Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Gary Krist: The Einstein of Crime

Imperfect Childhood

Gary Krist was born April 29, 1945, to a fishing family. His father, James, ran a boat out of Pelican, Alaska, a scruffy little port villageaccessible only by sea or airabout 80 miles north of Sitka.

Map of Alaska with Pelican Indicator
Map of Alaska with Pelican Indicator

During the long salmon and shrimping seasons, the sea consumed the lives of Krist's parents, so Gary and his older brother, Gordon, spent vast stretches of their childhoods in the care of family friends.

He was a miserable boy. His father was aloof and his mother distracted even when they weren't out to sea.

Trouble visited early.

By age 9, Krist had a reputation as an incorrigible thief. He would steal anythingcoins, tools, penny candyeven if he didn't need it.

Perhaps he yearned for attention.

He eventually graduated to stealing cars. At age 14, Krist was caught filching a car in Seward, Alaska. That state had failed to reform the boy in delinquent programs there, so he was sent away under federal supervision to a juvenile facility in Ogden, Utah.

After nearly a year thereincluding a brief escape and a car thefthe was allowed to return to Alaska and attend high school in Sitka.

Krist did well academically during his two years there. He was recognized as a bright kid and a quick study. After graduation, he returned to Ogden, hoping to pursue a medical degree at the University of Utah.

It was a pipe dream. He didn't have the self-control for college.

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