Craigslist is a terrific site in many ways. But it has a terrible safety record. While Craigslist has facilitated millions of transactions, not all of them go well. Rip-offs, robberies or rapes related to Craigslist are reported almost every day. And the rate of killings tied in some way to Craigslist is staggering. The list below is not necessarily complete (sadly). We also have broken down the types of killings; how the victims were lured to their deaths, and more. It’s a devastating story.

We highlight these killings only because we believe Craigslist should do much more to promote safety among its users, and because SafeTrade is the best way to stay safe when you’re trading in person through Craigslist or any other Internet site.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

List of 'Craigslist Killings' victims -- February 2015 to 2007

Below are the names of those whose deaths were connected to a transaction on Craigslist, from Feb. 28, 2015 through 2007, the earliest news account we could find. There may be more victims. These are those cases we could identify through Internet searches.

This list is for informational purposes only. We state no intent to keep it updated.

No. Date State City/Comm Victim Search URL
84 Feb-15 GA Marietta James Jones Search
83 Jan-15 GA Telfair County Bud Runion Search
82 Jan-15 GA Telfair County June Runion Search
81 Nov-14 KY Louisville Papa Thiam Search
80 Oct-14 PA Norristown Manuel Hakimian Search
79 Oct-14 NC Durham Jawad Ali Razai Search
78 Oct-14 CA Los Angeles Abdullah Abdullatif Alkadi Search
77 Oct-14 Queensland Coomera Mark "Zeb" Spencer Search
76 Sep-14 MI Wyoming Charles Oppeneer Search
75 Sep-14 MI Wyoming Brooke Slocum Search
74 Sep-14 MI Wyoming Baby Slocum Search
73 Sep-14 AZ Phoenix unidentified Search
72 Sep-14 GA Sandy Springs Danny Zeitz Search
71 Sep-14 TX Houston unidentified Search
70 Sep-14 NJ Patterson Mamuka Chamiashvili Search
69 Aug-14 GA Hapeville Vernicia Woodard Search
68 Aug-14 WV Cross Lanes Ericka Brown Search
67 Jul-14 FL Ocala Robert Hiles Search
66 May-14 NJ Monroe Township Fatima Perez Search
65 Apr-14 FL Coral Springs Jason Mageau Search
64 Apr-14 SC Lexington County Tycus Toland Search
63 Apr-14 PA Allentown Eric Ervin Search
62 Mar-14 TN Memphis Larry Wilkins Search
61 Mar-14 AL Coden Robert Lee Perry Search
60 Jan-14 IL Naperville Charles Clark Search
59 Dec-13 IN Indianapolis James Vester Search
58 Dec-13 CA San Francisco Ikenna Uwakah Search
57 Nov-13 PA Sunbury Troy LaFerra Search
56 Nov-13 NC Asheville Timothy Keith Radford Search
55 Nov-13 GA Lithonia Jevon Nathan Freeman Search
54 Nov-13 WI Porter Aprina Paul Search
53 Nov-13 MI Kalamazoo Drew Thorngate Search
52 Oct-13 CA Los Angeles Rene Balbuena Search
51 Oct-13 SC Mount Pleasant William Apps Search
50 Oct-13 MD Harmans Rene Archila Search
49 Aug-13 GA DeKalb County Clarence Gardenhire Search
48 Aug-13 PA Long Pond Brandon Fraser Search
47 Jun-13 PA Philadelphia Daniel Cooke Search
46 May-13 CT Hartford Felix DeJesus Search
45 Apr-13 TX Dallas Gerald Canepa Search
44 Apr-13 TX Fort Worth Desmond Paige Search
43 Mar-13 IL Tinley Park Thomas Mastro Search
42 Dec-12 IN Indianapolis Nishant Patel Search
41 Oct-12 CA Downey Josimar Rojas Search
40 Oct-12 CA Downey Irene Reyes Search
39 Oct-12 CA Downey Susana Ruelas Search
38 Aug-12 MN St. Paul Aung Thu Bo Search
37 Aug-12 OH New Albany Deanna Ballman Search
36 Jun-12 MO O'Fallon Joseph Givens Search
35 Dec-11 OK Blanchard Jaymie Adams Search
34 Nov-11 NY Medford Jennifer Papain Search
33 Nov-11 CO Denver Thomas Bashline Search
32 Nov-11 OH Akron Ralph Geiger Search
31 Nov-11 OH Akron David Pauley Search
30 Nov-11 OH Akron Timothy Kern Search
29 Aug-11 CO Mesa County Luis "Beto" Oliva Search
28 Jul-11 FL Fruit Cove Daniel Somerson Search
27 May-11 CA San Diego Garrett Berki Search
26 Feb-11 MI Hazel Park Jonathan Clements Search
25 Feb-11 MI Detroit Alexander Lyons Search
24 Feb-11 MO Kansas City Yuri Ives Search
23 Jan-11 NY Long Island Maureen Brainard-Barnes Search
22 Jan-11 NY Long Island Melissa Barthelemy Search
21 Jan-11 NY Long Island Megan Waterman Search
20 Jan-11 NY Long Island Amber Lynn Costello Search
19 Sep-10 MN Lake Elmo Youa Lor Search
18 Aug-10 GA West Chatham Thai Lam Search
17 Jul-10 FL Jacksonville Tiara Poole Search
16 Jun-10 TX Houston Sarah Weyrik Search
15 Jun-10 CA Pleasant Hill Mary Jane Scanlon Search
14 Apr-10 WA Edgwood James Sanders Search
13 Feb-10 FL Miami Bob Tombo Search
12 Dec-09 TX San Antonio Lenora Frago Search
11 Jun-09 OR Tigard Heather M. Snivley Search
10 May-09 TX Austin Amy Elizabeth Dicky Search
9 Apr-09 MA Boston Julissa Brisman Search
8 Mar-09 NY New York George Weber Search
6 Feb-09 TX Dallas Christian Marton Search
7 Feb-09 CA Vallejo Theodore Neff Search
5 Dec-08 VA Arlington Matthew Hicks Search
4 Oct-08 WI Milwaukee Haroon Khan Search
3 Mar-08 NC Iredell County Bonnie Lou Irvine Search
2 Oct-07 MN Savage Katherine Ann Olson Search
1 Jun-07 CA Los Angeles Donna Jou Search

