|“||I've got two more days to prove that I'm fit!||”|
Thomas was a fisherman in Louisiana and had two sons. After the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, he struggled to make ends meet and support his family, not even being able to pay the electric bills. Eventually, he had to foreclose on his house and default his boat loan. Thomas's financial situation worsened to the point that his wife filed for divorce and the sole custody of his children. It was at this time that he thought to extort money out of the Sparks family, whom he met in his part-time job as a deliveryman, in order to get enough money to prove to the court that he could afford to raise his children.
Putting his plan into action on February 21, 2011, Thomas goes to the Sparks' family house and is compelled to shoot the father, Charlie Sparks, to subdue him and his wife Alison. He leaves their autistic son Sammy behind because he only needs the parents to acquire the $40,000 he needs to pay all of his bills and prove himself legally fit to have custody of his sons. The local police learn about the abduction when Sammy walks to school with his father's blood splattered all over him. As a result, they call in the BAU to interview Sammy as he is the sole witness to the crime. Thomas keeps the injured Charlie captive on his boat while he takes Alison to the bank and orders her to get the money.
At that point, his plans start going south because, due to the bank's slow process, Alison is only able to get $10,000 and he has to improvise a way to get the rest. He then takes Alison to a check cashing store and forces her to write a check for $30,000. However, she isn't able to cash it as the store owner only agrees to give her $25,000 at most. To make things worse, when they return to his boat, the both of them learn that Charlie has died, most likely due to blood loss. Meanwhile, the police has identified Thomas and arrive at his hiding place. Seeing no way out, Thomas gives Alison the handgun he is carrying and tells her to kill him, explaining to her that if he is caught, he will go to jail, but if he is killed, his sons will be able to collect on his life insurance policy. Alison initially recoils at the idea and refuses, but he continually antagonizes her with the fact that their son will grow up without his father and that all of her dreams of a loving family has been already shattered. Finally, Thomas succeeds in making Alison snap and she pulls the trigger in a fit of rage, killing him.
The unsub is a man in danger of losing a home, property, or business, and is likely to live in an area with large families and/or low-income households. The financial responsibility over others that is maintained in such areas is probably what drove the unsub into action. He has no intention of hurting either of his victims; for him, the abduction of Charlie and Alison Sparks is an unfortunate but necessary means to an end. Since the area has been ravaged by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the unsub could be a down-and-out fisherman, boat owner, or anyone else who used to work towards the beach industry. In addition, that list will have to be compared with part-time or under-the-table jobs. This unsub did not start with extortion, but he was pushed to it. He has a strong obligation exhibited by his abduction and stealing from people he knows. He may also be on the verge of losing someone close to him or has already, such as being divorced and/or being involved in a child custody case. The unsub went to a bank that was close to the Lafayette Parish, meaning that he has his own mode of transportation and is conscious of the FBI's involvement. By now, he realizes that the Sparks' accounts are frozen, so he will be seeking alternative methods to get the money he needs. He may be going to a bank, pawn shop, or any place that gives quick cash with minimal questions.
Thomas shot Charlie Sparks once in the stomach with a 9mm Beretta 92FS handgun in order to subdue him and Alison, a wound that proved to be unintentionally fatal. Upon abducting them, he would later constantly hold the latter at gunpoint in order to force her into extracting money for him, later assaulting her.
- February 21, 2011: Charlie and Allison Sparks (both abducted):
- Charlie Sparks (incidentally shot in the abdomen; eventually died of subsequent exsanguination)
- Alison Sparks (forced at gunpoint to give him money and assaulted when she tried to escape; was rescued the next day)