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  1. #46
    SmoothOperator's Avatar
    SmoothOperator is offline Sadly what connects all these puzzles is that there's a victim@the heart of each
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    Just thoughts/opinions on several of the different issues up for debate in this thread..

    -the erased messages.. I believe that the main reason for the messages to have even been played was for the simple fact that she wanted to hear what she personally stated in those messages, and I can Imagine that ATLEAST one of those messages was something that she said possibly in the heat of the moment.. In continuing to become more irritated and upset, as well as her feelings hurt in the calls going unanswered, not returned, an in her opinion she was basically being ignored, if not even forgotten about.. This is not an unusual reaction to have when looking at the situation from her perspective during the time she was calling and leaving messages..

    So, I can see her being in a different frame of mind after cool down period of time, and her then hearing for herself just how stupid, angry, or otherwise that she sounded upon playing those messages back..(is it really that hard to imagine??.. I mean think about how many ppl erase messages just due to the fact that upon their hearing their own voice when playing the message back and as most do hating the way they sounded on an answering machine)..

    So, IMO it is this that is at the root of why the messages were actually played back once they were inside the home and is the reason that she chose to erase them..

    -Now as far as the actual obscene message goes..IMO for whatever reason it was also among the messages that were played upon her/bf being in the home and listening to the messages.. Some are very leery of this obscene msg being still amongst the messages that day even tho, it had actually come in on Saturday.. My thoughts on this are that the obscene message had in fact already been played.. But whoever played the message(prior to disappearance) they chose not to erase this obscene msg for whatever reason.. Therefor since they chose not to erase the message it was still on the tape and would of course play again when someone was listening to the newest messages that had been left.. So, her/bf arrived at the home to see what was going on and why her calls were going unanswered and not returned.. They play the messages(IMO she was likely embarrassed when hearing her messages she'd left).. And among those messages was the obscene phone message that'd been left on Saturday(tho I believe someone had already listened to it and chose NOT TO ERASE the OBSCENE MSG). Therefor the obscene message was among the messages that were played that included IMO her own that she was now embarrassed about and did not hesitate to erase.. I believe she just hit the erase button which erases ALL OF THE MESSAGES THAT WERE JUST PLAYED.. This inadvertently erased the obscene phone message as well even tho that was not the intention nor motive for her hitting the erase button..

    Recall at that time she was not under the impression these women were murdered or in danger, therefor tho I believe she likely did not intentionally choose to erase the obscene message, however it did end up erased when she was erasing her own personal messages she'd left earlier while quite angry/irritated and likely was embarrassed what she'd said in the heat of that moment..

    -as far as the content of the obscene message along with the content of the other two supposed obscene phone calls that came in one after the other while her/bf were in the home checking to see what was up and why no one was home..

    Regarding LE I believe it is absolutely SOP for LE to guard this exact type of details and evidence in an abduction/homicide case.. The theory stated upthread about keeping secrets and it not being secret when more than one person knows.. I respectfully yet strongly disagree that particular theory of secrets has zero bearing or relevancy to this instance and case in particular..

    Meaning that very regularly in these cases, again SOP is that LE/investigators not only will keep these details and information concerning ALL THINGS RE: obscene answering machine msg/obscene phone calls..LE/Investigators ABSOLUTELY will tell the witness(in this case her/bf) that IT IS OF THE UTMOST OF IMPORTANCE to the investigation into what's happened to her BFFS that ALL details/info relating to the obscene msg/calls are to remain extremely guarded and out of public knowledge.. THIS TO BE ASKED OF A WITNESS IS NOT AT ALL UNUSUAL AND I CAN PERSONALLY ATTEST IN MY NEPHEWS MURDER THAT WE KNEW SOME PARTICULAR INFO/DETAILS AND WERE TOLD IT WAS UTMOST IMPORTANCE TO KEEP THAT KNOWLEDGE FROM BEING KNOWN PUBLICLY..

