"She's alive, and I'm gonna find her!"
William owned a salvage yard and was the single parent of a girl named Tatiana. On August 17, 2015, he was driving Tatiana home after a school dance recital when he started to fall asleep at the wheel, having just worked a double night shift. He stopped by at the Day Point Creek Rest Area, a rest stop off Interstate 10 between Phoenix and Tucson, where he fell asleep. Moments later, he was approached by a man with a skull tattoo on his hand, who claimed his taillight was out. William thanked the man, who then walked away, allowing William to fall back asleep. When he woke back up hours later, Tatiana was missing. A massive search ensued, but it ended a week prior to Awake when the group, William included, found Tatiana's corpse at a field near the rest stop. Feeling guilty about being asleep while Tatiana vanished, William pointed to the man with the skull tattoo as a suspect, but it was believed he may have imagined him in the midst of microsleep. The child abduction case soon went cold. He underwent a severe psychotic break, believing Tatiana was still alive and being held captive by the man with the skull tattoo. He subsequently went out on a mission to track him down and rescue Tatiana.
"Damn it, why aren't you listening to me?! That man has my daughter!"
After Stephen Jackson dies due to the torture he receives, William steals his handgun, poses as a desperate hitchhiker, and abducts Lance Coleman. Despite his protests, William tortures him, and eventually shoots him when he doesn't give him Tatiana's location. Once Lance's body is disposed, he listens to a music box and reminisces about the last time he saw Tatiana. Once finished, he goes out and abducts David Whitfield. He tortures him with sleep deprivation for several hours, electrocutes him, and forces a recording of painful static sounds onto his ears. Eventually, William returns to find that David has somehow escaped, and is incapacitated by him when he wraps his still-attached chains around his neck. David flees, with William pursuing, armed with Stephen's handgun. Eventually, William corners him with his truck just as JJ and Lewis arrive. The two agents try to talk him down by reminding him that Tatiana's body had been found by him, but William refuses to believe that his daughter isn't alive and tries to run Lewis over. She and JJ shoot him repeatedly, killing him instantly.
"You will tell me where she is."
William targeted random low-risk men who he believed to be the man with the skull tattoo, all of whom he found at the Day Point Creek Rest Area, the same rest stop where Tatiana disappeared. He would abduct them while they were traveling at night using Interstate 10, luring them in by posing as a hitchhiker or a stranded motorist in need of a car ride. After blitz-attacking them and knocking them unconscious in their cars, William would drive to where he parked his tow truck and use it to take them (and their cars) to his scrap yard, disable their car's GPS devices (though Stephen Jackson's car didn't have one since it was an older model), take them into a building in the scrap yard, and restrain them by their wrists using chains connected to the ceiling.
His signature was forcing them to stay awake by torturing them through various methods, such as electrocuting them, beating them, stapling their eyelids open, and forcing them to listen to loud music, all the while giving them caffeinated drinks as nourishment. The torture was too severe for Stephen Jackson, and he died from cardiac arrest caused by the electrocution he received. He lessened the amount of time he held Lance Coleman captive, but amplified the severity of the torture as his desperation increased. He then finished Lance off by shooting him in the head with a handgun stolen from Stephen. He then dumped their bodies on the sides of rural roads outside of Phoenix.
The unsub is a white male in his 30s to early 40s, and is physically fit enough to subdue male victims. He is driven by rage and an ultimate goal, which makes him brutal in his torture methods. He asserts absolute power and control over the victims, which makes them feel completely helpless and eventually causes them to break and give him what he is looking for. Based on his systematic torture, it is possible that he is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, rooted to a personal issue that is driving him, based on the work and effort put into the abductions and tortures. He appears unassuming with limited social skills, which is why he chooses to hunt at night. It allows him to take advantage of his victims' goodwill and sympathy before he blitz-attacks and abducts them from their vehicles. Due to the escalation of his torture, it is clear that he is becoming more desperate and volatile. Because his victims are surrogates, there is a chance they will never have what he ultimately wants.
William was also initially profiled as a sadistic inquisitor, a person aroused sexually and emotionally by causing pain in the service of finding information. However, given his motive for the crimes, it is extremely unlikely that is also the case.
The dates denote when the victims were abducted
- November 8: Stephen Jackson (died five days later from cardiac arrest caused by the torture; stole his handgun)
- November 15: Lance Coleman (shot in the head with Stephen Jackson's handgun three days later)
- November 19:
- David Whitfield (abducted, tortured, assaulted, and attempted to run over; was rescued)
- Doctor Tara Lewis (attempted to run over)
- William is based on a few other unsubs on the show:
- Ian Coakley, a serial killer in Season Four. Both were psychotic, traumatized killers with stressors that involved the death of a close relative (for William, it was his daughter; for Ian, it was his wife) and were repeatedly haunted by hallucinations of them still being alive. Both also targeted surrogates who they believed were responsible for their deaths: William targeted men who he believed to have skull tattoos, while Ian targeted drivers of red coupés, since he believed the driver of a red coupé was responsible for the car accident that caused his paralysis and his wife's death. In addition, his standoff with Lewis and JJ seems to echo Ian's standoff with Hotch and a local police detective.
- Season Ten criminal Justin Leu. Both were delusional killers who had stressors involving the deaths of family members, targeted men who were surrogates for someone who was at cores of their rage, abducted their victims on roads after using a ruse on them, had signatures that involved torturing their victims, and had various killing methods (one of which was electrocution).
- Season Ten criminal Peter Folkmore. Both were delusional budding serial killers who had stressors involving the deaths of family members, targeted victims who were surrogates, tortured their victims to achieve a goal, forced their victims to ingest something for a purpose (William made his victims drink caffeinated drinks so they would stay awake; while Peter made his victims drink down saltwater, honey, ginger, and tea to heal their throats), and were initially suspected of trying to see how much torture their victims could take before they were killed.
- William's methods of torturing his victims are similar to other unsubs who have previously appeared on the show: