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There's no where to go. I'm not going back there.
Myers, using sign language

John Myers, a.k.a. "The Silencer", was a deaf one-time cop killer, and serial-turned-spree killer who appeared in the Season Eight episode of Criminal Minds, "The Silencer".

Background

Myers was born sometime in 1974 as the youngest child of an abusive Julie Myers. On October 30, 1988, while he was fourteen, Myers was given a cochlear implant, for which Julie was paid $650 by the medical trial. At the time, it was a highly experimental and rather controversial procedure tested only on humans. By then, his entire childhood had been spent in isolation, most likely due to his deafness. As a result, he resorted to reading, which resulted in him gaining a high level of reading intelligence. After the surgery, Myers developed an interest in foreign languages due to his mother's New Orleans-based origins, but became enraged by a buzzing noise that was one of the several side-effects of the surgery; another side-effect involved the left side of his face appearing sunken, with his left eye being unable to close on its own. On August 26, 2004, he snapped and killed Julie, sewing her mouth shut afterward. Authorities didn't suspect him of Julie's murder, and he and his brothers were put in foster care. Both of Myers's older brothers, Mark and Greg, eventually went off the grid, their current statuses unknown.

Myers went on to kill two more women, with the last victim being murdered three months after Julie's murder. The BAU consulted on the case at the time but were not directly involved as they were not invited by local police. Sometime in November, he was pulled over for a traffic violation, which was most likely intentional, as it would be revealed that he wanted to be caught. During the incident, police found no registration, no tags, and no means of identification, but a gun with a suppressor, otherwise known as a silencer (a reference to his nickname that went unnoticed), was found in his car. Because he had illegal possession of the gun, he was arrested and simply registered as a John Doe since there was no way of identifying him. He was then sentenced to life imprisonment without parole after he killed two other convicts in prison fights, never saying a word while doing so. During his time in solitary confinement as a result of the two murders of the inmates, he learned of a town well-known for its honey products from another inmate named Danny Tucker. The details of this town led to Myers believing it to be some sort of safe haven. He began a series of writings in prison and also developed an idea to flee to the town should he have the perfect chance.

The Silencer

Myers' mugshot.

Myers first appears in the episode, being strapped onto a stretcher by medics and prison officials as he convulses repeatedly due to a severe allergic reaction. He is wheeled into an ambulance and is taken away. As the ambulance drives onto a lonely road, the prison guard on-board talks with the medic, telling him about Myers' homicidal tendencies, to which the medic asks him why they are saving his life. Just then, the driver spots a deer walking onto the road ahead and makes a sharp turn to avoid hitting it but winds up driving the ambulance into a ditch and crashing into a tree. Everyone, but Myers and the guard is killed in the crash; Myers revives from his state, breaks free from one of the handcuffs restraining him onto the stretcher, grabs the guard's key and Beretta 92FS handgun, and uses the former to unlock the other set of handcuffs. The guard regains consciousness, but Myers holds him at gunpoint. The guard convinces him to put down the gun, and Myers kindly helps him up, but when the guard attempts to go for his gun, Myers knocks him back down. He then fatally asphyxiates him before escaping with the guard's gun, several ambulance supplies, and the EMT's uniform. Later, in the coroner's office, Morgan and JJ are shown a note Myers left behind in the guard's mouth, which says, "Gazing through to the other side." As the investigation proceeds, Myers goes on to kill a gas station owner, leaving behind a note that said "Waiting on the taste of honey, smell of summer". Afterward, he kills a male motorist, taking care of the latter's baby (and then stealing his car) after killing him.

The BAU soon realize that Myers' messages are clues to where he intends to go. Meanwhile, he starts hallucinating about his abuse at the hands of Julie after finding the secluded spot in Sweetwater Tucker had talked to him about, only to find it mostly under reconstruction. Myers promptly becomes scared by the loud buzzing noise that is brought by the heavy machinery sounds. The BAU later find out that Danny Tucker might be in serious danger, as Myers will become enraged at discovering his supposed safe haven being under construction, and leave for his house, but Myers reaches him first, holding his wife and daughter hostage and knocking him out when he tries to fight back. He then puts him on a chair and attempts to sew his mouth, but Tucker regains consciousness and Myers again asphyxiates him to the point of unconsciousness. Believing he is dead, he resumes his assault, but is cut short when the BAU burst into the house and hold him at gunpoint. Blake, the team's newest member, tries to reason with Myers, communicating with him through sign-language. Myers argues that he doesn't want to return to prison, but Blake tells him that there is no other way. In defeat, Myers stands up, backs away from Tucker, up against a wall, and commits suicide by shooting himself under the chin with the guard's gun.

