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Thomas Yates

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Thomas Yates
Name Thomas Yates
Alias Tommy
The Womb Raider
Gender Male
Birth Date February 1967
Family Georgina Yates (mother; deceased)
Unnamed father (likely deceased)
Trudy Yates (maternal grandmother; deceased)
Roy Yates (maternal grandfather; deceased)
Occupation Day laborer
Pathology Arsonist (originally)
Serial Killer (later)
Abductor (later)
Signature Post-mortem vocal cord removal (later)
Modus Operandi Stabbing (originally)
Disembowelment (later)
No. of Victims 101+ killed
1 attempted
Status Incarcerated
Portrayed By Adam Nelson
Thomas Phelan (age 15)
Alec Gatlin (age 10)
First Appearance "Profiling 101"

"Agent Rossi...Nice to meet you after all these years..."

Thomas "Tommy" Yates, a.k.a. "The Womb Raider"[1], is a now-incarcerated, prolific serial killer who appeared in Season Seven in Criminal Minds, mostly through flashbacks.


In May 1966, Yates's mother, then-16-year-old Georgina Yates, was raped by an unidentified man who was apparently never caught, and this resulted in her pregnancy with him. Eventually, Georgina gave birth to Yates, during which she had to have an emergency hysterectomy; while the birth was successful, she died from hemorrhaging. As a result, Yates was put under the care of his maternal grandparents, Trudy and Roy. This didn't turn out well for Yates, as he was physically and psychologically abused by Trudy, who viewed him as a demonic bastard; a flashback shows her shoving him down a flight of stairs, as well as forcing him to put on a dress and then locking him outside the house. She also starved him and made him sleep in a doghouse. In school, Yates was also heavily bullied and he began setting fires (making him eligible for one of the signs of the Macdonald triad) and getting himself expelled from two schools. One day, when he was fifteen years old, he eventually became enraged while being bullied and killed his tormentor, stabbing him to death and also kicking him repeatedly. He was tried as a juvenile and forced to spend three years in juvie hall, plus an additional seven years in prison, before being released on parole. As an adult, Yates acquired an unspecified day-laborer job and began serial killing throughout the West Coast, traveling down the area starting with Seattle. He targeted women who lived either high-risk or low-risk lifestyles, alternating between the two types for unknown reasons.

Profiling 101Edit

After killing for at least seventeen years, during which he claimed a minimum of 101 victims, Yates returned to Seattle in 2009 after Trudy contracted lung cancer and was placed in hospital care. There, he murdered a prostitute named Rochelle Jenkins. The BAU, who had been devotedly following his case, were subsequently called in. Meanwhile, Yates abducted a soccer mom named Grace Powell. However, after Garcia found Georgina's hospital records and Prentiss and JJ interviewed Trudy at the hospital, the BAU were able to find Yates holding Grace captive in the storage container holding Trudy's old belongings. Grace is rescued by paramedics and Rossi arrest Yates, but not before he taunts the agent, as Rossi was the first BAU agent following his case. During interrogation, Yates constantly refused to answer questions given to him by the BAU, staying silent the entire time. Eventually, he was found guilty of his crimes and put on death-row.

The following year, however, he spoke up for the first time to the BAU, specifically to Rossi, when he gave him a list of forty of his victims, those who haven't been found by authorities, and reveals there are actually 101 victims. He then offered a deal to give the name of an undiscovered victim of his annually, on a day of his choosing, in exchange for the upturning of his death penalty as well as his relocation to the East Coast (his grandmother had passed away while he was in prison, and as such, there was no reason for him to remain on the West Coast anymore). Rossi accepts the deal after the BAU is able to find all forty victims. By the end of the episode, in the present day, Rossi visits Yates, who had been conveniently relocated near Quantico. Yates gives him the name of another victim and the location of the corpse before Rossi leaves. The "special day" he has chosen to disclose another victim is revealed to be Rossi's birthday. As a parting gift, Yates sings the 'Happy Birthday' song eerily.

Modus OperandiEdit

Yates targeted Caucasian women who were surrogates for his grandmother, targeting high-risk victims such as prostitutes and drug addicts, then shifting his focus to low-risk victims like college students and soccer moms, with the victims always in the same age range as him. It was initially believed that Yates killed two women every time he struck. When it was discovered that Yates, by his own account, claimed hundreds of lives, it can be assumed that he never followed such a pattern as rigidly as originally thought or only did so occasionally. He would kill in different cities on the West Coast.

He abducted and restrained his victims by their wrists and ankles for days, starving and dehydrating them endlessly in order to keep them weak, referencing how his grandmother would starve him as a child. They were then killed by stabs directed at the genital area with a knife. When he disposed of the victims, Yates would dump the bodies of his high-risk victims as if they were trash, while he took some time to bury the bodies of his low-risk victims. Initially, he would repeatedly stab his victims' reproductive organs, but as he evolved, he began fatally removing said organs completely, referencing his mother being forced to have a hysterectomy and subsequently dying when she was giving birth to him. He also escalated to removing his victims' vocal chords post-mortem.


