Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Beginning of an Investigative Theory

by Pat Brown

Today I was on CNN HLN Prime News commenting on a horrific case, a double murder straight from a Hollywood movie. Davina and Brock Husted, a well-heeled California couple living on the beach in a three-million-plus Ventura home, were stabbed to death in front of their nine-year-old son. Sleeping just down the hall was their eleven-year-old daughter. Davina, a woman who gave her time to charity work, was four months pregnant. Her husband, Brock Husted, owned a wrought iron company in Santa Barbara and all who knew him said he was a quiet and unassuming man.

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?

80 comments:

FleaStiff said...

NOT "targeted"; NOT a mental hygiene nutcase!
Just a motorcyclist from a camp that turned out to be overcrowded on the holiday weekend so he parked his Harley there and walked down to the beach with some "refreshments" and as the beer ran out but the tide came in he spied the available staircase, saw some tempting rich-people's houses and decided (with his alcohol sodden brain) on robbery. This woman started screaming at him so he grabbed a knife and stabbed her repeatedly. When this dude came out of nowhere and interfered, he stabbed him repeatedly too. Then returned to the campground via the roadway and washed up there.
Not a hit. Not a nutcase. Just a motorcyclist prone to violence when he is sober and definitely inclined to choose it when he is drunk.

FleaStiff said...

Further facts needed:
Was knife from scene of crime indicating lack of planning? Or was it a short bladed but rather wide knife such as is favored by cyclists?
Is there a lint drain in the campground's washroom?
If all he wanted was another cold beer, why didn't she let him have it?

FleaStiff said...

Theories Three, Four, ... More?
Wearing the helmet was not to avoid unliely cameras or the unlikely witnesses, simply the easiest means to carry a highly prized item.
Well lit and obviously occupied home? Drunk motorcyclist looking for some cold beer and some loot would not be phased by that at all.

What additional theories do you want to develop? The Nine Year Old son didnt want his inheritance diluted by the surprize pregnancy so he hired a hitman??? The Wrought Iron Executive became Over-Wrought and started smuggling gold that was painted black??? He is well known and well respected by his clients, his former employers and even his competitors. His clients were wealthy people, they don't settle any business disputes with knives.
Get security cameras from every gas station and beer-vendor up and down 101. Get family video tapes from every Biker Gathering Spot around. How far away is The StageCoach at the San Marcos Bypass? Thats a hangout for bikers as well as rich vcr-toting SUV drivers! If you've been drinking beer and riding a bike on the holiday weekend but are bound for somewhere, how many miles away would your last "pit stop" have been? Check that distance for beer-vendors and cameras! More of a payoff doing that than developing more arcane theories of hired hitman!

FleaStiff said...

>questioning vagrants and homeless people?
Perhaps as witnesses. Not likely as perpetrators. To a homeless person an expensive full-face helmet is an item to be pawned, not lugged around with him. Its valuable to someone who is really in posession of a motorcycle. Probably a good one and probably not a rice burner. Look for a Harley rider on this one!

Pat Brown said...

Fleastiff,

You do have another possible theory that a violence prone man attempted a robbery and quickly got angry at being rebuffed. I would think he would have to be fueled by something like meth to be so out of control.

FleaStiff said...

Meth is always a good candidate when the violence level is high and the payoff is so low, but so too is simply a computer printout of newly paroled convicts and newly arrived transients at the local motel from hell.
You don't need meth to kill on a whim! And if its a holiday weekend, well.. just a day of cold beer will do quite nicely!

Leah said...

It was in a gated community, so how did he gain entrance into the neighborhood?? Does he live there or know someone who does? Don't you have to go through security or use an electronic card key??

A Voice of Sanity said...

I'd take a hard, in depth look at the husband's business associates and dealings.

luvmypeanut said...

My first thoughts are: 1) were either one of them having an affair, 2) was he in debt either thru his business or perhaps gambling, drugs or prostitution? 3) have they been involved in any lawsuits lately? 4) was it out of character for either parent or children to be home at this time (as in possible kidnapping plan or revenge slaying and someone wasn't suppose to be home)

Shreela said...

I'm guessing there's some footage if they know the killer's complexion, that the killer was wearing a helmet and jumpsuit. Are they absolutely certain the killer's a man from the footage?

Pat Brown said...

The killer came from the beach up to the house which is wide open.

The complexion came from the son who witnessed the killings.

Maura said...

Clues prove elusive at Faria Beach
Ventura County Star
By Scott Hadly
Friday, May 22, 2009

Three days after a man in a black motorcycle helmet and dark jumpsuit slipped into a Faria Beach home and fatally stabbed a couple while their two children hid in another room, investigators continued their search Saturday for a suspect and a motive.

(snipped)

Investigators were scouring possible leads, including checking the registration slip for a nearby beach campsite where two motorcyclists were seen Wednesday night, before the 10:30 p.m. attack.

Authorities also heard from a campground host who saw a motorcycle parked near a camp restroom sometime after 11 p.m. that night and assumed the cyclist was inside it. A custodian cleaned the restroom the next morning and reported seeing nothing unusual.

(snipped)

Deputies reported that the boy was watching TV’s “American Idol” when the intruder entered the home through an open door around 10 p.m. He saw the man in the helmet confront his mother in the kitchen, and the boy ran to another part of the home to his sister. After discovering that their parents had been stabbed, they went to a neighbor’s home to call 911.

