Archive for March, 2006|Monthly archive page

Second Wind

Until Joran van der Sloot’s recent visit to New York to tape a television interview, public interest in the Holloway case was waning. The investigation into Natalee’s disappearance seemed to have stalled, and the search for her remains appeared abandoned. Suddenly the missing Alabama teen’s parents, Beth Twitty and Dave Holloway, filed suit against the Dutch student and his father, Paulus van der Sloot, Joran began hitting the airwaves with self-serving interviews, and the lead investigator, Gerold Dompig, opened up to CBS’s Troy Roberts. Now come reports of a new search using cadaver dogs and ground penetrating radar [second link to CBS report], along with the revelation of a new potential witness and the dubious prospect of a trial of one or more of the three prime suspects — Joran van der Sloot and brothers, Deepak and Satish Kalpoe — this summer. The latest out of Aruba is the plan for a television call-in show (in the manner of America’s Most Wanted) to gather tips from the public. Dompig characterizes this the “critical last phase” of the investigation. How desperate are they to bring an end to this saga? Perhaps, some would characterize it as determination, but it doesn’t read that way to me.

Clint Van Zandt provides astute observations on recent developments in a recent MSNBC commentary article. He concludes with two questions for case watchers:

  1. How do you think this crime (or case) can be solved?
  2. What do you think happened to Natalee Holloway?

I have a few more specific questions:

  • Do you believe that Natalee was drugged in order that she might be taken advantage of, or was her state of intoxication a result of her own reckless behavior?
  • Joran claims that they drove to his family’s home at Natalee’s request, but abruptly decided not to go in because his father and brothers were sleeping. What is your opinion of this statement?
  • According to Joran, Natalee wanted to go to the lighthouse to see sharks, but they never went to the lighthouse, opting instead to take a walk on the beach. The Kalpoe brothers state that they did drive to the lighthouse, but no one got out of the car; they subsequently dropped Joran and Natalee off at the beach near the Marriott. Do you believe there is any truth to either one of these stories.
  • Beth Twitty claims to have translated documents that detail Joran’s description of a sexual assault on Nataleea as she drifted in and out of consciousness. Chief Dompig denies that any such documents exist. Joran now insists that Natalee was in full control of her faculties throughout their time together and he never touched her against her will. What do you make of these varied reports?
  • Joran claims to have abandoned his shoes (along with Natalee) on the beach. What do you think really happened to his shoes?
  • In an earlier account, Joran declared that Deepak had picked him up at the beach and driven him home that night. More recently, he explained that Satish picked him up instead because Deepak was busy on the computer. However, the Kalpoe brothers insist that neither of them gave Joran a ride home; Deepak was chatting online while Satish had gone to bed upon arriving home at approximately 1:45-2:00 am. They suggest that Joran walked home. Whose account is closer to the truth?
  • Do you believe that one or more of the prime suspects participated in the concealment or disposal of Natalee’s body, or did Natalee fall into the hands of another culprit after Joran left her alone?

I’m really interested in your responses to these questions. If you have a theory about any aspect of Natalee’s disappearance, I hope you’ll share it in the comment section.

~¤~

Joran’s most recent interview was given to a Dutch publication. He made what I consider an intriguing comment:

Van der Sloot said he decided to abandon Holloway at the beach despite her insistence that he stay to talk and look at stars.

“Everything had to be her way. At that moment, I thought: ‘We’re not going to have sex. I have exams tomorrow and I just want to go home, forget her.'”

Maybe I’m reading too much between the lines, but I detect a marked contemporaneous hostility toward Natalee in his remarks.

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Awesome!

I’ve never gotten the chance to witness a total eclipse of the sun firsthand, but just watching it via video transmission is fantastic.

I don’t know how anyone can experience one and have any doubt that God created the universe.

Littlejohn Arraignment

I’ve fallen a little behind and don’t really have any comments to make regarding this story, but I thought I’d put the latest links and information together in a new entry so it doesn’t get lost in the comment section.

