Tag Archives: murder

A WORD OF ADVICE FOR YOU YOUNG PEOPLE – LEARN TO PLAY WOLF

A WORD OF ADVICE FOR YOU YOUNG PEOPLE – LEARN TO PLAY WOLF

I know that every time there is a new terrorist attack such as happened at Ohio State yesterday some security expert comes on TV or writes an article about how you should flee the scene or hunker down in place and await the police. And that’s pretty good advice if you are far enough away to make it away.

However, let’s assume you are near the scene and can’t easily make it away or you are at the scene and can make it away but you have a bunch of friends under attack or somebody is about to kill your girlfriend or somebody you happen to know and like. Or hell is about to murder just any old innocent victim.

In cases like that may I make a suggestion. Say you are a young guy (or any man at all) and reasonably well built and in shape, then here is my advice to you – learn how to kill that murdering son of a bitch. Like in – train to kill some terrorist or murdering son of a bitch. It ain’t that hard to kill or at least incapacitate most men if you just learn how. Especially if all they are doing is wielding a knife or a bat. Gun is another story but then again you can learn to carry a gun too. And shoot it correctly. It’s not that hard. Your ancestors did that kind of thing all of the time. They grew up that way.

But you young American boys and “men,” (especially you city-types) well, to be bluntly honest, far too many of you have played squirrel and rabbit for far too long. Learn to play Wolf son. Or at least Sheepdog.

If worse comes to worst at least make enough of a nuisance out of yourself that some murdering son of a bitch has to spend so much time on you that most everyone else can get away.

Yeah, yeah, I know a buncha you right now are saying to yourselves, “but I could be killed!” Yeah, ya could. But I got news for ya buttercup, you’re gonna die anyway. That might not be very comforting to your well groomed and soft modern asses but it happens to be absolutely and unavoidably True. So get over it and grow the hell up about it.

Your job as a man or even a not quite yet man or even a wanna be man is to protect the lives of others and the innocent. It ain’t to professionally protest, burn things down like a little punk, riot like a little pussy, and then scatter like squirrels when something really dangerous rolls into town. Cowgirl.

Your job, if you can do it at all, is to be prepared to do something important. By that I don’t mean talk about the latest comic book film, and the superhero you pointlessly and fictionally dream of being, I mean be ready to protect others and to kill some murdering son of a bitch and/or terrorist before he can kill anyone else or even, hopefully, you.

So there’s my advice young fellas, take it or leave it. But if you want to be a man then for God’s sake, and your own sakes, and for everyone else’s, take it.

You gotta be smart about it of course, I ain’t advocating suicide runs. Not at all. As the old saying goes you’re not training to get yourself killed, you’re training to kill that murdering son of a bitch.

But don’t pussy out either boys. You’re Americans. You’re bears and wolves and mountain lions (or you should be anyway), not rabbits and squirrels and field mice.

I don’t give a shit what your mother (who has your best interest at heart, but well, she’s a lady and might not get it) or your lefty professor or soft- sandaled neighbor says (who is just using you as a human shield to cover his own cowardice) you be ready to do precisely what you gotta do.  You be ready to run. Not away from, but at.

If some malignant fool comes gunning for you and you have the chance then you get out there and kill that son of a bitch. Kill him dead. Double google him.

In the meantime go and get yourself a good combat knife, a collapsible baton, a nice handgun, whatever floats your boat and start training yourself to kill instead of be killed. Believe me your odds of survival are much, much higher when you’re looking at the guy with the knife than when you’ve got your back to him.

Hopefully you’ll never ever need your weapons or training. And if so then good on you. Way a decent world should work. But one day ya just might need your weapons and training, either for yourself or for someone else, and if so then good for you. Because you don’t have a decent world. Not by a  long shot sport, I don’t care what your effeminate, pansified society insists is true.

Point is – be prepared.

Because sometimes you can run away, but sometimes what you actually need to do is run straight at the son of a bitch and shoot or stab him through the heart.

And if you do you’ll be glad you trained for it.

And good luck and Godspeed to ya kid.

I really, really mean that.

But for God’s sake stop being such a soft target and start painting a few on those who would murder you and your family and friends.

 

AS I SUSPECTED…

Yeah, I had him pegged early on as either ex-military or former SWAT. So I was right on that part too. Guy knew exactly what he was doing. The attack was too well executed and planned and staged and possibly even coordinated. His defensive positioning and site preparation must have been impressive to employ the robot with an explosive. It probably wasn’t just to kill him but to trigger potential IEDS, prepared bombs, booby traps, and excess ammo as well.  Plus until the actually got into his nest they could not have known/verified he was actually alone.
Then the robot could also do a post explosion assessment/sweep for traps and additional suspects prior to human penetration.
Yeah, that makes a lot more sense now. The robot and the explosives. Bad all the way around, but I get the logic. Especially if they had prior Intel from the negotiations or profile/personnel/background research.

We’ll have to see about any other suspects.

There is one other possibility too, which might sound crazy but I’ve seen crazier.

 

Dallas shooting kills five police officers; suspected attacker was Army veteran

 

See link for maps and videos

By Tim Madigan, William Wan and Mark Berman July 8 at 2:53 PM
Here’s what we know so far about the Dallas shooting Play Video1:57
DALLAS — Five Dallas police officers were killed and seven others wounded Thursday night when sniper fire turned a peaceful protest over recent police shootings into a scene of chaos and terror.

The gunfire was followed by a standoff that lasted for hours with a suspect who told authorities “he was upset about the recent police shootings” and “said he wanted to kill white people, especially white officers,” according to Dallas Police Chief David Brown. The gunman was killed when police detonated a bomb-equipped robot.

After the bloodshed — the deadliest single day for law enforcement officers since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks — authorities said one attacker was dead, three potential suspects were in custody and police were still investigating who may have been involved in the attack.

Dallas shooting updates
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“We are heartbroken,” Brown said during a news conference Friday. “There are no words to describe the atrocity that occurred to our city.”

The eruption of violence at around 9 p.m. occurred during a calm protest over recent police shootings in Minnesota and Louisiana, with similar demonstrations occurring in cities across the country. As a barrage of gunfire ripped through the air, demonstrators and police officers alike scrambled. Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings told CBS News that in addition to the police officers, two other people were wounded by gunfire, though their conditions were not immediately known.

[What we know about the attack on police in Dallas]

‘Somebody’s armed to the teeth’: Social videos show shooting in Dallas Play Video2:37
Police have not officially released the identity of the attacker who said he was upset by police shootings, but a senior U.S. law enforcement official familiar with the probe identified him as Micah Xavier Johnson, 25, who is believed to be from the Dallas area. Johnson did not appear to have any ties to international terrorism, the official said.

Johnson deployed to Afghanistan with the U.S. Army from November 2013 through July 2014 and was in the Army Reserve from 2009 until last year. Army records show that Johnson, whose home was listed as Mesquite, Tex., had served with an engineering brigade before he was sent to Afghanistan. He did not have a combat job and was listed as a carpentry and masonry specialist.

