You know, most people think that a person's hair and nails continue to grow after they're dead. That's a myth.

Roderick Gless is a delusional, necrophilic, "collector"-type serial killer and abductor who appeared in Season Four of Criminal Minds.


Roderick was born in Olympia, Washington, the son of a wealthy couple, although his parents admitted to mostly neglected him, leaving him to be raised by his nanny, Abigail "Abby" Hansen. In 1992, when Roderick was nine years old, she died from myocarditis, a heart defect. Since his parents were on a cruise at the time of her death, Roderick would curl up next to Abby's corpse and wrap her arm around himself. This went on for two or three days until his parents returned and discovered the body. In March 2004, Roderick dropped out of medical school and liquidated his trust fund of $500,000. As time passed, that money lost some of its value, but Roderick still received $50,000 every six months from his father, who was desperately trying to bond with his son. At an unknown point, Roderick dug up Abby's skeleton, taking her dress, two diamond earrings, and two pearl earrings. In May 2008, Roderick began abducting women who resembled Abby, holding them captive and forcing them to accept her identity, embalming them afterward and keeping their preserved corpses for months at a time. After murdering his first victim, Lynette Hagan, Roderick sent what was essentially a goodbye letter to his mother, saying that he had found a place and was finally happy.

Cold Comfort

"Tell me a story, Abby."

Nine months after he first started killing, Roderick abducted Brooke Lombardini while she was on her way home from work, keeping her locked up, drugged and altering her appearance, all the while referring to her as Abby. During captivity, Brooke somehow gains access to a disposable phone and calls the police, but the call is interrupted by Roderick before she could give them any useful information. At first, Brooke resists Roderick, but over time, she, like the previous women, eventually submits and embraces the role of Abby. After having Brooke read him the storybook The Troll's Daughter, Roderick has her drink some drugged tea and leads her to his embalming chamber, calling it "forever" when she asks what the room is. Strapping Brooke down when she falls unconscious, Roderick dons surgical garb, adjusts his equipment and is about to puncture Brooke's neck with a scalpel when the police and BAU, who have become involved in the investigation after Roderick's buried victims are uncovered in a landslide, burst in. Dropping his equipment in shock, Roderick is led away, screaming for Abby, whom he sees Brooke as, his hallucination of her rising from the table and smiling at him.


The unsub is a white male aged in his mid-to-late-twenties who, as he is a homicide necrophile, would be unable to associate with people and be awkward around them, especially those of the opposite sex. He has money and lives alone in a large residence; that said, there is enough space and ventilation to accommodate an embalming suite. Embalming his victims indicates a possession issue and a fear of abandonment, probably caused by someone close to him, like a girlfriend, wife or mother, leaving or dying when he was young. The unsub burying his victims and not dismembering them indicates that he cared for them, while his alterations of them, coupled with imprisoning and drugging them, meant that he is brainwashing them, projecting his dead loved one onto them by forcing them to assume her identity, completing the fantasy by having them wear something belonging to the deceased.

The unsub probably has a background in mortuary sciences, indicated by the embalming and sixty percent of all necrophiles working in the death business, so the unsub may work at a local cemetery, mortuary, or a morgue. If the unsub frequented the locales his victims worked at, it means that he is probably wealthy, explaining how he could have access to embalming equipment and the space and privacy needed to use it. Like most necrophiles, he may have a record of inappropriate post-mortem conduct, cadaver theft, and graveyard disturbances.

Modus Operandi

Operating every three months, Roderick would abduct women similar to Abby in appearance, blondes in their twenties with blue eyes, who he ambushed at night while they were on their way home from work. After that, he would take them to his home; cut their hair; double-pierce their ears; and put a special dress, a pair of diamond earrings, and a pair of pearl earrings (all of them stolen from Abby's grave) on them to turn them into her spitting image. He would even brainwash the women by imprisoning and drugging them, in order for them to accept the identity of Abby. Once the process was completed, he would drug them one last time with barbiturates. He would then take them into his embalming suite, where he would kill them by draining them of their blood and simultaneously embalming them using tubes inserted into their jugular veins. Afterward, he would have sex with their corpses. When the bodies became too decayed, he would dispose them in a state park near Olympia, where he gave them a proper burial, and then abduct someone new to repeat the process.

Real-Life Comparison

Roderick's main source of inspiration is Ed Gein, to whom he is compared by Reid. Both were born in families with domineering mothers and turned to grave-robbing and later murder as a way to cope with the death of their mother figures, whom they also felt romantically attracted to (Gein's actual mother in his case; Roderick's babysitter in his), and only killed women that resembled them. Both mother figures also died of heart failure.

Roderick is also similar to prolific serial killer Ted Bundy. Both had a similar victimology (Caucasian woman in their twenties), targeted victims who were surrogates for women in their lives (Roderick targeted women who resembled his deceased babysitter; Bundy targeted women who resembled his ex-girlfriend), killed their victims in Washington (although this was only one of the states Bundy killed in), and engaged in sexual acts with their victims after killing them.

Known Victims

  • 2008:
    • May: Lynette Hagen
    • August: Erin Bonham
    • November: Melissa St. Claire
  • February 5, 2009: Brooke Lombardini (abducted, drugged, and attempted to kill; was rescued five days later)