Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Children of Thunder: The Helzer Brothers

The Raid

Early the next morning, a Monday, sheriffs deputies drove to the house on Saddlewood Court with a search warrant. They wanted to look for the gun that was used to kill Villarin and Gamble. Bishop's co-workers had told them about the mysterious "Jordan" and they wanted to question him.

All the tenants were home when they knocked on the door. When the deputies swept through the house, they found ecstasy, hallucinogenic mushrooms, and drug paraphernalia, but no gun, according to the police report. The cops arrested the trio on drug possession charges.

Taylor bolted when investigators werent looking, escaping from the back of the house and leaping over backyard fences. He forced his way into a neighbor's house. The resident, Mary Mizzocchi, quickly complied when the frantic Taylor demanded a weapon and threatened to kill her if she called the cops.

She gave him a steak knife and a pair of sewing scissors. He cut off his ponytail, changed into her husband's clothes and ran into the backyard, according to the Contra Costa Times. When the deputies caught up with him a few blocks away and forced him into the squad car, he dove through the back window and they had to chase him down again.

Investigators found videotaped newscasts about Bishop's disappearance in the Helzer home, as well as evidence linking the trio to the Stinemans disappearance. They also found handcuffs and leg irons in Justin's pickup.

Later that day, the first two duffel bags - one containing a human head, the other a torso - floated to the surface of the Mokelumne River. After the rest of the bags were recovered, experts at the Contra Costa County Crime Lab used DNA analysis to identify the victims, which confirmed preliminary findings made using dental records.

Sorting through the remains took a high emotional toll on the law enforcement officials in the largely agricultural Sacramento County where such ghastly crimes are extremely rare.

"The remains we have found have been dismembered and commingled in the bags," county coroner Paul Smith told the Chronicle. "It's pretty horrific."

Smith speculated that the remains had been mixed together to make it harder to identify the victims.

A few weeks later as he sat in jail awaiting his court date, Taylor tried to sell the story of his murder spree for $400,000 to several magazines. No one wanted to touch it.

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