A young mother rushes her infant son to the emergency room. Doctors find suspicious bruises and call the police. The investigation uncovers a trail of cruelty and deceit in a case “Classic” retired Det. David will never forget.
Detective David (Retired) served 10 years as a Scout in the U.S. Army, followed by 20 years in Law Enforcement starting as a former Patrol Officer and retiring as a Detective Lieutenant. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice with a minor in Forensic Psychology. While he was on active duty as a police officer he worked Patrol, SWAT, Criminal Investigations, Compliance and Internal Affairs Investigations, and also served as a Special Operations Commander. He currently supervises investigations for a large transportation company and is the father of three girls.
David: [00:00:05] She came in, wearing a wig, long overcoat. She didn’t look anything like she had in the past. She’s carrying a stack of folders. She said, “Now I’m going to show you why I don’t want him knowing where we are or ever finding us.
Yeardley [00:00:23] When a serious crime is committed in a small town, a handful of detectives are charged with solving the case. I’m Yeardley, and I’m fascinated by these stories. So, I invited my friends, Detectives Dan and Dave, to help me gather the best true crime cases from around the country and have the men and women who investigated them, tell us how it happened.
Dan [00:00:49] I’m Dan.
Dave [00:00:50] I’m Dave. We’re identical twins from Small Town USA.
Dan [00:00:53] Dave investigated sex crimes and crimes against children. He’s now a patrol sergeant at his police department.
Dave [00:01:00] Dan investigated violent crimes. He’s now retired. Together, we have more than two decades’ experience and have worked hundreds of cases. We’ve altered names, places, relationships, and certain details in these cases to maintain the privacy of the victims and their families.
Dan [00:01:15] We ask you to join us in protecting their true identities, as well as the locations of these crimes out of respect for everyone involved. Thank you.
Yeardley: [00:01:34] Today, on Small Town Dicks, I have one of the usual suspects. I have Detective Dan.
Dan [00:01:42] The right one.
Yeardley: [00:01:43] (laughs) The right one.
Dan: [00:01:45] Good morning.
Yeardley: [00:01:45] Good morning. Our own Detective Dave is off fighting crime in Small Town, USA, but he’s here with us in spirit, of course, as always. And I’m thrilled to welcome back one of our favorite guests and a fan favorite, retired Detective David, although affectionately known here on Small Town Dicks as Classic Retired Detective David, because we have so many Davids and Daves on our podcast. Welcome, sir. So happy to see you again.
David: [00:02:16] Always good to see you.
Yeardley: [00:02:17] Just as a side note, Small Town Fam, we’re all on Zoom. In our house, on your Small Town Dicks side, you might hear the cat, Zipper, because you can’t really have a Zoom without Zipper. On Detective David’s side, who knows? But it’s all good. We know you understand and we’re so happy that you’re here to join us. So, Classic Retired Detective David, I’m just going to hand it over to you. Tell us how this case came to you.
David: [00:02:44] Yes, ma’am. I picked up a call about 9 o’clock one evening from a children’s hospital in the emergency room. As is typical with a severe child abuse case, they won’t give you very much information on the telephone. They just say, “Hey, we’ve got an incident up here, we need to look at.” I arrived at the hospital. I probably got there about 9 PM and was immediately greeted by one of the hospital social workers and the on-call ER pediatrician who advised that she was just evaluating and treating a two-month-old infant that was brought in earlier by the infant’s mother, and we’ll call her Janice.
Yeardley: [00:03:24] Do we want to give this child a name?
David: [00:03:26] I’lljust refer to him as the victim.
Yeardley: [00:03:28] Yes, understood.
David: [00:03:30] The child had apparent bruising on his legs. The front and rear of his right ear lobe had fingertip bruising and also pinpoint bruising in the center of his right palm.
Yeardley: [00:03:43] You mean like somebody had stuck in with something sharp?
David: [00:03:46] It looked more like somebody had taken their thumb and forefinger and pinched him really hard. She had just received some of the scans and x-rays back. He had a subdural hematoma, which is basically bleeding on the brain, and a complete fracture of the number one rib on the right side, and two other ribs all on the right side. Like I said, this was a two-month-old baby. As a father of three, I had twins 11 months later, so I had a lot of babies all at once, and I know these things don’t just happen to newborn children. You’ve got to fight the moral outrage that you feel instantly because you know this was not natural. You get to catch your breath before you meet the parent, or anyone because you got to deal with this thing objectively. I took a few minutes and maybe caught my breath before walking into see this. There was a nurse in there, and saw the injuries firsthand. The child at that point was sleeping comfortably. The mother was in the other room.
Dan: [00:04:51] Are these doctors offering opinions to you on what they think happened or what’s a plausible explanation for these injuries?
David: [00:05:00] They wouldn’t get specific. You and I can speculate all day, but as far as how one particular injury got put on, no doctor here at least would ever venture to speculate when testifying or say anything like that to me. All they would say is, “This was definitely done by another human being. there’s little doubt that it was deliberate.”
Dan: [00:05:24] This is abuse. There’s no other explanation for this.
David: [00:05:27] Yeah.
Dan: [00:05:28] How is the child doing medically?
David: [00:05:32] Recovering with concerns. With that kind of an injury, there’s going to be some developmental issues in 90% of those cases. After I collected myself, I walked out and spoke with Janice, she was just distraught. Her expressions, her features, everything was appropriate for somebody that had just discovered that their newborn infant had been treated this way, but there’s a lot of questions. How did this occur? And where were you when it occurred? She immediately calmed down just enough to where she could tell me her side of the story. She had been at work, she’d gone to work at 5:30 AM and she’d left her baby with her boyfriend, Timothy, at his residence.
