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It's been a long time, Ellen. It's been a long time.
Cochran to Clark

William Cochran was a delusional serial killer and abductor who appeared in the Season Eleven episode of Criminal Minds, "The Night Watch".


Cochran was a teacher at the Glenbury College of Art and Design, where he met and mentored a student named Ellen Clark, who was briefly auditing courses at the school. The two fell in love and had a son named Charles. Cochran was later fired from his job after having an altercation with a colleague and ordered to take a mandatory psychiatric evaluation, indicating an underlying mental illness at the time. In 2007 at Nokomis, Florida, Charles wandered away from Clark while she was painting and drowned in a nearby lake. Following the tragedy, Cochran split Charles's blanket with Clark and kept his half in memory of his son, with her doing the same. However, he was still traumatized by the loss and began drinking excessively. Eventually, he temporarily became homeless and was arrested at least once for disorderly conduct. In an attempt to clean up his act and get his life back together, Cochran moved to Georgia and became a handyman. However, this fell apart when he realized Clark used her half of Charlie's blanket in one of her pieces of graffiti art in Detroit. Believing this to be an insult to Charlie's memory, he cleared out his bank account and purchased a one-way ticket to Detroit, intent on seeking revenge against Clark for what she did, but not before destroying the reputation of her alter-ego, "Morpheus"[1].

The Night Watch

After setting up the murder scene of Russell Pearson, Cochran signs it with Morpheus' name and flees the scene. The next day, he abducts an eight-month-old infant, Corinne Wallace, from her crib, spraying the baby monitor with paint and again leaving on the wall of her nursery Morpehus' signature. Another day goes by and he is seen painting several roses black while the baby watches, until Wallace starts crying; Cochran gently picks her up and tries to soothe her. He then abducts and kills Markus Ivey, one of Clark's rivals in Detroit who Cochran previously tipped off regarding the location of one of her street artworks. Afterwards, he sets his body up in a gigantic baby mobile over an empty cradle and leaving him for the BAU to find. He goes to find and kill Corey Marlin, torturing him for Clark's location beforehand. Cochran returns to his hideout to find Wallace crying, giving her a toy and assuring her that it's "almost over now". Hours later, he abducts Clark, taking her to the location where he is holding Wallace. Cochran accuses her of not caring about Charles, demanding to know why she used her baby blanket in the art piece. When Clark replies that she did it to honor a homeless child who died, he becomes enraged at what he claims to be her strange logic and tells her that she has to choose between dying herself or letting Wallace die. She chooses herself, and Cochran forces her up to the roof at gunpoint. Clark is trying to talk him down when Hotch arrives and Cochran takes her at gunpoint, apologizing to her before pulling them both off into his last art piece, resulting in their deaths.

Modus Operandi

Cochran initially targeted people who were directly or indirectly related to the controversial development project in downtown Detroit, but later switched to other victims as he began to reach his endgame. His first victim, Russell Pearson, had his mouth covered and his arms tied together with duct tape; was hung upside-down by his feet with rope; and killed by a large, elaborate spring-loaded mousetrap. Afterwards, he left a piece of Morpheus-based graffiti art beside the crime scene to point investigators to Clark. His second victim, Markus Ivey, was manually strangled and his body was then strapped to a gingerbread man prop that was part of a giant baby mobile prop for another Morpheus-based graffiti art piece. His third victim, Corey Marlin, was beaten, bound with duct tape, and tortured via beating with an unspecified object to find out where Clark was located before being shot and killed with his own handgun. Ellen Clark, his final victim, was killed in a murder-suicide in which the two of them fell off a rooftop onto a piece of graffiti art announcing the death of Morpheus.


No profile of Cochran was made by the BAU, as they were focused on Morpheus as a suspect.

Known Victims

  • Unspecified dates and locations:
    • An unspecified altercation with an unnamed colleague
    • An unspecified charge of being drunk and disorderly
  • 2015, Michigan:
    • October 24, Detroit: Russell Pearson (hung by his feet and killed by a large mousetrap)
    • October 25, Grosse Point: Corinne Wallace (abducted and held at gunpoint; was rescued two days later)
    • Detroit:
      • October 26: Markus Ivey (Clark's rival; manually strangled)
      • October 27:
        • Corey Marlin (Clark's former partner-in-crime; tortured by beating, then shot with his own handgun)
        • Ellen Clark (his former romantic partner; abducted, later briefly held at gunpoint then thrown off a rooftop along with himself)


  • Cochran appears to have been based on at least four unsubs from the show's past:
    • Season Six
      • Hollis Walker, Jr. ("Corazón") - Both were serial killers and abductors who had stressors involving the death of a family member (Cochran's son died in a drowning accident, while Walker, Jr.'s mother committed suicide), had academic professions (although Cochran was fired from his job), had a varying M.O. (one of which was shooting), and tried to frame someone for their murders.
    • Season Eight
      • Bryan Hughes ("Magnum Opus") - Both were serial killers who left the bodies of at least one of their victims by a piece of artwork, had jobs associated with art (Hughes worked as a janitor at an art museum, while Cochran worked as a professor of art), and committed suicide at the end of their sprees (though Cochran did so directly, while Hughes committed Suicide by Cop.)
      • Tess Mynock ("Alchemy") - Both were delusional killers who lost their sons in the exact same manner (drowning in a lake while left unattended), which caused them to break up with their romantic partners. They were also motivated to commit their killings because of their sons' deaths, and later committed suicide.
    • Season Nine
      • Clifford Walsh ("The Road Home") - Both were killers who lived successful lives until their son died and they lost their wives (though Walsh's wife and son were murdered, while Cochran's son drowned in a lake and he divorced his wife afterwards), spiraled into a depression which saw them become homeless alcoholics in Florida who were convicted of drunk and disorderly, travelled to a Midwestern city where they would commit their murders (Detroit in Cochran's case, Cleveland in Walsh's) with the last of their money, operated under extremely short time frames (Cochran killed four people in four days, while Walsh killed 10 in one day), killed at least one of their victims by shooting them, and committed suicide in the presence of a woman they were acquainted with.
  • According to his report report, Cochran's Social Security number is 964-00-1912.



  1. Presumably a reference to Morpheus, the Greek god of dreams