Guest: Lt. Bill Hughes of the New Jersey State Police and Captain (retired) Jim Moore of the Parsippany New Jersey police department discuss their experiences working with psychic detective Nancy Weber.
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On this episode of Skeptiko, Lieutenant Bill Hughes of the New Jersey State Police discusses the controversial nature of working with psychic detectives.
“To be honest with you, I really don’t give a damn what they think or what they say. I know what I saw and I know what was there. I mean, how can you be that close-mind? How can you be a journalist and be that close-mind? In this case, Nancy was on the mark on a lot of things.” — Lieutenant Bill Hughes of the New Jersey State Police
Stay with us for Skeptiko.
Alex: Welcome to Skeptiko where we explore controversial science with leading researchers, thinkers and their critics. I’m your host, Alex Tsakiris.
Today on Skeptiko, we’re going to continue our investigation into the double homicide, psychic detective case of Amie Hoffman that occurred back in the mid-1980s. Now you recall that on the last episode of Skeptiko, we had an interview with Nancy Weber, the psychic detective who worked with law enforcement on this, and she provided a very succinct, very lucid description of the information that she provided law enforcement. So let me play you that clip from the last episode. This is an interview with Nancy Weber in which she’s listing the information that she provided law enforcement as part of her assistance as a psychic detective in this case.
(Excerpt from the interview with Nancy Weber)
Nancy Weber: Several of the things that they will recall and repeat, that the man who did it, his first name is James, his last name is Polish, multiple syllables, beginning with a K and ending in an “ish.” He came up from Florida where he had been in prison for murder; he was released inappropriately. They will be sued, the state. He lived in an area of Morristown called the Hollow. He had use of several cars, but he had a car he was driving that will have forensic evidence of blood or hair. He was about 5”10, very narrow, angular features, dark hair that strangely enough I kept seeing the hair being pulled off like a wig with a V. The other part is that there were strange tire tracks that would be very unique and pertinent to catching him.
Alex: Okay. So that’s Nancy’s claim. Today on Skeptiko, what we’re going to do is dig into that. We have an interview with Lieutenant Bill Hughes of the New Jersey State Police. He’s one of the homicide investigators that was assigned to a special task force to investigate this crime. We also have an interview with Captain Jim Moore, another police officer assigned to this task force who at the time of this case had never met either Bill Hughes or Nancy Weber. We’re going to look at accounts as they were reported in the New York Times and that further corroborates some of the basic facts of this case.
Now as you’ll see, when we put all this together, all the information points in the same direction, and that is that Nancy Weber was somehow able to use her psychic abilities to provide remarkable, useful information to law enforcement about the perpetrator of these crimes. So given that the evidence is so compelling, at least in my opinion it is, and given that this is a case that wasn’t hard to investigate – heck, Biography Channel had already investigated it several years ago. Given the fact that there are dozens and dozens of other cases that are just as well documented, just as many credible law enforcement professionals coming forward and saying the same story, “I was skeptical,” “I don’t know how it works,” “It was amazing,” “I don’t know how she got this information. It helped me solve the case,” stories repeated over and over again. Given all that, why the skepticism? Why the nonbelievers? Why the rabid debunking, needing to prove all this wrong?
I think we have to look no further than a couple episodes ago in Skeptiko when we interviewed Dr. Carol Tavris, who’s written a book Mistakes Were Made: (But Not By Me) and devoted a good deal of her time researching how we all have this need to reject disconfirming information and how that need is driven by a need to self-justify our beliefs. Of course, this is something that believers as well as skeptics need to fight against, need to make a conscious effort to avoid.
That’s what I’m going to ask you to do today if you’re a skeptic. I’m going to ask you to put aside any preconceived notions you have about how this is impossible, this can’t happen, there must be fraud involved, someone’s pulling a magic trick. Put all that stuff aside and come at this evidence with a fresh perspective. Trust that you can weigh the evidence, look at the data, and follow the data wherever it leads. Remember that this is just one case, and you’re never going to be sure, but also remember that there are a lot of things you never thought possible that turned out to be so. If you do find yourself changing your position just a little, realize that you’re in good company. Everyone who listens to Skeptiko started out as a skeptic.
