Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Cannibalism and the Strange Case of Nathaniel Bar-Jonah


Zachary Ramsay age progression
Zachary Ramsay age progression

Despite the amount of evidence that had been amassed against Nathaniel Bar-Jonah in the disappearance and likely murder of Zachary Ramsay, it now appears that no one will ever know for certain what happened to the child. Zach's mother, despite the fact that Bar-Jonah had told her that he had "hunted, killed, butchered and wrapped the meat" of her son, told the police and publicly stated that she did not believe that Bar-Jonah had anything to do with her son's disappearance. She had apparently seen a videotape of a child she believed was her son, supposedly taken at a military base in Italy. Even though the police had been able to show that the child on the tape was not her son, Zach's mother continued to believe that Zach was still alive. A psychic that she consulted confirmed her in her belief. Although the police believe that Bar-Jonah had killed the boy and had disposed of the his remains by feeding them to Bar-Jonah's unsuspecting mother and her friends in the form of hamburgers, spaghetti sauces, stews, and casseroles, a public statement from Zach's mother saying that she would testify in court if necessary that she did not believe that Bar-Jonah was responsible for Zach's disappearance, death or both made the case a long-shot for the prosecution to win.

Nathaniel Bar-Jonah
Nathaniel Bar-Jonah

"I did not want Bar-Jonah to be convicted of a crime that I did not believe he did," Zach's mother told reporters for an Associated Press story. Zach's mother remains hopeful that the police would someday reopen the case involving her son, a move that seems unlikely.

In light of Zach's mother's statement professing her belief in Bar-Jonah's innocence in the disappearance of her son, Prosecutor Brant Light asked that the charges against Bar-Jonah associated with Zachary Ramsay be thrown out. Light said that because of Zach's mother's statements, he didn't believe that there was any way that he could win the case against Bar-Jonah. A judge agreed with him and, in October 2002, all charges against Bar-Jonah related to the Zachary Ramsay case were dismissed.

In December 2004, the Montana Supreme Court declined to hear Bar-Jonah's appeals and upheld his convictions and sentences for the sexual abuse cases. It seems almost a certainty that Bar-Jonah will die behind the walls of the Montana State Prison at Deer Lodge.

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