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Jenkins

Leo Jenkins is a delusional abductor and killer who appears in the Season Ten episode of Criminal Minds, "The Itch".

Background

Jenkins was a low-level lab assistant at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. After he somehow contracted the shingles virus, he was given a vaccine, which deadened the nerves in his arm. Since his brain was still sending stimuli signals to his arm, Jenkins, who was now developing delusional parasitosis, believed CDC officials put cockroach larvae inside the vaccine they gave him. Doctors tried all they could to convince him otherwise, but failed. His paranoia escalated and he eventually believed that the U.S. government was conspiring to infest Americans with cockroaches and the like. Jenkins eventually joined a support group for sufferers of the Morgellons syndrome, founded by fellow sufferer Lisa Randall, so he could share his beliefs and sympathize with its other members. However, when that wasn't enough, he abducted a journalist named Albert Stillman, who was writing a story about vaccinations, hoping to convince him to write an exposé about his condition. However, Stillman, secretly a heroin addict, had been using at the time of the abduction and was uncooperative. Becoming increasingly agitated, Jenkins demanded that if he could see the 'insects' inside him, to which Stillman suffered a psychotic break due to severe opiate withdrawal, prompting Leo to release him.

The Itch

Jenkins releases Stillman, who is later found by a driver. The driver tries to get him some help, but Stillman, still in a psychotic break, doesn't respond and is fatally run over by a car. Jenkins is then seen in the basement. While the recording of Jenkins' torture of Stillman continues playing, Jenkins hallucinates that he has insects inside him, so he extracts a sample of his blood, which he hallucinates as black, and places it beside the other vials of his blood. While the BAU is called in, Jenkins abducts Doctor William Suri, an entomologist, and ties him to a chair. When Suri regains consciousness, Jenkins shows him a vial of his blood, claiming that it is black and hoping that Suri will believe him. Suri sees nothing wrong with it, but Jenkins insists there is something wrong with him. He then snaps, claiming that Suri corrupted the sample. When Suri tells him that he is mentally ill, Jenkins misinterprets his response and decides to demonstrate his belief to Suri. He ties him to a metal tube and covers him with cockroaches. Afterwards, he shoots him and dumps his body in an alleyway where the BAU find him.

Later, Jenkins attends Randall's support group and becomes impressed by the anti-government statements of another attendant, Jane Posner. He takes her out to a restaurant, where they have a conversation about their sicknesses. They both go to Posner's apartment, where Jenkins gets a sample of her blood with her consent and examines it. They both start to kiss and go to bed. The following morning, they both wake up from a knock on the door by Randall; Jenkins hallucinates a deep male voice demanding them to open the door. Jane tells Jenkins to calm down, but he tells her that Lisa is one of them and instructs her to get rid of Randall. Jenkins then hears Randall's phone ringing and discovers that she is talking to the FBI. Later, Jenkins goes to Randall's house, abducts her, and demands to know what she told the BAU. Randall claims that she didn't tell them anything, but Jenkins doesn't believe her. Tying her up in the basement, he asks Randall if she is afraid of spiders, to which she answers yes. Jenkins then takes out few spiders from a case and puts them on her. While he demands her to know who she works for, the BAU show up and try to talk him down from shooting her. While they do, Rossi shows Jenkins his own reflection to convince him that there is nothing wrong with him. He then calls Jenkins by name, distracting him long enough for Rossi to subdue him and rescue Randall. It is safe to presume Jenkins is institutionalized afterwards due to his condition.

Modus Operandi

Jenkins initially abducted people he believed would help him of his condition: he targeted Albert Stillman in the hopes that he could write an exposé about his condition, while Doctor William Suri was targeted because he hoped he, as an entomologist, would believe him when he tried to show him what he was suffering. Later, as his paranoia escalated, he began targeting people he believed were associated with the U.S. government. With Stillman and Suri, he lured them in by contacting them with a disposable cellphone, telling them about his illness. After abducting his victims, he would take them to his basement and restrain them to a chair by their arms and legs with duct tape. The last two victims were tortured by being covered with some sort of insect: Suri was covered with cockroaches while trapped in a metal tube, while Randall was covered with spiders while restrained to a chair. In the case of Stillman, he videotaped his interrogation, and released him after the former had experienced a psychotic break due to an unrelated heroin withdrawal. After torturing Suri with the cockroaches, Jenkins then killed him by shooting him in the head with a handgun after he found the doctor's reaction to the torture to be unsatisfactory and dumped his body in an alley.

