Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Slavemaster

Michelle

On the night of March 31, 1995, Jamelske cruised the streets of Syracuse once again, looking for a new sex slave. He drove up and down the avenues of the downtown section and found himself on Catherine Street, not too far away from South Geddes Street where he abducted Kirsten seven years before. Jamelske saw a very young girl, who appeared to be Latino, walking alone. He stopped his car and engaged her in conversation. She said her name was Michelle (not her real name). He convinced her that he wanted her to deliver a package for him. Soon, Michelle was sitting next to Jamelske in his car and they were on their way to nearby DeWitt. 

Sign, DeWitt, NY
Sign, DeWitt, NY

When they arrived at his home, Jamelske led the girl into his dungeon where she was immediately chained up and left alone in the dark. It was part of Jamelske's plan to intimidate his victims as soon as possible in order to develop feelings of fear and acceptance. Michelle was given pills that made her unconscious. When she awoke, she found herself naked with chains on her ankles. But Michelle was a fighter. She hit Jamelske, cursed at him and even spit on him. She later told investigators she was as mean as possible to her tormentor (O.C.S.D. Inc. # 95-047680). Jamelske took Polaroid photographs of her while she lay helpless on the floor and almost every day, he came into the room to have sex with the terrified girl. He had a prescription for Viagra which he took continuously, along with another over an over-the-counter sex enhancement drug. He told Michelle that he sold young girls to other countries for the purpose of sexual slavery. According to Michelle's statements to police, Jamelske displayed photos of her family, proving to her that he knew where to find them and threatened to kill them unless she did whatever he wanted (O.C.S.D. Inc. # 03-204840). Michelle was paralyzed with fear.

Jamelske allowed his victims to bathe only once a week, sometimes once every two weeks. He inserted a garden hose through the wall which provided ice cold water. It ran along side the aluminum piping which allowed heated air from his house into the concrete cell. He placed an old, ramshackle bathtub on a wooden platform in one of the rooms. There was a drain plug but no plumbing. When the tub was drained, the water had nowhere to go but on the cement floor of the dungeon where it remained until it evaporated, making the room damp and moldy.  

A chained window to Jamelske's dungeon
A chained window to Jamelske's dungeon

Michelle's family reported her missing almost immediately after her disappearance. It wasn't that her case was ignored by authorities. It was simply a question of priorities and a belief that she had run away from home, which was a very real possibility for someone who had a drug history as this girl did. But police had few leads and over a period of time, she became another statistic in the growing annals of runaway teenagers.

In 1997, Jamelske decided to release her. Michelle called her mother and told her she was going home. Jamelske drove her to her mother's house in Syracuse where she had a tearful reunion with her family. When she was questioned about her disappearance, Michelle said that she was held against her will by an older man who raped her almost every day. Her family wanted to report it to the police but she was terrified and Jamelske had told her that he would kill her if she ever reported what happened in the depths of the concrete bunker.

For several weeks after her return, Michelle's mother noticed that an older white man drove by her home frequently and appeared to be staring at her daughter. The man was pale, thin, wore glasses and had gray hair. When she asked Michelle about the stranger, she said he was the man who abducted her (O.C.S.D. Inc. # 95-047680).

The family decided not to report the matter to the police.

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