The NY Daily News has a thorough article on the arraignment, including this list of evidence from the recently unsealed indictment:

  • Manager at The Falls bar in SoHo says Littlejohn escorted Imette St. Guillen out at 4 a.m. closing time the day she was killed. He recalls hearing the two arguing before they disappeared through a side door.
  • Two witnesses see Littlejohn putting St. Guillen into his minivan outside The Falls.
  • Another witness sees Littlejohn’s van make a U-turn at 7:30 p.m. near spot in East New York, Brooklyn, where St. Guillen’s body was found.
  • Cell phone records place Littlejohn near the spot where the body was dumped, only an hour before it was discovered.
  • DNA links the defendant to blood found on ties used to bind St. Guillen.
  • Rabbit hair and mink hair fibers discovered on tape wrapped around victim’s head are consistent with those from rug and two fur-collared jackets from defendant’s apartment.
  • Forensic evidence determines that red carpet fibers found in his apartment are consistent with fibers found in his van and the blanket that wrapped the victim’s naked body.
  • Cops say there are no witnesses or other evidence to support Littlejohn’s claim that he was visiting his mother on the day of the killing.

Prosecutors say the murder was committed during a sexual assault. Littlejohn faces life in prison without parole if convicted of first degree murder.

Michael Daly provides a vivid account of what went on in the courtroom.

At 2:12 p.m., the door swung soundlessly open. A short, muscular figure wearing a gray sweatsuit scuffled in, hands cuffed, feet shackled. He did not so much as glance at the corner where the St. Guillens sat, but it could be counted as a blessing the mother did not have to meet his bottomless gaze.

“This is No. 14 on the Part 19 calendar, Indictment 1905 of 2006,” the clerk called out. “Darryl Littlejohn.”

Alejandra seemed to be looking only because she could not look anywhere else. Her hand went to her mouth and her face constricted in pain as if she were feeling some of what her sister must have suffered. Her head dropped and tipped toward her mother.

But at the touch of her brow to her mother’s cheek, Alejandra seemed to catch herself. She straightened and raised her head rather than add to the burden of this woman who sat so determinedly stoic beside her.

The mother’s mouth tightened and the furrows deepened in her forehead, small signals of absolute anguish. Alejandra rubbed her welling eyes as Littlejohn sat at the defense table.

“How does the defendant plead?” the judge inquired.

“Not guilty,” the defense attorney said.

Littlejohn’s eyes flickered like cold fire, but he was otherwise motionless. He had the air of a man who was coming to where his whole life had led, who could see all that was to come.

In 15 minutes, the proceedings were concluded and Littlejohn was scuffling back out the side door. The murdered woman’s family stepped from the courtroom to face a media mob.

Boston’s CBS 4 has video links to Alejandra St. Guillen’s statement after the arraignment and their coverage, as well as Darryl Littlejohn’s recent interview.

The New York Post gives their take:

Later, when Alejandra spoke, she refused to give him the dignity of a
comment – or even a name.

“Since we know very little about the individual charged with Imette’s murder, we have no specific comment on him,” she said.

She thanked cops, prosecutors and New Yorkers for their support, as her mother – her lips quivering as if in prayer – stood by her side.

The suffering was palpable.

“Imette was a good person, a kind person,” Alejandra said.

“Her heart was full of love, a love she willingly shared with her friends and family. She had a passion for life.

“With Imette’s death, the world lost someone very special too soon.”

And Boston’s channel 7 NBC affiliate, WHDH-Boston, provides the full text of Alejandra’s statement.

Another Slap In The Face

The Cruise-line industry has rendered another slap in the face to the family of George Allen Smith IV. The latest comes at a Miami convention:

Carnival Cruise Lines President Robert Dickinson called the disappearance at sea of honeymooning cruise passenger George Smith IV “a non-event.” Smith disappeared on a Royal Caribbean International ship in July during a cruise in the Mediterranean Sea.

Dickinson suggested the panel refrain from discussing the Smith case.

“I hate to see you talk about it because you’re giving it legs,” he said about the story. “It has nothing to do with safety on cruise ships.”

