Established New York 1997
Established New York 1997

Field Reports

Urban Outfitters’ Kent State Sweatshirt: Blood Splatter Oversight or Statement?

Posted September 14th, 2014 in Field Reports by Bill Jensen


Kent State Urban Outfitters

Urban Outfitters is selling what they are calling a “Vintage Kent State Sweatshirt” with what appears to be blood splatter splashed on the front. It is part of their vintage collection, which features one-of-a-kind items. Reads the description: “Washed soft and perfectly broken in, this vintage Kent State sweatshirt is cut in a loose, slouchy fit. Excellent vintage condition. We only have one, so get it or regret it!” Is this the beginning of a series, with a UT Austin sweatshirt not far behind?

Al Jazeera story on citizen sleuths

Posted June 11th, 2014 in Field Reports by Bill Jensen

Al Jazeera America just published a story about online citizen detectives. It covers animal crush cases,, Animal Beta Project, NAMus and a bunch of other things. Here is one of my quotes quotes from the story.


“Currently, there is no national database of cold murder cases, but Jensen is developing one, which he said will provide basic information for the 200,000 unsolved murders in the U.S. “Right now, many of these cases are sitting in a box in a warehouse gathering dust,” he said. “Why not let the public give it a shot? The people who committed the crime have gotten away with it. They’re ghosts. But the crowd can help. And it doesn’t need to be a witch hunt. The crowd can dig up the information, and funnel it through a detective who can follow up.”


Read the whole thing here.

Multiple Shootings Reported At Jewish Community Center in Overland Park, Kansas

Posted April 13th, 2014 in Field Reports by Bill Jensen

Shots were also fired at the Village Shalom Retirement Center in Leawood. Both buildings are on lockdown. KC Star tweeted that there was one death on the scene, and at least one wounded. The two locations are about a 1.3 miles from each other.


Update: Overland Park Police Chief not releasing name of suspect, only says he is a white male, in his 70s, has a beard, and is not from Kansas. “Suspect in back of car made several statements, he says. “Too early to tell you what he may or may not have said.


Update: The suspect has been identified as Glenn Miller, former leader of the White Nationalist Party.




Update: CNN reporting a 14-year-old by is one of the victims.


Update: CNN Reports the FBI are investigating.


Update: Three people reported dead in Overland Park, Kansas Jewish Community Center Shooting.  


Update: KSHB is reporting that one person is in custody. 


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Update: KC Star reported that “The gunfire at the west side of the campus came as hundreds of high school singers from across the metro area were expected to audition for the KC SuperStar contest and actors were rehearsing for a production of “To Kill a Mockingbird.”


JCC Overland Park



Jcc Shooting

The Story of The Amateur Detectives Who Hunted Accused Kitten Killer Luka Magnotta–In Rolling Stone

Posted March 20th, 2014 in Field Reports, Investigations by Bill Jensen

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My feature which chronicles the citizen detectives who tracked down a kitten killer turned accused murderer was just posted on Rolling Stone.



SXSW Driver Did Not “Crash Through Barricade” — He Drove In Between Barricade and Curb

Posted March 15th, 2014 in Field Reports by Bill Jensen

First let me preface by saying nothing will take the blame off of the suspect in SXSW Red River vehicular murder which has claimed two lives, has eight still in the hospital, and injured 15 others. Nothing. But I wanted to clear up something that is being widely reported.


The morning after the incident, I went down to the site and spoke to the men in orange who work the barricades. One of them was just leaving the scene when the crash occurred, but the other was quite possibly the first person to dodge the car as it turned onto Red River.


The way many of the street blockades are set up during SXSW is that there are two or three wooden barricades spanning 2/3rds of the road, and then an orange traffic cone in the final third. That way, workers only have to move the cone when authorized vehicles need to go in or out. An individual is there if anyone tries to turn into the area to tell them to stop. But if someone is coming at a high rate of speed, being chased by police and legally drunk, that’s a tough assignment for a $10-an-hour job.


sxsw barricade


So as the driver was going the wrong way on 9th evading the police cruiser, he had four options as he approached the intersection at Red River. The first was to stop. Saving everyone–including himself. The second was to keep going straight. We will learn once the cruiser dash cam becomes public if there were vehicle facing his way. The third was to turn right, which as a driver is an easier turn, and when you are being chased, there is a natural instinct to turn the closest corner to get out of sight of the predator chasing you. The final choice would have been to turn left, which is a tougher turn, and he might have seen more activity to the left.


