Mastermind: To Think Like a Killer (2024) s01e02 Episode Script

To Hunt a Killer

A police officer out of
Lake Charles, Louisiana
had seen the car
that matched the profile
of the Ski Mask Rapist.
He said, "I saw the car."
"I saw the guy driving it.
No doubt it's him."
I had an LTD, which had a
police interceptor motor in it,
and those things would scream.
We wanted to get this guy before
he could find another victim.
Found the car parked in a hotel.
I got the license plate.
It allowed me to start
investigating him.
This is the guy.
They scrambled an airplane.
They brought about 30 units,
and they descended
on Lake Charles.
He came out of the
house about 5:30
and drove to a convenience
store just around the street.
At 5:55, Simonis comes
walking out of the store
with a loaf of bread and
two packs of cigarettes.
We got him.
I have approximately
about 21 life sentences
plus addit an additional
2,386 and a half years to go.
The arrest of Jon Simonis,
the Ski Mask Rapist,
was really a win for the BSU.
It was also the first time I had
listened to a recent offender.
It got to be a cat-and-mouse game
with the police after a while.
I knew they were
after me back in 1980,
and, uh, from there on,
I figured all I had to do
was not to create
a definite pattern.
I learned two really
important things
out of the Simonis case.
One of course was signature.
The signature piece for him
was having witnesses there.
To induce fear
or-or, uh, surprise
and to see how they
responded to it.
And I would feed off of this,
this fear and it would
It was like a, a
source of fuel for me.
Simonis gave a lot of
very good information
on method and how he
played the police.
This was new information,
and I was just getting started.
I need that job as badly as any
man, and I will work for my money.
Those times when one needs
to be with one's family.
Certainly there was
some negative feedback.
There was still some
negative feedback.
But we've been seeing signs that
family life is making a comeback.
We're remembering that
with freedom comes personal
and parental responsibility.
She has a family as all
of this is happening
and a whole separate
career at the same time.
Yes, I certainly had other
things going on in my life.
I was the dean of the
School of Nursing,
and I headed up
the National Center
for the Prevention
and Control of Rape.
Research was being done,
publishing, traveling
between Boston and Quantico,
and I was taking
care of the kids.
It was pretty much a blur.
- She's not gonna make a risotto.
- Right.
She doesn't have time for that.
So she could put
something in the oven,
go upstairs, bang away
on her typewriter.
That would burn or
that would get lumpy.
And my father always saying,
"Your mother treats
me like a God.
She gives me burnt offerings."
I was very, very fortunate
in having a husband
that was very
supportive of my work.
There was no question that
I would have a career.
None of us would've
had our careers
if there wasn't somebody
that supported it.
You know, nobody does it alone.
They were dearly in
love with one another.
'Cause he believes in his
wife, and he adores her.
She was a bright woman
and to waste me as a brain
was not gonna happen.
She enlightened the whole world.
Just quite proud of her.
I also remember a time when
You can't do everything,
and I didn't do everything.
There were certain
parts of our family life
that didn't get full attention.
It was hard. I admit
it was very hard
to leave them.
So we began to
travel as a family.
We took them to Quantico. They
had to work, don't forget.
I remember phone calls
coming into the
house from the FBI.
My mom saying, "I'm coming in."
Dad would be, "Okay, that's gonna
be however many flight hours."
And you'd have to figure
out how to get down there.
I have a flight
instructor certificate,
an official flight
instructor certificate,
a multi-engine
pilot certificate,
a commercial pilot certificate.
So, yes, I'm a pilot.
We'd all pile into the plane,
and Dad would fly
us to Quantico.
I've heard stories of
people with famous parents.
They think every family's like that,
and that's kinda like what we were.
This is what everybody does.
On top of all her activities,
my mom was learning how to fly.
I had to learn about flying,
and I was really good
except on the landings,
which was kind of crucial.
I would bounce it in, and you're
not supposed to bounce it in.
This is still the
early days of the BSU.
The agents were working
on a shoestring budget.
I think we must have had
six profilers by that time.
They had multiple
Profiling was really a
side part of their job.
The main goal that they had
at that point was to show
that profiling wasn't
a one-off success.
