Newcomers to this blog are advised to begin with the first two posts, Just the Facts, Ma'am and Case Solved, which explain in very general terms why I believe I've solved this case. Some important questions are answered in the following post, Misunderstandings, Misconceptions, Misdirections. After that feel free to browse whatever topics might interest you (see blog archive).

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Sunday, July 29, 2018

Darlie Routier: part 2

As long time readers of this blog know, I have a healthy skepticism when it comes to criminal profiling. (I sometimes have to laugh out loud when watching a show like "Criminal Minds" -- it's comical to see how those people are always so sure of themselves). What all too often happens is that the person identified from the start as the most likely suspect is subject to intense scrutiny -- every word, every inflection, every gesture is probed for signs of deceit or pathology. And all too often, the old adage "seek and ye shall find" is borne out. If you are looking for signs that someone might be lying or contradicting himself or dissembling or acting you will very likely find them. I saw this over and over when following the Ramsey case investigation and yes, I find it in the Routier investigation as well.

Darlie claims that she suddenly "woke up" to see a man in dark shirt and jeans, presumably an intruder, running out of the family room and into the kitchen. She couldn't describe him very well as the lights were off and his back was turned. She said that she then followed him into the kitchen, where she saw him go into the utility room.

She said that he then dropped a knife, which she picks up and places on the kitchen counter. At some point she notices that she "had blood on me." She then returns to the family room, where she discovers her son Devon lying on the floor with his eyes wide open. The other son, Damon, was standing and she claims that she did not at first notice that he too had been attacked. She starts screaming, calls for her husband, Darin, who then appears out of nowhere apparently, because there is no mention in  her testimony of her seeing him run down the staircase. She then grabs the portable phone to call 911, and also heads for the sink to soak some towels, which she then places on Damon's back in an attempt to staunch the blood. She then sees Darin on the floor, trying to resuscitate Devon, but as he blows into Devon's mouth, blood pours out of his wounds. (The above description is based on the court transcript.)

The police arrive fairly promptly and an investigation begins. It doesn't take long before detectives report no sign of forced entry and no sign whatsoever of an intruder. At that point, naturally, all suspicion falls on Darlie, whose story does seem hard to believe. How is it possible for her to sleep through an attack during which her throat is slit? How convenient that the intruder had his back to her so she had no way of identifying him. How convenient that she picked up the murder weapon,  thus providing an excuse for her prints being on it. Fragments from a recently slit window screen are found on a kitchen knife, proof positive that it was she herself who slit that screen to stage an intruder entry point. Her demeanor is also cause for suspicion, as she doesn't seem sufficiently distraught. And a few days after the murder, when she is filmed smiling and laughing during a "birthday" party for Devon, that clinches it as far as the profilers are concerned, since no genuinely grieving mother would behave like that -- shortly after that incident she is arrested and charged with first degree murder.

As I've said, this is a case that has me stumped. If an intruder had been present, then some trace of his presence would almost have to be found, especially because this was a knife attack, which would in all likelihood have left him dripping with blood. On the other hand, I see Darlie's testimony in a very different light from that of the investigators. While her description of suddenly coming to after having been stabbed in the throat seems hard to understand, it's even more difficult to understand why someone staging a phony intruder attack would want to make such an unusual claim. It would have been much more believable to concoct something straightforward: "I went to the kitchen to prepare a snack, and when I returned to the family room I saw this strange guy with a mask over his face stabbing my children. When  I tried to stop him he started stabbing me and then ran out." What would she have had to gain by claiming to have slept through a knife attack? And as far as the knife is concerned, this was a knife from her own kitchen, which would already have had her prints on it, so if she'd been staging, what would she have had to gain by picking it up?

A forensic analysis of the blood evidence reveals several details that seem suspicious, notably some evidence suggesting an attempt to wash away a footprint and clean up at the sink, along with some other things that seem inconsistent with her version of what happened. But when we ask ourselves what she would  have had to gain by obliterating a footprint or cleaning up the sink or deliberately changing her story, we come up empty. Whose footprint would she have wanted to erase; why bother to clean up blood from a scene she'd already described as bloody? As far as changing her story, we see examples of that sort of thing in many cases where the authorities are convinced of an innocent person's guilt. Yes, Patsy Ramsey was accused of changing her story, as was Amanda Knox, yet as I believe I've demonstrated, both are innocent. Amanda's case was ultimately thrown out of court. It's not difficult to see how someone traumatized by having her throat slit and seeing her children covered in blood might have trouble getting her story straight. A cold blooded killer would have no such problem.