Robert Dickinson, you’re an idiot. Your insensitive remarks regarding the tragic death of George Smith IV do more to give the story legs than an open discussion among your fellow executives would have. Thank you for being so callous.

I wish I had the ability to categorize my blog entries. This one would definitely go under Jackass.

PS to Royal Carribean: I think you underestimate the strength and determination of two women — George’s sister, Bree Smith, and his widow, Jennifer Hagel-Smith. These two should put their differences aside. Together, they’d be a force to be reckoned with.

Update: March 17, 3:35 pm, CT

George Smith’s family has gotten wind of Mr. Dickinson’s comments regarding their son’s death. They’re demanding his resignation. So far, they’ve gotten an apology.

Update: March 18, 2:50 pm, CT

My mistake. They’ve demanded his immediate termination, rather than his resignation.

After learning about Dickinson’s remarks, Smith’s parents and sister wrote a scathing letter to Carnival’s board of directors, asking for a public apology and his immediate termination.

“These statements are despicable,” wrote George and Maureen Smith and their daughter, Bree. “His view that George’s murder is a ‘non-event’ is definitely not shared by George’s family and friends . . . George’s murder is not ‘entertainment’ to those of us that miss him and mourn his loss every day.”

The Smiths pointed out that the FBI and Congress have spent millions of dollars investigating the matter and cruise-ship safety in general “so that similar ‘non-events’ do not happen to other cruise-ship passengers.”

Good for them. I wonder if the response they got provided any satisfaction:

Dickinson issued a statement yesterday saying he regretted causing pain to the family of the 26-year-old Connecticut man.

“My comments were within a larger discussion on cruise industry issues and were not meant to minimize the tragedy of George Smith’s disappearance,” he said.

I’m not sure it would do much for me, but it probably saved Dickinson’s job.

St. Guillen: Breaking News

Blood found on the plastic ties used to bind Imette St. Guillen’s hands behind her back has provided a conclusive DNA match to Darryl Littlejohn. Police Commissioner Kelly announced that an indictment will be sought against him for her murder. Darryl Littlejohn is the prime suspect. The investigation continues.

Fox News has a video link to the press conference.

The suspicion of one or more accomplices remains.

Update: March 13, 8:25 am, CT

There are a couple of interesting revelations in this morning’s Boston Herald:

“Initially, we thought the blood on the cuffs was hers. We could not find any cuts or scratches on him during questioning,” a source said. “There was a lot of jubilation in the squad when the call came that the blood was his.”

So where did the blood come from? A nose or mouth injury? Perhaps, Imette injured Littlejohn as he escorted her out, infuriating the U.S. Marshall poseur and prompting him to “cuff” her with plastic ties then and there.

The source said other evidence collected may also bolster their case. “There was hair recovered. We are waiting for that to come back from the lab.”

As you’ll remember, Imette’s killer hacked off the hair on one side of her head. It would seem impossible not to have left hair clippings behind at the crime scene.

Update: 10:00 am, CT

ABC News is reporting that Littlejohn has been linked to another sexual assault:

Police have long believed that the killing occurred at Littlejohn’s home and that St. Guillen’s body was dumped in Brooklyn shortly after her death. Police say they have cell phone records linking the suspect to that location. They also found carpet fibers on her body that match those from Littlejohn’s rug. In addition, police have recovered DNA evidence that links Littlejohn to at least one prior sexual assault. In those cases, the women were bound and washed or swabbed clean by the assailant.

I read somewhere recently that Imette’s body temperature was around 60° when she was found, indicating that she hadn’t been out there long. I can’t seem to locate the article now. If anyone comes across it, would you please provide a link in the comment section? Thanks.

Note to Readers

It’s Spring Break and everyone in my household has returned to health for the time being, so I plan on being scarce. I hope you’ll keep me up to date with interesting excerpts, links to updates, and your ever thought-provoking discussion in the comment section. Catch ya later.

A Crumbling Case?