There are no immediate indications that the attack was related to terrorism, international or domestic, according to a second federal law enforcement official, who asked not to be identified discussing an ongoing probe.

Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch said Friday that federal officials including the FBI and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms were working with local law enforcement to help investigate the attack.

“This has been a week of profound grief and heartbreak and loss,” Lynch said. Noting that the attack in Dallas happened during a protest sparked by police shootings, she added: “After the events of this week, Americans across our country are feeling a sense of helplessness, uncertainty and fear … but the answer must not be violence.”

[Man falsely connected to the shooting by Dallas police is now getting ‘thousands’ of death threats]

The slain police included four Dallas police officers and one Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) officer. While police said they were killed by “snipers” perched atop “elevated positions” and initially said there were two snipers, it was unclear Friday how many attackers were involved.

For hours after the assault, police were locked in a standoff with Johnson after he was cornered on the second floor of a building downtown. Police exchanged gunfire with him and negotiated with him, but those discussions broke down, Brown said.

In those conversations, Brown said the suspect told police that “he was upset about Black Lives Matter” and angered by the police shootings in Louisiana and Minnesota that dominated national news this week after officers in both places fatally shot black men. He also said he was not involved with any groups and acted alone, the police chief said.

Authorities currently believe that he was the lone shooter, although have not completely ruled out the involvement of others, said Philip Kingston, a Dallas City Councilman who represents the downtown district. “The shooter’s own statement apparently was that he had acted alone,” Kingston said around midday on Friday.

During the standoff, Johnson also told authorities that “the end is coming” and spoke about bombs being placed downtown, though no explosives had been found by Friday.

[Dallas police Chief David Brown lost his son, former partner and brother to violence]

Ultimately, Brown said police had no other option but to place an explosive device on their bomb robot and send it to the suspect, who was killed when the bomb detonated.

During remarks at a prayer vigil on Friday afternoon, Brown said that “this was a well-planned, well-thought-out evil tragedy by these suspects,” adding: “And we won’t rest until we bring everyone involved to justice.”

Names of the slain officers began to emerge Friday, beginning with Brent Thompson, a 43-year-old transit police officer and Patrick Zamarripa, a 32-year-old police officer who served three tours in Iraq with the U.S. military.

The Dallas transit agency identified three of its officers who were injured but are expected to survive.

“As you can imagine, our hearts are broken,” the agency said in a statement. “We are grateful to report the three other DART police officers shot during the protest are expected to recover from their injuries.”

These three officers were named as Omar Cannon, 44; Misty McBride, 32; and Jesus Retana, 39. Tela Strickland, McBride’s 14-year-old cousin, reacted with “shock” to news that her relative was shot in the stomach and shoulder.

“I am so tired of seeing shootings in the news,” she told The Post. “When you see your own family in the news, it’s heartbreaking.”

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DART grieving the loss of Ofc Brent Thompson, 43, killed during Thurs protest. First DART officer killed in line of duty. Joined DART 2009.
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Even as people were still trying to hide or shelter in place after the gunfire, videos began to circulate on social media showing some of the bloodshed.

One video showed a person with an assault-style rifle shoot a police officer in the back at point-blank range. In the footage, a gunman is seen running up behind an officer moving behind a pillar and firing at his back. The officer is seen falling to the ground. It is unclear if the officer survived.

Eyewitness video: Dallas gunman shoots police officer Play Video1:47
Brown had said during one briefing that he was not sure if there were more suspects at large. On Friday, Brown said he would not go into any detail on other suspects until authorities get further into their investigation.

“We’re not expanding on who and how many,” he said. “We’re going to keep these suspects guessing.”

[Killings and racial tensions commingle with divided and divisive politics]

At one point, Brown had said he believed four suspects were “working together with rifles triangulated at elevated positions at different points in the downtown area” where the march was taking place.

“Suspects like this just have to be right once … to snipe at officers from elevated position and ambush them from secret positions,” Brown said Friday. He added that despite the danger, officers “with no chance to protect themselves … put themselves in harm’s way to make sure citizens can get to a safe place.”

Two possible suspects were seen climbing into a black Mercedes with a camouflage bag before speeding off, police said. They were apprehended in the Oak Cliff neighborhood of Dallas. A third possible suspect, a woman, was taken into custody near a garage where the attacker who exchanged gunfire with police wound up.

Brown said it was unclear if any of the suspects were somehow connected to the protest. He added that detectives were investigating that possibility.

“All I know is this must stop, this divisiveness between our police and our citizens,” he said.

[Police nationwide order officers to ride in pairs after Dallas police ambush]

On Friday, Rawlings, the mayor, said that he believed the country had to honestly confront racial discrimination.

“We will not shy away from the very real fact that we as city, as a state, as a nation are struggling with racial issues,” he said during a prayer vigil.

After the shooting in Dallas, police officers and agencies across the country offered their condolences and took steps to protect their officers.

Police chiefs in Washington, Los Angeles County, Boston, Nassau County and St. Louis also had instructed their patrol officers to pair up, as did officials in Las Vegas, where two officers were gunned down in an ambush while eating lunch in 2014, and New York, where two officers were killed in another ambush that same year.

Terry Cunningham, the president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the chief of police in Wellesley, Mass., said Friday, that officers nationwide “really are going to have to have vigilance. Any traffic stop, at any time, can be deadly. I don’t know what this means. I don’t know if this means more violence perpetrated toward law enforcement as a result of this.”

Officials in Tennessee said Friday that they believed a man who opened fire on a parkway there before exchanging gunshots with police may have been prompted by concerns over encounters involving police and black Americans.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said that Lakeem Keon Scott, 37, the suspected shooter in that case, had killed one woman driving in her car, wounded two other people and shot a Bristol, Tenn., police officer in the leg before officers shot and wounded him.

“Preliminarily, the investigation reveals Scott may have targeted individuals and officers after being troubled by recent incidents involving African-Americans and law enforcement officers in other parts of the country,” the agency said in a statement. They added that there was no current safety threat to the area and that the investigation suggested that Scott had worked alone.

[Minn. governor says race played role in fatal police shooting during traffic stop]

The mass shooting in Dallas comes amid intense scrutiny of police officers and how they use deadly force, an issue that returned to prominence in the news this week after videos circulated of a fatal shooting in Baton Rouge, La., and the aftermath of another in Minnesota. On Tuesday morning, Alton Sterling was fatally shot by police in Baton Rouge; less than 48 hours later, Philando Castile was fatally shot by an officer in Minnesota.

President Obama, who after arriving in Warsaw discussed how troubling the events in Minnesota and Louisiana were, spoke about the Dallas attack and said there was “no possible justification” for the shooting in the city.

“I believe that I speak for every single American when I say that we are horrified over these events,” Obama said.

He called on Americans to “profess our profound gratitude to the men and women in blue” and to remember the victims in particular.

