“I’m afraid to ask what the intruders did to the twins,” Isis said.
Dr. Patterson rocked in her rocking chair and stared at the detective for a few seconds. She paused, slid the chair closer to her desk, placed her elbows on top of it, and began to tell the horrific story of the birth of the new Stacey and Jannifer McHill.
“After the intruders killed their parents, Stacey and Jannifer were raped and tortured for hours. The intruders cut the twins in the same manner that they’d cut Linda…awful,” she said, “Just awful...”
“You mean...?” Isis said. She felt her body heating up.
Dr. Patterson nodded her head.” Yes, they placed all kinds of foreign objects inside their little...bodies. The doctors had found razor blades, thumbtacks, nails—the monsters sealed their little wombs up with all this and more inside of them. When the twins were found, they were facing one another, and their foreheads touching. They were conscious, and they were sucking on each other’s thumb.
“Motherfuckin’ bastards!” Isis shouted. She jumped out of her rocking chair as if it suddenly caught fire. She swung a vicious right hook at the air, then she kicked and threw more punches. Toni leaned forward in her Kennedy rocking chair, hugged her knees, and began to rock.
After Isis had tired herself out—from all the punching and kicking—she leaned over and placed her hands on her thighs so she could catch her breath.
Toni was still rocking in her chair.
Dr. Patterson watched the detectives express their emotions in their own unique ways. Isis started pacing Dr. Patterson’s office like a caged lioness and swearing like a sailor. Dr. Patterson stood and said, “Please, Detective Williams, come, sit back down.”
Isis walked back over toward Dr. Patterson’s desk and sat down. Instantly she began rocking herself in the Kennedy rocking chair. Sympathetic tears rolled down the face of Detective Isis Williams. She had never felt sorry for a perpetrator before. Isis wiped the tears away with the back of her hand.
Dr. Patterson removed some Kleenex from the box and passed them over to the detectives. She watched Isis and Toni closely. Toni was still bent over in her chair. “Detective Toni, are you going to be okay?”
Toni slowly sat up. Her eyes were bloodshot. She took the Kleenex. “I’ve never in my life heard—” Toni’s words got caught in her throat.
“How long were they in the hospital before they came to you, Doc?” Isis asked.
“About nine months or so. Stacey and Jannifer had extensive surgery, as you might imagine. Both girls’ reproductive systems were ruined.”
“Oh, those poor girls,” Toni muttered. “And you said that they were thirteen years old when all of this happened to them?”
Toni shook her head.
“That would make them about sixteen now,” Isis said.
“For the first three months—after they’d gotten here—the twins were in a catatonic state. And when they finally came out of it, they didn’t even know their own names, let alone what had happened to them. The girls suffered from what we clinicians call Dissociative Amnesia.”
“Dissociative what, Doc?”
“Dissociative Amnesia. It’s a loss of recall,” Toni said. “It’s when a person experiences a loss of memory for a particular period, am I right, Doctor—I mean, Susan?”
“Yes, that’s right, Detective Toni. Stacey and Jannifer suffered from a continuous amnesia. But in my professional opinion, their dissociation did not come from the physical trauma that they’d experienced, but from what they saw happen to their loving parents—”
“Something like PTSD?” Toni asked.
“Is that why you said earlier that the twins saw it—sort of?” Isis said.
“Yes. They were there, physically, but mentally they’d dissociated long before they were touched.”
“My God!” Toni said.
“So, what you’re saying is that Stacey and Jannifer lost their memory because of what they saw?”
“Yes, Detective, that’s exactly what I’m saying. Terry and Linda were very protective of their little girls. They did their best to shield their daughters from the ugliness of this world. Before that dreadful night, Stacey and Jannifer McHill had never witnessed any kind of violence whatsoever. So, to see their parents violated in such a horrendous way, their minds split from reality.” Dr. Patterson picked up a pen and tapped it against her chin. “Have you ever heard of D.I.D... Dissociative Identity Disorder?”
Isis looked at Toni, then she stared at Dr. Patterson. “Are you telling me that Stacey and Jannifer have multiple personalities?”
Dr. Patterson stared into Isis’ eyes. “Yes, Detective. That’s exactly what I’m telling you. Stacey and Jannifer McHill suffer from a new form of the disorder.”
“They call themselves, Hill now, Doctor. Stacey and Jannifer Hill,” Toni said.
Dr. Patterson gave Toni a look that said, Whatever.
“I’d always thought…” Isis paused. She didn’t want to say the wrong thing.
“You thought what, Detective?” Dr. Patterson asked.
Isis felt chagrined. “I mean...you know….”
