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Nathaniel BAR-JONAH






Birth name: David Paul Brown
Classification: Murderer?
Characteristics: Cannibalism - Pedophile
Number of victims: 0 - 1 +
Date of murders: 1993 - 2000
Date of arrest: December 20, 2000
Date of birth: February 15, 1957
Victim profile: Zachary Xerxes Ramsay, 10
Method of murder: Shooting
Location: Massachusetts/Montana, USA
Status: Never convicted of murder. convicted of kidnapping, aggravated assault, and sexual assault of various children and sentenced to 130 years in prison on February 20, 2002. Died in prison on April 13, 2008
photo gallery

Nathaniel Benjamin Levi Bar-Jonah (February 15, 1957 – April 13, 2008), born David Paul Brown, was a convicted felon who was serving a 130-year prison sentence without the possibility of parole in Montana after being convicted of kidnapping, aggravated assault, and sexual assault of various children. He was born in Worcester, Massachusetts.

Massachusetts years

In 1974 he pleaded guilty to impersonating a policeman and assaulting an eight-year-old boy, for which he received one year of probation. In 1977, Brown was convicted of the kidnapping and attempted murder of two boys and was sentenced to 18 to 20 years in prison. He was strangling the two boys while one managed to escape and find help.

While in prison he was transferred to the Bridgewater State Hospital. In 1991, he changed his name to Nathaniel Benjamin Levi Bar-Jonah. Later in the same year, Superior Court Judge Walter E. Steele ruled that Massachusetts had failed to prove that Bar-Jonah was dangerous. and he was released before moving to Great Falls, Montana.

Montana years

Bar-Jonah was arrested in 1999, again and initially for impersonating a police officer. After searching his home and finding, among other things, many pictures of young children cut out of magazines and a bone that was identified as belonging to an unknown young male, Montana police charged Bar-Jonah with kidnapping and sexual assault, as well as the kidnapping and sexual assault of three other boys.

Jonah had evidence against him and was going to be tried for the murder and cannibalism of young Zack Ramsay. There was also evidence that Bar-Jonah cooked the child up and served him to unexpected guests and neighbors including the child's own family. However, the mother of this child refused to cooperate with the police authorities on the belief that it was not her son and he was still alive.

The charges involving the other three boys, on the other hand, were carried out and Bar-Jonah was convicted of kidnapping, aggravated assault, and sexual assault, including charges that he had tortured one of the boys and hung him from the ceiling. Bar-Jonah was convicted of kidnapping, aggravated assault, and sexual assault. He was given a 130-year prison sentence. He maintained his innocence up until his death.

Montana authorities were unaware of Bar-Jonah's past trouble in Massachusetts, a fact that was cited by activists campaigning to force former sex offenders to register.

Nathaniel Bar-Jonah was found unresponsive early Sunday April 13, 2008. He had been in poor health. His post mortem found significant levels of LDL in his arteries and myocardial infarction was the determined cause of death.


Nathaniel Bar-Jonah

By Charles Montaldo -


Nathaniel Bar-Jonah is a convicted child predator that is in prison after repeatedly molesting, torturing, and attempting to murder children. He was also suspected of murdering a child then disposing of the body through cannibalistic ways that involved his unsuspecting neighbors.

Personal Information:

Born - February 15, 1957
Birthplace - Worcester, MA
Birth Name - David P. Brown
Occupation - Short Order Cook

Other - In 1991, Brown changed his name to Nathaniel Benjamin Levi Bar-Jonah.

General Information:

Gender - Male
Religion - Unknown
Ethnicity - White

Childhood Years:

At 17 years of age, David Brown (his name at that time) pled guilty after being arrested for dressing as a policeman and beating and choking an eight-year-old boy who he ordered into his car. After the beating the child recognized Brown who was working at a local McDonalds and authorities were called. Brown received a year of probation for the crime.

Kidnapping and Attempted Murder:

Three years later, Brown dressed as a policeman again and kidnapped two boys, made them undress and then began strangling them. One of the boys was able to escape and contact the police. Authorities arrested Brown and the other child was located, handcuffed inside his trunk. Brown was charged with attempted murder and received an 18 to 20 year sentence.

