|“||Your honor... every day I waken to this, uh... nightmare of not knowing who or... what I am, and if this test can really help me remember, then whatever the consequences, I... I want to do it. I have to.||”|
— Matloff to the judge at his trial
Matloff was the son of Nina Genesee, a Native American woman who put him up for adoption due to her young age. He was then adopted and raised Polish Catholic by his foster-turned-adoptive parents. He eventually graduated from college or a university. Sometime later, he was employed by the United States Forest Service in the Blue Ridge Parkway. In 2003, he was somehow able to track down his birth mother (now married and named Nina Moore), presumably through a private detective. He wanted to reconnect to some degree, such as calling once in a while and maybe meeting around the holidays, but she wasn't able to do so for emotional reasons. Being rejected by his mother caused Brian to start studying Native American culture and mythology and also triggered his serial killing, which began in 2004.
After four murders, of which the authorities were aware of three, the BAU and their then-new agent, Reid, were able to track him down by narrowing down the list of Forest Service employees. When they did so, they discovered that Matloff, who was the type of offender who needed to insert himself into the investigation, had come forward as a witness. Then, a SWAT team, led by Hotch and Morgan, raided his apartment. Matloff attempted to flee by jumping from the building's roof to the adjacent building's, but wasn't able to jump far enough and barely hung onto the edge. Morgan jumped across in an attempt to save him, but was too late; Matloff lost his grip and fell. He survived the fall but slipped into a coma. During this time, his adoptive parents disowned him.
In 2008, Matloff wakes up with focal retrograde amnesia, unable to remember anything about his past, not even his name. Despite this, he is put on trial, with Hotch being the prosecution's strongest witness. Matloff's lawyer, Lester Sterling, based a lot of the defense on the fact that the arrest was made mostly because of the BAU's profile, despite the fact that there was no trace evidence or any witnesses (the star witness, a heroin addict, having died from an overdose in 2006). Hotch is, however, able to counter the claims that profiling was mostly, as Sterling put it, "intellectual guesswork", by accurately profiling him about his gambling habits. As the trial has progressed, Matloff has started to remember more and more about his past, including the murders. He even draws pictures from his memory and writes notes in his cell. After Nina Moore comes forward during his trial, Matloff escapes from captivity and goes back to Linville Falls in the Blue Ridge Parkway, where his very first victim is buried. Held at gunpoint by Hotch, Reid, and local police, he confesses to the murders and to remembering everything. Overcome with remorse, he then contemplates suicide but is talked down by Hotch, who said, "Brian, the court may show you mercy, but you have to earn it. If you believe you're a different person, then prove it and do the right thing". Matloff then pleaded guilty and is sentenced to life without the possibility of parole.
The unsub's murders were all opportunistic; his apparent familiarity with the area and ability to kill victims with no signs of blitzing them implicated he was a figure of authority, such as a park ranger. The unsub was also meticulous to the point of paranoia and, as such, would probably insert himself into the investigation. The victims being buried facedown was originally believed to be a sign of remorse, though it was later discovered Matloff actually did it because it was a Native American tradition, one that was believed to stop the spirits of the dead from returning to haunt their killer. By burying his victims in shallow graves at his workplace, the unsub was able to return to them to relive the murders and, as the kills were all consistent and showed no signs of a learning curve, it was believed the unsub may have had more victims than the ones who were accounted for. Matloff being rejected by his biological mother was his stressor, and he took out the rage he felt over being forsaken by her out on random women he encountered. It was also mentioned Matloff was a textbook loner, someone with no meaningful relationships.
Matloff targeted young, brunette, female joggers, presumably as surrogates for his biological mother. He would approach them using his authority as a Forest Service employee and then strangle them with his belt. His signature was burying them face-down in shallow graves (a reference to Native American burial rites), making it possible for him to relive the murders by visiting the sites. He would also take some piece of jewelry from them (like a watch, ring, or wrist bracelet), though he did not do this with his first victim. He would then send the items to his birth mother, Nina Moore, as gifts.
Matloff appears to have been based off of serial killer David Berkowitz, a.k.a. the Son of Sam, as both were adopted by a Polish-Catholic couple and began killing due to resentment they felt for their birth mothers and towards other women.
- Unspecified date: An unspecified hit-and-run
- Unspecified dates in 2004:
- Unnamed victim (her body was found on May 14, 2008)
- Celeste Ferami
- April Sutherford
- Darci Corbett
- May 14, 2008: The courthouse escape:
- Unnamed prison guard (assaulted while escaping)
- Unnamed female law clerk (assaulted; nearly broke her wrist while carjacking her)