Yeardley: [00:06:18] Was the boyfriend the child’s father?
David: [00:06:20] No, ma’am. He is not the father of the child. Janice and Timothy began their relationship approximately two months earlier, almost immediately after she left the hospital with her baby, the victim. They met while she was recovering from giving birth. They had just recently, within the previous two weeks, moved in together. The apartment where they were staying together was actually his brother’s and his sister-in-law.
Yeardley: [00:06:48] The four adults and this little baby, were all living in one apartment together?
David: [00:06:54] Yes, ma’am. Janice had her own apartment. The lease was getting ready to expire, it had not yet. She was spending more and more nights there. Janice also had an eight-year-old son, he typically would stay with his grandparents.
Yeardley: [00:07:08] Do you know why this eight-year-old didn’t live with Timothy and Janice?
David: [00:07:13] He would stay with them, but usually the grandparents would pick him up later in the morning to take him either to school or just pick him up to hang out at their house because they had a bigger yard, better place to play for him. Janice worked full time for one fast food restaurant. Timothy worked full time for another one, but he typically worked evening hours, so they developed a habit of leaving the baby with him in the morning, and usually she would get home just in time to take over while he was gone. Janice had worked a full shift. They were actually trying to save up money to get a new apartment, so she had stopped at the bank, she was getting a loan to put down for a deposit. The victim had an appointment at a pediatrician later that afternoon. The plan was she was going to get back just in time to pick him up and take him straight to the pediatrician’s office.
A little bit about the victim. He was born at 24 weeks, so he was premature. He had some medical issues. There was some problem with his respiratory system. So, she was a frequent visitor at her pediatrician’s office. That day, she had just enough time to pull into their driveway. Timothy met her in the driveway with the baby already in the car seat. Baby was swaddled up, buckled in. Of course, the baby rides in the backseat, she was driving. Janice gets all the way to the physician’s office, has about 10 minutes to spare according to her. One thing that I noticed while she’s talking to me, she’s very focused on time, the way that she would recite what time she was at each location. Most people don’t keep up with where they’re at and what they’re doing down to the minute. This could have been indicative of her having a rehearsed plan or her statement. It was just something that I just put in the back of my mind, she was telling me exactly where she was right down to the minute.
When she got to the doctor’s office, because they were familiar with the baby, they’d always just tell her just go straight back and get him ready for the examination. She takes him back, goes to take the blanket off of him and immediately sees the bruise on the baby’s hand, and she thought it was dirt according to her and she tried to start wiping it. It was at that time that the baby woke up and started screaming. As she’s further undressing him, of course, she can see the rest of the bruises and starts to get the idea of why he is screaming so bad.
[00:09:30] She called the nurse and the pediatrician to the room immediately, and showed them what she had just discovered with her baby. Looking at that and listening to that part of the story, somebody had done that to their baby. It’s not likely that they’re going to be on time for their pediatrician appointment if they knew that the baby was in that condition and if they had anything to do with it. Again, it’s still early and nobody’s eliminated. At this point, I’m still trying to gather names. The day before, Janice had been at her parents with both of her children. She had gotten to Timothy’s place late the evening before. She knew she had to get up early to go to work. So, she and the baby and eight-year-old all went to bed. At some point, the baby, they cry in the middle of the night when they get hungry. Timothy volunteered to take the baby and feed him. She stayed in bed and Timothy took the baby into another room, fed him. Now, she did hear the baby cry at one point, but it wasn’t very long, and it wasn’t anything out of the ordinary.
The next morning, she got up and went to work. When she went to work, the baby was still sleeping in its cradle, but it was really dark. She didn’t want to wake up the whole house going to work, so she checked on the baby, but she didn’t really examine him. She just slipped out. I noticed that Janice, she had been texting on her phone when I walked in. I asked, “Who all have you contacted and spoken to about this?” She said, “Well, mostly just Timothy, because he was the last one with him.” She had shot several messages to him when she was leaving the pediatrician’s office. She said, “Can you explain why my baby has got bruises all over him, his legs, his ears, his hand? What’s going on?” No alarm from him. He just texted her back, like, “Yeah, no, I saw that this morning, but I didn’t see it until this morning. Oh, by the way, you forgot to leave me formula for him when you left.”
Yeardley: [00:11:25] Did Janice know at that point that her baby also had a subdural hematoma?
David: [00:11:30] At that point where I’m interviewing, I did not give her that update.
Yeardley: [00:11:33] But you knew it?
David: [00:11:34] Yes, ma’am. The text messages went back and forth. She wrote back, she said, “These marks were not on him yesterday. I know that because he was with me all day, with me and my parents. He didn’t look like this.” Timothy wrote back and he said, “They were, I saw them the evening before,” where he just told her he had not seen those until this morning. That’s a little odd.
Dan: [00:11:58] He’s trying to separate himself from the actual mechanism of injury. Playing dumb.
David: [00:12:04] Yeah.
Dan: [00:12:05] “Those were there before me. I had nothing to do with that.”
Yeardley: [00:12:08] Just what happens to babies who are two months old.
Dan: [00:12:10] “You didn’t say anything about it, so I didn’t mention it.”
Yeardley: [00:12:13] Ugh!
David: [00:12:13] Yeah. The other thing he said was, “Maybe I swaddled him too hard. I won’t do it again.” Well, anybody that swaddled the baby, there’s just no way to put fingertip bruising on the front and back of a baby’s hands while swaddling them. Everybody knows that newborn babies are made of rubber. You can just about bear hug one and you’re not going to hurt them. You’re certainly not going to break ribs, and none of that would explain the subdural hematoma.
