|“||I'm not smart. But I have a smart friend who tells me things...||”|
— Ferell in "Lucky"
Much of Floyd's past is not revealed in great detail. However, according to a psychiatrist's notes, at the age of seven, Floyd was admitted to the Hazelwood Hospital for the Criminally Insane in Florida after biting a large piece of flesh from his nine-month-old sister, Lori. He also believes himself to be possessed by a flesh-eating demon. He was put on medication, subjected to art therapy using Francisco Goya's Black Paintings (or at least one of the collection's works, Saturn Devouring His Son), and allowed to read books about Satanism. Though the doctors still considered him a threat to others, when Ferell reached the age of eighteen, the local law required the hospital to release him. This led to one guard at the facility sarcastically refer to him as "Lucky". Soon after that, he stopped taking his delusion-inhibiting medications since they apparently caused him to gain a large amount of weight. At some point, he dropped "Ferell" from his name, opened a BBQ restaurant called "Feylinn's Fine Bar-B-Q" in Bridgewater, Florida, and began killing prostitutes to cook cannibalistic meals.
The BAU are called in to investigate Floyd's killings after the body of Abby Kelton is discovered. After her stomach contents are analyzed, they find a number of fingers among them, and when they check their fingerprints, they find that they all belong to missing prostitutes. Later, Floyd abducts Tracey Lambert from a public restroom. A search party is formed to find her, but during the search, one of the participants, Sheryl Timmons, is also abducted by Floyd. Sometime later, he dumps the body of Maria Lopez, another prostitute he killed, inside a local church; the body is discovered by Morgan when the agent goes there to apologize to the local priest, Father Marks, having gotten into an argument with him earlier that day. By then, the BAU has tracked down the Hazelwood institution and find what remains of Floyd's records, the rest having been destroyed in a random fire that also killed his personal doctor. When they raid his house, they find a collection of cooking equipment, a walk-in freezer containing his victims and Sheryl in captivity.
Floyd is found in a basement room with walls covered in writing and pentagrams containing books about Satanism and images of the Black Paintings, apparently in the middle of some sort of prayer. The BAU also find a homemade cookbook containing cannibalistic recipes like "Skewered She" and "Kobe Girl Steak". When they question him, he refuses to talk to anyone but Father Marks. When he arrives, Floyd said like he felt abandoned by God, to which Marks replies, "God is in all of us." At that moment, Rossi, who had looked at the list of search party volunteers, which has Floyd's name on it, rushes in to stop the interview. Floyd does, however, have the time to reply "So is Tracey Lambert". He had served stew containing her flesh to searchers, thereby destroying all of the evidence. Floyd then starts laughing maniacally, and is attacked by an outraged Marks, who is restrained and dragged out of the room by Morgan as Floyd continues laughing, relishing the priest's rage and despair. Floyd is institutionalized a second time after this, and his BBQ restaurant is last seen being sealed off in order to be searched.
"You think you can have God without the Devil, you can't."
In this episode, the BAU are called in to investigate murders identical to Floyd's. Recognizing all the "tell-tale signs" of his M.O., they believe he has somehow started killing again. Rossi reveals that Floyd was deemed mentally incapable of assisting in his own defence after they arrested him so he was never brought to trial and Prentiss mentioned that he was instead reinstitutionalized in the Hazelwood facility, where he recieved medication and treatment under the supervision of Dr. Lode Barren. Floyd himself is first seen in his room at the hospital where an orderly brings him his dinner, which happens to be Floyd's favorite meal. When the orderly encourages him to eat, saying that he must have "worked up an appetite over the weekend", Floyd eerily replies "Not tonight. I'm already full." Speaking with Dr. Barren at the hospital, the BAU learn that Floyd was granted supervised home release on weekends a few months prior to the episode and had been living with Lori and her nine-year-old son, Jody.