Sick Thoughts:

While incarcerated Brown shared some of his fantasies of murder, dissection and cannibalism with his psychiatrist who made the decision in 1979 to commit Brown to the Bridgewater State Hospital for Sexual Predators.

Early Release:

Brown remained at the hospital until 1991 when Superior Court Judge Walter E. Steele decided that the state had failed to prove he was dangerous. Brown, who had changed his name to Nathaniel Benjamin Levi Bar-Jonah left the institution with a promise from his family to the court that they would be moving to Montana.

Massachusetts Sends the Problem to Montana:

Bar-Jonah attacked another boy three weeks after his release and was arrested on assault charges but was freed without bail. A deal was made however, that required that Bar-Jonah leave Massachusetts and join his family in Montana along with a two-year probation. Bar-Jonah kept his word and moved to Montana.

Once in Montana, Bar-Jonah met with his probation officer and disclosed some of his past criminal record. A request was made to the Massachusetts probation office to send more records regarding Bar-Jonah’s history and psychiatric past but no additional records were sent.

Bar-Jonah managed to stay away from police until 1999 when he was arrested near an elementary school in Great Falls, MT, dressed as a policeman and carrying a stun gun and pepper spray. Authorities searched his home and found thousands of pictures of boys and a list with boys names from Massachusetts and Great Falls. Also found were encrypted writings, decoded by the FBI, that included statements such as 'little boy stew,' 'little boy pot pies' and 'lunch is served on the patio with roasted child.'

Authorities concluded that Bar-Jonah was responsible for the 1996 disappearance of 10-year-old Zacharry Ramsay who vanished on his way to school. It was believed that he kidnapped and murdered the child than cut up his body for stews and hamburgers that he served to unsuspecting neighbors at a cookout.

In July 2000, Bar-Jonah was charged with Zachary Ramsay’s murder and for kidnapping and sexually assaulting three other boys who lived in an apartment above him.

The charges involving Ramsay were dropped after the boy's mother said she did not believe Bar-Jonah killed her son. For the other charges, Bar-Jonah was sentenced to 130 years in prison for sexually assaulting one boy and torturing another by suspending him from a kitchen ceiling.

In December, 2004, the Montana Supreme Court turned down Bar-Jonah’s appeals and upheld the conviction and 130-year prison sentence.


Nathaniel Bar-Jonah

In what seems to be the first cannibal-murder case of 2001 and police in Great Falls, Montana arrested child molester and sexual sadist Nathaniel Bar-Jonah for the murder of 10-year-old Zachary Ramsay, who disappeared in 1996. Montana authorities have never recovered Ramsay's body and now believe Bar-Jonah ate the remains and also fed them to unwitting friends. They also suspect Bar-Jonah could be a serial killer after finding an unidentified child's bones in his garage and have enlisted the FBI's help in finding victims in other areas, including the Massachusetts.

Police said they found the names of four former Webster boys on a handwritten list seized from accused murderer and pedophile Nathaniel Bar-Jonah's Montana home.

Police say that 27 of the 54 names on the list may be those of Massachusetts children whom Bar-Jonah knew when he grew up in the town of Webster (as David P. Brown) in the 1960s and 1970s. Included on the list are names of three boys whom Bar-Jonah was convicted of abducting in 1975 and 1977.

Webster police Officer John Bolduc said he recognized several other names on the list despite misspellings. Bolduc's department received the list from police in G Falls, Montana, where Bar-Jonah is jailed on murder charges.

Evidence also shows Bar-Jonah traveled to Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Massachusetts, Michigan y Washington. The FBI is working with authorities in those states and others to review missing children reports.

Bar-Jonah was convicted in 1977 of kidnapping and trying to kill two Shrewsbury boys. He was sentenced to 18 to 20 years in jail before being deemed sexually dangerous and shipped to the Massachusetts Treatment Center in Bridgewater. According to Bar-Jonah himself it was his Lord and savior who shepered his release from the center in July 1991.

"I've seen God take a hopeless situation like when all avenues were closed it seemed and I'd never, ever be released," Bar-Jonah wrote in the rambling he sent to the Great Falls Tribune. "Yet God told me I would and I believed Him even though the evidence of my release was not there. Then totally out of left field I got 2 - Yes, 2 - Christian psychiatrists who believed in me. That was a miracle in it self (sic) to find 2 Christians in that profession in Massachusetts. The state had a lot of evidence on their side, yet the judge sided with me."

