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  1. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by pittsburghgirl View Post
    Here's one line of thinking.

    Let's postulate that Friday was the first call. It is recorded on the answering machine either because Sherrill or Suzie is screening or they aren't home. The call is saved because:
    • Suzie heard the call first and is upset and wants her mom to hear the call;
    • Sherrill wants evidence of the call;
    • The women have had other calls and have agreed not to erase one if it is recorded;
    • They suspect the call is related to the grave robbing case;
    • They think they know who the caller is;
    • A combination of the above.


    Let's postulate that the calls either started Friday or not long before Friday. What are the possibilities? If no other obscene calls came in on Saturday--or no other calls from that same number--why Friday and Sunday? Saturday would have been an ideal time for such calls, for the average pervert, with the women predictably home getting ready for graduation or for Saturday night activities. Why would the day of the abduction be the day there is no call? If the calls are related to the abduction, perhaps the perpetrator(s) use the Friday obscene call to scope out when the women are home or not and to create fear. The Sunday calls could be to figure out if anyone is in the house; the second call to figure out WHO is in the house. A woman's voice with a certain kind of reaction would probably be friend, neighbor, etc. Male voice of a certain tone: police.
    I think you hit the nail squarely on the head. I have highlighted what I think are the most likely explanations. And I also agree with your take on the Sunday calls. When I thought about this I tried to put myself in the criminal's shoes. What would I do if I wanted to know the state of the investigation as he/they had to know something would break on the case. By providing a heads-up on the situation it would provide additional lead time to work out the details of what they would do with the women if they hadn't already murdered them. At that point in time the women were conceivably still alive. If they had already murdered them, they would want to be devising of ways to dispose of the bodies.

    Let's assume for the moment that Cox was the chief mastermind of this operation. He has one or two flunkies along with him. With his history, it would ideally be to his advantage to rid himself of all excess baggage including his associates. Had he taken them out east to the farm where this has been known to have happened he could just as easily have thrown another one or two extra bodies on the burn pile and then took all the remains out to the James river, dumped it in and went about his business including sitting in his vehicle across the street as the crime was being investigated, knowing there were no witnesses to finger him. If somehow he left no forensic evidence behind he was home free.

    Now the problem with this is that it doesn't dovetail with the phone calls if there was no known association with Cox and any of the women. But it could have been one of his associates who worked with Cox and placed the calls if not him and he might have had some kind of relationship with one of them. Of course it would be natural to imagine that it was related to the grave robbing case and perhaps it was. That is not yet off the table.
    "Never answer an anonymous letter"

    "I didn't really say everything I said"

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  2. #17
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    Since this case hasn't been discussed lately

    I thought I would relate an episode of "Solved" I viewed tonight that had to do with a missing college professor in Louisiana. Since it had many similarities to this case I found it especially interesting. Seems the parents went to this young woman's apartment to look for her. She wasn't there and while they are looking there, the phone rings. The caller identifies himself and relates that he was there the night before but doesn't know where she is. This occurred in 2003.

    I need not tell you that this caller also murdered her. Very interesting case. Her body was dumped down a sink hole in the middle of a wilderness area in Louisiana. It took quite a search to find it.

    The more I think about this case, I am inclined to believe those phone calls were placed in order to find out when the crime scene was discovered just as I believe this case in Louisiana was done. I know of no other reason for the call in Louisiana to have been made, since the perp already knew the woman was dead.

    Having said, this, ought not it be possible to trace those phone calls to find out the location of the call and caller from telephone logs? If that is possible it will override the erasures since the time and caller would be identified with the time of the calls.

    Just thought I would throw this out for consideration.
    "Never answer an anonymous letter"

    "I didn't really say everything I said"

    Yogi Berra



  3. #18
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    The issue of the obscene phone calls is very interesting but not particularly useful in understanding what happened. We may not have all the "facts" right. The statements of Janelle and her boyfriend would probably answer some of our questions.

    I find it a little strange that the obscene call was erased. I find that even listening to the phone messages rather intrusive. One possible explanation is that the message log was "Maxed Out" and they wanted to clear up some space so they could leave their message. This would be an "innocent" lie. (Assuming it was from Friday, it would be useful to know if there were any other messages that old. I would expect the women to CHECK their messages regularly but not necessarily erase them. If it was the only one that old that was "saved", it could mean that they knew who made it. It could also mean that they saved it so that they would have "something" in case the calls became a problem and they decided to make a formal complain.