“Today, our focus is on the victims and their families,” Obama said. “They are heartbroken, and the entire city of Dallas is grieving. Police across America, which is a tight-knit family, feels this loss to their core.”

Officials across the country expressed their grief for those killed in Dallas.

“I mourn for the officers shot while doing their sacred duty to protect peaceful protesters, for their families [and] all who serve with them,” Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, wrote in a message on Twitter. Her likely Republican opponent, Donald J. Trump, called the shooting “a coordinated, premeditated assault on the men and women who keep us safe.”

Amidst protests, police heroics

Stories of heroism emerged along with tales of horror. Several people said officers helped save them, including one man who said an officer pushed him out of the way as shooting began. Bystanders captured footage of cops dragging fallen comrades out of the line of fire. Cameras also captured police officers choking back tears for their fallen colleagues. One officer appeared to brace himself against his SUV as grief overcame him.

“So many stories of great courage,” Brown said.

Dallas Police respond after shots were fired at a Black Lives Matter rally in downtown Dallas on Thursday, July 7, 2016. Dallas protestors rallied in the aftermath of the killing of Alton Sterling by police officers in Baton Rouge, La. and Philando Castile, who was killed by police less than 48 hours later in Minnesota. (Smiley N. Pool/The Dallas Morning News)
Rawlings said it was “a heartbreaking morning” and called for unity.

“We as a city, we as a country, must come together and lock arms and heal the wounds we all feel,” he said.

As in other cities across the country, protesters gathered in downtown Dallas just before 7 p.m. for a march from Belo Garden Park to the Old Red Courthouse.

For nearly two hours, hundreds of demonstrators had marched through Dallas, at one point passing near a memorial plaza marking the site of President John F. Kennedy’s 1963 assassination in the city.

[Dallas witness: ‘Everybody seemed happy. And then, all of a sudden — the shots rang out.’]

Stanley Brown, 19, was near El Centro, a community college in downtown, when the shooting began.

“You could hear the bullets whizzing by our car and hitting the buildings. A bullet missed our car by six feet,” he said. “We pulled into a garage and got out of our car, and the bullets started hitting the walls of the garage.”

Brown ran around the corner of a building to take cover, only to see a gunman running up the street.

“He was ducking and dodging, and when police approached, he ducked into El Centro,” he said.

He saw a SWAT team rush the college building, enabling five people to escape.

“An officer looked back at us and yelled that it was a terrorist attack,” he said.

Lynn Mays said he was standing on Lamar Street when the shooting began.

“All of a sudden we started hearing gunshots out of nowhere,” he told the Dallas Morning News. “At first we couldn’t identify it because we weren’t expecting it, then we started hearing more, rapid fire. One police officer who was standing there pushed me out the way because it was coming our direction…. Next thing you know we heard ‘officer down.’”

Undercover and uniformed police officers started running around the corner and “froze,” Mays said. “Police officers started shooting in one direction, and whoever was shooting started shooting back.

“And that’s where the war began.”

Wan and Berman reported from Washington. Greg Jaffe in Warsaw and Michael E. Miller, Travis M. Andrews, Adam Goldman, Katie Mettler, Ben Guarino, Mary Hui, Tom Jackman, Peter Hermann and Thomas Gibbons-Neff in Washington contributed to this report.

Dallas
Read more:

Two years after Ferguson, fatal shootings by police are up

The Post’s database of fatal police shootings

The Dallas sniper attack was the deadliest event for police since 9/11

THE LOST MAN – BODY OF EVIDENCE

Extremely intriguing case… I wouldn’t have minded working this myself.

 

The Lost Man

In 1948, a man was found on a beach in South Australia. The mysterious circumstances of his death have captivated generations of true-crime fanatics. Today, one amateur sleuth has come close to solving the case — and upended his life in the process.

By Graeme Wood

By the time anyone noticed that he hadn’t moved in at least five hours, the man on Somerton Beach must have started giving off fumes. It was about 6:30 a.m. on December 1, 1948, at the beginning of the Australian summer, and he did not look like the kind of man to sleep in the sand.

He was in his mid-40s. He wore a nice suit, with a necktie whose stripes slanted down from right to left. The labels had been removed from his clothing. His leather shoes were molded to his irregular feet, which one man who saw the body called “wedge-shaped.”

<p>Somerton Beach around 6:30 a.m., the time at which the man&rsquo;s body was found</p>
Somerton Beach around 6:30 a.m., the time at which the man’s body was found

No one who came to the morgue to view the dead man could identify him. In his pockets, the coroner found a packet of cigarettes (Kensitas brand, though the packet that contained them was Army Club), two combs, and public-transport­ation receipts indicating that he had come by bus from Adelaide’s railway station the day before he was found.

The man had unusually developed calf muscles, with a pronounced bulge near the knee. The coroner said these were characteristic of a dancer or someone who wears high heels. His teeth were odd: His sharp canines had grown in right next to his front teeth; his lateral incisors were missing. The medical report noted that his liver was full of blood and his spleen enlarged, but his official cause of death remained undetermined. The pathologist wrote “probably caused by poison” on the initial report, and a local expert suggested two readily available and undetectable poisons that could have killed him. The death was investigated as a possible murder.

<p>Tucked in one of the man&rsquo;s pockets was a piece of paper printed with the words <em>Tam&aacute;m Shud</em>, which mean <em>The End</em>.</p>
Tucked in one of the man’s pockets was a piece of paper printed with the words Tamám Shud, which mean The End.

Only weeks later did the coroner’s office search the man’s clothes more thoroughly and find, in a small inner pocket of his waistband — some characterized it as a secret pocket — a tightly rolled piece of paper printed with the words Tamám Shud. Within a few days, the police figured out that these words appear untranslated at the end of the Edward FitzGerald translation of the Rubáiyát, by the 11th-century Persian poet Omar Khayyám. In the poem’s original Persian, they mean It’s Finished, or The End.

In July, a local businessman told the cops that around the time of the man’s death, he found a copy of the Rubáiyát in the back seat of his car. Someone had tossed it through an open window — and, yes, the last two words had been raggedly excised. More intriguing, though, were the scribblings on the book’s back cover —

wrgoababd

mliaoi

wtbimpanetp

mliaboaiaqc

ittmtsamstgab

— and, with them, a phone number.

The letters resisted decoding, but the phone number led the police to the doorstep of a young nurse-in-training named Jo. They asked whether she knew a missing man, and when she said no, they asked if she had given away a Rubáiyát recently. She had, but the recipient turned out to be alive and well. They prevailed upon her to visit the morgue anyway. When she saw a plaster cast of the man’s body, which had by that point been buried, she nearly fainted. She maintained that she didn’t know him, and she refused to speak of the incident again.

<p>A message ripped out of a book by an 11th-century Persian poet was found in a hidden pocket.</p>
A message ripped out of a book by an 11th-century Persian poet was found in a hidden pocket.

