I’m an author who enjoys digging for the truth, since I know how people have such a need and craving to
understand human nature and the world around us. I’ve been digging for some form of my truth my entire
life. Prior to wearing the hat of an author, I was a private investigator for twenty-five years (something
I continue to do part-time). During the past two-and-a-half decades, I’ve found over 4,400 missing
people, worked undercover in many challenging environments (including a religious cult and a satanic
organization), investigated many serious and complex crimes, provided protection to the rich and famous,
and testified as an expert witness. I also taught Law & Security courses at community colleges prior to
becoming a freelance writer for newspapers and magazines in 2006. Camouflaged Killer is my first book,
and it seemed very logical that it be in the true crime genre. So when this serial killer and sexual predator
struck, virtually in my own backyard, I knew that I had to answer my calling and write about the case.
People wanted the facts and the explanations, and I was just the person to dig for them.
What did you write about as a freelancer?
Thankfully, my success as an investigator had allowed me the financial stability to pursue writing about
things that I enjoy. My passions. So I chose very diverse topics, whatever seemed to strike my fancy.
Travel pieces were at the top of my list, as well as entertainment and aviation-based articles – although I
also wrote about general news, sports, politics, and some opinion pieces. My biggest regret comes from
having never published an article that remains very close to my heart. I had traveled across the U.S.
meeting and interviewing cast and crew from The Rockford Files television show of the 1970s – that had
originally inspired me to enter the crazy private investigation field at a young age. Although I spoke with
many of the show’s original players, I couldn’t find an editor willing to publish the retrospective piece
without the participation of the show’s lead actor, James Garner. And, if you’ll pardon the pun, I wasn’t
able to garner an interview with him. So that unfinished project is unfortunately destined to remain as
elusive – and as precious to me – as a leprechaun’s pot of gold.
Who is Colonel Russell Williams, and what can you tell us about him?
Colonel Russell Williams was a star of the Canadian air force. He commanded the country’s largest
and busiest air force base in Trenton, Ontario (a stone’s throw across Lake Ontario from Rochester,
New York), where he was responsible for thousands of troops. He had presided over Canada’s secretive
forward operating base in Afghanistan (Camp Mirage) for six months, personally piloted prime ministers,
dignitaries, and royalty (including Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip), saluted the caskets of soldiers
killed in battle in Afghanistan upon their return to Canadian soil, and had been in control of President
Obama’s flight plans for the G20 Summit in Toronto in 2010. By all measures, he was one of the most
trusted and respected officers in our military, and likely destined to become our chief of defense staff.
Nobody, including his wife of almost twenty years, realized that he led a double life, however. He began
a crime spree that lasted just over two years at the age of 44, by committing 86 break-ins, during which
he stole women’s underwear and remained in the homes for up to three hours or longer posing for self-
portraits while wearing the lingerie. A short time later he escalated, by stalking, raping, and eventually
killing women in the surrounding community – including one of his own military staffers. He broke into
their homes, tied the women up, and subjected them to hours of torment and sexual humiliation. And yet
all the while his respected position within the community made him virtually invisible to the authorities.
Williams even tried to frame a next-door neighbor for the crimes, and was once almost interrupted by a
prying police officer as he lurked in a victim’s backyard readying to attack.
After finally being captured, Williams tried to commit suicide in jail, but failed in his attempt. He is now
serving 25 years – a life sentence – in the segregation ward of one of Canada’s most undesirable prisons,
It’s truly a case of real life being more bizarre and unbelievable than fiction.
Going by your site, it seems you met the colonel even before you decided to write
Camouflaged Killer. Why?
Occasionally, while working as a private investigator, I have been asked to serve legal documents on
people – quite often in cases where the people are difficult to find, or living in some sort of extreme
condition. In this case, I was hired by a law firm to serve court papers on Colonel Russell Williams,
who was being held in segregation at a local jail. When I came face-to-face with Colonel Williams, and
stood just a couple feet in front of him, I had shivers run down my spine. And not for the reasons you
might think. It was actually the opposite. I felt no sense of evil, no risk or danger. I felt as though I was
standing in the presence of a regular Joe. And I’ve seen evil before…up close. Trust me. But my instincts
– a combination of good senses, experience, and training – have always kept me safe. This time, however,
they betrayed me. And THAT is what sent the shivers down my back.
That experience is what prompted me to dig into the case of Russell Williams further – to understand how
such an individual was able to deceive not only the unsuspecting public, but also those who are trained to
detect such con men. I mean this guy had pulled the wool over prime ministers, the minister of defense,
our chief of defense staff, police and military brass, even the Queen of England for goodness sakes! So in
the course of doing this research, and speaking to some of the world’s leading experts in criminal profiling
and forensic psychiatrists, I realized that I was getting the answers that everybody else wanted to know as
well. And so the idea of Camouflaged Killer was born.
…continues in the next column….