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The Guy Next Door

All the BTK capture news reminds me.

I went through this true crime phase. Phase might be the wrong word; I only gave up the "hobby" because I read every book true crime book on the shelves at the community college library where I was working.

There's one book I read that I've been wanting for years to find again, just to clear up one probably faulty memory I have of the case. But I could never remember the serial killer's nickname (they always have to have the catchy name), let alone the name of the book or the author. I just remember that it started out with a young girl hitchiking and being picked up by this guy, who then takes her to his house and puts her in some contraption in the basement, much like a very large coffin. That's it. I don't recall much else except the confinement in a box. Ring a bell to anyone?

Anyhow, take a look at this guy.


I bet you've come across at least twenty guys who look like him. Helpful, unassuming, maybe will take your garbage cans in for you in a windy day. He held a leadership position in his church.

Here, he doesn't look as...off. The facial hair gives him a more trusting, mature look.

You never know what lurks behind the mask people wear outside. Joel Rifkin used to regularly come in the deli where I worked. He was just one of those people you looked at a bit sideways, thinking there was just something off about him, but you chalked it up to him having poor social skills. Ok guy, I thought. Quiet.

Just..weird. Thinking this regular guy lives on your block, goes to your church, shops in your store and all the while he's been killing people. And being a real asshole about it, too.

Anyhow, if that book/case I described above sounds familiar to anyone, let me know.

I've got a bad case of the creeps today.

Update: Hubris ties the whole thing (the guy, the food sounding name, the George Costanza oddity) together.

And yes, I know murder is not funny. But sometimes you just have to lean back and laugh so your mind doesn't combust.

Completely unrelated, I was just reminded that I never finished my 100 comics thing. So I will.

And uh...don't forget to vote.

Talk about your non sequiturs.


Jason Alexander, call your agent.

Damn, I totally left out the part about him looking like George Costanza. Well, Jason Alexander, but Jason is George to me.

Oddly, Seinfeld also had a character named Joel Rifkin. He was bummin' cause of the associations with his name.

Yea....wasn't that the hockey game episode?

Not blogwhoring (no link!), but I find it creepy that earlier today I did a post on BTK and the McDLT, featuring a photo of Jason Alexander (and I hadn't noted the resemblance, at least on a conscious level).

I think his name was Cameron Hooker. Try this link from Court TV's Crime Library:


Another resemblance: Steve Zahn in National Security (aged twenty years).

Bri2k, Yes, that's the one.

I remember now how the book had an affect on my claustrophobia and I had to keep putting it down.

I believe this is the book.

Michele, I thought you might be talking about this book, which has almost no details. It was made into this movie, which I saw when it came out in '72, and again in '90 as this movie.

A lot of criminals do look the part, especially the gangbangers and the career criminal guys with Aryan Brotherhood and NLR tatoos across shaved heads and forearms.

But what strikes me about some of the booking photos I see everyday is the sheer regularness of so many.

The banality of evil, I suppose.

Michele, Perfect Victim's a good, if fucked up, book. :)

Even though you've found your culprit, I thought the case sounded a lot like this one Leonard Lake and Charles Ng.

A few nights ago, Discovery Channel or one of those channels actually showed some of the footage from his twisted videotapes of his victims. They were confined in a secret room built off the side of his house.


Yeah, I remember that book; he had some sort of contraption that he put over her head; IIRC he kept her in a platform under his bed. His wife was involved in the kidnapping, too.

Was it "Enclcyopedia Brown and the case of the S&M girl"?

I have that same fascination with true crime and read "Perfect Victim" when it came out. I think what really got to me about it was that his wife was his accomplice - and the way he'd constructed the box beneath their bed. Geez.

I guess what attracts me to this genre is trying to figure out what exactly it is that snaps in a person's mind when they take the step from normal behavior to acting out their fantasies - and how they can exist in a world knowing what sets them apart from everyone else. I also really like seeing how the police are able to use both forensic and profiling techniques to solve cases; it's truly amazing to me how some of these cases are solved.

Just to be weird, and I haven't read the other comments. But, I met a guy in San Diego, in a bar, who later turned out to be a serial killer who kept the faces of his victims in his freezer. He was a quiet guy, seemed nice, etc. He worked as a mechanic in a gas station.

You just cannot tell from looking at someone if they are evil.

What is even scarier, to me, is that the BTK killer was an ordinance official - he had a valid government ID and many people let him into their homes because he was checking on this ordinance or that ordinance.

I will never let anyone with government ID in my house unless they have a warrant - the BTK killer started off killing a family - then went on to just killing women.

I read the whole Joel Rifkin link. Ick. Gave me an uneasy night's sleep last night. The site needs a disclaimer: "No warrantees implied, all risks assumed: read at your own peril."

There's a t-shirt on the market "I'm the quiet neighbor who keeps to himself".