Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Thrill Kill: The Murder of Kimberly Cates

'Jaimie, is That You?'


It started with a sound in the early morning hours of October 4, 2009. The mother detected a presence in the bedroom where she and her 11-year-old daughter, Jaimie, lay sleeping.

"Jaimie, is that you?" Kim Cates called into night, reaching for the bedside lamp.

"Yeah, Mom."

Kimberly Cates
Kimberly Cates
The light never came on. Two men, one on either side of the bed unleashed storm of blows from a knife and a machete onto the still half-asleep pair. On the mother's side, an adrenaline-fueled intruder hacked away, swinging his machete like a baseball bat, furious and brutal, while, on the other side, the first assailant's partner stabbed the young girl.

 The screams of alarm and pain turned to pleas: "You don't have to do this. Please stop."

Toward the end, as their assailants neared the end of their hacking, dark slaughter, after the pleas had met no compassion, the mother began to console her daughter, even as she struggled falteringly to defend them from the rain of blows. "Everything is going to be okay," she muttered amidst the attack.

It wasn't, though. A few final, wild swings of the blade and then the mother's head was pulled sharply back and her throat slit. Her daughter was lifted and thrown across the room, shattering a glass door before lying still, apparently dead. One more blow of the machete on the daughter's inert body, the blade mixing her blood with her mother's, and the assault was over.

Jaime Cates
Jaimie Cates
According to the medical examiner assigned to the case, in the final minutes of her life Kimberly Cates sustained at least 32 injuries. Her skull was split open, her left eye socket destroyed, several organs were pierced, and her some of her bones hacked into pieces. She lived through them all, finally dying from massive blood loss.

Jaimie, Kimberly's 11-year-old daughter, sustained massive injuries as well; she was struck at least 18 times, leaving no part of her body untouched. The blows severed part of her left foot. Her skull was split open, and the force of one of the blows shattered her jaw. But by playing dead she survived. After her assailants left the house, she struggled to the kitchen, blood-soaked and terrified, and managed to summons the police to the scene of the most brutal, seemingly random and senseless crime in the history of Mont Vernon, N.H.

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