    So, it really does happen that way and is even quite possible that the obscene MSG was not ever erased.. That LE have the MSG intact and on tape, for obvious investigative purposes one could see how it could be beneficial for a suspect to NOT KNOW that LE have particular evidence on them(in this case if indeed had the MSG that would mean they actually have the suspects voice on tape).. Some may be of the opinion that LE would never dare lie to the media/public stating that the MSG had been erased, or had a possible witness tell the media the tape was erased.. And that's ones personal prerogative to believe that..*
    I can personally state that LE absolutely will/do LIE and/or twist details/info to the media/public about an investigation.. It's not illegal In the very least and is not only legal but is regularly done as need be in abduction/homicide cases..

    Therefor I can absolutely see that as the reason behind why some of the known public info seems suspicious or not to fit perfectly(especially once under a websleuthers microscope..lol).. ..am merely saying that there could very well be legit reason/cause for that..

    -and lastly regarding LE use of particular techniques, stonewalling, and keeping majority, almost all info from the public.. Yes, they can and will do this.. Tho. IMO time is absolutely telling the tale that these procedures and processes DO NOT WORK, ARE NOT SOLVING CASES, AND IMO ARE NOT USING THEIR BIGGEST ASSET OF INVESTIGATIVE TOOL THAT THEY HAVE AVAILABLE TO THEM.. US, THE PUBLIC!!!!!

    All jmo..
    The quickest way to become a fool is to argue with one..

  2. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by former central time View Post
    Yeah...I’m DEFINATELY one of the ones in the skeptical camp, having ‘trouble’ with the stories and timelines.

    Mule, when you say LE has the tape and deemed it ‘useless,’ is this the conclusion of local/state LE from 1990‘s technology, or after an analysis from a national contemporary forensic lab ? Even after that, it may be deemed ‘useless’ by LE, but I don’t know if any future defense would agree. At the least, it would be something hard and weighty. I’m sitting in the jury box, I’m far more inclined to place importance on details of that tape and what it tells us by FBI like experts from a national crime lab than the countless accounts reported (well meaning and otherwise) by First Responders.
    Just now reading your post as I was out of the loop yesterday when our power went down.

    I'd have to check way back into my notes but a source I consider highly reliable ensures me that the tape was gone over with a fine toothed comb and since the FBI was involved in the early going, in my opinion a safe assumption that every method has been tried to recover anything of value was tried and it came back essentially worthless. But I will be happy to inquire again if you believe it is critical.

    The tape obviously is very critical if it contained any useful information. The accounts provided later by various individuals could be confirmed or put into question if the tape didn't match up. One could extrapolate that if anything was found that was at odds then that person who gave erroneous information would have some 'splaining to do if you get my drift. Since that apparently didn't materialize we can more or less assume that it didn't have useful information.
    “Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.”

    Arthur Conan Doyle





  3. #48
    Auramyst's Avatar
    Auramyst is offline One should look for what is, not for what one thinks should be ~Albert Einstein
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    Quote Originally Posted by SmoothOperator View Post

    Meaning that very regularly in these cases, again SOP is that LE/investigators not only will keep these details and information concerning ALL THINGS RE: obscene answering machine msg/obscene phone calls..LE/Investigators ABSOLUTELY will tell the witness(in this case her/bf) that IT IS OF THE UTMOST OF IMPORTANCE to the investigation into what's happened to her BFFS that ALL details/info relating to the obscene msg/calls are to remain extremely guarded and out of public knowledge.. THIS TO BE ASKED OF A WITNESS IS NOT AT ALL UNUSUAL AND I CAN PERSONALLY ATTEST IN MY NEPHEWS MURDER THAT WE KNEW SOME PARTICULAR INFO/DETAILS AND WERE TOLD IT WAS UTMOST IMPORTANCE TO KEEP THAT KNOWLEDGE FROM BEING KNOWN PUBLICLY..
    Yes, the police can and will lie during an investigation. It's part of their techniques.

    As far as the messages that were 'erased' on the answering machine. I would say 'yes' the police have recovered all the info on the tape. If we can launch satellites into space, view everything on the Earth down to the smallest detail, land rovers on Mars, etc, then 'yes' I'm sure there is a way to recover audio messages off a tape that has been 'erased'.

    And most important of all: I'm so, so sorry to hear about your nephew's murder I hope you and your family have been able to gain some semblance of peace and healing.