The home, though in a gated area, is relatively open on the ocean side. There is large rock rip-rap along the shore and a sea wall, but the back patio is open and a staircase there leads down to the water.

Investigation widens

The property is about seven houses south of a fence that divides the gated community from the campground to the north.

(snipped)

Several campers reported seeing a dark-skinned man with what appeared to be a motorcycle helmet under his arm come through the campground that night.

Cullum and her husband, Anthony, also heard a motorcycle drive through the campground at some point after going to bed. She remembers it because they’re careful to make sure to check on people coming in after hours.

“But we didn’t hear him stop,” she said Saturday.

One of the campers there wondered if detectives had taken into consideration the tides. Although a spokesman from the Sheriff’s Department had said that the intruder came up from the beach, the tide was a 5.3 high tide about 7:30 p.m. Low tide was at just after 2 a.m. Thursday.

At that high of a tide, there is little room to walk along the rocks, and some say it would be very difficult to go south from the campground and get around a tall fence and steep break wall without going into the water.

Two motorcyclists seen

The campground was full Saturday with a Memorial Day weekend crowd, as were all the camping spaces up along the Old Pacific Coast Highway and at Hobson Beach. The park host there, Valerie Stoner, and her husband, Walter Stoner, reported seeing two motorcyclists come into the campground Wednesday evening.

Valerie Stoner remembered it because the two stopped and “were partying with some of the kids in one of the campsites.”

That was around 11 p.m., and her husband went out to quiet them down. He remembers seeing one of the bikes parked near the bathrooms and assumed that the rider was inside.

He heard the bike leave later and drive north.

(snipped)

The custodian cleaned the bathrooms Thursday morning and didn’t report seeing anything. Still, deputies talked to the Stoners and several campers. A park ranger pulled the registration slips for the people in the campsite where the motorcyclists were reportedly partying.

Gene Thurman of Ventura said he had come up on Tuesday to reserve a campsite for the long Memorial Day weekend. He returned Wednesday to set up his camper. As he was finishing up, two motorcyclists pulled up and stopped to drink beers in the empty campsite next to his, he said.

He said he talked to one of them, a tall man with blond hair, who said he was from Pasadena.

http://www.venturacountystar.com/news/2009/may/22/police-scour-faria-beach-area-today-for-clues-in/

Maura said...

I’m leaning toward a robbery that unintentionally escalated into fatal violence.

I've checked several articles, and none of them specified whether the killer is believed to have had the knife with him when he entered the house or if the knife was a weapon of opportunity. He allegedly stabbed Davina in the kitchen, so weapon of opportunity is certainly a possibility. .

It’s been widely reported that the killer was wearing a motorcycle helmet and black jumpsuit. Not one report has claimed the killer was also wearing gloves. The boy was able to see enough of the killer's body in order to say he had dark skin. Maybe the killer did wear gloves, and the boy saw a patch of the killer's neck. But if the boy saw the killer's hands because the killer wasn't wearing gloves, then the murders would not seem to be part of a premeditated or targeted murder by a (rational) person because it doesn't make sense that an intruder who entered the house with the intention of killing Brock and Davina Husted would wear the helmet and jumpsuit to maintain anonymity and provide a protective layer against evidence yet fail to consider that he needed to cover his hands and needed to avoid leaving fingerprints behind.

The local Ventura paper reported that the boy watched the intruder walk through the living room and confront Davina in the kitchen. At that point, the boy then ran to his sister’s room, woke her up, and hid with her in the house until the killer left. It’s possible that he confronted Davina in the kitchen and demanded money or jewelry. She told him to leave and grabbed a knife to protect herself. Perhaps she took a warning swipe at him or he tried to take the knife from her and then she lunged at him, whereupon he grabbed the knife from her and stabbed her in a rage. Her screams brought Brock out of the master bedroom, and then the killer stabbed Brock out of necessity.

Maybe the killer would have killed the children had he known they were still in the house since they could provide some identifying information to the police, but perhaps he thought it most likely that they had run for help, which is why he fled the house without taking anything as soon as he had subdued Davina and Brock.

The police aren't releasing many details. They've apparently recently served search warrants, but they won't say where they're searching or for what. Given the number of campers who reported seeing motorcyclists at the nearby campgrounds on the night of the murders, maybe the police are serving warrants on those motorcyclists who were registered at the local campgrounds.

FleaStiff said...

Warrant probably served at crime scene and at campground's restroom and campground office.

Can a nine year old reliably differentiate between dark clothing and dark skin, particularly if its merely a glimpse of an intruder?

Any further data on the other nearby house that had an intruder at about the same time?

Pat Brown said...

Maura, you have provided a pretty nice scenario, in my opinion! You have followed one possible chain of events and considered how the evidence would support this.

I do find it a bit odd to walk into an occupied residence with an intent to rob without any weapon at all!

If the guy just wandered in unarmed, I would lean more toward mental illness and Fleastiff's motorcyclist in need of a beer ::chuckle::

FleaStiff said...

I know the papers have been unreliable in regards to the weapon's apparent origin but really now, has anyone ever met a biker who didn't have a knife?
He may indeed have grabbed one from the kitchen or from the hands of the woman he killed, but all bikers have knives.

Pat Brown said...

I agree with you, Fleastiff. I do believe the killer likely entered the home WITH a knife, be it to rob, because he was nuts and wanted to do in the evil ones, or because he was hired as a hit man.

FleaStiff said...