That night, Reid, Simmons and Alvez stake out Lori's home and Alvez sees Floyd watching them through a window. When Lori comments that they're still outside, Floyd apologizes and says that he doesn't know why they're here. Lori tells Floyd she loves having him around but couldn't let her son go outside because of the surveillance. Floyd mentions that he has to go back to Hazelwood the next day and sadly says that he may not come around anymore to spare Lori having to deal with being watched before walking away. Going up to his room, Floyd finds Jody trying to open the closet, which Floyd has padlocked. When he asks him what he is doing, Jody replies that he was looking for something to play with and his late father kept baseball mitts in the closet. Floyd warns Jody about touching his stuff and sends him away. After Jody leaves the room, Floyd then takes off his clothes and opens the closet to reveal a Satanic shrine much like the one he kept before he was arrested. He then sits down in front of it.
The next morning, the agents knock on Lori's door and ask to speak with her and Floyd. As Lori confronts them about surveying them all night, Floyd appears at the door and says he will have no problem talking with them but they must wait until he returns from church. When Simmons says that he can't leave as he is on a monitored home visit, Lori informs them that Floyd only has to stay within a thousand yards of the monitoring station in the house and the church is within that limit. She also mentions he has been attending a bible study group. Floyd then recognizes Reid and asks about Morgan, who had since left the BAU. When Alvez asks Floyd if they can search the house while he's gone, he permits them to do so. He then states that he can't be late and "Jesus Christ awaits" before leaving, followed by Simmons. At the church, while Simmons is on the phone with Reid, Floyd is confronted by Abby Kelton's mother, Lee-Ann, who calls him "the Devil". Having found his shrine back at the house, Simmons and Alvez escort Floyd out of the church. Bringing Floyd to the station for an interview, they lead him through the precinct as Sheryl is herself interviewed by Rossi and Lewis.
There are two types of violent Satanic offenders: teenagers who assume the Satanic identity to rebel and who rarely cause fatalities; and adaptive serial killers who rationalize their fantasies and urges by blaming outside forces, and use Satanic imagery as a means of causing fear and panic. Those of the latter do not kill because they truly believe in Satan; they only believe in Satan because it gives them an opportunity to kill. There is no evidence suggesting Abby Kelton's killer is a teenager, or that there were multiple attackers, so the unsub is of the latter kind, whose ritualizing of Abby's murder means he will kill again soon, if he has not already. The killer is not a sadist, because his victims lacked any sign of torture or mutilation. Abby being force-fed human fingers was simply a message ("she's not my first"). Geographical profiling indicates the unsub's safety zone (his home and where he avoided killing to escape detection) is Bridgewater, and he has started killing inside it, not because he wants to get caught, but because he wants to draw attention to himself, and thus give himself a sense of power over the police, which also means he will likely try to insert himself into the investigation.
Organizing the books Tracey Lambert dropped while being attacked indicates the unsub may have been institutionalized at some point in his past. The severely mentally ill have chaos all around them, but once they are put into an institution, they are given order and taught to keep their rooms and possessions clean and tidy. When discharged, they stop taking their medication, and their minds revert to a chaotic state, but due to their conditioning, they can compulsively try to keep some semblance of order, hence Abby's books being arranged according to size.
Maria Lopez's body being frozen, the victims not being sexually assaulted, and the unsub keeping portions of them indicated cannibalism, as did the fingers Abby was force fed (it was a dual message: "She's not my first" and "I'm eating them"). The greatest taboo, cannibalism (and apparent vorarephilia) explains the unsub's drive to blame things on outside forces. The unsub does not take too many precautions, as he believes Satan will protect him. He targets athletic women because he is attracted to them, and because they were meatier than the emaciated prostitutes he killed initally. Blaming the devil for his urges and cannibalism was not enough to lessen his guilt, so he tricked others into participating to make them as guilty as he was.
According to Doctor Jim Lorenz's old notes, Floyd's "symptoms go far beyond normal psychosexual oral biting fixation of a typical seven-year-old boy" and he "believes he is possessed by a flesh-eating demon".
