Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Jessica Lunsford: Death of a 9-year-old

Jessica Lunsford was abducted from her home by repeat sex offender John Couey when she was nine. After her notably horrific murder, her father pursued legislation for stricter sex offender monitoring, resulting in the Jessica Lunsford Act. Jessica would be 17 today.

Marybeth Tinning murdered all 9 of her children over 14 years

Tinning would come running into one of Schenectady’s trauma centers confused and hysterical, with a child cradled in her arms. Ultimately, all nine of Marybeth Tinning’s children died suddenly and without medical explanation. Some thought the problem was genetic, until her adopted child died, and the horrible truth about Tinning became clear.

Today in Crime History: The trial of Susan Smith begins

July 10, 1995, marked the beginning of the murder trial of Susan Smith, a young divorcée accused securing her two young boys in her vehicle, and pushing it into a lake in a vain attempt to seem child-free and more desirable to a man who had rejected her. The case gained national attention because Smith told police that her sons were kidnapped when her car was carjacked by a “black man.”

Andrea Yates: Why did this Texas mom drown her kids?

In 2001, Andrea Yates, suffering from severe depression and psychotic episodes, waited until her husband went to work and methodically drowned her five young children one at a time in the bathtub.

The torment and tragedy of 10-year-old Jonathan James

Jonathan James died in July 2011 after he was deprived of water by his father and step mother for five days. Both have been charged with first-degree felony injury to a child. Jonathan’s step mother, Tina Alberson, was tried this January. His blind father, Michael James, who blames his wife for Jonathan’s death, awaits trial.

Kevin Neal: Messages from the Dead

Kevin Neal called 911 to report his children missing. Neal said he was inside cleaning when he suddenly no longer heard the children playing outside. Forensic experts were able to use insect activity to eventually catch a sexual predator — and they started by looking at Kevin Neal.

Slideshow: The Jessica Lunsford case

This charming Florida child was abducted from her home in February 2005 by drugged-out, repeat-sex-offender John Couey. A look back at the case in photos.

Slideshow: The Samantha Runnion murder case

Samantha Runnion, a 5-year-old southern California girl, was snatched July 15, 2002, by a stranger outside her home while she played with a friend. Samantha was dragged kicking and screaming, as her mother had taught her to do under the circumstances, but her heroic efforts did little to deter her abductor.

Today in Crime History: Sandra Cantu is abducted

When Sandra Cantu, 8, vanished on March 27, 2009, people feared that something bad had happened to her. They were right. Sandra had been kidnapped, drugged and allegedly raped before being murdered by the pastor’s daughter who taught at her Sunday school.

Today in Crime History: Remains of Genesee River Strangler’s third victim found

On March 24, 1988, hunters found the remains of what was initially thought to be a serial killer’s first victim, but which turned out to be his third. There would be 11 more before he was done. Disturbingly, the killer, Arthur Shawcross, already had a prison record and an early parole despite two convictions for child murder.

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