|“||Don't go soft on me now. We're all we got. We're family. We're family.||”|
— Gary to Ervin Robles
"I don't care what he told you, it's history."
Gary and Ervin grew up together raised by Mr. and Mrs. Manwaring in a foster home where they were frequently abused. Gary took the worst beatings and eventually became a rather charming, manipulative sadist. He left the Manwarings the day he turned eighteen. The two became professional criminals, performing home invasions together. On the night of September 17, 2007, during a routine job targeting the Laybourne family, they noticed that the parents had been abusing their daughter regularly. As a result, Gary flew at them in rage, tied them up, and beat them to death with a clothing iron. Ervin then killed the daughter as an act of mercy, establishing their M.O. and view on family households. Inspired, Gary wanted to return to their foster home and kill their foster parents, but Ervin wouldn't let him. Instead, they started killing other families. The BAU was called in after Gary and Ervin's third home invasion.
Children of the Dark
During the murder of their fourth set of victims, the Ortiz family, Ervin makes a mistake when he tries to kill the daughter (who bears a striking resemblance to his biological sister), resulting in her surviving. After their fifth home invasion, Ervin is later arrested and tells them about the abuse he and Gary had suffered. Realizing that Gary's murders were rehearsals for what he wanted to do with the Manwarings, the BAU head to their house. Meanwhile, Gary is waiting for the couple's current foster children, Tyler and Sara, outside their school. Building trust by displaying knowledge of their household, Gary takes them to a doughnut shop. The authorities track his car down and receive a message from Gary, which is delivered by Sara, threatening to kill Tyler if they enter.
When Hotch calls Gary, he surrenders almost immediately. After hearing from the doughnut shop clerk that Gary had a gun when he walked in but not when he walked out, Morgan and Prentiss, who had driven Sara and Tyler back, hear a gunshot from inside the house. Gary had given Tyler the gun so he could kill the Manwarings. Fortunately, Tyler can't bring himself to kill them, but instead, he shoots at the photos of them happy and smiling, calling the pictures "lies". Morgan then talks him into handing the gun over, promising that he and Sara will be allowed to leave and never have to return. It is possible that Mr. and Mrs. Manwaring lose custody of their foster children and are arrested for child abuse.
"It just ran out in front of my car. Is it yours?"
Gary targeted parents whom he perceived as being abusive towards their children, projecting them as surrogates for his former foster parents. He and Ervin would use devices to block out their victims' cellphones, sabotage the lights, and cut off their other phones and alarms. After that, Gary would knock on the house's front door carrying a dead animal obtained by Ervin through his job, claiming to have found it outside. With the door open, he would let Ervin in as well. After that, they made the children watch Gary tie up and brutally attack the parents using some object from the house. They would also kill the family's pets if they had any. They would then take some small valuables from the house, such as cash and jewelry. When he killed Robert Serrano, Gary also stole his credit cards and assumed his identity.
- At least four victimless home invasions and robberies performed together with Ervin prior to Children in the Dark. The victims were:
- September 17: Mr. and Mrs. Laybourne (first names unrevealed; bludgeoned with a clothing iron)
- October 7: An unnamed couple (stabbed with a kitchen knife)
- October 16: Tom and Dina Halbert (bludgeoned with a golf club)
- October 17: Mr. and Mrs. Ortiz (first names unrevealed; bludgeoned with a fireplace poker)
- October 18-19: Robert Serrano and his unnamed wife (killed, presumably by bludgeoning; stole the former's credit cards)
- October 19:
- Tyler and Sara (abducted; both were released)
- Unnamed donut shop clerk (held hostage)
- Hal Manwaring and his unnamed wife (his former foster parents; attempted; told Tyler to shoot them before his arrest, but he relented)