The suspect chose right, made a tight turn, squeezed in between the wooden barricade and the curb and rolled over the pylon, according to the worker. The worker says he dove behind the pole to the right of the picture above. He saw the first pedestrian who was struck fly at least ten feet in the air, before landing on his back. Witnesses say the car accelerated as it went straight down the road hitting people, many who were waiting in line to get into the Mohawk. It then went through the 10th street intersection. The two fatalities occurred in between 10th and 11th, say police.


On Friday, the barricades were tighter to the curb. You can see a line to get into the Mohawk in the background.

SXSW barricade



The suspect told police he was scared to pull over because he had a warrants for his arrest. Would the suspect have made the turn had he seen a wooden barricade there instead of a pylon? Was the police officer too overzealous in his pursuit? Should clubs not organize lines in the middle of the street even if that street is supposed to be closed off to vehicle traffic? These are the questions that will attempt to be answered more in the sure-to-come wrongful death suits rather than during any criminal trial. Would a wooden barrier have slowed him down? Police say the driver accelerated after hitting people, and there is no evidence that he applied his brakes.


Discarded EMS worker gloves the morning after the SXSW crash on Red River. James Shamard of Austin-Travis EMS said that the five "very critical" victims were headed to hospitals within 15 minutes of the crash.

Discarded EMS worker gloves the morning after the SXSW crash on Red River. James Shamard of Austin-Travis EMS said that the five “very critical” victims were headed to hospitals within 15 minutes of the crash.




Solving Murders with Social Media SXSW Panel

Posted March 9th, 2014 in Field Reports by Bill Jensen
Bill Jensen and Michelle McNamara at the SXSW panel: Citizen Dicks: Solving Murders with Social Media.

Bill Jensen and Michelle McNamara at the SXSW panel: Citizen Dicks: Solving Murders with Social Media.

Le Monde wrote it up in their daily round up. Scroll down, we are in between Oculus and Grumpy Cat.


The slides will be up shortly.


There was not a single law enforcement representative in the crowd of 125. Something to work on for next year’s panel.

Maura Murray Went Missing On This Day 10 Years Ago

Posted February 9th, 2014 in Field Reports, Investigations by Bill Jensen

On Feb. 9, 2004, Maura Murray sent her professors at UMASS Amherst an email explaining that there was a death in her family and she would be gone for a few days. The 21-year old nursing student then walked out of her dorm room, purchased $35 worth of alcohol and drove her black Saturn into the White Mountains of New Hampshire. She took a shaky turn on Rt. 112 in Haverhill and crashed her car into a snow bank. A passing motorist pulled up to the disabled car, and asked Maura if she needed help. She refused. Around fifteen minutes later, a police officer arrived at the scene and found the car locked, its windshield cracked, the airbags deployed—and not a soul in sight. In those fifteen minutes, Maura Murray had disappeared into the New Hampshire night.



Every day for the last ten years, each detail of the Maura Murray tale is analyzed, dissected and reconstructed with a Warren Commission-like attention to detail on blogs and online forums. The car accident two days earlier in Amherst. The father visiting with $4,000 cash in his pocket. The crying episode. The box of wine. The serial killer. The MapQuest print out. The school bus. The rag in the tailpipe. The sobbing voice mail. The clues are moved around the internet in a parlor game by armchair detectives, debated as either viable clues or vicious red herrings, along with the idea—the hope—that this may not be a crime at all, but rather an elaborate ruse by a young woman wanting to start a new life.



My feature in Boston Magazine on Maura Murray and the internet sleuths determined to find her.

The Downward Spiral of Johnny Lewis: Feature in Los Angeles Magazine

Posted January 31st, 2014 in Field Reports, Investigations by Bill Jensen

My feature on Johnny Lewis, the Sons of Anarchy actor who killed his landlady and then either fell or jumped from her home last September, was just posted on the Los Angeles Magazine website. You can read the story here.


RJ Lockwood, Killed In Miami On New Year’s Eve, 2003

Posted January 2nd, 2014 in Field Reports, Investigations by Bill Jensen

123859.47Today marks the tenth anniversary of the murder of RJ Lockwood, who was killed in his Miami apartment just after midnight on January 1, 2003. The murder is still unsolved.


I wrote a feature story about the murder in May of 2004 for Miami New Times. It is part internet love story, part murder mystery. The only thing it needed was an ending.