“What, that the disorder was nonsense? Well, I can assure you, Detective, that it is not. Up until 1980, the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Health hadn’t recognized the disorder. But today it’s a different story. According to the DSM-5, there are four types of personality disorders. The first is Dissociative Amnesia, which we already spoke about. Then we have Dissociative Fugue--a patient that suffers from this disorder may travel to a different location and assume a different identity. They totally forget about their previous life, family, and friends. The third is called Depersonalization Disorder. A patient suffering from this disorder will feel detached from his or her body in times of stress.”
“You mean like observing yourself from outside of yourself?” Isis asked.
“Yes, Detective, that’s exactly right.”
“And lastly, we have the granddaddy of them all, Dissociative Identity Disorder. This is an extraordinary disorder. Again, according to the DSM-5, this disorder involves mental processing outside of the patient’s conscious awareness. A patient may develop two or more personalities to cope with extreme stress.”
“And this is what Stacey and Jannifer Hill—” Isis shook her head. “I mean, McHill, have?”
“All the tests I’d performed indicated that they do—very well indeed—have more than one personality.” Dr. Patterson paused. “Detective Williams,” she said as she rocked in her chair. “The brain is protected by a thick skull to prevent any outside interference with its intricate workings. But it is defenseless against sensory perceptions. In other words, what a person sees can damage the brain just as much as a blow to the head can, and in some instances, like in the case of Stacey and Jannifer McHill, maybe even worse.
“Doc, what exactly causes this kind of disorder?” Isis asked.
“Unimaginable stress, extreme sexual abuse, and impending doom. These are the etiologies of D.I.D. that all psychologists agree upon.”
“I read somewhere that D.I.D. is a defense mechanism,” Isis continued.
“This is true, Detective. D.I.D. is the brain’s way of protecting the core personality--of a child--from extreme suffering.”
“So, this disorder starts during childhood, Doc?”
“More than seventy-five percent of the cases I’ve studied stemmed from childhood abuse. Most the population ward off abuse by unconsciously blocking these painful memories from reaching awareness. People who suffer from D.I.D. repress their memories excessively, which produces a split self. A self that becomes the receptacle for unwelcome memories.” Dr. Patterson stood up and walked over toward her refrigerator. She removed three plastic bottles of Perrier mineral water.
As the women sipped their water, Isis asked Toni to show Dr. Patterson the crime scene photos.
“This is what Stacey and Jannifer did to their victims, Doc.”
Dr. Patterson stared at the photos in shock. “My God, they’re mimicking their assailants,” she muttered.
“They’re killing their victims in the same manner that the intruders killed their parents. I feared this would happen,” Dr. Patterson said as she combed through the crime scene photos. “Stacey and Jannifer developed the same kind of personality...a violent, psychotic alter personality.” Dr. Patterson looked up at the detectives. Although shocked by the photos, the twins’ identical psychosis fascinated Dr. Patterson.
“What do you mean, you knew this would happen, Dr. Patterson?”
“Yeah, Doc, what did you mean by that?” Isis asked suspiciously.
“I met one of the killers.”
“You what?” Isis asked
“Eight months ago, just before the twins were taken from me, I had a major breakthrough with Jannifer McHill. Jannifer, you see, was the more aggressive—and the younger—of the two. And for a long time, I couldn’t get any deeper than a babbling child while she, or her sister for that matter, were under hypnosis. But eight months ago, I finally broke through and spoke to the...psychotic boy personality—”
“Psychotic boy?” Isis said, cutting in.
“That’s what I called him. Not to his face, mind you. We never got around to names. But while under hypnosis, he told me a few things about the attack on Stacey and Jannifer’s parents. He also told me that he and his brother were here to look after the girls.”
“Brother?” Isis said.
“Yes. Stacey’s altered...here, let me show you some video from the first day that the boy came out.” Dr. Patterson played with the keys for a moment, then she turned the screen toward the detectives; the audio was turned up halfway. Isis and Toni watched the video as if Jesus Christ was on the screen. They watched as Dr. Patterson hypnotized Jannifer McHill. She went under quickly. The detectives nearly jumped out of their seats when Jannifer lunged toward the doctor. Dr. Patterson paused the video. Jannifer looked like she wanted to tear into Dr. Patterson. Her mouth was wide open, her fingers were splayed, and her cold, black eyes were enough to send chills down the detectives’ spines.
“What the hell was that?” Isis asked.
“That, my dear, is the psychotic boy personality.”
