When the Voices of Victims are Silenced  

 

When homicide abruptly occurs, you can barely function. You are out of touch with the reality of it all.  Your world is thrown into an unimaginable tailspin. This happened to my family. It happened to the extended families of Bill and Jennifer Bishop-Jenkins. A father, a son, a sister, brother-in-law and baby to be all lost to homicide.

Bill and Jennifer Bishop-Jenkins with First Lady, Michelle Obama

Bill and Jennifer Bishop-Jenkins with First Lady, Michelle Obama

You learn about the criminal justice system in the “trial by fire method.” Actually, this expression refers the medieval practice of determining a person’s guilt by having them undergo an ordeal, such as walking barefoot through a fire.  The personal ordeal of progressing though the criminal justice system is a similar feeling to walking barefoot through a fire.

The personal story of Jennifer Bishop-Jenkin’s family is illustrative of the coldness of the procedures.  Not only did they suffer the horrendous loss of family, but a fundamental right was cavalierly dismissed.

In April 1990, they were the elated parents–to-be, Richard 28 and Nancy 25. Richard was shot execution style in the back of his head with a .357 magnum. Nancy lay helpless in the corner of their basement floor, pleading that the killer spare her unborn child, trying to protect her abdomen.  The nearly 17 year old murderer had no mercy whatsoever, firing directly at her unborn child, whose gender could not be determined due to the extent of damage.

The cold blooded perpetrator fled immediately and bragged to friends that it was ultimately a “thrill kill.” Why not commit the crime right across the street from the police station. THAT is what occurred.   This was a nightmare of the worst kind.  Even before the blended Bishop-Jenkins family considered becoming national spokespeople for victim rights, there was the judicial process to contend with after the deaths, and family members were laid to rest.

You act as “little obedient soldiers.” You comply with all requests. You come to court.  You dress professionally. You are told to keep your composure at all costs. You listen intently. You are shocked when it appears that the victims are being put on trial and that perhaps, “the poor juvenile was an intelligent boy, with an immature brain.”   You fight for the right to be heard.  You sweat the details, as no one really knows who the victims were in this court proceeding, as they are just too busy painting the picture of “the juvenile as victim.”  They talk about the evidence, the forensics, the judicial lingo. They talk about EVERYTHING but the victims who essentially are faceless nameless people in the ground.  You anticipate  your special time to speak…and then… as Jennifer tells it, shortly before their time  to make the victims come alive, they received a phone call saying essentially,  “We are not going to bother with victim impact statements, as  the defendant will receive a mandatory life sentence anyway…. So what’s the point?”  Never mind that it is a clear violation of crime victim’s rights. Never mind that you only heard the brutality of the crime and not our family as the wonderful vibrant people they were and could have been! Never mind all that!

Fast forward to 2016, 26 years later and the Bishop –Jenkins family has not been afforded the opportunity to speak on the record about the tremendous impact this event had and continues to have on their lives. But, there is hope. A re-sentencing hearing will take place in the future.

Donna R. Gore, LadyJustice,Jennifer Bishop Jenkins, Shattered Lives

“LadyJustice” and Jennifer Bishop-Jenkins

If this makes you mad. If it leaves you cold with shock and horror, you need to know what your rights truly are, if you are a crime victim today, or “just an ordinary citizen.”

If you are in need of assistance writing your customized victim impact statement, my service is the best investment of your time and financially.

https://donnagore.com/victim-impact-statement-assistance/;

To become familiar with Marsy’s Law in general and what’s happening in your state, please get involved. Go to: http://marsyslaw.us/

Additional References-

http://www.dictionary.com/browse/trial-by-fire

http://www.teenkillers.org/index.php/memorials/illinois-victims/richard-and-nancy-bishop-langert-baby/

The CUE Center for Missing Persons – Paving the Way through Grace- for the Families 2016

 

“The number of reported missing individuals has become a silent epidemic with the open roadways, waterways, and scenic wood lines used as open graveyards. They are horrific graveyards to which no one is paying attention.  Reports of Missing Persons exceed 800.000 annually, leaving nothing more than a path of devastation felt by thousands of families left behind, to linger an unknown fate.” Monica Caison 

Snapshots in Time-

paving-the-way-fuzzy11-e1448040883768Founder, Monica Caison – Honed her skills in missing person’s case management and counseling families through intuitive knowledge and 23 years of “ground pounding,” covering thousands of hours in the woods, and every terrain, on the road, with phone calls, and home visits. Over the years, she has built an impressive network of colleagues in law enforcement and other arenas, enlisting their help with the sole purpose of finding missing persons and unsolved homicides.

