90 percent of child kidnappers, killers acquaintances: Forensics professor

90 percent of child kidnappers, killers acquaintances: Forensics professor

İpek Özbey – ISTANBUL
90 percent of child kidnappers, killers acquaintances: Forensics professor

Some 90 percent of people who kidnap children and kill them are their acquaintances, or someone they “trust,” a renowned Turkish forensics professor has said.

Children are killed within three hours after being kidnapped, as their kidnappers cannot stand children crying and will not take care of them, Prof. Dr. Sevil Atasoy, Vice-Rector of Üsküdar University in Istanbul, told daily Hürriyet.

“The person is scared the child will speak of the incident and reveal who they are. This is why they kill them. This person might even join the search and rescue effort [in the aftermath of the child going missing] after killing the child. This is something seen frequently. They mourn with the family and help them,” said Atasoy, who is also the head of the Institute of Addiction and Forensic Science at the Üsküdar University.

Child murderers may stand by the family to such great extent they might even hold conversations with police regarding the investigation, according to the professor.

“Suspicions should arise about people who grieve more than the family, especially those who ask many questions about the investigation such as ‘Have the police arrived? What did they look for?’” she said.

According to Atasoy, the probability of someone imposing violence on another person is greater if they have a background of previously torturing animals or killing them.

“There is a large scale of research by the FBI [Federal Bureau of Investigation], which has also later been conducted in other countries. We know serial murderers have previously treated animals badly, tortured them, or killed them,” the professor said, adding that most serial killers have tortured and killed their human victims using the same method they have used on animals.

“There are people who treat animals badly in their families and they observe them. Maybe they normalize this, or maybe it is a genetic transition. We do not know that, but in any case, bad treatment of animals leads to violence on humans, which starts with beating, injuring, and ends with murder,” she said when asked if there was any information regarding the family background of such people.

In Turkey, a survey has not been conducted to find out more about the background of criminals of this nature. According to Atasoy, the questions “Have you ever imposed violence on animals?” and “Has anyone in your family hurt a cat or a dog?” should be asked to offenders convicted of assault.

When asked if she supported calls for the death penalty for child abusers, the professor said the death penalty was “not a solution for any crime.”

“For example, in the United States there are states in which the death penalty is legal and some in which it is not. There is a rising murder trend in states that have the death penalty, whereas a downward trend in states that do not have the death penalty,” she said to explain the death penalty “was not a deterrent factor” for murders.

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