American police are searching in Canada for other possible child victims of cannibal killer Nathaniel Bar-Jonah. "We can put him crossing the border several times and we are working that angle," police Sergeant John Cameron, the lead investigator on the case, said from Great Falls, Montana. "Alberta and Saskatchewan are the two places I think we were able to place him in, somewhere in the mid-'90s."

Bar-Jonah told the mother of 10-year-old Zachary Ramsay he had "hunted, killed, butchered and wrapped the meat" of her child. Prosecutors said he also served and ate burgers containing human flesh at a barbecue for his mother and a friend. A police search of Bar-Jonah's home revealed hundreds of cryptic notes written by him with headings such as: "Lunch is served on the patio with roasted child," and "Barbecue bee sum young guy." Police also found a meat grinder with hair inside along with numerous displayed newspaper clippings on Zachary's disappearance.

There was a large piece of plywood that was smeared with a wide indelible stain despite being repeatedly scrubbed with bleach. Lab tests indicated the board was struck several times with a sharp instrument. There were also the names of thousands of children.

"There are lists of children that you can just turn page after page after page after page," said Brant Light, the lead prosecutor on the case. Also found were 3,500 pictures of youngsters. "He had notebooks where there's pictures of children cut out of annual school books and newspapers with their names underneath -- just like collecting baseball cards," Mr. Light said.

Police also found stun guns, stun batons, police badges, police patches, and a realistic toy revolver. When police arrested Bar-Jonah in December 1999, he was dressed in a navy nylon jacket, circling an elementary school and was allegedly carrying a stun gun, a toy pistol, a fake police badge and pepper spray.


Zachary Xerxes Ramsay

Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance

  • Missing Since: February 6, 1996 from Great Falls, Montana

  • Classification: Endangered Missing

  • Date Of Birth: December 18, 1985

  • Age: 10 years old

  • Height and Weight: 4'0, 100 pounds

  • Distinguishing Characteristics: Biracial (African-American/Caucasian) male. Brown hair, brown eyes. Ramsay has scars between his eyebrows and on one of his arms. He had blotchy skin at the time of his 1996 disappearance. He has facial dimples. Ramsay wears eyeglasses, but he was not carrying them at the time he disappeared. His nickname is Zach.

  • Clothing/Jewelry Description: A blue denim jacket with green sleeves, a blue football jersey with his last name "Ramsay" imprinted on the back in gold letters, stonewashed jeans and black high-top tennis shoes.

Details of Disappearance

Ramsay departed from the apartment he shared with his mother in the 400 block of north Fourth Street in Great Falls, Montana at approximately 7:30 a.m. on February 6, 1996. He was walking to Witter School at the time. Witnesses saw him walk down the alley near the 400 block of north Fifth Street shortly thereafter. He never arrived at school. Ramsay ran away once, a month prior to his disappearance, but called his mother to come get him within an hour. He lived with is mother and two siblings at the time of his disappearance; his father is in the Air Force and was stationed in Colorado at the time.

A neighbor reported that Nathaniel Bar-Jonah was in the area of the alley around the same time Ramsay was. A photo of Bar-Jonah is posted below this case summary. Another witness told authorities that he saw Ramsay crossing north Sixth Street at approximately 7:45 a.m. The witness stated that Ramsay appeared to be crying and was being followed by a man, who was apparently upset. Investigators believe that the man was Bar-Jonah and that he abducted Ramsay by using a stun gun to subdue the child shortly thereafter. School officials contacted Ramsay's mother when he failed to report for classes during the day. His mother filed a missing person's report later that afternoon. Ramsay has never been heard from again.

Bar-Jonah was charged with Ramsay's abduction and murder in 2000. Authorities suspected Bar-Jonah, whose given name was David P. Brown, preyed on young children, mainly boys. Bar-Jonah also confessed to cannibalistic activities. He bragged that he "hunted" Ramsay, among other grisly claims. He had a lengthy criminal record and served a prison sentence for the abduction and attempted murder of two Massachusetts boys in 1977.