    From Janelle and her BF, SPD would have a pretty good idea what the caller said and should be able to make a pretty good call as to whether or not this was the same guy making calls all over town. If it was him, then they would have an extremely "hinkey" coincidence and he would become a serious suspect. Apparently he was caught 12/92. Was he solidly cleared of the abductions?

    If the wording of the message was different than the wording of the Springfield Phone Creep, then is raises serious questions. I would have to assume that it was related to the crime but I'm not sure that, without the recording, it would be helpful in the investigation.

    It’s an old trick to call someone up and either hangs up or asks for a non-existent person in order to find out if that person is at home without them knowing you are checking. Somehow, asking for a non-existent person would seem more effective in getting the answering person to "talk" (in order to figure out who it was) than an obscene call. The 2 calls around 3:00 are pretty hard to explain. This may be just another "mystery" like the broken light on the porch.

    I believe "obscene phone calls" are made because they sexually arouse the caller. I would expect the content of such calls to follow predicable patterns. I would think that someone in LE who was familiar with these kinds of crimes would be able to distinguish a "real" obscene call from a call designed to threaten or intimidate, even if the content was explicitly sexual. Would that information help solve the case? I doubt it.

  4. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by kemo View Post
    The issue of the obscene phone calls is very interesting but not particularly useful in understanding what happened. We may not have all the "facts" right. The statements of Janelle and her boyfriend would probably answer some of our questions.

    I find it a little strange that the obscene call was erased. I find that even listening to the phone messages rather intrusive. One possible explanation is that the message log was "Maxed Out" and they wanted to clear up some space so they could leave their message. This would be an "innocent" lie. (Assuming it was from Friday, it would be useful to know if there were any other messages that old. I would expect the women to CHECK their messages regularly but not necessarily erase them. If it was the only one that old that was "saved", it could mean that they knew who made it. It could also mean that they saved it so that they would have "something" in case the calls became a problem and they decided to make a formal complain.

    From Janelle and her BF, SPD would have a pretty good idea what the caller said and should be able to make a pretty good call as to whether or not this was the same guy making calls all over town. If it was him, then they would have an extremely "hinkey" coincidence and he would become a serious suspect. Apparently he was caught 12/92. Was he solidly cleared of the abductions?

    If the wording of the message was different than the wording of the Springfield Phone Creep, then is raises serious questions. I would have to assume that it was related to the crime but I'm not sure that, without the recording, it would be helpful in the investigation.

    Itís an old trick to call someone up and either hangs up or asks for a non-existent person in order to find out if that person is at home without them knowing you are checking. Somehow, asking for a non-existent person would seem more effective in getting the answering person to "talk" (in order to figure out who it was) than an obscene call. The 2 calls around 3:00 are pretty hard to explain. This may be just another "mystery" like the broken light on the porch.

    I believe "obscene phone calls" are made because they sexually arouse the caller. I would expect the content of such calls to follow predicable patterns. I would think that someone in LE who was familiar with these kinds of crimes would be able to distinguish a "real" obscene call from a call designed to threaten or intimidate, even if the content was explicitly sexual. Would that information help solve the case? I doubt it.
    Whether or not it is useful to know who placed these calls is a mystery. They could be important or not important. But if a proper investigation is to be done, no stone must be left unturned. I'm not an expert on phone records and logs, but if I were investigating the case, I would want to know who made those calls and what time they were made. If the calls went through to the answering machine, I should think the calls ought to be logged somewhere, although as I said, I'm not an expert in this subject.

    I would say this. I don't happen to believe there is such a thing as an "innocent lie" in a triple homicide. This is to use the famous federal prosecutor's words "throwing sand into the eyes of the investigators." One might even make the case that this would be tantamount to being an accessory after the fact, as it aided and abetted the actual perpetrators. I'm not sure what the law says on this whether it be intentional or accidental but it seems important to my way of thinking to get to the bottom of this mystery.
    "Never answer an anonymous letter"

    "I didn't really say everything I said"

    Yogi Berra



  5. #20
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    From an account of a crime that occured in the last 10 years, I learned that, at least in that city, there was absolutly no record of local to local (no toll) calls. Toll calls are easily tracked from the ORIGINATING phone. It is possible to track toll calls from the Recieving phone but it is more complicated (and more expensive) and may not be practical for many LE situations.

