| Knight Case | Interviews | Evidence | Photos | Biographies | Search | Home |
| Solve the Case Here |

Go Back


Dr. Maria McManus Ph.D. Crim. Psych.; FBI; I.S.U. (ret.)
Special Agent Dr. Martin Ballard Ph.D. Psych. Linguistics; FBI; Crime Lab

MARCH 02 - 03, 1997;
MARCH 03, 1997

The following Criminal Investigative Analysis was prepared by Dr. Maria McManus, Private Consultant, with Special Agent Dr. Martin Ballard, Seattle Department of Justice, Bureau of Investigation. This analysis is based upon a thorough review of materials submitted to the PsiCore Consulting Group by Detectives Armstrong and Anderson. The following profile is a culmination of the education, experience, and intuition of the profiler.

This profile is not a substitute for a thorough investigation, and should not be considered inclusive or wholly accurate. The information in this profile is based upon reviewing, analyzing, and researching similar cases and scientific and forensic examination of provided evidence. The submitted evidence consists of one recording from an answering machine message, and one set of photographs taken by the offender at the victims residence.

Two offenses were analyzed in conjunction for this profile. This analysis will reflect a personality profile type believed responsible for the stalking of victim Knight.


Examination of any victims background is a major aspect of the analysis process. Vulnerability to becoming a victim of violent crime was examined in conjunction with a review of lifestyle, habits, behaviors, personal history, and social/sexual habits. This cumulative review should reflect at what risk the victim was to becoming a victim of violent crime.

A difficulty in this case is that victim Knight was somewhat reclusive and details of her life have either been extemporized or the details of her life excessively stressed in the evidence which gives us knowledge of her own personality; namely, her media life. Coupled with her first so called disappearance, in which she failed to register for College and changed her legal name, the victim shows a dualistic tendency to remain private while communicating with the public and the media. This victim profile may be inaccurate in reflecting the true nature of victim Knights personality, but will be accurate in reflecting how the offender may perceive it by encountering media in which the victim was associated. Although unorthodox to consider victim profiling this way, it is quite obvious in this case that the fame or notoriety of Knight has heightened or escalated the offenders nature.

The following statistics were culled from the DOT and Licensing department of Yoknapatawpha County databases. Victim Purity Ariadne Knight is a white female, aged twenty one years, height five feet eight inches. Weighs approximately (following detail is inaccurate on 89% of all drivers licenses) one hundred ten pounds and had brown/blonde hair. She is known to be single. Her roommate describes her as quiet and reclusive, sometimes disappearing for several days. She was extremely attractive and appears to posses a feminine grace quite admired in her age range. She was employed at an animal shelter nearby, where her work was mostly solitary. For quite awhile she has been self sufficient to such a degree as to put herself through a state college.

Due to the events surrounding her sisters murder and the public exposure it brought Knight, she soon became a quite public figure. In this profile, we will not summarize the extent or details involving her sisters murder, as it is obviously quite familiar to the requesting detectives.

The three most important factors here are her frequent disappearances, her earlier disappearance in which she changed her name and reenrolled in college, and her public figure. Knight was often portrayed as a victim in various mediums, nearly martyred. The tragic details of her life, and her greatest secrets, became a public commodity which often seemed to be as torment ridden as Jobs in the Bible. Not only did she have to bear a painful rape, and ostracization from her parents, she had to endure public scrutiny, loss of faith, and conflicting ideologues concerning her strictly religious upbringing.

The reverse factor is such a life would allow Knight to strengthen herself and become familiar with her chances of being a victim to any sort of harassment or crime. She shows herself in public interaction to be quite eloquent, analytical, and reflective. At the same time, a martyrization effect occurs, often seen in hostages and prostitutes who have encountered sexual or mental violence for long periods; she becomes acquainted with victimhood and as has been shown in many psychological studies may have become masochistic, even feeling empathy for offenders and internalizing mitigating stressors in her life. In other words, she might welcome victimhood or circumstances which would cause her pain; in the same way many prostitutes turn to heroin (internal injection) or hostages come to love their captors, and even identify with them. Knight may have been suicidal at certain low points of her life, or have sought anonymous and emotionally lacking sexual encounters. Her strict religious upbringing might make her even more attractive to a psychotic who wishes to defile purity; uncannily, her real name (which would be of the most interest to a psychotic, as he believes himself to be intimate with the victim) matches such psychotic logic.

