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Let you go? Let you go?! Do you think I brought you all the way up here just to let you go?!
Bachner to Lionel

Joe Bachner is a serial killer, serial rapist, abductor, and the dominant partner of a two-person killing team that appears in the Season Nine episode of Criminal Minds, "The Edge of Winter".


Born on July 13, 1974, and raised in Pennsylvania, Bachner lost his parents in a car accident on May 7, 1980, when he was six years old. As a result, he was sent to live with his aunt, Julianna Hartig, a nurse who lived in Hamilton, New York. Hartig was an abusive alcoholic who once locked him up inside a shed and starved him for days. Whenever she got mad, she unleashed bees on him, and Bachner subsequently suffered from hundreds of bee-stings. Social Services eventually found out about the abuse after Bachner arrived at school covered in bee-stings and apparently arrested Hartig. On June 23, 2010, Bachner got a job as an electrician for a company called Conway Electric and also worked several random construction jobs; he was also apparently an avid gun owner. He also developed a small rap-sheet of battery charges and also an incident in 2010, where he abducted a woman, but she survived and then dropped the charges against him, likely out of fear of retaliation from him.

On February 28, 2012, Hartig died from cardiac arrest, depriving Bachner of any chance of getting his revenge. A month later, he set his sights on a woman named Daria Samsen, who was a medical student and therefore reminded him of Hartig. He managed to abduct Samsen from the diner she worked at after charming her, before holding her captive for several months, raping and torturing her until she was subjugated into complete obedience towards him. Bachner eventually decided to worsen the torture by abducting random people and torturing them with Samsen's forced assistance before murdering them. By January 2013, he killed three victims and had a fourth, a woman named Carrie, held in captivity alongside Samsen. He initially dumped the bodies of his first two fatal victims in isolated public areas, but he apparently decided to let the town know of the abuse he suffered by placing the body of the third victim posed in the middle of a cornfield, which would lead to the summoning of the BAU.

One night, Carrie managed to smuggle the key to the tool-shed she and Samsen were being kept in, and the two women managed to escape. However, Bachner was awakened by their sounds and wounded Carrie with a shot from a rifle, but Samsen, apparently having a brief moment of clarity, continued running and successfully escaped. Enraged by this newest development, Bachner relocated himself and Carrie to the unoccupied house of a client of his coworker Coby Peters before abducting another woman, Melissa Coleman, and then killing her. He then abducted a stranded motorist named Lionel the following day and took him to the house, where he tried to get Carrie to assist him in the torture, but apparently failed. During the night, the BAU, having identified Bachner as the unsub with Samsen's assistance and also pinpointing where he was, stormed the house. Bachner quickly stabbed Carrie with an icepick and fled, but he was pursued by Rossi. He tried to shoot him but was shot and injured by him. Afterwards, Bachner was arrested and presumably incarcerated.

The Edge of Winter[]

By 2014, Bachner's trial is coming up, and Morgan interrogates Samsen, whom he has deduced as being his partner during the initial investigation, in hopes of establishing her as a sympathetic witness. However, Samsen confesses that she helped Joe because she "loved him," undermining her credibility.

Modus Operandi[]

Bachner targeted random Caucasian victims in their 20s and 30s, initially luring them from different neighboring cities by charming them into coming with him, but after Samsen's escape, his method of obtaining victims became more unplanned and disorganized. He would find his female victims in bars, while his male victims were found in random locations. He would then hold them captive in a tool-shed for long periods of time (with the exception of Samsen, who was allowed into his house after she became submissive towards him, even in the presence of guests) and torture them in a variety of ways, including brutalizing them, tying them to a radiator, and (in the case of the female victims) raping them. However, his signature method of torture was stabbing them repeatedly in the chest with an icepick (likely as a reference to the bee stings he suffered as a child). Prior to Samsen's escape, he kept three to four victims at once in the shed, including Samsen herself; once a victim died, he would go out to find another one. He initially forced Samsen to assist in the torture, but as she succumbed to Stockholm syndrome, her actions became more willing.

