Kirkwood is a suburb in St. Louis, Missouri. It's generally a pretty nice mid/upper-class area, but for some reason all of the recent local insane news stories have been coming out of Kirkwood. I've lived in Kirkwood, currently work near Kirkwood and have family that currently live there.
Last Sunday night, at 12:30am, my cousin found an adult man in a white ski mask standing on her Kirkwood home deck, lighting it on fire with some sort of flammable liquid. He ran away and the fire was extinguished but they never caught the guy. Fucking Kirkwood.
Let's take a look back at the recent stories of Kirkwood insanity, starting with a brand new one:
Mentally Disabled Woman Held as Sex Slave
KIRKWOOD, MO - 9/10/10 - A Kirkwood man arrested by the FBI on Thursday was one of four Missouri men who paid a fifth to either watch him torture a mentally disabled woman online or torture her themselves, prosecutors said.
The 20-page federal indictment, unsealed with the men's arrests Thursday, contains accusations of sexual and physical torture lasting five years, acts that U.S. Attorney Beth Phillips called "among the most horrific ever prosecuted" in the Western District of Missouri.
The alleged torturer, Edward "Master Ed" Bagley Sr., 43, of Lebanon, Mo., tattooed the woman to mark her as his slave, convinced her that she was legally "bound" to him and threatened her, prosecutors said. He also is accused of forcing her to work as a stripper.
Bagley tortured the woman for five years, until he induced a heart attack while suffocating and electrically shocking her on Feb. 27, 2009, prosecutors said. She was hospitalized.
Her hospitalization sparked an 18-month investigation that led to the charges.
Those alleged to be customers for the woman's forced services included Bradley Cook, 31, of the 11500 block of Big Bend Road in Kirkwood; Dennis Henry, 50, of Wheatland, Mo.; Michael Stokes, 62, of Lebanon; and James Noel, 44, of Springfield, Mo., prosecutors said. Henry's occupation was listed as postmaster general of Nevada, Mo., but that could not immediately be confirmed Thursday evening. Cook, according to state records, is a licensed real estate broker associate.
The indictment alleges that Bagley met the woman when she was 16 and a runaway and persuaded her to move into his trailer with promises of a "great life" and a future as a model and dancer.
She got her own room, furniture and TV, and Bagley began giving her drugs, showing her pornography and sexually abusing her, prosecutors said.
When she turned 18, he persuaded her to sign a 'sex slave contract," which he said bound her to him for life, prosecutors claim.
Bagley "beat, whipped, flogged, suffocated, choked, electrocuted, caned, skewered, drowned, mutilated, hung and caged" the girl "to coerce her to become a 'sex slave,'" the indictment says. It adds that he tied her up and hung her in the air, locked her in a dog cage and used staples, nails and a sewing needle and thread during torture sessions too violent to describe.
In 2005, Bagley began boasting online that the girl was his slave and could be tortured during online sessions or in person, the indictment says.
Henry, Stokes, Noel and Cook gave Bagley cash, cigarettes, computer equipment, sadomasochism videos, coats and meat in exchange for access to the girl, the indictment says.
If she cried out or tried to stop the torture, it only got worse, prosecutors said. Bagley threatened her by claiming to have buried other bodies behind his trailer home and shooting animals that she cared for in front of her, prosecutors said.
Bagley also performed abortions on the girl, the indictment says.
The indictment says Cook, the Kirkwood man, downloaded pictures and videos of the girl being tortured, gave Bagley a computer hard drive containing sadomasochism and torture videos downloaded from the Web, watched the torture live and had sex with the girl.
Court documents allege that Cook has a long history of violent behavior, sadomasochistic conduct and drug abuse and that "he tortured and sexually mutilated at least two other female victims in the past."
A call to one of Cook's former addresses was answered by someone who declined to answer questions about Cook and referred a reporter to Cook's lawyer, but declined to provide a lawyer's name.
The men could face life in prison.
6 Dead in Shooting Rampage at Kirkwood City Council
KIRKWOOD, MO - 2/7/08 - The last things Charles Lee "Cookie" Thornton said to his family were "To God be the glory" and that he loved them.
Then Thornton headed to Kirkwood City Hall, gunning down a police officer outside. He then burst into the City Council meeting just after the Pledge of Allegiance and opened fire, shooting another officer dead and apparently targeting public officials he's sparred with in the past.