Another line of evidence stemmed from a suitcase left at the luggage counter of the train station on the day of the dead man’s canceled bus ticket and never collected. Inside were neatly folded clothes, a stencil kit, and thread that matched a small repair on the man’s suit. The suitcase contained a few days’ worth of clothes — again with the labels ripped off — but no socks.

Someone looked at the stitching and determined that the machine used was not yet available in Australia: The man had probably traveled to America or at least owned clothing from someone who had. Speculation ensued. Not far away was the Woomera Range, a secret missile-testing site. The dead man could have been Soviet or American — but probably not Australian, because the case had quickly gone national, and someone would have seen his picture and recognized him. Soon he was widely suspected of being a spy.

Nearly 70 years after the body of the “Somerton Man” was interred at West Terrace Cemetery, the case has become part of the Australian national mythos. It is still a mystery, like the identity of Jack the Ripper in England or the fate of Jimmy Hoffa in the U.S. Tabloids in Australia take note whenever some amateur sleuth comes up with a new theory, no matter how crazy, and would-be detectives around the world take turns trying to solve the case. One by one, they examine the clues and, like Arthur with the sword in the stone, jiggle the puzzle’s hilt. Most give up and assume it will be stuck forever.

<p>Adelaide&rsquo;s railway station, where the Somerton Man&rsquo;s suitcase was found</p>
Adelaide’s railway station, where the Somerton Man’s suitcase was found

“BY NOW THEY might know me,” Derek Abbott said, glancing around the Somerton cemetery for the groundskeepers. On December 1, 2014, 66 years to the day after the Somerton Man’s demise, Abbott, a physicist and engineer at the University of Adelaide, was taking me to his grave. For years, someone had placed flowers on it; some said it was the nurse. The original letters on the gravestone had become loose, and a few had fallen on the ground. We picked through the pebbles in the blazing sun, finding chunks of alphabet that we plugged back into the small headstone until it read: here lies the unknown man who was found at somerton beach 1st dec. 1948.

Of all the amateur detectives who have dedicated themselves to the mystery — including a postman in New South Wales who has claimed the Somerton Man was a Russian spy, another man who thinks he is the American big-band leader Glenn Miller, and a number of internet oddballs who specialize in magnifying the letters of the code and seeing micro-writing that isn’t really there — Abbott is the most devoted. He has become a celebrity among followers of the case — his Reddit “Ask Me Anything” last year yielded nearly 500 questions and answers — and sees his role partly as keeping wilder speculation in check. “As a scientist, you’re taught to be dispassionate,” he told me. “You’re not supposed to get crazy when your pet theory turns out to be unlikely.”

But some of Abbott’s fellow investigators think his obsessions and celebrity have led him astray and turned him into a Pied Piper of true-crime nerds. “Abbott is like a dog with a bone,” says Gerry Feltus, a retired Adelaide homicide detective who is his main rival. “If he weren’t such an educated man, he’d make an excellent busker.”

<p>Derek Abbott at the Somerton Man&rsquo;s grave</p>
Derek Abbott at the Somerton Man’s grave

Abbott, 55 years old and with thinning dark hair, is gainfully employed, although over several days in Adelaide, his free time to discuss this case appeared almost limitless. He drove me around in hissuv, which had multiple child car seats fastened in the back for his three young children. (He also has two grown daughters and a son from a prior marriage.) Obsessions tend to find Abbott. He has, by his own account, been happily consumed by them since he was a child in London. Many were scientific: At the age of 10, he says, he requested a copy of theBritish Pharmacopoeia, a technical manual of pharmacology. At 15, he began traveling all over London and researching the history of old lampposts and letter boxes. His demeanor is distinctly professorial, though not in an absent-minded way. He talks slowly, with an engineer’s precision, and favors nice suits over tattered tweed, even in the Australian summer heat.

“It’s a bit like Phoenix,” Abbott said, a little apologetically, as we drove through his city. When the beach isn’t in sight, the comparison feels about right: Adelaide and its environs are mostly flat and arid, with the suburbs giving way to desert. Even its urban grid recalls the American Sun Belt, with orderly streets characteristic of a place whose city fathers left nothing to chance. Unlike other areas of Australia, Adelaide was settled exclusively by free British colonists, not by convicts. When planning the city in 1837, its founders didn’t bother to set aside space or resources for a jail, reasoning that it wouldn’t be necessary for a population of honorable women and men.

But to understand the So­­merton Man case, Abbott told me, “you do have to know that Adelaide has a reputation for these things.” Ruth Balint, an Australian cultural historian, put it more bluntly: “It’s a city of churches and of weird, sick murders.” When Salman Rushdie visited Adelaide in 1984, he called it “the ideal setting for a Stephen King novel, or horror film.”

<p>The man carried an Army Club cigarette pack, but the brand inside was Kensitas.</p>
The man carried an Army Club cigarette pack, but the brand inside was Kensitas.

Adelaide’s homicide rate isn’t abnormally high, but what it lacks in volume it more than compensates for in creepiness. The city has become known as Australia’s “murder capital,” the site of a string of gruesome serial killings and mysterious disappearances. In 1966, three young siblings disappeared and were presumed kidnapped after a trip to Glenelg Beach, near Somerton; they were never found. In the 1970s and 1980s, a shadowy group of upstanding, professional citizens of Adelaide, known as the Family, drugged, sexually abused, and murdered young men; those crimes were never fully solved either. Last year, police in South Australiaannounced $13 million in reward money for information about the murders or disappearances of 18 children between 1966 and 2000.

In 2003, during the investigation of another grisly set of killings known as the Snowtown or “bodies-in-­barrels” murders, local detectives approached Abbott and asked him to examine the unusual characteristics of one of the 12 victims’ hair. The detectives had found tiny ­bubble-shaped articulations at the tips, and they wanted an electrical engineer to determine whether the deceased had been electrocuted. “I tried electrocuting samples of my own hair,” Abbott said, “and I found that the only thing that would do that is heat.” The body had been cooked, not electrocuted.

 Thrilled by his small contribution to the prosecution’s case, Abbott remembered an article he’d read about the Somerton mystery in 1995, in a magazine he picked up at a laundromat. “There’s something in this that stuck in my mind — something haunting,” he said. He was, in part, troubled by the inconsistencies and contradictions. “There were so many loose ends. And there was something sad about it — something desolate about a man dying alone,” without anyone to mourn him or even to confirm that he ever lived.

