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How do you know I don't have more bodies out there? It's a big sea.
Wells

Blake Wells is a prolific serial killer and abductor who appeared in the Season Six episode of Criminal Minds, "Big Sea".

Background[]

Wells was born sometime around 1983. His father, Chuck, was an abusive alcoholic who worked as a fisherman. On October 1998, his mother, Crystal Wells, was diagnosed with breast cancer, leading to Chuck abandoning her and and his son, who was then a teenager, and moving over to Norfolk, Virginia. Crystal died three months later, on January 19, 1999, with Wells by her side. At the age of sixteen, Chuck took custody of Wells and forced him to get a job at a fish cannery, where he had to work for fourteen hours every day of the week with his father beating him and stealing his paychecks to spend on alcohol. One day, Wells was late for work and Chuck broke his arm, and was still forced to keep on working until he passed out. Not long afterwards, Wells tortured and killed Chuck before eventually his body in the ocean. Over the following eleven years, he killed eleven more people on Chuck's boat, the Osprey. In 2011, the bodies, which were disposed of in the same spot, were found when the area underwent cleaning, leading to the BAU being called in to lead the investigation.

Big Sea[]

Wells is first seen on the Osprey in the middle of the ocean, cutting up a fish as Gary Rhymer calls for help from inside the boat. Wells then goes inside and proceeds to blow trilomide in Rhymer's face as the latter's son James watches fearfully. Since the drug allows the user to be more willing, he is able to control Rhymer and he has him gag his son, despite the boy's soft efforts to get his father to snap out of it. Afterwards, Wells gives Rhymer a set of knives and tells him to choose one, and after he chooses a knife, he orders him to tell James of how he abandoned him and how he stopped loving him. Whenever Rhymer refuses to follow the demands, he would stab his own body. When Wells goes back outside, Rhymer recovers from the trilomide's effects and reconciles with James before Wells returns with a fish that he immediately starts cutting. Rhymer forces himself to vomit in order to get Blake to unlock his chains to clean it up, allowing him to assault Wells. The fight moves to the upper deck, where the both of them tumble into the ocean. James acquires the keys, which his father tossed to him during the fight, unlocks his chains, and goes up to investigate. He watches with shock and fear as Wells emerges from the ocean, alone. Rhymer's body is found the following day.

Wells later decides to make James experience the same abuse he received from his father, forcing him to carry large fish to the Osprey and cut them up. When he gives James his first fish, ordering him to gut it, James refuses, angering Wells. Later, Wells takes James to a dock where he used to work. As James carries the fish, Wells rambles on about how he worked with his father. When James accidentally drops the fish, Wells hits him and orders James to get up and pick up the fish. He then demands that James gut the fish, but once again James refuses and even counters the older man's threats. Meanwhile, Garcia manages to track down Wells' boat and Morgan and several local policemen, as well as a SWAT sniper, arrive, forcing Wells to hold James at knifepoint. Morgan warns Wells of the sniper before convincing him to release James. Morgan later shows photos of missing persons to Wells to confirm who he killed. When Morgan shows Wells a photo of his cousin Cindi, who vanished mysteriously, Wells taunts Morgan. He tells the agent he killed her, but Morgan refuses to cave in, tells him that he didn't do so, and leaves the room, causing Wells to yell out angrily at him. Rossi, who was watching the interrogation, asks Morgan how he knew that Wells didn't kill Cindi and is given the response that Wells never knew her name like how he did with his other victims and was therefore lying.

A year later, it would turn out that Cindi is alive and well, having been abducted by her murderous stalker and held captive for seven years. Wells' case was briefly mentioned by Morgan during a phone conversation with Hotch. Five years later, audio from a press conference led by Hotch about his killings was used by a group of anarchists to frame Hotch for conspiracy.

Modus Operandi[]

"This is gonna be the knife you kill yourself with."