    Hugs to you!
    All posts are my opinion

  4. #49
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    Answering Machines

    A few things come to mind as I read this old thread:
    • I think answering machines in those days rewound the tape automatically after you listened to the messages, unless you pressed save. If you wanted to save one message, you had to save them all. If you listened to the messages, the light would stop blinking, but you could still listen to those messages days later if no new messages had come in. My point is the residents of the house could have listened to the message, not hit save after listening to an obscene message, and the friends could have still pressed play and heard the obscene message. The friends could have simply neglected to press save, causing the messages to be lost when the next call came in.
    • Obscene messages and prank calls were more common in those days. I reject the notion that any obscene call made to women living alone was a threat.
    • I reject the idea that the police almost certainly have recovered overwritten messages from the tape. It's possible, but there's no guarantee the police are that good or that they even took the crank calls as serious evidence related to the crime.


    The biggest thing that stands out is how close the friends who listened to the message are. They would have to be very close to enter someone's house, look around, listen to messages, and answer the phone. They had no reason to believe something tragic happened, yet they were going through personal items at the house. Suppose they had decided to go do something that morning and they got back to find friends going through their house and listening to their voice mail.

  5. #50
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    The biggest thing that stands out is how close the friends who listened to the message are. They would have to be very close to enter someone's house, look around, listen to messages, and answer the phone. They had no reason to believe something tragic happened, yet they were going through personal items at the house. Suppose they had decided to go do something that morning and they got back to find friends going through their house and listening to their voice mail.
    I agree. It is odd that someone would enter the home on their own. I wouldn't even do that at my sister's house, and I'm very close to her. I would call police if I'm worried about someone's welfare.

  6. #51
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    You won't get an argument from me on that point. But Janelle and Mike were teenagers then, and you see similar behavior with Janis McCall and others later in the day. And a lack of regard for the crime scene that would be more unusual in the post-CSI era. Annoyance (in the beginning), concern, then fear and some denial all mixed together leading to stupid decisions. I've always been a critic of Janelle and Mike but have come to think maybe Janelle knew on some level that something was terribly wrong but could not believe it on the conscious level; hence her tears in the afternoon and her willingness to snoop.

  7. #52
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    We don't know a lot about the Delmar house phone records. First, we know that Sherrill was talking to a friend late Saturday evening; if who initiated that call is in the public record, I am not aware of it. A simple explanation for making that call public is to narrow the time line when police asked the public for information, just as releasing certain timeline details for the movements of Suzie and Stacy would do. We know that Janelle called early the next morning, made subsequent later calls, and that Janis McCall called also. There may be other variations of close friends and family members calling for normal reasons not related to the disappearance that LE had no reason to tell us about, e.g., someone calling to congratulate Suzie, etc. Perhaps we know about Janelle's first call to narrow the time line, also.

    We know that there were 3 obscene calls that weekend (if I may stretch the weekend to Friday), one prior to the abduction and two afterwards. We are told that the first call was erased. We do not know based on media reporting whether the subsequent calls were answered live or screened. If we postulate that LE is very careful about what to release and hold back early in an investigation, then we know about them for a reason.

    Here is what gaia227 wrote earlier on the thread:
    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.
    I think it is quite possible that the Sunday obscene calls were to check who was in the house and to find out if LE knew about the women being abducted. I have no idea if the killer(s) knew any of the victims by name, but certainly they knew Stacy did not live there and someone would send up the alarm for her sometime on Sunday.

  8. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by pittsburghgirl View Post
    We don't know a lot about the Delmar house phone records. First, we know that Sherrill was talking to a friend late Saturday evening; if who initiated that call is in the public record, I am not aware of it. A simple explanation for making that call public is to narrow the time line when police asked the public for information, just as releasing certain timeline details for the movements of Suzie and Stacy would do. We know that Janelle called early the next morning, made subsequent later calls, and that Janis McCall called also. There may be other variations of close friends and family members calling for normal reasons not related to the disappearance that LE had no reason to tell us about, e.g., someone calling to congratulate Suzie, etc. Perhaps we know about Janelle's first call to narrow the time line, also.