As the unsub whose M.O. was the first to be emulated by John Curtis onscreen, Myers would go on to be mentioned or reference throughout the rest of the season. At the end of "The Apprenticeship," Hotch was informed via a cell phone call that a body with his mouth sewn shut was found in Dallas. He and Rossi briefly converse on this, stating that it was definitely a copycat, as Myers is already dead. At the end of "Magnificent Light", a photo of the Myers-based victim is seen in the copycat's room. Myers was briefly mentioned again in "Perennials" by Hotch. At the end of "Broken", the copycat can be seen viewing the photos of his victims, including that of the Myers-based victim; such photos would reappear in "The Gathering" and "Brothers Hotchner". Myers was mentioned frequently by the BAU in "Carbon Copy." He was then mentioned in the season finale episode "The Replicator", where it is revealed that the Myers-based victim was the copycat's second victim, not the first. Two years later, Myers was once again mentioned in "Angels" when Hotch stated that a Texas Sheriff had examined their handling of the Silencer case, which inspired him to summon the rest of the team to investigate a series of religious murders.

Modus Operandi

Before his incarceration, Myers targeted brunette, Caucasian working-class mothers in their late 40s, all of whom resembled his mother Julie, his first victim. He attacked them at night and beat them to death. His signature was torturing his victims by sewing their mouths shut with thread, using a unique double-knot ligature. He then left their bodies in ditches. In prison, he beat two inmates to death with his bare fists during fights, but he didn't sew their mouths shut since he didn't have access to threading.

After his jailbreak, his M.O. evolved; he targeted men out of necessity, left messages in the mouths of two of the victims before sewing them shut, asphyxiated them by pressing his right arm against their necks while his left hand was against the back of their heads, and left their bodies where he killed them. These messages were written on white sheets protected inside plastic bags and were meant as clues to find out where his last crime was going to be committed. After killing the victims, he would steal items from their bodies, such as a weapon and a quick disguise.

Profile

The unsub is a white male who is between the ages of 35 and 45, about 6'0" to 6'2" in height, and weighing 180-200 pounds. It can't be predicted where he is going, or what his current state of mind is, but his seemingly random actions will betray his intentions eventually. It is also unknown as to why he leaves messages in the mouths of his latest victims. At the gas station, he could have stolen money in the cash register, but he did not, which means he isn't planning a long road trip, but he is logical enough to be aware of survival skills. Sewing the mouths of his victims is a compulsion over which he has no control, which could mean he feels silenced by having a speech impediment, which makes him embarrassed to talk, and therefore caused him to be a target of relentless bullying and torment because of it. His first three victims indicate that a woman, likely a mother figure, is to blame for his rage. Chances are that she was abusive and convinced him that whatever he would say did not matter.

References to IPA, the International Phonetic Alphabet, in his personal writings indicate that he is able to hear and talk but chooses not to. His usage of multiple languages highlights a desire to communicate, and he also seems to be proficient in sign language. Additionally, he is incredibly well-read, which means he most likely grew up in isolation, with literature being his only escape from his cruel reality. His own writings do not seem as profound, and despite his astounding reading comprehension, he most likely did not have an extended, or at the very least, outstanding education. Every aspect of his psychosis says that the spoken word has value to him, but it also greatly angers him. If he was yelled at or made to feel stupid by a maternal figure, he held onto his anger until he snapped. He can possibly snap like this while on an important mission. It is unknown if his target includes a person of some type or a particular location, but his target is definitely close by.

His prison photo shows that the left side of his face is sagging; a facial deformity such as that combined with a possible speech impediment could cause him to suffer from low-self esteem. Being imprisoned for years figuratively took away his voice, but not his rage. He might have started the fights he had in prison so he would be punished, and it could be his way of looking for silence.

He did not leave a message in the mouth of his latest victim, which indicates that caring for the victim's baby son is his message. He may relate to the child and is obsessed with the nurture he did not get, or he simply just wanted for him to be quiet. He is not saying he has boundaries because he is too mentally unstable for that. He left most of his medical equipment at the crime scene, which is usually an unsub's way of surrendering, yet he still has the prison guard's gun, an indication that he is not giving up. His original killings and M.O. was his message ("I hated the women I killed"), and he is most likely not targeting women anymore because he has already killed the person who was the subject of his blame.

