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

1 comment:

Blanche said...

This is a very interesting view on a situation of child custody. The theory of forensic victimology may properly be applied to the majority of child abuse and neglect proceedings dealing with improper and unnecessary removals of children that lead to termination of parental rights.

I would like to see an undertaking of research into the areas of parents who are, quintessentially, victims because of their poverty status.

What happens to parents in the child protective industry is a subject that has never been investigated, particularly in the area of victimization.

I encourage you to visit:
Legally Kidnapped

The Central Registry of Child Welfare Fraud