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YOU are the disease and we are the Cure.
Rafael

Rafael Taveras, also known as The Cure, is a serial killer, hacker, stalker and one-time abductor who appeared in the Season Thirteen episode of Criminal Minds, "Cure".

Background

When Rafael was a teenager, disciplinary problems led to him being enrolled in a military boarding school. After that, there was a brief stint in the army, followed by a dishonorable discharge for unspecified reasons. While in the army, he received training to become an electronic warfare officer, which is how he acquired his skill set. His parents, Scott and Julia, agreed to a separation a couple of years ago when Scott met Elena Duran and began an affair. That hit Rafael extremely hard. And then he was hit even harder when Scott felt that Julia had become a burden in his life after her cancer diagnosis. Rafael felt extreme resentment towards Scott, believing he should be more sympathetic to Julia. Since Scott didn't want things to get too complicated for her and their health insurance, they decided to remain legally married. At one point, a few months ago, Scott pulled Rafael aside and told him how Julia's illness was taking a toll on him. That enraged Rafael - to him, Scott, who wasn't there for Julia, had a lot of nerve saying that. Rafael felt like killing Scott with his bare hands.

Julia went into remission six months ago. Around that time, Scott moved into a townhouse. Two weeks ago, Rafael put into motion a plan to make Scott pay for what he did to the family. However, he knew that if he only killed Scott, the police might suspect him, so he devised an elaborate way to cover up who his true target was. He decided to go after businessmen who also acted as surrogates for Scott and then kill him. His first victim was Marcus Powell, the family services director at the McNab courthouse, where Scott is based. On January 10, 2018, Rafael killed Powell outside of his home in the Georgetown area of Washington DC and left a cryptogram with the rod of Asclepius on the back of it in his mailbox to act as another forensic countermeasure to throw law enforcement off the true motive of his killings. Believing that the police never found his cryptogram he decided to find a way for police to find his messages, which were meant for their eyes only.

Cure

The episode begins with Rafael murdering Andrew Hirota and tying up Abigail Fuller at the Swilcan Capital Group building.

Following the murders, he deletes the photos of Andrew Hirota on his computer and places a phone call to the police while disguising his voice, “We are Asclephius. We have begun the bloodletting. You will fear us, for you are the disease, and we are the cure.”

After killing Douglas Carmichael, the next day, he goes after his father and was on the verge of killing him when his father's girlfriend, Elena Duran, calls 911, causing him to halt and run away.

He then appears at the hospital to visit his father alongside his mother and sister before he excuses himself following Elena's departure. He then ambushes her in the hospital parking lot, drives her car to an abandoned building and places himself in the trunk to make it look like he was another victim. This ruse backfires, however, and he is taken into custody. He then tells the BAU about where to find Duran, but by the time they got to the address he provided, they were too late; she had succumbed to her injuries.

Rafael is incarcerated afterwards.

Modus Operandi

Rafael initially targeted businessmen who were surrogates for his father. He would stalk his victims for some time, taking pictures of them in the parking lots of their workplaces and uploading the photos onto a computer at his home. To kill his victims, he would repeatedly slash and stab them with a karambit at night while dressed entirely in black, wearing a ski mask and googles to act as both camouflage, hide his identity, and avoid leaving DNA evidence at the crime scenes. While he killed Powell and attempted to kill his father outside their homes, he killed Andrew Hirota and Douglas Carmichael in or outside their workplaces. His first signature was leaving cryptograms at the crimes scenes that contained letters from the Greek, Latin, Cyrillic, and Korean alphabets.

When law enforcement failed to find his first cryptogram (which had the Rod of Asclepius on the back of it), he decided to paint the symbol at the crime scenes using his victims' blood and pose their bodies so they would be facing it and put the cryptograms in the victims' throats after killing them (knowing they would be found during their autopsies). When he killed Elena Duran, he knocked her unconscious, put her in her car, took her to an underground stockroom in a distribution center he used work at, and stabbed her just as he did his previous victims. Knowing the police might suspect him of the attack on his father and Elena's abduction, he placed himself into the trunk of her car after driving to McKenna industrial park to appear as if he was also a victim and that the offender was someone else.

Profile

No profile was ever given by the BAU since it was that it was a terrorist group

Real-Life Comparison

Taveras is very similar to the unidentified The Zodiac Killer, being compared to him in the episode - Both are serial killers who wore dark disguises, targeted victims of both genders, attacked them at night and outside (though Taveras attacked outside when he escalated), tied them up with rope before stabbing them to death, had signatures involving leaving symbols they derived from other sources and cryptograms that got more complex with every murder, used grandiose language, made taunting phone calls to police, and gave themselves nicknames to further reinforce their crimes and presentation of them.

Known Victims

  • 2018:
    • January 10: Marcus Powell (a family services director; killed outside of his home)
    • January 28: The attack at the Swilcan Captial Group officer building:
      • Andrew Hirota (a managing director and chief investment officer; left a cryptogram in his mouth and posed post-mortem)
      • Abigail Fuller (incidental; briefly held hostage and tied up, but left alive)
    • January 29: Douglas Carmichael (a chief executive officer; killed outside his workplace; left a cryptogram in his mouth and posed post-mortem like the previous victim)
    • January 30: Scott Taveras (his father; attempted, but survived; stabbed repeatedly in the back outside of his home, but stopped when Elena called 911)
    • January 31: Elena Duran (Scott's girlfriend; knocked out, abducted, and killed in an underground stockroom)
    • Note: In addition to these victims, Rafael also stalked two other businessmen, but decided to go after his father instead.

Notes

  • Rafael appears to have been based on at least two unsubs from the show's past:
    • Season Six
      • Blake Wells ("Big Sea") - Both are serial killers and abductors who had fathers who left their mothers after they got cancer, had stresors involving their fathers, and targeted and killed victims of both genders through various means (including stabbing).
    • Season Eight
      • John Myers ("The Silencer") - Both were serial killers who targeted people who were surrogates for one of their parents, killed their victims at night, and left messages in two of their victims' mouths.
    • Season Twelve
      • Sara McLean ("Unforgettable") - Both were serial killers and hackers who operated in Washington, D.C. and aimed to kill a relative (McLean's husband, Taveras' father) but also targeted people of similar backgrounds (McLean killed federal employees while Taveras killed middle-aged, successful fathers) to avoid detection. Additionally, both killed in ways emulating a country's military (McLean attempted to make her killings look like the work of Russian assassins while Taveras, a veteran, used a karambit, an Asian weapon used by the US military in his murders), and both killed four people before getting caught (while failing to kill their intended victim.)
    • The suit Taveras wore while killing his victims closely resembles the appearance of Snake Eyes, an assassin employed by the fictional U.S. military organization G.I. Joe in Marvel comics and related media. Interestingly, both Taveras and Snake Eyes killed the majority of their victims using sharp, bladed weapons (swords for Snake Eyes, a karambit for Taveras); this, coupled with Taveras' background as a veteran, make it reasonable to speculate that the character was an inspiration for Taveras.
    • The suit also bears similarity to the costume of Bubba Jenkins, the killer in the slasher film The Nail Gun Massacre, also motivated by family-oriented revenge with a deadly sharp weapon (a nail gun used on the guilty parties responsible for his sister being gang-raped).

Appearances

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