<p>Abbott&rsquo;s desk, with documents related to the case</p>
Abbott’s desk, with documents related to the case

In 2007, Abbott began investigating the case. He eventually turned to Facebook and like-minded obsessives around the world to track down facts that in previous eras might have taken Holmesian knowledge or resourcefulness. Take the necktie. The direction of the stripes turns out to be significant because Commonwealth tie makers and American tie makers slanted their stripes in different directions: The Somerton Man wore an American tie, a rarity in Australia at the time. Other clues have led Abbott to look up, say, the record-keeping habits of laundry services in mid-size Australian cities in 1948 or the price of various tobacco brands. Sometimes this information yields faint clues to the Somerton Man’s story. Most often it reveals how far from the truth Abbott remains and produces only more questions. Someone suggested that the Rubáiyátwas a book cipher — a spy codebook — setting in motion an eerily difficult quest to find an identical copy and test it against the code. (The cops threw away the original at some point during the 1950s.) No identical copy could be found. It appeared that the Somerton Man’sRubáiyát was unique and published by a company in the habit of issuing, for obscure reasons, one Rubáiyát at a time.

<p>The labels of the man&rsquo;s clothing were torn out.</p>
The labels of the man’s clothing were torn out.

On the hunch that the Rubáiyát was being used as a book cipher, Facebook group members combed Australian newspapers for stories about other men who died unnaturally, accompanied by a Rubáiyát. Incredibly, they found one, an immigrant named George Marshall who poisoned himself with barbiturates and died with a Rubáiyát next to him in Sydney. It was not the same edition as the Somerton version. Instead, it was identified as a seventh edition published by Methuen, a London-based press. The interest would have ended there if Abbott hadn’t tried to find a Methuen seventh edition of the Rubáiyát and discovered that the company never published any edition beyond the fifth.

Abbott’s code-breaking efforts, for which he initially held high hopes, stagnated. He tried to solve the code by treating it as a substitution cipher, in which every letter stands for another. He has tested that theory with computational models and conclusively ruled it out. He tried to determine if the letters were random, and even at one point had his students drink beer and write down random letters in progressive stages of inebriation to see if the letters resembled the patterns of those in the code. They did not.

So far, he has excluded, with mathematical certainty, a whole range of standard code types — 40 types of known cipher. Recently he’s been testing another theory, first put forward by Navy cryptographers in 1949. The frequency of occurrence of letters on the Rubáiyát’s back cover fits unusually well the frequency of occurrence of the initial letters of English words. Abbott now thinks that the code is not a code at all, but a series of letters someone — perhaps the Somerton Man — wrote in order to commit something to memory. The first five letters — wrgoa — could, on this hypothesis, have just been a reminder to buy watermelon, rice, grapes, oats, and artichokes. Abbott tested the initial-letter hypothesis against samples of text from more than 30 languages, and English repeatedly surfaced as the best statistical fit. But of course, to know what the letters stood for, we’d have to ask their author.

<p>Abbott in his office at the University of Adelaide</p>
Abbott in his office at the University of Adelaide

FOR YEARS, the person roundly suspected of knowing more than she let on was Jo, the nurse. But she said nothing. The news stories around the time of her questioning did not name her, declining to sully the reputation of a respectable young woman by associating her with the corpse of a drifter. But the story of her swooning has interested everyone who has looked into the Somerton Man mystery. Gerry Feltus, the retired cop who wrote a book about the case, interviewed Jo before she died in 2007 and is sure she knew something. He says she was “evasive” under questioning and went to great efforts to avoid attention. “Every time this case had a big blast of publicity, she either disappeared on holiday or changed addresses,” Feltus says.

In 2009, Abbott began hunting down Jo’s acquaintances and surviving family members — at first just to find out whether she confessed anything, but later to see whether they could offer any clues at all. In time, he was able to construct a year-by-year — and sometimes month-by-month — chronology of her life: where she lived, whom she knew, what she talked about, and what she avoided.

<p>Jo Thomson with her son, Robin, circa 1948</p>
Jo Thomson with her son, Robin, circa 1948

Jo was born Jessica Harkness in 1921, outside Sydney. About her childhood little is known: She cut off ties with her parents and rarely spoke of them. She took up with a car salesman, Prosper Thomson, and had a child, Robin Thomson, in 1947. She and Prosper hadn’t yet married — he had recently divorced his previous wife, and Australian law didn’t permit remarriage until a cooling-off period had passed — but they wed in 1948. She raised their two children through the 1950s, then began work as a nurse.

Her association with the Somerton Man has led some to speculate that she was a Communist spymaster posing as a housewife. One friend claimed she spoke Russian. Abbott dismisses these allegations. She was “a free spirit,” he said, “a slightly airheaded, arty type.” She and her husband seemed mismatched in some ways, with Prosper obsessed with cars and his wife interested in art, and some people I spoke with, including Abbott, suspected that they were not physically intimate, though they remained married until Prosper’s death in 1995.

Abbott didn’t focus on the Jo angle until after both she and her son, Robin, had died. But he hunted Robin’s story down with almost as much fervor as Jo’s — even though Robin was only a year old when the Somerton Man died — and learned that Robin had likely lived his whole life unaware of his mother’s role in the mystery.

Abbott fixated on one detail of Robin’s life: When he was a small boy, his mother signed him up for dance lessons. Robin took to dancing naturally and flourished — first as an amateur and ultimately as a member of the Australian Ballet. Abbott reminded me: “The Somerton Man had those oddly shaped calf muscles — so bulbous and defined that the coroner marveled at them.” Abbott stressed their dancer-like definition. One effort to identify the man even focused on looking for missing Australian dancers.

<p>The man&rsquo;s tie was striped in a direction uncommon in Australia at the time.</p>
The man’s tie was striped in a direction uncommon in Australia at the time.

Was Jo pushing her son into the Somerton Man’s line of work? To Abbott, this coincidence was irresistibly suggestive, and he now believes a theory that might propel the Somerton mystery into the realm of solvability: that the man was Jo’s secret lover, and Robin Thomson their son. Another fact that Abbott cites as support for this idea is that Robin had a rare anatomical abnormality: He never grew lateral incisors, so his canine teeth, like the Somerton Man’s, abutted his front teeth.

Abbott cautiously tested this theory by writing a letter to Roma Egan, a dancer in the Australian Ballet who was married to Robin Thomson from 1968 to 1974. Abbott enclosed a picture of the Somerton Man and asked if she knew any dancers who looked like him. Roma wrote back saying that the corpse resembled her ex-husband. She also told Abbott, darkly, that her ex-mother-in-law had been a woman with secrets, and that Jo — like the young Abbott — had an obsession with pharmacology.

Abbott convinced Roma of his theory and enlisted her support in a legal crusade for permission to dig up the Somerton Man’s body and test his dna. By adding the dna to a few databases, they might even be able to find a distant relative and, working backward, identify the Somerton Man. (Robin Thomson had one younger sister, Kate, who opposes Abbott’s exhumation campaign. She declined to be interviewed for this story.)

Abbott has twice petitioned the government of South Australia to discuss exhuming the Somerton Man and twice been denied, on the grounds that obsessive curiosity does not justify disturbing human remains. He plans to resubmit his request.

ABBOTT WARNED ME not to tell Feltus, the ex–homicide detective, that I had been meeting with him. “He hates my guts,” Abbott said, accurately. They both spend vast amounts of time tracking the same clues, collecting the same Rubáiyáts, and scrutinizing the same grainy photos. But the two do not speak. Feltus regards Abbott as a grade-A pest and a bane of serious investigators. “If this were a different era, I could see him in a chuck wagon going through Indian territory, selling moonshine, and being left alone because he’d look half-crazy,” he told me.

