Author Cheryln Cadle decided that, after a calling from God, she would write to Chris and ask him if she could write a book about his story. Surprisingly, he wrote back.
After a few back-and-forth letters, Chris sent the paperwork to Cheryln to be put on the visitors’ list. She then visited him and they talked about her writing a book. After visiting him, he told Cheryln he wanted to tell her his confessions in writing because he felt their conversations were being recorded. He has revealed things to her that no one else knows, not even the FBI. Some of these details will be completely shocking for you to hear.
Letters from Christopher is a true crime story with important information to put the pieces of the puzzle together for inquiring minds. Read herein the completely truthful account of what happened to Shanann, Bella, Celeste, and Nico Watts.
Source: Dorrance Publishing
It seems some aren’t letting this go, nor should they, and nor should we.
Who’s gonna pay attention,
To your dreams?
And who’s gonna plug their ears,
When you scream?
Welcome, all True Crime elves, gurus and budding Rocket Scientists, to the new Crime Rocket Podcast! And also, a warm welcome to those just tuning in and discovering your growing interest in True Crime.
My name is Chelece Glenn, and I’m here with best-selling true-crime author, blogger, and true crime expert, Nick Van Der Leek. Nick is the author behind the wildly popular blogs on Crimerocket.com and Crimerocket2.com, and also hosts an active True Crime Rocket Science group on Facebook.
He has authored 93 true-crime books, is in the process of building his Youtube channel, and I am thrilled to get the chance to hear his insights and ask him our burning questions about trending cases every week!
What Is An “Incel”, and Why is the Upcoming Movie “Joker” Being Touted as the Perfect Place and Time for an Incel Rebellion? How Can America, and the World, Defeat the Incel Epidemic?
Worth Playing For?
What is an Incel?
“After reading your book, Incel, which was fantastic and really had me mesmerized, (even a bit obsessed, as I dug for more and more information) I have heard the term “Incel” being used quite frequently in mainstream media, and especially in regard to mass shooters.
Would you explain exactly what that term “Incel” means, and give us an example of someone who would identify as such a person? (we discuss the killers you detail in Incel, focusing mainly on Rodger, as you pitch the book and mention Hollywood’s interest in your explanation of this trend.)
This seems to be a rising phenomenon, as you accurately predicted some time ago. I was told something interesting this week regarding fears of an imminent Incel riot. Having been based in Washington DC for the past 20 years, I’m friends with many CIA and FBI agents. I was told that the FBI have been seeing evidence in the dark web that the upcoming movie, “Joker” has caused men who gather in chatrooms and identify as Incels to feel validated, and to see the character of the Joker as something of an Incel Hero, a la Elliot Rodger. There are widespread fears that the opening weekend for that movie will be a dangerous time in America, and that the danger alert is at code red. What do you think upon hearing this information? If it’s true, what does that say about our society, how might we proceed?
Domestic Terrorism a Growing Threat in America
Have we seen this kind of pandemonium in the movie industry in the past?
(Aurora shooting, Natural Born Killers, etc.) Is it the job of Hollywood to make entertaining movies with no misgivings that they may spark an uptick in violence? Freedom of speech, etc. Do movies make killers? Do video games make killers? Does Hollywood have a responsibility to prevent those situations? Is that part of a broader discussion about gun control and mental health in America?
Discussions with New York-based Emmy award winning producer…
You have some ideas as to how parents can avoid raising a son who turns out to be the next Elliot Rodger. In your book, you call it the antidote. What CAN we do to stop this worrisome trend. What advice would you give to parents of young boys, or even parents of teens in general? (You discuss your antidote theory) Is the popularity and trend toward feminism a catalyst for their behavior, an almost natural response for beta males to feel threatened? If so, what can be done about it?
“All I have are negative thoughts…”
Hello, and welcome to True Crime Rocket Science.
Brooke Skylar Richardson.
Blonde, blue-eyed, 20-years-old, charged in 2017 for the death of her baby daughter Annabelle. Skylar was 17 when she gave birth at midnight, in her bathroom at her parents’ home in Carlisle, on May 7th, just two days after her high school prom.
