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Erased: Missing Women, Murdered Wives

Erased: Missing Women, Murdered Wives

Marilee Strong, Mark Powelson

ISBN: 978-0-470-89400-2

Jun 2010, Jossey-Bass

352 pages


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Based on five years of investigative reporting and research into forensic psychology and criminology, Erased presents an original profile of a widespread and previously unrecognized type of murder: not a “hot-blooded,” spur-of-the-moment crime of passion, as domestic homicide is commonly viewed, but a cold-blooded, carefully planned and methodically executed form of “erasure.” These crimes are often committed by men with no criminal record or history of violence whatsoever, men leading functional and often successful lives until the moment they kill the women, and sometimes children, they claimed to love. A surprising number go on to kill a second or even third wife or girlfriend, often in exactly the same way.

In more than fifty chilling case studies, Marilee Strong examines the strange and complex psychology that drives these killers—from the murder a century ago that inspired the novel An American Tragedy to Scott Peterson, Mark Hacking, Jeffrey MacDonald, Ira Einhorn, Charles Stuart, Robert Durst, Michael White, Barton Corbin, and many others. Erased also looks at how these men manipulate the legal system and exploit loopholes in missing persons procedures and death investigation, exposing how easy it can be to get away with murder.


Introduction: A CrimeWithout a Name.

Part One: Eraser Killing: The History and Psychology of a New Criminal Profile.

1 Out of the Shadows.

2 The Dark Triad.

3 The Real American Tragedy.

Part Two: Getting Away with Murder.

4 The Lady-Killer.

5 Disappearing Acts.

6 Hiding in Plain Sight.

7 Pregnant and Vulnerable: When a Child Is Seen as a Threat.

Part Three: A Psychological Autopsy of a Classic Eraser Killing.

8 AWatery Grave.

9 Keeping Secrets.

10 Too Good to Be True.

11 Seeds of a Plan.

12 A Collision Course.

13 Sex, Lies, and Audiotape.

Conclusion: Fixing a Broken System.

Bibliographical Sources.

About the Authors.