Last night’s topic was Investigations. We spent the entire 3 hours of class examining a rape/homicide case from 2002 of a 14 year-old local girl step by step, from the time she was reported missing until her body was found. The case is historic because it’s the first documented incident of two complete strangers meeting online who plot to rape and murder a child and then actually commit the crime.
Class was led by Detective Lally, who was the lead investigator on the rape/murder. The victim was a 14 year-old high school student named Nassim Davoodi. Nassim was of Indian descent and was also Muslim. Her parents were intensely strict. She basically couldn’t go anywhere except school. She was not to leave the house to go to the mall without being accompanied by her mother or older brother. She was not allowed over at any friend’s houses. She was not allowed any internet access. She was not allowed to speak on the phone past 9:00 pm (this was before smart phones, too, remember, so texting didn’t exist). Needless to say she lived a very sheltered, naive life thanks to her parents.
The suspects were Skyler Chambers and Turner Reeves. Both were 21 years old and African American. Skyler was from Hayward, CA and Turner was a local Chicago man. They met innocently enough online in a chat room about computer software. Over the next two years they somehow went from talking about video games to the rape/murder fantasies they both had, all centered on the fetish they had for Hispanic women. Things just escalated between the two of them until they hatched the plan for Skyler to come to Chicago and stay at Turner’s house and they would then pick out a young Hispanic girl and rape and murder her.
So Skyler arrives from California and Turner enlists the help of his 18 year old high school cousin Jarrett Curtis. Jarrett takes them to the high school parking lot (in Turner’s tan car) where Skyler and Turner watch the students for two days. On the third day they both see Nassim and say that she’s the one. (Please note that neither of them were smart enough to realize that Nassim was NOT Hispanic, but Indian). Jarrett somehow knows Nassim, so he calls her over and introduces her to Skyler and Turner and then leaves. Skyler and Turner offer to give Nassim a ride home.
Now put yourself in Nassim’s shoes. She’s controlled every minute of her life by her parents. Not allowed to have friends and certainly not a boyfriend. And suddenly these two older guys are taking an interest in her, want to get to know her. So what does she do? She takes the opportunity to rebel against her parents and gets in the car with them. Unfortunately that was the last decision she ever made.
Skyler and Turner go back to Turner’s house where they pull the car in the garage, close the door and proceed to rape and then murder Nassim. They take her body about an hour away to a secluded spot of woods that Turner knows about. They drag her body through fields and over fences before digging a very shallow grave and then leave her body there.
Detective Lally took us through the entire investigation after her parents reported her missing that evening. I’ll just share the highlights that broke the case in just seven days:
Through interviews at the schools the suspicious tan car was reported. Jarrett was linked to it and admits it’s his cousin’s car. Police interview Turner (and Skyler, too, since he was staying at Turner’s house). They both say the same story they’d already rehearsed – yes, they were at the school, just picking up Jarrett both days. They saw Nassim get into a white car with two Hispanic men and then Jarrett says he heard she was at a Latin King’s party (gang party) later that night.
That was the start of their undoing, that they knew nothing about Nassim’s personal life, that she would never have been at a party like that. So a wire tap is put on Jarrett’s phone. Through that they find out that Jarrett was in on it the whole time, that he knew what Turner and Skyler were planning on doing with the girl. He says that he told the police the rehearsed story about the Latin Kings, etc. and know that they told the story about the two Hispanic men.
Turner and Skyler are arrested at this point and Turner’s home searched. They take his computer where they find EVERY online chat log the two had had for the past two years. Hundreds and hundreds of pages, describing the rape/murder they planned to commit. The keyword “rape” showed up 23,000 times in documents on his computer. There were dozens and dozens of rape videos and webpages saved on how to dispose of a dead body.
Turner is put through a lie detector test which he fails spectacularly. Under interrogation afterwards he breaks and admits Nassim was raped and killed at his house. He takes police to her body. During the autopsy both his DNA and Skyler’s DNA are found inside Nassim’s body. There was evidence she was strangled unconscious repeatedly before finally being suffocated to death with a pillow.
Both men are charged with first degree murder, aggravated criminal sexual assault, aggravated kidnapping and concealment of a homicidal death. They were eligible for the death penalty. It takes five years before they go to trial. They’re convicted on all counts. But because the judge couldn’t determine without a doubt which one of them actually suffocated her they both got life without parole instead of the death penalty.
It think one of the worst parts was finding out that Nassim’s older brother’s fiancee lived directly across the street from Turner. He was there at her house while his sister was being killed right across the street and didn’t know it. That just broke my heart.
Believe it or not this was the condensed version of all that was discussed last night. It was fascinating how one little statement from one person leads to another lead which leads to another which finally led right to both killers. Kudos to all of the detectives who worked non-stop for seven days to catch these two psychopaths. It’s so sad that because Nassim’s parents kept her so tightly under their thumb, trying to…protect her from life, that it’s what ultimately led to her death.
Next week we talk about Overweight Truck Enforcement (we have a large industrial base in the town that I live in) and more importantly – SWAT!
I also turned in my Volunteer application so I’ve started the process on that. 🙂