After giving birth Skylar buried the newborn’s body in the family backyard. On July 17th, shortly after going to a clinic to get birth control pills, the remains were found by detectives.
DNA matched Skylar as the mother, and Trey Johnson, a former ex-boyfriend, as the father. Johnson would be the first witness during the trial that finally started on September 4th, and eventually concluded on September 9th, 2019. A jury comprising seven men and five women acquitted Skylar on most but not quite all charges.
The image of Brooke Skylar Richardson in court, awaiting verdict and sentencing was my introduction to this case. I knew virtually nothing about the case until the judge read the charges, and all there was to go on besides that was the fragile-looking Skylar, initially responding to “not guilty” with no emotions, and then – fingers trembling in front of her face – Skylar appeared to break down in tears.
In an episode posted yesterday on Chris Watts’ affect, we saw how tricky it is to base the entirety of our knowledge of a person, on first impressions, and on optics, such as these. Personally, when I watched and listened to the charges being read, and I looked at the young girl’s face, I felt a strong sense of sympathy sweeping over me, and I hoped Skylar would not be convicted. When she wasn’t, I was happy for her.
That’s justice right? It feels right, it must be right? We should measure the legalities with our hearts, not our heads, right?
On the True Crime Rocket Science Facebook page, right now, there is a particular individual venting, grandstanding, and making as loud a noise as possible in sympathy with Skylar. It’s understandable if our information is limited to just that snapshot of her facing the jury’s verdict in court.
But True Crime Rocket Science requires that we get ourselves up to speed with as much information as we can, starting – in this instance – with Skylar herself. We have to get to know her, and her world, before we can make authentic or meaningful pronouncements.
So, for example, we learn that when Skylar found out she was pregnant, she also broke down in tears. When she got home, she researched online:
How to get rid of a baby.
This is a blog post, not a book, and clearly this subject on its own deserves hours of research if we are to do our due diligence. But we can pick up a few meaningful clues through thin-slicing. We see that on April 26th, 2017, Skylar asked her mother to make an appointment for her at Hilltop OBGYN so she could get birth control pills. That was when her doctor told her she was into her third trimester and would deliver a healthy baby within weeks. The doctor assessed the fetus as healthy, with a strong heart rate. This is important.
Through this snippet of information we see Skylar’s mother is – if not in control – then nevertheless a clear and active presence in her daughter’s life. We can also see that her mother knew about her daughter’s visit to the doctor, and one wonders how the doctor didn’t inform her mother of her young 17-year-old daughter’s situation.
A medical assistant who checked Skylar in, also said Skylar acted very nervous. The idea that Skylar didn’t know she was pregnant, far into her third trimester, suggests someone who may not be who we perceive her to be at face value.
The fact that Skylar left the clinic repeating –
I can’t have this baby, I can’t tell anyone I’m pregnant
– also speaks of a powerful dynamic operating in Skylar’s life.
Trey testified that the two began seeing each other in 2016. They had sex twice, once unprotected. He added that Skylar never told him she was pregnant.
AGE AND SOCIAL SITUATION
Skylar gave birth after high school and prior to starting college.
1. Judge’s Comments – he disagreed with the jury’s verdict
2. Is Skylar Guilty of a Crime? From Fox19:
3. Red Flags4. False Confession?
5. Before and After – Premeditation, Postmeditation
1. Skylar didn’t take the stand in her own defense – neither did Casey Anthony.
2. From the remains, it does appear that the corpse was burned. It was buried in the backyard adjacent to a barbecue pit. It seems unlikely that the remains would skeletonize entirely between May 7th and July 14th.
3. Annabelle was born prematurely, and the birth induced, but was likely not stillborn.
4. The question of whether another family member may have been an accessory to these events is relevant to this case, given the location of the crime scene.
5. Skylar was fortunate to get off as lightly as she did. The jury may view this as a late abortion, but technically, if she gave birth to a viable fetus and then bludgeoned the infant to death, it qualifies as first-degree murder after deliberation, and also obstruction of justice.