Feltus, who’s 72, grew up in the countryside outside Adelaide. Before retiring in 2004, he was one of the city’s top murder investigators. He has an easy, earthy Australian vibe, more open and informal than Abbott, and the mottled complexion of someone who has spent a lot of time outdoors. He had heard of the Somerton case as a young boy, and after years on the force he investigated it as a hobby, despite warnings from colleagues that it would lead only to madness.

<p>  	Gerry Feltus, a retired homicide detective in Adelaide</p>
Gerry Feltus, a retired homicide detective in Adelaide

Part of what irks Feltus about Abbott is his amateurism. Feltus spent 40 years hunting murderers and solved dozens of cases, whereas Abbott, he says, “came in in a blaze of glory, saying he was going to crack the code, solve a murder, and identify an unknown man.” One gets the sense, talking with Feltus, that acquaintance with death has made him reluctant to treat the dead as intellectual puzzles.

Consider the flowers left on the Somerton Man’s grave. Abbott had implied to me that they might have been Jo’s doing or that of some other mysterious figure who knew secrets. When I raised this theory with Feltus, he sighed. “If you spend much time in cemeteries, you get to know the graves around the graves of your loved ones, and you do your part to keep them respected,” he says. His own daughter died of an illness in her 30s, he told me. Her grave is near that of Megumi Suzuki, a Japanese exchange student who died in Adelaide. In 2001, Feltus found Suzuki’s body hydraulically compressed into a bale of trash, and he sent her murderer away for a life sentence. “If I’m going to the cemetery, I’ll sometimes place a flower on her grave, too,” he told me.

The gap between the two men’s approaches comes down to a difference in worldview. After decades of bearing witness to the evil that men do, Feltus seems to have accepted the investigative consequences of the Second Law of Thermodynamics — that the universe tends, over time, toward disorder. He knows that some cases cannot be solved. In his book about the Somerton Man, Feltus meticulously logs every interview, every piece of evidence gathered from police records and contemporary accounts. But he reaches no conclusion. Taken as a whole, the book is a striking documentation of one man’s bafflement.

<p>Stitching on the man&rsquo;s suit was performed by a machine not yet available in Australia.</p>
Stitching on the man’s suit was performed by a machine not yet available in Australia.

To Abbott, the idea that the answer might be lost is unacceptable, and Feltus’s comfort with uncertainty unnerves him. “Every time we met, one of his favorite jokes was to say, ‘It would be a real shame if the Somerton Man is identified because it would spoil a great mystery,’” Abbott told me. “He’s more wedded to the mystery than to the solution, and I’m the other way around.”

Feltus’s perspective is aided by age. As someone who was alive during the Somerton Man’s last years and remembers the upheaval of postwar Australia, he does not see the Somerton Man’s anonymity as unusual or mysterious. “There were lots of displaced people around,” Feltus says. “People were jumping ship, changing their names, becoming a whole new person.” Wartime rationing was still going on, and black marketeers had good reason to sneak around without identification.

Balint, the cultural historian, concurs. “[The Somerton Man] cuts a lonely figure, and people want to rescue him,” she says. “But we had lots of people like him: returned soldiers with shell shock, people who came back and were strangers to their own families. Some of them would just get up, disappear, and go on walkabouts.” Feltus’s hunch is that the Somerton Man was not a spy, but one of the thousands of socially isolated immigrants who drifted like tumbleweeds around Australia during those years.

That, he says, is where the trail must end. He has known victims’ families and has an aversion to disturbing the dead — either physically, by exhuming their remains, or spiritually, by speculating about the dramas that consumed their living days.

<p>Jo Thomson&rsquo;s former house in Adelaide</p>
Jo Thomson’s former house in Adelaide

ABBOTT SPOKE GARRULOUSLY about his investigation. But he was also guarded. I came to wonder how his obsession with the Somerton case affected his work at the university or, for that matter, his home life. The child seats sat empty in the back of his suv as he drove me from site to site, yet he never mentioned his kids or their mother, nor how they felt about his all-consuming project.

Only after I’d left Adelaide did another question present itself: If he succeeded in extracting the Somerton Man’s dna, what would he compare it to? The whole point was to prove that the man was Robin Thomson’s father, but Robin is dead. Did he have living descendants?

Robin did, it turns out, have one daughter, with Roma Egan. Rachel Rebecca Egan had appeared with Abbott on television in 2013, endorsing the exhumation effort, but he had never mentioned her to me. I looked her up.

Rachel was born in 1967 in New Zealand and put up for adoption by her parents, who were touring with the Royal New Zealand Ballet. She reconnected with them as a young woman, eventually settling in Brisbane with Roma. On Facebook, her likes included various ballet-related pages, the work of a Brisbane painter, and a store for baby clothes. There were also some photos, which have since been removed, including a series of Rachel, with the same round, blond-ringed face as her mother, holding a baby. Standing next to her in one of the photos was a bemused-looking man wearing a proud paternal expression: Derek Abbott.

I blinked. Abbott had been generous with his time and, it seemed, information. But this detail — his having possibly tangled his own dnawith the Somerton Man’s — was a noteworthy omission. I reran all our conversations in my head, preparing to press him if he tried to evade the topic.

But when I called Abbott, he immediately and sheepishly confessed. In June 2010, he said, he’d mailed Roma, then living in Brisbane, his letter asking about dancers she might have known who resembled the Somerton Man. When he went to interview her, he met Rachel, who was living with Roma and working as a schoolteacher. Rachel was completely unaware of her father’s Somerton connection, Abbott said, and was at first skeptical of Abbott’s theory. To Abbott himself, however, she was immediately attracted. “We just hit it off, I guess, and it all happened from there,” he said. They married about four months later and, in the four and a half years since, have had three children. Rachel and Roma moved to Adelaide, and now Abbott’s crusade to dig up Rachel’s presumed grandfather has become a family affair.

<p>  	Rachel Egan (<em>left</em>) and her mother, Roma, at home with Rachel&rsquo;s son, George</p>
Rachel Egan (left) and her mother, Roma, at home with Rachel’s son, George

Rachel, 47, says she still finds all this “surreal” and is not sure how an idea she first wrote off as one of her mother’s conspiracy theories has led, in less than five years, to her being a married mother of three — with the Somerton Man “playing cupid from beyond the grave.”

Abbott also seems flummoxed by the development, his normally analytical mind stuck in neutral when pressed to explain. “It was a whirlwind marriage, and we’re still trying to process all this and figure out the consequences,” he told me. “I haven’t psychoanalyzed myself.” When I asked why he hadn’t told me about his personal connection to the case, he said that he and Rachel both worried about the Australian tabloids fixating on their young family.