In Lucky Strikes, the BAU expanded their profile on Floyd slightly, with Lewis remarking that projected cannibalism and the act of forcing others to unknowingly consume human flesh is extremely rare. Believing Floyd to be the unsub responsible for the latest murders, they theorized that he could have easily defeated the ankle monitor provided by the hospital as it was an outdated model that wasn't GPS-enabled and only tracked an individual's distance from the bay station so Floyd could have plugged it into a mobile power source and took it with him while committing the murders. However, this theory was ultimately disproved. JJ later commented that Floyd was much smarter than they first thought, having been able to devise a plan to get released from the mental hospital a decade in advance by manipulating the mental health system, decieving his doctors into believing that his cannibalistic fantasies were under control and getting Marcus to take credit for his crimes, even leaving enough evidence in his interview with Morgan years earlier to make the possibility of another unsub connected to the original murders seem plausible.
Floyd initially killed prostitutes since he had easy access to them. Because some of them were regular drug-users, they were very skinny (which, according to Floyd, made them "taste funny"). He switched to athletic Caucasian women, both because he was attracted to them and he needed the healthy flesh of their legs as ingredients in various cannibalistic dishes. He would subdue his victims with blunt-force trauma to the head before transporting and keeping them at an abandoned warehouse for a time as part of a fail-safe in case he was ever captured. This helped make it seem as if someone else had abducted the victims before handing them off to him. He would then take them to his house and restrain them to a mattress in the basement where he would hold them for several days. During this time, he would rub their legs with oil to make the meat tender. Floyd would then kill them by slashing their throats. In the case of Tracey Lambert, he painted an inverted pentagram at the location of where he abducted her and apparently killed her by butchering and flaying her, so her flesh could be served to the very people who were searching for her.
After killing his victims, he carved inverted pentagrams on their bodies, severed their fingers and, occasionally, their legs before he wrapped them in plastic (with the exception of Tracey Lambert). He also force-fed fingers to Abby Kelton taken from previous victims in order to send the authorities two messages: he had killed before, and he was eating his victims. With the exception of Abby Kelton and Tracey Lambert, Floyd kept the bodies in an industrial freezer in his basement so he could cook using their flesh. It also served as a forensic countermeasure as it kept law enforcement from finding the bodies and becoming aware of his murders. However, Floyd did not cook using the bodies of Abby Kelton and Maria Lopez, who were both disposed of in order to send messages to the authorities.
Floyd seems heavily based on real-life suspected serial killer and cannibal Nathaniel Bar-Jonah. The numerous similarities include:
- A fascination with cannibalism since they were children, culminating when they attacked a younger girl when they were seven years old.
- Being committed to a mental hospital and having their previous record covered in some way (as an offending minor's expunged record in Floyd's case; by changing state and not being obliged to register as a sexual offender, in Bar-Jonah's).
- Prone to gain weight.
- Worked as cooks in restaurants.
- Went to church despite claiming to be of a different religion (Satanism in Floyd's case, Judaism in Bar-Jonah's).
- Owned cooking equipment that had been apparently used to cook human flesh.
- Wrote their own cookbooks with cannibalistic recipes. The page from Floyd's cookbook seen in the episode is even composed in a similar style to Bar-Jonah's prison recipes, with childish-looking, hand-drawn images of smiling faces and pasted cutouts of photos accompanying the text (no images of Bar-Jonah's actual cannibalistic recipes have been released).
- Were suspected of cooking and serving a victim to other people while the victim was being searched for (only confirmed in Floyd's case).
- Their restaurants were closed down based on the latter suspicions.
Similar suspicions were raised about several other confirmed cannibals like Karl Denke, Fritz Haarmann, Carl Großmann, and Nikolai Dzhumagaliev (who also had a history of mental illness and tendency to kill and cannibalize women); and also about serial killers who were involved in the meat-producing industry, like Großmann himself, Robert Pickton, and Joe Metheny.
