Omaha double murder

Discussion in 'Dr. Anthony Garcia' started by Snick1946, Jul 24, 2008.

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  1. Snick1946

    Snick1946 Active Member

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    We have a very baffling unsolved murder case over 120 days old here
    in Omaha:

    http://www.omaha.com/index.php?u_page=2798&u_sid=10283494

    http://www.wowt.com/home/headlines/17003921.html

    Hope the links work!

    I have some personal concern here as I have an elderly relative
    living near the crime scene. The Omaha police in the first 30 days since
    this happened released a lot of conflicting statements and the
    general feeling was and still is that they are just stumbling around. The parents
    of the child are both prominent doctors and there seems to be some
    attempt to stifle this story. The local paper ran stories for a
    couple days then a brief one the day the victims were buried,
    a followup 60 days later nothing since. They would not even print letters to the editor. In 30 years of living here I have never seen such a clampdown.
    Something is very wrong here.
    I realize four months doesn't make a cold case but there is just
    something very strange going on here. If anyone has any ideas or
    wants to discuss this case your comments are welcome. God Bless
     
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  3. Ciara

    Ciara New Member

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    Welcome to Websleuths Snick:)
    I am just going to read your links now but from the little you have wrote it sounds very interesting.
     
  4. Snick1946

    Snick1946 Active Member

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    I have been interested - my family says obsessed- by this case ever since it happened. I will post a few more links tommorrow including one to a story on 'True Crime Diary'- that moderator has an interesting theory that this was an angry former med student who blamed the boy's parents for his failure to make residency.
    There are persistant rumors in town that Ms Sherman was involved in some way with drug dealing and this was reprisal for something in that connection. Let me know what you think.
     
  5. kato

    kato New Member

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    Interesting. Please keep us posted.
     
  6. Ciara

    Ciara New Member

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    I read your links Snick. I wonder who the man was and why he would want to kill an 11 year old boy and a housekeeper who were unrelated to each other if in fact he did kill them. He has not come forward anyway and there does not seem to be too many details.
    What do the locals say about this story and who do you think is trying to stifle it?
    That poor boy just a kid too, I can't work out a motive for this crime at all:confused:
     
  7. Snick1946

    Snick1946 Active Member

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    Paste from True Crime Diary.
    It's the kid that gets me, too. I am in my early 60's but have a son the same age. He looks a lot like the victim. I have found myself spending more time with him in the last few months. Anyway:


    The Man with the Briefcase
    Date Published 05.05.08
    The Honda CR-V was gray. Or maybe silver. Around 3:20 p.m. it was observed starting and stopping along the street, as if the driver were searching for an address.
    The Dundee-Memorial Park neighborhood, in central Omaha, is known for its sprawling, early 20th century homes. Historic details abound. The streetlights are old-style, cast-iron globes; each summer the local preservation society hangs 475 identical flower baskets on them. Dundee is considered one of Omaha’s most prestigious neighborhoods. Warren Buffett lives there.


    The driver, finding the address he wanted, pulled over to the curb and parked.

    A dark-haired, olive-skinned man got out of the car. He was wearing a black coat and carrying a briefcase. He walked up to 303 54th Street, where the Hunter family lives. Drs. William and Claire Hunter are physicians and faculty members at Creighton University Medical Center. They have four sons, but only Thomas, 11, still lived at home.

    On this afternoon, Thursday, March 18, Thomas had arrived home from school a little after 3 p.m., as he usually did. Also in the house was Shirlee Sherman, 57, the Hunter's longtime housekeeper.

    Sherman opened the front door and let the man in the black coat with the briefcase inside. Later, a neighbor observed the man walking back to his car. He didn't appear to be in a rush or agitated.

    William Hunter's call to 911 came in at 5:48 p.m. He'd returned home from work and found the bodies of Sherman and his eleven-year-old son. They'd been murdered --- stabbed to death inside the house.

    Very few details have been released in the Dundee double slaying. Family members and friends came forward to describe the victims as bright, funny and sweet (Thomas), and strong, shy and giving (Sherman). Neither one was a likely murder victim. Robbery didn’t appear to be the motive either. Police admitted they were stumped, though they quickly eliminated William Hunter and his wife, who was out of town at the time of the murders, as suspects.

