HSR Crime blog

HOLLY's CRIME BLOG


Years ago I wrote one of the top cop blogs in the country. It won numerous awards and helped relieve stress from my job. I will be revitalizing some of those posts, adding new ones, and interviewing authors who write all types of crime novels. I'll also give inside info on my Eve Bennet crime thriller series. Thank you for joining me.


Crime Blog

Inbreeding and Incest in Rural America

It’s time to oust inbreeding and incest from its dark hole of shame and injustice. Working sex crimes in a rural community opened my eyes to the rampant problem. Unfortunately, analyses are hard to find (nearly impossible in the U.S.) and the subject is rarely spoken of, thus, the dark hole where these offenses against children reside.

Praying child.

In a Lancet Study in the UK, 2007 to 2011, 31% of anomalies in children of Pakistani origin could be attributed to consanguinity (inbreeding). The relatively small community, married within their religion. In another study from 1938 to 1967, the University of Queensland studied 450,000 genomes of European decent and found inbreeding similarities: decreased cognitive abilities and muscular function, reduced height and lung function, and a greater risk of contracting diseases in general.

I would like to add violent aggression which has been documented in certain regions with religious inbreeding though I could find no studies in the U.S. I talk about violence association below.

The University of Queensland Study (Australia) found approximately 70% of inbreeding were people living in desolate areas. We call these areas "rural" in the U.S. Rural residents marry others from the same community. The gene pool is relatively small and this has gone on for generations. I don't necessarily agree with this list of states with the most inbreeding because I have done comprehensive research about the subject in Utah and Arizona (I worked as a detective in AZ) and neither made the list. 

During a minor theft case I worked early in my career, the woman I interviewed told me about her daughter who married her nephew. She said very matter of fact that she warned them the kids could be “woo hoo,” her words. She then went on and spoke about her other grandchildren like this was common.

I discovered it was.

The local newspaper printed a wedding announcement that had appeared in the paper thirty years before (I’ll use the name Jones though the actual name is more unique). Jones male married a female with the last name Jones. Two months after the anniversary celebration, their daughter’s marriage was announced and she was marrying another Jones. No one batted an eye.

The more child molestation cases I investigated, the more I correlated incest/inbreeding to specific families and their religion. I noticed physical characteristics such as large prominent foreheads, low cognitive abilities, and violence. I recommend watching Making a Murderer and The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia to understand the overall cognitive effects especially violent behavior. I dealt with similar families during my career.

In one case, a young boy was molested. I had three possible family suspects on the sex offender list who lived on the same property with the boy. The perpetrator was found to be grandpa who wasn’t in my peripheral at all and lived in another location within the town. Two of the three sex offending family members admitted grandpa was who first molested them. Five family members total admitted to being molested as young children by grandpa. On a side note, the family came together and begged the court to go light on my suspect. With help from his (now adult) victims, he was sentenced to only five years in prison. The youngest victim who started the investigation was six years old. Grandma was also the mother to one of her grandsons and yes that is confusing. I became accustomed to the quantity of incest/inbreeding while remaining shocked at the proclivity.

In a case I recused myself from due to friendship, I ran into a similar horror. My friend’s brother-in-law (now an adult) was sentenced at age 14 for molesting his cousin, her stepson. Her stepson (now an adult) perpetrated the same offense at a similar age, and then the brother-in-law’s son committed the offense with very young cousins at the exact age his father had (yes hard to follow). I also found these cases had male/female victims throughout with all but one being male perpetrators. The commonality in these cases was not protecting the children from known perpetrators within families.

In several TikTok videos I’ve made on the subject, comments from victims were eye-opening. They reported molestation to a parent and were told to accept it as the way of life within the family.

I saw this repeatedly throughout my career.

My own family has roots in rural American inbreeding. Though I was an army brat, raised in the US and abroad, my parents divorced when I was twelve and we left army bases and settled in the city. I lived the city life until I was forty-three. My mother and father were both from rural America. I have a rare lung condition that was passed to my grandson. My mother, my sister, and my granddaughter have another hereditary health condition. We also have someone in my direct family line who was a diagnosed psychopath. I write about it in my yet unpublished memoir, Bullets for Breakfast. My family tree has few branches with violence, incest, and health anomalies throughout.

In my life and career, I have known three diagnosed psychopaths. My relative killed three people (we suspect more), the two others are from solved homicides where I was the lead detective. One killed two, the other three. Each of these prosecuted suspects were extremely violent and the violence began at an early age. Think torturing small animals, serial killer mentality.

I do not discount city incest and inbreeding but my research has shown it as a predominantly white, rural, and religious phenomenon. We have a horrific problem in rural America and I believe my hypothesis should be studied further. We cannot combat a crisis we won’t face.

So where do we go from here? Most rural populations will not freely give DNA samples. The outside discovery of incest and inbreeding is too taboo. LDS Mormons have one of the best genealogy archives in the country. It would be a place to start.

The research for my new Crime Thriller had me examining the Fundamentalist LDS Church: Warren Jeffs, LeBarón’s, and Lafferty families who perpetrate violence, incest, inbreeding, human trafficking, and murder. The FLDS also have the highest number of children born with Fumarase Deficiency (average IQ 25) in the U.S. directly caused from inbreeding. Title and cover reveal coming soon. Releases 1/13/2023 from Bookouture Hachette.

