 50- year old Ruth Ann and her 20- year old son Philip, an athletic runner and swimmer. Laurie flashed her gun at them, and took the family hostage.
When they asked her why, she lied that she had shot a man who had raped her, and had run away because she was scared of police.
A sympathetic Phil tried to offer a clearly upset Laurie some water and a pair of pants. She rejected the pants, but took the drink.
The concerned family encouraged Laurie to call her mother, which she did, explaining:
“Mom. I’ve done something terrible. People won’t understand. I’m going to have to kill myself. These are nice people here, I don’t want to hurt them.”
Phil leaned over to console Laurie, who pulled away and warned him not to touch her. She did, however, allow Phil to speak to her mother.
When he got Edith on the phone, Phil was shocked at how emotionless and unsurprised she was, asking him only to return her daughter home safely.
Edith claimed that she could not come pick Laurie up, as she didn’t have a car. Most likely, Edith was too afraid to handle the situation herself, without her husband present.
Laurie apologized to her mother, and told her goodbye and hung up.
Ruth Ann offered Laurie a pair of yellow sweatpants, which she finally accepted. As she put them on, Phil was surprised that Laurie exposed herself in full view of everyone, not even bothering to cover her nakedness.
As she changed, Laurie left her two guns on the counter top.
A sneaky Phil managed to grab the .22 Beretta, but Laurie reached for the .32 S&W (the one she shot the children with) and demanded he return it back. Phil kept but disarmed the gun to dissuade her wrath.
Laurie finally allowed mother Ruth Ann to leave. As soon as she was outside, she informed police of the hostage situation inside her home.
Inside, Phil tried to plot his escape, but Laurie shot him without warning, and then ran upstairs to the second floor. He was hit in the chest, and he sunk behind the pantry for cover.
The bullet was lodged inside Phil’s lungs, right beside his heart, but he escaped the house and survived the harrowing ordeal, eventually going on to become an FBI agent in the future.
Inside the home, Laurie had holed herself up inside the daughters’ rooms. She was at the end of her life. The room was filled with toys and girly objects, perhaps providing some comfort to her.
The crime scene outside would rage on until 7 PM. At this point, the police had phoned Laurie’s parents and requested that they come assist in procuring their daughter from the house.
Ex-husband Russell Dann also showed up on the scene after going through a root canal at his dentist that morning. He claimed to have felt vindicated, as no one had believed him when he warned them that Laurie was violent and unstable.
An officer on the scene who had mishandled the stabbing case even sobbed and apologized to Russell.
When Norman arrived at the standoff, he was hysterical and in disbelief. He cried:
“She’s my little girl. And they’re treating her like a wild animal. Look at these people with army outfits and guns. All they want to do is kill her.
If this is true, if this is Laurie and she did these things, my life is over.”
Norman demanded that police allow him to go inside the house to get Laurie, but they refused, saying it was too dangerous.
Cops humiliatingly tied a dog leash around Norman’s waist to keep him under their control. Via speakerphone, Norm begged his daughter to come out of the house and talk to him, but there was no response.
While Norm lamented the situation, Edith told police that considering the severity of her crimes, Laurie would now be better off dead.
After nearly 7 hours of this awful spectacle, police finally stormed the house.
They found Laurie in the girls’ bedroom, face down in a pool of blood. She had shot herself in the mouth, severing her brain stem. Her eyes were open, and her tongue stuck out from between clenched teeth.
Laurie Wasserman Dann was dead, committing suicide at age 30.
When police informed her parents, Norm was devastated, sobbing and apologizing for his daughter’s actions continuously. Edith seemed eerily… relieved.
The agonized couple went home, police in tow. When police tried to search Laurie’s room, Norm grew enraged, demanding they leave immediately.
Once the police left, the Wassermans threw away most of the evidence. Norm’s compulsion to protect his daughter followed him even after her death. He cried and cried, mourning the loss of his “baby,” wondering how she could do something so evil.