Hugs, tears and joyful experiences are indelibly seared into her memory. Ask about a specific case, and she has an encyclopedic recall of details!   She knows her strengths, and knows when and to whom to delegate.  She delivers her brand of compassion combined with a sense of reality and urgency for new families, for they do not know the journey and have to be schooled rapidly. Surrounded by advocates across the country, Monica customizes her approach with every case and perseveres until there is resolution.

Her skills shone brightly at the 12th Annual Conference in Wilmington, NC.

INVESTIGATION SKILLS- Huddled in small groups, State Coordinators listened intently to a previously solved case.  During this “think on your feet” exercise, selected facts were given and we were asked to identify the most important information in five minutes in order most effectively proceed with the case. Ideas, questions, clarifications were tossed around participants. In the end, we learned many lessons about how difficult case management is when time is a precious commodity.

A CAUTIONARY TALE – A Sunday morning tutorial by Monica stressed the importance of the actions of the first person on the scene will set the tone for the entire investigation.  Preconceived ideas, your history with similar cases, your feelings about investigators can color and often times lead the case down the wrong path with damaging effects that can take months to rectify.

(Without the proper experience) “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” St Bernard of Clairvaux  

Sometimes it’s good to throw you in the water to see if you will sink or swim… that’s how we learn!

PRESENTERS- The air was “electric with anticipation” for the new topics and new speakers –

We so appreciate the talented and diverse array of presenters who gave of their time so selflessly in impart their knowledge and insights to assist those who work with missing persons and homicides.  For a detailed account of their bios refer to-

http://www.ncmissingpersons.org/national-conference-2/CUE Collage

 

Wesley Clark– Former Connecticut State Police Detective and Supervisor with 22 years experience with the State police Major Crimes Squad, and Internal Affairs. Since 2009, his focus has been to train law enforcement in innovative approaches regarding interviewing and interrogation of suspects; 

“Sometimes when you push someone, you find out who that person really is.” Keith Ablow- Murder Suicide

Timothy Palmbach – As of 2013, Professor Palmbach has been engaged with the implementation of advanced forensic investigative methods in the war against trafficking in persons (TIP) and related issues such as counter terrorism. He worked with non-governmental and government officials to employ the collection of DNA based evidence during active, undercover investigations involving cases of human trafficking in the countries of Nepal and Costa Rica.  In 2004, he joined the faculty of the University of New Haven as an Associate Professor and Chair of the Forensic Science Department.

He was Executive Director of the Henry C. Lee Institute of Forensic Science. In that capacity, he built and trained law enforcement personnel throughout the world. His credentials also include being a Major of the Connecticut State Police/Commanding Officer/Director for the Division of Scientific Services, Department of Public Safety Laboratory; He served as a Detective and then Sergeant with the Major Crime Squad, and earning his JD from the University of CT Law School.

“You can choose to look the other way but you can never say again, you did not know.” William Wiberforce”

Michael StreedInstructor: Sergeant (Ret.) is an internationally-recognized forensic facial imaging expert based in Southern California with 35 years experience of law enforcement combined with his forensic artist skills to large police departments across the country. He also owns SketchCop Solutions, LLC – Law Enforcement’s Source for Facial Imaging and Biometric Identification, managing an innovative consulting business to law enforcement and private entities. He is the author of the book, “Sketchcop.”

“The ultimate mystery is one’s own self” Sammy Davis, Jr.

Michael Melson- Founder/President of Hawk Analytics–a company that develops applications that extract rapid answers and compelling visual evidence from location-based data, worked in the cell phone industry for over a decade  as an engineer with an advanced degree in software architecture with over 25 years cumulative experience.  He began developing software tools to better visualize the records after working with law enforcement as a pilot and search volunteer for missing persons.2011 was a landmark year in which he assisted solving a missing person cold case the first time entirely through phone records. In 2013, the first commercially available version of those software tools was launched as CellHawk.