The unsub is a white male in his early- to mid-thirties and is antisocial and has low self-esteem, so he probably keeps to himself. He needed money, so he is most likely a day laborer, with a menial and temporary job, such as a janitor or a handyman. He is personal enough to get a job wherever he went, but unassuming enough to not stick out. He held and restrained his victims for days, so the unsub would need a contained space to do that. However, he is also mobile, which means he has his own transport, most likely a truck or van. When he is on the move and not settled, he would most likely live outside the vehicle. He always started with a high-risk victim first, like a prostitute or a runaway, then moved on to a low-risk victim, so it is likely his next victim would be a soccer mom in her 30s. The fact that he buried the bodies of his low-risk victims, compared to how he dumped the bodies of his high-risk victims, suggests he felt more connected towards them and expressed pity and remorse when it came to their deaths. The removal of the victims' reproductive organs may indicate that he feels a great deal of self-loathing and wishes that he was never born or had a traumatic life-changing event associated with his birth. He could have hated his own mother, as the strained mother-child relationship is a hallmark for many killers. The removal of the vocal cords was symbolic of his own silence, since he was raised to believe he was worthless and unwanted, so he never had a voice of his own. His victims became surrogates for his rage and a means by which to exact his revenge.

Real-Life ComparisonEdit

According to Virgil Williams[2], Yates was based on real-life serial killer Henry Lee Lucas. This is a correct revelation, as both killers were physically and psychologically abused by their mother figures (Lucas by his own mother, Yates his maternal grandmother), in which one of the punishments inflicted upon them was forced dressing into girls' clothing. Both also continuously gave confessions to hundreds of unsolved murders in various parts of the country (Lucas's confessions were usually limited to the eastern states while Yates's murders were committed in the western ones), though Yates was sincere and truthful while almost all of Lucas' confessions, for various reasons, were found to be false; some called it a hoax by law enforcement to clear up a number of unsolved crimes, though Lucas may have lied simply for the fame or some other personal reason. Like Lucas (at least during his confirmed murders), Yates also killed his victims by stabbing them. Both also claimed to have killed in multiple states (though it was only confirmed in Yates's case).

Yates is also similar to Daniel Camargo Barbosa. Both were prolific serial killers who targeted women, had mothers who died when they were young, were abused by maternal figures (Yates was abused by his grandmother; Barbosa was abused by his stepmother), and were forced to wear girl's clothing as part of their abuse.

Known VictimsEdit

"It's actually 101 names. And I remember all of them."

  • Unspecified date and location in 1981: Unnamed school bully (fatally assaulted and stabbed repeatedly with an unknown instrument)
  • At least 101 victims, all killed within at least 17 years all over the West Coast.
    • Unspecified dates:
      • Victims whose names were seen on Rossi's list (limited to only 40) are:
        • Alyssa Grassian
        • Uma Kegolman
        • Violet Makanui
        • Mitry Moyer
        • Piper Shuster
        • Chloe Cheswitt
        • Bianca Carmody
        • Inez Mortimer
        • Macey Wannamaker
        • Bristol Evatt
        • Nina Grisdale
        • Heidi Navone
        • Alison Bayfield
        • Laura Fairwick
        • Sally Gilford
        • Natasha Hillbridge
        • Joy Lampshire
        • Pargrave (first name unseen)
        • Fiona Stallworth
        • Elaine Trangen
        • Holly Vaughner
        • Tania Miller
        • Jessica Tifford
        • Scarlet Sprouse
        • Donne Millworth
        • Teresa Kensington
        • Paige Howfield
        • Sarah Thomas
        • Gina Riverton
        • Marlowe Aldermann
        • Courtney Shandon
        • Karen Toluca
        • Victoria Cosale
        • Kate Corningham
        • Lily Traymore
        • Carmen Campecho
        • Ivy Sunderman
        • Lola Winemiller
      • Eureka, California: Charlotte Davis (dumped her body in a forest reserve)
    • 1992, Seattle, Washington (the following were stabbed repeatedly in the lower abdomen and genitals):
      • Rachel Moore (a runaway; was stabbed 53 times)
      • Tina Dyson (a college student)
    • 1997, San Francisco, California (the following had their reproductive organs removed):
      • Unnamed victim (a prostitute and crack addict)
      • Unnamed victim (a soccer mom)
    • 2005, Los Angeles, California: Lana Cooper (a prostitute; gave her a hysterectomy and removed her vocal chords post-mortem)
    • 2009, Seattle, Washington:
      • Rochelle Jenkins (a prostitute; gave her a hysterectomy and removed her vocal chords post-mortem like the previous victim)
      • Grace Powell (a soccer mom; abducted and attempted to disembowel and kill; was rescued)


  • Yates is similar to Season One criminal Vincent Perotta. Both were prolific, psychopathic, and organized serial killers who were abused by family members (Yates was abused by his grandmother; Perotta was abused by his father); had signatures that involved torturing their victims; committed hundreds of murders in multiple states; committed acts of arson during their childhoods; and were based on infamous real-life serial killers (Yates was based on Henry Lee Lucas; Perotta was based on Richard Kuklinski).
  • With a final body count of at least 101 people, Yates is the fourth of only seven unsubs in the show's history who are confirmed to have claimed the lives of hundreds. The first three killers (all serial killers) are Vincent Perotta (who killed hundreds of people, with an exact number unspecified), Frank Breitkopf (who killed at least 176 people), and Billy Flynn, a.k.a. "The Prince of Darkness" (who killed approximately over 200 people), while the next three are Hayman Vasher (a mass murderer who killed 151 people), Sharon Mayford, a.k.a. "The Bomber" (a hitwoman who killed at least 173 people), and Cat Adams, a.k.a. "Miss .45" (a hitwoman who killed approximately over 200 people).



  1. Possibly an off-color pun on the Tomb Raider series, which had a pornographic parody of the same name
  2. Williams' chat with fans transcription

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