Profile

The unsub is a man who suffers from delusional parasitosis, a condition in which the sufferer believes that he is being attacked or infested by bugs. He takes his victims and covers them in cockroaches, likely to convince his victims that they share his condition. He is not trying to make his victims sick so he can kill them. Murder is not his goal, but the attention to the condition is; he is essentially crying out for help. He abducted an investigative journalist because he wanted him to write a story about the bugs inside of him. Unfortunately, because the victim was experiencing opiate withdrawal, he was already hallucinating insects, and this led to a psychotic break, so the unsub had to changed tactics. As a result, he abducted a controversial research scientist who he thought would be more willing to believe him. Unfortunately, the doctor recognized his condition for the mental illness that it is, which is why the unsub killed him so quickly.

He is not to be labeled as crazy or insane to the media or press, as he is desperate to confirm his own self-diagnosis. As a result, he will be violent towards those who do not, and this kind of delusion goes hand in hand with conspiracy thinking. He probably believes that the bugs are part of a plot involving the U.S. government to keep him sick. When he is alone, he will be paranoid and disorganized, while his body will be mutilated from self-harm. However, his search for a fellow believer will give him focus and allow him to appear calm and rational. He may be visiting the entomology and infectious disease fields, as well as hospitals, for anyone with similar beliefs. This unsub has searched high and low for treatment for his condition, and he will return to one of these locations for his next victim.

Known Victims

  • 2014:
    • October 16: Albert Stillman (abducted and held captive; had a psychotic break from unrelated heroin usage and was subsequently released three days later; killed by an oncoming car)
    • October 20: Doctor William Suri (abducted and tortured by covering him in cockroaches, then fatally shot him in the head with a handgun the next day)
    • October 22: Lisa Randall (abducted, tortured by covering her in spiders, and held at gunpoint; was rescued)

Notes

  • Jenkins seems to be heavily based off Peter Evans, the main antagonist in the play and subsequent film adaptation Bug, the two sharing striking similarities. Both Jenkins and Evans were severely mentally ill characters with paranoid beliefs of government sabotage on innocent citizens with the use of bugs. Each also found a woman they pulled into their paranoia, Evans doing so with Agnes White, Jenkins with Jane Posner. The differences in how they ended up are both Evans and White apparently set themselves on fire at Evans' behest, while Jenkins is arrested and institutionalized hid crimes while Posner's released, still paranoid from Jenkins' influence on her.
  • Jenkins appears to have been based on at least three unsubs from the show's past:
    • Season One
      • Ted Bryar ("Derailed") - Both are killers who suffered from psychoses that caused them to have hallucinations, worked in science-related fields (Bryar was a physicist, while Jenkins worked as a lab assistant), believed that items were being implanted underneath their skins (Bryar believed that computer chips were planted by a "higher authority", while Jenkins believed the government had infected his skin with insects), and killed their victims by shooting them. Both were also subdued by the BAU after a struggle when hostage negotiations failed and would later be institutionalized.
    • Season Eight
      • Emma Kerrigan ("The Good Earth") - Both were psychotic killers who suffered from delusions in which they believed themselves to be sick from something (Leo believed he had cockroaches inside of him; Emma believed she had sclerordoma, even though she was cured of it in real life), tortured their victims in unique manners (Leo used insects and arachnids on his victims; Emma force-fed her victims soil additives and natural sedatives), abducted their male victims in the hopes that they could help them with cure them of their percieved illnesses in some way.
    • Season Nine
      • Anton Harris - Both are murderous abductors who committed their respective crimes to gain some sort of attention, abducted and tortured their victims in some particular manner (Jenkins covered his victims in insects, while Harris performed lobotomy on his victims), and killed their only fatal personal victim by shooting them in the head with a handgun.

Appearances

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