Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Christopher Boyce & Andrew Daulton Lee

Son of an FBI Agent

Christopher Boyce was born  Feb. 16, 1953, in Santa Monica, Calif., to Charles and Noreen Boyce. Charles Boyce, who had been an FBI agent in Connecticut, resigned shortly before Christophers birth. Charles Boyce had moved west to work as an industrial-security executive for an aircraft manufacturer.

Chris was the first of nine children. His mother was a strict Roman Catholic and she abided by its teachings against artificial contraception.  In fact, Noreen had once planned on becoming a nun.  She had spent a year in a convent before deciding that she did not have the calling.  Her faith however, remained unshaken.

Charles was not Catholic but, while courting Noreen, he had agreed that their children would be raised in that faith.  She would not marry him otherwise. Charles Boyce was a good enough provider that despite the familys size, they lived in modest affluence.

The Boyce parents were proudly patriotic.  They were also politically conservative and did their best to inculcate those values into their children. F.B.I. agents and police officers were the Boyces social circle. The kids grew up surrounded by law enforcement personnel exchanging stories about their work.  Chris would later claim that this caused him to develop a kind of sixth sense about undercover officers.

The eldest of the Boyce youngsters appears to have enjoyed a comfortable, pleasant childhood. His family lived in the exclusive and snooty neighborhood of the Palos Verdes Peninsula, also called The Hill. Chris was both a good student and a good athlete.  As a child, he shared the devout Roman Catholicism of his parents and became an altar boy.

One personality trait that surfaced early in Chris  was a daredevil spirit and a love of risk-taking. 

Chris was a great one for climbing up the tallest tree, Noreen Boyce recalled.  If there was a bird that nobody else had caught, hed try to catch it, or nobody else had climbed the tree, hed climb it.  Sometimes the boys thirst for adventure had disastrous consequences.

 Once he went out on a hemp rope and climbed out to get a bird and put it in his pocket, his mother elaborated.  Hes moving out on the rope and he starts sliding down, burned all the flesh off his hands, fell in poisonous sumac.  I had to take him to the hospital.  Another time, he fell out of a forty-foot tree up in Santa Maria, and fortunately he fell on a wet riverbed with a lot of leaves on it, and he compressed his fourth and fifth vertebrae.  But these mishaps did not dampen Chris enthusiasm for outdoor pursuits or his willingness to take chances

A fellow student at St. John Fisher parochial elementary school would become Chris best friend.  He was Andrew Daulton Lee, called Daulton, the adopted son of a Palos Verdes physician.

Daulton shared Chris Catholic piety.  The boys attended the same church and, like Chris, Daulton was an altar boy.  Sometimes the priest celebrated mass with Chris on one side and Daulton on the other.  The boys hung around together and  sometimes even helped each other with their  chores.

But their academic careers were very different. While Chris effortlessly garnered As, Daulton struggled for Cs. Daulton did not enjoy his schoolwork.  He had a talent for working with his hands however, and could fashion excellent woodwork.

When Chris was a teenager, several kids in his neighborhood group took up falconry, the ancient practice of training birds to hunt.  For most, it was a fad and the interest disappeared when the novelty wore off.  Not for Chris.  He had an intuitive rapport with birds and became expert at the sport.  Daulton shared this passion and it drew them even closer.

Both boys had a turbulent adolescence.   The two remained together because they attended the same high school.  It was not a parochial school because their families believed that the nearest Catholic high was too far away.

Chris Boyce was growing into a handsome young man.  Five feet nine inches tall, slim but athletic in build, blue-eyed and brown-haired with regular features, he was attractive.  His amiable personality made him even more likable.

But his grades started to slide, especially in subjects he found boring, such as math and science. At 16, Chris suffered a classic crisis of faith.  He began to doubt Christs divinity. He no longer considered himself a Christian and could no longer remain in the Roman Catholic Church  he loved when he was boy.

He was increasingly disturbed by what he saw of his countrys policies.  The Vietnam War was on television every night, and then there was Watergate. Was this country any better than others?  Or was it run by a group of power-hungry thugs who were willing to sacrifice young men for their own glory?

Daulton Lee was having different problems.  He was not as fortunate as Chris was in either his appearance or in his ability to make friends.   Daulton would only reach a height of five feet two inches.  This bothered him terribly and was exacerbated by the fact that his adopted father cleared six feet.  Daulton developed a pronounced short mans complex.  He became extremely competitive.  He was also generous, seeming as if he wanted to acquire friends by sharing.

Also making him painfully self-conscious was his feeling conviction that his ears were too big.  He tried to cover up this problem by growing his mop of wavy brown hair long enough to cover his ears.  A bad case of acne also afflicted Daulton, contributing to his sense of social unease.  Girls were not interested in him, he thought.  He felt rejected.

While Daultons grades had always been rather poor, he had found a comfortable niche in woodshop where teachers were inevitably impressed by his lovely and detailed work.  He spoke of a career in carpentry or a similar field.  Unfortunately, Daultons aspirations were met with ridicule.  He lived in a milieu that respected those whose livelihood came from their brains  and disdained those who made a living with their hands.

Sometime during Daultons high school years, he found a road to popularity and financial comfort.  That path was paved with marijuana and cocaine.  Like many of his schoolmates, the insecure adolescent enjoyed the feelings these substances produced.  But he went further than most by selling drugs and, in the case of girls who attracted him, supplying them in exchange for sex.

Sean Penn played Daulton Lee in the Falcon movie
Sean Penn played Daulton Lee in the Falcon movie

Daulton held legitimate jobs from time to time,  but when he graduated from high school, his primary occupation was dope dealer.  It was a life he enjoyed. Drug dealing  reaped large returns while requiring less time than other jobs. His specialty was selling cocaine and he became known as a snowman.

After Boyce finished high school, he struggled to determine what he wanted to do with his life.  He went to one college, dropped out, started at another, then dropped out again, and started a third college only to leave it.

 Concerned, Charles Boyce phoned a friend who worked for the aerospace company TRW Defense and Space Systems Group. TRW is a private company that helped run U.S. spy satellites. Boyce asked his friend if he could find a job for his floundering son.  Soon 21-year-old Chris Boyce was hired by TRW as a $140 per week general clerk.

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