Jennifer Parks' murder featured on Investigation Discovery

Jennifer Parks

Jennifer Parks

Yesterday I noticed a spike in traffic for this site. These spikes are not uncommon. They usually mean that one of the stories I’ve posted about was featured on a TV show somewhere and the viewers want to find more information about it. Usually it’s about the infamous assault on Victoria Lindsay that the made for TV movie Girl Fight was based on. The only thing was the traffic this time wasn’t about Victoria but about the murder of Jennifer Parks.

For those of you unfamiliar with the story on July 30, 2005 16-year-old Jennifer of Randolph, New Jersey was lured to her death by her next door neighbor Jonathan Zarate. She was beaten and stabbed to death by Zarate and his brother James. James was a bully to Jennifer and with the help of her parents and school and the fact that James Zarate got himself arrested for vandalism he was forced to move away. The murder was in retaliation for James Zarate having to move away. After they brutally stabbed and bludgeoned Jennifer they dismembered her body and stuffed it in a trunk then put the trunk in the back of their parents SUV. The Zarate brothers waited a day before trying to dispose of Jennifer’s body in the Passaic River. A passing police officer caught the brothers before they could. Both Zarate brothers were convicted of Jennifer’s murder and sentenced to life in prison.

Last night I reached out to two dear friends of mine who are friends with Jennifer’s mother, Laurie Parks. I asked them if they had heard anything about Jennifer’s story being on TV. They told that yes there was something on TV about it on the Investigation Discovery channel. The show is called Deadly Sins with the subtitle of this episode being Good Boys Gone Very Bad. It’s Season 3 Episode 6. We’re cord cutters here in my home but I was able to find the episode for sale on Amazon.

The episode had two stories, the first was about Craig Rabinowitz who murdered his wife Stefanie. I was familiar with that story because I lived in the Philadelphia area at the time. Then came the part about Jennifer. I was not prepared for what I was about to watch.

Now I’ve been watching dramatic crime re-enactments since the days of Unsolved Mysteries and America’s Most Wanted. No re-enactment has ever gotten to me until now. Even though I’ve been blogging about this story for 9 years this episode really showed me just how brutal and senseless Jennifer’s murder was. Even though I know it was just an actress portraying Jennifer to see her thrive and become happy in her life after being rid of her tormentor only to have him and his brother savagely take that away from her and take Jennifer away from her loving family. It was hard for me to watch probably because I’ve communicated with Laurie Parks in the past and have friends who are friends with her.

The episode also had a lot of information that I was unaware of especially about how the Zarate brothers themselves were so violent and mentally disturbed. Also there were some details about Jennifer’s murder that I didn’t know as well that I can’t bring myself to write about.

If you have the ID channel on your service I would recommend catching this episode of Deadly Sins. If you’re like me though you can purchase it on Amazon.

(In the interest of transparency this was an unsolicited post and I receive no financial gain from it.)

Trench on Investigation Discovery about craigslist rapists

The Craigslist Rapist : Guest Blog by Trench Reynolds:

This is a piece I did for the Investigation Discovery blog The Criminal Report Daily that’s run by David Lohr. It focuses on the craigslist rapist Mark Antonio Humphries.

UPDATE 12/21/2015: My piece was pulled from ID some years ago in what I’m sure was a housekeeping move however thanks to Archive.org I can bring it to you now.

Investigation-Discovery-logo

I’m sure most of you are familiar with the Website Craigslist. In case you’re not, it’s a massive online classifieds site that has regional sites in most of the United States and major cities around the world. It was started in 1995, in San Francisco, California, by Craig Newmark and was originally intended as a personal site for him and his friends to communicate. Over a decade later, it’s a multi-million dollar business.

You can get just about anything you want on Craigslist – furniture, jobs, dates, even concert tickets; however, Mark Antonio Humphries was looking for something a little different on Craigslist – Humphries was looking for victims.

Before we get to Humphries, let me tell you about the other things you can get on Craigslist.

Craigslist has section called “erotic services”. This is where the ads for “escort services” and “massages” reside. In other words, it’s where Craigslist allows anyone to post ads for prostitution.

Humphries, of Prince Georges County, Maryland, picked his victims from the erotic services section. Humphries was otherwise known as the “Craigslist Rapist”. From October, 2007 through July, 2008 Humphries raped nine women that he met through Craigslist. The women were either escorts or were looking for one night stands. Humphries would set up the meetings at empty apartments or motel rooms.

Humphries slipped through the grasp of police more than once and at one point he even went to the police himself, to fish for information.

On July 23, police finally caught up with Humphries at an apartment in Hyattsville, Maryland. After police evacuated the building, Humphries shot himself in the head. He died later that night.

Humphries may go down in infamy as “the” Craigslist rapist, since he struck in an area near media-centric Washington, D.C.; however he is not the only one.

In DeKalb County, Georgia, 18-year-old Allen Jamar McDowell was arrested for the rape of two women he met through Craigslist. McDowell is also HIV positive.

In Tigard, Oregon, 52-year-old Ronald M. Leistiko was arrested for luring several women to his home through Craigslist and raping them.

In California, 24-year-old Waymon Livingston was arrested for raping a masseuse he contacted through Craigslist. The DNA from the rape linked him to a murder for which he is now facing life without parole.

Rape is not the only crime being committed through Craigslist. 19-year-old college student Donna Jou disappeared after leaving on a date with a man she met on Craigslist and 22-year-old nanny Katherine Ann Olson was killed after answering an employment ad. Her killer took out the ad allegedly just so he could kill someone.

Craigslist is also a hive for various scammers, fences, and thieves. Not that these crimes haven’t been occurring since the dawn of the Internet, but I’ve never heard of so much crime being connected to one Website.