For the most part, Laurie’s rampage had failed. She had attempted to kill hundreds of people across the city by distributing poisoned food to “enemies,” planting homemade bombs at schools, committing arson, and shooting up an elementary school.
She had also intended to kill her ex-husband and those close to him.
In the end, Laurie killed only one child, and herself.
Mother Linda Corwin made a public statement on her son Nicky’s death, which highlighted a disturbing coincidence:
“Hubbard Woods School had returned all of Nicky’s classroom projects, including several storybooks he had written and drawn pictures for.
Two creations seemed chillingly prescient— the first was a lengthy talking-animal story he titled ‘Randolph’s Adventure,’ in which the villain, a dog named Dirty Dan, shoots his victims while at play, killing a character named Mickey.
The second was a drawing of his mother, standing alone, with a balloon caption coming from her mouth reading, ‘Where is my son?”
In the wake of her shooting spree, victims sued Laurie’s parents for allowing their unstable daughter to own firearms, and pushed for stricter gun laws.
Ironically, they forgot that she had attempted to utilize poison, fire and bombs as murder weapons as well.
Some even pushed for the involuntary institutionalization of mentally ill people suspected of being dangerous.
Police and FBI were criticized for their incompetence and for not taking Laurie seriously as a threat to society, despite the fact that Russell Dann had constantly warned authorities about his crazy ex-wife for years.
Laurie Wasserman Dann was buried in an unmarked grave at Shalom Memorial Park, in a small ceremony featuring her parents and a few relatives. Grave diggers were told not to disclose her burial location to anyone.
If you actually read all this, you are probably wondering what the fuck was going on in mind of Laurie Dann.
Hers was a long, unending tale of mental suffering: what haunts me most were her obsessions with raw meat and riding elevators, which seem to evoke the similarly creepy case of Elisa Lam.
Laurie obviously suffered from untreated paranoid schizophrenia, yet her parents were in denial of this, choosing instead to treat the issue as just a mild embarrassment for their family. They vacationed in Florida while dumping their daughter onto psychiatrists in other states, hoping for a miracle cure in their absence.
Rather than lightly requesting Laurie to hospitalize herself, her parents should have done so against her will, instead of encouraging her to live alone when she was no longer even capable of performing the most basic daily tasks. Not only this, but allowing their unhinged daughter to own three guns? It was a recipe for disaster.
Her ex-husband Russell was cold, more interested in building his own life than helping his mentally ill wife. Everybody Laurie knew deemed her a “weirdo” after awhile and abandoned her. Nobody wanted to be responsible for such a frighteningly troubled woman.
There was something terrible happening in her mind that nobody understood. And yet, how can one sympathize with a child killer? Her actions were sick beyond belief.
To her father, she remained his shy, misunderstood, tragic little girl. But to the rest of the world, Laurie Dann is a symbol of mental decay and absolute terror.
I leave you with the final heartbreaking letters Norm sent Laurie in April, a month before her rampage, begging her to get professional help and to heal from her mental illness:
Marina Elizabeth Habe was a 17-year old college student who was violently murdered in L.A. in 1968. Her murder remains unsolved and has prompted endless speculation and theories, many of which include the rather fantastical allegations of involvement by the Manson Family.
Hollywood breeds many children of privilege, and most grow up to become bratty party queens. Enter Marina Habe. She was a dark-haired, blue-eyed beauty- by all accounts a shy, quiet, and moral Catholic girl attending college at the blissfully located University of Hawaii.
Her mother was B-movie bit part actress Eloise Hardt, and her father was author Hans Habe, a Hungarian-Jewish refugee of WWII who fled Europe after publishing the unflattering original name of Adolf Hitler’s father Alois (it’s Schicklgruber, if you’re curious). Her parents made an odd couple, and went on to divorce promptly. Hans moved to a beautiful Swiss village and married a 6th wife, leaving Marina in the care of her mother. He wrote dozens of bestselling books until his death in 1977.
