February 06, 2004

On the Theme of Mysterious Departures

and, slightly more creepily, http://www.shelbystar.com/portal/ASP/article.asp?ID=8249

There were some cases like this in Richmond, VA, while I was living there. The women tended to be killed while they were in their bathtubs, or put there afterwards. But as in this case, there was no sign of sexual assault or much struggle, and no forced entry to the home. (The detail about phone lines I don't remember, but there needn't be strict isomorphism for this to be interesting.)

But what narrative to put on this to get justice done? There's no sexual tension, since no rape. These are old ladies, so the "she had so much potential, such a rich life ahead of her" line doesn't work. The women seem for the most part to be single and sometimes solitary, so there are no spousal issues (either of abuse or of pathetic separation from the loved one). And simple robbery obviously isn't the issue.

Can there be a homolog of the "Amber Alert" in this case? Can the Confidence Man solve this mystery?

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