Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

John Joubert, Nebraska Boy Snatcher

Rope

Ressler and Evans decided to tell the media to warn parents and children about someone lurking around schools and churches — any place where children might congregate.  A warning might make people extra cautious, because both FBI agents believed that the killer might strike again during the holidays, when more children were out playing.  The task force practiced a quick response to any indication that the man was in the area.

Book cover: Casebook of Forensic Detective
Book cover: Casebook of Forensic Detective

The FBI technicians were busy trying to learn the origin of the rope that had been found on Danny Joe.   It had been braided with several colors and was not available in any of the local stores.  That made the rope more interesting and more frustrating.  Unique ropes such as this one were helpful, because their distribution was limited.  Yet this rope was so unusual that no one could figure out where it originated, according to Colin Evans in The Casebook of Forensic Detection. 

Rope is made by twisting yarns in specific ways to strengthen them, and the type of yarn used can help to identify a manufacturer, although the more common the yarn, the less likely that one can be certain that one piece of rope had the same origin as another that looks like it.   This rope had several colored yarns and an unusual construction. 

Photo: Specific strands in rope
Specific strands in rope

The FBI set about checking with every rope manufacturer in the country, as well as abroad, seeking help from Scotland Yard.  They even went to dealers in the Far East, but each attempt was frustrated.  No one seemed to have ropes that matched their sample.  Fortunately, another incident gave the investigation an entirely new direction.

 

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