John Crutchley | Serial Killer
American Serial Killer
Crime Spree: 1977–1985
John Crutchley was a convicted kidnapper and rapist who was suspected of murdering more than 30 women, but was never tried nor convicted of those crimes. He was called the “Vampire Rapist” because he drained the blood of his victim almost to the point of death while he repeatedly sexually assaulted her.
Early Life and Career of John Crutchley
Born to a well-to-do family in Pittsburgh, John Crutchley was a friendless child, preferring to spend most of his time tinkering with electronic gadgets in the basement of his home. This penchant for electronics paid off early when he earned a good amount of money repairing and rebuilding complex radio and stereo systems even before he graduated from high school. Eventually he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in physics at Defiance College in Ohio in 1970, and earning a master’s degree in engineering administration at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. He married his first wife in 1969.
Crutchley’s first marriage showed strains by the time he graduated from college, and it all but ended by the time he moved to Kokomo, Indiana to work at Delco Electronics Corporation. John Crutchley had been working at General Motors’ Central Foundry Division in Defiance, Ohio where he was responsible for the installation of a new plant security system. He applied for a transfer to Delco Electronics, Kokomo, where the systems were designed and built, and worked there for several years as an electrical systems engineer.
His departure from Kokomo came after an investigation was made by plant security into missing materials. He later moved to Fairfax County, Virginia in the mid-1970s and remarried. He worked for several high-tech firms in the Washington, D.C. area, including TRW, ICA and Logicon Process Systems. At about this time, several teenaged girls disappeared in and around that area.
In 1977, a 25-year old Fairfax, Virginia secretary, Debbora Fitzjohn, disappeared. John Crutchley was placed under close scrutiny because he was Fitzjohn’s boyfriend and she was last seen alive at the trailer park where John Crutchley lived.
As a result, he was questioned several times for his possible involvement in her disappearance. However, nothing came out of it due to lack of evidence, even after her skeletal remains were found by a hunter in October the following year.
Other disappearances in the area have not been definitely linked to Crutchley. A rash of disappearances also occurred in Pennsylvania when he resided there. In some cases bodies of women were found in remote areas in the state. Some investigators linked John Crutchley with the disappearance of two teenage girls, the Lyon Sisters in Wheaton, Maryland and a possible rape-murder of teenager Kathy Lynn Beatty in nearby Aspen Hill, both in Montgomery County, where his second wife’s family lived.
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The “Vampire Rapist”
According to FBI profiler, Robert K. Ressler, John Crutchley fit the profile of a serial killer, even though he was convicted of only a single non-fatal kidnapping and sexual assault.
In late November, 1985, in Malabar, Brevard County, Florida, a nude teen woman, handcuffed at both feet and ankles, had been crawling along the side of the road. She had been passed by several trucks before someone had stopped. She begged the driver to not take her back “to that house,” and when he asked where, she told him to remember a certain house. He noted the location, took her home, and called for police and an ambulance.
The hospital determined she was missing between 40 and 45 percent of her blood and had ligature marks on her neck. She said she’d been hitchhiking the day before and the man who gave her a ride was willing to take her where she needed to go, but said he had to stop off at home first. He invited her in, and she refused, and he got into the back seat of the car and choked her unconscious.
The hitchhiker awoke to find that she was tied to a kitchen countertop, arms and legs immobilized. A video camera had been set up, along with lights. The man raped her and videotaped the action. Then he inserted needles into her arm and wrist and carefully extracted blood and began to drink it, telling her that he was a vampire. After that, he handcuffed her and put her in the bathtub, returning later for another round of sexual assault and blood extraction. The next morning, after a third round, the man handcuffed the hitchhiker and left her in the bathroom, saying that he would be back later for further assaults, and that if she tried to escape in the interim, his brother would come and kill her. It was after the attacker had left the house that she was able to push out of the bathroom window and crawl to the road. Had she not escaped then, doctors believed, she might well have died from a further round of blood extraction.