Is the NYPD case against Darryl Littlejohn crumbling? A police source tells the Boston Herald that investigators are still confident they have their man and intend to prove it with science. However, recent revelations appear to indicate that science might be exonerating, rather than implicating, the prime suspect in the brutal assault and murder of John Jay College graduate student, Imette St. Gillen.

An apparent semen stain on a blanket failed to provide a DNA match to Littlejohn. Police now believe that it came from an earlier sexual encounter unrelated to Imette’s murder. Media reports about this blanket are a bit confusing. Most indicate that the blanket tested is the Springmaid floral print bedspread that enveloped Imette’s corpse when police found her remains in a remote Brooklyn lot on Foutain Avenue. However, earlier reports mentioned only cat hairs and packaging tape as items of forensic interest regarding that bedspread. A March 6, New York Daily News article implied that there were two bed covers being examined by investigators.

Detectives also were examining possible genetic material found on a white blanket in The Falls, the SoHo bar where the 41-year-old bouncer works and was seen leaving with St. Guillen, 24, sources said.

This seems in contradiction to the most recent report from the Daily News.

Police have held off on charging Littlejohn because semen stains on the floral blanket wrapped around St. Guillen’s naked body apparently do not trace back to the convicted bank robber.

At this point, it’s unclear whether there was a second blanket. It’s possible that the authors of the earlier article misunderstood information provided by their source. Perhaps, police, believing that cat hairs found on the bedspread (also described as white with a floral print) linked it to the basement of The Falls, later revealed that a semen stain found on the bedspread was being tested for DNA; and there was no second blanket.

Tissue samples taken from Imette’s broken fingernails do not match Littlejohn; rather the scrapings appear to have come from a woman — possibly Imette herself. Further tests are being done to determine the source. Meanwhile, Newsday is reporting:

Detectives still have not ruled out the possibility that Imette St. Guillen’s killer had an accomplice and were focusing on a female customer who was in the SoHo bar at the same time as the John Jay College student, police sources said yesterday. The woman’s story has a number of discrepanices, according to the sources, who said the woman was seen leaving The Falls when a seemingly inebriated St. Guillen was escorted out of the bar by bouncer Darryl Littlejohn. Police sources said Littlejohn is the prime suspect in St. Guillen’s Feb. 25 rape and murder.

Yesterday, one of three victims of a suspected serial rapist failed to pick Littlejohn out of a lineup, after having previously identified him, in a photo array, as her attacker.

The Forest Hill rape occurred Oct. 16, when a man posing as an immigration officer abducted the victim, throwing her into a dark van, where he handcuffed and blindfolded her, police said. The woman was later raped in a basement.

The next incident occurred three days later, when a 19-year-old York College student was abducted in Jamaica by a man wearing a “Fugitive Agency” cap. The student was handcuffed and thrown into a van, but she managed to escape a half-mile away, according to police.

The third incident occurred on Long Island on Nov. 9 when a 15-year-old girl was kidnapped at gunpoint and thrown into a black van. The attacker covered her head with a coat or cloth that he secured with packing tape, then raped her in a basement before dropping her off on an Elmont street, police said.

The 22-year-old, petite Japanese woman told police that the man who raped her was bigger than Littlejohn. Though her failure to identify Darryl Littlejohn as her attacker prevents police from charging him thus far, he has not been ruled out as a suspect in that rape or the others. Police hope that DNA results may yet conclusively tie him to those cases. The victim’s memory may be unreliable because of the trauma inflicted on her and the fact that her head was quickly covered by the perpetrator.

What evidence possibly implicating Darryl Littlejohn remains?

  • Police are still awaiting results on cat hairs found on the floral bedspread, used to wrap Imette’s remains, in comparison to cats that live in The Falls basement.
  • Bar manager Danny Dorrian and at least one other bar employee claim to have last seen Imette in the company of Littlejohn.
  • Cell-phone records place Littlejohn near the Fountain Ave crime scene about two hours before Imette’s body was found there by police.
  • Tape matching that used to bind Imette’s head was found in Littlejohn’s home.
  • Fibers found on the tape covering Imette’s face match carpet fibers from Littlejohn’s house. Similar fibers were also found on the bedspread that held Imette’s nude body.
  • Casts of shoe prints were taken from dirt portions of Mr. Littlejohn’s driveway. The significance of those tracks is unclear.