“Skylar and her family, particularly her mother, were pretty obsessed with external appearances and how things appeared to the outside world,” he said. “You have a situation where, you know, she’s a cute high school, recent high school graduate; she was a cheerleader described (as) a good girl by her lawyer as you heard after the arraignment.” Her parents and friends have said she hid the pregnancy from them.
“I can sometimes be selfish, but I would like to think that I’ve become better in the knowledge that I’ve upset everyone and hurt so many people with what I’ve done.”
Narcissism vs Sympathy
Prosecutors contended that the high school cheerleader wanted to keep her “perfect life” – Time
…a Warren County judge told her she showed a “grotesque disregard for life”…
“‘Broken,’ ‘shattered,’ ‘destroyed,'” she said. “None of them seem to fit the amount of pain I have felt ever since we found out that not only did I lose my first grandchild, but my baby — who I would lay down my life for without a thought — lost his first child, and Skylar had no intention of letting us know.”
On Saturday, August 10th, three days before Nora’s body was found, her mother made a statement thanking the police searchers. This was also the day after the family released a statement describing Nora’s “vulnerabilities”. Friday was very late in the search [which had started on Monday] to be making this clear.
One aspect that stood out in that latest statement [released on August 9th], was Nora’s apparent lack of co-ordination and her ability to balance. On the one hand they said she was struggling to ride a bike, on the other hand she was enjoying going for walks with her family [and there are also family photos of her doing so].
But the mere notion that Nora was trying to ride a bike and able to go to school on her own suggests that her balance and co-ordination was impinged, not seriously curtailed.
The images below confirm this impression. In the first, it appears Nora is the only one of the three children [their faces have been blurred to protect their identities] “struggling with her balance”. But that’s if we see the image in isolation.
In the next image we see Nora actually riding [balancing] on her scooter, unassisted, moments after the children in front of her have cruised down the hill towards the photographer.
In the second image, the child in the yellow dress appears to be struggling – or simply stopping – on the bicycle. The man looking after them is closer to the child in the yellow dress than to Nora. The distance between the children and the length of the road also shows that although Nora wasn’t able to keep up with her able-bodied peers, she was able to join them on their excursion regardless.
But the emphasis on Nora’s “limitedness” made it seem as if Nora would never go wandering off by herself. We can clearly see that if she wanted to, she could, and very likely did.
Bruised grey skies skulked over a chilly scene in a Belfast street. The optics spoke volumes, didn’t they? Nora’s family gathered on the other side of a secure perimeter, while a phalanx of reporters aimed their lenses at a corridor, trying to catch a glimpse through rows of pillars, of a retinue arriving in a pair of jet black Mercedes limousines.
If Sebastien, Innes and Maurice attended Nora’s funeral – and they did – the long lenses failed to find them. In video footage of the funeral there does seem to be a small brown-haired boy wandering between a tangle of legs. A small girl-child with a flower in her hair is carried into the church by an adult, but she appears too young to be Innes.
Only a single image was snapped of the late teenager’s mother. Meabh appeared to be holding something; a box of Nora’s ashes perhaps. Meabh appeared very different now to the worry-worn woman we last saw in Malaysia.
Once again, telephoto lenses had to navigate between brick pillars, a far cry from the jungle of soaring trunks in Malaysia, to catch a glimpse of the furtive family.
Bizarrely, though the media was overtly excluded from the ceremony, a selection of audio from the funeral, the funeral notice and a poem were nevertheless shared with the media. These selections sketched a tale of a rather different Nora to the one we outsiders have gotten to know thus far.
We don’t know whether any of Nora’s family members spoke on her behalf at the funeral. We don’t know who in the family stepped forward as spokesperson for Nora’s life, inside the church. Based on available media reports no one did. Those who spoke were Reverend Ruth Patterson and Father Edward O’ Donnell. No prayers were offered in lieu of the abductor [who is still out there, and on the run] that had brought such “unspeakable pain” to the family. If Nora was being remembered on this sad day, the abductor got a free pass, including in the media.