It wasn't a one-hit wonder.
There was pressure
that we had to be good,
we had to be better than good.
That came down from the top.
We were very anxious
about getting it right.
We would like to look at the
cases that have been profiled
to see whether, you know,
what has actually occurred
Regardless of the success
of the Ski Mask Rapist case,
Dr. Burgess herself was still
not being fully accepted.
So, a lot of the agents
keep her at arm's distance,
and they're not quite ready
to fully listen to her.
And she feels that a little bit.
Everybody who comes
into that environment
has to prove themselves.
But once a man
has proven himself
and the rest of the
team says, "Alright,"
that part of the process
is done for them.
For a woman in that position,
the test is ongoing.
Fear gripped Sarpy County and
many surrounding communities.
Danny Joe Eberle,
went to deliver papers
early Sunday morning
about nine o'clock.
One of the search teams found what
they hoped they wouldn't find.
Father identified that
the young man was his son.
As of now, they have
no time of death.
They have no suspects
and no motive.
Sarpy County officials tonight
will only say that the
evidence in the Eberle case
has been sent to the
FBI for analysis.
Who could have done this?
I remember being very invested to see
how they were going to profile this.
Ressler flies to Nebraska.
He's offering his
expertise as a profiler
to the local law
enforcement officers.
Ressler ends up
creating a profile.
"Resident of Bellevue.
Single, lower education,
low-income blue collar job."
Passes off this profile.
He was thinking of a pedophile.
They rounded up anyone that had
a prior sexual assault
against a child.
They arrested a man who
was known to pay for boys
to have sex in his car with him.
Ressler flies back to Quantico
with another win for the BSU.
Case closed.
Another boy has gone missing
in Sarpy County.
Christopher Walden
disappeared Friday morning
on his way to school.
One thing authorities
did confirm today,
they definitely do not consider
Christopher Walden a runaway.
Someone does have him.
We'd like to have him
returned safely, please.
It was just devastating.
We thought it was over with.
But Ressler's profile was wrong.
From my point, I wanted
to understand the case.
When I looked at
it, first of all,
the most obvious is
the first profile
was very, very, very vague.
It's only about seven lines.
Ressler acknowledges
that there's not a lot
of information to go off of.
So, it's sort of basic.
It was just Ressler
on that first profile,
which was part of the reason it
failed 'cause profiling works best
when you have a group bouncing
ideas off of each other.
Ressler was called up to
the director of the FBI,
William Webster's office.
Webster chewed out
Ressler saying,
"You've got the green light
to do some profiling work,
"but, you know, you better
figure this out and do it right.
It's my reputation
at stake, too."
When I came in,
profiling was much more of
an art form than a science.
And that was one of
the things that made it
easy for people to criticize.
They needed help
with methodology.
We need to back up
why we do what we do,
that there is rationale and
motive and science behind it.
I felt I needed to be an actual
part of the profiling session.
That was another area
that I could contribute.
The Simonis case,
she was brought in within
the very narrow role
of being able to
interview victims.
Going into this next case,
she realized it was her chance
to have her methodology
fully accepted.
Dr. Burgess was not an agent.
She'd be handling a lot
of gruesome material,
and the agents had to
know she could handle it.
The FBI was the boys club.
To have a woman must have
been really hard for them.
It's so important for a
woman in that position
to prove herself
early and often.
Part of it was showing her
as many horrific
photos as possible.
You know, "If she can't handle
it, let's weed her out."
Being a nurse, you have to look
at very difficult situations
and certainly you
see people die.
Putting it in that perspective,
you have to neutralize
the emotional reaction
and say, what can I
learn from this data?
For the first time,
Ressler brings Dr. Burgess
into the profiling session.
I started the conversation
with victimology.
Why were they targeted?
What were the similarities?
What were the differences?
The victims were Caucasian.
The serial killers
that we analyzed
tended to kill
within the same race.
What about the stature?
Are you dealing with
a big guy like Kemper
or someone much smaller
like Montie Rissell?
Targeting of victims is
gonna be very different.
They're thin, sort
of weakly built.
First, the boy was
left by the roadside.
The second case was
a little different.
