Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Ivan Milat: The Last Ride

Think Tank

To strengthen his investigation team, Superintendent Small began to assemble a team of experts to examine the motives and "state of mind" of the type of person that would have committed these hideous crimes. Knowing that the end result of the long and protracted saga, that the case had become, would be a trial of epic proportions, Small wanted the opinions of several experienced professionals to further enhance and support the weight of evidence.

The police psychiatrist, Dr. Rod Milton was essential to the proceedings. Since the beginning of the case, he had studied and reviewed every shred of information as it came to hand. He watched carefully as his original profile began to take realistic shape.

Smalls second choice was Dr. Richard Basham, the Dean of Anthropology at Sydney University. Basham, an American, had assisted police previously with investigations of Asian crime in Australia. His forte was psychological anthropology but he was well versed in experimental and clinical psychology. Milton and Basham were wary of each other at first, but came to respect each others abilities very quickly. Another member was Bob young, a trained sociologist and computer analyst. His expertise was in research methods and was very experienced in the handling of large amounts of data.

Small still believed that the killer lived somewhere in the southern highlands, the region that incorporated Belangalo. His plan was to organize a "door to door" survey of the entire area, in search of the murder weapon. The panel disagreed. They reasoned that police resources were stretched to the limit as it was. Most of them felt, particularly Basham, that the person and or weapons that they sought was mentioned somewhere in the mountain of information that had already been received.

As the group reviewed some of the files, one particular statement (Alex Milats) was mentioned. Small told them of the depth of detail it contained and suggested that the person who gave it must possess a "photographic" memory. Basham suggested that to retain such detail could also mean that he might have been part of the events that he had recalled so well. It was an interesting theory. Basham also was of the opinion that more than one person was involved, probably a brother. When part of the ballistic evidence was presented, the panel discussed the scratches that were found on some of the spent projectiles, possibly caused by a crude silencer.

"Well, a silencer could mean that this man is living in a fantasy world," Basham said. "He probably owns a motorcycle too. He considers himself an outlaw."

Milton agreed. He went back to the "brothers" theory. "We could be looking for a group of brothers who spend their time in the forests shooting cans and wounding animals and generally "showing off with each other."

Smalls ears pricked up. "We have a family just like that on file," he said.

"Well watch them closely," Basham replied, "One or more of them could be who you are looking for."

The discussion turned to the probable location of the killer. Milton suggested that the killer might not live in the immediate vicinity but may visit the area regularly and could even own or rent a property near by. After studying maps, they deduced that the killer would most probably live in an area to the North, close to the Hume highway. The fact that all of the victims had, at some stage, been seen at or near Liverpool and their bodies found in Belangalo forest strengthened that theory.

The members of the panel were unaware of the interest the police were taking in the Milat family, in fact their name hadnt been mentioned during the briefing. Small knew that they still had a long way to go to build a case but couldnt help thinking how closely the Milat family matched the theories.

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