It went on to win Best in Show Best In Print at the Green Eyeshade Awards, the nation’s oldest regional journalism contest which covers Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and West Virginia.


Read the story here.


A Creature Was Stirring: The Christmas Eve Murder Of Brian Boothe

Posted December 25th, 2013 in Archives, Field Reports, Investigations by Bill Jensen


On Christmas Day 2002, Brian Boothe was found dead in his apartment in Stuyvesant Town, in Manhattan, victim of a knife wound to the neck. “Police sources” tagged it a suicide in several newspapers.


Boothe’s brother Tommy had committed suicide just three months earlier, pumping carbon monoxide into the car he had been living in outside of his job at Ants and Things exterminators in Bayport. New York newspapers, and perhaps the police, connected those dots: A gay male spending Christmas Eve alone, whose brother had recently taken his own life…it had to be suicide. But Brian had not spoken to his brother in years. None of the Boothe family had.


“We kept saying ‘It’s got nothing to do with it,'” says Boothe’s mother, Kay, from her home in Patchogue. “Brian was the least affected by [Tommy’s] death.

Brian Boothe


And Brian Boothe, by all accounts, was happier than ever. He would be heading to Long Island for Christmas dinner the next day, relishing in giving his 3-year-old nephew and godson Owen another toy with plenty of loose pieces, a practice that annoyed his sister-in-law. When his friends talked about foregoing their beloved annual ski trip to Aspen, he fiercely objected, charging the $4,000 for the January 19 vacation to his credit card. His friend Lisa Steinbring, who had lunch with him the day before his death, recalls how Boothe was “gleeful [while] describing the soon-to-be arrival of [his brother’s baby girl] Cassidy.” Christmas cards he wrote to his family were full of hope for the new year. To everyone who knew him, Brian Boothe was loving life.


But that didn’t stop the New York tabloids from positing suicide. And it took the medical examiner four months to officially declare Brian’s death—the result of a vicious slice to the throat—a homicide. Still, the police are sharing none of the details of the investigation with the family. “They won’t tell me much about the crime scene,” says Boothe’s sister, Donna Kukura of Shirley, “because I’m a family member, and they think it was someone he knew, he trusted.”


Friends and family will converge on St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan this Saturday, wearing “JUSTICE for Brian” pins on their lapels, for a memorial. Maybe afterward they will caravan out to the Island, to the Ground Round on Montauk Highway in Bay Shore, where Booth #287 is dedicated to Boothe, who was a server there for five years. The family will look warily at the faces in the crowd, as they did at the funeral in December, to spot any odd people or odd behavior. “You don’t know who you’re dealing with,” says Kukura. “Everyone’s a suspect.” The police put that thought in the family’s heads. Regardless, people will be there to remember a Long Island boy who moved to the city and made good, only to be struck down in the prime of life.


Kay Boothe remembers her son putting on song-and-dance shows in the backyard of their house on Valley Road in Patchogue. She remembers his beekeeping phase, along with the day the bees got loose and flew away (Brian cried). She remembers Brian and his brothers Jimmy, Tommy and Sean going down to River Avenue Park to move turtles from the perimeter of the park back into the marshes, safe from encroaching civilization. She remembers him staying home on Thanksgiving while his family went to the parade—because he wanted to stay in the kitchen and help cook, and the time he waited anxiously as the family tried his fresh-baked cookies, only to see everyone spit them out, realizing too late that he had substituted baking soda for baking powder. Those are the kinds of stories Kay Boothe remembers.


“Anyone he touched remembered him,” Kay Boothe says through tears. “It’s a shame whoever did this, to snuff out his life. Because he loved life. And he loved the city. I used to live in the city [and] I kept telling him, times are different and he would say ‘Oh ma, people are out at all hours.'”


Boothe wasn’t out at all hours on Christmas Eve. A creature of habit, Boothe was always in by 2 a.m.


On Christmas Eve, he left 1 Penn Plaza, where he worked at Seabrook Consultants as a human resources strategist, and went to the Gap to buy presents for his two nieces. “I don’t know [what they are] yet. I haven’t opened the Christmas gifts,” says Kukura.


He stopped at a Rite-Aid drug store, then the dollar store to get wrapping paper, before returning to his apartment, where he presumably wrapped the presents. He called his mother to finalize plans for Christmas dinner, and then went out for a drink.