Stay with us, my interview with Bill Hughes of the New Jersey State Police and much, much more is coming up next here on Skeptiko.
(Start of interview with Bill Hughes)
Alex: Hi, Lieutenant Hughes. It’s Alex Tsakiris.
Bill: Yes, sir.
Alex: How’re you doing?
Alex: Thanks for doing this. I’m going to try and make it brief. I know your time is kind of crunched there. Here’s what I want to do. If you could give us first a little bit of a background on your bio and your experience in law enforcement. Just a thumbnail sketch, if you would.
Bill Hughes: I began as a municipal police officer in Mount Olive Township in 1978. That’s in Morris County, New Jersey. After about three years on the job, I was designated a detective. As a detective, that’s when I eventually met Nancy. During the course of my career, I stayed a Mount Olive police officer for seven years. In 1985, I left to join the New Jersey State Police. I graduated from the Academy in January of 1986 and I’ve been a trooper ever since, going up through the ranks to my current rank of lieutenant. I’m a Station Commander in Perryville Station in Hunterdon County, New Jersey right now.
Alex: Great. Now tell us a little bit about your recollection of the Amie Hoffman case, how you became involved, and just a quick sketch of what information you got from or used from Nancy Weber.
Bill: After the Amie Hoffman murder, the lead agency investigating that case was the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office, it wasn’t too long after Amie was murdered that Deirdre O’Brian was abducted and murdered as well. She ended up being killed on Interstate 80 in Warren County, at restaurant in Warren County. The circumstances surrounding her murder were similar to those of Amie Hoffman, so it became a way for the prosecutor’s office and the state police to become involved because Interstate 80 is state police jurisdiction.
It became apparent to them that they may be dealing with the same killer here. The circumstances were similar in both cases. So what they did was they formed a task force, and they asked all the municipal police departments in Morris County to send representatives down to assist with the investigation. They knew there were going to be lots of leads to follow up on and whatnot. Our chief in Mount Olive sent myself and another detective down to the Morris County task force meeting that they had at the Morris County Academy. We really didn’t become that involved in the case because there weren’t that many leads that they needed everybody for at the time, but they still wanted everybody informed. They wanted all the detectives to know the some of the circumstances around the case.
Since I had a little time on my hands, and I knew that I had used Nancy Weber before, I decided to go to her and speak with her a little bit regarding the case. She said some interesting things regarding the case that I wasn’t aware of at the time, specifically she knew that Amie had been sexually assaulted, and yet that information had been withheld from the press early on in the case. I didn’t find that that abnormal or unusual because a lot of times a lot of information is withheld from the press, not to be deceptive but investigators like to withhold stuff that only the perpetrator would know so that when they do catch the guy and he does confess to it, they know that they’ve got the right guy. What you have in cases like this is that you get a lot of people that just seek publicity, and they will admit to anything to get their names on the papers to get that kind of publicity, even if they didn’t do it. So to make sure that they’ve got the right person, investigators will ask the person certain things that only the perpetrator would know. That’s how a lot of times they will verify that they have the right guy.
But in this case, I didn’t find it that unusual. When I inquired, at that point they still did not know that Amie had been sexually assaulted because the post mortem had not been completed and that determination had not been made. But at a later date they did find out that, yes indeed, she had been sexually assaulted. This was something that Nancy knew before anybody else knew it.
Alex: How did you become involved with Jimmy Moore? Was he also on the task force?
Bill: Jimmy was probably more involved with it because Amie Hoffman had been from Parsippany Township which was Jim’s jurisdiction. I knew that I might have something here. I knew that Nancy might be able to offer some assistance in the investigation. So, I had to figure out who to contact and I chose Jim. I decided to call Jimmy Moore and tell him what we had here. I needed what I felt would be a receptive ear. I’d never met Jim before that date, but I had to reach out for somebody. So, I reached out for him and brought him on board and had him meet Nancy. He was pretty much just as impressed as I was with what she had to offer.
