|“||You need to keep warm.||”|
— Mitchell to Chad Higgins
Mitchell "Mitch" McCord, a.k.a. "The Central Park Ripper" is a vigilante, one-time abductor, and serial-turned-spree killer who appeared in the Season Thirteen episode of Criminal Minds, "Bad Moon on the Rise".
Mitch McCord was a dental technician at Woodhaven Dental Labs in Woodhaven, a neighborhood in Queens. Mitch, his wife Adele, and their 15-year-old son Bryce had lived in Bellerose, another neighborhood in Queens. On the night of January 24, 2016, they decided to go ice skating in Manhattan. After they were done ice skating, they started walking through Central Park, on the way back to their car. While in Central Park, the McCords were accosted by a mugger who wanted their money and phones. They started giving things to the mugger, and Bryce, who didn't want his parents to get hurt, advised Mitch to not try to be a hero. The mugger then demanded Adele's diamond ring, but Adele couldn't get the ring off of her finger, so the mugger got angry, and hit her with his gun. Bryce got angry and charged at the mugger in an effort to get the gun away from him, and in the resulting struggle, the mugger's gun went off, and Bryce was shot in the abdomen. The mugger escaped with Adele's purse. During the whole incident, Mitch just stood in shock. Paramedics were unable to revive Bryce, who passed away at the scene. Adele was treated at a hospital. There was a full moon on that night. On that night, after Bryce passed away, Adele misdirected her anger and blamed Mitch for what happened. Adele said some terrible things to Mitch. She told Mitch that a real man would have protected his family, and she told Mitch that she wished that he had been killed instead of Bryce. Adele wanted Mitch to hurt just as much as the situation was making her hurt, but he already was, before she said those things. The police never found the mugger. That relentlessly ate away at Mitch and left him enraged. Mitch has been feeling an extreme amount of guilt for not fighting back against the mugger. With Bryce's murder and Mitch's marriage to Adele crumbling, Mitch fell into a deep, severe depression, and drugs were his way of numbing his pain and coping with everything that happened. He did drugs such as amphetamines and MDA.
MDA is a highly potent form of Ecstasy that can induce delusions, hostility, and even violent behavior. A year after Bryce was killed, Mitch and Adele separated, and Mitch ended up living in an SRO (single room occupancy) on East 103rd Street in Manhattan. A month ago, Adele filed for a divorce. Mitch kept putting off signing the papers -- he had already lost his son, and he didn't want to lose his wife too. When Adele started dating Greg Winters, Mitch dug his heels in, even more, refusing to give up on trying to win Adele back. The killings started after Adele filed for divorce. For Mitch, the family that he loved and wanted to provide for was gone. The drugs induced psychosis in Mitch and caused him to have delusions. The result was clinical lycanthropy, a rare but recognized condition in which the affected person believes that he/she can transform into an animal, in Mitch's case, a wolf.
Bad Moon on the Rise
A month later, Mitch kills a jogger named Brad Norton. In Mitch's drug-induced delusion, it looked like Brad was fleeing the scene of a crime, much like Bryce's killer. It was Brad's murder that led to the BAU being called in. As the BAU is heading to New York City, Mitch, later that night, possibly witnesses a mugger named Frankie Brown rob an African American couple from Ohio, who had come to New York City for their anniversary. As Frankie is checking the wallet, Mitch attacks him. Then, he slits and tears his throat and his body is found several hours later. Off-screen, Mitch witnesses hot dog vendor Vihaan Patel having an altercation with an unlicensed vendor who was trying to poach his spot in the park. The following night, in his apartment, Mitch goes into his psychotic break, and later that evening, as he sees Patel, who is selling hot dogs outside his normal hours in order to make up for lost business, Mitch attacks viciously to the point of almost decapitating him, showing that he is showing no mercy and is evolving. Via flashbacks as the BAU interrogate Chad Higgins, it is revealed that Mitch saw him sleeping on a park bench and he gave him his bloody coat stating, "You need to keep warm," showing that he has control of his psychosis and stating that he suffered a loss. Later in the park, Mitch and Adele meet. Mitch states to Adele that he isn't the "man I used to be". Also stating he wasn't the man "they both needed" (his son Bryce). But, Adele tells him that he "knows it could never be the same", but Mitch insists they can make their relationship good and can try to work it out together. But, Adele tells him that they tried and they need to move on. Adele then leaves, which enrages Mitch.
The following night, Mitch excessively drinks alcohol, indicating that he is going into his psychotic break. Off-screen, he murders a woman named Kelly Sinclair as a surrogate for Adele a few blocks away from Central Park. Mitch uses the mouthpiece to bite off the finger that had Kelly's diamond engagement ring on it. Removing Kelly's ring symbolizes what happened two years ago -- Adele being unable to get her ring off of her finger during the mugging. It might also symbolize the ending of Mitch's marriage to Adele. As the team talks to Adele, it is later revealed that they separated because of her comments that he should have died instead of Bryce. The following night, Mitch sees Chad again and Mitch, believing he is Bryce, tries to take him away and abduct him when he resists, leaving behind a witness. Mitch takes him to a wolf den-like structure. Bryce would have been Chad's age if he was still alive, and Chad slightly resembles Bryce. The BAU realize that Mitch has no intention of harming Chad -- because of his delusion, he's projecting his need to protect Bryce onto Chad. In order to use a tactic to calm him down, the BAU bring Adele in. She says to Mitch that she is sorry about the previous day and saying that nothing will happen to him if he surrenders, stating that the police can protect him. Mitch responds by saying that she knows the police can't protect "our boy." Adele admits that she regrets the things that she said to Mitch. She says that she realizes that it was not fair to say those things to him when he was already hurting just as much as she was. Adele admits that she was wrong, and that Bryce's murder was never his fault, and she is sorry for what she said, reminding him what a great father he was, and he is a brave man. Mitch comes out, holding Chad. He apologizes to him and releases him. Mitch is arrested, showing remorse for what he did through tears. It is possible because of his lycanthropy condition that he was institutionalized or incarcerated.
Mitch's primary victims were men who were either criminals or men he believed had committed criminal acts based on their actions prior to being them killed. He initially killed his victims in Central Park at night during full moons as a reference to the night of his son's murder. He killed his victims using a canine mouthpiece he created through his job as a dental technician, ripping into their throats and disemboweling them after their deaths. As he continued killing he became more violent, biting into Vihaan Patel's throat to the point of him nearly being decapitated. When he killed Kelly Sinclair, he attacked her outside the park and bit off both her pinkie and ring finger on her left hand, although he specifically meant to bite off the ring finger she wore her wedding ring on as a reference to Adele divorcing him. Kelly also acted as a surrogate for Adele following the conversation she and Mitch had in which she rejected him again. Before each of his murders, he would inject cortisol into himself and take both amphetamines and MPA to help him experience stress and kill his victims in a state of rage. After killing each of his victims, he washed his victims' blood of his mouthpiece at his home. When he abducted Chad Higgins, he took him to a wolf den in Central Park.
The unsub is a man suffering from clinical lycanthropy, a psychiatric syndrome in which the person believes he or she can transform into an animal, in most cases, a wolf. This syndrome is associated with schizophrenia and drugged-induced psychosis and the latter is often caused by hallucinogenic drugs, such as LSD or ecstasy. The unsub might be facing with a major stressor in his life that is causing him to suffer from depression and using drugs could be his way of coping with it. It is likely he is fully aware of his action and he is enjoying the power and control that they are giving him. Though while in his delusional state, he is convinced that he is shape-shifting. He may be using a fabricated mouthpiece to complete his transformation. Based on his tender treatment of Chad Higgins, the unsub may have suffered a loss. This dualistic behavior indicates a personality split within the unsub's psyche. His human side may be struggling to keep the "violent animal" within him at bay. With his continued drug use, it is possible he will suffer a permanent psychotic break from reality with his violent persona completely taking him over. This means he will continue killing and it could be anyone in the park.
Mitchell seems to be based on prolific German serial killer Fritz Haarmann - Both were serial killers who were in relationships with women who later rejected them (McCord's wife decided to divorce him following the death of their son, while Haarmann's fiancée left him when he accused her of having an affair), targeted men, killed their victims by biting into their throats, performed post-mortem rituals on their victims' bodies, and were given names involving werewolves by the media for their crimes.
- December 2, 2017: Victor Guzman (a gang member)
- January 2-3:
- Brad Norton (a jogger he believed had ran off after committing a crime)
- Frankie Brown (a mugger)
- January 3-4: Vihaan Patel (a vendor he saw have an altercation with another vendor; bit into his throat to the point of near-decapitation)
- January 4-5: Kelly Sinclair (also bit of her pinky and ring finger post-mortem and took her wedding ring; was killed outside of Central Park)
- January 5-6: Chad Higgins (abducted; was released)
- January 2-3:
- Mitchell seems to have been inspired by at least three unsubs from the show's past:
- Season Seven
- Michael Janeczco ("Closing Time") - Both are serial-turned-spree killers who had stressors involving their sons in some way (McCord's son was killed in a fatal mugging, Janeczco discovered his son was not biologically related to him), were triggered to commit their killings after their wives divorced them, committed their murders in the months of January and December, had signatures that involved mutilating their victims post-mortem, and killed a woman who acted as a surrogate for their ex-wives.
- Season Nine
- Clifford Walsh ("The Road Home") - Both were spree killers and vigilantes who had family members (specifically their sons) who were killed in robberies gone wrong, suffered from addictions following their family members' deaths, killed their victims in the month of January (although McCord's first victim was killed in December), and killed at least one gang member who served as their first victims and a mugger afterwards.
- Tanner Johnson ("Gatekeeper") - Both are serial-turned-spree killers and vigilantes who had stressors in which their sons died, had wives who blamed them for their sons deaths and divorced them soon after, decided to commit their murders as a way of proving to their wives they were strong men, killed their victims at night, had signatures in which they did something to their victims post-mortem, and primarily killed men, but also killed a woman.
- Season Seven