Double Dog Dare

When I made an arrest, the booking sheet at the jail asked me to identify scars, marks, and tattoos on my suspect. I’ve often wondered why criminals mark themselves with identifying tats. This isn’t a complaint, it  made my job easier.


One such case involved multiple robberies over a six month period. Each victim gave a similar statement.

hulk

“He has a tattoo of the Hulk on his left cheek. It’s green and huge.”

He would place his hand in his jacket pocket and say he had a gun. No one recognized him as a local. He unsuccessfully tried to hide the tattoo from video surveillance.

I combed the State’s criminal database for the Hulk tattoo and came up empty handed.

I put some feelers out to confidential informants and was given a connection to several known drug houses. I sat stakeout in my daughter’s old Ford truck so I wasn’t identified. My bladder hated stakeouts and unlike men, I had to leave and find a restroom. This meant absolutely no coffee which is your best friend during the middle of a long boring night when you’re trying to stay awake. I’d take half a bottle of water so I didn’t overhydrate. It sucked.

Long nights, no potty breaks, and dehydration put me in a bad mood. Never spotting Hulk made it worse. My CIs usually came through big time so I didn’t doubt the information.

He struck again and irritation turned to anger.

I stopped the worthless stakeouts due to lack of sleep and a UTI.

Early one morning, a few weeks later, I had an interview with a woman who was assaulted by another woman in the grocery store parking lot. She had to be at work by 8 a.m. and wanted to meet at 7. It was a quick report and I decided to pick up coffee at the local convenience store after leaving her home. I was in my unmarked detective’s unit and wore plain clothes with my badge and gun on my hip.

There was a man at the checkout counter buying cigarettes. He turned and I came face to face with Hulk. I drew my gun before his hand went to his pocket. I arrested him without incident and it was probably because his weapon was a six-inch long wooden dowel.

At the jail, I ran his license and criminal record. He was currently on probation, out of his county, and continuing his life of crime. The Hulk tattoo was a new addition. He was quite proud of it along with the large Superman emblem on his chest.

As a retired detective, the best thing you can do to help local police is tattoo your face and commit crime. I double dog dare you.

I write fun mysteries with stories from my cases under the a.k.a. Suzie Ivy

The Eve Bennet crime thrillers will release under Holly S Roberts. Stay tuned for more!

FLDS Crime Obsession

I want to share one of the stories behind the Eve Bennet crime thriller series. I worked as a sex crimes detective in a town and county a few hours from the polygamist community that straddled the Utah and Arizona border. The Mormon Church was the largest religion in the region followed by the Catholic Church. It was extremely eye-opening that so many of my cases came from the Mormon sector and few from the Catholic one.

Detail of St George Utah LDS Mormon Temple in early morning light

One of my most horrific memories was a case where the Mormon bishop, remained silent on the horrendous abuse a boy committed against his younger male sibling. The younger child told the bishop and instead of notifying law enforcement, the older boy was called in for counseling, he was 13. It took another year before the younger sibling bravely confided to a relative and I was notified. Had the church done the right thing and immediately called law enforcement, one of the worst cases of child sexual abuse I uncovered, would have been stopped a year earlier.

It should not come as a surprise that both boys had been abused by their stepfather since babyhood. Not only did the church defend this man but when he was remanded to his home by a judge, his ward provided his meals. As with most cases involving those in power at the church, I was the bad guy (woman) and a threat to their religion.

The county attorney’s office refused to prosecute the bishop due to confessional confidentiality which is still a thing in Arizona even after the Catholic Church’s tragedy of sexual abuse coverup for decades. It didn’t help that the CA’s office was entirely Mormon. It didn’t matter that it was the confession of a child begging for rescue. It’s one of the few cases, years after my retirement, that angers me to the point of tears.

A recent investigation by Michael Rezendes of the AP News (click here), on exactly how the Mormon church hides sexual abuse is worth the read. It goes into detail about a family very similar to the one I described above and how lawyers protected the good name of the church and not the children. It doesn't stop with Mormons; church coverup of child sexual abuse is widespread in almost every religion. 

The AP investigated case and mine were not from the polygamist branch of the Mormon Church, the backdrop for my Eve Bennet crime thriller series, but they ignited a fire in me to speak out on the abuse of children hidden within religion. My cases involving the fundamental polygamists were usually with families trying to escape the larger sect under the boot of Warren Jeffs.

In one case, three wives thankfully reported a sexual assault of one of their children while riding the school bus. This led to the discovery of years of abuse within another family. The women were nervous and chose their words carefully until I made it clear I was concerned about their child and not their living arrangements. Their story will be told in another blog post.

TRUTH: In 2016, a federal judge ordered oversight of law enforcement within the FLDS community run by Warren Jeffs in Utah and Arizona. CRIME FICTION: Detective Sergeant Eve Bennet and her team of investigators are in charge of felony cases within the oversight jurisdiction. Eve is the perfect woman for the job because she escaped the cult as a child of twelve before a forced marriage to a much older man.

Releases January 13th, 2023. Friday the Thirteenth, the best release day of the entire year! Title and cover reveal coming soon.