Eloise was always busy filming roles for the silver screen and TV. In fact, her IMDB credits show only a 2 year hiatus period after her daughter’s death. She was never a big star, but she was committed and reliable in performing small roles.
Marina was sent off to Hawaii after graduating high school, and she seemed to have no complaints about relocating to the sunny paradise. Her future seemed bright. She was attaining an arts degree, and planned to become an actress. With her mother being an industry veteran, this would have been a piece of cake.
At the close of 1968, Eloise had Marina return home to L.A. for the holidays. The pair spent Christmas together, and New Year’s Eve soon approached. Little did they know that Marina would not live to see 1969.
It was the night of December 29, and Marina was out on the town partying with friends. She was accompanied by her date, 22-year old John Hornburg, who was 5 years her senior. The pair were with two other couples at the Troubadour nightclub, watching Larry Hankin’s stand up comedy act. Personally, this is not the comedian I would have selected for my last night on earth.
The couple left the club at 11:30 PM, and hung out in Marina’s expensive sports car for a couple of hours, parking near John’s Brentwood home. They most likely engaged in a heavy makeout sesh and other R-rated activities.
At 3:15 AM, Marina changed out of her swanky date ‘fit and into a white turtleneck sweater, a lux fur trim coat, and brown capris. She began her drive home. This is where the mystery of her fate begins.
At her West Hollywood home on 8962 Cynthia Street, Eloise was awoken by noisy muffler exhaust sounds from a car engine – an unknown black vehicle was parked in her driveway. Marina’s car was parked right next, but she was nowhere to be seen. Eloise then saw a young man in his 20s running towards the black car yelling, “Let’s go!” The driver gunned the engine, and the occupants of the vehicle took off.
Marina disappeared without a trace, kidnapped by ominous men right out front on her driveway. When her car was examined, police claimed that the handbrake was set with such force that it was impossible for petite Marina to have done so herself.
Eloise was hysterical with worry, and called the police. According to her stepson’s dramatic account, she paced her bungalow screaming “Why don’t you take me [instead]?” Hans Habe left Switzerland to return to L.A. immediately. They waited in vain for a ransom note from the kidnappers, but there was only silence.
Two and a half days later on Jan. 1, 1969, a couple walking on Mulholland Drive noticed a discarded purse. Inside, there were Marina’s credit cards, makeup and a small amount of cash. This did not bode well, as it showed that whoever kidnapped her had clearly had no interest in money or extortion.
A passing civilian’s dog then discovered Marina’s mutilated corpse 30 feet off the side of the road down a ravine. Puzzlingly, the dog’s owner requested that police ensure that his name would appear in the newspaper. His wish does not appear to have been granted.
There was so much overgrown foliage in the ditch that detectives had failed to spot her body from the search helicopter which circled above Bowmont Drive for days. She was found only 4 miles from her home, and very close to the house of Robert Goulet, AKA the weird turtleneck singer guy Will Ferrell does impressions of.
There are many conflicting reports online as to the condition of Marina’s body and the time of her death. Some allege she was killed the same night she was kidnapped, mere hours later. Others claim she was held captive for over a day and fed by her captors.
While many sensational news outlets claim she was raped, the official coroner’s report pointed to the conclusion that Marina had recently had consensual sex, most likely with her date John Hornburg during the parked car rendezvous. There were no signs of sexual assault or forcible entry on her body. Either way, it would prove impossible to tell with complete certainty exactly what had happened to Marina after she was abducted.
The autopsy report from Jan. 2, 1969 says that she was found lying supine near dense brush. She was fully clothed, with the exception of her shoe, which was tossed nearby. Marina was 5’5 and 128 lbs, and had alcohol in her system at the time of death. Her last meal was vegetarian-based.
There are rumours that she was burned and found nude, but these allegations are categorically false.