Alex: When we spoke to Captain Moore, the thing that he said that I thought was remarkable and would be incredibly useful for law enforcement was the specific information that Nancy was able to somehow provide about the name, the location, and that he had come from Florida. Do you recall that information coming through?
Bill: Absolutely. We took Nancy for a ride, and we would take her by the various crime scenes, the abduction scene where the ladies were left. She would come up with tidbits of information on the suspect and how the crimes were perpetrated and everything like that. Through the course of our travels, she did come up with part of a name. She didn’t have complete names for us, but she was able to tell us that the subject was of Eastern European heritage, that he had lived in New Jersey before, that he had been arrested in New Jersey before and he had lived in Florida, that he had done hard time in Florida for another murder that he committed, stuff like that. She was able to give not specific areas where the subject lived, but generalized information. For example, she couldn’t give us an exact address, but she knew that he had lived in Wharton, New Jersey. She couldn’t give us specific information on the arrest, but she knew that he had been arrested in Mount Olive Township.
Coincidentally, she came up with that information as we were driving by the very spot where he was arrested. Mount Olive on Route 206 had a roller rink in town. We were driving by that roller rink coming up Route 206, and she got a feeling. She said, “He’d been arrested here before in Mount Olive Township, a long time ago, a while back.” Come to find out that he had indeed been arrested at that very spot where she had that feeling. He had been arrested by Mount Olive Township for what was then kind of a vagrancy charge. She came up with these tidbits of information that were just phenomenal.
Alex: You know one of the things that I found fascinating when I was talking to Nancy, and it kind of plays right into the story that we’re trying to tell in terms of how skeptical people – because I don’t know if you’ve ever encountered this, and maybe you have, but skeptical people can be very antagonistic against anyone who stands up and says this stuff has happened, regardless of who they are. They can even be pretty hard on law enforcement, singling out that person, saying, “Gee, that guy must be nuts, that guy must be crazy.” When we spoke with Nancy, she told us of just such a story when the Biography Channel story was coming out, that you had encountered that with a journalist. So, what has been your experience like in terms of just telling your story in terms of what happened?
Bill: Well, it is what it is. I’m skeptical of a lot of things, but I’m open-minded to know that there’s a lot of things that we can’t even begin to understand that are out there. To be honest with you, I really don’t give a damn what they think or what they say. I know what I saw, and I know what was there. I’m going to be retiring in two years, they can do or say whatever they think, it makes no difference to me. It’s just how I feel about a thing. I mean, how can you be that close-minded? How can you be a journalist and be that close-minded? It boggles the imagination.
Alex: The other thing I’ve found just in talking to law enforcement a little bit is you guys are pragmatic. If it works, why not use it? It’s hard doing these investigations.
Bill: Even if it doesn’t work; I know as an investigator of 30 years, you can become so focused on one thing, so narrow minded that you lose sight of the obvious things that are standing right around you. In this case, Nancy was on the mark on a lot of things.
Alex: Any other remembrances or thoughts on this case?
Bill: She pegged him for having gotten traffic summonses in Mendham Countyship. When we were driving through Mendham, she knew that he had gotten traffic tickets from a local police officer. She didn’t know the name of the officer, but she knew that his last name started with a C, and the C was a hard C, not a soft C; it sounded more like a K. Come to find out that Officer Tommy Constanza had issued this guy some summonses for motor vehicle violations, and this was right before he ended up getting arrested.
There’s no doubt in my mind that it works. I’ve worked with her on a case one time when she wasn’t able to help us. If she can’t, she’ll tell you. She’ll tell you, “I’m getting nothing here.” We had an arson in town and we used her, she couldn’t come up with anything. She said, “You’re not going to find this guy unless he walks into a police station and confesses because he’s long gone. He was a vagrant just passing through and just saw an opportunity to just set a fire here.” So, there was nothing she could do to help us, and she told us right up front.