<p>A bus ticket suggested he&rsquo;d recently arrived at Adelaide&rsquo;s train station.</p>
A bus ticket suggested he’d recently arrived at Adelaide’s train station.

As he spoke, uncomfortable as the investigated rather than the investigator, questions clamored in my mind. Did he marry the woman or the mystery? Was there not at least a touch of the uncanny — a secret love in Adelaide, six and a half decades after the Somerton Man’s own possible covert romance, with the woman Abbott believed to be the Somerton Man’s granddaughter? Had his obsession burrowed so deeply into his brain that he had subconsciously written himself into the mystery?

But Abbott was uncharacteristically blank, for once unwilling to speculate. “I didn’t want it to look like I married some chick just so I could exhume a body,” he said. “I really do love her.”

Feltus, of course, delights in this. “Abbott is a strange bird, with a sick sense of humor,” he told me. “He would think that would be a great joke, wouldn’t he?”

This case’s final irony is not lost on either Abbott or Feltus. We may never know what happened to the Somerton Man, not because witnesses have died and evidence has disintegrated, but because knowing would require an understanding of his inner life, something that cannot be deduced.

“When I look at the case,” Abbott told me, “I think, ‘If only [Jo] behaved normally and told the police everything, we wouldn’t have this mystery.’ But then I wouldn’t be married. Maybe that’s just the way it’s all meant to happen.”

Abbott still wants to dig up the Somerton Man’s body, extract his dna, and prove his theory once and for all. “But in a sense it doesn’t matter,” he admitted. “The Somerton Man has given birth to three children for me, and he will always be their great-grandfather in some way. That, I suppose, gives a sense of closure.”

WITHOUT GOD from DIVINE SOPHIA

Without God man is a complete cipher, endless in his ambitions, but with only one aim –

himself.

BOKO HORRENDOUS

Why we don’t put together a coalition force and go in and entirely liquidate these thugees I have no idea.

But I would liquidate them with extreme prejudice. Immediately.

The horrific aftermath of Boko Haram massacre on Nigerian villages: Before and after satellite images lay bare destruction caused by militants in attack that killed 2,500 people

  • Infra-red satellite images show destruction of ‘densely populated’ towns
  • One witness says terrorists shot and killed a woman who was in labour 
  • Estimated 2,500 people killed, and more than 3,700 structures were razed
  • Extremist group, Boko Haram, decimated towns of Baga and Doron Baga
  • One of the towns ‘nearly wiped off the map’, says Amnesty International 
  • Survivors describe fleeing over dead bodies of people ‘killed like insects’ 
  • WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT

The destruction wreaked by Islamist militants in Nigeria when they slaughtered an estimated 2,500 people including a woman while she was in labour has been revealed in shocking new satellite images.

Terror group Boko Haram outraged the world last week when they indiscriminately murdered innocent men, women and children as they attacked the towns of Baga and Doron Baga.

Now, new images obtained by Amnesty International show how the towns were devastated by the assault – with more than 3,700 structures including houses and schools completely destroyed.

Scroll down for video 

Before: Infra-red images show the densely populated village of Doron Baga on January 2 - before the attack

Before: Infra-red images show the densely populated village of Doron Baga on January 2 – before the attack

After: This image taken on January 7, following Boko Haram's assault, shows the village transformed by death and destruction

After: This image taken on January 7, following Boko Haram’s assault, shows the village transformed by death and destruction

Destruction: It's estimated that 2,500 people were killed and more than 3,000 buildings were razed to the ground

Destruction: It’s estimated that 2,500 people were killed and more than 3,000 buildings were razed to the ground

In the pictures taken beforehand, the areas in red show buildings and trees in the densely packed towns in the north of the country.

But in the pictures taken after the massacre, they have been decimated and the infra-red satellite images instead reveal grey areas where the militants savagely razed the towns.

The destruction shown in these images matches the horrific stories from eyewitnesses revealing how Boko Haram militants shot hundreds of civilians in cold blood.

One witness described how the ruthless terror group were shooting indiscriminately, killing even small children and a woman who was in labour.

He added: ‘Half of the baby boy is out and she died like this.’

Ibrahim Gambo, a 25-year-old truck driver, survived the relentless attack in Baga but he still doesn’t know if his wife and daughter are safe.

He said: ‘As we were running for our lives, we came across many corpses, both men and women, and even children.

‘Some had gunshot wounds in the head and some had their legs bound and hands tied behind their backs.’

Yahaya Takakumi, a 55-year-old farmer, revealed to Nigeria’s Premium Times how he managed to flee Baga with one of his wives – but does not know if his four children, his second wife or his elder brother managed to escape.

He said: ‘We saw dead bodies especially, on the islands of Lake Chad where fishermen had settled. Several persons were killed there like insects.’

Mr Takakumi said the Islamic extremists opened fire on vessels carrying fleeing residents across the lake.

Daniel Eyre, Nigeria researcher for Amnesty International, said this was the ‘largest and most destructive’ Boko Haram assault his organisation has ever analysed.

He added: ‘These detailed images show devastation of catastrophic proportions in two towns, one of which was almost wiped off the map in the space of four days.

‘It represents a deliberate attack on civilians whose homes, clinics and schools are now burnt out ruins.

Turmoil: map showing Nigeria and the location of Baga which was devastated by brutal Boko Haram fanatics

Turmoil: map showing Nigeria and the location of Baga which was devastated by brutal Boko Haram fanatics

Wave of terror: The yellow dots in this satellite image, taken after Boko Haram's onslaught on Baga, show around 620 structures damaged in the attack

Wave of terror: The yellow dots in this satellite image, taken after Boko Haram’s onslaught on Baga, show around 620 structures damaged in the attack

Razed: A similar image shows the compete destruction of the neighbouring village of Doron Baga - also known as Doro Gowon

Razed: A similar image shows the compete destruction of the neighbouring village of Doron Baga – also known as Doro Gowon

‘Up until now, the isolation of the Baga, combined with the fact that Boko Haram remains in control of the area, has meant that it has been very difficult to verify what happened there.

‘Residents have not been able to return to bury the dead, let alone count their number. But through these satellite images combined with graphic testimonies a picture of what is likely to be Boko Haram’s deadliest attack ever is becoming clearer.’

BOKO HAREM’S TRAIL OF MURDER AND MAYHEM ACROSS NIGERIA 

February 2014: The Jihadist group raided the Nigerian village of Izghe in the north of the country and murdered dozens – before going door-to-door and killing anyone they came across.

April 2014: Nearly 300 schoolgirls are abducted from the town of Chibok, which Boko Haram burned to the ground.

August 2014: The terror group kidnapped at least 97 people during raids on villages in Borno State. They killed 28 boys and men.

November 2014: 120 people killed in a bomb attack on a central Mosque in Kano – the principal city of northern Nigeria.

January 4, 2015: Boko Haram kidnaps 40 boys and young men, believed to be aged ten to 23, from a village in the Nigerian state of Borno.