    It seems to me that, in 1992. most answering machines had little magnetic tapes that had to be re-wound to either be played or erased and it was always simpeler to play than erase. I find it hard to believe they "accidentally" erased it. How creditable that is would depend on the type of recorder it was and how it worked. I assume we are not privy to this information. It is a fact that witnesses do sometimes lie to LE even when they are not involved in the crime or otherwise attempting to mis-direct the investigation. They do for many reasons; primarily to make themselves look better or to make their story more credible. This can really derail a case. I wonder if this is what happened with Van Lady.

  6. #21
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    We don't know what this caller left on the message eventhough someone listened to it. We don't know what this caller said when he called on Sunday eventhough Janelle actually answered the phone and heard what he said but doesn't remember......I recieved an 'obscene' call once about 15 yrs ago and I still remember exactly what he said and how he said it because it way creepy, out of the ordinary and unexpected.

    "Obscene' can mean so many different things.

    - I am watching you, I see you, etc.

    - saying sexually explicit things to the person on the other end about what they desire to do to them or tell them about what they are doing to themselves

    - Violent. I fantasize about raping you, killing you, etc.

    - Not saying anything - just heavy breathing, moaning, etc

    If LE knew about these calls it is unbelievable they did not trace the phone records -at least to our knowledge, right?

    IF it was the perp they were calling on Friday to see if anyone was home. For all we know they could have called back later and Sherrill answered and I think it is very likely that is waht the perp wanted - someone to be home.
    Then they call on Sunday. Perhaps it was their way of re-visiting the scene. They got a kick out of the fact that people had discovered the women were gone and were in the house waiting for the them to come back.

    Or, of course, it could all be coincidence.

    I have considered the possibility that LE actually does know what the message was on the answering machine and they know what was said to Janelle when she answered Sunday but they want to keep that info secret and they want the perp to think they don't have that info either so they lied and they asked Janelle to lie about the calls.
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  7. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by gaia227 View Post
    We don't know what this caller left on the message eventhough someone listened to it. We don't know what this caller said when he called on Sunday eventhough Janelle actually answered the phone and heard what he said but doesn't remember......I recieved an 'obscene' call once about 15 yrs ago and I still remember exactly what he said and how he said it because it way creepy, out of the ordinary and unexpected.

    "Obscene' can mean so many different things.

    - I am watching you, I see you, etc.

    - saying sexually explicit things to the person on the other end about what they desire to do to them or tell them about what they are doing to themselves

    - Violent. I fantasize about raping you, killing you, etc.

    - Not saying anything - just heavy breathing, moaning, etc

    If LE knew about these calls it is unbelievable they did not trace the phone records -at least to our knowledge, right?

    IF it was the perp they were calling on Friday to see if anyone was home. For all we know they could have called back later and Sherrill answered and I think it is very likely that is waht the perp wanted - someone to be home.
    Then they call on Sunday. Perhaps it was their way of re-visiting the scene. They got a kick out of the fact that people had discovered the women were gone and were in the house waiting for the them to come back.

    Or, of course, it could all be coincidence.

    I have considered the possibility that LE actually does know what the message was on the answering machine and they know what was said to Janelle when she answered Sunday but they want to keep that info secret and they want the perp to think they don't have that info either so they lied and they asked Janelle to lie about the calls.
    It's possible I suppose but I would doubt that they would want to keep this information to one cooperating witness because ultimately it will leak out. Anytime a secret is shared with more than one person it ceases to become a secret.

    What I would be more inclined to believe is that early phone calls to the home were predicated on the basis of what Jannelle was concerned about. She had to be working on about five hours of sleep at the time she first began placing the calls to the home. I would postulate that she had reason to believe they may not have arrived safely. Erasing those calls, using the convenient excuse some calls were "obscene" provides the rationale to erase her numerous calls. Why did she make those calls?

    This is why I have been adamant that the time lines of everyone be thoroughly examined in detail for any inconsistencies.