“The cell phone has become the adult’s transitional object, replacing the toddler’s teddy bear for comfort and a sense of belonging.” Margaret Heffernan, Author, International Businesswoman 

Steph Watts – Producer–Journalist, specializing in profiling Cold Case Crimes, Homicide, Missing Persons, whose uncompromising standards assist families in creating a true awareness of the issues surrounding crime victims.  His investigative work has been instrumental in discovery and compelling coverage in such cases as the Kathleen Savio- Drew Peterson trial, Scott Peterson, Casey Anthony trials, Mathew Sheppard murder, the trial of cult leader Warren Jeffs, in addition to his contributions for many cable TV series.

“We don’t go into journalism to be popular. It is our job to seek the truth and put constant pressure on our leaders until we get answers” Helen Thomas – Former White House Correspondent

Jon Liebermanis an Emmy award-winning investigative correspondent, host, producer, author and victim advocate. He is a Board member of PAVE -Project Against Violent Encounters http://pavebennington.org/about-pave/.  Jon is President of Command Communications – a full service communications firm. He has also created and executive produced original video series for the web and consulted with major corporations and media on content development and execution. Jon has filed hundreds of reports on fugitives across the country and abroad for the FOX TV show “America’s Most Wanted.”

Objective journalism and an opinion column are about as similar as the Bible and Playboy magazine.” Walter Cronkite

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The Families – Approximately 350 persons registered for this year’s Conference, a percentage of whom were missing person or homicide family members turned volunteers, and Coordinators. There’s nothing like the “gravitational pull” of tragedy to bring like people together forever…

1) Harriet Rivers – On behalf of her Missing Daughter – Ebonee Spears –

A Smiling Face Adorns the City of Wilmington Hoping for Answers!

“It’s just like the city opened up and swallowed my child whole” were the words Harriet used to describe the mysterious disappearance of Ebonee.  Ebonee is a single mom with a young child, who went missing after being seen about 10:45 pm outside her Wilmington home.  Prior to that time, she went to the Wilmington Police Department and tried to make a call using their phone and was frustrated when it would not operate and left, according to the officer on duty.  News sources via her mother report that Ebonee was on an anti-depressant for Lupus and had been acting strangely in the days leading up to that night. In addition, her boyfriend, father of her child, went to her apartment and noted her car was in the driveway, her purse inside, but no cell phone and no Ebonee.

Her best friend, Coquitta Whitaker, owner of a local hair salon said, “She’s so responsible. This is not like her.” Ebonee was also a temporary employee at the University of North Carolina- Wilmington in their history department last spring and summer.  Faculty was impressed with her work ethic and dedication to her child.

A billboard campaign was initiated by the CUE Center for Missing Persons at the beginning of March in six strategic locations throughout Wilmington.  Regarding the effectiveness of billboards, according to Monica Caison, “they become larger than life and get so much more attention.” In fact, Ebonee’s face and demographic information will be seen for eight seconds 500 times a day through the rotation of the six billboards. The billboards will remain with her information as long as needed.

Anyone with information concerning Spears or her disappearance may contact official sources including the Wilmington Police Department at 910-343-3609 or anonymously submit a tip via Text-A-Tip. Send “Tip708” and the information to 274637 (CRIMES). The WPD is offering a $5,000 reward for information.

Ebonee’s Cue Center Profile: http://www.ncmissingpersons.org/index.php?s=Ebonee+Spears

2)  Gretchen Ring on Behalf of her Missing Daughter- Heidi Ring , Chico California-

Gretchen Ring is a 72 year old mother tormented by the ups and downs of her former child, Heidi, She was described as someone  “with a very big heart who helped everyone,” but sadly, could not help herself. Heidi was trapped in the endless cycle of mental illness and physical impairments such as migraines and a seizure disorder. To ease the pain, she smoked marijuana and then “graduated” to harder drugs which became the vehicle of her downward spiral including homelessness. However, Heidi, then 37, always checked in with family up until June 2005.   Reaching out to the “hobo network” as Gretchen called it, and spending all of her money to try to get Heidi on an even keel, did not help in the long run.