Alex: Great. This has been very helpful and I appreciate the time, Lieutenant Hughes.
Bill: It was my pleasure. I’ve got to emphasize that she did not solve this case. This case was solved by hard work of the investigators that were involved, but she was consistently pointing us in the right direction. She was coming up with information that we didn’t have at the time.
Alex: Thanks again.
Bill Hughes: Okay, take care. Bye.
(End of interview with Bill Hughes)
Alex: There were several interesting parts about this interview, but let me point out a couple of them. First, I thought it was interesting just hearing about the dynamics of the investigation. There’s a murder, then there’s another murder, similarities between the murders. A task force is formed and it brings these law enforcement agencies together. One person is murdered on an interstate highway, so it’s state police, others are local police. They come together. I think that’s particularly relevant and important because it explains how Bill Hughes and Jim Moore came together when they didn’t know each other. He just reaches out to Jim Moore because he decides there aren’t any leads coming in, we have to try and solve this case on our own, Nancy Weber is a psychic detective I’ve used in the past. He goes and talks to her, and then he calls Jim Moore. Interesting, because it further establishes that Jim Moore is new to the whole thing and has to be convinced.
Another thing brought out in the interview is this whole idea of the sexual assault. She’s raped, no one reports that in the newspaper. As a matter of fact, when Bill Hughes goes back to his police department, he says, “Hey, do we know that? Do we know if that’s the case?” No one has that as an established fact, it doesn’t come out until much later. As a matter of fact, later on when I talk about the articles that I found in the New York Times, there’s no mention of that at all. Is that information that Nancy brings forward, that she is sexually assaulted, has been raped, and that isn’t in the paper, is that remarkable? Yes, that is quite remarkable. Is it useful? Obviously, that kind of information is very useful.
Finally, the point that he makes that I think is very important to bring forward is the idea that Nancy Weber did not solve this crime, and that psychic detectives never solve crimes. She drives around in a car with them and gives all these incredible, remarkable clues, but it still takes a lot of police work to piece this stuff together, find out what it means and find the perpetrator.
So next up, let’s hear from Bill Hughes’ partner in this case, Jim Moore, who was a captain in the New Jersey police and has since retired. But I reached him on the phone, and I asked him about the case. Here’s that interview.
(Start of interview with Jim Moore)
Alex: Can you give us a thumbnail sketch of your background in law enforcement?
Jim: I started with the Parsippany Police Department in 1964. On the average, every five years, rose in rank; sergeant, lieutenant, captain. When I was promoted to captain, I was put in charge of the investigative division. During the course of my term in the investigative bureau, we had the double homicide with Amie Hoffman and Deirdre O’Brien.
Alex: This is a case that we’ve been talking about that you eventually wound up working with Nancy Weber as an adviser to you. As we were chatting a minute ago, you said that when you first met Nancy – maybe not at this case but before – you were skeptical of using a psychic, is that correct?
Jim: I was skeptical of all psychics. I really didn’t have much belief in them. I had never really dealt with any individuals of that type of background. While we were working on the double homicide, someone that I partnered with said that he had used Nancy in the past to help gather information on other cases. He was wondering if I would be interested in meeting her, perhaps maybe give us more insight on what we were investigating. So I said we have nothing to lose because we didn’t have a lot to work on. I said I’d be willing to meet with her and see how it goes. So, Bill arranged a meeting for me to meet with Nancy. After that initial meeting, I was quite impressed with her. We then started working together as a trio, gathering facts and information on the homicides.
Alex: What I was hoping to do is go through some specific information that Nancy says she was able to bring forward, and I just want you to recollect as best as you can whether or not you recall Nancy giving you this information. So the first thing she said was that she was able to identify that the perpetrator’s first name was James and that his last name was Polish, that it had multi syllables and that it began with a K. Was that the kind of information she told you?