    The man in the black coat with the briefcase was the best lead, as several neighbors saw him. Police released a composite sketch.


    Composite sketch of suspect

    But more than six weeks later, police are no closer to identifying the suspect, or even a motive.

    When asked if he’s optimistic about solving the case, Lt. Gerald Hawley of the Omaha Police Department sighed. “Optimistic? I don’t know,” he said. “I'm hopeful.”

    Hawley said that investigators aren't certain who the intended target was, which suggests that Thomas and Sherman's injuries were roughly similar. Interestingly, when asked about Sherman's routine, Hawley said it varied; she was known to work weekdays, but the time of day varied. The implication hung in the air.

    The suspect apparently had the Hunter’s address, as evidenced by his starting and stopping along the street, and was targeting them specifically. He was well dressed and drove a nice car. This was no burglar. Burglars don’t normally carry knives --- too messy, too much risk.

    The murders were likely motivated by intense anger and a need for revenge.

    Who might be both professional looking and have it out for the Hunters?

    Drs. William and Claire Hunter are physicians, but more importantly they’re professors at Creighton University Medical Center. William directs the Pathology Residency Program, and Claire is the associate program director for evaluation and credentialing in the Department of Medicine, along with directing the Cardiovascular Fellowship Training Program. It’s reasonable to assume they exert control over the career paths of many young, overachieving doctors-to-be.

    It’s inevitable, in the high-pressure atmosphere of medical training, that hopes are occasionally dashed. People are told they don’t have what it takes. Years of relentless study and training appear to go down the drain.

    It may be a coincidence, but the murders occurred exactly one week before Residency Match Day, the annual ritual on the third Thursday in March when graduating medical students learn at which hospitals they will train in their new specialties as residents.

    It’s a famously emotional day, as thousands of medical students around the country unseal their envelopes at the same time and learn their fate.

    If a student wasn’t graduating, or he hadn’t been granted the residency interviews that precede Match Day, the third Thursday of March would loom as a bitter reminder of his failure. He might cast around for someone to blame.

    "That's definitely a theory we're looking into," Lt. Hawley said.
    [Leave Comment] [View Comments]
     
  8. Ciara

    Ciara New Member

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    The way this man was dressed he sounds like he could be a Doctor too.

    The motive is hard to fathom but I agree it was definately something to do with the two parents. This is an area the Police should be concentrating on. It would be interesting to hear what the parents have to say, they should know if they had any issues or personal problems at work. It definately sounds like a personal crime but why they had to take it out on the child I dont know.

    From the way the man was driving up and down the street, its obvious he had an address but hadnt been there before. He knew what house he was looking for though.

    I'd still like to know why the general feeling that these murders or the investigation into them is being stifled and stifled by who....The Police? The Parents?

    I am going to go do some digging soon and see if I can find anymore articles or info. Its not right that this man whoever he is has not come forward which leads to the belief he must be the killer and I hope he doesnt get away with killing this poor child or this lady.
     
  9. Snick1946

    Snick1946 Active Member

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    The lack of any discernable motive is what makes this all so maddening. Shirlee's purse was on the counter and untouched. Nothing was apparently taken from the house. I think I mentioned rumors that this was drug related, that Shirlee had become involved in that due to one of her daughters owing money to drug dealers; that may well be but this seems way too personal and angry to have been a hit job. One idea I had was that Thomas may have spent a lot of time on line doing fantasy gaming, he may have angered someone unstable who pretended to want to drop off something but killed him in some pathetic attempt to look like a 'Ninja warrior'. If you look at the suspect's picture he could be 19 or 20. I think Dr. Hunter was crossed off early on, assume they have proof of his being at the college when this happened.
    The rumors about a coverup began about a week or two following the crime when it became apparent that local media was trying to bury the story. One local TV station had a news comment board and some poster expressed the opinion that this case was being treated differently because of the parent's positions in the community. I have tried to cut the boy's parents a lot of slack all along- this must have been a profound shock to them. I do find it odd however that they have been so silent. I think I posted the second news article in which Dr Hunter submitted a statement by email- he doesn't sound terribly fired up about persuing the truth. But that's perhaps unfair, I just don't know. I don't think they are living in the house now, I have driven past and taken a picture or two- it looks cared for but unlived in, understandable.
    If you would want to research this a bit I can send you copies of some emails I received from a local reporter and a couple others. I don't think those ought to be publicly posted without their permission. Thanks for the interest.
     