At least 84 'Craigslist Killings' since 2007

From 2007 to Feb. 28, 2015, at least 84 people have been killed as a result of a connection they made on Craigslist – including four in the first six weeks of 2015.

Eighty-three deaths took place in the U.S. One death took place in Australia in December 2014, after the victim answered a personals ad on one of Craigslist’s Queensland sites.

Is this a definitive list? We doubt it. It’s a list of what we could find in Internet searches of news stories that involve the initial crime reports, and in most cases, subsequent arrests and convictions of the killers.

We have no idea how many how many killings might have occurred in which investigators failed to make a Craigslist connection, or how many times news reporters didn’t notice because Craigslist connections weren’t highlighted on the police blotter or otherwise pointed out to them.

Who would know? Likely, Craigslist has a more accurate number. For years, Craigslist has emphasized its willingness to work with police when asked. According to most reports, investigators combed through email exchanges, browser histories and mobile phone records to hunt down the killers. It’s reasonable to assume that homicide detectives reached out to Craigslist in more cases than not – at least in the U.S.

Is Craigslist culpable?

No. Craigslist is not to blame for the actions of predators of any sort. Also, the U.S. Communications Decency Act of 1996 protects Craigslist and all other electronic “forums” from civil and criminal liability over the actions of its members. We certainly don’t hold Craigslist responsible. 

However, we would like to see Craigslist take more responsibility for the protection of its users. At this writing, its “Personal Safety” page lists seven “simple precautions” and links to four websites where its members can read more about safety.

How hard would it be to flag high-dollar, highly portable, easily fenced items such as mobile phones, watches and jewelry with an automated messages that encourage extra precautions?

How the 85 died
  •         43 victims were shot (52%).
  •         8 victims were stabbed (9%).
  •    8 were strangled (9% after rounding).
  •    5 were bludgeoned (6%).

Counted separately were incidents where victims were bludgeoned and shot, kidnapped and shot, stabbed and shot, bludgeoned and burned, stabbed and burned, stabbed and strangled, tied and throat slit. One victim was kidnapped, bound, killed by undisclosed means and buried. Another was buried alive. One victim was raped and given a lethal injection of heroin, after which her corpse was defiled. One victim died after a night of sex and drugs; her paramour burned her body in his backyard barbecue pit. Four deaths were positively linked to a known prolific serial killer; three other deaths were the work of two men.  A few other killers admitted killing for the thrill of it; one said he “hoped to do it again.” One full-term infant died as the result of her mother’s death. Another baby was cut from her dead mother’s womb but was declared stillborn, so law officers didn’t count the child among the killings.

How they were lured to their deaths
  •     18 answered or placed a personals ad (21%).
  •    16 wanted to sell a vehicle (19%).
  •    12 sought to sell sex (14%).
  •    7 wanted to sell a mobile phone (8%).
  •    5 wanted to buy a mobile phone (6%).
  •    4 answered a job ad (5%).
  •    3 wanted to buy a vehicle.
  •    3 wanted to sell a game system.
  •    3 wanted to sell jewelry.
  •    2 placed a job ad.
  •    2 sought to buy sex.
  •    2 sought to lease rooms.
  •    2 wanted to sell a computer or tablet.
One person died in each of these ad transactions: sought a roommate, sought to buy a game system, sought to buy a computer or tablet, sought to sell medical marijuana.

One suspect’s death is attributed to his partner in crime, who shot him because he was bragging about their successful robbery spree.

Safety usually ignored

In nearly every case, victims appeared to have taken no extraordinary precautions to keep themselves safe.  However, in one case, the victim, who sought to buy a vehicle, prudently met his killers at a restaurant; sadly, he bought their story that they needed a ride home. In another, the seller was robbed and killed in a public park, in broad daylight.

The obvious perspectives

From 2007-2013, one in 1,574 U.S. homicides was a “Craigslist killing.” (According to FBI’s full-year Uniform Crime Reporting data, 94,432 people were slain in the U.S. between 2007 and 2013. Full-year data for 2014 are not compiled yet. We divided the FBI’s number by 60 – the number of slayings we found through 2013.)

 How many safe transactions were conducted on Craigslist between 2007 and February 2015? More millions than even Craigslist can count.

So statistically, Craigslist is a safe place to conduct business.

Except when it isn’t. 

The perspective you don’t see

Digging through news accounts, poring over trial testimonies, obituaries, memorials and social-media tributes – underscores the only perspective that truly matters:  These killings shattered families forever and years later continue to crack the safety and security of whole communities.  To reduce these deaths to statistics is to dishonor the dead and those who loved them.

For this reason, we have listed the victims but we don’t get into the tragic details of each individual's death, even though we compiled that information.  We linked each incident to its unique search result for anyone who might seek to research. 

Finally, we make no promise that we will continue to update this list. It's an egregious exercise. Enterprising reporters are welcome to use this list as a starting point. We suggest they set their news traps for any future mentions, as we did.