Jim: Yes, she did say that she felt his first name was James and there was a hard K in his last name, and he was from Eastern European descent. She also told me that the individual came from the Morristown area and had moved to Florida where he committed a murder and was sentenced to jail. While in prison, he committed a second murder, of an inmate, and eventually he got out and had returned to the Morristown area; that either he or a member or his family had a gas station or was working in a gas station in the Wharton area. Then she told me he was very upset with the Mendham Police Department. She didn’t know why, but he was really upset with them.
In fact, this was I think on a Friday, Monday I was going to go to the Mendham Police Department to research their files to see if we could come up with some information. We knew we were looking for an older model green Chevrolet, and the forensic team of the sheriff’s department had taken a tire impression that was found at the scene of Deidre O’Brien’s abduction. So, we had something to go on if we found the right car. She also then described this individual as having dark hair, kind of like a chiseled face, tall and thin built. The amazing thing is when we finally caught Koedatich is that all the information that she’d given me was so true to fact. It was hard to believe that she was so exact on what she told us.
Alex: Captain Moore, when she gave you that information, did you have any knowledge of whether that information was correct or not correct? Was there any information in the police department that would verify that before you eventually caught him?
Jim: No, nothing. The only thing we had to go on was the description of the car. I believe we had a vague description of an individual with dark hair who was seen near Amie’s car in the parking lot of the shopping mall before she was abducted. That’s basically all we had to go on.
Alex: Do you want to share anything about the circumstances that eventually brought you to apprehend Koedatich?
Jim: Yes, James Koedatich. Actually, he kind of caught himself. There was a call that came in to the Morris County Police Department. An individual was claiming that he was stabbed by a woman, and when the police arrived at the scene which was his home, they were questioning him, and he was complaining that this woman had stabbed him in the back. While they were at the scene, one of the officers noticed this green Chevrolet, what we were looking for, in the driveway. Then through forensic identification with the tire, they realized that that was the vehicle we were looking for, and Koedatich was taken into custody at that time.
Alex: Great. Quite an amazing story, huh?
Jim: Did Nancy tell you about her meeting or her get-together with her friends the night before?
Jim: How ironic is that?
Alex: That just blew me away. That was just too much.
Jim: I called her the next morning when I got the phone call. I was at home and they told me they had arrested Koedatich, and they were quite positive that this was the individual. I called Nancy, I said, “Nancy, what did you do?” She said, “What do you mean?” I told her that they had arrested this individual by the name of James Koedatich, and that he was claiming that a woman with long, brown hair had stabbed him. That vague description fit Nancy’s profile.
Alex: I hope that more law enforcement professionals are at least willing to consider this information. I know that when skeptics get out there really hard and fast and say, “You’re a fool if you ever believe any of this stuff,” I think it makes it harder for a guy in that position to even look at that stuff.
Jim: Well, she certainly made a believer out of me, at least with Nancy anyway. I don’t know about any of the other psychics.
Jim: She certainly gave us a lot of information of the individual before we apprehended him. We had gotten some opposition with the prosecutor with her. He wasn’t interested in hearing anything she had to say. So, we were kind of working on our own so to speak because the information that she had given us, we were trying to put together, and the prosecutor at the time didn’t want to hear about it. So, there was some friction going on there.
I thoroughly believe that if someone has information to offer, why not listen to it? What does it hurt to listen to what someone has to say? I mean, we’re trying to solve a serious crime such as this, a double homicide, we felt that this individual would kill again if he wasn’t apprehended. So, time was in the essence. I feel that any information that you can gather or obtain, listen to it at least and do what you want with it, but don’t refuse to listen to something that somebody has to say.
Alex: Well, thanks again. I really appreciate it, Jim.
Jim: Nice talking to you. Drop me a line, let me know.
