Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Criminal Profilers Meet at Grossmont College

The Tenth Annual Meeting of the Academy of Behavioral Profiling (ABP) will be held this year at Grossmont College in El Cajon, California on August 8th & 9th.

"Our first meeting was in Monterey, back in 1999," says Brent Turvey, a forensic scientist and criminal profiler in private practice, as well as the Secretary of the ABP. "We got a lot accomplished in that first year, including uniform terminology, a strong code of ethics and written practice standards. All of these have been published and regularly updated in the textbookCriminal Profiling, in its third edition now, which our more senior practicing members have contributed to over the years."

Since its inception in 1999, the ABP has grown to over 150 international members with diverse professional backgrounds such as forensic psychology, forensic psychiatry, criminal investigations, criminology, and forensic science. They are all bound together by their work in relation to crime, criminals, and forensic examinations.

The upcoming meeting at Grossmont College promises to be among the most important, as changes are coming. "The profiling discipline has matured," explains current ABP President,Dr. Wayne Petherick, a forensic criminologist and professor of criminology at Bond University in Gold Coast, Australia. "There are many different kinds of criminological assessments performed by our members, because the knowledge and skills developed for profiling can be used in other forensic examinations. The ABP is evolving to keep up with those kinds of advancements."

"For our members the annual meeting is a chance for students and professionals to get together, share ideas, and remain current with methods and developments in recent cases," states Michael McGrath, MD, a forensic psychiatrist and past President of the ABP, currently serving as its Ethics Chair. "For the other professionals and even the general public, it is an opportunity to learn about forensic casework from people who are actually doing it and know what they are talking about. There are a lot of misconceptions out there."

The schedule of presentations at this years meeting, which is open to the public, includes lectures on the subjects of forensic criminology, criminal profiling, homicide solvability, motivations of law enforcement offenders, forensic victimology, ethics, and staged crime scenes.

Those interested in attending should visit the ABP's website at, or contactDr. Stan Crowder at

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


Law enforcement investigators have a hard job, no doubt about it. They are required to make difficult decisions under stressful situations in a very short period of time which can have grave consequences. So there will be mistakes. One way reduce the number of those mistakes is by ensuring that decisions are as informed as possible. 

To that end, prior to responding to any call, whether it is a domestic disturbance or a complaint of sexual assault, a preliminary assessment of the actors involved is necessary. It involves little more than a quick database search for wants, warrants, and criminal convictions - much like is done during an average traffic stop. This simple act can better inform decisions and determinations that must be made at the scene. This includes, but is not limited to: who was more likely the aggressor in a domestic disturbance by virtue of history; who has a history of being armed; who has a history of being under the influence of a controlled substance; and who might have a history of falsely reporting crime.

Problems caused by the failure to investigate and establish the history of those involved in criminal complaints, on both sides, are discussed throughout Forensic Victimology (2008; p.293):

False reporters span all ages, all walks of life, and are capable of staging both injuries and evidence to support their claims. A thorough investigation of the evidence has traditionally been the best way to reveal the false reporter, who is more likely to confess when confronted with logical inconsistencies in his or her statements and behavior. Unfortunately, law enforcement resources are drained away from actual victims by such cases. Innocent citizens are exposed to the possibility of false accusations and damage to their personal and professional lives. Legitimate victims of sexual assault are exposed to the possibility of encountering overtaxed law enforcement resources that are inadequate to the task of investigating their cases thoroughly or competently. Building owners, private companies, and insurance companies are exposed to the threat of costly liability lawsuits. As stated in Gross (1924, 14): "Not only must the self-made victim be exposed, but innocent people who may be suspected must be protected."

A recent example illustrates the kind of problems that can averted by delaying action for just a few moments while stories are checked out and backgrounds are made clear. In involves Elisa LaCroix, a false reporter with a history.


Child's mother faces charges for making false report
Attorney calls it a spur-of-the-moment plan that grew out of control.
March 2nd, 2009

Elisa LaCroix appeared in court Monday on charges related to what police say was the staged abduction of her 3-week-old son Saturday.

LaCroix is charged with making a false report -- a misdemeanor -- as well as violating probation on a 2006 burglary conviction. She's also facing charges for faking a sexual assault in January.

She blamed the rape and, at one point, the abduction on an ex-boyfriend, prosecutors say. He was later cleared in both cases.

Each charge carries the possibility of up to a year in prison, up to a $10,000 fine and up to 10 years of probation, according to her attorney, Rex Butler. Her bail was set at $5,000, he said.

LaCroix has two children, including the 3-week-old, and both are in the custody of a family member, Butler said.

"That is what she wanted," Butler said.

He said she is also in counseling.

The abduction report led law enforcement to issue the state's first Amber Alert for a missing child overnight Saturday. The charges against her say that investigators later discovered that LaCroix handed her infant out a bedroom window to a friend because she was worried that her husband, who is due to deploy to Afghanistan, would try to take custody of him. The friend didn't know that she was part of a scheme and was not charged.

In a live interview on KTUU Channel 2 Monday evening, Butler said LaCroix, desperate to keep custody of her son, made a spur-of-the-moment plan that got out of hand. He called her a victim.

"The public doesn't know the whole story," he said.

Attempts to reach LaCroix's husband, Kaid LaCroix, on Monday were not successful.


Brent E.Turvey, MS, also author of Criminal Profiling, 3rd Ed. with Elsevier Science (2008), can be reached at