|“||Let you go? Let you go?! Do you think I brought you all the way up here just to let you go?!||”|
— Bachner to Lionel
Joe Bachner is a serial killer, rapist, and abductor who appeared through flashbacks in Season Nine of Criminal Minds. He is the dominant partner of a two-person killing team also consisting of Daria Samsen.
Born on July 13, 1974, and raised in Pennsylvania, Joe lost his parents in a car accident on May 7, 1980, when he was six years old. As a result, he was sent to live with his aunt, Julianna Hartig, a nurse who lived in Hamilton, New York. Julianna was an abusive alcoholic who once locked him up inside a shed and starved him for days. Whenever she got mad, she unleashed bees on him, and Joe subsequently suffered from hundreds of bee-stings. Social Services eventually found out about the abuse after Joe arrived at school covered in bee-stings and apparently arrested Julianna. On June 23, 2010, Joe got a job as an electrician for a company called Conway Electric and also worked several random construction jobs; he was also apparently an avid gun owner. He also developed a small rap-sheet of battery charges and also an incident in 2010, where he abducted a woman, but she survived and then dropped the charges against him, likely out of fear of retaliation from him.
On February 28, 2012, Julianna died from cardiac arrest, depriving Joe of any chance of getting his revenge. A month later, he set his sights on a woman named Daria Samsen, who was a medical student and therefore reminded him of Julianna. He managed to abduct Daria from the diner she worked at after charming her, before holding her captive for several months, raping and torturing her until she was subjugated into complete obedience towards him. Joe eventually decided to worsen the torture by abducting random people and torturing them with Daria's forced assistance before murdering them. By January 2013, he killed three victims and had a fourth, a woman named Carrie, held in captivity alongside Daria. He initially dumped the bodies of his first two fatal victims in isolated public areas, but he apparently decided to let the town know of the abuse he suffered by placing the body of the third victim posed in the middle of a cornfield, which would lead to the summoning of the BAU.
One night, Carrie managed to smuggle the key to the tool-shed she and Daria were being kept in, and the two women managed to escape. However, Joe was awakened by their sounds and wounded Carrie with a shot from a rifle, but Daria, apparently having a brief moment of clarity, continued running and successfully escaped. Enraged by this newest development, Joe relocated himself and Carrie to the unoccupied house of a client of his coworker Coby Peters before abducting another woman, Melissa Coleman, and then killing her. He then abducted a stranded motorist named Lionel the following day and took him to the house, where he tried to get Carrie to assist him in the torture, but apparently failed. During the night, the BAU, having identified Joe as the unsub with Daria's assistance and also pinpointing where he was, stormed the house. Joe quickly stabbed Carrie with an icepick and fled, but he was pursued by Rossi. He tried to shoot him but was shot and injured by him. Afterwards, Joe was arrested.
The Edge of Winter
By 2014, Joe's trial is coming up, and Morgan interrogates Daria, whom he has deduced as being his partner during the initial investigation, in hopes of establishing her as a sympathetic witness. However, Daria confesses that she helped Joe because she "loved him," undermining her credibility.
Joe targeted random victims, initially luring them from different neighboring cities by charming them into coming with him, but after Daria's escape, his method of obtaining victims became more unplanned and disorganized. He would find his female victims in bars, while his male victims were found in random locations. He would then hold them captive in a tool-shed for long periods of time (with the exception of Daria, who was allowed into his house after she became submissive towards him, even in the presence of guests) and torture them in a variety of ways, including brutalizing them, tying them to a radiator, and (in the case of the female victims) raping them. However, his signature method of torture was stabbing them repeatedly in the chest with an icepick (likely as a reference to the bee stings he suffered as a child). Prior to Daria's escape, he kept three to four victims at once in the shed, including Daria herself; once a victim died, he would go out to find another one. He initially forced Daria to assist in the torture, but as she succumbed to Stockholm syndrome, her actions became more willing.
After he finished them off by fatally stabbing them with an icepick, Joe would then dispose of their bodies with Daria's help. The first two fatal victims were dumped in isolated public areas, but as Joe evolved, he began leaving them in locations where they would be more easily seen, posing them in order to maximize shock value. When things didn't go his way, he would utilize firearms as a last resort, such as during Carrie's escape attempt and the raid at his client's house by the BAU.
- Joe shares many similarities to Season Six serial killer Colby Bachner. Both share the same surname of Bachner, worked as electricians, abducted and stabbed their victims (although Joe targeted both males and females, while Colby only targeted women), and were members of two-person killing teams.
- Joe is also similar to Season Seven abductor Malcolm Ford in the sense that the first woman he abducted (an African-American) developed Stockholm syndrome during her long period of captivity and cooperated with him for the rest of his crimes (although the Stockholm syndrome Malcolm's victim suffered wasn't as severe as Daria's was).
- According to his employment record, Joe's Social Security number is 987-00-0128.