|“||All I did was kill a couple of dogs.||”|
Richard Trenton Chase, a.k.a. "The Vampire of Sacramento", was a "vampirist"-type cannibal, necrophiliac, and serial killer/spree killer who was active in California from December 1977 to January 1978.
Allegedly abused by his mother while growing up, Chase had already fulfilled the MacDonald triad (bed wetting, animal torture and fire-setting) by the age of 10. In adolescence, he was already an alcoholic and chronic drug addict. He also suffered from erectile dysfunction. When an adult, he became a hypochondriac, eventually moving out of his mother's home because he believed she was trying to poison him. He then moved into an apartment with some friends, who complained about his abuse of alcohol, marijuana and acid. Chase paid no attention to guests and would sometimes walk around naked when his roommates had people over. His roommates got tired of him quickly and, when they tried to throw him out, he refused. In the end, they moved out instead. Alone in the apartment, Chase began capturing, killing and disemboweling animals, consuming them raw. Sometimes, he would blend them with Coca-Cola and drink the remains as a milkshake, allegedly to prevent his heart from shrinking. In 1975, he was involuntarily institutionalized after being treated at a hospital for blood poisoning, which he had contracted by injecting animal blood into his veins. His bizarre behavior continued while he was in treatment (the staff even took to calling him "Dracula") until he was prescribed psychotropic drugs. In 1976, he was deemed safe and placed in the care of his mother, who eventually prevented him from taking his anti-psychotic medications, allegedly because they dulled him, and got him his own apartment.
Killings, Arrest, and Suicide
Chase killed his first known victim Ambrose Griffin, a 51-year old engineer with two children, on December 27, 1978. And from January 22-27, he murdered five more victims. Chase's final victims were the residents of the Miroth home. Chase murdered four people there when a visitor's knock on the door sent him fleeing in the homeowner (Evelyn Miroth)'s car. The unnamed visitor alerted a neighbor who alerted the police. Chase was subsequently arrested after his DNA and shoe-prints were identified all over the Miroth house massacre. Chase was charged with six counts of murder and sentenced to death. Before his death date was due, Chase had multiple interviews with FBI agent Robert K. Ressler and was feared by his fellow inmates (aware of his brutal and disgusting crimes), who even urged him to commit suicide. He would discuss his motives and beliefs to Ressler during these interviews. Chase was found dead in his cell on December 26, 1980, from an overdose of antidepressants. He was 30 at the time of his death.
"White male aged twenty-five to twenty-seven; thin, undernourished appearance; single; living alone in a location within one mile of abandoned station wagon owned by one of the victims. Residence will be extremely slovenly and unkempt, and evidence of the crimes will be found at the residence. Suspect will have a history of mental illness and use of drugs. Suspect will be an unemployed loner who does not associate with either males or females and will probably spend a great deal of time in his own residence. If he resides with anyone, it will be with his parents. However, this is unlikely. Suspect will have no prior military history; will be a high school or college dropout; probably suffers from one or more forms of paranoid psychosis."
-Robert K. Ressler's profile of Richard Chase
Chase's killings were attempts at self-preservation, or so he believed. He had delusions of persecution by alien forces and insisted that he only ingested human flesh and blood to protect himself from "outside forces" that were trying to steal his blood. He thought his heart was shrinking and believed drinking blood would stop it. These paranoid delusions, coupled with schizophrenia, had been noticed in his childhood, and only became more severe as he got older. He was in his early twenties when his ability to maintain a stable life on his own began to crumble, and he was institutionalized. Once he was released, his killings would begin, probably due to the fact that his mother weaned him off of his medication because she thought it made him lethargic though he had murdered at least one victim beforehand.
Chase used a .22 Automatic handgun to kill his victims. His first murder was a drive-by shooting, while the rest were home invasions. After shooting his victims, Chase would mutilate the bodies and ingest the blood and organs, and would engage in necrophilia with his female victims.
- December 27: An unidentified woman (attempted; shot at in a drive-by shooting, but missed)
- December 29:
- Ambrose Griffin, 51 (shot in the chest in a drive-by shooting)
- An unidentified boy, 12 (attempted; shot at shortly after Ambrose Griffin's murder, but missed)
- January 22: Teresa Wallin, 22 (shot once in the hand and twice in the head; engaged in necrophilia with her corpse, repeatedly stabbed, removed several of her organs, cut off one of her nipples, stuffed dog feces down her mouth and throat, and partially eaten; was three months pregnant at the time of death)
- January 27: The massacre at Evelyn Miroth's home:
- Daniel Meredith, 51 (shot in the head and mutilated post-mortem)
- Evelyn Miroth, 38 (fatally shot in the head; engaged in necrophilia with her corpse, slashed her throat, disemboweled post-mortem, partially eaten, and attempted to remove one of her eyes)
- Jason Miroth, 6 (Evelyn's son; shot twice in the head and mutilated post-mortem)
- David Ferreira, 1 (Evelyn's nephew; shot in the head, then mutilated post-mortem and partially eaten)
- Notes: In mid-1977, Chase was also arrested in Lake Tahoe because he was covered in blood and had guns and a bucket of blood in his car. He managed to convince the arresting officer that it came from an animal and no charges were filed.
On Criminal MindsChase is mentioned briefly in the Season One episode "Blood Hungry" by Reid, who states Richard was driven to kill and drink the blood of his victims by aliens he believed had invaded his body and were drinking his blood. Hotch then mentioned he would die if he did not drink enough of the blood he needed. The reference is accompanied by a black-and-white flashback depicting Chase (portrayed by an uncredited actor) drinking blood from a pitcher in a slightly ceremonial manner. The unsub the team investigates in the episode, Eddie Mays, also bore similarities to Chase, being a severely delusional cannibal and former drug addict with a strained relationship with his mother. Like Chase, Eddie also stored the blood and body parts he took from his victims in food containers, which left bloody rings at the crime scenes. Both also attempted suicide following interviews with FBI agents (although Chase's was successful while Eddie survived after being rescued).
While not mentioned in "Internal Affairs", Chase may have provided some inspiration to the episode's unsub, Jacob DuFour. Like Chase, Jacob was a mentally-ill serial killer who also killed animals as a minor and mutilated his victims post-mortem to satisfy some sort of delusion.
Chase also has many elements in common with Gina King, one of the unsubs in "The Performer". Both were untreated mentally-ill killers active in California, who collected buckets of their victims' blood and drank from them because they believed that it was necessary for their own survival (as an undead companion of Paul Davies's stage character "Dante", in Gina's case), and lived in dilapidated homes alone with a mother figure (Chase's mother and Gina's grandmother, respectively).
More recently, Chase has some similarities to John Malone, who appeared in "Hell's Kitchen". Both were psychotic serial killers who targeted women (although Chase also targeted males), and would drink their victims' blood because of their delusions.
- ↑ Some sources say he was trying to prevent Nazis from turning his blood to powder, and others say he was trying to prevent aliens from stealing his brain or shrinking his heart.