Craigslist Slay Suspect "Seemed Strange"

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by B_Italian1, Oct 31, 2007.

  1. B_Italian1

    B_Italian1 New Member

    Jul 24, 2007
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    United Steaks
    (CBS/AP) A woman who responded to an online request for a babysitter told her roommate that the person who placed the ad "seemed kind of strange."

    Katherine Ann Olson went anyway, thinking she would be meeting a woman named Amy, or a couple. Instead, authorities say, she was lured to the home of her killer, who shot her in the back before stuffing her in the trunk of her car.

    On Tuesday, prosecutors charged Michael John Anderson, 19, of Savage, with second-degree murder. Their evidence: blood spatters in the suburban home he shared with his parents, a gun in his bedroom and drag marks on the stairway.

    Olson's body was found Friday in the trunk of her car, which was abandoned in a park about five blocks from Anderson's house. Her ankles were bound with red twine, according to the criminal complaint filed in Scott County. Her purse, her smashed cell phone, and bloody towels - one of which bore Anderson's name - were found in a garbage can nearby.

    "The life of a bright, promising young woman has been taken for absolutely no reason," said Scott County Attorney Pat Ciliberto. "The evidence is that this woman was lured to the defendant's house and was shot."

    Ciliberto said the evidence indicates Olson and Anderson did not know each other. He also said there was no evidence of sexual assault.

    According to the criminal complaint, Olson, 24, went to Anderson's home Thursday for a baby-sitting job she had seen advertised on Craigslist, a popular Internet bulletin board. Olson had taken nanny jobs at least twice before, including a job in Turkey, after answering online ads.

    This ad was posted by someone claiming to be "Amy." Olson's roommate, Matt Thiede, told police that Olson had talked with "Amy" and commented that "the woman seemed kind of strange."

    Olson and "Amy" exchanged e-mails, and in one message, "Amy" asked Olson to baby-sit a child between 10:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Thursday. The address and phone number provided to Olson matched Anderson's address and cell phone number, authorities said.

    Ciliberto said it appears Olson thought she was responding to a woman or a couple in need of babysitting. The evidence, he said, shows that the e-mail account with the name Amy was "one and the same with Michael John Anderson."

    Olson was last seen Thursday morning at her apartment, but she never returned.

    Authorities began investigating Friday morning after Olson's purse was found in a garbage can in Savage. Their investigation led them to the house where Anderson lives with his parents. Police found blood spatters in several locations at the home, including on the stairs.

    In Anderson's bedroom, authorities found a gun and shell casing, as well as blood on the walls and on the mattress, the criminal complaint said.

    A neighbor saw Olson's car sitting in front of Anderson's house for more than two hours Thursday, the complaint said.

    Anderson was arrested at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, where he fuels planes. He has been in the Scott County Jail since his arrest late Friday. His bail was set at $1 million.

    Anderson first told police he had nothing to do with the murder, and denied having phone contact with Olson. But cell phone records indicated Olson called Anderson Thursday morning, the court documents said. He also said he hadn't used Craigslist since January, though the e-mail address in the ad matched his address. He told police his mother and three friends had access to the account.

    When confronted with the evidence, Anderson changed his story, according to the complaint; he said he was present during Olson's slaying but the killing was committed by a friend who "thought it would be funny."

    Olson was a 2002 graduate of Park-Cottage Grove High School, where she was co-valedictorian. She graduated from St. Olaf College in 2006.

    Her family posted a letter on Facebook, saying that Olson had used Craigslist in the past to find "kindred spirits and opportunities." The family letter also said Olson loved children, and was involved in the church choir, a women's group and numerous outreach activities.

    "Take it with a little bit more caution," Katherine's sister, Sarah Richter, told CBS News correspondent Dean Reynolds, referring to the use of Craigslist. "People are really good people except for a few bad apples."

    Susan MacTavish Best, a spokeswoman for Craigslist, said Olson's slaying is the first the company has seen in its 12-year history. She said it's important for people to be cautious "whether you're responding to an ad in your local weekly newspaper, your gym notice board or on an online bulletin board."

    MacTavish Best said Craigslist doesn't monitor each individual listing or user, but is self-monitored by its community. Users can log complaints or flag suspicious postings, and Craigslist staff can block users from the site if terms of use are violated.

    "Random acts of violence such as this cannot necessarily be known from what appears to be an honest ad," she said in an e-mail.

    Still, there is a risk. In California, a 19-year-old college student went missing in June after she met a convicted sex offender on Craigslist. In Philadelphia, a man was accused of raping seven women, six of whom he met on the dating site He was convicted this summer of two counts of sexual assault but acquitted of other rapes.
  2. Sixofspades

    Sixofspades New Member

    Sep 28, 2007
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    Boston, MA
    It blows my mind that Craigslist has become so big. It has to be the worst website ever; the features are so basic and inadequate, they offer zero support, and worst of all, there is no information collection process and no verification of anything. People can get away with a lot more when they don't have to give out any information about themselves, and I'm sure that facilitates crimes like this.
  3. B_cigarbabe

    B_cigarbabe New Member

    Nov 10, 2006
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    Sick motherfuckers,really.!
  4. Principessa

    Gold Member

    Nov 22, 2006
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  5. DC_DEEP

    Gold Member

    Apr 13, 2005
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    njqt, I agree with your immediate reaction, "I thought everyone knew personal ads are often fake, but wouldn't have thought that much about babysitting ads..." but if you think about it, you really should be suspicious of anyone who would advertise on Craigslist for a stranger to keep their children. Advertising that you are looking for a regular babysitter to interview would be one thing, (I would still be skeptical) but that ad specified that "Amy" wanted a one-time, specific time & date, babysitter. That should be red flags all over the place.

    And when she thought that "Amy" was a bit strange or creepy, she should have cancelled. What a sad news article.
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