Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods



After Jennifer's release, Jamelske, like he had done after previous kidnappings, returned to his normal activities for a time. Every Monday morning, he would appear at a local bottle redemption center to cash in empties and collect the deposits. On one occasion, he convinced the owner to give him over 200 cases of empty Canadian beer bottles. He transported all 5,000 bottles to the basement of his home where he neatly stacked all the empties by brand and size. But still, like a roaming vampire, Jamelske cruised the local thoroughfares at night. Police later discovered that his license plate number had been run through their computers on dozens of occasions prior to 2002. (By 2003, records show that his plate had been checked by various police units on at least 70 different dates.) Those inquiries were run by police departments in New Paltz, Rochester, Poughkeepsie, Monroe, Syracuse and several different counties in New York State.

Another view of the entrance to the dungeon
Another view of the entrance to the dungeon

One night in October 2002, Jamelske drove to the intersection of Elk Street and Salina Street in Syracuse where he saw a young black girl walking alone. After a few minutes conversation, she got into Jamelske's car. During a later interview with a newspaper reporter, Jamelske claimed that the girl got into his car voluntarily. "I said, 'Do you want to make more money?' and she says, 'Yeah.' Finally we hit on a figure and we were going to stay for about a month." But the girl later told police that was a lie. She said that when Jamelske threw her into his dungeon, he shredded her clothes into pieces and told her that vicious dogs would kill her if she tried to escape.  "I felt completely stripped down to nothing," she said. But unknown to the girl, her family never reported her missing to authorities. No one was looking for her.

Though the girl was only 16-years-old, she was raped the very first day of her captivity. Jamelske gave her a name, "Meikka," and told her that other people wanted to rape her as well. Over a period of time, the girl befriended Jamelske, convinced it was the only way to stay alive and perhaps undergoing a psychological process that makes a victim get closer to her tormentor. "I think it was definitely the Stockholm Syndrome at work in that case," said Detective Schmidt during a recent interview. "Unlike the other victims, Meikka had some access to the house above the prison and on occasion, she was allowed into Jamelske's own bedroom." 

But her captivity became even stranger as the months wore on. Meikka seemed to have a great deal of freedom for a prisoner, more freedom than any of the other girls. And later, when Jamelske had an opportunity to talk to the press, he made some startling assertions. "Instead of hanging with the people she hung with," he said, "she had fun... she looked forward to going bowling... and she looked forward to playing pool. Yes, I wanted to be a tremendous influence on her" (July 16, 2003, Post-Standard).

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