Saturday, June 16, 2007

Now Back To Your Regularly Scheduled Crime

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Almost as if scripted by some evil mastermind, there are FOUR "recurrent" crimes that plague the US:

# 1 - The Murdered Girl - Young teen vanishes, body found later. Descriptions of suspects usually around. This has been updated for the digital era:
# 1 a, where the killer has a MySpace page and / or
# 1 b, where the kidnap is caught by video surveillance
The Murdered Girl happens at least once every 11 months, usually makes national news.

# 2 - The Murdered Family - Family is massacred. At least once every 8 months. National news fodder.

# 3 - Vanished - person (usually girl or woman) drops off the face of the earth (sometimes their vehicle disappears too) . This type of case is more regional: only makes national news if it happens on a cruise ship or if parents and friends hold rallies and blog and build websites. Happens almost monthly.

# 4 - Psycho Shooter Killer - opens fire in a mall or just kills at random. Biggest case so far was the loony at the college campus. But we also had those "terrorists" a few years back in DC - This is National if it's big enough, but if you google around you'll find a lot of local nuts who shoot up malls and fast food joints, most of the time just wounding a few people; enough to make the 6 or 11pm news in their hometown, their homestate if they are lucky.

The big case this week is that of a Murdered family: At about 5:25 a.m. Thursday, Chris Vaughn flagged down a passerby along a frontage road off I-55, south of Bluff Road, in Channahon Township IL police said. He asked the passerby to call 911.

When police arrived, they found Chris' Kim and her children dead inside the family's 2004 Ford Expedition on a cell tower access road just off the frontage road.

Each of the children was shot multiple times, police said. Kim was shot once in the head, according to police sources. Chris was shot in the thigh. A handgun also was found in the SUV.

Speculation abounds! It's always wise to consult CrimeBlog in this type of case. Crimeblog not only has a complete, detailed, accurate post: There are over 200 comments as well!

The question: what makes a person SNAP? Are evil Jinns whispering in their minds, luring the weak soul down the path of darkness? If it happens to you, think- you CAN say NO. Have you ever in your life had a weird thought enter your mind, something totally NOT you or your character, perhaps about doing some sort of evil dead, or driving your car across the center line into a big truck? That's when the Jinns are whispering. Be strong. Don't listen!

Bad Jinns came up in conversation today: also, interestingly, there were two search queries that led people to my blog. One from Saratoga Springs NY and one from Seattle WA, both using the search term "Diva de Loayza suicide." So, somebody, at least more than one somebody, wonders if Diva's death was a suicide. Hmmm...

 Bodies Found

Police: Dad not a suspect in 4 deaths

.
Mom Defends Daughter In Oswego Murders is the headline of one of the best MainStreamMedia articles covering the Vaughn case. I'm reproducing it here because from past experience, this type of story has a habit of "vanishing" from the Net:

(WBBM/CBS 2) - State police investigators were seen going door to door in the Oswego neighborhood where the Vaughn family lived. Four members of that family were found shot to death inside an SUV in Will County this week. Now, a family member is speaking out in defense of her deceased loved one.

Susan Philips says it makes no sense. In an interview with the Sun Times, the mother of 34-year-old Kimberly Vaughn says she doesn’t believe the story her son-in-law Christopher has reportedly recounted for investigators.

The Chicago Sun-Times reported this week that he has claimed the family was heading out on vacation when Kimberly pulled a handgun on him and their three children, shooting him in the leg, killing their children then taking her own life. Their bodies were found the couple's SUV Thursday morning parked on a service road in Channahon.

After extensive questioning, Christopher Vaughn walked out of the District 5 state police headquarters. The Chicago Tribune says he is now staying in an area hotel with a parent.

Philips says her daughter was looking forward to a weekend vacation and doesn’t believe she knew how to fire a gun. Investigators have not told the public whom they suspect of shooting Kimberly Vaughn and her three young children.

They do say they have no grounds to charge anybody at this point, though that could change at any time.

Thursday, the CBS 2 Investigators learned that cell phones were found in the SUV where Kimberly Vaughn and her three children were found.

Police are investigating why Christopher Vaughn apparently did not use a phone to call 911 for help. Instead, a passerby made the call when they found Vaughn wounded near the vehicle.

The 2 Investigators also learned that Christopher Vaughn has a firearm owner’s identification card; his wife does not.

State police have not said who they believe fired the fatal shots that killed Kimberly Ellen Vaughn, 34, of Oswego and her three children.

Another question investigators likely want answered is why the family pulled so far off Interstate 55 to a rather remote frontage road to fix any mechanical or luggage problems they might have been having with that vehicle. Sources tell CBS 2 they believe getting the answer to that question is one of the key things that will help them figure out why Kimberly Vaughn and her three children – Abigayle, Cassandra and Blake are dead.

Vaughn's husband, Christopher Vaughn, 32, was also shot in the thigh, but he survived. While police are not commenting on the subject, the Chicago Sun-Times reports that he implicated his wife. After speaking with investigators for several hours on Thursday, Christopher Vaughn left police headquarters early Friday morning.
Christopher Vaughn told investigators the family was on a trip when he pulled off Interstate 55 and parked near Frontage and Bluff roads to secure some luggage atop the SUV, according to law enforcement sources that spoke to the Sun-Times.
Vaughn said that when he got back into the SUV, his wife began firing a handgun, the Sun-Times reported. He was shot in the leg, and he fled, he reportedly told investigators. When he returned, his wife and children had all been shot and were dead.