Yeardley: [00:12:42] We have heard this before, that it’s very hard to actually break their bones because they’re not yet developed enough to be rigid like ours as adults. Is that so?
David: [00:12:52] Yeah, in most cases, I’ve never seen it happen that it wasn’t a deliberate action when it was a newborn, or toddler, even. Occasionally, a toddler will fall or break an arm or something like that, some freak accident, but with a newborn and these injuries, just looking at the palm of his right hand, it was clear that this was someone pinching with fingertips.
Most of my investigations were usually violent adults. It was because I really, really have a hard time when I see a baby hurt, that I’m at my least professional, being perfectly honest, so this one required a lot of control. A lot of agencies, not in mine, a lot of larger agencies that have more personnel, they will only let detectives work two or three of these kinds of cases during their tenure.
Yeardley: [00:13:42] Really?
David: [00:13:42] Yeah, because of the psychological impact, especially detectives that have children of their own. In small towns, many of us, we worked them all the way through. We used all resources available.
Yeardley: [00:13:53] Right. Our Detective Dave, when he was investigating sex crimes and child abuse before he got promoted to sergeant, how long was Dave in that department, four years?
Dan: [00:14:04] Dave did that for six years. His partner worked that caseload for over 20. Part of their reasoning for that was, we want these guys to be highly specialized and draw on their experiences from previous investigations and get to the truth of these child sex abuse and child abuse cases. So, they left them in there. Now, the opposite of that is, there’s a huge tail and it whips hard.
Yeardley: [00:14:31] Because there’s a huge consequence for that.
Dan: [00:14:33] Yeah., I’ve seen a big difference in Dave since he’s gotten out of that caseload, like the sun has come back to his life. There’s light in his life now. It’s a dark caseload to work.
Yeardley: [00:14:46] Yeah.
David: [00:14:47] To say that it affects you is an understatement, especially when you have children on your own. I guess one of the reasons I really wanted to talk about this story was because this one was really a professional and personal challenge for me. I was infuriated.
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David: Before I left the emergency room, I got a few details from Janice, she gave me the names and contact information for three other people that had been with both of her children in the previous week. Janice’s parents and a neighbor, so I’ve got a pool of suspects. As strange as Timothy who’s behaving, nothing ever works out that simple for me.
David: [00:17:53] Timothy and Timothy’s brother and his sister-in-law had been there at the apartment that day before Janice came home from the hospital. I couldn’t talk to them or eliminate them without tipping him off, so I had to get to him first. Some of the big telltale signs that were eliminating Janice from this was, the eight-year-old had never had any kind of an injury, nothing suspicious. He had broken an arm at school at one point, but really that was the only time that he had really ever had to go to a doctor for anything except for regular checkups. There were interviews of the babysitters, Janice’s father was really sick, and Janice’s mother was just very grandmotherly. They were just the light of her life, (unintelligible). So, they were eliminated.
[00:18:43] The neighbor that had watched the children, I’d interviewed both her and her boyfriend. I actually did a surprise visit on them, just kind of a knock and talk kind of deal. I just wanted to see how they were running their show, and it’s almost like they were born to raise children. They had everything covered. They had their stuff together. They had never seen any injuries on either of Janice’s children and were unaware that this incident had occurred. Again, everything’s pointing back to Timothy. During the course of those follow-up interviews, I did contact Janice. I think, by then, she’d been in the hospital for a couple of days and she sent a couple more text messages to Timothy saying, “He’s got bleeding on his brain and that doesn’t just happen. You’re the only one that was around him. There’s no way that I did this.” Timothy’s reply was, “I never accused you.” Then, she was unable to contact him again.
Yeardley: [00:19:41] You mean he just was gone in the wind?
David: [00:19:44] Radio silent.
Yeardley: [00:19:46] Oh, my God. Yeah, she said, “I have not received any more messages. He has blocked me from social media.” His phone has obviously been disconnected.
Dan: [00:19:55] I’m not surprised by that, because you’re reading all the text messages, detective, he knows that this is permanent. Now, he’s starting to figure out, like, “Oh, shit, maybe I’ve already said too much,” so he just shuts it down.
David: [00:20:11] Keep in mind she had just gone to the bank, right before picking the child up to secure a loan for the two of them to sign into an apartment together. So, Timothy goes from matrimony or at least domestic partnership to I’m done, instantly.
Yeardley: [00:20:28] I’m disgusted.
David: [00:20:30] Remember earlier when I was saying how focused Janice was on the time, like she can remember down to the minute?
Yeardley: [00:20:38] Yes, right.
David: [00:20:39] What I did is, every time I would speak to her on the telephone or every time that we would meet, I would just test her. I’m like, “Hey, tried to call you at such and such time, where were you at?” She’d always be like, “Well, if it’s 3:30, I was doing this or I was doing that,” and I would always check it out. She was always accurate with time. Finally, I asked her, “You always seem to know exactly where you are every second. What’s that all about?” She said, “Well, when you have one child and you’re a single mom, and you’re the sole provider, caretaker, when you’re dealing with babysitters, school, schedules, you’ve got to be on time, you can’t be late for anything and you’ve got to really manage your schedule.” That never changed about her, so it just lent a whole lot more credibility to her. I was convinced that she had nothing to do with this, other than the bad decision of hooking up with Timothy.