A dedicated investigator, Luis Parker, now 84, generated many leads that seemingly went nowhere all the way to Oregon. Tell tale signs that Heidi was not merely within the underground of homelessness, but truly missing was the fact that she did not retrieve her prescriptions or government assistance check.

Seven years came and went with her family diligently looking for her, while at the same time, rumor had it that Heidi didn’t want to be found by her family which only served to alienate all parties. But still, there was a mother’s unwavering love, a mother who spent her last dime on this thankless unending search.

Heidi’s remains were found adjacent to a boat ramp at Ord Bend Park in July 2012, and they were identified as hers in October of 2012. However, the circumstances are still unknown. Was it a homicide, or was foul play involved? This question kept Gretchen awake at night. It also has given her the desire to help others in the cycle of homelessness and to create a deeper awareness by telling Heidi’s story. The pain and sacrifice is etched on her face. But she states, “Maybe I can help someone out, somehow, with their journey in this unforgiving landscape of pain that families are in.”

3) National Candlelight Service- Featured Guest Speaker– Dawn Drexel on behalf of her Missing Daughter, Brittanee Drexel

There is a  pervasive sense of honor that is in the air when one attends this event. It is characterized by a special police escort throughout the entire route, much care, coordination and participation by so many volunteers is evident; the Wilmington River flowing adjacent to rows of chairs, flowers, music, speeches from the heart, candles, music, awards, prayers… and a veiled wall soon to be revealed, bearing witness to the many missing persons yet to be found in the future!

A mother stands at the podium and reads words from the heart. ‘Words that cut like a knife; Words that discuss how she has coped, her pride in family, her perseverance, her gratitude to the Cue Center and all of the volunteers and the legacy the disappearance of her daughter has created as a model for other families to come.  The milestone of seven years has brought both bitter reminders of the loss in Dawn Drexel’s life. On the positive side, a lifetime of new friends and families embraced her in the darkest days of life when her daughter, Brittanee seemingly vanished off the face of the earth while visiting Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. On the negative side, there was indescribable loss, longing and “if only’s.”

What has not been said about Brittanee’s case? There’s been speculation, rumor, inertia, some facts, as well as a fierce dedication to the mission of locating her at any cost by the Cue Center for Missing Persons and other entities.  Brittanee represents all missing persons of her generation. This has been a heavy burden for the Drexel family and all parents of missing children.

 

Her cell phone’s last communication was emitted from a tower in McClellenville, S.C. – about 60 miles or an hour and 20 minute drive from Myrtle Beach.

Abduction and possible human trafficking has been among the strongest theories to date. However, the strongest injustice has been the “conspiracy of silence” from the other parties involved, which is crushing to one’s soul! How can it be after seven years ,that NO ONE has come forward to give a substantial lead? And yet, they carry on…

A Candlelight Vigil is planned for Brittanee on the 7th Anniversary at the Market Common where a tree was planted in her honor. See details –https://www.facebook.com/events/972518209461981/

Anyone with information regarding Drexel’s whereabouts or her disappearance is asked to call the Myrtle Beach Police Department at 843-918-1963 or the CUE Center for Missing Persons’ 24 hour tip line at 910-232-1687.

My Personal Thanks

This, my fourth year of involvement and service to the Cue Center was an overwhelmingly rewarding Conference in so many ways, I never could have imagined!

DRGAwards2016I received a multitude of awards, including a Volunteer Service Award, the Keeper of the Flame Award, the Passages Award in memory of Susan Murphy Milano, and a beautiful wood carving with a message of hope.  These accolades were befitting of so many among me, and yet I was chosen – what an honor!

And yet, with all of these accolades, the most meaningful aspects for me, was the   sense of belonging to something very worthwhile, a cause larger than life itself, a commitment  to the people- the families, the volunteers,  and their stores,. It meant the opportunity to learn more from Monica and the presenters and instructors. I thank Monica and her staff for their kindnesses toward me, the sense of appreciation and confidence in my skills, which was heretofore not fully known to me. You could have knocked me over with a feather… several times!