  10. Snick1946

    Snick1946 Active Member

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    After my last post I went back and realized I had not posted this article, it has lots of detail:

    More than 2½ months have passed since the stabbing deaths of 11-year-old Thomas Hunter and 57-year-old Shirlee Sherman, with no word of an arrest or even a possible suspect.

    But Omaha police say it's not for lack of trying.

    Police have received more than 160 tips about the deaths through Crime Stoppers and other phone calls - a dozen leads in just the past two weeks.

    No detail too minor in pursuit of killer
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------




    If you have information — any information — that could be related to the slayings of Thomas Hunter and Shirlee Sherman, call the police.

    Police say they welcome tips, even if the details seem trivial. Those details, police say, could connect to another piece of information. That in turn could lead to something else, which ultimately could help solve the case.

    If you think you have a name to go with the sketch (shown here), police ask that you explain in your call why you think the person might be involved.

    People with tips can contact Omaha Crime Stoppers at 444-STOP or online at omahacrimestoppers.net. A $25,000 reward will be paid for information that leads to the killer's arrest. "We continue to get tips, and we continue to follow up on these immediately," said Mary Newman, an Omaha deputy police chief.

    The Omaha Police Department's homicide unit has seven detectives and a sergeant on the case. And they are getting outside help: The Douglas County Sheriff's Office crime lab and the local and national offices of the FBI are part of the investigative team.

    The county crime lab is processing evidence from the crime scene. And the FBI is providing expertise in two specific areas: computer forensics and behavioral profiling.

    The boy's father, Dr. William Hunter III, found the bodies of his son and Sherman, the family's housekeeper, inside the house when he arrived home from work March 13. He called police just before 5:50 p.m.

    Police have not released much information about the case, saying they don't want to jeopardize their investigation. However, interviews with law enforcement officials familiar with the case and public records provide some details:

    • Thomas and Sherman each died of multiple stab wounds to the neck.

    • The boy's body was found in the dining room.

    • Police found Thomas' video game, set on "pause," in the basement.

    • Sherman's body was found about 20 feet from the dining room, in a first-floor hallway. A bucket of cleaning supplies was a few feet from her body.

    • Police recovered knives from the crime scene.

    Police have not yet been able to identify the man depicted in a composite sketch that was released within days of the killings.

    About two hours before the bodies were discovered, neighbors saw a dark-haired, olive-skinned man with a dark coat and briefcase walk to the Hunter front porch at 303 N. 54th St. Some neighbors later saw the man return to a gray or silver sport utility vehicle parked on the street.

    Newman said police gladly will take more tips if people "can identify the composite drawing or the vehicle." The vehicle and composite are "still very important to us."

    The FBI's behavioral science unit at FBI headquarters in Quantico, Va., is helping in trying to identify the killer.

    To develop a profile of the killer, FBI agents analyze the circumstances of the killings, the weapons and other unusual factors. Officials would try to determine why both the boy and his family's housekeeper were slain, said Gary Plank, a recently retired criminal profiler with the Nebraska State Patrol.

    "You are not blaming them, but you ask 'Why would those people be victimized?' " said Plank, who is not part of this investigation. "The boy may not be the target. It would be very odd if both victims, as a combination, were singled out."

    Because it's possible the killer was aiming his rage and aggression toward one or both of the boy's parents, FBI agents also would try to determine whether they could have been the intended targets, Plank said.

    William Hunter is a professor and residency program director for Creighton University Medical Center's department of pathology. His wife, Dr. Claire Hunter, is an associate professor of medicine and director of Creighton's cardiovascular fellowship training program. Thomas was a sixth-grader at King Science and Technology Magnet Center.

    Besides the criminal profiling, the FBI's computer forensics unit typically examines computer hard drives, laptops and personal e-mail accounts of people who have a connection to the victims - such as friends, relatives or acquaintances - or those who could be considered suspects.

    The FBI would pay close attention to any online correspondence of the victims or their families, particularly if there were indications of threats, intimidation or verbal harassment, bureau officials said.