Police said those killed included three Kirkwood officials, two police officers and the shooter. Two others, including Mayor Mike Swoboda, were injured.
The Post-Dispatch confirmed through officials and other sources that among the dead were Councilwoman Connie Karr, Public Works Director Kenneth Yost and police officers Tom Ballman and William Biggs.
A correspondent for the Post-Dispatch who was attending said the 7 p.m. meeting had just started when Thornton rushed into the council chambers yelling and began shooting with at least one weapon.
"He came from the back of the room," said Janet McNichols, the correspondent. "He kept yelling something about 'shoot the mayor' and he just walked around shooting anybody he could."
McNichols said the shooter first fired at Ballman, a police officer at the meeting. She said she looked up and saw that the officer had been shot in the head.
Thornton then targeted Yost, who was sitting in front of McNichols. He also was hit in the head, she said.
"After that, I was on my stomach under the chairs," she said. "I laid on my stomach waiting to get shot. Oh, God, it was a horror."
McNichols said Thornton continued to yell about the mayor. From his voice and the gunshots, she could tell he had approached the dais at the front of the room, where the council sits behind a semicircular desk.
He fired at City Attorney John Hessel, who told McNichols he fended the attacker off by throwing chairs. She saw Hessel later, appearing uninjured except for a knot on his head.
McNichols said councilman Michael H.T. Lynch also was shot.
Tom Noonan, a former city council member and a friend of the mayor, said Swoboda was in intensive care at St. John's Mercy Medical Center. He was in critical condition Friday morning at the hospital, said hospital spokesman Bill McShane.
After the gunman fired at officials around the dais, police officers burst into the room and there was more yelling, McNichols said. Thornton shouted he had a gun, shots were fired and officers shouted they had gotten him.
St. Louis County police spokeswoman Tracy Panus later confirmed that police had killed the man believed to be the shooter.
"We have what we believe to be our suspect," Panus said. "We are not currently actively searching for anyone in the area."
Thornton was not a stranger to the council, where he was often a contentious presence.
McNichols said he often aimed his ire at Swoboda and at Yost.
Late last month, a federal judge in St. Louis dismissed a lawsuit in which Thornton, representing himself, claimed Kirkwood officials violated his free speech rights by prohibiting him from speaking out at meetings.
In a ruling Jan. 28, U.S. District Judge Catherine D. Perry took into account that Thornton had twice been convicted of disorderly conduct for disrupting meetings in 2006 with off-point complaints about persecution by officials.
"He'd come to the meeting and he'd have a big easel and a picture of a donkey on there and call the council asses," McNichols said.
Sportscaster Doug Vaughn of Channel 4 said he went to Kirkwood High School with Thornton and has run into him through the years. He said Thornton's behavior changed after police cracked down on his parking of vehicles for his construction company outside his home in Meacham Park. He felt harassed, Vaughn said.
"He was more than a critic," Vaughn said. "It got to where he was showing up at every council meeting and trying to dominate everything. He kind of lost his mind."
Mike Prosperi, owner of the Imo's Pizza near City Hall and near where the first officer was killed, said everyone knew "Cookie." He said Thornton was known for his contentiousness at council meetings, but said there was another side.
"I'm just so shocked," Prosperi said. "He always had a smile on his face. He was always saying, 'God bless you. God bless you.' If he'd see you at the Sam's Club or the hardware store, he'd go out of his way to say hello."
On Friday morning, Jean Gutchewsky, an eighth grade reading teacher at nearby Nipher Middle School, came to lay flowers in front of City Hall.
"Cookie was not a monster," Gutchewsky said. "He used to be a real happy guy. He just snapped. We need a lot of prayers today."
About a block away from City Hall is a monument to another recent violent incident in Kirkwood. It honors Sgt. Bill McEntee, who was gunned down in the city's Meacham Park neighborhood by Kevin Johnson in 2005. Johnson was convicted late last year and sentenced to death earlier this month.
"It's just mind-boggling to see all this happening again," said John DeSherlia, who lives nearby. "I mean, this is like déjà vu. You don't think these things will happen in Kirkwood. We've built ourselves up as such a safe community."