Wells targeted both male and female tourists of different ages, sexes, races, and socio-economic lifestyles; what they had in common was that they had all somehow abandoned a responsibility at home. He would abduct them on routes from at least two different cities (Charleston, South Carolina and Miami, Florida), take them on his boat, finding them through his job as a train conductor and apparently using some ruse, and drove out to sea, where he would restrain them to a chair and use a drug on them called "trilomide"[1], which made them controllable to the point that Wells could instruct them to cut and stab themselves with a fishing knife. The torture, which presumably went on for a long time, ended when Wells finished them off by stabbing them to death, presumably with the same knife used to torture themselves.

Prior to doing so, he would have the victims write a postcard to their friends and loved ones at home, saying they had decided to stay in the area to ensure they would never report them as missing. Once the victims were dead, he would dispose of the bodies in the sea outside off Jacksonville, Florida. Prior to dumping the bodies in the water, Wells would disarticulate their joints to make them sink better, with the exception of his father, who had his bones broken in multiple places due to the torture. When he killed Gary Rhymer, he was forced to do so by drowning him in the ocean when he fought back.

Profile[]

The unsub is a 30-to 40-year-old fisherman who is currently chartering his boat to tourists, trying to find victims of medium risk; for example, when a man's car breaks down in a bad neighborhood. Once the man gets out of his normal routine, the victim is at a greater chance for victimization. The disarticulation of the victims' bones immediately tells that the unsub is either a butcher or a fisherman. Nine victims in nine years (later revealed to be thirteen victims in thirteen years) means that he can control his murderous urges. Each of the victims were trying to start over with their lives; they were out of a relationship or starting a new job, but to the unsub, they were abandoning their responsibilities.

This anger stems from his first victim: his father, who was most likely a fisherman as well, and definitely an alcoholic due to the low calcium present in the bones. Based on the unsub's level of sadism, the father was violently abusive. He was the first person to abandon the unsub, possibly by walking out on his family and writing a postcard like the unsub would write. The unsub picked a site of significance to the both of them: a spot that is known to local fisherman, which he turned into his own prison. Despite the fact that his original dumping site was found and claimed by the police, he will not have any other inclination to leave Jacksonville, since that prison was his responsibility and without it, he will cling on to what he knows. He would change his M.O., and that would make him erratic. He will escalate his sadism and kill uncontrollably until he finds another spot in the ocean to replace the original site.

Real-Life Comparison[]

Blake appears to be inspired by Henry Lee Lucas - Both were prolific serial killers (allegedly in Lucas' case) with physically violent parents (Blake's father and Henry's mother) later ending up their first victims, were severely injured from being beaten by their parents (Blake's arm broke, Lucas was left in a brief coma), killed victims of random victimology, operated in multiple states for several years, and falsely confessed to murders for attention.

Blake shares some similarities to Carl Panzram - Both were serial killers who had fathers who abandoned them in childhood, killed a number of people aboard a boat they owned, and disposed of their bodies by dumping them in the ocean.

Known Victims[]

  • Post-January 1999: Chuck Wells (his father; tortured more severely than the other victims before being killed)
  • 2000-2010: Eleven victims killed prior to Big Sea. Known ones are:
    • 2000: Carol Reed (a drug addict)
    • 2004: An unidentified African-American woman in her twenties
    • 2009: Doctor Samantha Cormack
    • 2010: An unidentified Caucasian woman
    • Unspecified years:
      • Alton McKee
      • Unnamed prostitute
  • 2011:
    • Early April: An unidentified victim
    • May 11: Gary Rhymer and his son James (both abducted):
      • Gary Rhymer (tied to a chair, drugged, and forced to torture himself; was unintentionally drowned the next day)
      • James Rhymer (also tied to a chair and later held at knifepoint; was rescued two days later)

Appearances[]

References[]

  1. The drug called "trilomide" is fictional. Its description and administration are similar to urban legends about an unidentified real-life drug. The name was intentionally changed to avoid real-life copycat incidents and to avoid factual criticism of the show because the real drug does not actually have mind-control effects.
  2. http://www.cbs.com/shows/criminal_minds/photos/1006401/7-things-you-didn-t-know-about-the-season-finale/109747/remember-these-scenes-/
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