5/28 VenturaCountyStar:
Investigators believe that Brock and Davina Husted’s killer targeted the couple before stabbing them inside their Faria Beach home on the evening of May 20.

Kris said...

My theory falls within the mentally ill spectrum although I don't think this was a random act. I think this killer had a fascination with Davina, perhaps a neighbor or someone she would bump into at a store or gas station. Maybe she was polite to him and he mistook this to mean she like him. He starts to follow her, fantasize about her. He follows her home and investigates the area and sees the campground adjacent to her neighborhood. Maybe he drives a motorcycle or maybe he just borrows one (plus the outfit) from a friend so he can 1. go to kill her and get out quickly and 2. mask his identity. I'm not sure why some people kill the objects of their affections but I think that's what happened. The husband was killed only because he happened upon the crime happening. This is also why he ignored the kids. His intention was to kill Davina because he couldn't have her.

Carla said...

Has a paternity test been done to determine the father of the unborn child?
I once heard of a man trying to kill his unborn child because he suspected it was not his, or because he did not want the responsibility of the child. He tried to hurt the mother to kill the child. Maybe the killer was hired to hurt the mother /kill the unborn child and accidently killed the mother, then had to kill the man that entered the room.

Pat Brown said...

Kris and Carla bring up two more possibilities.

Stalkers can pop up out of the woodwork without the slightest hint beforehand of their obsession. They develop fantasy in their own mind and then when they feel the need to "bond" with their "special one", they can appear out of no where to kill them.

Carla brings up yet another possibilty of the woman being pregnant with another man's child who want any paternity possibility to disappear. Even if it weren't true, someone could think it was. We often have no clue what is happening in his mind.

Carla said...

I also live at the beach. I would NEVER leave my doors unlocked at night, and most likely never unlocked during the day. The beach does seem like a safe place, but because of many people wandering the area and the campsite close by, most people are very cautious and lock their doors at night. I wonder if the husband knew that the doors were unlocked. My instinct would be to protect my children, and that would include locking up at night.

FleaStiff said...

Investigative focus versus investigative range.
I'm sure there are any number of permutations and combinations of circumstances that take place in our society. A loving and devoted couple to the outside world is one thing but on the pathologist's slab the fetus gets a paternity test. Its a matter of thoroughness. Such as the homicide investigator who obtained the bereaved daughter's rental car invoice and suddenly noticed the mileage was the exact distance from the daughter's home to the scene of her mother's murder and back. Thoroughness in considering the range of possibilities allows for re-focusing one's sights. However, does one start out reaching for the obscure and unlikely? Damon Runyon's "but thats the way to bet" should play a role in our thinking too! Now ofcourse instead of an affair with another man, I would suggest instead a rape which she was too ashamed to reveal to her husband. It is a more tactful way of justifying the paternity test.
I just don't think these obscure paths would work in Vegas. You would be squandering your bankroll on hardway bets and ignoring the more likely results.

One woman was killed because she might have been pregnant and if so that situation might have become known and might affect a recurring weekend situation a wealthy man was having with yet another woman. All these confusingly remote and tangential mights didn't save the victim from being taken out on the wealthy man's yacht and thrown over the side to her death. The unlikliness of the event sometimes just doesn't matter because unlikely events do indeed take place.

But should we come up with ever more remotely possible scenarios or should we focus on the more likely ones? Known in he community as a loving and devoted couple, but you want to suggest she had an affair. Well, it is indeed possible. A stalker? She survived quite some time on the beauty pageant circuit in her twenties without developing a stalker but you want to propose she had a stalker at 42? Well, it is indeed possible.
I'll go with Damon Runyon on this one though: Drunken lowlife took an inviting staircase to avoid the incoming tide, saw some inviting mansions or perhaps just saw a refrigerator that might contain beer and decided to avail himself of the opportunity.
Those who want to check out all those wrought iron bars to see if they are really gold or cocaine can do so. I'll go with Damon Runyon on that one too.

Anonymous said...

FleaStiff you sure are wrapped up on killer beer drinkers.

At 10:00 at night there are many places to go and get beer. I find your theory ridiculous.

And a hit man is ridiculous too. A hit man armed with a knife? When there are 2 adults in the house that could quite possibly have a gun? That is just silly.

My bet is a drug (harder than beer and pot FleaStiff), meth, coke, PCP whatever. He saw the house was asseable and gave it a go.

A Voice of Sanity said...

Anonymous said: And a hit man is ridiculous too. A hit man armed with a knife? When there are 2 adults in the house that could quite possibly have a gun? That is just silly....

The hitter could have had a gun but used a knife. It's quiet, and leaving it there eliminates any connection to him (assuming gloves). Nope, very professional. I'm betting no cellphone traces locally either.

cheryl said...

If he was smart enough to wear gloves, and bring a gun, and not use his cellphone,he surely would have used the gun. Less messy. More sure to kill.

A pretty daft idea that he was jonesing for a beer.

The guy could be a nutjob. Could have been the guy down the street who has been fantasizing about killing someone.

FleaStiff said...

In all liklihood he probably had higher goals when entering the house. From what I understand about the tides and beach access h would have had to have been down on the beach for atleast two hours. He probably had something far stronger than beer, but I've no idea what. He may have been inclined to robbery though I don't know what he expected to find in the kitchen. He may have been inclined to rape but it does not appear so.
I do admit that an isolated location with this one house out of several did make me think that there might be targeting but it seems they are so squeaky clean that hitmen are just too unlikely.

