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Stephanie Carter was a delusional, psychotic female serial killer, stalker, and one-time abductor who appeared in the Season Fourteen episode of Criminal Minds, "Sick and Evil".

Background

Stephanie Carter was an outstanding student but was constantly bullied. When she got into high school, she fought back against one student and got expelled for it, leaving the student severely scarred from multiple lacerations. After her expulsion, she was heavily medicated but this caused her to further spiral apart. Five years ago, she decided to go off her medications, got a college degree, and married Patrick Carter whom shared her fascination in ghosts and the paranormal and was likely as mentally ill as her if not more so. Little details are know about their relationship, other than they studied the same subjects and ghosts and kept track of the houses with deaths far from peaceful they deemed haunted. Courtney Mably was one of her students at the time as well. Either by one or both of their beliefs, it came to be by mere delusion that Patrick was being haunted by violent spirits, worst of all that of a family annihilation, where the victims were all stabbed 22 times. By either Patrick's coaxing or her own snapping, Stephanie killed her husband in that fashion, leaving his body in the scene of the massacre as her hideout. She continued to feel inhabitants of other houses were also haunted, leading her to become more deranged and start killing the female homeowners in a similar fashion to the family massacre, assuming she "exorcised" each of them, all the while hallucinating Patrick to direct her as a spirit on the other side.

Sick and Evil

Stephanie's Mask

The mask Stephanie wore during the killings

At the beginning of the episode, she is seen picking a locked door of a woman named Kim Reynolds and then proceeds to stab her to death. The BAU are being called into the scene when they are alerted that the unsub has escalated and kills a couple, the Davis's, by ambushing the husband, Brad, in the hallway and killing the wife, Carly, when she is sleeping. Stephanie later enters the home of Natasha Thompson and lures Natasha into the bathroom by turning on the bathtub faucet. The BAU are alerted to the murder by a 9-1-1 call where they find Courtney covered in Natasha's blood. The woman's daughter, Michelle, survives and gives Stephanie's description to a sketch artist and with the help of Courtney's list of "ghost hunters" and/or people obsessed with the haunted folklore. The BAU realizes she is the unsub and they rush to first her workplace, but she is not seen. It is revealed that she left with Courtney after finding out about a "haunted house" to get "instructions" from her husband, Patrick, on what to do next. The BAU confiscated all her journals and books and found out from one entry where Stephanie and Patrick might be. Stephanie is later revealed to have killed her husband and seems to have been killing under orders from a hallucination of Patrick. Courtney enters the room and find Patrick's body. Stephanie tries to kill Courtney to eliminate any witnesses but Courtney fights back. She falls into her delusions when she overpowered Courtney and attempted to kill her, but Rossi comes into the room and shoots Stephanie dead and saves Courtney.

Modus Operandi

Stephanie targeted people living in homes that were allegedly haunted. She initially targeted single women but later moved on to also murder married women and mothers, all presumably as surrogates for herself. She would enter the house by simply entering through an unlocked door as Maine is rural and people don't usually lock their doors or pick the locks with her knife. If a husband was there, she would subdue her male victims by blitz attacking them from instantly stabbing them to death, and subdue her female victims by applying blunt force trauma to them. She would tie her female victims up to their beds and she would proceed to stab them 22 times, killing them, mimicking the family slaughter she studied. She would also burn sage and place salt in the four corners of the room the victims were killed, assuming their spirits "were saved and at peace".

Profile

The unsub is female, probably local, and has extensive knowledge of the city's lore. She is killing women as surrogates for herself, implying a self-directed rage or humility. She is obsessed with haunted folklore which makes her very dangerous. This unsub is mission-driven and likely delusional. This delusion may stem from the fact that she thinks the houses are haunted and that the residents are infected by evil. To her, the only way to kill the demon and save the people is by stabbing them 22 times in the stomach. And at this point, it's still unclear why she values the number 22.

It's later revealed it's not the number she's obsessed with, but the case it relates to. The family annihilation was so gruesomely violent, it was one of the worst, most violent crimes of the area, further feeding her psychosis and passion for local spooky folklore.

Known Victims

  • Unspecified date: Unnamed bully (assaulted in an unspecified way, leaving with multiple lacerations)
  • 2019:
    • January 19-20: Patrick Carter (her husband)
    • January 25: Linda Stahl
    • January 30: Kim Reynolds
    • January 30-31: The attack on the Davis house
      • Brad and Carly Davis
    • January 31: Natasha Thompson
    • February 1: Courtney Mably (abducted, beaten, tied up, and attempted to kill; was rescued)

Appearances

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