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March 13, 2004

Media Gloss Over Family Murders Again

Update - This case is getting uglier. Police: Fresno Suspect Was a Polygamist. As was the case with the other headlines, you don't know that the man was the father of the children that he had killed. You have to read the article to learn that he "was involved in polygamy and incest, fathering two of the victims with his own daughters, police said Saturday."

Atrios made the same point about Andrea Yates that I made.


What are the THREE VERY SERIOUS OMISSIONS in every one of these headlines? (Not including the misreports of the number of dead.)

sacbee.com -- Crime -- 9 dead in Fresno home

BayNews9.com - News

Police hold man after nine bodies found

Nine found dead in California bloodbath - World - www.theage.com.au

Nine found dead in Californian home - - http://www.theage.com.au

CNN.com - Fresno police chief: 'Horrific' scene at home - Mar 13, 2004

CBS News | Murders Probed For Ritual Link | March 13, 2004 15:10:36

Nine Bodies, 10 Caskets Found in California Home

Seven Found Dead in California, Man Charged-Report

California Man Arrested for Killing 9

Guardian Unlimited | World Latest | Nine People Found Dead in Calif. Home

Mercury News | 03/13/2004 | 9 people found dead after Fresno standoff

Seven killed in Fresno house

ABC30.com: Nine Bodies Found

RT?News: Man arrested in US on suspicion of murder

StarNewsOnline.com: The Voice of Southeastern North Carolina

Across the nation/Fresno, Calif. 7 found dead in home

Scotsman.com News - Latest News - Man Held after Nine Bodies Found in House

Nine People Found Dead in Fresno Home

Capital News 9 | 24 Hour Local News | HEADLINES | Bodies discovered in California

Figure it out yet?

SERIOUS OMISSION #1: NONE of the headlines identified the murder victims as siblings.

SERIOUS OMISSION #2: NONE of the headlines identified several of the siblings as children, including four toddlers and an infant.

SERIOUS OMISSION #3: NONE of the headlines identified the FATHER as the murderer of his own children.

Of all of the coverage I have seen thus far, only six headlines had properly identified all of the parties involved, and not all identified father and siblings together in the same headline. Sadly, the first headline I saw that identified dad as the killer and his children as the victims was not from an American newspaper.

This is one of the worst mass murders in Fresno's history.

The murders took place in the midst of a child custody dispute. Why doesn't that surprise me?

More attention has been paid to the grisly condition of the home and the bodies than to the relationship between the killer and his victims. Ten coffins were lined up against a wall inside the house. The bodies were twisted in a rumpled pile of clothing, making it hard to identify them.

These headlines give the impression that some lone nut walked off the street and killed nine people.

If a mother had murdered all of her children in such a grisly fashion, she would not only have been named outright, she would have been roundly condemned in the media and all over the Internet. Outraged Americans could call for her to either be jailed for life or to be executed.

Oh, wait.... that has already happened. Remember Andrea Pia Yates?

Posted on March 13, 2004 at 03:15 PM | Permalink


Good point! The press coverage of this story has been so different than the coverage of Andrea Yates that it didn't even occur to me til now to compare the two. Great post.

Posted by: Stephanie at Mar 14, 2004 2:27:39 AM

There you go again...I've been watching the news all week-end and everything you cite is right there on ABC, NBC, CBs, Fox and CNN. You call that glossing over?!
And as far as the ceaserian case, this woman had it done before. And NO doctor would characterize the procedure as a "breast bone to pubic bone" procedure. especially considering the womb is located in the lower abdomen region. It's a bikini line incision at best, even if the chord is wrapped around the neck of the child.
And finally, I find it again interesting how you see Jaks as perfectly normal emotionally, so of course what he did makes him a criminal, not worthy of ANY sympathy, but in this case, she was ALLEGED mentally ill(we don't even know what that means yet) so certainly her decision was one of choice.

Posted by: Michael Capanzzi at Mar 14, 2004 9:45:53 AM

Michael - you wouldn't be glossing over these family murders, would you?

Posted by: S at Mar 14, 2004 10:18:06 AM

His rants make my eyes gloss over... :::yawn:::

Posted by: Trish Wilson at Mar 14, 2004 10:54:55 AM

Nope...as a matter of fact, I posted the Associated Press story that includes all the info that is said NOT to be included PLUS the fact that he may well get the death penalty. And this story, which is only a day or three old, is still developing...

Posted by: Michael Capanzzi at Mar 14, 2004 10:57:06 AM

I live about 5 minutes from the murders, so the news has pretty much been the only stuff about in town. From what I've seen and heard loclally one gets the sense the the police are taking their time on this. It hit the police hard, many were visibly shaken. They are being extra careful to make sure they get all their facts straight, hence why news is slowly being reported. It wasn't until 11 on Friday that they even knew that the death toll was 9 and not 7. Now I hear there are even problems with identifying the bodies of the children. Evidently not all the kids had birth certificates, and no family is coming to identify the bodies. These things do take time, and the facts will eventually be out there. Right now the questions abound, and the horror of the murders have shook up Fresno.

Posted by: Chris Brown at Mar 15, 2004 3:03:28 PM

"Now I hear there are even problems with identifying the bodies of the children. Evidently not all the kids had birth certificates, and no family is coming to identify the bodies"

This is so sad. These little kids' lives were valued so little....and another question, why didn't the mothers have their children? Why was he allowed near them? I know, some of them were his daughters' children. But there were more mothers than just those.

Posted by: Moi ;) at Mar 16, 2004 12:57:36 PM

In terms of family murders California seems to have a huge advantage using body count as the metric:

Vincent Brothers -- 5
Marcus Wesson -- 9
Russian Immigrant -- 7(?) (BTW what was the CA immigrant's name who sliced his family into parts and killed his daughter last --keeping her baby doll as a reminder?

Texas has had a rash of female nut jobs:
Andrea Yates and Deanna Laney

But it was Susan Smith's nationwide deception that still reigns supreme -- murder your sons for a new boyfriend and lie so well a nationwide manhunt gets started. South Carolina must be proud of that wack job.

Alabama is proud to announce the depraved efforts of Kim and Paul Gonzalez. They killed their 5 year old daughter Andrea so well authorities never found the body (but they are still looking (http://www.decaturdaily.com/decaturdaily/news/040214/andrea.shtml). These two are WALKING THE STREETS down here after serving terms for criminal child abuse.

Now the troubling part -- to my knowledge NONE OF THESE SERIAL KILLERS HAS BEEN EXECUTED yet -- with the exception of the immigrant killer. Am I wrong??

What do "OFFSPRING PRODUCERS" have to do to GET THE CHAIR?? Note I would never call the scum above parents. Real parents cannot ponder over such concepts much less carry them out.

Posted by: Randy at Apr 8, 2004 3:31:47 PM

Just want to know if you have any information about a murder in a home on the
6400 block of Van Ness in Fresno,CA.

Posted by: Lorin Tripp at Apr 15, 2005 10:47:19 AM

Plus if it was a mother who had done this, we would have known every child's name, been at all the funerals, pictues of the kids being run for weeks, dug up any old photos, particularly Christmas or birthday ones, interviewed schoolmates and neighbors to find out their reactions, and so on and so forth...

This would NEVER have gotten the muted reaction it did if it was a mother who did this...

Posted by: NYMOM at Apr 15, 2005 1:20:04 PM

What about Adair Garcia, that California father who killed 5 of this kids...how come he's not on the list...

Posted by: NYMOM at Apr 15, 2005 1:23:35 PM