Susan Murphy-Milano – I would be remiss if I did not relate my gratitude to my former earthly and now spiritual connection to dear friend, advocate, mentor and fellow homicide survivor, Susan Murphy Milano.  Susan was special to many people. She sacrificed so much, helped thousands of victims, and defended her innovative methods and amazing track record, particularly in assisting those experiencing intimate partner and family violence.  She made an indelible impression on my life.  I believe she was “observing from the great beyond” in Wilmington,” embracing me through Monica Caison and Peggy Bettis at the podium. How I miss her!

Monica Caison – The voice for missing persons and unsolved homicides whose selflessness and dedication continues to inspire me and countless others across the nation. I’ve learned she is a keen observer of all of her charges, who gives you autonomy and the ability to learn and grow over time. Monica quietly appreciates dedication, quality work, and those with compassion and a giving nature. I love that she embraces mankind, of every walk of life or circumstance,  uses selective compliments peppered with a kidding nature and self-deprecating humor!   She sees to it that every single family feels as if they are the only ones who matter!

No, she deserved to be found… and I’m sure we all walked away with life lessons that day. We all need to matter. We all need to be loved by someone.     We all need to be found. But more importantly, all need to be searched for.” Monica Caison 

Peggy Bettis – A trusted friend and supporter, was front and center. Her selflessness was demonstrated in ways that can never truly be measured, except in our hearts! She too has enriched my life immeasurably!

It’s the Little Things That Count too;

Thank you to Rachael Smith for showing care and concern for my food allergies. Thanks to James “Hambone” Hamm for being my special golf cart chauffeur.  Thanks to all of the State Coordinators who are so friendly and don’t mind that I’m “a Yankee” at heart! LOL

Coming Full Circle

With an average of over 500 new cases served per year, (2013 Stats,) Hope is not strictly defined. It can come in the form of “just carrying on” daily with the support of others, or achieving resolution such as a tragic, fateful end or the recovery of a person and potential reuniting with a family!  Our emotions, our bodies, our minds and our souls take the ultimate toll in this process.  We are never, ever the same again, no matter what the outcome.   All things considered, Monica Caison and the Cue Center is there for everyone, answering the call!

To Donate: http://www.ncmissingpersons.org/category/donate/

“I wake up softly entering my day, to only wonder who will be found along the way.”  Monica Caison 

References: http://www.starnewsonline.com/article/20160318/NEWS/160319622;

http://myinforms.com/en-gb/a/27667532-mother-of-ebonee-spears-speaks-at-missing-persons-conference/

http://www.wect.com/story/31329420/ebonee

http://www.wect.com/story/31026998/ebonee-spears-mom-best-friend-say-police-offer-little-help-in-search-for-missing-woman

http://portcitydaily.com/2016/01/29/tips-pour-in-as-police-search-for-wilmington-mom-missing-for-two-weeks/

http://www.chicoer.com/article/NA/20160313/NEWS/160319899

http://www.chicoer.com/article/ZZ/20120924/NEWS/120929822

Is Fatal Attraction a Good Example of a Female Psychopath? 

 

Fatal-Attraction-Paramount-Pictures-1We know the dangers of women dating psychopaths due to the diligent work of homicide survivor, Sandra L. Brown, M.A.  They are not, for the most part, living in the shadows, they are living in plain sight. The low conscience spectrum where there is little to no conscience directing our moral behavior, no filter, no boundaries, and depending upon the personality disorder to full-blown psychopathy.

A good introduction to psychopathy is this YouTube interview between Sandra Brown and Michael Cross https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gevnRyRASDc discussing her ground breaking book, “Women Who Love Psychopaths.”  In fact, Sandra feels, based on her years of experience and research , there is a gender bias regarding underdiagnosing women psychopaths.

Females are manipulative and emotionally volatile, often using sex to manipulate.  Psychopaths, in general, separate themselves from their behavior. They possess no insight. They see opportunity everywhere as they have no barriers such as moral conscience to get in the way. They have honed their responses over time to mimic emotional responses.  How do they compensate or can they do so at all due to the insufficient wiring of their brains?