A search warrant was served for John Crutchley, whose wife and child were away for the Thanksgiving holiday. The videotape in the camera was partially erased, which according to the victim would otherwise have contained footage of her rape and the extraction of her blood. Crutchley was arrested during the search, which took place at 2:30 a.m. Photographs of the house taken at the time of this first search showed, among other things, a stack of credit cards several inches thick. A second, later, search did not turn up these credit cards, nor a collection of women’s necklaces concealed in a closet which had been noted, but not confiscated, by the police during the first search.
After being contacted by local authorities for his input, Ressler was convinced that John Crutchley had almost certainly killed before, identified him as a “serial killer of the organized type.” Ressler instigated a second search, which was of much wider scope and detail than the first. Ressler noted that there had been four female bodies found in Brevard County in the previous year, and that unexplained bodies had been found and missing women reported in Pennsylvania while he lived there. No evidence was found to link these deaths to Crutchley, however.
In addition to suspecting John Crutchley of murders in Florida and Pennsylvania, Ressler also suspected Crutchley for murder in the 1978 disappearance of Debbora Fitzjohn, the secretary whom he met in Fairfax, Virginia. She had been in his mobile home, and police identified Crutchley as the last person to see her alive.
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What was found during the second search in the Brevard County teen case included a stack of 72 3×5 cards on which Crutchley had recorded women’s names and described their sexual performances. When contacted, some of the partners indicated that John Crutchley had crossed the line from “kinky” consensual acts into sexual assaults involving restraint. His wife had apparently cooperated in similar acts, and told the press regarding his attack on the handcuffed teen—which took place while she was away with their own little girl for Thanksgiving—that it had been “a gentle rape, devoid of any overt brutality.”
In June, 1986, John Crutchley plea-bargained to guilt on kidnap and rape charges in exchange for dropping the “grievous bodily harm” charge for extracting the victim’s blood and for drug possession.
During the sentencing phase, the blood issue came up nonetheless and Crutchley claimed to have been introduced to blood drinking by a nurse in roughly 1970, as part of a sexual ritual. He said it should not be considered in his sentencing, because in this case, he had not drunk the blood—because it coagulated before he could, “and he couldn’t get it down.” His wife did not take the stand but told reporters that her husband wasn’t guilty, but was just “a kinky sort of guy.”
Based on testimony from Ressler at the sentencing hearing, the judge chose to exceed state guidelines and sentenced Crutchley to 25 years to life in prison with 50 years of subsequent parole.
Release and Re-Arrest of John Crutchley
Writing in 1992 about the 1986 conviction, Ressler predicted that Crutchley’s “25 to life” sentence would result in release as soon as 1998. And, in fact, John Crutchley was released two years earlier than that.
After serving 11 years of his sentence, Crutchley was released on August 8, 1996 from Union Correctional Institution in Raiford, Florida for the Brevard County Jail for good behavior. Officials in Fairfax County, Virginia, where his mother lived, did not want him, nor did the people in Malabar and Melbourne. Therefore, he was transferred to the Orlando Probation and Restitution Center, a half-way house where he would undergo counseling and pay restitution even while serving his 50 years of parole.
Less than a day later, he was arrested again for violating his parole after being tested positive for marijuana. Even though he denied smoking marijuana (saying that inmates blew marijuana smoke in his face), prosecutors in the subsequent trial showed John Crutchley confessing to a corrections inspector that he smoked the substance because he was nervous about his impending release and he thought that the drug would make him relaxed.
This violation of his parole resulted in a sentence of life imprisonment to be imposed on Crutchley on January 31, 1997 under the “three strikes law.” This was his third conviction; the first two were for the kidnapping and the rape of the Brevard teen.
The Death of John Crutchley
On March 30, 2002, John Crutchley died in prison. Corrections officials reported on April 2, 2002, that he had been found dead in his cell at the Hardee Correctional Institute with a plastic bag over his head. The cause of death reported was asphyxiation.
Subsequent reporting around August 1, 2003 from the Florida Department of Corrections declared that the “Florida Vampire Rapist” died of autoerotic asphyxiation.
source: murderpedia | wikipedia | ranker | orlandosentinel
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