Yeardley: [00:21:32] We briefly discussed a little bit more of their experience together in the two, three months they’ve been together and that’s when she shared with me that he had some prior military service. I said, “Okay, so how long has he been out?” She said, “Well, I think he had just gotten out right around the time the baby was born, right before we met.” Then, she unloads on me that the last bit of Timothy’s military service, he had been in Fort Leavenworth incarcerated after being court martialed. She didn’t have any details about why. She just knew that he had had some kind of trouble in the military. At that point, I said, “Well, why are you just now telling me this?” She said, she’s very ashamed about what’s happened to that child and if it turns out to be, him whether he did it or not, she has moved way too fast and endangered her children. She’s really having a hard time with that. I said, “Well, does he work anywhere?” She said, “Well, yeah, fast food. He’s probably at work now.” I said, “Are you willing to do a recorded call with him?”
[00:22:34] At this point, this guy doesn’t know that I’m actively investigating him. She called him at work, nobody that he worked with knew what was going on. Management or somebody answered the phone and she’d asked for him and he came to the phone. Well, now she’s got him.
When he answered the phone, he was surprised to hear her voice, and she said, “Why have you disconnected? Why have you not answered your phone or anything?” He said, “Well, I changed my number.” “Well, why?” He said, “Because you’ve accused me of all these accusations. I’ve been getting harassed. I’ve been getting harassing calls, death threats, and everything else.” I described the text messages to you. There had been no accusations, she just wanted to know what was going on with her child. It was like where’s all this coming from? It didn’t make any sense.
Dan: [00:23:24] Well, and how can they do it if he’s changed his phone number?
David: [00:23:27] Exactly.
Dan: [00:23:28] Are they meeting him in person and showing up in the drive thru and saying, “Hey, when you get off work today–”
Yeardley: [00:23:35] “I’m going to fuck you up.”
Dan: [00:23:37] Yeah.
David: [00:23:37] “Yeah, me and you, buddy.” Of course, when he’s saying these things, I know exactly what I’m going to do, I’m going to pull his phone records on his old number and his new number, and one of the things she pointed out in the phone call was, “Less than two hours after you sent me that last text message, I could no longer get in touch with you and your number was out of service. So, you’re telling me in two hours, you started getting death threats and harassment when nobody but me and you knew about these injuries?”
Yeardley: [00:24:06] Good point.
David: [00:24:07] Yeah. Janice called him out on it. After getting that juicy phone call recorded and entered into evidence, we got to look further in his background, and it turns out that he had been married once before. Actually, he had been married just before joining the army. I was able to track down the ex-wife, found out he had two kids with her.
Yeardley: [00:24:29] Does ex-wife have a name?
David: [00:24:31] Her name was Angie. When I got in touch with Angie, she was really surprised that I was able to find her.
Yeardley: [00:24:37] Did the ex-wife, Angie, not want to be found?
David: [00:24:41] Yeah, that’s correct. She had gone to great lengths to conceal where she and her two children were living. She had changed her last name, she had changed their last names. You can imagine her surprise when I rang her telephone and then ultimately set up a meeting with her. This was a healthy freakin’ meeting. I met her at a neighboring jurisdiction at their police department. Angie came in wearing a wig and long overcoat. I got a private interview room there at that department. Some of these folks I had worked with before, and they made sure that nobody questioned who she was, there could be none of that. We got back in the room and she’s carrying a stack of folders. She said, “Now, I’m going to show you why I don’t want Timothy knowing where we are here or ever finding us.” She opened it up, and she showed me a photograph of what was then her five-month-old daughter with a perfect imprint of a hand across her face, and Angie did come home to that one night.
[00:25:48] Angie and Timothy, a little bit of their background, the two of them had served in the army, they had joined roughly the same time. They had dated one or two months. Then, she became pregnant. So, they got married, she separated from the military. The two of them moved to his new duty station together. According to her, everything was fine. He was really doing well as a soldier. Now, brace yourself for this one. She said that he was a medic, he was a trained medic in the army. Going back to, “Yeah, I saw those bruises,” the things that he had told Janice via text message, any medic that had seen that has been trained extensively, almost weekly, every soldier got briefings about recognizing signs of abuse. There’s no way in hell, he didn’t know that those bruises were what they were, and that they were not natural. If he had seen them, he was trained to report that kind of thing at a minimum.
[00:26:52] When Angie told me that, of course, that blew me away. She said he was selected to serve in a pretty exclusive unit in the army. Without giving that away, because I don’t want to dishonor this unit, I’ll just say that it was a very ceremonial unit and it’s a privilege to be a part of that unit. Having served in the army, I was very familiar with it. Might have been there two or three months before he started getting into some pretty serious trouble.
One evening, he had not come home, because he had been picked up after assaulting one of his fellow soldiers. Two MPs actually had to take him into custody. A fight between soldiers is not usually that big of a deal. It’s not like traumatic, you had a bunch of young men and they fight and then they get over it. Usually not a big deal. But this was something different. The attack on his fellow soldier had been described as unusually savage and entirely unprovoked. There was really never any explanation given for why Timothy attacked this guy.
[00:27:54] Well, the MPs had a pretty difficult time getting Timothy into custody, but they did. Ultimately, his company commander had to come down and have him released back to the unit. It was only then that he was sent home after he had sobered up. It was during this time that Angie started noticing behavior, because he was spending more time at home. She’d come back and the children would be really quiet around her. Not a peep, even the five-month-old would only play in the back room, and if she was brought into the living room or around her father, she got real quiet. It was right around that time is when she’d come home, she’d found this handprint across her baby’s face. She didn’t hesitate. She called the MPs, he was arrested. They held him at a confinement facility long enough for her to pack her and her children up and out of there. The army relocated Angie, gave her everything she needed to basically start a whole new life. They got out of there.
