The Psychology of Strangulation
Updated: Jul 30
On Dec. 1, 1994, then 19-year-old Melissa Witt was abducted from the Bowling World parking lot in Fort Smith.
For more than a month a community, investigators and Witt's mother searched endlessly for her. On January 13, 1995 Witt's body was found by trappers in the Ozark National Forest near Turner Bend.
Melissa was nude and near a headstone-like rock. She had been strangled and her clothes, shoes and Mickey Mouse watch were removed and have never been located.
There is some interesting psychology behind this type of killer and crime.
Research on homicidal strangulation has shown that in a high percentage of cases, the offender and the victim have a family relationship or a romantic relationship.
75% of the strangulation victims in our study were females with the most frequent motives being: rape, sexual jealousy and personal rivalry.
This same study shows that a high percentage of female victims in homicidal strangulation happen due to a quarrel in the relationship and/or due to unrehearsed violence applied by bare hands to put the victim at a physical disadvantage and render the victim incapable of resisting.
Research also suggests that females are predominantly the victims in homicidal strangulation because they are more likely to be the targets of sexual assaults.
This same study revealed that strangulation has been present in approximately 35% of serial murders. And that these offenders use strangulation as an outlet of their expressive rage and/or need to have an intimate means to murder the victim that has become their personal obsessive focus.
Additional statistics from this study are fascinating:
In 86% of the strangulation cases the victim was found at the scene of the killing. In 22% percent of these cases, the victim was found outdoors. In 17% of the cases, the offender stole something from the victim and stealing from the victim was significantly more frequent when the victim was a stranger or an acquaintance. In 14% of all of these cases, the victim was first hit with a blunt instrument.
Here is what we know about the murder of Melissa Witt:
1) It is believed that Melissa was kidnapped after a brief encounter that was described as an argument... this led to her being hit in the head with a blunt instrument.
2) Melissa was found strangled, outdoors, and she was naked -- her clothing and personal belongings had been taken from her.
I personally believe that someone Melissa Witt knew or had recently met murdered her.
What do you think?