He went up the stairs to escape the rising water and to make his way back to where he had parked his motorcycle; the rest was unplanned. I don't see much in the way of robbery? What was he going to do? Steal a toaster, carry it to his motorcycle and then go roaring down the highway to a fence and get nothing but a laugh? Did he think rich people might have jewelry or lots of cash? I don't know but it appears that the killings were more likely due to the manner in which he was encountered. If he wanted jewelry why would he kill the woman who can tell him where the jewelry box is located? He knew the home was occupied; he didn't care. There were other homes available, he chose this one. Yeah, I think he had probably been doing something stronger than beer, but have no idea what. Meth? Bikers distribute it. I dont know if they use it.

Pat Brown said...

Knives have been used in hits when the person who hires the hitman wants the crime to not look like a hit, but that of some deranged man. Essentially, this becomes a staged crime scene. The tough part is figuring out if it is staged or if it isn't.

Carla said...

The person most likely was outside the home looking in the windows to determine how many people were in the house before he(she) entered. Wouldn't they also kill the children they saw in the house if they did not want to leave any evidence or a possibility of being identified? Just a thought?

Pat Brown said...

Carla, there are two possibilities. He was nuts and didn't care (psychotics truly show their psychoticness when they don't worry about witnesses and they don't cover their trail at all) or the man knew he couldn't be identified because he was wearing a motorcycle helmet.

Anonymous said...

If the tide was high at 7.30 pm that was hardly what forced him up the stairs to the lit home at 10 pm. Just an observation.

An Avid Reader

Pat Brown said...

Good point about the tide, Anonymous. Fleastiff, it is true this is not some type of burglary (if folks weren't home)where someone was going to cart of big items like DVDs and TVs. Most likely, with the home invasion kind of thing, the perp wants cash or easy to carry valuables like pawnable jewelry. This would take me back to Methhead suspect. He sees a light, KNOWS people are home, wants people to be home, so as to get what he wants (money and small valuables). However,he is extremely violent, extremely quickly, almost like he is on a mission, so this part is quite interesting. He wasn't able to control the scene at all(well, if it was a hit, it was done exactly as it should be) but, if he were looking for bucks for drugs, he lost control quickly. I find it rather odd that Davina, pregnant and with two young children in the house and a mild-mannered Clark Kent type for a husband) would do something to immediately upset some scary guy in a helmet. I would think it more likely she would quickly try to appease him with money and jewelry. "Here! Take this! Please! Take this and go! Don't hurt my children." But she ends up dead within seconds. Why? Either a hit or the perp was extremely and unstable and off his meds (and maybe a methhead as well).

FleaStiff said...

Conerning Tides: Can someone resolve this issue once and for all. I've received contradictory information.
I want to know time of high tide and time span of impossible or difficult access from the north.
My present understanding is that a sort of natural wall of rocks to the north impedes access.

California Girl said...

Mistaken identity. He was supposed to kill someone else and went to the wrong house.

Pat Brown said...

California Girl, well, pretty unlikely, BUT, hey, I remember a Philadelphia case that drove the cops nuts that involved a hitman who got the address wrong. The police just couldn't come up with anything in the man's life that even hinted of any reason for someone to want to off him. Relatives and friends kept insisting the man had zero enemies and had no bad habits or criminal dealings. Turned out to be true and it was the guy next door who was the intended creep.

Pat Brown said...

INTERESTING BIT!

Brock's brother said this at the funeral:

“Brock and Davina’s last wishes were that their children were not harmed,” Husted explained after the service. He declined to elaborate.

http://www.venturacountystar.com/news/2009/may/30/no-headline---nxxfcfuneral31/

Now this is interesting if it is true. This would indicate Davina did not go nuts on the intruder causing him to go into a rage. She was begging him not to hurt the children. She was NOT aggressive toward him. If this is true, then the killer purposefully killed the couple and did not just lose control because the people in the house escalated things and he committed a crime unplanned.

FleaStiff said...

Well, if true, the statement would have had to have been one heard by the nine year old which would mean it was uttered before he ran to the eleven year old daughter, awakened her, and fled to the neighbor's house from which 911 was called. This statement might have been uttered after an attack or during the attack, but it could also mean that she immediately knew who the man was and what he was there to do.
This latestest scenario seems still unlikely though as far as known circumstances go. What happened to cause someone to want to hire a hit man? Did she fire someone from a charity or order the charity's books to be audited?
Did he create a wrought-iron sculpture that a customer thought was ugly and the customer became well,... over-wrought about it?

Anonymous said...

I believe Kris was on the right track...Davina Brock was breathtakingly beautiful and very active in the community. The perp probably had made an unwelcome ad-vance and was rebuffed. The perp had no problem entering the home..
knew how to access and obviously not worried about a barking dog. Maybe he was afraid she had told her husband and didn't want to lose his job??? She did a lot of work collecting items for the school fundraisers and might have had items dropped off at her home in the past. The helmet worn to en-
sure the children did not recognize him. Ironically, the "dark jump suit" could have been a "wet suit" similar to the ones that surfers would wear.. an easy item to comeby in a beach com-
munity like Ventura

FleaStiff said...

One recent activity was their decision to list their house: a disgruntled broker who missed out on the listing? Seems a real stretch frankly.

I still would need more data on the OTHER house that had a burglar but apparently nothing was taken.

