Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Craig Price: Confessions of a Teenage Serial Killer

The Heaton Murders

On September 4, 1989, Marie Bouchard went to check on her daughter Joan Heaton, 39, and her two grandchildren, Jennifer, 10, and Melissa, 8, at their home on Metropolitan Drive in the Buttonwoods area of Warwick, R.I. She was concerned because she hadnt heard from them over the Labor Day weekend. Maries other daughter, Mary Lou, accompanied her to Joans house. It was a visit that would change their lives forever.

When Marie and Mary Lou went to the house, they found it unusual that no one answered the door when they called. They knew Joan must have been nearby because her car was still parked in the driveway, so they rang the doorbell several more times. Still, there was no answer. They decided to take a look inside the house.

When they entered, they immediately knew something was terribly wrong. The interior was splattered with blood and a putrid smell permeated the air. As they walked further into the house, they made a heart-wrenching discovery.

They saw Joan lying beneath blood-soaked sheets in the hallway. Her oldest daughter, Jennifer, was lying nearby and Melissa was on the kitchen floor. All three had been brutally murdered.

Marie and Mary Lou were horror stricken. Just days earlier Marie had spent the day with Joan and her grandchildren shopping and enjoying time together. It was hard to imagine that they were all dead.

The mother and daughter called the police soon after they discovered the bodies. Within moments, rescue workers arrived on the scene followed shortly thereafter by detectives. The house was cordoned off and an investigation of the crime scene began.

Detectives were shocked at the savagery of the crime. Even the most seasoned investigators had difficulty holding back tears. All the victims had been stabbed multiple times with kitchen knives. The youngest child, Melissa, was stabbed so fiercely that one of the blades actually broke off in her neck. She also had her skull bashed in with a kitchen stool. Apart from the 57 stab wounds inflicted on her body, Joan was also bludgeoned and strangled. It was believed that they were murdered three days prior to the discovery.  

The heinous murders were the worst the city had seen in recent times. News of the triple homicide sent shock waves through the small town. No one felt safe and residents looked to the police for answers. Even though investigators had little to go on, they vowed to find the murderer. It was a promise they would keep.

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