Knights father is an assistant deputy DA, who is quite vehement in his anti abortion views. We have disregarded this factor as contributing to Knights chances of being a victim, especially in consideration that Oxford Mississippi has an average homicide / sexual offense rate statistically far below the norm of a town with similar population rates (even in conjunction with the fact that a college is in the area, usually a mitigating factor in increasing sexual offenses).

The factors combine to place Knight at a quite high level of being a victim of violent crime. There is no doubt, of course, that most violent offenders and stalkers now use media to heighten their fantasies and Knights public notoriety would make her a media case in which psychotic fantasies might easily include such a victim as herself. Although undoubtedly she would draw harassment from anonymous sources wishing to use her public life to mock her (and the easy availability with which she could be contacted with) there is a degree of danger that a bona fide violent offender might choose her as a target.



One answering machine tape was submitted to the Group for forensic analysis. The tape consisted of two days worth of messages for Knight and Perez. At 5m:42s a message begins preceded by a beep that we have been asked to analyze (please note that original master was of microcasette stock while duplicate provided for our use was on DAT. Accordingly, pitch variance and time fragmentation occurs while transferring from analog to digital).

Voice stressor analysis was conducted on the tape, as well as psycholinguistic interpretation and reflective experience in dealing with violent offenders in phone encounters. We cross checked 12 phrases through the VICAPS database for reoccurrence of particular phrases and / or psychotic imagery. All other voice recordings on the tape were checked in conjunction with stress analysis to determine if any caller on the machine matched our offender. Retrieval of erased data was not attempted, due to our time frame in constructing this profile. The resultant considerations about the tape reflect most of our knowledge about the offender. These are the results.



The answering machine message left at the Knight residence on March 2nd might have been one of a series of messages; however this is the only one available for analysis. The stress analysis was cross checked against three control examples to match authenticity of threat.

The tape was checked against patterns from three other samples. In one, the message was remade by a professional voice actor who specialized in impersonations, who was aware beforehand that he was performing the material. This sample most matched the message in levels of stress. In another, the tape was matched against a sample message of an actual recording by a teenage male calling a girl to ask her out on a date. The stress levels on this sample are extremely high. The peaks were 40% higher. The final sample was an actual recording of a serial offense (the details of which shall remain unknown). In this recording, a serial offender has rang the house of a victim he has abducted and taunts the parents. The stress levels were lowest on this recording, flat in effect, and despite one isolated moment of anger, it least matches the answering machine message in terms of stress.

Forensic psychologists dealing with violent crime associate this with the objectivity of real serial offenders. They seem to lack a certain empathic response and often find themselves at their calmest while perpetrating their crimes; an initial stressor triggering the offense, the hideous nature of their crimes actually seems to calm them.

The voice message we were asked to analyze would lead us to conclude that on the basis of stress levels, the offender on the tape is a hoaxer who is well aware he is performing, and is only afraid of making some sort of mistake in his rehearsed material. Finally, stress analysis on the whimpers and moans on the tape, as best we could isolate them, were far below that of an actual recording of a victim

being terrorized.

Voice analysts place the callers age as being in their mid to low twenties. This profiler contends that he is a smoker. The female cries were implacable as to age range.



This comprises the bulk of our profile on the offender. From his use of imagery and words, his semiological skills, and what his choice of words indicates about his education and psychoses, we can begin to construct a personality type. This is the most subjective and intuitive part of the profile.

The answering machine message sounds far too staged in some manner. The violent "Shutup"s appear at the end and beginning of the message, with impeccable timing. The caller is rather obscure with his imagery. He doesn't ask anything of the victim (Knight); he places no demands for her control in his statement. There is of course, the idea that by virtue of knowing her "secrets" he has control over her life, but the fact that he has a "victim" with him denies his need for a victim to control. The tone is not aggressive or manipulative but harassing. The intention is not for Knight to submit to control but to make her afraid. The caller poses as some sort of psychotic torturer: yet his psychoses are all too easily obscure and do not match the profile of a serial killer - choosing not a psychosexually charged myth such as Sleeping Beauty (long a favorite of necropheliacs) but a rather tamely sexual folklore image (Rapunzel statement).