Experts have estimated the brutal assault killed more than 2,000 people with reports of locals running over dead bodies to escape the carnage.

Another survivor – a man in his fifties – told Amnesty: ‘They killed so many people. I saw maybe around 100 killed at that time in Baga. I ran to the bush. As we were running, they were shooting and killing.’

He hid in the bush and was later discovered by Boko Haram fighters, who detained him in Doron Baga for four days.

Those who fled describe seeing many more corpses in the surrounding bush area, and one woman said: ‘I don’t know how many, but there were bodies everywhere we looked.’

In Baga, a densely populated town less than two square kilometres in size, approximately 620 structures were damaged or completely destroyed by fire.

And in Doron Baga, more than 3,100 structures were damaged or destroyed by fire that ravaged most of the four square kilometre town.

Mr Eyre added: ‘This week, Nigeria’s Director of Defence Information stated that the number of people killed in Baga, including Boko Haram fighters, ‘has so far not exceeded about 150’.

‘These images, together with the stories of those who survived the attack, suggest that the final death toll could be much higher than this figure.’

Boko Haram fighters have repeatedly targeted communities for their perceived collaboration with the security forces.

Thousands of people have fled the violence across the border to Chad and to other parts of Nigeria.

Many of the wooden fishing boats along the shoreline, visible in the images taken on January 2, are no longer present in January 7 images – tallying with eye witnesses’ testimony that desperate residents fled by boat across Lake Chad.

Amnesty are calling on Boko Haram to stop killing civilians. They insist the deliberate slaughter of of civilians and destruction of their property by Boko Haram are war crimes and crimes against humanity and must be duly investigated.

They are calling for the Nigerian government should take all possible legal steps to restore security in the north-east and ensure protections of civilians.

Boko Haram drew international condemnation when its fighters kidnapped 276 schoolgirls from a boarding school in north-east Chibok last year. Dozens escaped, but 219 remain missing.

THE ‘MAD’ BOKO HAREM JIHADI LEADER WHO’S OVERSEEN THE SLAUGHTER OF 16,000

The man orchestrating the deadly Boko Haram massacres in Nigeria is a boastful lunatic who revels in slaughter and chaos and is a ‘master of disguise’.

Bloodthirsty Abubakar Shekau is one of the world’s most wanted men, with American authorities putting a $7million bounty on his head.

Master of disguise: Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau points at the camera as he delivers one of his regular fanatical rants to the world

Master of disguise: Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau points at the camera as he delivers one of his regular fanatical rants to the world

Shekau – said to be to fluent in four languages – also operates under a variety of different names which has only increased the mystery surrounding his true identity.

The elusive Islamist fanatic has led his brutal Boko Haram militants since 2009 into war in Africa, killing more than an estimated 16,225 people in that time.

The latest outrage he has led was the massacre of an estimated 2,500 people in northern Nigeria when his thugs razed two towns.

Last week, the terror group shocked the world when they are believed to have used girls as young as 10 as suicide bombers in two deadly attacks in northern Nigeria that killed at least 19 people.

Experts claim psychotic Shekau rarely communicates directly with members of the terror group and instead deals only with a handful of confidantes – much like former Al Qaeda terror chief Osama bin Laden.

Files on the US State Department of Justice claim he variously operates under identities that include Darul Tawheed, Abu Bakr Skikwa, Imam Abu Bakr Shiku, Abu Muhammad Abu Bakr Bin Muhammad Al Shakwi Al Muslimi Bishku and Abubakar Shakkau. 

The four languages he speaks are listed as Arabic, Hausa, Fulani and Kanuri. Even his age remains unknown, with predictions between 38 and 49 believed to be most accurate.

Shekau is believed to have a wife and three children, although their whereabouts also remain unknown. 

The Nigerian military has claimed several times to have killed the fanatic – only for him to appear in new videos proving he is still alive.

After one recent claim, he appeared in video to taunt the military’s claims and laughed: ‘Here I am, alive. I will only die the day Allah takes my breath.’ 

Boko Haram – which means ‘Western education is forbidden’ in Arabic – have shocked the world with their merciless slaughter of innocent men, woman and children across the north of Nigeria.

Shekau claimed leadership of the terror group in 2010, and was seen last week in a video praising the jihadists who murdered 17 people in the Paris attacks.

He has been variously described as ‘fearless’, a ‘gangster’ and a ‘loner’, which security sources believe give him an air of invincibility which makes him extremely dangerous.

The Terrorism Research and Analysis Consortium has described Shekau as a ‘religious intellectual, yet also a gangster and vigilante as well as a mad leader’. 

Under Shekau’s leadership, Boko Haram has continually targeted young children. In April 2014, Boko Haram kidnapped close to 300 girls from their school in northern Nigeria.

Innocent victims: Kidnapped schoolgirls are seen at an unknown location in this image taken from a video released by Boko Haram. The girls went missing in April 2014.

Innocent victims: Kidnapped schoolgirls are seen at an unknown location in this image taken from a video released by Boko Haram. The girls went missing in April 2014.

Support: Michelle Obama supported the #bringbackourgirls campaign after the kidnap

Support: Michelle Obama supported the #bringbackourgirls campaign after the kidnap

In a video message released three weeks later, Shekau claimed responsibility for the kidnappings, calling the girls slaves and threatening to sell them. 

Their disappearance prompted a social media campaign with #bringbackourgirls, which was supported by Michelle Obama, First Lady of the USA.

Rumours also abound that Shekau escaped from the Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital in the Nigerian city of Maiduguri during the 1990s.

The fanatic regularly appears in videos to taunt the Nigerian military over their failings to prevent his group’s killings.

In one of Shekau’s first videos, believed to have appeared online in 2012, the insurgent leader boasted of his bloodlust and said: ‘I enjoy killing…the way I enjoy slaughtering chickens and rams.’

It is believed the terrorist was born in Shekau village that borders Niger to poor farmer parents. They are then thought to have migrated south into northeast Nigeria.

A religious young man, he studied basic Islamic theology, before focusing on more hardline Sunni ideology and becoming a preacher.

In a 2012 interview, Grema Kawudima said Shekau was remembered as ‘an easy-going fellow who would exchange banter with people in the neighbourhood. He was popular…a local theology student’.

After his religious studies, he is then understood to have attended Borno State College of Legal and Islamic Studies for higher studies on Islam.

He became increasingly radicalised and seized control of Boko Harem after founder Mohammed Yusuf was killed in a security crackdown on the terror group in 2009.

Since then, Shekau has pursued a relentless campaign of terror as the group has strengthened its deadly grip in Nigeria.

History of violence: In December 2014, two female suicide bombers - allegedly under the instruction of Boko Haram - killed at least four people in a busy market in Nigeria's busiest city, Kano (pictured)

History of violence: In December 2014, two female suicide bombers – allegedly under the instruction of Boko Haram – killed at least four people in a busy market in Nigeria’s busiest city, Kano (pictured)