Its still looking more random to me than targeted but I don't really want to be fixated on that.

As to some secret admirer... she had been beautiful for a long time and had even been on the pagean circuit. So why should she suddenly encounter a weirdo at 42 and six months pregnant?

I really think the emhasis should be on motorcyclists celebrating in the area. Massive campaign to obtain videos from gas stations and Biker Hangouts "a days ride away", thats what might pay off but only if done before the tapes are re-used.

Pat Brown said...

The stalker theory has possibilities. What is weird about some stalkers is that they can nurse their fantasy from a distance for a long time and then decide to kill their obsession just so they can have "won" them or "beaten" them, depending on their sick angle. These crimes can be tough to figure out because they can just happen out of the blue and, unless one finds evidence leading to the killer's home, one may just be puzzled over the attack forever. If the killer is found, then one can see the entire room set up as a shrine to the victim (photos, news stories, candles), and the murder makes sense (at least there is a motive).

Davina WAS in the public eye so the stalker possibility can't be ruled out at this point.

One can see a number of avenues of investigation opening up here and, unless the police get enough evidence to close down any of them, they must pursue them all. Even that bizarre possibility of mistaken identification can't be ignored so it behooves the department to check into the neighbor's (any recent problems), their looks (does the lady next door look just like Davina?), and, of course, just could be the wrong address. Although mistaken identity or address are not high on the list of probabilities, it shouldn't be ruled out until, again, evidence strongly points to one particular scenario (like the guy said, "You die, Davina" or "I need money for drugs."

FleaStiff said...

Beginning to look more and more targeted!!
Sheriff's deputies and forensic teams examined four vehicles and a small boat owned by Brock Husted. Items examined had been located at his home and at his business. Seems an unlikely avenue if it was just a drunken motorcyclist entering the home on a whim and killing savagely for fun. However, I can't really think of what they could possibly have been looking for? Recent lift to a hitchhiker? Recent sport fishing excursion?
Strange.

Anonymous said...

I can't help but notice that a "welder's helmet" looks an awful
lot like a "motorcycle helmet" es-
pecially to a frightened 9 year old. Hmmmmm and this man was in the
wrought iron manufacturing/design business!!! DOES ANY(BUDDY) ELSE
SEE THE RED FLAGS ON THIS ONE? Did the killer take a helmet off the porch, from a parked vehicle or did he bring his own? Be interesting to see if any helmets are missing from the shop in Santa
Barbara.

FleaStiff said...

Now THAT is good thinking. Just because a 9 year old gave a description of a helmet and some cop questioning him probably wasn't all that skilled at it, we conclude motorcycle helmet. Well, it may have been a motorcycle helmet. It probably was a motorcycle helmet. Still, its a good thought!

Anonymous said...

Thanks Flea...but I'm really trying to see this from a different angle and perspective. "Google" welding helmets and motor cycle helmets...they look so much alike. Another point, the "jump suit" that was reported, could have been a "welder's protection suit with the zipper in the front."
This is the kind of stuff welders wear in the wrought iron business.
The suits are very "thick" and pro-
vide a lot of protection from sparks, flying metal etc. That would explain why no one heard a motorcycle...there was no motorcy-
cle. My bet would be a small work pick up truck.

Carla said...

The welders helmet looks just like a motorcycle helmet

http://www.drillspot.com/products/363746/Optrel_K916_Harley_Davidson_Welding_Helmet

Pat Brown said...

Anonymous,

You bring up a great point as to identification of people and things. Great care must be made in investigations to doublecheck descriptions. People often make assumptions or believe they have described something correctly because that is what it seemed like to them. I had a case where a witness said the man ran out of the house with a long piece of wood. For the longest time I was trying to figure out why the killer would be carrying that. Finally, I realized the "wood" was a rifle. Another man was described as a black man from Jamaica. He was actually an Trinidadian of Indian decent. So, this helmet could be motorcycle helmet or some other kind of helmet. The boy may have not paid that much attention when the man came in, just glanced and saw a helmet and later assumed it was a motorcycle helmet.

FleaStiff said...

Welder's helmet, or just a liner from one could well have been used. Between a little boy's excited and brief glimpse and a cop's questioning, I could see several opportunities for a false assumption to have crept into the case right from the start. I tend to think of forging rather than welding but in all actuality welding and wrought iron particularly of decorative gates is far more likely. Disgruntled employeee? Recently discharged employee?
Ofcourse, I would wonder why a man would use his work tools for this crime but it may simply have been that he had them readily available to him. A car or truck could have been parked at the campgound briefly though as I understand the rocks and tides it would have been longer. Ofcourse scrambling over wet rocks is easier if one is suited up in protective gear.
Ofcourse I don't know why a welder would have his equipment in the bosses vehicle but it might have been a company truck that was searched.

FleaStiff said...

Visibility from a welder's helmet is extremely impaired but its good thinking to atleast consider the possibility.
Its just that with such "clean lives" its hard to think of "targeting" however a widely-admired Atlantic City shift manager recently received a quatrain of bullets in the gut because a player was convinced the manager's act of making a phone call was what routinely ended the player's luck at a roulette wheel. So its not the squeaky-clean life that the victim leads but the squeaks and clanks of the wheels inside the killer's mind.

Anonymous said...

