A Family Annihilator is an individual who commits familicide, the act of killing his/her own relatives.
Typology and Motivations of Family Annihilators
- Depressed - They are dealing with harsh situations (e.g. financial difficulties, illnesses) and come to see murder as the only way to save their families from "the vale of tears" their lives have turned into.
- Pathological Liar - They kill their relatives in order to hide their lies and to "protect" them from the suffering caused by the latters.
- Psychotic - They kill their relatives because of psychotic disorders.
- Libertarian - They kill their relatives in order to get rid of their "oppression".
- Drug Addict - They kill their relatives, usually while going through withdrawal, if they're denied the money required for their fix.
- Heir - They kill their relatives for their inheritance.
- Jealous - They consider their families as their properties, and kill them for jealousy related to an either real or perceived fact.
- Vengeful/Stalker - They do not accept the end of a relationship, are sensitive to rejection, and can get to the point of committing a familicide.
- Litigious - They commit familicide during the course of a domestic dispute.
- Self-Righteous - They hold their wives responsible for the breakdown of the family unit, and are often overly dramatic, choosing to carry out their murders on dates that are important to their families. Unsure in their roles as providers, they are threatened by their wives' careers or financial windfalls.
- Disappointed - They believe they have done right by their families, but the family has not done right by them, for example, by opposing to their religious beliefs.
- Anomic - They see their families as an extension of their own success, so if success eludes the family (e.g. in the form of bankruptcy or a public scandal) they are no longer serving their function.
- Paranoid - They perceive a threat to their families (e.g. children will be removed by the legal system, and they will not have access to them anymore), whom they kill as a means of "protecting" them.
On Criminal Minds
On Criminal Minds, the term family annihilator is applied to those who commit familicide (such as Norman Hill), to serial and rampage killers who specifically target families (such as Karl Arnold and Jeremy Sayer, respectively), and to criminals who fulfill both scenarios (such as Jerry Tidwell).
- Season One
- Karl Arnold ("The Fox") - A psychiatrist who targeted families he viewed as dysfunctional. He would stalk them for some time, then hold them captive while they were supposed to be on vacation, murdering them after a few days of acting as the head of the household and making it appear as a murder-suicide committed by the father (the children and mothers were stabbed to death, while the fathers were shot).
- Cally's Tribe ("The Tribe") - A group of eight people, led by "The Grandfather", who killed their victims via various Native American rituals. Roy Minton and his family were killed in their second massacre, as they viewed Roy as the opposing force in their mission.
- Season Two
- Season Three
- Gary and Ervin Robles ("Children of the Dark") - Team killers who were heavily abused by their foster family. Gary would kill the parents (whom he always saw as being abusive to their kids), usually via bludgeoning with an incidental object or stabbing with a knife, while Ervin would "euthanize" the children (who were forced to witness the deaths of their parents) with a chemical injection so that they wouldn't have to be placed in foster homes and be abused by their foster parents.
- Season Four
- Unnamed Family Annihilator - While training Jordan Todd, her temporary replacement, JJ presents her with two cases, one of them a familicide involving an on-the-run man who murdered his wife and twin daughters. Jordan correctly guesses that the family annihilator would have priority over the other case (a suspected serial killer) since the perpetrator may go on a spree, and go after more relatives and other innocent people. ("Memoriam")
- Norman Hill ("Normal") - Hours after committing his first drive-by shooting, he, in a state of severe psychosis, murdered his wife and two teenage daughters with a sawed-off shotgun while they slept.
- Season Five
- Miranda Dracar ("Outfoxed") - Committed a number of murders in several countries, and began specifically targeting the families (killing mothers and sons through shooting, and daughters through oxygen deprivation) of soldiers stationed overseas after fleeing to Virginia, where annual military maneuvers caused her to experience post-traumatic stress disorder-induced psychotic episodes.
- John Vincent Bell ("The Fight") - Murdered father-daughter duos in a ritual, then killed the mothers, whom he informed of his victims' abductions, in order to eliminate any loose ends.