    We know that there were 3 obscene calls that weekend (if I may stretch the weekend to Friday), one prior to the abduction and two afterwards. We are told that the first call was erased. We do not know based on media reporting whether the subsequent calls were answered live or screened. If we postulate that LE is very careful about what to release and hold back early in an investigation, then we know about them for a reason.

    Here is what gaia227 wrote earlier on the thread:


    I think it is quite possible that the Sunday obscene calls were to check who was in the house and to find out if LE knew about the women being abducted. I have no idea if the killer(s) knew any of the victims by name, but certainly they knew Stacy did not live there and someone would send up the alarm for her sometime on Sunday.
    I'm not altogether sure if I follow this. If, this was a crime of opportunity it is not impossible that they didn't know she didn't live there wouldn't they? On the other hand, if they knew either Sherrill or Suzie prior to the abductions (and preplanned) they would know that.
    “Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.”

    Arthur Conan Doyle





  9. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by pittsburghgirl View Post
    You won't get an argument from me on that point. But Janelle and Mike were teenagers then, and you see similar behavior with Janis McCall and others later in the day. And a lack of regard for the crime scene that would be more unusual in the post-CSI era. Annoyance (in the beginning), concern, then fear and some denial all mixed together leading to stupid decisions. I've always been a critic of Janelle and Mike but have come to think maybe Janelle knew on some level that something was terribly wrong but could not believe it on the conscious level; hence her tears in the afternoon and her willingness to snoop.

    You make a good point, about Janelle and Mike, that morning. I’d chalk it up to a ‘youthful indiscretion.’ To reiterate my previous point, I was that age in close to that period and I would not have behaved that way in 1985. But, people handle things differently.

    I do think the ‘First Responders’ cannot be taken wholesale. On one end, Janelle and Mike, first on the scene and where much has been reported and written about. In total, I think the count that day was (20 ?), people that were in that house. The other end of the day we have Ms. McCall. She was an adult, however had a child involved. I don’t have children so I can’t empathize, but to sympathize, personally, I don’t find her actions (taking some of Stacy’s stuff, calling LE) odd at all, in fact, the most sane that day.

    In the middle, we have a this mass of people, dozen and a half or so, that very little has been reported about. Adults going into somebody’s house and touching things, I think is separate from the first two examples. I presume LE has interviewed and inventory all their accounts.

    In the simplest details, this is well known by anyone with even a passing understanding of the case. In recent media reports of this investigation, LE, in front of ‘hot’ mics and cameras (posted on a local TV station webcite) made a point of the delay involved. To the effect, ‘...Let’s remember it was 12/14 hours before law enforcement was called...’

  10. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by pittsburghgirl View Post
    We don't know a lot about the Delmar house phone records. First, we know that Sherrill was talking to a friend late Saturday evening; if who initiated that call is in the public record, I am not aware of it. A simple explanation for making that call public is to narrow the time line when police asked the public for information, just as releasing certain timeline details for the movements of Suzie and Stacy would do. We know that Janelle called early the next morning, made subsequent later calls, and that Janis McCall called also. There may be other variations of close friends and family members calling for normal reasons not related to the disappearance that LE had no reason to tell us about, e.g., someone calling to congratulate Suzie, etc. Perhaps we know about Janelle's first call to narrow the time line, also.

    We know that there were 3 obscene calls that weekend (if I may stretch the weekend to Friday), one prior to the abduction and two afterwards. We are told that the first call was erased. We do not know based on media reporting whether the subsequent calls were answered live or screened. If we postulate that LE is very careful about what to release and hold back early in an investigation, then we know about them for a reason.

    Here is what gaia227 wrote earlier on the thread:


    I think it is quite possible that the Sunday obscene calls were to check who was in the house and to find out if LE knew about the women being abducted. I have no idea if the killer(s) knew any of the victims by name, but certainly they knew Stacy did not live there and someone would send up the alarm for her sometime on Sunday.
    Mule, if you could chime in on the ‘official story’ about the phone calls, or some greater clarity, I’m uncertain.

    1. Was it possible for local call traffic to be logged, in those days, and in this circumstance ? Particularly INCOMING calls ?

