Who has seen the very first episode of Forensic Files- Season 1, Episode 1. This is one of the most fantastic morbid stories you will ever find on Forensic Files. It is about Richard Crafts. He was a handsome and successful airline pilot who was married to Helle Crafts, a beautiful flight attendant. After 11 years of marriage and having three kids with him, she found out he was having an affair. She had went to a private investigator and had proof of the affair before she decided to leave him. After the night of November 18, 1986, she was never seen alive again. She was only 39 years old. Investigators began looking into her disappearance after concerned friends reported her missing. Blood evidence found in her bedroom matched her profile. Seasoned investigators continued to investigate her disappearance and was shocked when they discovered that Richard had used his credit card to buy a freezer and rent a large commercial grade wood chipper. A snow plow driver eventually came forward and told the investigators he had seen Richard. He had been at the edge of the river with the large wood chipper. The investigators spent long hours at the river searching for evidence. They finally found a partial fingernail that was proven to be Helle’s, part of one of her teeth, and a piece of an envelope addressed to her. It was proven in court that after Richard killed Helle, he froze her body in the newly purchased freezer, chopped her up with a chainsaw, and then he brutally disposed of her body with the wood chipper.
The supposed psychology behind a man murdering his wife is an unconscious conflict between needing her and depending on her, but also wanting desperately to be rid of her. In his mind, the only way to really be free of her is to kill her. The situation is made even more dangerous if she ever attempts to leave him, because then he has to also deal with intense feelings of rejection and abandonment. And if he has had any previous mommy or daddy issues on top of that…run!
Richard was convicted of murder on January 9, 1990. The courts stated that he would spend up to 50 years in prison. However, he was quietly released in January 2020 at age 82 to a transitional house. Why was he released after only spending 30 years in prison? Good behavior. He has been a completely free man since June 2020. Yikes!
Mariticide is the name given to a woman who kills her husband or boyfriend. Men kill women statistically more often, but not by much. Statistics report that out of 100 men who have killed his wife or girlfriend, 75 women will kill her husband or boyfriend. That is a 4:3 ratio men to women. Women are not very far behind the men when deciding to murder instead of walking away from a bad relationship. But are the motives of women more evil? Are the behaviors of women more duplicitous?
Forensic Files did an episode of murderer Joann Curley titled “Till Death Do Us Part”. Joann was a widowed woman who was looking for love. She found it in a nice good-looking electrician by the name of Robert (Bobby) Curley. On August 11, 1990, they were married. By all accounts, she was a very happy and caring wife. Bobby was happy. It was later discovered however, that while she was still in supposed newlywed bliss – a mere 2 months after marrying Bobby- she began to feed him rat poison. And not just any rat poison- but a specific kind of rat poison that had been banned in the late 1960’s by the EPA due to it containing Thallium. Thallium is a heavy metal and extremely dangerous because it has no odor and no flavor. Joann’s grandmother had not gotten rid of her supply, she kept a special jar of it stored in her basement.
The thallium when initially given to Bobby caused intense burning in his hands and feet. Doctors wrongly diagnosed Bobby with Guillain Barre, which is a fairly rare neurological disorder. Unfortunately, nothing the doctors did improved Bobby’s state of health. He never got better. Bobby’s condition kept worsening until he finally died tragically and in a lot of pain on September 27, 1991. He was only 32 years old. He had been married to Joann just over one year.
Joann had gotten away with murder until Bobby was exhumed almost six years later. A lead forensic pathologist, Dr. Michael Baden performed a second autopsy on him which included a segmental hair analysis looking specifically for poison. Thallium stays in the hair forever. The segmental hair analysis will help create a timeline to reveal how many times and approximately when a person was poisoned. It was revealed that Robert was poisoned at least seven times during his marriage with Joann. This second autopsy also revealed that he had been given a large dose of thallium on the last day he was alive. It was in the pizza still in his stomach, because food does not continue to digest when you die. Joann had brought him his favorite food of pizza as his final meal.
She was charged in 1997 with first degree premeditated murder. She pled guilty to manslaughter and even confessed to poisoning him by putting the thallium in the tea mug he liked to take to work. She also admitted to giving her daughter and herself a small dose of thallium to thwart the investigation and divert suspicion off of herself.
It was discovered during the investigation that Joann’s motive was a 300,000 life insurance policy on Bobby. But here is the kicker- two days before she gave Bobby the lethal dose that killed him, she was awarded a 1.7 million dollar lawsuit from the motor vehicle accident that had killed her first husband. She knew she won the lawsuit and would soon have all of that money, but she still continued with her plan to kill Bobby. Why? Because he had known about the lawsuit and had expressed a desire to spend some of the money on a family trip to Hawaii and start a business. He thought he would be able to share in the settlement money being her husband and all. Joann was not willing to share any of it- not one dime.
Shockingly, Joann Curley walked out of state prison in Pennsylvania in December of 2016 a free woman after serving only 20 years. She was 53 years old- still young enough to have a normal and fulfilling life. I assume she had money hidden somewhere and is living the high life. I hope she does not have the ability to ensnare and kill another man during her undeserved freedom. Joann is a very conniving and evil woman. She even admitted to giving her own daughter a dose of thallium. I hope her daughter is sleeping with one eye open.
The Disappearance of Helle Crafts. Forensic Files season 1 episode 1.
Woodchipper Killer. Blood, Lies, and Alibis. 2012. Investigation Discovery Channel.
Buried Secrets. The Secrets of the Morgue. Season 1 Episode 7. Investigation Discovery Channel. https://www.investigationdiscovery.com/tv-shows/secrets-of-the-morgue/
Till Death Do Us Part. Forensic Files. season 4 episode 6.
Gifford, Storm. January 31, 2020. Woodchipper Murderer Richard Crafts Out of Prison. New York Daily News. Retrieved from:
Robert Curley. June 18, 2020. National Organization of Parents of Murdered Children. Retrieved from: https://www.pomc.com/mw_stories/robert_curley.html
Petrillo, Matt. Dec 12, 2016. Murderer Joann Curley Freed From Prison. WNEP news. https://www.wnep.com/article/news/local/luzerne-county/murderer-joanne-curley-freed-from-prison/523-6bd567a0-8fc5-4f00-94a3-7e368ea30cc7
Henson, Rich. January 5, 1997. With The Iced Tea Came A Painful Death-Wife Accused of Poisoning Her Husband- Even in Hospital. Seattle Times. https://archive.seattletimes.com/archive/?date=19970105&slug=2517263
Mariticide. June 20, 2020. Retrieved from Wikipedia.
Richard crafts. June 18, 2020. Murdepedia. Retrieved from: https://murderpedia.org/male.C/c/crafts-richard.htm