Yet at 10:30 PM last Wednesday night, a man climbed up the beach side steps to the back of this home in a gated community, and entered an open patio door. He passed by the young son watching television and then suddenly he was stabbing Davina to death. Brock ran to her aid and ended up dead beside her. The killer left the home, leaving the children unharmed. The horrified boy woke his sister and the two ran to the neighbors to get help.
What in the world was this double homicide all about? What, asked Mike Gelanos, the host of tonight's show, was the motive of this killer? Captain Bruce Norris of the Ventura County Sheriff's Department tried to answer the question, see-sawing between the possibility of the murder being a random homicide or the murder being committed by someone who targeted the couple. I chimed in with Norris's this-or-that scenario, pointing out how, at this point in time, the homicide could be simply bad luck or it could be a hit.
Eh? I bet some people wonder how a police detective and a criminal profiler couldn't analyze the crime more astutely and narrow down the possibilities a lot more, gee, even a speck more! Would not a random killing and a murder for hire or for profit be at opposite ends of the spectrum? Are these crime analysts so incompetent that they need to leave a such huge margin for error ?
No, this is actually not the problem. The Captain and I are truly doing the right thing; recognizing that there may be more than one avenue of investigation and not making the mistake of cutting off one theory simply because another seems more plausible at this point in time. Secondly, with so little evidence yet available, it makes sense to consider all the possibilities.
So, I ask all of you to join me to brainstorm at this early point in the investigation! What theories can you come up with that might be plausible?
Here is what we know of the killer: he came up the back steps from the beach late in the evening. He was wearing a motorcycle helmet (but no one heard a motorcycle). He was wearing a dark jumpsuit. He was dark-complected. He came through the patio door, passed the boy, made contact with Davina Husted and started stabbing her. Brock ran in and got stabbed to death as well. The killer left the knife at the scene and disappeared.
Theory One: Mentally ill man sees the light on and, like a moth drawn to a flame, climbs the hill towards the home. He is off his meds and has some delusion about the adults living in the house; maybe they are aliens or some kind of evil beings and he must kill them. He is on a mission and, once he completes it, leaves the scene. The children were not part of his delusion, so he ignores them. He has a motorcycle helmet on either because he drives a motorcycle or because he found the helmet and thinks it is part of his astronaut's suit.
Theory Two: The couple is targeted by someone who wants one of them or both of them dead. Maybe Davina is pregnant with another man's child and was going to leave her husband, forcing the man to deal with her and the baby; he didn't like this and ordered a hit on her. Maybe Brock was involved in something squirrelly and someone wanted him out of the way. Maybe a relative named in their will wanted their home and their money.
I am sure someone will post, "How horrible you are to think such things about the Husteds! They are nothing but a wonderful, sweet family and you are suggesting awful things about them!" No, I am not. I am taking you through an investigator's ruminations and a profiler's difficult questions. We do not know the Husteds. They may be the perfect family, the kind of people we all wished lived next door. They may be the most innocent people in the world. This is not the point. When one analyzes a crime, one must consider all the motives, all the possibilities, and then eliminate them.
So, why would anyone even consider that the Husteds could have been targeted? Well, let's think again about that killer. Why would someone choose the Husteds? Why would that person climb those steps to a lit house (which means someone is at home), stab these people to death, and steal nothing? Why would that person leave the kids alive? Why was the murderer dressed in a jumpsuit and motorcycle helmet? Why did he leave the murder weapon?
If the killer isn't one of those people our mental health system now leaves on street because "mentally ill and psychotic people should have the right to live where they want," then the killer had a specific reason for choosing his victims.
The motorcycle helmet could have shielded his face and protected the killer from injury in the assault. The jumpsuit could have protected his clothing from blood. When he fled the scene, he could have removed this outer layer and his helmet and ditched them somewhere. He could then walk away in clean clothes and not become a suspect. He may have left the knife (some cheap, unidentifiable knife from Walmart) at the scene so he would not be caught with it. If he was hired to take out the Husteds, the appearance of the murder being "a crazy man with knife attack" would theoretically send law enforcement down the wrong path, searching for a nut who committed a random attack.
These are just two theories. The police have already been searching campsites in the area and questioning vagrants and homeless people. They are looking for evidence that might support the nutcase theory. I am sure they are also asking the Husted's relatives, friends, and co-workers about their habits, activities, and relationships. They are looking for a motive for Theory Number Two.
These aren't the only possible theories. Can anyone come up with a reasonable Theory Number Three and Four?