His body's found
deep into the woods.
There were two sets footprints
in, only one set coming back out.
I realized that the
killer marched the boy in
because he couldn't
carry him in.
You're looking for a small man
that's probably not very muscular.
He couldn't have been that
much bigger than the victims.
She had an
evidence-based approach
to the relationship going on
between victim and perpetrator.
They go with this person
seemingly willingly,
which implies that
they know this person.
He would be working with boys.
He might be a teacher.
Probably through an activity
like being a soccer coach
or involvement in
the Boy Scouts.
There was something
about rope and binding
that was important to him.
The link there we
felt was sexual.
The bondage element is something
that the agents had seen
before from offenders
who fetishized over
detective magazines,
which portrayed
bondage and murder.
And all of that is
what turns them on
and gets them worked up to
go out and find a victim.
Once we had the profile,
we tried to see if we
could use the media
to be on the lookout.
If you see a mysterious
car following a kid around.
Anything suspicious, must call.
We need everybody
to help solve this.
The suspect is described
as a white male,
18 to 25 years old.
Five foot, eight inches,
160 pounds, dark hair.
They rounded up seven suspects.
It seemed like they
were the wrong people.
They didn't fit the profile.
Parents were panicked because
school was gonna be out.
They had a killer on the loose.
It frightens me. I
have a 10-year-old son.
If they can get a child out
here on our busiest street,
they can get them anywhere.
And I'd just rather
be safe than sorry.
I sent my daughter to my
parents in Des Moines.
I mean, this is our corner, not even
our neighborhood, our corner right here.
Will you feel safe playing
out in the streets now?
- No.
- No.
They were still searching
for who it could be.
They had no idea.
All signs were pointing to
there will be more victims
and this will escalate quickly.
Nothing happens in
December to January,
but I learned very early,
they cannot stop themselves.
He's gonna strike again.
One particular day
a teacher was out
getting things ready
and this car pulls up,
looks to be suspicious.
He was sitting there
looking into the window,
and I was trying to
memorize the license number.
Five one five four.
I'll never forget it.
At that point, he said,
"Get into the building
or I'm going to kill you."
With all my might, I just
pushed him and ran past him.
She was able to get inside
and to call the police.
Police tracked the
license plate number.
It was a rental vehicle
for John Joubert,
a radar technician on
the local Air Force base.
They found out where his
real car was being repaired,
looked in the window,
saw the very rope
that had been used
on the Eberle boy.
They get an immediate warrant
to search Joubert's barracks.
And there they found all
of this paraphernalia
that linked John Joubert
to these two crimes,
including a detective magazine
that had been dog-eared to the
abduction of a newspaper boy.
A young white male
with a weak build.
21-year-old Joubert's
physical appearance
checked all the boxes of
the profile perfectly.
Why Eberle?
He was alone.
Why make him take
off his clothing?
The only reason I could
ever come up with was
to see the wounds and to
make him more vulnerable.
So he was more vulnerable
without his clothing?
Wouldn't you be?
It was interesting to
talk with John Joubert.
It showed that we were very
accurate on the profile.
It matched absolutely
even that he might
be a scout leader.
So you were the assistant
Boy Scout master?
Assistant scoutmaster, yes.
We didn't know at that time
that he had killed more
and they got another
confession from him.
Ricky Stetson, an unsolved case.
You now had three young boys,
and I think that had a lot to
do with his own upbringing.
We had the opportunity
to talk with the mother.
She had been almost choked
to death by the husband,
and she told us John
had witnessed it.
He admitted to seeing
himself in these young boys.
He knew that those years
of his life were traumatic.
Dr. Burgess realized
these serial killers
had a horrific thing happen
to them when they were little.
And they would take that
and they would almost try
and erase that by
turning it into a fantasy
where they were the person
in control of the situation,
they were the offender
but this bad experience, they
could never completely erase.
So, that would be the drive
to go commit a second crime,
a third crime, a fourth crime.
Just is chilling to think
of how close he came
to having another victim.
He was out looking
for a victim that day
that the teacher found him.
What did you think when they
handed down the death sentence?
Well, I wasn't all
that surprised.
