Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Murder, they blogged

Rachelle Waterman: Manipulative Murderess or Abused Child?

Lauri Waterman
Lauri Waterman
On the night of November 14, 2004, Lauri Waterman was abducted from her home in the tiny town of Craig, on the idyllic Prince of Wales Island off Alaska's panhandle coast, and murdered. Her daughter, Rachelle, was at a state volleyball tournament in Anchorage, four hundred miles away, and her husband, Carl "Doc" Waterman, was away on business.

As investigators later pieced it together, Lauri returned home alone after some volunteer work for the Chamber of Commerce and went to bed. Some time later, someone broke into the Waterman house. They left behind an empty bottle of wine, and took Lauri Waterman and the family van with them. The burned-out van containing the charred remains of Lauri Waterman were later found in the woods 40 miles away.

View in town of Craig
View in town of Craig

Isolated and small, beautiful Craig is the kind of town where everyone knows everyone, knows what's going on, and knows who might be trouble. Indeed, one of the lead investigators on the case knew the Watermans well, and his daughter was a close friend or Rachelle's. Police attention quickly turned to two men who had both dated Rachelle Waterman against her parents' wishes. Jason Arrant, then 24, was a school janitor with an short stint in the Marine Corps. Brian Radel, also 24, was his best friend. It didn't take authorities long to suspect that they were behind the crime. Arrant, with the red hair and ample girth, led the caper; loyal, hulking Radel followed his friend and served as the muscle.

Questioned, Arrant and Radel identified another conspirator, claiming they were acting on behalf of honor student and athlete 16-year old Rachelle Waterman. Arrant and Radel claimed that they killed Lauri Waterman to protect Rachelle, at her request. Rachelle seemed a typical teen, like Megan Meier: caught up in social uncertainty, concern about her weight, doing well in school and extracurriculars but troubled by her parents' reactions to her increasing desire for independence. Her LiveJournal blog described the difficulties between her and her mother; her readers could not have guessed how far that adolescent drama would go and how deadly this would be, much less what powers she might wield over two grown men.

Two days after the murder, Rachelle posted this short, cold entry to her blog, "My Crappy Life":

"Just to let everyone know, my mother was murdered. I won't have computer access until the weekend or so because the police took my computer to go through the hard drive."

Rachelle Waterman's post
Rachelle Waterman's post

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