Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Dr. Larry C. Ford

The Doctor

Dr Larry Ford, taken from a College group photo
Dr Larry Ford, taken
from a College group
photo

Dr. Larry C. Ford was born into a Mormon family in Provo, Utah, in 1951, and had what many would call a wholesome childhood. Following high school, Ford obtained a national research award and enrolled into Brigham Young University. Ford married his Sunday school sweetheart, Diane, moved with her to Los Angeles in 1970, and enrolled in the University of California, Los Angeles Medical School.

 At UCLA, Ford was considered to be a skilled researcher and brilliant inventor. Even before his enrollment at UCLA, Ford had patented a test for infections, according to Mormon News, February 24, 2001. In 1975, Ford graduated from UCLA medical school and did post-graduate work in biochemistry and gynecology. He remained at the university to conduct research and lecture to add to his impressive academic achievements, Ford wrote many scholarly articles, covering a wide range of topics infectious diseases, cancer and the uses of antibiotics. According to the March 20, 2000, report in the L.A. Times, Ford was an ingenious character who also developed methods to reduce scarring and cure male pattern baldness. Eventually in 1987, Ford and his wife moved to Irvine, California. They had three children, two boys and one girl.

People described Ford as an intelligent and friendly man, yet also opinionated and candid. He was known to give free physicals to the church Boy Scout troop and give first aid to neighbors in the kitchen of his house. His children considered him to be a good father and devout Mormon, who would travel the long journey to his temple once a week to teach Sunday school and take them often on family outings. The Mormon News of February 24, 2001, reported that his son, Larry C. Ford Jr., said his father was the most loving, giving and loyal person, especially towards the poor and his family. Ford was also considered to be an eccentric by some who knew him. He wore bright colored outfits and tennis shoes regardless of the occasion. However, his intellect, kindness and unusual style of dressing were not the only characteristics that distinguished Dr. Ford from others.

Dr. Ford was also an avid gun enthusiast and hunter. While he was researching AIDS in South Africa for several months, he went on safari. In fact, a prominent South African official and friend of Fords, Niels Knobel, had a photograph of Ford posing next to a lion he had shot. Ford attorney Bryan Card said during an interview with Salon.com that Ford enjoyed game hunting. The Mormon News reported that Ford had gone on safaris and collected such items as buffalo heads and elephants feet as trophies. Card had also commented to Mormon News on March 19, 2001, that Ford had collected weapons and that he had a great deal of guns including, M-1s, hunting rifles and muskets. Fords family was aware of his gun hobby and had even known that Ford buried his guns and other substances. Fords family, however, did not know what many of his friends and colleagues did that Ford claimed to have worked for the C.I.A.

It was no surprise to many of Fords co-workers and friends that he said that he had worked for the C.I.A. After all, they had heard Fords description of some of his missions with the agency on more than one occasion. Salon.com reported that Ford had told friends he had once parachuted into apartheid-era South Africa in order to obtain dead guerrilla fighters blood samples for the United States. According to Fords lawyer, the doctor told him he had worked for the C.I.A. for almost 20 years. Moreover, Dresch reported on July 6, 2002, that Ford had told colleagues that he had also worked with the U.S. biological warfare program. Interestingly, Fords wife had never heard that her husband had supposed ties with the C.I.A. Mrs. Ford seemed shocked when she learned of the C.I.A. connection, following her husbands alleged suicide.

Det. Victor Ray (Courtroom Television LLC)
Det. Victor Ray
(Courtroom
Television LLC)

The New York Times reported on November 3, 2002, that prior to the search of Fords home, Detective Victor Ray warned F.B.I agents that there were reports that Ford had worked for the C.I.A developing biological weapons. According to Detective Ray, F.B.I. agent Doug Baker made statements, which confirmed that Ford had worked for the CIA. However, when Baker was later confronted about Fords involvement with the agency, he denied any knowledge of the connection between the two. Police could find no other evidence to support the stories of Ford having worked for the C.I.A. or with the U.S. biological warfare program. Officials of the C.I.A. denied that Ford had ever worked for them.

Many of the people who knew Ford had mostly positive things to say about him. However, there were some people who painted a less than flattering picture of the doctor. The Mormon News reported on February 24, 2001, that co-workers of Ford claimed that he had often misrepresented his work and career. One example was that Ford claimed to have been a member of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, although the college denied his ever having been.

CBS News reported on November 7, 2002, that during the investigation into Ford, police found evidence that Ford had threatened a university student, who claimed to have had a relationship with him.

Ford offered an apartment and a car to the student, but later stopped paying for both gifts. She developed severe neurological conditions that resulted in her having to undergo brain surgery and medication. The N.Y. Times article on November 3, 2002, also stated that Ford had admitted to two friends that he had infected the student with an alpha toxin, a story which was later supported by evidence received during the investigation.

Tami Tippit met with Ford twice to discuss using her likeness in an advertisement selling a skin care product he had supposedly developed. She claimed to have been poisoned by Ford at one of those meetings. Like the university student, Tippit also contracted a mysterious neurological condition.

Tami Tippet before/after (E. J. Swearingen)/ (Tom Russo)
Tami Tippet before/after
(E. J. Swearingen)/ (Tom Russo)

Another unusual incident, this time directed against Ford, occurred during his earlier years at the university. According to the March 20, 2002, L.A. Times, Fords life was threatened by a hit-man in 1978. One evening near the UCLA campus parking garage, a man shot four bullets directly at Ford. Only one bullet hit Ford and was deflected by a Dictaphone he had been carrying in his breast pocket. The gun man was never found and the incident was downplayed by the doctor. In fact, Fords wife had never learned of the attempt on her husbands life until he mentioned it to her two weeks prior to Riley being shot. It is also not clear how aware Riley was of the many bizarre circumstances surrounding Dr. Ford and his past.

 

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