    A hallmark of any proper investigation is that the list of suspects be quickly pared and that exact time lines be established to eliminate their access to the crime scene. We can logically assume that Jannelle didn't abduct the women but it is what she may know but hasn't told that I find most promising. There is something not right about this whole deal especially since she was reported to be crying later in the afternoon. She had to know something was wrong but yet the cops didn't get called until 9 PM that night. I'm not getting this apparent concern early on and near panic later in the afternoon. This is not adding up.

    She seemed visibly irritated when on camera many years later. Perhaps she had good reason because the cops kept coming back and asking the same questions. Why are they asking those questions?

    The obscene phone calls may in the end be nothing but a red herring. We don't even know, to my knowledge, for a certain fact those phone calls were ever placed. But the rest of the calls may have told the tale. It certainly would have firmed up the time lines which are critical to the investigation.
    "Never answer an anonymous letter"

    "I didn't really say everything I said"

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  8. #23
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    the phone calls

    The obivous question is was the phone picked up or were the calls monitored on Sunday. If monitored, most likely the BF would also have heard the calls and verify what the caller said. If she answered the phone, he could only state what she told him the caller said.

  9. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by olddog View Post
    The obvious question is was the phone picked up or were the calls monitored on Sunday. If monitored, most likely the BF would also have heard the calls and verify what the caller said. If she answered the phone, he could only state what she told him the caller said.
    I'm sorry. What does "BF" stand for? I'm somewhat unclear about your post. If the first responder picked up the phone while the calls were placed it is obvious that the police would have only the word of the person answering. If the call went to the answering machine then it would be on the recording tape. It's late and I'm just not entirely clear with your meaning.
    "Never answer an anonymous letter"

    "I didn't really say everything I said"

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  10. #25
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    BF=Boyfriend.

    I think what the line of reasoning is here: If the calls went to an answering machine, while being answered by a live person, Jannelle, AND the answering machine continued to run and play over a monitor, then Mike, in this case, would actually hear BOTH sides of the conversation. If not, and there was no monitor with audio out, he would only know what Jannelle SAID and what SHE said, the caller said.

    In other words, with the speaker on during the call, we hear the ENTIRE conversation. If the speaker was NOT on, we only hear ONE side of the conversation. Further, if this occurred before other responders got there, we have only two witnesses to this, at best, regardless the monitoring circumstances.

    My personal answering machine in 1992, (which was already three years old then), was two standard cassette tapes (they would play on any cassette deck). If I picked up a call after the machine got it, it would continue to run, and audio of the call (both sides) fed out. Some systems, in those days, stopped when you picked up the receiver.


  11. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by former central time View Post
    BF=Boyfriend.

    I think what the line of reasoning is here: If the calls went to an answering machine, while being answered by a live person, Jannelle, AND the answering machine continued to run and play over a monitor, then Mike, in this case, would actually hear BOTH sides of the conversation. If not, and there was no monitor with audio out, he would only know what Jannelle SAID and what SHE said, the caller said.

    In other words, with the speaker on during the call, we hear the ENTIRE conversation. If the speaker was NOT on, we only hear ONE side of the conversation. Further, if this occurred before other responders got there, we have only two witnesses to this, at best, regardless the monitoring circumstances.

    My personal answering machine in 1992, (which was already three years old then), was two standard cassette tapes (they would play on any cassette deck). If I picked up a call after the machine got it, it would continue to run, and audio of the call (both sides) fed out. Some systems, in those days, stopped when you picked up the receiver.
    I appreciate that information. For the life of me I couldn't figure out what it meant. I am now aware of what you are saying. My digital answering machine goes to the recorded message after four rings and if I don't answer it I have to listen to the machine blaring out at me while I am talking on the phone. Very frustrating. I should read the instructions on how to extend the rings.

    Since this was an older tape type answering machine I wonder if any effort was ever made to listen to the alleged obscene calls and other calls that were allegedly erased. In the end it might have been useless but it would have cleared up this long lingering question much the same as has been debated endlessly about the broken globe.

    Thank you for clearing this up.
    "Never answer an anonymous letter"

    "I didn't really say everything I said"

    Yogi Berra



  12. #27
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    Sorry about using the "Text message" abreviation, I am getting as bad about using them as many of my friends. A sad comment on where our language is headed.
    The point was as stated, If Janelle picked up the receiver, most machines will stop feeding audio to the speaker.