I've already described my methods several times on this blog, and they are very different from the way most crime investigators approach a case. For me, the evidence, the forensics, the psychological evaluations (profiling) are secondary -- in a typical trial every single piece of evidence and every single psychological evaluation can be contested, and interpreted in a variety of ways. I certainly don't believe we should ignore the evidence, but for me the two crucial elements in any case are: 1. the known facts and 2. logical inferences based on those facts. So, applying my method to this case:

FACT: Darlie's neck wound was not superficial, as initially assumed, but very nearly fatal. According to the doctor, her throat had been slit so deeply that the knife missed her carotid artery by only 2 millimeters.

INFERENCE: Darlie's throat wound could not have been self-inflicted.

CONCLUSION: Darlie is innocent.

Which leaves us with a baffling conundrum. If Darlie is innocent and there was no intruder, then who stabbed her and killed her two little boys? And, as with the Ramsey case, "when we eliminate the impossible, then whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be true" (courtesy of Sherlock Holmes).

More next time . . .


  1. First things first, Darlie's neck was not stabbed but sliced. A huge deviation from the stabbing the boys endured and an all of a sudden change in the killers method.
    Whether Darlie herself caused this wound and possibky accidentally went to deep or whether possibly Darin did it still makes Darlie guilty.
    As far as in intruder goes in this case it is almost comical. For years the Routiers lawyers have had every print and blood smear in that house only to find that they are all Darlies/or the boys. Certainly with the mess in that house and all thr blood there would have to be some trace of this invisible killer. A footprint ..something ? There is nothing and as sick as it sounds I feel it very possible that there was some collusion between her and Darin.

    1. Yes, collusion. Darin agreed to slit her throat and she agreed to stab the boys. What a pair!

    2. I agree Doc but I see no other way for Darlie not turning on Darin a long long time ago. It sure does feel like something is missing here. Her father waits over5 years or then comes forth with this news that Darin was going to do an insurance scam on his house ? I can surely see why the police are sceptical of this claim , I surely am. Why would her own parents hold this information when their daughter is on death row ?

  2. Why leave Darlie alive , why not make sure the person who could finger you was not finished off ?

    1. I'll try to deal with that issue in my next post.

    2. Bit why leave Drake alive if it was darlie not wanting to be a mom and have her life back? By leaving the baby alive she is still a mom and still has to live that life (the reason the prosecution gave)

  3. I find it hard to believe that Darlie would sit in prison for decades, without giving up Darin as a co-conspirator.

    As far as the wound on her neck, I think it was self inflicted and she was just lucky it missed that main artery. OR in her frame of mind at the time, she may have wanted to commit suicide and thought she'd be dead before the cops arrived?

    The bloody sock is confusing to me. When was it placed there? There was no blood trail leading outside the house.


  4. Amazing you didn't find the contradictions and lying in Amanda Knox's statements.

  5. Doc,

    Excited to see you have another case on the go. (I check back here every 6-12 months it seems.)

    I always enjoy following your reasoning, so please don't think that my asking questions means I think you are wrong.

    What I would like to know is, why does the proximity of the wound to the artery preclude self-infliction? Are you assuming that someone self-inflicting would know how to do it safely? (I wouldn't!) Or is it just practically difficult to achieve that by yourself, whether by accident or on purpose?

    With thanks for years of fascinating reading!

  6. ". . . why does the proximity of the wound to the artery preclude self-infliction?"

    No reason to slit one's own throat to produce a convincing wound. No reason to produce such a dangerously deep wound, far too risky. Makes no sense that anyone would want to take such a huge risk of very possibly killing herself simply to impress investigators of her innocence. Also there was no reason for her to concoct a story about not being able to remember being assaulted, when it would have been much easier and much more believable to simply report an assault while she was awake.