Marina’s wounds were extensive and sordid. She had two black eyes caused by a man’s fist, as well as blunt force trauma inflicted with a small hard object. Her throat was cut so violently that her left carotid artery was severed, and her liver was lacerated.
She was also stabbed numerous times in the chest and neck, with one deep slash penetrating her breastbone through her sternum. None of these wounds were fatal, however, and her cause of death is listed as exsanguination, or death by excessive blood loss.
Notably, there were no defense wounds on her body. This indicates that Marina was either physically incapacitated (by her injuries, or due to being restrained by her captors), or she was just too afraid to fight back.
The report also said that an old motorcycle frame was found near Marina’s feet, which is strange because newspapers never dished this rather juicy clue and cops never discovered its origin. Was this the case of a biker gang gone mad?
The coroner determined that at least two different knives were used in the frenzied attack. By now, it was certain that there was more than one person involved in Marina’s murder.
Marina’s Catholic funeral was attended by 350 mourners at the Church of the Good Shepherd in Beverly Hills. A priest by the name of Father Acton gave a rousing speech:
“We wonder about a society, the products of which can be… capable of such heinous crimes. There you have the perfect formula for bitterness, resentment, hatred, perhaps despair. This we must guard against.”
It is said that Eloise was never be able to recover from the murder of her only child, and spent years obsessing over it, full of guilt and despair. She was 99 years old when she died in 2017.
Marina Habe’s homicide was never solved, despite the fact that there were 6 detectives and 20 deputies on the case. At the time, Sherriff Harold White claimed that the LAPD was “trying very hard. But we have turned up nothing that is even remotely interesting.” There appears to have been no official police suspects as released to the media.
Enter the Manson Family: There is zero concrete evidence to link Charles Manson & Co. to Marina’s murder, but that hasn’t stopped true crime enthusiasts from coming to far-fetched conclusions. It seems that every late 1960s unsolved California murder is blamed on the Mansons, without actual proof.
When interviewed about his whereabouts on the night of Marina’s murder, Manson stated he was at a New Year’s eve party thrown by John and Michelle Phillips of the Mamas and Papas. Lucky him!
There are harebrained claims that Marina was friendly with certain Manson Family members, such as Bruce Davis, Bobby Beausoleil or Tex Watson. These three men were known as the Family lotharios: they would befriend women (sexually) and then attempt to recruit them into the Family, all at the behest of Charlie M. LSD-fueled orgies were said to have followed.
Friends claim Marina was too “square,” and too rich and high-class to associate with hippie hoodlums like the Family. The time frame in which she would’ve befriended them is skewed as well: Marina was attending college in Hawaii for most of 1968.
It is worth noting, however, that Angela Lansbury’s daughter Deidre joined the Manson Family in the 1960s, much to her mother’s chagrin, despite also being a wealthy and famous celebrity child. Though unlike Marina, there is actual evidence of her doing so.
In 1968, the Manson Family ran an illegal car and motorcycle chop shop in the desert, next to Spahn Movie Ranch. They bought and recycled stolen auto parts, and were involved in the death of a 16-year old supplier named Mark Glen Walts. He was shot to death and dumped in Topanga Canyon near Mulholland Drive.
Coincidence, or not? Does the motorcycle frame found on Marina’s corpse point to the Mansons? Or was it some other biker gang gone haywire, such as the Hell’s Angels? It is glaringly evident that the police failed to investigate her case properly.
Marina’s death is also tied to several other unsolved murders, such as the Nov. 1969 homicide of Reet Jurvetson, a 19-year old girl dumped on Mulholland Drive, very close to where Marina was discovered. She was stabbed over 150 times, and like Marina, her carotid artery was severed and she was discovered in a ravine.
In the same month of the same year, Scientologists Doreen Gaul and James Sharp were found gruesomely butchered to death in L.A. Their eyes were cut out, they were run over with motorcycles, and they had been whipped with chains. They were stabbed nearly 60 times each, and Doreen had been raped.
