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Jarvis

Bryce Jarvis is a delusional, prolific serial killer who appeared in Surface Tension.

Background

Bryce's parents Fred and Marnie were apparently the only members of a new religious movement that they founded themselves. Social Services were often called to the Jarvis home to investigate claims of sexual abuse, but they were unproven. On March 13, 2013, Fred and Marnie were jailed for fraud and sentenced to six months. Bryce suffered a nervous breakdown as a result of his parents being incarcerated and was institutionalized for a brief time. After being discharged, he began raping and strangling random women to death, eventually claiming six lives over a three-year span. Then, on the morning of April 17, 2015, Fred and Marnie were killed after a sinkhole swallowed them and the whole house, while Bryce was out. Now without any other residence to go to, Bryce became homeless. The entire incident caused him to undergo another psychotic break, and he completely changed his M.O. and victimology, killing people connected to homeless shelters that he frequented and setting them up as sacrifices for Satan, who he believed was responsible for the sinkhole. After his parents' deaths, he somehow acquired two pistols (a .44 Magnum revolver and a 9mm handgun), and started burning himself with candles and a heating fan, presumably as a way to honor Satan.

Surface Tension

After orchestrating Helen Bollinger and George Findley's suicides via drug overdose, Bryce breaks into the Sims house and forces the father Owen to commit suicide, threatening his two children. His wife Beth walks in on him, but fails to stop him from shooting himself in the head with a .44 Magnum revolver. Afterwards, as Beth cries over Owen's body, Bryce points a 9mm handgun to Beth's head and kills her instantly. After Bryce dumps Owen's body, he returns to his hideout, where he heats up his hand and torso with a candle and heating fan, respectively. Then, he goes to a homeless shelter to get food. There, he spots and targets a worker named Eleanor Parsons. After abducting Eleanor, he marks her arm with the symbol of Ophiuchus while she is unconscious. The following night, Bryce takes a now-conscious Eleanor to a sinkhole and orders Eleanor to jump into it, threatening to kill her granddaughter if she refuses. Eleanor refuses, saying that he will kill them both anyway. Bryce prepares to shoot Eleanor when the BAU show up. Alvez non-fatally shoots Bryce in the stomach and JJ rescues Eleanor. Bryce tries to throw himself into the sinkhole, but Alvez stops him and handcuffs him despite his protests.

Modus Operandi

"You have a granddaughter named Tess. Jump or she dies tomorrow."

Bryce initially targeted random women aged in their early 20s who lived in Tampa or St. Petersburg, raping them and somehow strangling them to death. Following his parents' deaths, he began killing morally good people connected to the homeless shelters he frequented. He would stalk them and any of their loved ones beforehand, before approaching his selected targets and threatening their loved ones. He would legitimatize the threats by showing them belongings he stole beforehand as proof. Then, Bryce forced the victims to commit suicide in order to save their loved ones; initially, he had them overdose on some sort of drug, but as he evolved and became more violent, he had them shoot themselves with a .44 Magnum revolver. Afterwards, Bryce would mark the bodies with a symbol that referenced Ophiuchus, a constellation representing Satan,[1] then dump the bodies near current or repaired sinkholes, modeling the location of the dumpsites after Ophiuchus.

When Bryce killed Beth Sims, it was unplanned, as she walked in on her husband Owen as he committed suicide. He shot her in the back of the head with a 9mm handgun. He also did not mark her with a symbol of Ophiuchus and did not dump her body. During his attempt on Eleanor Parsons' life, he abducted her, marked her while she was still alive, and attempted to force her to commit suicide by jumping into a sinkhole, but when she refused, he tried to personally shoot her.

Profile

The unsub is targeting victims of high moral character, manipulating them into killing themselves, marking them, and then disposing the bodies in secondary locations. All of his victims crossed paths with the Tampa homeless community. The killer may be homeless or connected to the charitable outreach community. He is a loner and the burnt hairs found on the bodies indicate he may have been a burn victim. Because he left substantial DNA at two of his crime scenes, he is either sloppy, not in the system, or did not care. He may be resigned to eventually getting caught and has an endgame in mind.