Law enforcement sources have indicated that there is other forensic evidence unknown to the public. Rear seats from a van were found in the basement of Littlejohn’s Jamaica, Queens home. A Ford Windstar van with the rear seats missing was found a couple of blocks away. Both are being examined and tested. Police removed numerous items from both Littlejohn’s residence and the Lafayette street building that houses The Falls. It’s unknown if any of Imette’s clothing or personal property, such as her cell phone, have been recovered; she received a call from her friend, Claire Higgins, about ten minutes before closing time at the bar. Imette suffered numerous wounds at the hands of her attacker, and her long, dark hair was chopped off by the killer. Police have yet to reveal whether the victim’s blood or hair has been found in Littlejohn’s home, the bar, or either of the impounded vans.

Darryl Littlejohn remains jailed on Rikers Island for a parole violation related to his employment at The Falls. According to his attorney, Kevin O’Donnell, he maintains his innocence in all four cases and sees himself as a scapegoat for the murder of Imette St. Guillen. O’Donnell indicated his client was confident he would not be identified as the perpetrator in the Forest Hill rape case, blurting out, “I told you so,” after the woman failed to finger him.

I am particularly bothered by the changing stories put forth by The Falls staff — most specifically Daniel Dorrian, the manager — regarding Imette’s behavior and departure. Dorrian originally told the Globe that “he had not been working the night of St. Guillen’s disappearance and did not know whether anyone had seen her at the bar.” He later acknowledged to police that he had served Ms. St. Guillen two drinks over the short period of time that she was there before closing time, stating that she left alone and of her own accord after glancing at a note pulled from her purse. His latest rendition of events is that he ordered bouncer Darryl Littlejohn to remove a drunken and displeased Ms. St. Guillen from the bar shortly after closing time. Littlejohn took her out through a side door, while Dorrian went downstairs. The sounds of a brief verbal altercation and a muffled scream followed, but Dorrian did nothing in response. Another employee states that he assisted Littlejohn in escorting Imette from the bar, and that he last saw her outside the establishment in the company of Darry Littlejohn. One account has her standing on the sidewalk as the bouncer sat in the driver’s seat of a van. Another places St. Guillen in the van with Littlejohn, but seemingly untroubled. There are also variations of the events that led up to Ms. St. Guillen’s ousting. One account is that, displeased about not being given time to finish her drink, Imette became belligerent, prompting Dorrian to order her removal. A Newsday article portrays the situation differently:

As closing time approached, she was offered another drink, which she refused.”I don’t need another drink from you people,” witnesses remembered her saying, sources said.At that point, sources said, Littlejohn moved in, possibly in an effort to calm matters down, though some accounts describe him as seeming to be attracted to her.”Leave me the — alone,” St. Guillen is quoted as saying, police sources said. “I’m a FBI agent.”Littlejohn, who was known to walk his South Jamaica neighborhood pretending to be a federal agent, had a quick retort, police said.”Oh yeah?” he said. “I’m a U.S. marshal.”St. Guillen then made the comment about blacks [“That’s why all you black people are in jail.”] sources said, prompting Littlejohn’s boss to order him to escort her out of the bar.

Were the lies told by Dorrian and other employees aimed at protecting the bar’s liquor license and guarding against an inevitable civil suit, or is there a more sinister implication? The New York Post reports that Daniel Dorrian’s attorney refused to comment when asked why his client had changed his story and whether he had submitted a DNA sample to investigators. Was Imette really seen outside the establishment after Littlejohn escorted her through a side door into a corridor, or is that just another lie? Did Imette really leave 218 Lafayette alive? All these accounts from various unnamed witnesses are befuddling. I want to know who said what and how each stands to benefit from his or her own version of events. Whatever forensic evidence police have managed to accumulate will speak for itself.