Floyd's belief that he is talking to, and is being protected by a demon is similar to Richard Ramirez, who, according to forensic psychologist Rex Beaber, believed himself to be in the service of Satan, and left pentagrams on some of his crime scenes; and David Berkowitz, a.k.a. "The Son of Sam", who claimed to have committed the murders at the orders of a demon possessing Berkowitz's neighbor's dog, named Sam. The scene where Floyd is pulled over while having a victim, yet released, alludes to Jeffrey Dahmer, a cannibal who, while having the remains of one of his victims in the car, was able to convince a police officer who pulled him over to let him go.
Floyd interpreting cannibalism as a way to satisfy a flesh-eating demon is also somewhat similar to some explanations given by Brazilian serial killer Francisco de Assis Pereira for his crimes. Incidentally, Pereira was also attributed seemingly "supernatural" abilities to manipulate women and evade capture. Floyd also has some similarities with Venezuelan murderer Dorángel Vargas; both were serial killers and cannibals, with body counts in the double-digits, who targeted healthy victims with the belief that their flesh would taste better (although Floyd's initial victims were drug users), and committed crimes prior to their murders that sent them to psychiatric facilities. Vargas was also theorized to have committed murders as part of Satanic rituals by the Venezuelan police.
Floyd is also similar to British serial killer Peter Sutcliffe, a.k.a. "The Yorkshire Ripper". Both were serial killers who mainly targeted prostitutes but also killed a handful of low-risk victims (albeit for different reasons), killed a total of thirteen women before they were caught and evaded justice for years. Both also legally changed their names, although Sutcliffe did so after his arrest while Floyd changed his name before he was caught and believed they were operating under the instructions of a deity (a demon in Floyd's case; Sutcliffe claimed he was "on a mission from God"). More recently, it was revealed Floyd, like Sutcliffe, was placed in a psychiatric hospital rather than incarcerated due to a mental illness (though Sutcliffe was convicted at trial while Floyd was not) and later claimed that they were no longer threats to society because of the treatments they recieved and asked to be released. Finally, during their bids to be released, both were found mentally fit, subsequently being reincarcerated in a prison.
- Unspecified date in 1977 or 1978: Lori Ferell (his sister; attempted but survived; tried to eat her)
- Unspecified year-c. February 2007: Ten prostitutes, all of them abducted, killed, and used for his cooking prior to Lucky. They are:
- Keira Eckman
- Jill Quader
- Megan Gettler
- Samantha Naris
- April Yorkers
- Cecilla Baquerizo
- Flora Marcias
- Delia Gamarra
- Jada de Aguirre
- Rita Tayamo
- February: Maria Lopez (another prostitute; her body was later taken out of Floyd's freezer and placed in a local church on November 12)
- November 9: Abby Kelton (abducted, cut off all of her fingers, force-fed her some of his previous victims' fingers, killed two days later, and dumped her body in a park)
- November 11-12: Tracey Lambert (abducted and fatally butchered; flayed and removed her flesh post-mortem, and served both as stew to her own search party)
- November 12: Sheryl Timmons (abducted from Tracey Lambert's search party and intended to kill; was rescued)
- October 23, 2017: David Rossi (attempted to assault him)
Victims by Proxy
Note: The following were killed by Marcus Manning under Floyd's instructions
- September 11-15: Evonne Westfield (her legs were not severed; Marcus also bit her legs post-mortem)
- October 21: Rebecca Strong (a prostitute; was force-fed five of Evonne's fingers and severed her legs; also ate five of her own severed fingers; Marcus ate the remaining five)
- F is the sixth letter of the alphabet. Floyd's first, middle, and surname all begin with F, meaning his name forms the number 666, regarded "The Number of the Beast". Also, his three names contain an average of six letters each.
- The song Floyd frequently listens to is "Sittin' in the Dark" by Louis Armstrong.
- Floyd currently holds the record for the longest gap between appearances for a recurring character, with a total of 230 episodes between Lucky and Lucky Strikes.
- Floyd's reappearance in Season Thirteen seems to commemorate ten years since his first appearance in Season Three. His reappearing in the sixth episode also seems to be a nod to the aforementioned "Number of the Beast", 666.
- Floyd is the first unsub apprehended by the BAU throughout the course of the series to have been released from prison at one point.