    2. Was any such log kept and sequestered by LE ?

    I don’t know what kind of answering machine it was, but I did own one in that era. Frequently, it would stamp all messages on the tape, day (not necessarily date) and time. Even if the internal time and day clock on the machine were wrong, it would continue to mark and count time forward. Message ‘A’ is, say 7 hours and 27 minutes to message ‘B’ which is later 2 hours and 15 minutes to message ‘C’ and so on. This would be good for supporting or questioning the timeline.

    Modern forensics have analyzed the tape and I believe you said LE deemed it ‘worthless.’ That may speak to the value of the 'obscene calls’ entirely. Because, they can find things on these recordings that would shock you. Three erases ago, they can find a conversation and determine what was said.


  11. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by former central time View Post
    Mule, if you could chime in on the ‘official story’ about the phone calls, or some greater clarity, I’m uncertain.

    1. Was it possible for local call traffic to be logged, in those days, and in this circumstance ? Particularly INCOMING calls ?

    2. Was any such log kept and sequestered by LE ?

    I don’t know what kind of answering machine it was, but I did own one in that era. Frequently, it would stamp all messages on the tape, day (not necessarily date) and time. Even if the internal time and day clock on the machine were wrong, it would continue to mark and count time forward. Message ‘A’ is, say 7 hours and 27 minutes to message ‘B’ which is later 2 hours and 15 minutes to message ‘C’ and so on. This would be good for supporting or questioning the timeline.

    Modern forensics have analyzed the tape and I believe you said LE deemed it ‘worthless.’ That may speak to the value of the 'obscene calls’ entirely. Because, they can find things on these recordings that would shock you. Three erases ago, they can find a conversation and determine what was said.
    I really can't answer your other questions regarding the phone service but a source I consider very solid gave me to believe the tape had been gone over with a fine toothed comb and yielded up little to no information.

    My understanding is at that time the technology was rudimentary at best.
    My post made last night had to do with how it was determined by someone who had not been there previously would necessarily have known that Stacy did not live there. I would instead be inclined to believe that whoever gained access to the house knew immediately that she didn't live there but continued with the crime although we have no real way to know the sequence of events that morning.
    “Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.”

    Arthur Conan Doyle





  12. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by pittsburghgirl View Post
    I think it is quite possible that the Sunday obscene calls were to check who was in the house and to find out if LE knew about the women being abducted. I have no idea if the killer(s) knew any of the victims by name, but certainly they knew Stacy did not live there and someone would send up the alarm for her sometime on Sunday.
    I never thought of this. What would the kidnappers do with the information about who's in the house and/or whether LE is there? Making the calls for that purpose comes at a high price in that it might give LE info on the kidnappers if they traced the call. It would only make sense to do this if info about who was in the house was actionable for the kidnappers.

    My guess is the obscene calls were unrelated to the crime. Even the words "obscene phone call" brings up memories of the 80s. It seemed like they were common back then. I can't think of even hearing about a single crank call after the late 90s. Did mobiles, caller ID, and alternate communication devices put a stop to them? The notion of someone calling and panting seems incredibly weird today, but I heard of it a lot in the 80s.

  13. #58
    Quote Originally Posted by CircuitGuy View Post

    My guess is the obscene calls were unrelated to the crime. Even the words "obscene phone call" brings up memories of the 80s. It seemed like they were common back then. I can't think of even hearing about a single crank call after the late 90s. Did mobiles, caller ID, and alternate communication devices put a stop to them? The notion of someone calling and panting seems incredibly weird today, but I heard of it a lot in the 80s.
    I am kinda late to this discussion. But I have to agree that the calls were just random, because it was clearly the days before cell phones. How would anyone know that there was anyone in the house to call at that exact time. Was the people who were involved staking out the house, waiting for the friends to come and then call? I don't think that's how it could have happened.

    Whats the deal with LE not investigating the parking lot?

  14. #59
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    This question was asked awhile back, but the point of calling, if the post-abduction calls were from the killer(s), would be to see if the abduction had been discovered. If the house were empty, then perhaps not. If it was full of distraught relatives or police, then yes.

  15. #60
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    That is my opinion as well. Otherwise it would have had to be a coincidence and I don't believe it was a coincidence.
    “Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.”

    Arthur Conan Doyle





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