Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Mark Becker

Lashing out without reason

Dave Becker
Dave Becker

On the night of June 20, 2009, Dwight Rogers, who had never met Mark Becker, but whose son had been a classmate, called 911 to report that Becker had smashed the windows and doors of Rogers' home with a baseball bat, and tried to break down the garage door with his car. With police sirens audible, Becker sped away leading authorities on a high-speed car chase that ended when Becker hit a deer at 90 mph.

Becker's explanation to police was bizarre. Dwight Rogers, he said, had been trying to hypnotize him since preschool with the use of a teddy bear. After booking, Butler County Sheriff's deputies transported Becker to Covenant Medical Center in Waterloo for examination early on June 21. Becker was placed in the hospital on a 48-hour hold. Psychiatrists there diagnosed him with paranoid-type schizophrenia and prescribed Lorazepam and Geodon to treat his hallucinations.

On June 23, Becker's 48-hour hold was up. His delusions seemed to have ebbed, and psychiatrists deemed him fit for release. Accordingly, hospital officials called Becker's case worker at Cedar Valley Community Services. Coordinator Adam Taylor checked Becker out of Covenant and let him into the Waterloo apartment the agency had rented for him. Although he had been administered drugs at Covenant, Becker did not have any medication with him when he left. Taylor planned to take Becker to the pharmacy first thing the next morning.

Joan Becker
Joan Becker

Later that evening, Becker called his parents, Dave and Joan, at their home in Parkersburg and asked them to pick him up at a Burger King in Waterloo because he was locked out of his apartment. Becker's car had been totaled in the accident and his keys were still in police custody. His parents tried to contact Adam Taylor immediately to gauge his reaction to the request (Taylor had earlier told them that contact with his parents could aggravate Becker's schizophrenic episodes), but they couldn't get in touch with him. Rather than leave their son to wander the streets of Waterloo, the Beckers drove to fetch him.

They had seen many manic episodes in the past, but Becker's behavior that night struck his parents as normal, and they took him back to their home for the night. A message on their answering machine said their son's prescriptions were filled and ready to be picked up. Joan Becker made a mental note to get the medication the next day.

Surely, a few more hours without medication wouldn't make too much difference?


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