Death of a Serial Killer

As the investigation continues and more details emerge, it’s becoming apparent that the person responsible for Imette St. Guillen’s death, prematurely dubbed the “Mummy Maniac” by the media, is not a serial killer but a hardened criminal. I suppose there remains the possibility that he has gotten away with other prior murders or that he might kill again given the chance, but hopefully that will remain hypothetical. As yet, Darryl Littlejohn remains uncharged and considered innocent until proven guilty, however police are referring to him as a suspect — their only suspect. That’s strong terminology. Darryl Littlejohn is not just a person of interest; he’s a suspect.

Several things contributed to the misconception that Imette had become the prey of a sadistic serial killer. What was originally reported as lacerations to Ms. St. Guillen’s genitals is now described as tears. I know that lacerations can be cuts or tears, but the media gave the impression that the lacerations were the result of torture, indicating the former. In reality, they may be the result of a brutal rape. Much ado was made of the fact that Imette’s hair had been chopped off on one side of her head. Many speculated that it was either kept by the killer as a trophy or lopped off as an attempt to humiliate the victim during her torturous ordeal. It’s now believed that the hair was cut away because that portion of the tape binding her head contained the killer’s fingerprints. Lastly, Michael Dorrian, co-owner of The Falls, originally told police that Imette had left the bar around closing time, alone and of her own accord. Many believed that she had been randomly grabbed off the street by a twisted predator. Dorrian has since admitted through his attorney that he ordered Darryl Littlejohn to escort her from the bar when she refused to leave, having not finished her drink; Littlejohn did not return.

So what do the police have…that the public knows about anyway?

  • Littlejohn is the last person known to have been with the victim. According to witness accounts, he escorted the very intoxicated and disgruntled patron from the premises of The Falls through a side door just after closing time. The sounds of an argument and a muffled scream followed, and Littlejohn did not return to the bar afterward. However, the bar staff that heard the commotion did nothing to check it out, and at least one other witness later places Imette outside the establishment talking to the bouncer as he sat in the driver’s seat of a van.
  • Littlejohn had a scratch on the back of his neck when he returned to work the following evening. Imette’s fingernails were broken, indicating that she may have scratched her attacker.
  • Cell phone records place Littlejohn in the vicinity of the disposal site a couple of hours before police were led to the body by an anonymous 911 call made from a local payphone.
  • Forensics:
    • Police are still trying to match cat hairs found on tape and a bedspread that held the remains to cats kept in the basement of the building that houses The Falls, 218 Lafayette.
    • Imette’s face was bound with packaging tape; comparisons are being made to see if it can be linked to packaging tape found in the building above the bar and at Littlejohn’s residence.
    • Plastic ties similar to those used to bind Imette’s hands and feet were found at 218 Lafayette.
    • Police recovered a white blanket with what they believe to be a semen stain from the Lafayette street building. Police are awaiting results to determine if it matches the suspects DNA.
    • Police are awaiting the results of a DNA comparison of fingernail scrapings from the victim to a catalogued DNA sample from the suspect.
    • Police took castings of tracks or footprints in the dirt portion of Littlejohn’s driveway. Their warrant did not permit them to search the van parked in the driveway, but earlier in the week they seized a van from a Brooklyn auto repair shop, ostensibly as part of the investigation; the van was later returned to its owner.
  • Littlejohn has exhibited what may be considered suspicious behavior since Imette’s body was found:
    • He called a Daily News reporter Sunday morning to proclaim his innocence and protest his unfair targeting by the police because of his race.
    • He returned to The Falls on his day off, asking questions about Imette and expressing interest in the investigation.
    • He was the only male employee of The Falls who refused to voluntarily provide a DNA sample, scoffing at fellow employees who complied.

Darryl Littlejohn is in police custody, held on a parole violation — breaking curfew — while investigators continue to try to build a case against him or eliminate him as a suspect. According to some reports, police are confident that they have their man. Speculation remains that there may have been more than one person involved in Imette St. Guillen’s slaying. Police questioned another bar employee and examined his body for scratches; none were found. There have been rumors about the possible involvement of a woman, as well. In addition, investigators are considering the possibility that Imette may have been drugged at the bar and have requested toxicology reports from the medical examiner. ( I tend to doubt that scenario.)