Criminologist and author, Dr. Scott Bonn, tells us in his Psychology Today article, How to Tell a Sociopath from a Psychopath, that psychopaths lack empathy, cannot form or feel real emotional attachments. These people often blend in well as they have good jobs and are well-educated. They are long-range planners, and form Plan B and C, just in case. They are organized and don’t leave a trail of clues. Con artists are examples. Serial killers, at the end of the spectrum of antisocial personality disorders, are totally lacking in remorse and most dangerous of all. .  Victims of such serial kills are viewed as inanimate objects.

Sociopaths, on the other hand, are very disorganized, anxious and prone to agitation and rage. They are the underclass who never gets particular notice in society. Dr. Bonn tells us that they may be able to form singular attachments, but have a disregard for society and the rules that bind us in general.

The Commonalities –Psychopaths and Sociopaths do have some traits in common. They each display violent behavior, have total disregard for the rights of others, ignore laws and social mores and do not feel any guilt or remorse. Therefore, based on these traits it is easy to be confused!

1987’s  Fatal Attraction and the character, Alex Forrest,  book editor

emaifeatures

Glenn Close as Alexandra Forrest in Fatal Attraction

For those of you who have not seen Fatal Attraction, it was almost never made, but its message was heard far and wide in many circles. After its release, men stopped cheating for a time, or were never so careful about their cheating. It introduced the public to psychopathy within the backdrop of normal family life. It demonstrated how things could get out of control without trying and the real potential, more than hinting, that there truly are female psychopaths in this world!

The film is based on a chance encounter and liaison with Alex Forrest, a woman who is intelligent, charming, manipulative and knows how to play the game to get her prey. She sees her opportunity and sets her sights on a seemingly average married guy who she can destroy for the pleasure of sex, and most of all, for the thrill of the chase.

A roller coaster ride ensues with Alex immediately taking control, setting the parameters, becoming more demanding of his time. When he balks and can’t believe, Alex can’t appreciate the fling for fling’s sake, she uses what only a woman has in her arsenal, feigned pregnancy.   When intrusive phones calls, lies and other invasions don’t work, her behavior escalates.  Among a plethora of evil deeds she visits his workplace, attempts suicide, throws acid on his car, makes friends and abducts his daughter, just to name a few. And, through it all, she has a twisted rationalization and blames him for all of her behaviors!

Series of Movie Clips:

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QY2L0GUoYU0

Pregnancy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SZ5YPfWeYzA

Psychopathic Language Samples:

  • “Face up to your responsibilities,” “I won’t be ignored.”
  • You’re not going to leave me.”
  • “You’re my last chance; I don’t know what I’ll do. I can’t live without you; I’ll cut deeper next time.”

Attempted Suicide. Blackmail, Kidnapping Daughter, Attempted Murder of his Wife:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQw2w2KUNIA

Invading Family Territory: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IAsBghop-hw

Lies, Lies, Lies: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yg3w_8_fwIc

Destroying What his Child Loves Most – A New Live Bunny: (Warning Graphic) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ecWhXP2jM28

Bathroom Scene Where Everyone Fights for their Lives from the Psychopathic Killer, Alex: (Warning- Graphic) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hd521kE7f0A

WARNING! The End is Graphic!

Alternate Ending:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GY_NQK7rJrY

Conclusion

I don’t pretend to be a psychologist or psychiatrist. But, I have lived an unusual life of many circumstances which could be called tragic and have worked professionally in many arenas with people from every walk of life. I am an insightful observer of humanity.  It doesn’t take a PhD to know that people with the character of Alex Forrest are out there.

Be wary of people like her. Trust your immediate instincts at the first sign of trouble. I would then seek safety first and get professional help should you not be able to walk away under your own power.  And, do read the writings of Sandra L. Brown and Dr. Scott Brown. They have so much to offer.