[00:28:51] She only had to return to testify at his court martial. He was sentenced to a 32 months’ sentence in Fort Leavenworth, but he was ultimately released after 16 or 18 months. That’s when he returned to this area, and that’s when he met Janice. The last thing that Angie told me before we parted ways is, Timothy likes to lie about his military service. He’s going to tell you that he deployed to Afghanistan, but he never deployed anywhere.
Yeardley: [00:29:39] Hey, Producer Nick.
Nick: [00:29:40] Hey, Yeardley.
Yeardley: [00:29:42] I brought you here to talk about kitty cats, PrettyLitter.
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Yeardley: [00:29:53] Chiclay is a lot younger than my cat. Would you say over the last four years of having her as pet number one that she’s gotten any smarter?
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Nick: [00:31:54] Finally, the day that I’d been waiting for, it’s time for the big reveal. It’s time to wake Timothy up. Janice had stopped trying to contact him, so he had grown uncomfortable thinking that he’s not going to hear back from her again. We set up a ruse. We started by first contacting Timothy’s mother, and notifying her that the neighboring jurisdiction was investigating Janice on a child abuse allegation. We had just learned that she had been in a previous relationship with Timothy, and that the neighboring jurisdiction asked us to try and interview him about Janice’s demeanor around her children and what, if anything, he might have known about these strange injuries to the victim. That kind of lightened things up for him, because if the neighboring jurisdiction is looking at Janice, they’re not looking at Timothy. Rather than us contacting him directly, we pretended like we didn’t know where he were, I had my partner contact his mother.
[00:32:59] The ruse is depended on Timothy, believing that my partner was the primary investigator that was assisting the neighboring jurisdiction. I’m just this disinterested guy to him. Of course, Timothy’s mother protected him like every mother should, “We’ll help any way we can. He’s working at such and such fast-food restaurant, and I’ll get in touch with him, have him give you a call.” It wasn’t long, he called my partner, and said, “Yeah, sure, I’ll be glad to come down and talk to you.” We set it up the next day. We didn’t have him in the interview room. We had rigged up the office, our area, with cameras, recorders everywhere. We’d received a few fake phone calls while he was in the office, and had certain people call us at certain times, and they would call me, we just basically pretended that it was the neighboring jurisdiction, inquiring what Timothy might know about Janice.
[00:33:51] My partner just asked, “What’s Janice like?” As you can imagine, it didn’t take him 30 seconds, before he is just throwing mud all over her. “Oh, she’s just got a violent temper. I had broken off with her, and had been wanting to break it off with her for some time.” He said he had allowed her to move into his brother’s place with them, kids and all, that is the goodness of his heart, even though it’s his brother’s place. The more this guy talked, it was all, “Me, me, me. I’m wonderful and she’s the devil.” She got him to write down what he could remember, and he starts writing.
[00:34:27] When evaluating someone whether or not they’re being deceptive or not, people can tell a lie or they can accidentally say something that was mistaken, or something can slip out of their mouth, “Oops, I forgot, or I made a mistake.” It’s less likely that it was any mistake if that person engages in the deliberate act of writing down something and saying this is what occurred, or whatever, that’s pretty deliberate. It’s hard to get away from that written statement. With Timothy, he was all too willing to give up what he remembered and how Janice was around the house. “Yeah, she really should be investigated. She passes the kids from one babysitter to the next. The kids never stay in the same place for more than two days.” He was just getting it down the road.
[00:35:14] While he’s writing, my partner gets up and leaves the room like she’s going to go get him a drink or something. I’m sitting off to the side working on some other casework, just kind of writing and just listening in every now and then or engaging in the conversation like it was going to be a light day for me. When my partner had brought him into the office, he’s wearing an army jacket, like this really customized leather, it’s got the big single white star on the back, and just really making a big production about the fact that he’d served in the military. Well, I had served 10 years, active duty. I used that as the opening conversation between the two of us. We just discussed everywhere we’d been and I asked him, “You’re a young guy. Why didn’t you just stick it out or stay in for a couple more years? You seem really intelligent. Why didn’t you maybe become an officer?” He says, “Well, I had to get out long enough to get set up in school and everything else. But yeah, that’s the plan ultimately, is I’m going to go back in as a commissioned officer once I finish school.”
[00:36:16] Now, by this time, I’ve got his military records. I don’t think this guy could get into the freakin’ Russian military at this point. He certainly wasn’t going back into the American military. Like I said, he’d done– it was a 30-something months’ sentence, he had done 16 months of it. Basically, he was almost like on a military parole at the time when all of this occurred, because he still had a little time left in that enlistment. There’s no way in hell he was coming back in and there’s no way in hell he didn’t know he wasn’t coming back in the military. But boy, he had all kinds of stories. I start talking to him about deployment, told him about a couple of mine. He said my brother deployed to Iraq, he said I only deployment for about three months. I was with such and such unit, can’t really talk about it, but it was doing some covert, or just like his ex-wife said he would, so I just let him run with it. Boy, I just played into that and just let him ham it up real good, knowing that this is all going to work towards showing his character to the jury.
[00:37:17] We’ve probably talked 45 minutes before my partner comes back. Timothy finished writing his statement. the whole time that he and I are talking. I’m sitting off to the side. Every time my partner was talking to him, of course, she’s sitting right across from him talking to him, just like you would ordinarily interview someone. He didn’t suspect me for anything. Well, she looks at his written statements. She said, “I appreciate your writing all that.” She said, “I did talk to the neighboring jurisdiction and they did ask me to ask about some strange injuries on the child.” Timothy said, “That doesn’t surprise me a bit that would have occurred. Given her demeanor, it was just a matter of time.” She asked him point blank, “Did you see any kind of marks on or see or hit or anything like that?” He just said, “No.” She said, “Well, now if they’ve asked about that, do you mind writing what you remember from that day on a separate statement?” He’s, “No problem.”