(End of interview with Jim Moore)
Alex: Okay, here are some of the points that I think are interesting about this interview. First, it confirms what Lieutenant Hughes said about the way he came to know Nancy, that he was initially skeptical, but he was impressed by what she knew. Come on, think about it for a minute. Imagine yourself as a detective investigating a murder, a very important murder, that needs to be solved, and you don’t have any clues. Of course you would be impressed by this person. This person’s coming forward with information that no one could have known, and it definitely seems to be relevant to this case. Of course you’re going to listen. This is your job. Of course, the interview is very interesting because it completely confirms the information that Nancy gave him during the investigation. If you think about the kind of information that she gave and the way that he’s recalling it, it’s not the kind of information that someone would misremember or get confused. He’s very, very clear; very, very convincing about the fact that he was told this and he knew it.
Finally, this whole story about how this guy is apprehended is just amazing. It’s something that we’re not really going to be able to prove in terms of this investigation, but it’s something to stick in the back of your mind and just think about for a minute. Think about what are the chances that this guy would call up the police and say a woman with long, dark hair ran me off the road and stabbed me in the back, and call the police to his house? Then he has no wounds, he has no wounds in his back. He isn’t treated for any stab wounds. He isn’t taken to the hospital. He’s taken into custody because they notice his car matches the description that we’re looking for. Then Jim Moore calls up Nancy and says, “What did you do?” Well, it just so happens that she got together with her meditation/prayer group and asked that this guy feel the pain that he’s been perpetrating on other people. Coincidence? Maybe, I don’t know. It’s just too remarkable for me to dismiss as coincidence.
Let’s leave it on the side, and let’s just deal with the facts. Let’s just deal with the more concrete evidence that Nancy Weber provided these detectives about the perpetrator when that information was not known to anyone else. There’s one more thing about this interview that we have to mention because I suspect that it might come up in Ben Radford’s rebuttal to this investigation. I suspect that because it’s really the only possible thing that he could kind of draw on, and that’s the political controversy in this case. Remember, Jim mentions that there’s some tension between the prosecutor and the investigators, the different members of the task force are kind of going in different directions and that not everyone is real receptive to using a psychic detective on the case. I think that’s important. I think it’s important on so many different levels. It’s reality though. I mean, we have to deal with the fact that police work is political. There are elected people, there are people who have an interest in advancing their careers and their jobs and all the rest of that stuff. But I think we can clearly separate that out from the information that was given to members of the task force about the perpetrator. We’ll see how all that plays out. But I think it’s interesting, it’s interesting to hear it and it’s interesting to imagine and piece together how that factored into this case.
The final thing I want to do for you today is take you through some of the newspaper accounts of this case, and these are all from the New York Times. The first one appears in November 26, 1982 and it basically announces the murder of an 18-year old high school senior stabbed repeatedly, left floating face down in a holding tank. The important thing here, no mention of sexual assault of any kind. The next day there’s a newspaper account; suitor clue is reported in New Jersey slaying, and it goes on to say that they suspect that one of her suitors is involved in the case. Of course, that isn’t what turns out to be true, but this is what police were thinking at this point. Then a few days later, there’s a report that they’re searching for a knife, and it describes how they’re doing that. There’s a report on the memorial service for her and how many people in the community are really upset about this and come out in support of her. Then in December of ’82, less than a month later, another murder occurs, Deirdre O’Brien. Police connect the two murders and believe that they’re related, and that’s when the task force is formed.
Here’s another article from the New York Times that I found was particularly interesting for kind of a strange reason. It appeared in the January 16, 1983 issue, lack of mall security, and it goes on to talk about the murders. But what’s interesting is it provides a sketch of a possible suspect. I’ll provide a link so you can go see this. But what’s interesting is the sketch because it looks nothing like the perpetrator, James Koedatich. It looks very Hispanic and very different than the eventual suspect. Any thought that somebody saw this in the paper or that she saw it in the paper, which doesn’t really fit the case anyway because of all the other information that she provides that she could never get off the sketch. But the sketch doesn’t fit the perpetrator, that’s my point.