From a true crime perspective, the most valuable insight provided by the funeral was a more detailed sketch of Nora’s identity, personality and to some extent, a reframing of her capabilities.
Indirectly, another glimpse was provided into the Quoirin family dynamics.
THE TWO NORAS
Reverend Rev Ruth Patterson, a family friend and Presbyterian minister, said the young girl had been known as “Noisy Nora” by friends in Wandsworth, London. She said: “Nora loved school and her teachers. She especially loved food tech lessons where she made new dishes each week before phoning her granda to make him jealous about what she had cooked.”
The clergywoman said Nora had a fantastic memory and “wicked sense of humour” and “loved beasts and monsters like the Gruffalo and her pet tropical fish were called things like Butter and Toast, Ketchup, Hot Chocolate and Fishfingers.
“Nora loved playing with her Kindle. On one occasion her dad said ‘You’re spending too much time on your Kindle’ to which Nora replied: “Don’t worry Daddy, I‘m reading the Washington Post.”
Source: The Sun
In this description, Nora is fully formed, and fully functional.
On August 9th, when the family released a statement, Nora was described very differently:
“She is not like other teenagers. She is not independent and does not go anywhere alone. Nora was born with holoprosencephaly – this means that she has a smaller brain. All her life she has spent a lot of time in hospital. Her verbal communication is limited. She is unable to do maths and so things like money are impossible to manage. She cannot make or receive phone calls independently. She can wash and dress herself, though she cannot manage buttons, and struggles to wash her hair.”
Source: The Mirror
The mismatches are obvious.
- Nora can operate a Kindle and read articles from the Washington Post independently, but she can’t make a phone call.
- Nora can cook meals, but can’t wash her hair or do up buttons.
- Nora’s well-known to be noisy, which suggests she’s very communicative, even annoyingly so, versus “her verbal communication is limited”.
- Nora habitually called her grandfather after cooking classes but “she cannot make or receive calls independently”.
In sum, the funeral describes the deceased Nora as an independent, entrepreneurial and creative spirit, while the “statement” made while she was understood to be alive described Nora as helpless, hopelessly vulnerable and dependent, and severely limited in the most simple of ways.
It’s unlikely Nora’s condition was even mentioned at the funeral, whereas in the context of a police search the size of her brain was explicitly noted.
Back to the eulogy.
Her “crazy memory,” Rev Ruth Patterson added, meant the young girl could remember facts learned years before, such as how many steps were on the Eiffel Tower and what she had to eat “on her seventh birthday.”
Source: The Sun
Given the fact that Nora died of starvation, the mention of food here, what she ate and what she cooked in her “other life”, is saddening. But once again, the funeral sketches a Nora with strong cognitive faculties. If Nora had a good memory, then if she had wandered off, her memory would have served her well. What had she communicated to her family when she last saw them? That she was excited to see the waterfall. She may have reasoned that, although lost, maybe that’s where they’d be looking for her, and so that’s where she would make herself found. All she had to do was find a stream and follow it under it became a waterfall.
“She has been to Asia, and many European countries before, and has never wandered off or got lost. Nora is very sensitive. Outside the family, Nora is very shy and can be quite anxious.”
Source: The Mirror
The funeral provides an expansive sketch. The Eiffel Tower is an iconic landmark. How many people think of its dimensions in terms of physical steps to the top of the tower? Nora’s ability to remember meal feels superior to the average recall of ordinary people. Yet again, in the statement, Nora is described in a self-limiting manner – withdrawn, shy and anxious. Afraid of the world.
Whether there is some, little or much truth in these statements, it feels odd that her own family would feel so comfortable taking their daughter into these apparently unfathomable environments. Either Nora was extremely vulnerable and limited, or she wasn’t. The fact that she had been to many Asian and European countries by the age of fifteen clearly implies her parents didn’t regard her as limited as some statements suggested she was.