After he finished them off by fatally stabbing them with an icepick, Bachner would then dispose of their bodies with Samsen's help. The first two fatal victims were dumped in isolated public areas, but as Bachner evolved, he began leaving them in locations where they would be more easily seen, posing them in order to maximize shock value. When things didn't go his way, he would utilize firearms as a last resort, such as during Carrie's escape attempt and the raid at his client's house by the BAU.

Real-Life Comparison[]

Bachner appears to be partly inspired by Edmund Kemper - Both are serial killers who were abused by a maternal family member (Kemper's mother and Bachner's aunt, respectively), with such abuse including being locked them in enclosed spaces with other animals (Bachner's aunt locked him in a shed and swarmed with with bees, Kemper's mother locked him in a basement filled with rats), intended to kill their extended relatives and abusive maternal figures (though Bachner's aunt died from a heart attack before he could try, while Kemper successfully killed both his grandparents, then killed his mother years later), targeted Caucasian women in their 20s (though Bachner also targeted men and one black-American woman, while Kemper targeted teenagers and middle-aged women, including his mother), lured their victims into their cars with ruses, tortured and killed their victims by stabbing (though Kemper used other means), raped at least one of their female victims, and disposed of their victims in open areas.

Bachner is also similar to Gary Heidnik - Both were murderous serial rapists with abusive and alcoholic legal guardians in their family, had criminal records prior to their murders (including abduction), primarily targeted women in their 20s of a certain ethnicity (Caucasian in Bachner's case, African-American in Heidnik's), abducted and held multiple victims captive at the same time and raped their female captives, forced one victim to assist in torturing the others, killed their victims from the extent of the torture (though Heidnik only did so once), were apprehended after one victim escaped and reported to the police, and were arrested at their hideouts while still holding victims captive.

Known Victims[]

The dates denote when the victims disappeared

  • 2009:
    • January 12: An unspecified charge of battery
    • October 6: An unspecified charge of assault
    • December 19: An unspecified charge of battery
  • 2010:
    • February 4: An unspecified charge of battery
    • July 12: Unnamed woman (abducted, but survived; dropped the charges against him)
    • August 31: An unspecified charge of battery
  • 2012:
    • March: Daria Samsen (abducted, tortured and raped repeatedly, and subjugated into obedience; she escaped on January 8-9, 2013)
    • December 6: Marlene Godfrey (raped and tortured; was killed on December 29)
    • December 15: Chloe Reynolds (raped and tortured; was killed on January 5, 2013)
    • December 21: Ben Wilson (tortured; was killed on January 8, 2013)
  • 2013:
    • January 1: Carrie (abducted, raped, tortured, non-fatally shot with a rifle, and stabbed in the stomach with an icepick; was rescued on January 10, but possibly died from her injuries afterwards)
    • January 9: Melissa Coleman (tortured and presumably raped; killed the day after she was abducted)
    • January 10:
      • Lionel (beaten with a tire iron, abducted, and non-fatally stabbed at least twice; was rescued)
      • David Rossi (attempted to shoot with a handgun)


  • Bachner appears to have been based on at least three unsubs from the show's past:
    • Season Three
      • Jeremy Andrus ("Limelight") - Both are serial killers, rapists and abductors who operated in the northeastern US, primarily targeted women (though Bachner also targeted men), worked as electricians, had criminal records of petty crimes prior to their murders, abducted at least one of their victims by blitz-attacking them on the road, imprisoned multiple victims at a time (Bachner notably forced one of his victims to act as his accomplice), tortured and raped their victims extensively before killing them, and would later be incarcerated for their crimes.
    • Season Six
      • Lee Mullens ("Remembrance of Things Past") - Both are serial killers and abductors who targeted women (though Bachner also killed a man), worked as electricians, abducted and stabbed their victims to death, had an accomplice (both of whom have the surname), and as such were dominant partners in a killing team, and were both ultimately arrested by Rossi.
    • Season Seven
  • According to his employment record, Bachner's Social Security number is 987-00-0128.