The next report from the New York Times that I want to mention was the arrest, “Parolee investigated in murder case in Morris County, accused in one of the three unsolved homicides.” I’ll read you a little bit more of that one, “Morristown, New Jersey, January 18, a 34-year old paroled murderer was arrested by the state police early today and charged with one of the three unsolved slayings of women that have caused widespread fear throughout Morris County since Thanksgiving Day.” Now what happens later is he’s convicted of this first murder, and then he’s tried for the second murder, and he’s convicted of that one also.
But in this report I want to read you a couple of interesting passages that relate to some of the points we were talking about. Here we go, “From October 1971 until his parole last August, Mr. Koedatich was imprisoned at the Raiford State Prison in Lake Butler, Florida for murder and armed robbery.” Now it doesn’t say this in the newspaper, but later it is also established that he did murder another inmate while he was in prison, again exactly as Nancy Weber had predicted. This is interesting, it relates to the last point I was making about his apprehension. The article goes on to say, “Mr. Koedatich came to the attention of the police investigating the three deaths at 11:20 on Sunday night. Mr. Koedatich called the Morristown police from his home to report that he had been stopped while driving in neighboring Morris township, about a quarter of a mile from the site of Ms. O’Brien’s abduction, and reported that he had been stabbed in the back by an unknown assailant. The investigation into his account that he had been run off the road and stabbed in search of his car led to his arrest for Ms. O’Brien’s murder.” Then there’s additional reports here, on the second murder trial, he is again found guilty. This is really, really a bad person. Anyone who has any lingering doubts about his guilt or innocence need only read about this guy, and there really is no doubt.
Finally, a very interesting piece from this guy’s appeal, which is of course, standard process; claiming innocence right up until the end, exhausting the court system, jamming them with all sorts of appeals, which is exactly what this guy did. This piece has a little clip in it that’s extremely relevant to this case. This is from August 4, 1988, he’s in the appeal process and he actually gets his death penalty sentence voided by the New Jersey Supreme Court. Here’s part of what it says, “Mr. Koedatich of Morristown, who was a building superintendent and had served time in Florida for murder, was not a suspect in either killing but called attention to himself a little more than a month later.” The reason this is important is that it establishes what we already knew. But the police were not looking for this guy. He was not a suspect in either one of these cases. The only thing they had were a description of the car, a tire track and a very, very sketchy description of a dark man.
So, that’s it, that’s the results of my investigation into this case. Now we’ll wait for Ben Radford from the Skeptical Inquirer to do his own investigation, and we’ll compare our findings. But as I do that, I want to once again try and bring this investigation back up to the cognitive dissonance pyramid, if I can borrow a metaphor that I used at the beginning of this episode. I want to call on Ben and other skeptics who have contributed to this case on our forums to do two things. First is to stand up and share the burden of proof. I’ve made claims here about this investigation, and I’ve done some work to back it up. If you’re going to debunk them, do the work. Do the necessary research to support your claims. By the way, when you call up the New Jersey State Police and ask for Lieutenant Bill Hughes, make sure to have your tape recorder going because we’re all going to want to hear what he has to say when you suggest that he’s misremembering the details of this case.
The second thing I’d like skeptics to do is apply the same kind of good, critical thinking they always talk about to this case. Look, I know that there are a lot of believers out there that believe very strange, very unbelievable things. But I’ve got to tell you, sometimes the claims that skeptics make can really test the limits of common sense and reason, and that’s what we want to avoid. What we want to do as collaborators on this investigation is follow the data, and then I think in the end we’ll all come to the same place.
Well, that’s going to do it for today. For some more information on this episode and some of the links I talked about, visit our website and the show notes at Skeptiko.com. Once there, you’ll find links to all our old shows, a link to our forum where you can join what is often a very interesting discussion about our shows, and where you can also find my e-mail link.
Well that’s going to do it for today, until next time, bye for now.