I’m sure the people of New York are relieved to know that a serial killer named “the Mummy Maniac” isn’t in their midst. The assault and murder of Imette St. Guillen is no less horrific either way. I guess we should be thankful that those in charge of the investigation are more professional and methodical, and less inclined to dramatic flair, than some members of the media and many of us, amateur cybersleuths.

Update: 9:00 pm CT

MSNBC has reported some interesting developments in the investigation. Police have impounded a gray or silver mini-van found parked on a street near Darryl Littlejohn’s residence. The exterior of the van was dusted for prints before being hauled away. The rear seat of that van was found in the basement of Littlejohn’s home. It’s also been reported that there are stains in the Littlejohn home that may be connected to Imette St. Guillen. A reporter for the Boston Herald revealed that Mr. Littlejohn is currently being looked at by police for other crimes. Under probing from Rita Cosby, the reporter refused to reveal the nature of the crimes other than to say that they are very serious offenses. The same reporter stated that investigators are looking very hard at the anonymous 911 call, reviewing the recordings to try and determine if the voice matches Littlejohn’s or that of someone very close to him. There is concern that someone else may have involvement in or knowledge of the murder. The payphone used by the caller was previously dusted for prints, but it’s unclear whether any identifiable prints were recovered or if they’ve provided a match.

Update: 9:20 am, CT

The Boston Herald is reporting that Darryl Littlejohn is being investigated for at least three other rapes:

In the three attacks, the rapist identified himself as an immigration officer before pulling the women into the van and throwing a blanket over their heads so they could not identify him, the sources said. He then drove to an underground garage, where the women were raped and sexually assaulted.
No DNA evidence was recovered from the three attacks. The victims told investigators their attacker wiped them down after the rape with some sort of disinfectant swabs, the police sources said.
Investigators who searched Littlejohn’s residence in Queens from Monday evening into yesterday morning recovered alcohol swabs and plastic ties in his home, the sources said.

Darryl Littlejohn, the 41-year-old hardened criminal is looking more like a budding serial killer. Maybe the “Mummy Maniac” moniker will stick after all.

Imette’s Killer: Travelin’ Man

I’m going to make what some might consider a huge leap in comparing the gruesome murder of Imette St. Guillen in New York to the “Intolerable Killings” in the bordertown of Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico. In doing so, I suppose I risk becoming the laughing stock of bloggerdom, but that’s okay. I’m not really a blogger anyway; remember?

I first learned of this crime on Tuesday evening when Imette’s sister, Alejandra, and mother, Maureen, appeared on a cable news program to share the heartbreak of their loss and ask for the public’s help in bringing her murderer to justice. The details of her assault and murder brought to mind a sexually sadistic serial killer. Next morning, I Googled her name and learned that investigators had been unable to find any other similar crimes to tie the murder to, even though they believe this man has probably committed such an assault — if not murder — before and will likely kill again if not apprehended. Of course, I had to disregard their inability to link Imette’s murder to others and try to figure it out for myself. So now, I set about destroying any credibility I might have as a discerning and rational thinker. Bear with me.

Last Friday night, February 24, Imette St. Guillen went out to a trendy bar in lower Manhattan with a few of her girlfriends. At about 3:30 am, the last of her friends was ready to go home, but Imette was unwilling to leave. Claire and Imette argued briefly outside Pioneer, at 218 Bowery, before the two parted company, and the former left in a cab. Approximately twenty minutes later, a concerned Claire called Imette’s cell phone:

Higgins: Where are you?

St. Guillen: I’m in another bar.

Higgins: When are you going home?

St. Guillen: Later. I’ll be home later.