The secondary disposal sites were located in areas where the landscape had been disturbed. This could mean he is trying to make a statement about the damage mankind has done to Earth. The victims may have been placed there for symbolic offerings. This would explain why the unsub made his victims kill themselves ("The hand that defiled the earth is turned on itself"). This could also explain why he's marking people of exceptionally high moral character. In ancient societies, only the purest of mind and spirit were offered as sacrifices. Therefore the unsub, in a psychotic break, may believe his crimes are noble and morally right. In philosophy, the "double effect" states that it is permissible to cause harm if it benefits the greater good. His most recent killings reveals a disturbing uptick in violence and his willingness to take risks. He could be devolving and this could increase his danger to the public.

Real-Life Comparison

Bryce has some similarities to California serial killer Herbert Mullin. Both suffered from psychotic delusions and were institutionalized as a result. Following their discharges, both started their respective murders under the belief that they were sacrificing their victims to some deity, and their delusions came to revolve around natural disasters (Bryce was fixated on sinkholes, while Mullin was fixated on earthquakes, specifically the 1906 San Francisco earthquake).

Known Victims

Murders

  • 2013, Tampa or St. Petersburg, Florida:
    • March 28: Alice Stivello (raped and strangled)
    • August 18: Erica Quilter (raped and strangled)
  • 2014, Tampa or St. Petersburg, Florida:
    • February 23: Leora Dossmar (raped and strangled)
    • September 10: Lynn Jandris (raped and strangled)
  • June 16, 2015, Tampa or St. Petersburg, Florida: Yvonne Ogborn (raped and strangled)
  • March 12, 2016, Tampa or St. Petersburg, Florida: Neve Burtner (raped and strangled)
  • 2017, Tampa, Florida:
    • January 14: Helen Bollinger (forced her to commit suicide by overdosing on sleeping pills; was killed in her car)
    • January 24: George Findley (forced him to commit suicide through a heroin overdose)
    • January 25:
      • Owen and Beth Sims:
        • Owen Sims (forced him to commit suicide by shooting himself in the head with a .44 Magnum revolver)
        • Beth Sims (incidental; shot in the back of the head with a 9mm handgun; was not branded with a symbol of Ophiuchus)
      • Eleanor Parsons (abducted and attempted to shoot with the same 9mm; was rescued)
    • Note: One scene in the episode showed a map in Bryce's hideout, which had ten circles drawn on it. Given that only four victims were featured in the episode (including survivor Eleanor Parsons and excluding incidental victim Beth Sims), this suggests that he planned to kill six other people, and the circled locations were denoting the sinkholes where he was going to dump their bodies.

Stalked

  • 2017, Tampa, Florida:
    • January 12-14: Mike Bollinger and his daughter Crystal (Helen Bollinger's family)
    • January 15(?)-24:
      • At least one unnamed victim (connected to George Findley)
      • Owen and Beth Sims' two unnamed children
    • January 25: Tess Parsons (Eleanor Parsons' granddaughter)

Notes

  • Bryce has similarities to Travis James, a delusional serial killer from Season Seven. Both were delusional serial killers whose relatives were killed as a result of natural disasters (Bryce's parents were killed by a sinkhole; Travis's brother and mother were killed by a tornado), and who left the bodies of their victims close to where the same types of natural disasters were occurring. Their childhoods also involved sexual abuse, though it was unconfirmed in Bryce's case.
  • A serial killer who departs from his or her M.O. and victimology completely and practices a new one is actually not impossible in real life. Arthur Shawcross, a.k.a. "The Genesee River Killer", first sexually assaulted two children in Watertown, New York, and then killed them through asphyxiation. He was arrested and imprisoned for those crimes, but was released early due to good behavior. Following his release, Shawcross raped a series of prostitutes in Rochester, New York, and killed them through various means, usually strangulation. A number of the Rochester victims were bludgeoned and mutilated as well.

Appearances

References

  1. Ophiuchus is also called "The Devil's Constellation", according to the CBS website

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