Like Reet and Marina, their cases are still unsolved, and the only suspects anyone can come up with are, you guessed it, The Manson Family.
It is very likely that all of this could have been the work of an unknown serial killer who was active in the late 1960s, or a rogue biker gang. L.A. was in the midst of a hippie flower-power revolution, and any number of creepy psychopaths could have taken advantage of this cultural chaos to kill young, beautiful and vulnerable women. Charles Manson was just one among many.
To muddle the waters even further, let us return to Marina’s actress mother, Eloise Hardt. In 1966, she starred in a hauntingly atmospheric horror film named Incubus. This was one of Eloise’s larger roles, and she received top billing.
Incubus is a must see for vintage B-movie fans, as it was filmed entirely in Esperanto and starred William Shatner in all his pre- Star Trek glory. It was directed by Leslie Stevens, creator of the spooky TV series The Outer Limits. What does this nerdy trivia have to do with the murder of Marina Habe, you ask?
Simple: the film is said to be cursed. It sounds ridiculous, but the horrific occurrences that plagued the stars of Incubus makes for interesting reading.
Shatner claimed that while on set in Big Sur, a weird hippie approached the cast and crew, asking too many questions and irritating the actors, who responded curtly. The hippie was indignated, and loudly recited a curse that was supposed to have damned all those involved in production. Did he really? Or was he just high as shit?
In another odd link to the Manson Family, Sharon Tate and Roman Polanski attended the San Francisco Film Festival premiere. Sharon would be slaughtered by the Family three years later in 1969.
Mere weeks after filming wrapped, actress Ann Atmar committed suicide. She was a part time girlie mag pinup who killed herself at only 27 years old, before the film even premiered.
There is no further information available on her death, or why she killed herself. Could it have been due to the disturbing part she played in Incubus? Her character was that of a naive blind girl who is brutally raped by a demon, played by Serbian actor Milos Milos.
Born Miloš Milošević, the hot-tempered Serb was a streetfighter and former bodyguard of Alain Delon. Shortly after Incubus’ release, he murdered Barbara Ann Thomason, wife of Mickey Rooney, whom he was having an affair with. He then shot himself. Some suspect ol’ Mickey was in on the crime, enacting revenge for his cuckoldry.
This bad publicity basically tanked the film in all regards. And then, years later, the curse was completed with the unsolved murder of Eloise Hardt’s daughter Marina. The film itself would be lost until 1993, when it was discovered archived in a French cinematheque.
With the case of Marina Habe, everything must be taken with a grain of salt. The Manson Family and Incubus curses aside, her story is a dark one that seems to have uncorked all sorts of evils in its wake.
Whoever killed Marina Habe on that dark New Year’s Eve of 1968 is possibly still out there, or has died unpunished. But her story lives on, and that of so many other women whose lives were claimed in the crazed frenzy of late 1960s L.A.
July 23, 1987: It was a sweltering New Mexico summer when a bizarre and gruesome act of fetal abduction occurred.
Darci Pierce was a deranged 19 year old who had kidnapped 8 and a half months pregnant Cindy Ray from an obstetrics clinic under the threat of a toy gun, and took her to an isolated forest location.
She proceeded to cut Cindy’s premature baby out of her belly with car keys, killing the poor 23 year old mother to be in the process. Darci bit the umbilical cord with her teeth to sever it.
Cindy was a devout Mormon and known to be very moral and kind, and was already the mother of 1 child previously.
Darci was abandoned at age 11 and raised by foster parents. She despised her stepmother who she claimed was “fat, poor and ugly.”
Darci was also a charlatan who had lied to her husband, friends and family about her pregnancy. She had gained 60 lbs and stuffed her clothing to make her belly seem larger.
Darci was desperate for a baby, as she had miscarried twice before, and despite being barely 20 she could not wait any longer. Her husband was expecting her to give birth at any moment, and her family had already thrown her a baby shower.