- Season Six
- Jeremy Sayer ("Safe Haven") - After being abandoned by his mother over state lines, he killed two (nearly three) families while making his way back to her. The mothers were the objects of his rage, and he would force them to watch as he killed their children (via strangulation) and husband (via stabbing) before murdering them (via bludgeoning) as well. Sometime prior to his killing spree, Jeremy also attempted to kill his own family by putting rat poison in their Thanksgiving turkey, but his mother prevented it.
- Donald Sanderson ("25 to Life") - He was originally believed to be a family annihilator, due to being framed by James Stanworth and successfully convicted of the murder of his wife and daughter.
- Season Seven
- Trevor Mills ("A Thin Line") - Influenced by Clark Preston (who previously paid two African-American men to attack his family, killing his father and sister and leaving his mother in a near-vegetative state) to kill families living in Southern California's Inland Empire as means of promoting Preston's mayoral election campaign. He did this by shooting each family member execution-style and then pin the murders on a minority he drugged, brought along to the crime scene, and also killed.
- Season Eight
- Arthur Rykov ("Through the Looking Glass") - In his mission to show the worth of dysfunctional families, Arthur would stalk and abduct families of this example, expose their sins, and manipulate them into arguing with each other. His first familicide was successful in this way, and he attempted to do the same thing with a second family, but eventually failed to achieve this goal.
- Season Ten
- Jerry Tidwell ("Beyond Borders") - As a teenager, Tidwell slaughtered his entire family due to the abuse he suffered from his father and the hatred he held against his stepmother and step-siblings for escaping the abuse. After being briefly institutionalized for the familicide, he began targeting other families, killing them in different countries while they were on vacation.
- Marc Clifford ("A Place at the Table") - The product of an affair between Frank Kingman and Cora Gilliam, Marc snapped upon finding out his true heritage. As a result, he killed Frank and his current family, then tried to kill his mother.
- Season Eleven
- Patrick Sorenson ("The Sandman") - Unlike the other family annihilators featured in the show, Patrick's familicide was unplanned, as he only intended to kill the fathers. In the familicide, he killed Jim Brewer by slashing his throat while he slept, then glued the eyes of Patrick's wife Lyla shut, essentially blinding her. He then held the son Kyle captive and let Lyla stumble around blindly, but this resulted in her accidental death. Afterwards, Patrick killed Kyle and dumped his body.
- Season Twelve
- Kyle Ecklund ("The Anti-Terrorism Squad"): - Being a victim of constant bullying, Kyle snapped after one particularly harrowing incident and went after the families of the bullies who participated in the event. During the familicides, he would leave his tormentors alive, wanting them to feel the pain of being victimized just like he was.
- Season Thirteen
- Season Fourteen
- Karl Elgin - Following his daughter giving birth, giving the baby boy to the neighboring family (whose son was the baby's father), and running away from him and his wife, Karl killed the family by shooting each member and abducted his grandson.
- Eduardo Ramos - Following his capture including Phil Brooks, Luke Alvez, and Jeremy Grant, in Mexico, and his subsequent escape from prison, Eduardo tracked and murdered Grant's family while he was on an assignment for revenge.
Real-Life Family Annihilators
- Bradford Bishop (Unknown type )
- Charlie Lawson (Pathological Liar)
- Christian Longo (Depressed)
- Jean-Claude Romand (Pathological Liar)
- Jeffrey MacDonald (Litigious)
- John List (Depressed/Anomic)
- József Barsi (Jealous)
- Mark Barton (Depressed)
- Robert William Fisher (Depressed)
- Ronald DeFeo, Jr. (Libertarian)
- ↑ Experts of the likes of FBI profiler John Douglas couldn't ultimately determine his motive. Despite allegations of psychiatric problems on his part, marital tensions, and financial difficulties, it seemed none of the latters were so exacerbated to possibly bring him to murder his entire family.