[00:38:11] When she left the room, and again, we start shooting the breeze about military service, things like that. He’s writing away and the last line of that second written statement was, “There were no marks on that child when he left me that day.” When my partner comes back in, and she reads it, and she hands me the statement, then when I read that line, I’d exercised all the restraint I was going to exercise, remembering his text messages, remembering his conversation on the recorded call. By this time, I had his phone records that showed that within an hour and a half of the final text message to Janice, he had cancelled his phone subscription, got an entirely new number. That’s when I stood up. First thing I did is I laid out a photograph of his five-month-old baby he had with Angie, his ex-wife, that photograph with that big handprint right across her face.
I said, “You recognize that child?” Well, now he realizes, “Oh, shit.” But we’re not dealing with a normal human being. Even in the face of direct evidence, he’s the kind of guy that will lie. He’s like, “Yeah, that’s my daughter.” I said, “Any idea where she’s at?” “Well, now we divorced over some stuff that occurred in the military.” I said, “Yeah, okay. We’re going to get back to your military time in a minute. Let me ask you this. The last part of your written statement, you’re saying you didn’t see any marks on Janice’s child that day.” He said, “Child had no marks.” I said, “Well, how come you told Janice that they were marked?” He said, “Well, I didn’t.” I said, “Well, yes, you did.” I laid out the text messages to him.
[00:39:46] Now, he’s starting to get the picture. It ain’t the neighboring jurisdiction has been looking at the case, it’s been me. I said, “What was your job in the military again?” “I was a medic.” I said, “Okay. Now, you specifically described in one of your text messages that you had seen bruises on the victim’s hand and on the ear. Do those look natural to you as a trained medic?” “Well, they weren’t really that color. They weren’t all black and blue like that.” I said, “Well, you saw them the night before. Then, you had him the next day, you were aware of them. There was one text message that you sent to her where you told her that you had made her aware of those. In the military, didn’t they teach you how to recognize what’s natural injury and what’s not?” Of course, he couldn’t really deny that. He said, “Well, I’m not the child’s parent.”
Yeardley: [00:40:38] Oh, boy!
David: [00:40:38] It went downhill from there. Then, finally, I said, “Okay, have you lied to me at all in this interview?” “No. What do you mean?” “Well, first of all, you said you were going to program to reenter service as a commissioned officer. How are you going to do that with that 16 months you spent in Fort Leavenworth? You sure you didn’t lie about that?” He’s like, “Yeah, yeah, I lied.” I said, “No. You served in such and such unit as they deployed to Afghanistan to further support a mechanized infantry brigade and you lifted off with the unit. That was the last unit that I’d served in when I was active duty.” I knew damn well that that unit had never deployed to Afghanistan. It did deploy to Iraq, and it did deploy ultimately to Afghanistan in smaller detachments, but never as a full brigade. You can’t deploy a mechanized infantry brigade in a top-secret manner. I mean, it’s a huge unit.
Yeardley: [00:41:36] Sure, much too conspicuous.
David: [00:41:38] Yeah, even if you hadn’t served, it just didn’t make any sense. I mean, he had really laid it on thick. Speaking to somebody that has served and deployed, that shit don’t fly, that makes me sick, that you would claim something like that when there’s so many soldiers out there that ahd really laid it out there. So many families have lost real heroes for you to say that kind of shit. He checked every frickin block ahead. Ultimately, Timothy didn’t want to confess to anything, didn’t want to talk anymore. I said, “Sir, you’re free to leave.”
Yeardley: [00:42:15] Free to leave?
David: [00:42:16] Free to walk out. Yes, ma’am. We didn’t take him to an interview room, we took him to our office. There was a main door in and out of there. That door was left ajar at all times. Throughout the entire thing, I told him, “If you want, I’ll just take you back down to work. Or, you can call somebody come pick you up. Just finish this up tomorrow if you want. Whenever you want to do, man, if you’ve got to go, you’ve got to go.” That’s all recorded. There was no question in his mind on whether or not he was free to leave. He was free to leave.
Dan: [00:42:45] If you close the door and lock the door, that would be construed as this is a custodial interview, a reasonable person would believe that they’re in custody. If you say, “Hey, when we get done talking here today, no matter what you tell me, unless you tell me that you’ve got bodies buried in your backyard, you’re walking out of here.” It’s pretty clear that that’s a non-custodial interview. There are different ways to handle those interviews where Miranda is sometimes required, where it’s always required, when it’s not required.
David: [00:43:15] Yeah, you’re right. Actually, we gave him a full Miranda warning. I said, “We’re just going to do this by the book. Well, I’m going to advise you of your right.” I did make one mistake. When he didn’t confess to what we knew he did, then I told him he was free to leave, as he’s walking out the door. I said, “Thank you for not confessing because I want you to get every frickin’ minute of this sentence that’s coming your way.”
Yeardley: [00:43:38] Why, if Timothy had confessed, would it potentially impact his sentence or how he was tried in court?
Dan: [00:43:45] In my experience dealing with prosecutors and judges in particular, when it comes to sentencing, they want to see that the defendant has taken accountability. A confession is accountability. When you don’t confess, and especially when you’re at sentencing, the defendant is offered a chance to speak. If they don’t take accountability, sometimes the judge maybe a little harder on you.
