|“||Just wanted to let you know your taillight is out.||”|
— Skull Tattoo Man
The Skull Tattoo Man (real name unknown) is a killer who appeared in Awake.
Nothing is known about the man, including why he started killing. At some point, he began targeting young girls at various rest stops located off the side of large but isolated roads. His sole known victim was Tatiana Taylor, who was abducted from a rest stop near Phoenix, Arizona, while her father William was asleep. This murder later triggered William's crime spree, and either started or continued the Skull Tattoo Man's own killing spree.
The man was first briefly seen in a flashback narrated by Garcia, who was describing the details of Tatiana's disappearance to the rest of the BAU. After William is shot and killed by Lewis in self-defense, she confides in Hotch about the possibility of the man being real, since Tatianna couldn't have wandered off to where she was found. However, he dismisses it as nothing more than a figment of William's guilt. Meanwhile, the man approaches a woman and her daughter in their car at a Jackson, Mississippi, rest stop. He catches the woman's attention and informs her that her taillight is out, just like he did with the Taylors. She thanks him, and he steps away from the car, watching the two eerily, implying he will abduct and presumably kill the daughter.
The man targeted young, prepubescent girls sitting in cars that stopped by at various rest stops off an isolated highway or large road. He would always approach a parent who was with them, catching their attention by knocking on their windows. Once they rolled the windows down, he would tell them that their taillight was out before walking off. When the parent had their attention off the girl, he would seize the opportunity to abduct them and eventually kill them.
No profile of the man was made by the BAU, since they were focused on William. However, because there was no other reason for the man to interact with the victims' parents immediately before abducting the girls, it can be assumed that this signature was meant to be a psychological taunt to the parents.
His namesake comes from the fact he has a tattoo of a skull on the front side of his hand, which was noticed by William as he knocked on his car window.
- August 17, near Phoenix, Arizona: Tatiana Taylor
- November 18, Jackson, Mississippi: Unnamed girl (presumably)
- Note: Because no specific details were revealed about the man's crimes, it is unknown if he killed any victims before and after Tatiana's murder and before the Mississippi girl's presumed abduction.