Links For 58: Psychic Detectives and Police
The following articles about the Amie Hoffman case appeared in the New York Times.
Suitor Clue Is Reported in Jersey Slaying; Suitor Clue Is Reported in Slaying
By MICHAEL NORMANSpecial to The New York Times. New York Times (1857-Current file). New York, N.Y.: Nov 27, 1982. pg. 25, 2 pgs
RANDOLPH TOWNSHIP, N.J., Nov. 26 — An 18-year-old high school senior, stabbed repeatedly and left floating face down in a holding tank of a reservoir here, may have been murdered by a rejected suitor, the police said today.
Knife Sought in Jersey Slaying
New York Times (1857-Current file). New York, N.Y.: Nov 28, 1982. pg. 42, 1 pgs
Police investigating the death of an 18-year-old New Jersey high school senior drained three holding tanks at a reservoir in Morris County yesterday and raked the sandy bottoms but did not find the knife they believe was used in the slaying.
1,000 Attend Rites For Slain Student
New York Times (1857-Current file). New York, N.Y.: Dec 1, 1982. pg. B2, 1 pgs
MORRIS PLAINS, N.J., Nov. 30 (UPI) – About 1,000 family members, friends and schoolmates of 18-year-old Amie Hoffman, who was found fatally stabbed on Thanksgiving Day, attended a memorial service for her here today.
Jersey Woman, 25, Seized in Car And Fatally Stabbed at Route 80
By ROBERT HANLEY Special to The New York Times. New York Times (1857-Current file). New York, N.Y.: Dec 7, 1982. pg. B4, 1 pgs
MENDHAM TOWNSHIP, N.J., Dec. 6 — A 25-year-old waitress was apparently abducted from her car near her home here early Sunday and later stabbed to death at a secluded rest stop on Interstate 80, about 25 miles away, the state police said today.
Women Cite Lack of Mall Security; Women Say Malls Need More Security
By SANDRA GARDNER. New York Times (1857-Current file). New York, N.Y.: Jan 16, 1983. pg. 462, 2 pgs
ALARMED by the recent murders of three young Morris County women and by a daytime attempt to abduct still another woman, many women are beginning to fear that suburban roads and parking lots are becoming as dangerous as city streets. – includes sketch that looks nothing like the Kadaich.
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Parolee Arrested In Murder Case In Morris County; Accused in One of Three Unsolved Homicides
By ROBERT HANLEYSpecial to The New York Times. New York Times (1857-Current file). New York, N.Y.: Jan 19, 1983. pg. B1, 1 pgs
MORRISTOWN, N.J., Jan. 18 — A 34-year-old paroled murderer was arrested by the state police early today and charged with one of the three unsolved slaings of women that have caused widespread fear throughout Morris County since Thanksgiving Day.
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Jersey Man Charged In 2d Fatal Stabbing
New York Times (1857-Current file). New York, N.Y.: Dec 16, 1983. pg. B2, 1 pgs
Man Guilty in Fatal Stabbing Of Young Woman in Jersey
Special to The New York Times. New York Times (1857-Current file). New York, N.Y.: Oct 27, 1984. pg. 28, 1 pgs
MORRISTOWN, N.J., Oct. 26 — James J. Koedatich was found guilty today of stabbing an 18-year-old Parsippany Hills cheerleader to death in 1982.
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Jersey Man Charged In 2d Fatal Stabbing
New York Times (1857-Current file). New York, N.Y.: Dec 16, 1983. pg. B2, 1 pgs
Death Penalty in ‘82 Murder Voided in Jersey
By JOSEPH F. SULLIVANSpecial to The New York Times. New York Times (1857-Current file). New York, N.Y.: Aug 4, 1988. pg. B2, 1 pgs
TRENTON, Aug. 3 — The New Jersey Supreme Court, in a 4-to-3 opinion, upheld today the conviction of James J. Koedatich for the 1982 murder of Amie Hoffman, but threw out his death sentence.
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