Authorities stated Ramsay's body would not be recovered due to Bar-Jonah's suspected cannibalism. Prosecutors sought the death penalty for his alleged crimes. Bar-Jonah was convicted of two unrelated counts of child molestation in Montana in February 2002. He vowed to appeal the decisions and maintained his innocence in all charges against him.

Bar-Jonah is also a possible suspect in the 1973 disappearance of Janice Pockett from Connecticut. Bar-Jonah was a teenager at the time Pockett disappeared, but apparently had a criminal background at an early age. He also resided near Pockett's last known location at the time she disappeared. Authorities also investigated the possibility that Bar-Jonah was connected to the 1997 Wyoming disappearance of Amanda Gallion. Gallion is classified as a runaway, but her Social Security number has not been used since her disappearance.

A handwritten list of names entitled "Lake Webster" was discovered in Bar-Jonah's possession in December 2001. Some reports state that Andrew Amato was among the children featured in the list, but this is inaccurate. Amato disappeared from Webster, Massachusetts in 1978. He has not been tied with Bar-Jonah.

DNA testing conducted in 2001 on a bone located in Bar-Jonah's Montana garage proved that it was not part of Ramsay's, Pockett's, or Gallion's remains. Amato's DNA was not compared to the bone. Bar-Jonah was charged in connection with any of the other disappearances. He died of a blood clot in a Montana prison in April 2008, at age 51.

All charges related to Ramsay's case were dismissed against Bar-Jonah in October 2002 as the result of a lack of evidence. Ramsay's mother stated that she believed her son was alive. She said that she viewed a videotape of her son frolicking in a playground in 2000. Authorities said that they verified the tape was filmed in Italy, where the child's father was stationed with the United States military at the time. His dental records and fingerprints did not match Ramsay's. His mother insists that her psychic and others believe her son is alive and she hopes his case will be reopened by law enforcement. Investigators closed Ramsay's file after allegedly connecting Bar-Jonah to his disappearance.

Ramsay likes drawing and painting. He is described as a reserved but friendly child. At the time of his disappearance, he was afraid of the dark. His case remains unsolved.


Bar Jonah autopsy results released

April 29, 2008

An autopsy has found that Nathaniel Bar Jonah died of poor heath and complications related to his medical conditions.

The convicted sex offender and accused cannibal was overweight and also recently had a leg amputated due to complications from diabetes.

The 51 year old was found unresponsive in his cell on Sunday and was later pronounced dead at a hospital.

Bar Jonah's cell has been cordoned off and law enforcement officials are hoping to see what cryptic writings he might have left behind.

"We've been told the FBI, and possibly the Great Falls Police Department...go through his stuff and see any kind of, not only to Zachary Ramsay, but any other crimes he might have been involved in" said Cascade County Attorney Brant Light.

Bar Jonah was serving 130 years for kidnapping, sexually assaulting and choking a teenage boy at the time of his death.

Bar Jonah was also accused of killing and cannibalizing a boy in Great Falls, but was never tried for that crime.


Convicted sex offender Nathaniel Bar Jonah was found dead on Sunday at the Montana State Prison in Deer Lodge.

He was found unresponsive in his cell just after 6:00 a.m. and was taken to the Powell County Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead shortly after 7:00 a.m.

Officials are still trying to determine the cause of death and an autopsy will be performed by the state medical examiner to determine why Bar Jonah died. He had been in poor health recently.

Back On February 20, 2002 Bar Jonah went on trial for kidnapping, sexually assaulting and choking a teenage neighbor boy and was eventually sentenced to 130 years.

Authorities also charged Bar Jonah with murder in the 1996 disappearance of Zach Ramsay, 10, saying the evidence suggested Bar Jonah had butchered the boy and disposed of his body in meals served to neighbors.

The murder charge was later dismissed after Ramsay's mother said she would testify she believed her son was still alive.

Bar Jonah pleaded guilty in Massachusetts in 1977 to charges of kidnapping, attempted murder and impersonation of a police officer after he posed as a police officer and kidnapped two boys.

A plea agreement allowed Bar Jonah to move to Montana.