It’s since been reported that Imette sat alone at the bar in The Falls, at 218 Lafayette, just a few blocks from Pioneer, before reading a scrap of paper from her purse and exiting the bar alone at about 4:00 am. Interesting, though most likely irrelevant, is the fact that The Falls is owned by the same folks who own Darrien’s Red Hand, the bar chosen by Jennifer Levin for her last night of partying before being brutally slain by Robert Chambers, the “Preppie Killer”. Police were led to St. Guillen’s body by an anonymous male caller who dialed 911 from a payphone outside a Brooklyn diner; they’re anxious to talk to the man again, believing that he might have firsthand knowledge of the crime.

Operator: “Hello, 911.”

Caller: “I think there’s a body over at Fountain and Seaview.”

Operator: “How do you know? What did you see?”

Caller: “It looks like a body. You should send someone to take a look at it.”

The tipster then hung up.

Investigators are still searching for clues to the identity of Imette’s killer, but it is believed that he may have taken her to a cheap motel where he brutalized, suffocated and strangled her before dumping her nude body, wrapped in a floral bedspread, along the roadside near Spring Creek Park just off the Belt Parkway in Brooklyn — a notorious gangland dumping ground. A sock was stuffed in Imette’s mouth, her long dark hair was chopped off, and her face was covered with strips of translucent, beige packing tape, prompting some in the media to dub her attacker “The Mummy Maniac”. An autopsy revealed ghastly injuries indicating that Imette suffered a savage and sadistic sexual assualt before her death. In addition, her fingernails were broken, her hands bloodied, and there were wounds to her chest. Her feet were bound with shoelaces and her hands with plastic ties. I’ll leave the profiling to the experts, but I would expect that her killer bears the marks of Imette’s fight for life on his face, neck and arms.

Over the last 12 years, hundreds of young women have been abducted and murdered in the state of Chihuahua, Mexico. In the majority of cases, the bodies show signs of sexual assault and strangulation. In some cases there are similarities to the condition of Imette’s body — evidence of torture, injuries to the breasts, and the hands and/or feet bound with shoelaces. Often the bodies have been found in notorious gangster dumping grounds — many of them in an area called Lote Bravo (Brave Lot). Several of the victims were students with connections to two Mexican computer school chains — Grupo Premier and Grupo Pionero. The remains of two of those young ladies were found along thoroughfares bearing the name Aldama (“to the lady”), though in different cities. Both organizations are widespread national chains that locate their computer schools in the busy downtown areas of Mexican cities. What caught my eye was the coincidence of the name Pionero.

Most recently in Ciudad Juárez, on February 24, Margarita Cardoza Carrasco, age 74, and her adopted daughter, Luisa Lorena Hernandez Carrasco, age 27, were found murdered in the bathroom of their home by the elder woman’s grandson. It appears that the women were killed with a knife. The hands and feet of both women were bound and Luisa’s face was covered with some sort of bandage. [LINK 1 LINK 2]

On Friday, March 3, Amnesty International and Mexico Solidarity Network are co-sponsoring an event to bring awareness to the public about the continuing murders of the women of Ciudad Juárez and Chihuahua, Mexico. It will take place this evening at Judson Memorial Church, 239 Thompson Street, in lower Manhattan, less than a mile away from the two nightspots where Imette St. Guillen was last seen alive.

Okay, I’ll admit that it’s not all that likely that the “Mummy Maniac” traveled from Juárez, Mexico to New York to visit his sadistic skills on a young woman he took notice of in the Pioneer bar. It’s a scenario more suited to a Hollywood spine-tingler than real life. The circumstances of Imette’s abduction seem more in line with a random selection of victim. However, given the facts of Imette’s status as a graduate student of forensic psychology and criminal justice and the horrific details of her murder, it doesn’t seem prudent to rule out the possibility that Imette was specifically targeted and stalked by someone waiting for the opportunity presented last Friday night. I can’t help but wonder if she had shown an interest in the serial killer terrorizing Juárez for the last decade.

My imagination would like to go further with this theory, but I think I’d better restrain myself for now. What I’ve written so far has opened me up to enough scoffing from readers. I’ve had this entry in draft for two and a half days, trying to work up the nerve to publish it. Now I’ve just seen on Fox News that the FBI is searching nationwide for Imette St. Guillen’s killer. Maybe my theory isn’t so ridiculous after all.