Yes, visibility would be difficult for you and I, but not for someone who regularly wore a welder's hel-
met to do their work...they are aware, alert and can perform tedi-
ous and targeted work. I still have the feeling that it was someone who had been on the proper-
ty before. (ie not concerned with barking dogs or close neighbors) If it had been someone "drawn to the light" why not the house close
by that was also having a party that evening....hmmm seems that the
press has not revealed that fact. Or the fact that a lot of people were up watching the finals of
American Idol that evening. So easy
to commit a murder in coveralls and then discard the overalls. I also wonder if one of the victims was still alive when the police ar-
rived and therefore a description of "dark skinned man of medium build" given. I can't imagine a child would say "medium build"...to a frightened 9 year old, every adult looks large. And, I hate to say it, because it seems so callous...but Jaguar, Mercedes,
multimillion dollar residence, high
profile, children at home...and NO
SECURITY alarm. Somebody knew the
gate code to get into the complex.

Pat Brown said...

As to helmets, there are three reasons, one would have one on for the crime:

1. He just happened to be wearing it (then he would definitely be a motorcycle man or a nutcase who wanders around thinking he is a spaceman)

2. He wore it to keep people from recognizing him.

3. He wanted to protect himself from injury. I tend to doubt this simply because I have rarely encountered a killer who did this (actually, I can't remember any).

As to convenience, you are right, Fleastiff, it could be that he just happened to have or have quick access to whatever helmet. Often killers use what is simply available and comes into their reach.

FleaStiff said...

Atleast the cops are not wedded to that 'targeted theory': KeyTV in Santa Barbara reports that a 61 year old woman stabbed in her home in the Ventura Keys is being investigated for possible links to the Husted case.

Carla said...

http://www.venturacountystar.com/news/2009/jun/04/no-headline---nxxfcvtastab05/

Possibly linked. The Husted family lived in this neighborhood several years ago.

Anonymous said...

All my theories just went out the window!! Another woman in a Ventura
(million dollar plus) home found stabbed to death...and the police did not alert neighbors for more than 20 hours!! (We) have a *great"
reverse 911 system and it was not used immediately for second murder.
This is now hitting too close to home...the first murders were already causing lost sleep and stress. Ventura Keys is where Pierpont Elementary school is located and where Husted children attended school. The houses are also very close together. I must now break horrible news to my spouse. All these horrible crimes that seemed to happen "everywhere
else"......I now understand the fear that paralyzes a community.

Carla said...

Was this 3rd victim connected to the Husteds in any way? The school that the children attended was within one block of this murder. Was this murder intended for someone else in the neighborhood? Was there a trusted friend or teacher living close by?

FleaStiff said...

Crimes are nine miles apart. 81 year old mother found her 61 year old daughter dead in a locked bedroom. So there was flight from atleast one intruder armed with a knife. Each house was occupied and near but not on the water. Multiple entries most likely means multiple perpetrators.

FleaStiff said...

I should perhaps have noted that the Ventura Keys woman was stabbed multiple times. It should be remembered that no direct link of any sort has been yet discovered between the two crimes.

Pat Brown said...

The theories do increase! Nine miles is not around the corner but it is not far for a guy who has transportation. One cannot ignore the possibility when you have unexplained murders happening so close in time and distance.

On the other hand, the second stabbling could be a completely different offender. Coincidences occur quite often and multiple killers often live in the same jurisdication.

The police now have to review the history of the second woman and start a complete second investigation. They also have to look for links. The manpower and hours needed have now doubled and the morale is probably dropping as things get more complicated. One can only hope there is some great evidence that has not been made public yet.

Anonymous said...

Pat Brown..(with ultimate respect for your opinion) Is it possible a serial killer is honing his craft?
Wendy DiRodio (sp?) was another high profile Ventura resident with
a lot of community involvement, a psychotherapist (with doctorate), and from pictures also a beautiful, outgoing blonde. More
strange than ironic, the Husted's
owned a second home within 400feet
of Wendy DiRodio (and her parents.)
In each case the most vulnerable, ie the young children (Husted home)
and the elderly octogenerian (Wendy's home)were ignored in the attacks....does that make this ran-
dom, targeted, or even worse the pattern of a serial killer?? PS I got the heebeejeebees and left my home last week---and I won't go back until this is solved.

Pat Brown said...

The similarities are eerie. But, here is the problem. Serial killers rarely pick situations where extra witnesses or possible problems exist. Most find someone alone, so that no one will call 911 while they are committing their crime, so no one can identify them, and so no one can interrupt them.

Another oddity for a serial killer is lack of sexual assault. Of course, David Berkowitz - Son of Sam - got off on shooting people as did the Beltway Snipers, but it is rare for serial killers to commit these type of crimes, to simply kill in a frenzy and walk away.

Also, with such a huge police presence, it seems strange that a serial killer would pick another high risk crime in the same area. He would have to really be living on the edge. Most serial killers commit crimes that are easy to get away with.

So we either have two unrelated crimes or a really bizarre, brazen character of the likes one rarely sees.

FleaStiff said...

The Husteds did own a rental property several blocks from the Ventura Keys murder site but despite Seafarer and Sailor being closely related nautical-themed street names, nothing in street numbers or driving routes would cause confusion between the two properties. Its more likely that someone wishing to inflict financial harm on the Husted's estate would have burned the rental home rather than merely killed someone there.

Anonymous said...