Real-life Comparisons

Myers appears loosely based on Dick Hickock and Perry Smith - All were multiple murderers motivate to reach a promising home in a small town they heard about while in prison, only to realize the reality was romanticized while taking hostage the family living there.

Myers seems similar to Henry Lee Lucas - Both were serial killers, and (possibly in Lucas' case) one-time cop killers who were raised by abusive mothers who became their first victims, had damaged left eyes, primarily targeted women (Myers also killed men, while Lucas allegedly killed men), were active in Texas, and were given nicknames for their crimes.

He may have also been loosely based on Thomas Dillon - Both were serial killers who were profiled as being intelligent, their killings were triggered by stress (at least according to Dillon's profile), were arrested for illegally owning a silencer, and wrote letters to someone while incarcerated. Also, Meyers being tormented by a loud buzzing sound in his head could be a slight nod to Dillon alleging that he heard voices in his head telling him to kill.

Known Victims

  • 2004, Abilene, Texas:
  • Unspecified dates from 2004 to 2012, Abilene, Texas: Numerous unnamed inmates (all assaulted only)
  • 2012, Texas:
    • September 26, near Abilene: Officer Kevin Jensen (stole his gun and uniform; note read "Gazing through to the other side")
    • September 26-27, Interstate 20:
      • Tyler Parker (a gas station owner; note read "Waiting on the taste of honey, the smell of summer"; also stole his outfit)
      • Unnamed female motorist (intended to kill at a rest stop; abandoned the plan when she left early)
      • Unnamed male motorist (killed for his car at the rest stop; no note was left behind)
    • September 27, Sweetwater: The Tucker family (held hostage)
      • Danny Tucker (father; assaulted, tied to a chair, non-fatally asphyxiated, and attempted to sew his mouth)
      • Laura Tucker (mother; tied to a chair)
      • Kelly Tucker (daughter; also tied to a chair)

Notes

  • Troy Michael Kotsur, the actor who portrays Myers, is also deaf.
  • As the first unsub whose M.O. was first seen being copied by Curtis, Myers currently holds the most mentions and references for a single one-time male unsub, with a total of nine.
  • Myers appears to have been based on at least three unsubs from the show's past:
    • Season Two
      • Sarah Danlin ("Jones") - Both were serial killers who had stressors involving abuse of some kind (Danlin was raped and sexually assaulted, while Myers was abused by his mother), mainly targeted men (though Myers also killed women), and left notes in some of their victims' mouths.
    • Season Seven
      • Rodney Garrett ("Divining Rod") - Both were serial killers who killed victims of both genders (both originally targeted women, then killed two male inmates while incarcerated, though Myers also killed victims of both genders later), were ultimately shot and killed at the end of their crimes (Garrett was executed by firing squad, while Myers committed suicide with a stolen pistol), and had another serial killer copy their crimes after their deaths.
      • Thomas Yates ("Profiling 101" and "Profiling 202") - Both were serial-turned-spree killers who were abused by parental figures (Myers' mother and Yates' grandparents), killed female victims who were surrogates for their abusers, were previously incarcerated for crimes they committed (Myers was incarcerated for illegally possessing a silencer, Yates was incarcerated for killing a boy that bullied him), had signatures that involved torturing their victims (Myers tortured his victims by sewing their mouths shut, while Yates tortured his victims through starvation), killed their first victim out of revenge, were based on real-life serial killer Henry Lee Lucas, were given names by the media for their crimes, and both ultimately committed suicide by gunshot during stand-offs with the BAU while attempting to kill at least one final victim (though Yates committed suicide by cop with Rossi). Yates also appeared in Season Twelve.
  • Jarrod Bailey, the actor who played Myers as a teenager, also played Simon in the Season Two episode "The Boogeyman".

Appearances

References

  1. In one scene, Garcia's screen reads that Myers was born on January 10, 1974. However, another scene showed the screen reading Myers's birth-date as October 1, 1974.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Though the BAU's evidence board indicated that the last two victims of John Myers were named Jane Helmway and S. Clanden, a later scene with Garcia's computer screen showed that their names were instead Sally Pargrave and Cindy Keelson, respectively. This is most likely a mistake on the editors' part.
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