    The FBI rarely gets involved in an Omaha homicide investigation, but federal agents helped in two recent cases: the probe into the death of Amber Harris, the 12-year-old north Omaha girl whose remains were found in a park in May 2006; and the prosecution of two large-scale marijuana dealers from Omaha, who were convicted of shooting three out-of-state men in Omaha in May 2005 and burning their bodies.

    Since the FBI came on board in early April, FBI agents have entered extensive details about the slayings and what they believe they know about the killer into their national crime database and investigative matrix.

    The Violent Criminal Apprehension Program, known as ViCAP, is a nationwide data information center used to collect and analyze homicides. Cases may appear random or motiveless, but the information is entered to allow investigators to compare details from similar crimes that have been logged by other police departments across the country.

    Newman said the Omaha police detectives assigned to the Dundee case continue to investigate other unsolved slayings. She said she wants the community to realize that clearing the case with an arrest is of the greatest importance to police.

    "In every homicide, there is a loss, because a family just lost a loved one. We feel a responsibility to the victims and their families," Newman said.

    Omaha Police Lt. Kathy Belcastro-Gonzalez said detectives aren't frustrated by the case.

    "They're not frustrated," she said, "they're just diligent."

    Meanwhile, the housekeeper's family remains optimistic that the killer will be identified.

    "We feel Shirlee's case will eventually be solved, and we're willing to be patient, although it can be hard sometimes," said Brad Waite of Omaha, Sherman's brother.

    "Right now, the police detectives don't have a true road to follow," Waite said. "We don't know if this was a targeted killing, a serial killer or a house selected at random because it was easy pickings being in a nice, quiet neighborhood."

    In a brief e-mail note, William Hunter said his family maintains regular contact with homicide detectives but had not heard any noteworthy information about the case. "We do not know what happened," Hunter wrote. "The neighbors, schools, the university and the community have been very supportive. Our hearts go out to Shirlee's family also, and the police would appreciate any information or tips from the public."
     
  11. Ciara

    Ciara New Member

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    I have never researched a case before. All I have ever done here is read and post but I guess it is called "WebSLEUTHS" lol so I can at least try. There are some great researchers on this site, its a pity we couldnt get them involved in this. I have no idea where to even start though I guess Google is my best bet:)

    I didnt know about Shirlee and the drug connection but like you I think thats unlikely anyway as why would they kill the child. They could have gone after her anywhere. Besides I dont think I ever came across a drugs killing where the killer looked like a doctor carrying a briefcase! Unless of course, that was the general idea so neighbors would just THINK he was a Doctor:waitasec:

    I also cant understand why just because the parents have standing in the community that this would be kept stifled, you'd think if anything that would give them more publicity and a better chance of getting it solved.

    The fact the parents have not said much is also strange.

    The whole case is very bizarre really. When I get some time this weekend I will go on a "hunt" and see if I can find anything.
     
  12. Snick1946

    Snick1946 Active Member

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    One thing that has bothered me since this hit the news: this guy, if he was the killer, would have been covered in blood, or so you'd think. Yet he calmly walks out, apparently with nothing to indicate he'd just killed two people in a grsily manner. How did he manage that?
    One idea I have had for some time, maybe he had a change of clothes in the briefcase. If so that'd indicate a high level of planning ahead. But then, he leaves the knives??
    I think the police should be looking for a very bright, very mentally ill young man, probably with some medical training or background.
    By the way the first thing I noticed when I stopped by the crime scene is that it would be impossible for anyone to leave the home without going out the front way. There is a back yard but with a high fence all around. No one else was seen leaving that afternoon so I think it's clear this guy did it. Why is the question, not to say who is he??
    Yes this case is bizarre- it's one of those that you feel you've gone through the looking glass on and nothing is quite what it appears.
    This murder site is just a short distance from Warren Buffett's home which may account for some of the way it has been handled, not saying any connection there but it just adds to the strangeness.
    Somewhere on my computer I have obituaries for the victims listing names of other family members. If anyone wants this I can post it, someone better than I at digging out information on people may be able to come up with something. Some have felt there was something a little strange about the boy's older siblings.
     
