I have been watching a lot of shows on Netflix lately. Of course, I love most of the true crime shows and documentaries. I am addicted to watching Disappeared on the Investigation Discovery channel. This show is about people who seem to vanish into thin air. There family and friends are left to wonder what happened to them. Many of the cases featured on the show do not get resolved, which would drive most viewers crazy. I find these shows particularly interesting because I can go back and research the cases that intrigued me the most. Unfortunately, of the cases that are resolved, the majority of missing persons are found to have been killed.
There are the few instances when foul play is not involved. There are individual’s out there who run away and want to disappear. These are the most fascinating episodes to me. How could someone just leave their life? Even if I were going through the most difficult circumstances, I could still never abandon my loved ones without so much as a note telling them I was alive and okay.
In season 2 of the show, I watched an episode that featured Tim Carney. In 2004, Tim lived in Butler, NJ. He had a usual routine of waking up at 5:00 AM and going to a prayer meeting at his church. After finishing the meeting he would go to his job. Tim had a loving family living nearby. In interviews for the show, his family said he had been somewhat distant with them since he joined his church. However, they did not suspect anything to be particularly wrong until he went missing. They now suspect the church was trying to keep Tim away from his family.
On the morning of September 28, 2004 Tim called his boss to say he would be late for work. That phone call was the last anyone would hear from Tim for seven years. It seems Tim wanted his loved ones to believe that foul play had been involved in his disappearance. He dumped his wallet in the parking lot of his favorite restaurant. Tim also abandoned his car near Newark airport. The police examined video surveillance footage at his bank. They eventually saw a man who looked like Tim making a withdrawal. In the video Tim seemingly does not want to be noticed. He was wearing a baseball cap pulled down to cover his eyes. He also did not make eye contact with anyone. When the police checked Tim’s bank account records they found he had withdrawn all but 100 dollars from his account.
Tim’s family was frantic. They posted missing posters with Tim’s picture all around town. They also placed ads on billboards encouraging people to come forward with any information involving the case. Finally, a break in the case came weeks after his disappearance when someone said they spotted Tim at a bar near the airport. Yet, after many extensive searches of the area, law enforcement decided to put him on the national database for missing persons. Meanwhile, his parents were heartbroken. They, of course, thought the worst case scenario imaginable. All that was left to do was to wait for news, be it good or bad. His family just wanted closure.
Closure is what Mr. and Mrs. Carney found on September 23, 2011. Tim’s parents received a call from the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office telling them they had located and spoken to Tim. Sadly, Tim did not want the police to disclose his whereabouts. His parents say they are confused as to why he does not want to be in contact with them, but nonetheless they are happy Tim is safe. His parents also said they did not regret conducting the extensive search for their son for so many years. As of this writing, it is believed Tim resides in Chicago, IL.
I am one of those people who are fascinated by the act of crime. Yet, I normally don’t share this information with many. Upon learning out that I like to read about murderers, most people find this strange, if not outright disturbing. They wonder why I subject myself to reading story after story of the most violent crimes in history. Most suspect this would affect the way I see humanity. They think I surely have to have something wrong with me to want to read stories like this. To tell you the truth, I am not sure why I find these stories so appealing. I guess it could be the shock and excitement I feel after reading about Jack the Ripper, Ted Bundy and Dennis Rader. Although I come away with a feeling of sickness and sometimes fear of living in this world after reading about societies most hated criminals, I still like researching and pouring over both old and new cases. I am in total disbelief that someone could not only think of committing these brutal acts, but actually carry them out. Yet as disturbing and horrifying as it may be, something draws me to these sickening stories. Most importantly, I feel us, as a society, need to keep the victim’s memory alive and one way to do that are by telling their stories, gruesome as they may be. I am also interested in how the criminal mind works. What is it that drives people to the place where they commit murder, rape or even theft? What type of mind must one have to commit these horrible acts? Is it something they are born with, a genetic disorder or a mental illness? Is the desire to live a life of crime a product of how one is raised or the environment one is raised in? The most important question of all: is committing a crime something we are all capable of?
To answer some of these questions, I decided to pursue a criminal justice degree. I went to school for a year but with much thought; I decided to discontinue my education. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the classes I was taking. However, I realized there are limited career options for someone with just an associate degree in criminal justice. I highly respect what police officers do, but I am not cut out for that type of job. I thought of finding a job as a paralegal, but again, I am not sure I would want to do that either. So, here I am, a thirty year old who still has no idea what I want to be when I grow up.
For now, instead of trying to figure all that out, I am going to write about the cases that have affected me the most. No, it is not something I will make money doing, but to write about the most violent criminal acts, strange as it may be, is my passion.