    If that was the way that particular machine worked (and many of the era did) she could have made up anything about the what the caller said. If however they both listened to the caller over the machines monitor, her boyfriend could accurately tell what the caller said.

    So on one hand you would have direct evidence, on the other you would only have hear say evidence

  13. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by olddog View Post
    Sorry about using the "Text message" abreviation, I am getting as bad about using them as many of my friends. A sad comment on where our language is headed.
    The point was as stated, If Janelle picked up the receiver, most machines will stop feeding audio to the speaker.

    If that was the way that particular machine worked (and many of the era did) she could have made up anything about the what the caller said. If however they both listened to the caller over the machines monitor, her boyfriend could accurately tell what the caller said.

    So on one hand you would have direct evidence, on the other you would only have hear say evidence
    Thanks for the info. I wish I could turn off the recording on my machine as it drives me nearly mad at times. (If I don't pick up by the fourth ring.)

    But to the substance of the issue, I wonder how closely Jannelle was questioned about what the conversations were. And didn't a number of messages get deleted? Who heard these messages? That would not be hearsay if both heard them. I would think both she and her boyfriend at the time would have heard the exact same messages; some or perhaps all, which were described as obscene. If both heard those messages that would be direct evidence, would it not?

    As I understand it there were both recorded messages and actual phone call(s) while they were in the home. But my recollection could be flawed.
    "Never answer an anonymous letter"

    "I didn't really say everything I said"

    Yogi Berra



  14. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Missouri Mule View Post
    Thanks for the info. I wish I could turn off the recording on my machine as it drives me nearly mad at times. (If I don't pick up by the fourth ring.)

    But to the substance of the issue, I wonder how closely Jannelle was questioned about what the conversations were. And didn't a number of messages get deleted? Who heard these messages? That would not be hearsay if both heard them. I would think both she and her boyfriend at the time would have heard the exact same messages; some or perhaps all, which were described as obscene. If both heard those messages that would be direct evidence, would it not?

    As I understand it there were both recorded messages and actual phone call(s) while they were in the home. But my recollection could be flawed.
    It could still be hearsay if "both heard those messages", b/c, after all, it is only what they would both be SAYING they'd heard; no calls were necessarily proven as having been made, period; and even if they had been, and heard by both, there isn't any proof that what was reported as having been said by the caller is any truer.

  15. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by anyc View Post
    It could still be hearsay if "both heard those messages", b/c, after all, it is only what they would both be SAYING they'd heard; no calls were necessarily proven as having been made, period; and even if they had been, and heard by both, there isn't any proof that what was reported as having been said by the caller is any truer.
    Perhaps I don't understand the definition of "hearsay." It has been my understanding that if a person testifies to something it is from their own recollection of what they said or heard; etc., and not from a third party it would be direct evidence. Hence it wouldn't be hearsay although, as you say there is no way to prove they actually heard the messages. That can be true of any testimony that cannot be proven by other means. It is still direct testimony as it is coming from the mouth of the person giving such testimony from facts they saw or heard themselves and not from another party.

    "HEARSAY EVIDENCE

    Hearsay testimony is secondhand evidence; it is not what the witness knows personally, but what someone else told him or her. Scuttlebutt is an example of hearsay. In general, hearsay may not be admitted in evidence, but there are exceptions. For instance, if the accused is charged with uttering certain words, a witness is permitted to testify that he or she heard the accused speak them.

    The following examples illustrate hearsay that is inadmissible:

    1. SN Water, the accused, is being tried for desertion. BMC Boate cannot testify that BM3 Christmas told him that SN Water said he (Water) intended to desert.

    2. The accused is being tried for larceny of clothes from a locker. A testifies that B told him that she saw the accused leave the space where the locker was located with a bundle of clothes about the same time the clothes were stolen. This testimony from A would not be admissible to prove the facts stated by B.

    Neither BMC Boate nor A would be allowed to testify, but the trial counsel could call BM3 Christmas and B as witnesses...

    (Snip)


    http://www.tpub.com/maa/38.htm
    "Never answer an anonymous letter"

    "I didn't really say everything I said"

    Yogi Berra



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