  13. Snick1946

    Snick1946 Active Member

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    Thomas C. Hunter
    HUNTER-Thomas C., age 11 years, Omaha. Survived by parents, Drs. William and Claire Hunter; 3 brothers: Timothy, Tacoma, WA, Robert, New York City, Jeffrey, Omaha; aunts: Patricia Theisen, San Bernardino, CA, Kathleen Corkery, Reno, NV, Barbara Johnson, San Juan Capistrano, CA, Vicky Williams and husband, Matt, Clio, CA.
    Services Wed., 11 AM, St. John Catholic Church at Creighton University. Private Interment, Evergreen Memorial Park. Memorials to "Thomas C. Hunter Memorial Fund." The family will receive friends Tues., 6-8 PM at the Church HEAFEY-HEAFEY-HOFFMANN
    DWORAK-CUTLER
    WEST CENTER CHAPEL
    78th & West Center 391-3900

    If anyone is into research you could do worse than try to dig up something on the brothers- I keep wondering if one of them may have owed money to the wrong people or something like that.
     
  14. Snick1946

    Snick1946 Active Member

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    This may be nothing- but I have a gut feeling about the man arrested in this case:

    http://www.wowt.com/home/headlines/26832004.html

    Same thing- attack in daylight in a home, defenseless people, double killing, drugs involved. If the same guy, this time he got caught. Another account I read was that they found a briefcase with wigs in his possession. He tried to kill himself with a knife.
    I have sent an email to the Omaha Police suggesting they talk to this guy. He may have been incarcarated at the time of the Omaha killings but if so I have not found reference to it. Maybe my imagination is working overtime but I just have this feeling.
     
  15. PeaHen80

    PeaHen80 New Member

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    Thank you for posting on this case. I have been wondering also, why this case has so quickly gone from the headlines. I had not heard the theories on this case. However, with the way it has been "covered up" it does make you wonder about family connections...is someone being protected?
     
  16. PeaHen80

    PeaHen80 New Member

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    I did not hear about the briefcase w/wigs, but still don't feel this is him.
     
  17. gaia227

    gaia227 I have never taken any exercise except sleeping an

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    I read about this when it first happened. I can't believe they still have not caught anyone. With the knifes being left behind I wonder if LE was able to extract DNA. During stabbing assaults many times the perp. will cut themselves.

    Surely LE has gone through the Dr's records and contacted every single person who was denied a residency to see if any of them match the description.....that is where I would start but what do I know......

    I don't have a good feeling about this latest arrests. I think the murder of Thomas and Shirley was personal and they were targeted specifically to be killed.

    Given the way the killer acted - so calmly walking out to his car - I wonder if he could have been a hitman?
     
  18. Snick1946

    Snick1946 Active Member

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    Its been awhile since I looked at my post and am very grateful for the new posts - this is a case I feel strongly about and want to keep interest alive- sometimes it feels like a losing battle.
    Like the last poster I have slowly come to the conclusion that this may well have been a hit job. Not by a professional but by a wannabe- someone hired by a third party who lacks the moxie or ability to do it themselves. If so, what's the motive- revenge against the Hunters for a medical misadventure is one thought. one crime blogger feels it was an angry med student that blmed the boy's parents for failure to get into residency or continue in school. They served on the review board at Creighton.
    One recurrent rumor keeps coming back to me- have heard from four seperate sources. Someone in Ms Sherman's family has a drug problem. They owe large sums to dealers. At this point the suggestion is that the dealers just killed Shirlee because she was trying to be a go between and buy them off- remember a large amount of money was untouched in her purse. Something went wrong or they thought she'd informed on them and she was killed, the boy killed as a wittness,
    I think its just as possible this was someone hired by whomever in her family to get her insurance money or property to apply to drug debts.
    One big question is- have the cops looked at phone records or pulled computer drives? You'd think so but I wonder. OPD at that time and still is in a very stressed state due to lots of staff issues. The parents and Ms Sherman's family both have been oddly quiet. I just can't shake the feeling something strange is going on here. To be blunt the police just have never seemed very interested in solving this thing. There are people here in Omaha who think the Creighton connection is tied up somehow, potential for scandal and all that. Comments welcome.
     