State police would not confirm or deny this chain of events early Friday.
Around 5:30 a.m. Thursday, state police discovered the bodies inside the family's Ford Expedition, which was parked on a service road to a cell phone tower, just off Bluff Road near Interstate Highway 55 in Channahon Township.
Investigators said Kimberly Vaughn suffered one fatal gunshot wound.
The three children, Abigayle Elizabeth Vaughn, 12; Cassandra Ellen Vaughn, 11; and Blake Philip Vaughn, 8; had all been shot multiple times.
Christopher Vaughn left the Lockport facility at 1:40 Friday morning.
“Mr. Vaughn, at his own request, asked to leave State Police District 5 Headquarters so that he could get some rest and something to eat,” said Master Sgt. Tom Evoy.

Former prosecutor and CBS 2 Legal Analyst Irv Miller said that doesn’t mean police might be watching.

“They released him from custody, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he's been released from observation,” Miller said. “They can’t keep him locked up forever, but they can keep him under surveillance for as long as they want.”
But if police have Christopher Vaughn under surveillance right now, they’re not saying.

What is known is that evidence has been sent to the state crime lab in Joliet.
“There is a substantial amount of evidence that’s processed, both clothing and personal evidence from Mr. Vaughn, deceased family members, the vehicle that was involved and the surrounding area,” said Evoy.

Gunshot residue test will also be processed to try and determine who fired the shots. Other tests will focus on the angle and proximity of the shots that killed the three children and their mother. Sources say Mr. Vaughn is blaming his wife, but Master Sgt. Tom Evoy wouldn’t confirm that.

“I had heard that initially reported,” said Evoy. “I was not part of the interview that was conducted here by the state police investigators and I have no information on what exactly he said during the course of that interview.”

What is clear though, is that the murders scene in Channahon Township where three children and a 34-year-old woman were found dead was so horrific, that veteran law enforcers were reduced to tears.

“No human being should see what we saw yesterday, what my staff saw,” said Channahon Police Chief Steve Admonis. “It’s hard on people.”

Meanwhile, neighbors said they have not seen Christopher Vaughn, and his parents who drove in from St. Louis also have not been in contact with him.

"You guys know as much as the police do and everything else, so I really don't have any comment," Vaughn's father said.

Vaughn's father told a neighbor he is concerned about his son and was hoping Christopher would be home by now.

"They thought maybe he came out here because the police told them he was released last night," said neighbor Mohammed Ansar. "He said he's worried about him. In a situation like that, a person could do anything."

"This event we believe is concentrated to what we have at the scene," Dobrich said. "There is no suspect. We are just trying to get down to the truth as to what actually happened."

What is known is that evidence has been sent to the state crime lab in Joliet.
“There is a substantial amount of evidence that’s processed, both clothing and personal evidence from Mr. Vaughn, deceased family members, the vehicle that was involved and the surrounding area,” said Evoy.

Gunshot residue test will also be processed to try and determine who fired the shots. Other tests will focus on the angle and proximity of the shots that killed the three children and their mother. Sources say Mr. Vaughn is blaming his wife, but Master Sgt. Tom Evoy wouldn’t confirm that.

“I had heard that initially reported,” said Evoy. “I was not part of the interview that was conducted here by the state police investigators and I have no information on what exactly he said during the course of that interview.”
What is clear though, is that the murders scene in Channahon Township where three children and a 34-year-old woman were found dead was so horrific, that veteran law enforcers were reduced to tears.

“No human being should see what we saw yesterday, what my staff saw,” said Channahon Police Chief Steve Admonis. “It’s hard on people.”

On Friday, crosses, candles and other mementoes littered the front yard of the Vaughn family home in Oswego, a painful reminder of the four lives lost. It is a sad reminder for those who knew Kimberly, Abigayle, Blake and Cassandra.
A handgun was found at the scene.

The Vaughn family moved to Oswego recently and was settling into a dream home there. Neighbors were stunned by the police investigation.

Kimberly Vaughn had just received a degree in criminal justice administration.
Christopher Vaughn is a computer forensic adviser and specializes in missing persons investigations and cyber-crime prevention.

Blake Vaughn had just finished the second grade. He loved baseball and PlayStation. Abigayle would have been a seventh-grader in the fall. Her friends said she loved to draw and had just joined a traveling soccer team. Cassandra was heading into sixth grade and had just started playing clarinet.

Kimberly's sister told the Chicago Tribune the couple was looking forward to a romantic getaway this weekend to celebrate a wedding anniversary.
The family seemed so perfect that they were featured in a Chicago Sun-Times real estate article, describing their new construction home and the child-friendly Oswego neighborhood.

As CBS 2's Alita Guillen reports, many are openly stunned about the killings.
“I’m really shocked when I heard the news,” said neighbor Balaji Bobicherla.
Neighbors say the family was part of the community. Having moved in just a year ago, Kimberly was known to have walked the kids to school. Christopher worked in the yard and no one ever heard the couple argue.

“They loved the kids. They spent all their time, I could see them outside playing with them, and mother walking them to the bus stop,” said neighbor Susan Stasinos.
The children rode bikes in the neighborhood and had plenty of friends.

“She seemed happy all the time,” said Abigayle’s friend Jackie. “She had really good friends at school that would take care of her if anything happened and she could trust them about anything.

Police do not believe anyone outside the family was involved in the shootings.
CBS 2 News, the Associated Press and the STNG Wire contributed to this report.
Contents of this site are Copyright © 2007 by WBBM. CBS 2 contributed to this report.
Interesting to note that the Vaughn case takes center stage as the public memory of the Deysi Benitez Case is, for all practical purposes, "wiped clean."

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