Our local police and newspaper have
suddenly gone "suspiciously quiet" and not reporting anything on the
beautiful Husted couple or the out-
going psychotherapist/author Wendy
Dirodio for days All they will say is "lock your doors and windows."
THE MORALE OF OUR COMMUNITY IS REALLY SUFFERING. Does this mean they have NO suspect? Or does this mean they have a suspect and don't want to scare them off? I know that
you mentioned 'morale' might be an issue with the police dept...at what point can a police/sheriff dept ask for outside help? ie FBI

Pat Brown said...

In theory, the department can call in a profiler like myself on day one but they rarely do. They tend not to like to share their cases with outsiders in spite of the fact a crime analyst could be of use. Of course, sometimes they DO have excellent detectives who are profilers in their own right and they may not need someone else. As for the FBI, they usually prefer not to have those guys around because they hog the limelight.

As to why everything has gone quiet, there are two possibilities. They may have someone they believe committed the crime(s) and are working on nailing him or they have no clue who it is and are running down hundreds of useless leads and going nuts. IF these crimes are stranger homicides they will be the hardest kind to solve and they really need the public's help identifying suspects.

What is frustrating on the outside is not knowing if the police have some valuable piece of information that IF shared with the public might bring forth a suspect. Remember the Unibomber? When law enforcement finally printed his missive in the newspaper, his brother called up and said, "Yeah, I know who that is." It might have helped if they went public earlier instead of hoping to use the writing as a verification method for possible suspects.

FleaStiff said...

Husteds had recently listed their house; DiRodio had recently purchased one.
Same broker????

Carla said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Pat Brown, I believe it is as you said, and the second scenario "the police are hunting down
hundreds of useless leads and going nuts"appears to be the correct scenario....Frankly the anxiety level of the local residents is getting pretty bad. A lot of anger,mistrust & sleepless-ness...
28 days,(after first murder)
the police re-issued a "reverse 911 "call to warn residents to lock windows and "stay alert".....The newspaper finally printed a "small
article" announcing a vigil, and
INFORMATION TO HELP SOLVE THE CRIME
....
Now, after many weeks of nothing..
bits of info, "time lines&locked doors are "trickling" out..the in-
formation is so limited and so vague, it can't possibley help?

A Voice of Sanity said...

Some cases seem unlikely to be solved. I keep wondering about this one:-

WELEETKA, June 9, 2008 — The two girls found dead in a ditch Sunday along a dirt road in Okfuskee County were good students and best friends, school officials said Monday afternoon.

Taylor Dawn Paschal-Placker 13, and Skyla Jade Whitaker, 11, were found shot to death in a ditch on a dirt road less than a mile from Taylor's home.


It's been over a year now - still nothing.

Anonymous said...

Hi Pat, I live here in Ventura County. Although I do not believe this is the work of a serial killer,I was wondering, is it normal for LE to not disclose information if LE knew it was a serial killer? I lived in the San Fernando Valley during the Hillside Strangler situation, as well as Richard Rameirez cases, and I recall a lot of info regarding suspect MO was given out. The reason I am asking this, is because many here, believe that the case of the Husteds and Wendy, is the work of EARS/ONS, yet they will not post pictures(from Wendy DiRodeos tribute page)of a person they suspect, to an A&E site devoted to EARS/ONS. (Ventura County Star: posts to: Law Enforcement continue to probe Ventura County slayings)To me, it is frightening more people unnecessarily, than helping. I also must add, that it was three years ago that the Husteds', lived in the Keys neighborhood, and had kept that house as a rental. As well, the Husted boat is docked not far from Wendy's home. Both of the Husteds' children were elementary school age while they lived in the Keys, and continued to go to Pierpont Elementary after moving to Faria Beach. The Husteds' for all intents and purposes, looked and seemed to be the ideal family, as well as Wendy. Wendy was a Family Therapist, which leads me to believe someone had told her something regarding the Husteds', and therefore the tracks had to be covered. I believe it was targeted for reasons we may never know. I believe the perp was informed by someone close to the Husteds about their habits. The tide was high that night, no meth crazed person would have been able to just climb,over the rocks,and up the back stairs, let alone have the for thought to wear a Bikers Helmet and Overalls,unless they had been hiding on the deck for some time prior to entry. Probably a couple of hours at the least. And at looking at the sparse deck, I am sure the Husteds' would have noticed someone on their deck. Huge sliding glass doors. The other thing to mention here is that the train tracks for Amtrack and other cargo trains, is just a hop skip and a jump away from the front gates of that community. Trains are going past constantly, how would any one hear anything? I believe there is a lot more to this case then we will ever know. At this point do you think LE has FBI included in the investigation, as well as a profiler?

Anonymous said...

If I'm right F,...then what if Wendy's death was a diversion to make the community think there was a serial killer? That makes the last line of Pat Brown's 6/6/2009 post 8:28am ...right on target..
"really bizarre, brazen character of the likes one rarely sees."

Anonymous said...

WOW, PAT!! It is looking more and more like the scenario you presen-
ted on your May 29, 2009 post about knives being use "to cover up a hit"..Some really strange fi-
nancial connections have been coming into play.
The case of Wendy DiRodio, 2 weeks later is only awaiting final toxic-
ology, as police have announced they believe it was targeted.
Appears to be "young man, who is also a Peeping Tom...in close prox-
imity to victim.

Anonymous said...

Pat, I hope you are going to write a book on this story, cause it sure took the "craziest turn" ever. We have wondered why all the silence on the cases, and it appears that a relative of one of the suspects, may work for the newspaper!!!! Are police extra sensitive/diligent when the relatives are influential in the community?