  19. Shutterfly

    Shutterfly New Member

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    Here's what "jumped out" at me. One of the posted articles said that Tommy's video game, in the basement, was found on pause.
    Getting a young boy from in front of his video game can be a toughy. I'd find it hard to believe that an 11 year old boy would (A) hear the doorbell with a video game on because he would be oblivious to it and possibly couldn't hear it either from the basement and (B) I seriously doubt that he cared about the door bell and he knew that the housekeeper was there and would answer it. Source? I've got six kids.
    My guess is that he was called from the basement by the housekeeper to address some issue associated with this stranger at the door. Why? If a blood curdling scream is what summoned this child from the basement, then it is highly unlikely that he stopped long enough to pause the game. Also, if she simply called down to him without requesting directly for him to come upstairs, he wouldn't have paused the game just to talk to her.
    It would seem as though perhaps the house keeper had no idea who this guy was at the door. Whatever he said to her, it seems plausible that she summoned the boy to see what HE knew about the purpose of this mans visit,r that it was of interest to the boy, involved him, and possibly to have the boy talk to this man.
    The boy was found in the dining room. Possibly he and the boy went to the table for some reason? He did have a briefcase, and I doubt you enter this house through the dining room so they were away from the front door. Sherman was found down the hall near her cleaning supplies, 20 feet from the dining room. Sounds as if she went back to what she was doing inititally, after Tommy came up from downstairs.
    He'd never seen the house. Thus the reason he approached the house so slowly. He was checking house numbers. And if you enter a strange house, alone, with two people inside...are you likely to manage to kill them both, if they're in the same room talking to you, with a knife? And he left the knives? Instinct would tell most people that if you brought it with you to take it when you leave. Likewise, if you got it out of the house, leave it in the house. If he obtained the knives in the house then he came with no weapon?!?
    No one who saw him saw blood on him? Well he did have on a black coat, but maybe he'd taken his coat off before the murders?
    He pulled up directly in front of the house in broad daylight in a residential setting. He didn't give much thought to being seen or identified by neighbors, did he? Strange. He may have planned it, but he didn't know ahead of time where the house was...that's not much planning. He left the knives. He had a briefcase and could have easily dropped the knives in the case but he left them there instead...even if he wiped them down. That was just stupid and it doesn't sound too pre-planned to me.
    It sounds to me as if he was purposely trying to go to that house when no one was home, during the day, when the homeowners were at work. Perhaps he was looking for something specific in that house and intended to break in, but he went to the door first and knocked to make his presence seem justified? He could have had his little burglary kit in his briefcase. It certainly wasn't a robbery...and this guy picked this random house in this random neighborhood, to kill whoever randomly answered the door and let him in? I don't think so.

    Yeah...I'm just rambling, bouncing ideas off of you. I'm interested to see how this turns out. Something in the dynamics in this case seem a bit off kilter.
     
  20. Snick1946

    Snick1946 Active Member

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    Thanks for a very interesting post. Before the cops even released about the video game thing I assumed the boy was doing that. My kid does the same right after school. I am posting on three boards about this killing and couldnt recall if I floated this one here but it looks not. What if the killer was targeting the Hunter boy? Not the parents, the boy? You may wonder why an 11 year old would be targeted.
    This was a kid who probably spent lots of time alone, doing gaming and maybe on line. He was bright and from reading between the lines a little argumentive and cocky- they usually are at that age, I have one.
    Just what if- this was an older teen or young adult he angered on line? Maybe in some fantasy game or chat? This guy pretended to be friends anyway and then said he had a CD or something to drop off? He gets there and kills him, with knives like in some video game and takes out the housekeeper.
    I have passed this idea on to OPD and of course never even got the time of day. Someone claiming to be a friend of the Sherman family was on a local chat news board in early June- she said as of then so far as she knew the cops had NOT checked any of the phone/ computer records. Just stunning. How would they expect to solve this thing? Makes me want to scream.
    Some responders have stated they felt Ms SHerman knew this guy as she seemed to have let him in so easily, with no visible discussion. Perhaps Thomas told her someone would be coming.
     
  21. tapu

    tapu Pretty scary.

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    Shutterfly, you may think you're rambling but you sure ramble GOOD! The part about the game on pause, the boy being in the dining room, and the maid in the hallway having moved on from whatever "business" the man had with the boy shows excellent reasoning. Just wish I had something to add....
     
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