McEntee was the second police officer in Kirkwood to be killed since 1898. The two officers killed Thursday were the third and fourth.
"It's so hard at this point to make sense of this," said the Rev. Robert Osborne of St. Peters Church in Kirkwood. He is the Kirkwood police chaplain.
He had spent the evening with police. He described it as a scene of great sadness.
Police from area departments were offering condolences and hugs, he said. Condolences were also pouring in from elected officials around the state.
"I join Missourians tonight in praying for the victims, their families and friends, and everyone in the community of Kirkwood," Gov. Matt Blunt said.
The shooting incident on Thursday night was reminiscent of the day in 1992 when Kenneth Baumruk, a litigant in a divorce case, pulled put a pistol in the St. Louis County Courthouse in Clayton, killed his wife and wounded four others. He survived and has been sentenced to death for the slaying.
The shootings stirred up fears for some mayors, who said they have sometimes felt unsafe when controversial issues or angry residents confront them.
"That's not something we normally do, but I had a feeling about that meeting," said Langston, 53, who has served as mayor for seven years. "It was an issue that some people had become totally obsessed and upset about and it all came to a head that night... We felt really exposed. We realized that if someone got mad enough to get violent, it would be tough to stop them."
2 Missing Boys Are Found
KIRKWOOD, MO - 1/13/07 - When the police entered an apartment near St. Louis yesterday looking for a 13-year-old boy who had disappeared 60 miles away on Monday, they found him and a bonus: another Missouri teenager who had been missing for more than four years.
Officers found William Ownby, who vanished after stepping off a school bus in Beaufort on Monday afternoon, and Shawn Hornbeck, a 15-year-old who was last seen riding a bicycle near his home in Richwoods in October 2002, inside the rental apartment, in Kirkwood, Mo.
Sheriff Gary Toelke of Franklin County told reporters that both boys appeared dazed but unharmed.
Officers arrested Michael Devlin, 41, who lived in the apartment, and charged him with one count of first-degree kidnapping. Mr. Devlin was being held on $1 million bond.
Robert Parks, the prosecuting attorney of Franklin County, told reporters that Mr. Devlin had confessed to the crime and added that more charges were likely to be filed in the case.
Sheriff Toelke said officers were questioning Mr. Devlin, who worked as a pizza-delivery dispatcher and on the overnight shift in a funeral home, to try to determine a motive behind the abductions. Mr. Devlin's name was not found in a check of the Missouri Highway Patrol's registry of sex offenders. Similarly, a search of Missouri court records revealed no criminal history.
In Beaufort, family and friends of William, a Boy Scout known as Ben, had been conducting a full-scale search yesterday for the boy. He was last seen dashing home from the school bus on Monday. A schoolmate told the authorities that he saw a dilapidated white pickup truck with a camper shell speeding away from the spot.
An intense hunt ensued in rural Franklin County. Members of the Ownby family appeared on television to make tearful appeals for the boy's return. Community members plastered fliers throughout the area and ventured out on foot, horseback and all-terrain vehicles looking for clues.
The break in the case came Thursday evening when two Kirkwood police officers, out to serve a warrant at the Kirkwood apartment complex where Mr. Devlin lived, spotted a white truck that matched the description, Sheriff Toelke said. The blocklong single-story complex is just off Interstate 44 near a collection of industrial buildings.
The Kirkwood police contacted the Franklin County Sheriff's Department, located Mr. Devlin's address and returned the next day to find Ben and, to their surprise, Shawn Hornbeck, in the apartment, he said.
Sheriff Toelke said that Shawn identified himself to officers when they entered the home. He had disappeared on Oct. 6, 2002, when he was 11. His parents had reported him missing after he rode to a friend's house on a lime-green mountain bike wearing a Little League jersey but never arrived.
Ben, who was wearing a red shirt and jeans yesterday, appeared somewhat dazed when he was reunited with his family around 5 p.m. at the sheriff's office, Sheriff Toelke said. He added that Shawn's parents were coming to meet their son at the same location.
''There are a lot of things we don't know right now,'' he said.
At Imo's Pizza in Kirkwood, where Mr. Devlin worked, a manager declined to comment. At the Bopp Chapel, where he worked the overnight shift, Susan Waterman, a funeral director, declined to comment on the situation, saying the chapel would release a statement today.