Anonymous said...

The police and sheriff's dept in Ventura, did not come forward and tell the public that the murders of Brock and Davina Husted were NOT connected to the murder of Wendy DiRodio. So now the young male "suspect" in DiRodio's murder can not possibly be charged/prose-
cuted or get a fair trial because he will "unavoidably" be linked to the death of the Husted's and their unborn child. Ironically, Pat it seems to be one of your ori-
ginal theories..."someone off their meds"...and I absolutely hate having to say those words!! (It just sounds so heartless.) Al-
though not "in the local press" I suspect the young suspect may be suffering from mental illness and being held in a mental facility
south of Ventura. The Husted murders are looking to be a "money/drugs" association with some very angry partner(s). PS you looked great on JVM!!!

Anonymous said...

Looking at the picture of the helmet..if that is in fact what the helmet looked like..that is a specialized helmet for someone who enjoys the sport. Have the police checked into the local motorcyle shops to see if anyone has purchased a helmet and black attire within the last three months close to where Brock and Davian Lived? I homestly think this was a ploy to use these items to possibly throw invsetigators off track. Its just a sad situation for the family and for their sake I hope some closure can be found to solve the case.

Anonymous said...

This is hearsay, but: I've been told that a source who was living with the suspected killer prior to his arrest said that the Husted's (not sure which one, if not both) burned Josh Packer on a recent cocaine deal. The killings were retribution.

Anonymous said...

well its possible the husteds werent the amazing people everyone views them as.... Davina maybe.... Brock? I dont know... Maybe brock was a drug dealer on the side maybe he wasnt paying anyone off and they sent out a hit on him anD his wife just happened to get in the way.
no disrespect to the dead but i feel they need to look more into the lifestyle the husted were living...its rare wealthy people obtain their money the clean way. As for the murderer...maybe there was more then one...the boy said he saw a dark skined man...and he ran to his sister....is it completely impossible for there to hve been another killer......clearly judgment wasnt on his/their side

To be honest you really never know.

Anonymous said...

a few questions....
who was on American Idol that night? possibility the colouring of the man could have come from something he had seen on TV rather than in the room?

10.30 at night? not overly bright enough to determine exact details. Furthermore trauma at that age breeds confusion.

Now that Packer has been arrested for this - how detrimental was the confident declaration of the 'dark coloured skin' by the boy.

Why now have police confirmed there were missing items from the house when previously nothing was missing?

And finally..... would you or would you not make some sort of an agreement to plead guilty and have all the charges rolled into 1 to escape the death penalty at 20?


something doesnt smell right about this case.....

Anonymous said...

a few questions....
who was on American Idol that night? possibility the colouring of the man could have come from something he had seen on TV rather than in the room?

10.30 at night? not overly bright enough to determine exact details. Furthermore trauma at that age breeds confusion.

Now that Packer has been arrested for this - how detrimental was the confident declaration of the 'dark coloured skin' by the boy.

Why now have police confirmed there were missing items from the house when previously nothing was missing?

And finally..... would you or would you not make some sort of an agreement to plead guilty and have all the charges rolled into 1 to escape the death penalty at 20?


something doesnt smell right about this case.....

Anonymous said...

It appears that it was a white security guard. It seems to have been purely for money although police are still trying to link the suspect to the couple or to a possible long-term mistress in Pismo Beach. The perpetrator's co-workers joked about him having committed the crime when he appeared at work disheveled and bearing scratches. One of them noticed his lack of emotional reaction to having been accused. The perpetrator is fair skinned. FG

Anonymous said...

It appears that although coworkers noted his cuts and scratches and accused him of the Husted murders, they were joking and did not have a serious belief that he was involved.

Police efforts to link the motorcyclist-killer to the couple continue. So far, no known links to the couple, the wrought iron business or the business and woman in Pismo Beach who is alleged to have been a long-term mistress.

It appears to have been simply that he went down to the beach to drink, got trapped by the rising tide, took the available staircase, saw an opportunity for money, used a gun, despite lack of resistance by the couple and his having received the wife's money and the husband's wallet, he knifed the wife and then the husband. I think its the number of the stab wounds that make the police keep looking for a prior connection! 20 and 30 stab wounds usually means some sort of emotional involvement, not merely a robbery gone bad. FG

Anonymous said...

It may be that the police still seek a prior connection because of the intensity of the emotion usually involved in the overkill stabbings but such emotional intensity could simply be due to a drug or alcohol induced rage at the frustrating delay in obtaining "his" money from them.
I don't think the presence of a pistol indicates premeditation, he probably just rode around all weekend long with a pistol on his person on his bike. It would have had to have been on his person at the time he went down to the beach since he parked his bike at the nearby campground prior to be cut off by the incoming tide.
By his age, I would expect him to have no connection to the long-term mistress. He seems to have been simply a low paid drifter working as a security guard and getting women to buy him a motorcycle. FG

FleaStiff said...

Helmet's broken visor found at crime scene.

We all know those helmets are costly and riders place great emotional value on them. He would possibly not have been likely to have left his helmet on the porch, but if he entered wearing a helmet I would say that his intention was to avoid a description being given of him and therefore he had no intent to kill.

It may just have been that he was carrying it. Yet he had a gun so why would he encumber both hands? On balance, I'd say something happened that turned it from an impromptu burglary to a vicious murder.