Isis and Toni stared at the face of their suspect. Dr. Patterson hit play. The detectives watched in horror as the psychotic boy attacked Dr. Patterson and knocked her off her chair. But as soon as the doctor’s back hit the floor, two large male assistants leaped on Jannifer and pulled the hysterical teenager off the doctor. Dr. Patterson managed to scamper away. But the male assistants didn’t fare so well. Jannifer bit into one of the male assistant’s arm. When Jannifer got to her feet, she’d kicked the male assistant—the one that she’d just bitten—in the balls. The other assistant grabbed Jannifer from behind and lifted her off her feet; with one backward head thrust, Jannifer broke the assistant’s nose. She, then, ran over to the other assistant and swung a wicked right hand connected with the side of his face. Dr. Patterson paused the video again.
“Are those his teeth?” Toni asked, pointing at the screen.
“Yes, those were his dentures. I had to sedate her each time I placed her under after that. Jannifer McHill’s alter personality nearly killed those two men. It took six orderlies to subdue the psychotic boy. And Stacey, who was in her room down on the second floor, was screaming like a mad woman while all of this was going on. I gave the order to have her sedated, also This is the last video I made of the twins while they were under hypnosis. Two days later they were taken from me.” Dr. Patterson turned the screen in their direction again. Jannifer and Stacey both sat in matching rocking chairs. Their eyes were closed, but their eyelids fluttered.
Isis and Toni listened as the twins spoke in perfect unison. “It’s gonna be trouble if we leave, Doctor.” Their voices were low and menacing. Dr. Patterson pressed pause. “Six months after they were brought here, the psychotic boys felt the twins were safe. Prior to that, Stacey and Jannifer walked around here in a catatonic state. When the boys finally let the twins out, the girls showed an extraordinary aptitude for learning. They were exceptional. Before the home invasion, the twin were average students, but when the boys let them out, my God, their combined IQ’s were over 390. They could mimic anyone’s voice or body movement. It was incredible.” Dr. Patterson smiled and shook her head at the memory.
“How is it that they’re so strong? One of the victims had his arm pulled out of the socket. And his jaw was squeezed so hard that his teeth were pushed out of his mouth.”
“Excited Delirium,” the doctor said. “That’s when a psychotic patient or a person that’s high on some kind of mind alternating drug exhibits extraordinary strength when being restrained or cornered.”
Isis stared at the doctor. “So, the twins got this... Excited...”
“Delirium, Detective Williams. Excited Delirium. And yes, from what you’re telling me, I’m certain of it.”
“Tell me more about the boys.”
“The boys are both dangerous psychopaths that were taken from me too soon.” Dr. Patterson sounded upset. “I argued and argued that a big city like New York would have a detrimental effect on the twins’ delicate psyche, but in the end…” Dr. Patterson paused and ran her hands down her face. “Anyway, both alters suffered from positive and negative symptoms of schizophrenia. They were both delusional, and they showed a lack of empathy. Their sole purpose was to protect the girls from physical harm; also, they kept the twins from remembering the horror of their thirteenth birthday.”
“Doc, has anybody ever used D.I.D. as a defense in a criminal case?”
“Yes, there were many cases after the book Sybil was released in the early 70’s.” Dr. Patterson named a few. “There was the case of Thomas Huskey. Huskey murdered four prostitutes in Knoxville, Tennessee back in 2012. He used D.I.D. as his defense; the jury came back deadlocked. Then there was the most notorious case of all where D.I.D. was used as a defense. The case of the Hillside Strangler: Kenneth Bianchi.”
“Yeah. I read about that case,” Toni said.
“The case was a fiasco for the defense, and for the few forensic psychologists who believed that Bianchi really suffered from D.I.D. They lost their credibility, because--at the end of the day--it was proven Bianchi was actually faking. Then there was the case of Billy Milligan. His lawyers were the first to use D.I.D. as a defense and he was the first to be acquitted of a major crime due to his disorder.”
Isis stared at the doctor. “Doc, when we catch these girls, will you come down to New York and speak as a forensic psychologist if needed be?”
“Yes. No question.”
Isis looked at her watch and told Toni it was time for them to leave. Dr. Patterson walked the detectives to the door. Isis checked the address of Stacey and Jannifer’s aunt that the doctor had supplied. “It was a pleasure to meet you two, and again, if you need me to come down to New York, just give me a call.” Dr. Patterson pushed her hands deep into the pockets her lab coat. “Detective Williams…” Dr. Patterson paused and stared at the floor. “Remember what I told you...Stacey and Jannifer—under no circumstance—should be separated.”
“Yeah, Doc, I’ll remember that,” Isis said as she turned to leave the doctor’s office.
“Wait…” Dr. Patterson hesitated. It was hard for her to look into Isis’ eyes. “What I’m about to say to you goes against everything I’ve ever learned, in my personal life and in my professional life….”
Isis and Toni glanced at each other.
Dr. Patterson took a deep breath and said. “If you have to kill one...kill the other also.”