It was still, you know, "This is
ridiculous." One of those things.
You thought they'd
never go this far?
Says, "John Joubert is most
deserving of the death penalty."
Yes, they say that.
The arrest and conviction
of John Joubert
was a huge victory for the
Behavioral Science Unit.
The whole team was elated.
We were up against
a lot of skepticism.
They have proved the
success of profiling.
They have got buy-in from
William Webster himself.
The profile was so right
that it got written up in
the Congressional Record.
All of that made the
FBI look really good.
We didn't have to stay in the
basement anymore. That was a big move.
There was a lot
of media coverage.
It certainly captured
national attention.
There was a magazine piece,
and it's this great shot
of all these men in suits
standing around a desk
and it is rage-making.
Dr. Burgess had done really
important incredible work,
and yet the men in that
photo did not see fit
to ask her to join them.
It was sexist, but
that's their business.
You know, it wasn't
like, I wasn't there to,
in any way criticize them
or, or to say something.
Tha-that was not my style.
I had too much to do to-to
get caught up in that.
It was a very careful separation
of what was talked
about during the day
and what was the personal
time with the family.
You can get PTSD
from some of this,
and it is hard to separate out,
but you have to
do that to be able
to focus yourself
on something else.
Her work concerned
us as children.
I think from her perspective,
the less we knew the better.
But when we did find out
about things, it was scary.
There was a time where I went
out to see her in, in action.
She was doing a seminar nearby.
This is a 1979 murder
of Mary Frances Stoner.
And she gets up and
she starts talking.
She's got the slides.
A rug was thrown over her so
she couldn't see anything,
and the three men raped her.
My mom was involved
with very awful people.
There were times you'd be sitting
there thinking to yourself,
what else is there that
we don't know about?
And she was hogtied
where her hands were behind her
and to her feet.
So when we got these dribs
and drabs of information,
they were bad.
They were concerning.
We would worry that they'd
go after my mom, of course.
Well, there were
scary people, yes.
There's no question about it.
There was one particular time
I started to get letters
and threats against me.
Allen, my husband said, um,
"Maybe you should get a gun."
We bought a handgun for me.
I asked my mom, I'm like,
why do you need that?
And she's like, "Well,
I, I feel threatened."
She didn't outwardly
exhibit any fear,
but for her to bring
up the topic to me
signaled she was afraid.
And it's not just me,
but you always worry
about your family.
You'd like to think you're safe,
and boy you're not.
It's a very difficult
position to be in.
But I decided I was just going to
stand up and just keep on going.
It's one thing to be
a female FBI agent
back in the '80s.
It's an entirely different thing
to be submerged in the analysis
of violent crimes.
For years, I think
there was this aura.
"Women need to be protected.
"We shouldn't talk about these
kinds of things with women.
I mean, it's just too horrible."
And here was Ann Burgess
full speed ahead.
She really forged a
path for the rest of us.
I joined the bureau
when I was 30 years old.
It was 1980.
There were only seven
women in my academy class.
I read everything I could find
that Ann Burgess had
anything to do with,
and then the day
came when I was told
my assignment was
to work with her.
Yeah, so the first one
is Melissa Ackerman.
I had been an agent six years
when Melissa Ackerman
was kidnapped.
Dozens of police, firefighters,
and volunteers were
on the search today.
Melissa was riding her bicycle
with a young girlfriend yesterday.
A young unkempt man tried
to abduct both of them.
It's not supposed to
happen in a small town.
Just keep working, keep
following up everything.
It's-it's discouraging,
but we gotta keep going.
It's a call that you
never want to get.
Seemed almost like slow-motion
and wishing and hoping
that it was not real.
I had to walk down to City Hall
to make the phone
call to the FBI.
It was a tremendous relief
to know that we weren't
in this by ourself.
When I went to Somonauk
to work on the case,
there was a level of anxiety
and fear that was pretty high.
It was palpable.
And I had never worked
a kidnapping case,
especially a
witnessed kidnapping.
Missy's friend
Opal was with her,
and he tried to
kidnap both of them,
but she was able to
get away from him.
8-year-old girl.
