|“||Ryan's mine, you slut!||”|
As a child, Dana was obese and eventually developed polycystic ovary syndrome, for which she received treatment for most of her life. The symptoms and conditions that accompanied it caused her to become severely depressed and receive further treatment for it. Dana also developed an obsessive tendency to chew on her nails. Ever since the seventh grade, she fell in love with Ryan Becker, a classmate of hers, after the two went on a date at the school dance. During her adult years, Dana moved in with her sister Nicole and started working at her flower shop, which the latter inherited from their late mother. Ryan also found employment at the shop as a wedding photographer, and the repeated exposure to him caused Dana to develop an elaborate fantasy world in which she and Ryan were married. Her belief in her delusions came to the point where she set up a wedding registry in her and Ryan's names, which she used to purchase a number of items. Her psychosis escalated to the point where she viewed brides-to-be, who Ryan came across in the line of work, as threats after observing them making small talk with him, which she believed to be flirtatious exchanges. As a result, she started killing them, all the while driven by a hallucination of Ryan. In July, Dana first killed Brandy Greene, followed by Ashley Wilcox three months later.
'Til Death Do Us Part
Two days after murdering Ashley, Dana sees Madison Mills inviting Ryan to a drink while at the flower shop and selects her as her next target. That night, she hits her over the head and abducts her from outside a bar where her bachelorette party is. The next day at work, Ryan catches her smiling at him and playfully takes pictures of her and her bouquet. Just then, Nicole arrives to inform them of a new job they have been accepted for and leaves with him. Once they leave, Dana bites her nails and hallucinates Ryan assuring her that there is nothing between him and her sister, then reminds her what the "real threat" is and what she has to do. She then walks down to the basement of the shop, where Madison is tied down to a table. Dana then has a conversation with the hallucination of Ryan, who tells her to "protect the purity of [their] love", which she does by killing Madison. Dana then dreams about Ryan reassuring her that she did the right thing, but she is awakened by Nicole, who asks her about her medication and asks her to clean herself up for a special dinner with Ryan.
While choosing her dress, she again hallucinates about Ryan, who promises her that they will tell Nicole and the world about their love. However, during the dinner, the real Ryan proposes to Nicole, horrifying Dana. The next day, she decides to confront Ryan, but on the way, she encounters his hallucination again and is told that the proposal was a ruse and that she needs to kill Nicole. She confronts her at their greenhouse and hits her over the head with a shovel. When Nicole regains consciousness, she finds herself tied up and that Dana has changed into a wedding dress and set up a wedding ceremony. When Dana announces that she will be marrying Ryan, Nicole tries to tell her that she hasn't dated Ryan since middle school, but Dana denies it just as Ryan's hallucination appears to encourage her to kill Nicole. Then, the real Ryan and the BAU show up, disrupting Dana's fantasy and causing her to panic, going from threatening to kill Nicole to threatening to kill herself. They manage to get her to stand down by convincing her that Ryan does love her, having him and Nicole play along. Overjoyed, Dana hugs Ryan before being taken away by Hotch. When she is taken out of sight, Ryan and a tearful Nicole embrace and kiss.
Dana targeted Caucasian brides-to-be in their twenties who traveled to Savannah for their weddings. After observing them interacting with Ryan (which she misinterpreted as flirting), she would follow them at bars where they drank with their bridesmaids and waited for them to leave the building, after which she would blitz-attack them by beating them in the head with a blunt instrument. While the first victim was instantly killed by the blow, the second and third victims were knocked out, after which Dana would abduct them, put them in her car take them to the flower shop, and carry them down to the basement. There, she gagged them, tied them down to a table, held them captive for the span of a day, and (at the behest of the hallucination of Ryan) strangle them to death with their own wedding sash from the front. The second victim's fingernails were bitten and she was strangled with the sash repeatedly, though the third victim's death was more organized and efficient.
The victims' bodies were initially disposed in alley dumpsters, though the third victim was left on a tree in a forest. The wedding sashes would always be wrapped around their heads as a signature. The third victim also had the word "Slut" written with lipstick on her forehead post-mortem. During her attack on Nicole, she knocked her out by beating her in the head with a shovel and tied her to a makeshift cross set up for a mock-wedding ceremony. When she intended to kill Ryan, she planned to do so by stabbing him with a knife.
The unsub is a Caucasian woman in her late twenties to early thirties. Because she was able to subdue, control, transport, and dispose her victims, she is most likely large in height and physically strong. She comes across as nonthreatening, which allows her to get close to her victims before attacking them. She may have come into contact with wedding vendors such as caterers, florists, photographers, wedding planners, hotel managers, and bridal shop workers (it was later revealed that she was a wedding vendor herself). Because of her poor self-image, the demeaning language written on the third victim's forehead, and her nail-biting habit, the unsub is angry with the victims because of some romantic frustration or disappointment in her own life. She is most likely lashing out over something or someone she feels she will never have. She attacks with a level of violence that demonstrates the personal nature of her crimes.
- July: Brandy Greene (killed by blunt-force trauma to the head)
- October 10: Ashley Wilcox (bit her fingernails, then strangled repeatedly with a wedding sash)
- October 13: Madison Mills (strangled once with a wedding sash; wrote "Slut" on her forehead with lipstick post-mortem)
- October 14:
- Ryan Becker (Nicole's fiancé; intended to stab with a knife)
- Nicole Seavers (her sister; attempted, but survived; was beaten with a shovel, tied up, and held at knifepoint)
- Dana is similar to budding serial killer Peter Folkmore, who appeared in Season Ten. Both were psychotic and delusional killers who had a similar victimology (Caucasian women in their twenties), found their victims through their jobs, used two different kill methods on their victims (Dana killed using blunt-force trauma and ligature strangulation; Peter killed using beating and bludgeoning), would abduct their victims and kill them in the basements of their homes, disposed the bodies of their first two victims by putting them in dumpsters, had a post-mortem ritual involving their victims' bodies (Dana wrapped her victims' wedding sashes over their heads; Peter slashed his victims' throats), and were initially suspected to have been triggered to kill after being rejected by women and subsequently emasculated by them.