Yeardley: [00:44:12] I see.
David: [00:44:13] Plus, I’m not going to put cuffs on him yet, because I’ve not eliminated his brother and his sister-in-law. I knew who I was dealing with but got to check the blocks. You’ve got to make sure that others weren’t at least complicit because if his brother had known or might even participated in causing those injuries–
Yeardley: [00:44:32] To Angie’s baby.
David: Yes, ma’am. He ain’t walking if I can get him, so that’s the reason why I let him go. These cases have to be presented very carefully, and the district attorney would much rather see this presented to a grand jury before you make an arrest, just because they’re going to have to argue pretty serious circumstantial case. So, I wanted his military records and also wanted his court martial records. I wanted every bit of testimony. If anything was said as Timothy was being escorted off to Fort Leavenworth, I wanted everything. I could already tell with the injuries and the number of people that had taken care of the baby, and the circumstances under which the injuries were found on the baby, all boiled down to, I had nothing more than a circumstantial case against this guy.
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David: [00:47:21] I let him go. Before Timothy could make a phone call or notify anyone, my partner was at his brother’s place. His brother and sister-in-law agreed to jump in the car come on down to the police department. I remember distinctly interviewing the brother. The brother was so honest, it was painful. He’s one of the most honest, sincere people I’d ever, ever interviewed. The guy loved kids. He’d never seen Timothy do anything to the baby. He was aware that Timothy had some anger issues and he was aware that he had been incarcerated. He said, “As a kid, Timothy had some rage issues.” Timothy’s assault on the other soldier did not surprise his brother. He was as open, honest as he could be, and he was eliminated. There was no way he was involved in it. His wife just didn’t spend enough time there. There’s no way she could have done it. She was at work all that day, and there’s no way she could have done it. All blocks were ticked that day. Then, comes the long, painful delay of waiting for the grand jury to convene.
Dan: [00:48:30] Yeah, and you’ve got to round up witnesses. You’re going to have to go to the hospital and talk to the doctors who evaluated the child.
David: [00:48:38] This was one too that required because of the injuries, extensive follow-up medical exams. They wanted to see what, if any, issues had developed or would likely develop as the child healed, is a justification for the charges. Also, presuming a conviction, how he would be sentenced. Also, to coordinate for any restitution or financial assistance from the state to pay for remedial physical therapy, things like that. It was frustrating waiting for this thing. It was two months after that before this thing got on the docket to be presented. I felt like it was forever, but really, it was only two months. Now, brace yourselves. In that short amount of time, Timothy had met another lady.
Yeardley: [00:49:25] No way!
David: [00:49:26] Had moved in with her and her parents. She was pregnant with his child. I brought this up. I said, “Look, she’s got a baby on the way. He’s living in another city.” He was probably 50 miles from there. “Everyone’s in danger as long as this guy’s still out. We need to get this guy charged so that the new lady at least can make an informed decision about what she’s going to do with the rest of her life.” We rushed the process and, of course, we got an indictment, which was converted into an order to arrest. Like I said, he’s like 50 miles away, working for his new girlfriend’s father doing property management for several apartment complexes that were in this one area.
[00:50:15] It was so funny. We drove all the way up there. We’ve stopped to meet local police officers to help us track down where Timothy might be. We’d met at a little travel center, like a little truck stop thing. As we’re talking about the management company, I’m literally briefing the other officers. I look, and there’s a work truck over there with that property management company signed right there on it. As I’m briefing and I’m describing Timothy, I noticed this, and one of the officers, sharp as a tack, looks right over my shoulder and she goes, “Could that possibly be him walking out of the store?”
Yeardley: [00:50:54] No way!
David: [00:50:55] Sure enough, right there. Imagine his surprise, imagine his new girlfriend’s father’s surprise, as I finally got the gratification of slapping some metal on them wrists, and stuffing him in the back of my car, and transporting him on to the county jail. He stayed in custody for three or four months pending trial. His new girlfriend met with me, said that she was in love with him and doesn’t believe any of these allegations or charges. His new girlfriend is very familiar with allegations against him from Janice’s case, because this one made the news, so pretty much all of our Midstate area was very aware of this case. The outrage was just tremendous. But there was just no convincing this young lady. She was just going to stick with Timothy to the end, especially with this baby on the way. That’s what she did.
[00:51:56] While he was incarcerated, and he was talking to his new girlfriend on the phone. Well, of course, I’m recording every damn call he’s making. Of course, I was usually a subject at some point, “This guy’s looking down on me. Well, I can’t wait to see his face when I get acquitted,” and blah, blah, blah. His girlfriend’s mother and father bonded him out. They put their property on the line to bond him out. He didn’t really have to worry about him skipping out. This guy was too lazy and he had a meal ticket right there, he’s not going anywhere. Timothy stayed with them, he did have to wear a bracelet, ankle monitors.
[00:52:36] Finally, trial came. This thing went on for a while because there were so many experts involved and there were so many bench discussions, where the jury was asked to leave the room and where my testimony about Timothy’s Stolen Valor was basically qualified. I was told what I could discuss about military service and what I could not, what was prejudicial, and what was not. The judge gave detailed rules, so it was a lot of legal -beagle stuff that was going on that really dragged his trial out.
Dan: [00:53:09] I’m guessing he did not take the stand in his own defense, Timothy?
David: [00:53:13] No, he didn’t.
Dan: [00:53:15] I’m just assuming here that the defense is going to say, “You don’t have a confession from this guy.” They’re going to blame it on somebody else. I’m wondering who’d they blame all these injuries on?