Anything that she said
was really important
and could give us
more information
into the offender
we were looking for.
It's not easy getting
someone to talk to you,
and Opal wasn't talking.
You always had doubts
on a case like that.
You really wonder if there
must have been something more
you could have said.
It's a case you never forget.
Rainy days?
Her way of dealing with
these horrific events
was by opening up
herself even more,
by taking on some of their pain.
I think that was
critical for Opal
and the help that she provided.
I-I-I don't know if
anybody can measure that.
She started out slow
and non-threatening
and took time to gain her trust.
I could have just gone in and
said, "What do you remember?
What can you tell me?"
But we had a
traumatized child here.
The task was to
be able to utilize
something that would not
traumatize her further.
'Cause you were gonna ask her to go
back through a very distressing time.
The drawings tell the story
from the child's standpoint.
I think Ann's patience
and understanding
that Opal was a victim
in Missy's crime as well,
created a connection and a
bond between Ann and Opal
that allowed Opal to share
her experience of the crime
in a way that could become
useful for investigators.
She was so sad.
And so forlorn.
So it made her feel that
she was giving me something
that might help Missy.
LaSalle County deputy
was just out patrolling
about 20 miles from Somonauk,
an area that had been searched.
You get these hunches and
you say, "Well, maybe here."
And he was able to
see two little feet
under a heavy rock.
I felt awful.
Uh, you, you don't
hear news like that
without, uh, feeling,
feeling it at an
emotional level.
The key to the case was Opal
being able to give
information to law enforcement
and then taking that information
and spreading it
throughout the county.
The FBI this evening is charging
a 28-year-old Aurora
man with the kidnap
and murder of 8-year-old
Melissa Ackerman.
Police used Opal's
description of the car
that Missy had been abducted in
to make their arrest.
They had a lot of
information on Brian Dugan.
We learned how he had
victimized between 1974 and 1985
at least a dozen girls,
women, raping seven,
killing three of them.
Brian Dugan admitted killing
Jeanine Nicarico back in 1983.
DNA evidence suggested Dugan
was indeed the murderer.
Donna Schnorr, who was a nurse
and was the oldest victim, 27.
And of course,
little Missy, age 7.
Ann and I did not discuss
the emotional toll
that working a
case like that has
on investigators
that have children.
We didn't discuss the pain,
and we didn't discuss the fear.
It was unspoken.
Over the years, I've
known many people
who've been exposed to
these horrendous things,
and, um, almost uniformly
what they'll talk
about in private
is that it isn't really possible
to take all of these things
and completely and
totally dissociate them.
Every once in a while,
we pause and realize
what it is we're
really looking at.
Someone's child was
living an innocent life,
and then the family has
to look at an empty seat
at the table forever.
Brian Dugan was asked,
"Why do you think you did it?
What compels you to rape
and kill little girls?"
And he started crying.
He said, "I don't know.
I don't know why I
do the things I do."
I remember when I
was a little boy,
I was in the backyard,
and my mom came home.
I look over and we
make eye contact,
and I start thinking to
myself, I'm like, "Oh, my gosh,
I must have did
something wrong."
And before I could get through the
whole list of things, she's upon me,
and she kisses me
on the forehead,
right smack in the
middle of my forehead.
And I'm like, "Mom, what
was, what was that for?"
And she's like, "Oh, I
talked to a man today."
"He's a very bad man.
"And I had to ask him,
why did you do the bad
things that you did?"
And he said to her that
the reason he was so bad
was because his mom never
kissed him on the forehead.
You don't forget these cases,
but you, you learn from it.
And you only hope that
it in some way helps
and you've learned something
that can help in the next case.
Our whole goal is, "How can
we learn about it faster
so that we can prevent them?"
Every week, there are reports
of more killers.
Police are hunting
a mass murderer.
There are reports
of more victims.
Detectives have already
dug up two bodies.
Three other young girls
were murdered as well.
String of disappearance
and rapes and murders.
We were falling behind.
The so-called Happy Face Killer.
- The Green River Killer.
- BTK Killer.
I felt the pressure
to do something.
It wasn't the aspect
of killing them,
it was the aspect
and I raped her.
But it gave me an idea.
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