Donna R. Gore

 

To schedule Donna R. Gore for your next conference, seminar or event, please contact ImaginePublicity. Phone: 843-808-0859 or Email: contact@imaginepublicity.com

 

 

The Low Down on Monetary Rewards for Crime

reward for information

Reward- A sum of money or other compensation offered to the public in general, or to a class of persons, for the performance of a special service. In legal terms, the person promising a reward is offering to enter into a contract with the person who performs the requested action.                              (West’s Encyclopedia of American Law)

  • An actual, valid offer must be made to create a contract of reward. The offer is merely a proposal or a conditional promise by the person offering the reward, known legally as the offerer. It is not a consummated contract until the requested action is performed. The person offering the reward can do so on any terms she wishes, and the terms must be met before the reward can be recovered.
  • An offer can be made by a private contract with a particular person or by an advertisement or public statement on television or radio, or in a newspaper, handbill, or circular.
  • When the reward is offered for information leading to an arrest and conviction, the return of property, the location of a missing person, or for other purposes, the person who furnishes the information is entitled to the reward. This rule applies even if, in the case of arrest, the person does nothing more than disclose the information and others make the physical capture. The informant need not become involved in the prosecution or appear as a witness at the offender’s trial to collect the reward.

In the Beginning

A June 2012 article reads,“A rare Frank and Jesse James reward poster could fetch upwards of $25,000, making it the most-wanted wanted poster in recent memory. Issued in 1881 and passed down through four generations of a St. Joseph, Missouri, family, the poster offers a $5,000 reward per man.”

If you can judge an outlaw by the size of his bounty, Jesse James was among the biggest, as $5,000 was equivalent to $113,000 in today’s current market.

Well, actually, that poster fetched a whopping, $57,475.00. In addition, the only known signed photograph of Jesse James made $51,240 at auction in 2011, far exceeding its high-end estimate of $30,000.

The wanted poster epitomizes the spirit of the Wild West. Criminals in the 1800’s including harlots to murderers on the run typically were portrayed on a wanted poster offering a reward. Although they may have said ‘Wanted Dead or Alive’, they preferred “Alive” so that the outlaw could stand trial.

The $5,000 original reward for Jesse and Frank James was unheard of, but a strategy employed by Missouri’s governor, Thomas T. Crittendon, was put forth out of sheer frustration and to provide an incentive. Reportedly, over the preceding 12 years, the James gang had pulled off an average of one heist about every six months.

At the time of the poster’s issuance, Frank and Jesse were charged with two train robberies, one bank robbery and a murder in the last two years alone. Nevertheless, the pair remained at large.  However, no one ever collected the $5,000 reward offered by Governor Crittendon for the capture of the James brothers.

Postscript: Jessie was living under an assumed name when Bob Ford shot him on April 3, 1882.

Rewards in 2016

Conventional wisdom says that a monetary reward can be a good tool under certain circumstances, but it’s all in the timing and the right amount offered by the appropriate representative. I have been told not to keep increasing the reward over time, as criminals will often hold back for even greater monies and try to change the terms of the negotiation, seeing the desperation of the situation.

There is very limited information on this topic online, however, a July 2015 article with the Salt Lake City Police Department outlined some facts and practices:

  • Typically Police Administrators weigh the pros and cons of offering a reward, saying , “It’s not paid out often.”
  • Higher profile cases such as the two New York prison escapees and the Elizabeth Smart case may garner $100,000 to $250,000. Typical cases offer much less such as:
  • A tip – $50.00, the identity of as potential suspect- $100.00; The arrest and successful prosecution of the suspect- $500.00
  • Rewards derive from – Corporations, families, Neighborhood Associations, Police Budgets- City Hall (i.e. taxpayers), and sometimes philanthropic donors of means.

Rewards in missing persons cases

rachel-cooke-playing-card

photo courtesy KXAN

Often families with missing loved ones desperately feel that a reward will lead to information on the whereabouts of their loved one.

While on the surface offering a monetary reward may seem like a simple gesture, there are legal implications that need to be considered and it’s best to consult someone with experience in establishing rewards.

According to experts, a reward may serve several purposes including renewed media interest in the case and motivating someone to come forward with information. Although rewards don’t always produce the desired result, it allows families to feel they are turning over every stone to get information about their missing loved one.

The goal of a reward is to generate immediate results like tips and leads. Offering a limited time frame for rewarding information often will pique the public’s interest, as well as put pressure on those with information to come forward. Limited time rewards can be coordinated around a loved one’s event such as a birthday or anniversary.

 

Donna R. Gore

To schedule Donna R. Gore for your next conference, seminar or event, please contact ImaginePublicity. Phone: 843-808-0859 or Email: contact@imaginepublicity.com