The image of a child unable to do her own buttons jibes with the idea of her not having the capacity to wander off. But this Other Nora, the one with a wicked sense of humour and a fascination for monsters and beasts, might be perfectly happy in the jungle, with all its bugs and creepy crawlies. After all, her favourite story, The Gruffalo, is set in a forest.
The Gruffalo is a story about a mouse with a wicked sense of humour, who takes the initiative to wander the jungle while giving various predators – a fox, an owl – the slip.
During his adventure, the mouse not only outsmarts critters he encounters, but he ultimately comes face to face with the fictitious beast from its own mind, and outsmarts it too. The whole story is about avoiding being a meal and ends with the mouse enjoying a meal, and peace of mind that felt good. This is a perfect psychological match for the world Nora entered on her first day in Malaysia. Would she have felt lost or afraid when she first wandered into it?
If this is one area of the psychological narrative that corresponds perfectly to the Nora in the jungles of Malaysia [she’s the mouse], there’s one other perfect match. The funeral on September 10th shares the consensus that what Nora loved most was cuddles with mummy.
Rev Patterson said what Nora loved most had been “cuddles with mummy.” Parish priest Fr Edward O’Donnell, who officiated alongside Nora’s great uncle Fr Pat Kelly, said the cheery young girl with the profound learning difficulty had been “very special.”
He added: “She brought so much joy to Meabh and Sebastien, to her sister, Innes, and to Maurice her brother, and to those of the wider family circle. She, as we all know, depended greatly on others but, Nora in turn gifted others with immeasurable love and joy; before such an ability we can only feel gratitude.”
Source: The Sun
When the statement was released during her disappearance, the “special time” for cuddles included a little addendum.
“Every night, her special time is for cuddles and a night-time story with her mum. And she was extremely excited about the family holiday in Malaysia.”
Source: The Mirror
If this was the usual ritual, it’s likely it was interrupted not just on the night Nora disappeared, but for the fews – and perhaps longer – preceding the incident. We know tha if Meabh was the family members closest to her eldest daughter, and most sought after, she was also often away, often far away. A week before the family met in Malaysia, Meabh was in Sydney on business. Her social media is festooned with trips to Boston, Dallas and New York, especially over the last two years.
As the busy CEO of Foresight Factory, and as a thought leader and trendsetter, there was a lot of pressure on Meabh to be everywhere, to make speeches, to build momentum in the industry and to evangelise the competitive world of brands and marketing agencies.
Where was Nora in all this?
In virtually all the images released to the media, Nora appears by herself. The very special girl who brought so much joy to her parents and siblings, is invariably photographed with no one around her, especially in photos of Nora as an older child.
There is one exception; the image of Nora – a chubbier Nora – sitting beside her mother.
At the funeral a poem from six years earlier was read, not by Meabh, but by Reverend Ruth Patterson.
If this poem was written in 2013, when Nora was nine, it nevertheless provides yet another version of the unique person Nora was once upon a time. It also further illustrates the family dynamics that emerged around Nora’s unusual condition. Obviously the analysis that follows is only one interpretation among several other possibilities:
One part of my [me] is a part unknown, – one of my children is unknown, mysterious
The truth within I know defies, – the truth within Nora, or within her mother, defies the odds, an ironic statement to be sure given the “defiance” of the abduction narrative when Nora disappeared
Not true to mind but true in time, – Nora had been left out of the psychological equation of her own disappearance from the very beginning
The tutor in my life has come. – Nora’s existence is being compared to a “life lesson”
One core to mine is a core passed on, – by figuring out Nora’s situation, by mining her mysterious core, valuable insights can be passed on to others
Its path untraced, its vision blurred, – the reason behind Nora’s condition is unclear, the path ahead uncertain
It reaches heights I cannot learn, -this suggests Meabh felt overwhelmed, at times, with the parental task ahead of her
Instinctive and still brave it runs. – this seems to be a reference to Nora herself, who acts instinctively, and in spite of her condition, bravely
One raucous squeal of hilarity, – this might be the description of a specific moment – from Noisy Nora, or it may be symbolic of Nora’s whole life as Meabh sees it – one long, raucous [unpleasant] squeal of hilarity [something that is fun, but perhaps at someone else’s expense]
Of teasing, squashing, caring fame, – this speaks of the dynamics. None of these words sound positive, and “caring fame” has a strange, almost ominous ring to it. The family become famous as carers of a disabled person
The constant turn of fortunes games, – this is a repeat of an ominous sense of being overwhelmed by fate’s wicked sense of humour
No fun, no punch an easy peace. – this really hits it on the chin, doesn’t it? No fun, no peace, not easy…
One memory is sure and raw, – the sure and raw memory may be the overarching narrative of Nora herself
A glance of free unusual thought, – Nora is a bundle of “unusual thoughts”, and perhaps someone sees her life as a glance, rather than the richer, more self-aware business that most of us have to mull through. This may be a reference to Nora not being quite here with us, not fully conscious. Her ability to share the reality of others is only a glancing one.