He has a victim gagged in some manner but keeps asking her to "shutup". Rather than relish his organized offense (i.e. the implication that he has some victim under his submission) he is driven to a frenzy by her whimpers. In actuality, our experience is that offenders who wish to rob their victims of voice are often excited and content with their moans and whimpers, sometimes matching psychosexual associations with sound in pornographic films, and will often do whatever they can to get a victim to moan in such a manner - inhibiting their aggression because it gives the illusion of pleasure.

Phone calls from serial offenders to victims are often so organized that the offender appears calm; they relish the control. This matches our findings through stress analysis that the phone message is a hoax. On determination of that, we can then construct a profile of our offender; as his choice of words reflect such.

We must add that quite explicity, Miss Knight seems to state that she was aware of the identity of the caller on her answering machine; even going so far as to fit him an epithet... "some geek". Knight was receiving harrasive email as well; this could have come from thousands of sources on the Internet, as flames are not uncommon for the most trivial reason. Knight seems so sure of his identity, in fact, that she comprehended that there was no real threat implied.

No matches of imagery were found in the VICAPS database. Nor were any voices on the tape similar to that of the offender.



Due to time frame considerations, scientific analysis was not performed on the photographs. They have been used by this profiler to consider the movements, methodology, and MO of the offender by considering their staging, composition, and technical expertise. Please note there is nothing that suggests that the photographs were taken by the same offender in the phone messages, but the chronology of events would suggest otherwise.

The photographs staging, and the fact that only one was taken at Knights workplace, indicate the stalker is quite inexperienced. He didnt have the skill or pressing psychotic nature to get closer to Knight in daylight or to attempt entry into her home. The fact that he was discovered by a neighbor during the offense suggests this even more; he wasnt well acquainted with the grounds around Knights house nor did he take care to disguise his flashes or use more sophisticated equipment as most serial offenders and/or sexual offenders do. As well, a psychotic interested in stalking Knight would never have dropped his equipment under any circumstances. Such criminals are often possessed of a high degree of intelligence and technical expertise, coupled with interest in police work and/or procedurals and take the greatest cares to ensure they are not caught. The amateurish nature of this stalking indicates the stalker is otherwise.

As well, the age of the victim would indicate a much older, less agile, and sneakier stalker. Age ranges of victims are often the opposite of the offender; the younger the victim the older the offender, the younger the offender, the older the victim. Our evidence indicates that the offender is the same age as the victim.

Full scientific photographic analysis will not be performed in this profile or by this group.



Statistical considerations, along with our analysis of the stalkers methods and trace evidence, allow us to posit this profile of our offenders personality type.

The offender is a white male, aged in his early twenties. He probably is either in classes at the college with Knight or has some sort of familiarity with her. He is computer literate and uses the Internet quite extensively; this is where he gained his knowledge of Knights life to a degree higher than her notoriety in college (mostly limited to thats the girl whos sister was murdered). Knight terms him as a geek. Extensive experience in law enforcement work shows that most generalizations are wholly accurate. He suffers from a low self esteem, has had very few or no girlfriends and / or limited sexual experience. If he has friends of the opposite gender, they are only friends who view him as a brother type. He is not too short, but isnt as tall as the average male in his range, probably around five foot seven or eight, most likely just a tad shorter than Knight. He has dark hair, and may have some sort of distinguishing feature which makes him insecure; this profiler contends he wears glasses and may have a minor acne problem which he exaggerates. He may try growing facial hair which doesnt grow in full

His use of folkloric imagery means that he is quite literate and has a good memory, as most young adults forget such tales. He probably reads science fiction and / or fantasy novels, confined to genre, but not very often; but his other media interests include movies about serial killers; I would expect him to be of the obsessive male adolescent type who fetishly collects objects and obscure knowledge about his favorite media. In an attempt to make him appear more manly, he smokes cigarettes and listens to offensive music; this profilers experience suggests bands who have been involved in public controversy recently, such as Marilyn Manson or Nine Inch Nails. He most often wears dark clothing and long coats. Normally such factors wouldnt be part of a profile, but his grounding in youth culture would indicate that he vociferously and constantly speaks about such subjects to whoever will listen.