David: [00:53:26] They didn’t blame the injuries, but what they did do was try to poke holes in my investigation, saying that I’ve made so many pre-drawn conclusions. Basically, I had identified Timothy as the primary suspect of a case before ever even interviewing his brother. How could I possibly have looked at this objectively, if I had not interviewed his brother? Of course, they were expecting me to give some long-drawn-out answer. When I was asked that question on the stand, it was very simple. I said, “His brother’s probably one of the most honest human beings I’ve ever interviewed in my life, ever.” They presented the video of his interview, and everybody could see the same thing. This guy didn’t lie about anything. He was very detailed in his timeline as well. That was the biggest thing, is they just tried to poke holes in the investigative due process.
Dan: [00:54:18] I’m guessing probably the first few days, even a week of that trial is all suppression hearings.
David: [00:54:24] Most of the motion’s trials, the suppression hearing, things like that, that was the week before.
Yeardley: [00:54:30] What is that?
Dan: [00:54:31] A suppression hearing is both sides are going to argue what should and should not be allowed in the trial. You’ve got this evidence of his military experience, and you’ve also got a pattern of behavior of his abuse towards children. To me, that pattern of behavior, yes, it’s highly prejudicial, but it’s a pattern of behavior. This is what he does. As a prosecutor, you definitely want that to be in the trial, his previous conviction for similar circumstances. He loses his temper, and he abuses children.
David: [00:55:08] It was a hell of an argument too. Their defense attorney was doing a bang-up job of trying to keep that out. Most of it was not permitted into the trial. For example, the prior assault and the details of what led to his incarceration. But the fact that he had been incarcerated, the assault on the fellow soldier who was admitted, the house really was shocked about that. The reason it was admitted is because I got him to blab about it right after I’d confronted him in his interview. Yeah, you’re right, he was a lot of that. Ultimately, Timothy was convicted on two counts of aggravated child abuse, which are really heavy here.
[00:55:48] At sentencing, Janice got to give her victim impact statement. She really let him have it. By this time, she was really struggling emotionally with her role in bringing this man into her life. She had received some assistance in that regard, and the final step for her was this victim impact speech. You can see all of this weight lift off of her as she just let this guy have it. Though the judge denies it, I swear I saw a tear in his eye when he laid out that sentence. Timothy originally got 47 years in prison. Now, subsequently, he appealed because the judge had over-sentenced him, so he’s doing 25 years. He’s going to be a pretty old fella by the time he steps back out, and he will always be listed as a violent offender.
Yeardley: [00:56:39] What was Timothy’s demeanor when Janice was given her victim impact statement and when the judge was sentencing him?
David: [00:56:46] While she was given her impact statement, he was just emotionless. He just was staring at her. That was all. When Timothy was convicted, not when he was sentenced but when he was convicted, you saw the color run out of his face, you could almost physically see it. He needed assistance being escorted out of the courtroom and into custody. When he got the 47 years, he nearly collapsed. He had to be held up by one of the court deputies. They ended up just dragging him out of there. He just could not believe it.
Yeardley: [00:57:19] This little victim, did he suffer developmental issues or any long-term issues?
David: [00:57:25] Little rascal’s doing all right. In fact, my brother and I took him fishing last weekend. He’s just fine.
Yeardley: [00:57:31] Oh my God! That makes me so happy.
David: [00:57:35] He’s in school. Obviously, he doesn’t know anything. Doesn’t even know why he knows me. I’m that guy takes him fishing every now and then.
Yeardley: [00:57:43] That’s so great!
David: [00:57:44] Janice has not brought another man in her life, probably won’t ever, according to her. She just won’t have it until at least after her children are gone, moved out of the house. The then-eight-year-old is now about a year out from graduating, Dean’s list every time report card’s come out, just doing awesome.
Yeardley: [00:58:02] Amazing.
Dan: [00:58:03] That’s great. I’d love to hear that.
David: [00:58:05] Yeah, I’m going to quit taking him fishing. That little rascal catches a bigger fish than I do.
Yeardley: [00:58:09] (laughs)
David: [00:58:10] Will not shut up bragging about it.
Yeardley: [00:58:12] (laughs) That’s phenomenal. What a great– not at all what I expected, is a pretty happy ending to a really terrible case. Classic Retired Detective David, we love having you on the podcast and thank you for advocating for the little ones.
David: [00:58:30] I thank a lot of you guys. I love this program. I think it does the profession a great service. I think it can only benefit those that don’t regularly affiliate with the police to have a better understanding of what cops do and have to do, and also what victims of crime do, and I think you guys are doing a hell of a job of getting that out there.
Dan: [00:58:50] Thank you, sir. Appreciate that.
Yeardley: [00:58:52] That means everything.
Yeardley: [00:59:00] Small Town Dicks is produced by Gary Scott and Yeardley Smith, and co-produced by Detectives Dan and Dave. This episode was edited by Logan Heftel, Gary Scott, and me Yeardley Smith. Our associate producers are Erin Gaynor and the Real Nick Smitty and Alec Cown. Our music is composed by John Forest. Our editors extraordinaire are Logan Heftel and Soren Begin. Our books are cooked and cats wrangled by Ben Cornwell.
Dan: [00:59:29] If you like what you hear and want to stay up to date with the show, visit us on our website at smalltowndicks.com.
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Yeardley: [01:00:13] That’s right. Your subscription also makes it possible for us to keep going to small towns across the country-
Dave: [01:00:20] -in search of the finest rare true crime cases told-
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Dave: [01:00:27] Thanks for listening, Small Town Fam.
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