During the murder, a man in a pickup truck drove by the wooded area and had stopped his truck on the highway to question Darci on why she was pulled by the side of the road. Darci insisted repeatedly “My friend and I need to be alone,” and seeing another woman (Cindy) sprawled on the ground, the man assumed they were having a liaison and left.
Miraculously, the baby had survived despite being savagely ripped from her mother’s womb under a tree in the desert.
Darci went to a hospital covered in mud and blood, and claimed the baby was hers. However, doctors quickly realized that Darci had never given birth and she confessed to murdering Cindy.
Darci led officers to the scene of the crime, and when she saw the mutilated body of her victim, she became hysterical and screamed, “Get me out of here. Please kill me.”
Despite pleading insanity, Darci is now spending life in jail. Cindy’s husband remarried and raised a happy and healthy daughter who managed to survive the trauma of her birth.
It was the summer of 1999, and 15-year old Sharmini Anandavel needed to earn some quick cash to buy a middle school graduation outfit. Her family had immigrated from Sri Lanka to Toronto, Canada a few years back, and had a hard time supporting themselves as her parents barely spoke any English. Sharmini took it upon herself to raise money to buy a fancy dress and shoes.
She told her parents she had found a job answering phones in an office. But to her friends, she claimed she was to be employed as an undercover drug operative. Her parents had offered to give her a ride to work that day, but Sharmini had refused. She was hiding something.
Sharmini never returned from work that day. 4 months later, her skeletonized remains were found by a hiking father and son in a ravine by a river, carelessly tossed into a shallow grave. Her body had decomposed from the summer heat, and had been ravaged by coyotes who lived in a den nearby.
Sharmini was identified from her dental records, since there was nothing but a skull and bone fragments left as evidence. Investigators also found hair and fingernails that were painted blue, just as Sharmini had done before disappearing.
Her classmates and teachers were shocked. She was described by everyone as a vivacious, outgoing and often mouthy girl, who would never hesitate to stand up for herself. The boy sitting next to Sharmini was crushing on her, and teachers were often bemused by her witty sense of humour. How could she vanish without a trace, on the way to some obtuse job offer?
In Sharmini’s apartment complex, there lived a man named Stanley Tippett, a troubled individual with severe facial deformities caused by Treacher-Collins syndrome, and a criminal rap sheet longer than a novel.
Stanley was 23 at the time, and married with children. He did however have a creepy roving eye, and pretended to be a police officer so he could lure children in the complex to go swimming and on drives with him. In reality, he was a bum who struggled to gain employment and took his rage out on the rest of the world.
He stalked several women throughout his life, once offering a fake job to a woman at a Wal-Mart fair, then proceeding to visit her house repeatedly to leave her gifts. Stanley once kidnapped a 12 year old girl, who was luckily saved when bystanders heard her scream. He had even kidnapped a woman from a bus stop with a fake gun, pressing it to her head and only relenting when she lied to him that she had HIV and was on her period.
Witnesses claim to have seen Stanley around Sharmini at the apartment before her disappearance, and police believe he had made a false job offer to her, pretending to be an officer who would pay her to go undercover. Police found a job application in her bedroom which looked scam-like, but Sharmini was naive and accepted it in good faith. Stanley had probably advised her to keep the fake police job a secret, but Sharmini had told her friends, though she didn’t mention his name.
That Saturday June 12 morning sealed Sharmini’s fate. Stanley had most likely lured her to a remote location, and assaulted and killed the innocent teenager who was merely looking for a job to buy herself a beautiful dress.
Stanley currently rots in jail for other sexual assault related offenses, but refuses to confess to Sharmini’s murder, and detectives do not have any concrete evidence to tie him to her death either. All that exists is circumstantial evidence, which is inadmissible in court.
How and why Sharmini died remains a mystery. All we know is that she was taken advantage of by a disturbed human being, and that her tragic story serves as a warning to never trust anyone.