He owns a computer and uses it quite regularly. I would expect him to even log in as soon as he wakes up, as it is his primary feed for social relationships and news. He probably hangs out in IRC circles or has a core group of friends on IRC with whom he engages in most of his social activity. He has his own phone, and is a local of the area; this would suggest he doesnt live in dorm rooms. He is an average student who excels in classes he enjoys but is pathetic in required classes where he often is bored and daydreams.

He is not a violent psychotic. He is a socially inadequate type who believes himself to only be playing a prank. His social skills are so weak that he doesnt understand the pain and grief he is causing, but rather submerges any conscious attempts to rationalize his actions as such. I would say his intention in taking the photographs were to send them to Knight anonymously in order to harass her further. He is a braggart when in company of his own social standing, and has probably told his closest friends (who he only knows through online chats) of his actions. He sees himself as a greater person than he actually is, and his ego regarding his intelligence is quite large.

His intentions in stalking Knight are probably the result of thwarted desire. He finds Knight attractive and superimposes his ego on her own life, envious of her own fame, and wishes to become part of her story and media life. In the past he probably had an infatuation with her and often fantasized about her, though not violently. He is too sexually inadequate to have a outstanding interest in pornography, but has some in his possession, most likely from the Internet. He identifies with her awkwardly, and believes himself subconsciously to never be able to part of her life, and has begun this harassment in some irrational intention as to earn her.

I wouldnt be surprised if hes made contact with her, very minor, and hopes to someday tell her he can protect her from her stalker.



Because I consider the stalker to be a hoaxer, for the first time in my career I will digress from the standard post offense behavior.

The offenders attraction to Knight has fueled great feelings of self loathing and guilt. His intentions were not to harm Knight but to take part in her life; now she has vanished entirely and knows that he is to blame.

Socially, he will try to diffuse this guilt by pronouncing his actions as much as possible to people he considers his friends. Bragging is an essential commodity in the online world among adolescents (despite being in his low twenties, I contend his lack of sexual experience makes him adolescent in some way); and I expect him to mention to people in these groups that he is involved in some way or has inside information about the case, even urging people to visit web sites concerning Knight. I do not expect him to be frank or brag about his actions in his real life; rather, he will iterate that he has inside information on the case or has helped the police in some way, to whatever loose social connections he has.

His school work will start to suffer, and his smoking habit may increase. He will seek solace in the comfort of real people, rather than in online relationships, realizing that his prank has backfired or gone too far. He will not come forward the police but if interrogated will probably openly confess if the interrogation is staged rather aggressively. Go proactive by contacting local press and asking them to print stories that constantly enforce the idea of Knight being in danger. Blanket local press with such imagery. Interrogate him early in the day, I presume hes insomniacal or quite nocturnal and his defenses and or clarity might be reduced at such an early hour.

Should this offender come forward with such a confession, I expect him to try and do whatever is possible to remain part of the ongoing investigation. He will provide false tips and leads and will take part in Detectives Armstrong and Andersons ongoing online interaction.

I will end this profile with an important consideration of the victimology.



If I am correct in suggesting that the stalker of Knight was a hoaxer, then an important detail must be brought to your attention.

The stressors on your hoaxer should not be considered as much as the stressors on the victim. My contention is that Knight has absconded of her own free will, and is in great danger to herself. This recent incident has triggered an emotional avalanche in her. She may currently be suicidal and/or delusional, perhaps even psychotic. She may be at a state of mind where the denial of her media life and/or trauma has caused her to seek recourse in violence to reshape the nature of the world around her. Considering that she has attempted a partial change of identity before, and this did not succeed in allowing her a fresh start, coupled with her religious crises and/or identification with the tragic nature of her biological sisters life; it is all too obvious that whatever her location, her state of mental health might have deteriorated somewhat.

She might now be taking on the identity of her sister in a delusional manner, believing herself to be Valerie Vilson.

Not as a profiler, but as a psychiatrist, I would recommend leaving the Purity Knight investigation out of the public eye. The victim has stated before that she feels its voyeuristic, and should she look at the site now it might increase her instability even greater. I have given you permission to upload this document, should you choose to retain this case online, but refuse you to allow any details about my organization or address or identity to be appended to this document.

For the record, I wish it to be stated that I empathize with Knights declaration of your site as voyeuristic.


Dr. Maria McManus
Criminal Investigative Profiler/Consultant

Go Back