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Wyland to Robert Brooks

Shane Wyland is a prolific pedophilic and hebephilic serial killer, abductor, and one-time robber who appeared in the Season Six episode of Criminal Minds, "Into the Woods".


Born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, on October 28, 1960, Wyland was convicted of sexually assaulting a ten-year-old boy in 1994. After serving his sentence, he was paroled and moved into a rundown hotel in Jonestown along with a cluster of other sex offenders. In 2001, Wyland stopped visiting his parole officer and left town, hiking along the Appalachian Trail. There, he began his abductions and killings, eventually claiming the lives of eight children, starting with Lance Levenson, who died in Jonestown. Around 2006, Wyland developed an unspecified degenerative disease in one of his knees, which had left him with a lasting limp. When he resumed traveling, Wyland began collecting a flower called "Devil's Claw", using it to treat his injury in combination with painkillers stolen from Brandon Stiles, a drug dealer and fellow pedophile at the hotel. Despite his diminished capacity, he kept up his abductions and murders, although he committed them less frequently. The BAU was called in when Wyland's twelfth victim, Daniel Lanham, was found when a hiking family spotted a bear digging for his dead body.

Into the Woods[]

Wyland then abducts Robert Brooks and his sister, Ana, the latter's abduction being incidental, and takes them to his camp in an abandoned mine shaft, locking them in a storage cell. After Wyland molests Brooks, the children make a plan for Ana to escape the next time he opens the door. When he returns the next day, he pulls Brooks out of the cell, causing him to trip. Ana uses that moment of opportunity to flee. Wyland grabs her, but is kicked in his bad leg by Brooks and loses his grip on her. As Wyland and Brooks struggle, Ana escapes and is rescued by investigators. Wyland leaves the mine shaft with Brooks in tow and returns to Jonestown; from there, he makes his way to Harrisburg to visit Stiles. Though Stiles is initially unwilling to let him in after he ripped him off, he allows him entrance when he sees Brooks.

Wyland helps himself to a new stash of drugs and some cash in exchange for giving Stiles an hour alone with Brooks. When Wyland sees the police outside the hotel, he turns and walks away, eluding capture. Brooks is saved before Stiles can hurt him seriously and is reunited with his family. In the final scene of the episode, Wyland, having shaved and also changed his hairstyle and hair color, cleaned himself up and redressed, gets off of a pickup truck, and resumes hiking in the woods, back on the hunt. He currently remains at large, although considering his disease and the fact that he no longer has access to the drugs that he needs for his leg, it is possible that he has died in the mountains at some point in the future.

Wyland was mentioned, though not by name, six years later when the BAU briefly feared that he may have become active again, following the discovery of several dismembered corpses in the Appalachian Trail. However, the killer was eventually revealed as Cormac Burton.

Modus Operandi[]

Wyland targeted Caucasian boys who were between the ages of eight and twelve and were also camping with their parents on the Appalachian Trail. After choosing a victim, he would lie in wait until it turned dark and they left their tents to relieve themselves in the woods for various reasons. After taking them, he would bring them to an abandoned mine shaft on the Trail, allowing them to bring a toy with them. He would then hold them captive during the winter, during which he would molest them repeatedly, before killing them in an unspecified way and wrapping their bodies in plastic sheets and burying them in the woods, marking the graves by making a gash in a nearby tree with an ax, or a similar tool. He kept the toys in the cell in which he kept his victims, possibly as a kind of trophy.


Wyland lives to hunt children and has found the perfect place to hide them. That area must be sizable, durable against harsh weather, well-hidden enough for even the most experienced hikers not to find it, and secure enough to hold the children captive. He has left civilization and with it all moral and legal restraints. Unlike most child abductors, who disposed of their victims quickly when they feel the walls closing in on them or even sometimes out of guilt, Wyland holds his victims captive for long stretches of time and feels no shame about his compulsion.

Real-Life Comparison[]

Wyland appears to have been based on Pedro López - Both were prolific pedophilic and ephebophilic serial killers and abductors who became serial killers after a previous stint in prison, were drifters active along a mountain range spanning different jurisdictions, targeted children between the ages of eight-twelve-years old, had a specific gender preference (López targeted girls while Wyland targeted boys, though he did abduct a girl too), stalked, abducted, killed, and buried their victims in shallow graves, and both had a sexual element in their crimes (López raped his victims while Wyland molested his). The ending scene with Wyland evading capture and walking into the woods while still at large (a rare occurrence in the series) is reminiscent of common retellings of López's story, which end with the claim that he walked into the Colombian jungle after committing a murder and was never seen again.

Known Victims[]

Note: The dates all denote when the victims disappeared

  • Unspecified date in 1994, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Unnamed ten-year-old boy (sexually assaulted only)
  • September 22, 2001, Jonestown, Pennsylvania: Lance Levenson
  • August 30, 2003, unspecified location: Allan Robertson
  • July 4, 2004, unspecified location: Kelvin Millender
  • 2005:
    • January 18, unspecified location: Clinton Harres
    • June 18, unspecified location: Darren Miga
  • February 6, 2006, Dawsonville, Georgia: Max Mattice
  • 2007:
    • April 12, Manchester, Vermont: Erik Ashline
    • December 25, unspecified location: Clayton Mikel
  • 2008:
    • May 13, unspecified location: Mathew Bouska
    • October 16, Manchester, Vermont: Tyler Stolts (his body was found on November 15, 2010)
  • 2009
    • March 28, unspecified location: James Clutter
    • November 15, unspecified location in Pennsylvania: Daniel Lanham (his body was found on November 15, 2010)
  • 2010:
    • April 6, unspecified location: Spencer Hamm
    • November 16-17, unspecified location in Pennsylvania: Robert Brooks and his sister Ana (both abducted):
      • Robert Brooks (molested, assaulted and later given to Stiles; was later rescued in Jonestown, Pennsylvania the next day)
      • Ana Brooks (incidental; intended to kill, but she escaped the next day)
    • November 17, Jonestown, Pennsylvania: Brandon Stiles (his drug dealer; assaulted; also stole drugs and money from his room at the hostel)
  • Note: It is unknown if Shane's escape implies that his abductions and murders will continue.