Preserves the smiles with every cost, – keeping up a brave face is hard, and extracts a cost
Reflects at rest in bewildered awe. – bewildered and awe are juxtaposed. Bewildered is a negative emotion, awe is positive. What is bewildered awe? Perhaps the feeling one gets as one gets lost in a jungle…
One rebel must beside me stay, – this could be a reference to Nora, or the rebellious thoughts a mother must keep to herself [her constant companion] as she struggles to care for her child. In hindsight, this also feels like the rebellion of the abduction narrative. It’s not real, but it’s necessary for the greater good of the family
The eldest, innocent my care, – this comes right at the end. This is an admission, an acknowledgement of Meabh’s obvious responsibility to look after Nora. The use of “innocence” here is psychological mirroring, even then, of guilt. Obviously Nora is innocent, but so are her two siblings. It shouldn’t be necessary to say this, and yet it is. In fact many of the media latched onto this very word – innocent – following Nora’s funeral. But it’s not innocence, it’s the idea of innocence. Though she was a burden, though she was dependent, though she was noisy, vulnerable and unfathomable, she couldn’t help it, she was innocent. The word hides those negative things behind it, inside of it. In a scenario where the other growing children were showing growing independence, and Nora was not, and where they perhaps required more of their parents attention, stealing precious time away from “precious Nora”, Nora’s “innocence” becomes an issue. Possibly at times it became a crisis. We know Nora’s exit from this world was an ongoing crisis, and one without the fairytale ending of the Gruffalo
The poem ends with two more lines:
No more anxious notes, the prayer, – Nora’s mother is praying for no more anxious moments [a hopeless prayer at the time, but after Nora’s passing, so does the anxiety of her care]. In the church setting, and funeral, there is no talk of responsibility. Instead there is a sentimental refrain of some other, happier, more functional Nora who no longer exists. She is given into the void with a prayer of happiness and acceptance, rather than regret, contrition, or tears
For the gruffest angel ever made. – this is a powerful ending. Nora associated herself with a story where a mouse invents a monster, and then is confronted by it. The mouse then inverts the story, and effectively becomes the monster, or uses the shadow of the monster to wander through the forest. In this sense there is subtle allusion to Nora being a monster of sorts, but also a mouse, an innocent, harmless child, the most “ever made”. In the end, the story of the mouse wandering the woods is the story of an organism trying to finds its way through the woods without getting lost, and while keeping its wits.
The fairy tale proves to be powerful allegory for Nora’s real life adventure in the woods of Malaysia.
The poem proves to be powerful allegory too.
In these – the fairy tale and poem – Nora’s future could be read and her tragic fate anticipated, and thus avoided, even if only in the symbolic sense.
…One rebel must beside me stay…The eldest, innocent my care…
But that would require the writer of the poem and the reader of the fairy tale book to be there in the same capacity, with the same level of care, three, four, five, six years later. There as a genuine reader of the words, and there as a genuine listener of them as well. As thing stand, Nora’s story isn’t a story of innocence, but of innocence lost.