Montana: Charges Dropped In Child Killing

The New York Times

October 3, 2002

Prosecutors said they would drop murder and kidnapping charges against a man accused of killing a 10-year-old boy and feeding him to neighbors because the victim's mother was prepared to testify that she believes he is alive. Rachel Howard, the mother, said she did not believe the suspect, Nathaniel Bar-Jonah, left, had killed her son, Zachary Ramsay, in 1996. Ms. Howard said her belief was based partly on a videotape she said shows her son at age 12. Mr. Bar-Jonah, 45, already is serving a 130-year prison sentence for a separate kidnapping and sexual assault.


Nathaniel Bar-Jonah

October 2, 2002

Confessed cannibal killer Nathaniel Bar-Jonah, accused of butchering a 10-year-old boy and feeding him to neighbors, won't face murder and kidnapping charges because the alleged victim's mother believes her son is still alive. Zachary Ramsay's mother, Rachel Howard, said she was prepared to testify she did not believe Nathaniel Bar-Jonah had killed her son in 1996, prompting prosecutors to drop their case. "I did not want Bar-Jonah to be convicted of a crime that I did not believe he did," Howard said.


Nathaniel Bar-Jonah

January 25, 2001

American police are searching in Canada for other possible child victims of cannibal killer Nathaniel Bar-Jonah. "We can put him crossing the border several times and we are working that angle," police Sergeant John Cameron, the lead investigator on the case, said from Great Falls, Montana. "Alberta and Saskatchewan are the two places I think we were able to place him in, somewhere in the mid-'90s."


Nathaniel Bar-Jonah

January 12, 2001

Cannibal killer Nathaniel Bar-Jonah pleaded innocent to charges kidnapping, murder and cannibalism of 10-year-old Zachary Ramsay of Great Falls, Montana. District Court Judge Thomas McKittrick ordered that the hulking 43-year-old pedophile to remain jailed on a $500,000 bond and set a tentative trial date of June 4. Bar-Jonah is accused of abducting Zacharyon February 6, 1996. The portly pederast could face the death penalty if convicted.


Montana Cannibal


January 11, 2001

Police believe it could be just the tip of a macabre iceberg of hideous crimes involving children which could eventually rival serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer's (pictured) crimes.

In a case which has horrified residents of Montana's quiet farming community, investigators believe Nathaniel Bar-Jonah killed Zachary Ramsay as he walked home from school, then minced his body and cooked him in a range of dishes ranging from spaghetti sauce to stew.


Neighbours of Bar-Jonah recall him bringing them spaghetti, stew meat, chilli and a pot pie, all containing a "strange tasting" meat.

Investigators fear he may in the end be linked to a series of sex crimes and bloodshed that could rival Jeffrey Dahmer who murdered and cannibalised some 17 young men in the Milwaukee area.

Many blame the young boy's death on a judge in Massachusetts who ordered Bar-Jonah to move to his mother's home in Montana as a condition of his release from a mental hospital where he spent 12 years for the attempted murder of two teenage boys.

When he arrived in Montana the authorities say they were given no warning that he was coming their way. Once in the state his sexual obsession with boys and cannibalism reasserted itself.

'Boy Stew'

Authorities are also investigating Bar-Jonah's travels over two decades, seeking clues on an undisclosed number of other victims.

An 80-page document compiled for the case uses phrases, allegedly taken from Bar-Jonah's own writings, like "little boy stew" and "little boy pot pies" which will be used to prove Bar-Jonah's cannibal tendencies.

The mother of the 10-year-old boy has never given up hope that her son is still alive. She continued to buy clothes for him for two years after he went missing and she still keeps Christmas gifts she bought for him.

THE people of Great Falls, a quiet community in central Montana, say a monster was sent into their midst – a cannibalistic sex killer that another state did not want.

Nathaniel Bar-Jonah, a 43-year-old former Massachusetts resident convicted in that state of several counts of child molestation, will be arraigned today for the kidnapping and murder of ten-year-old Zachary Ramsay.

In a case which has horrified Montana, investigators believe Bar-Jonah killed the boy and minced his body into pieces which he cooked into dishes ranging from spaghetti sauce to stew. They also fear Bar-Jonah could be linked to a series of other sex crimes and bloodshed that could rival that of Jeffrey Dahmer, who murdered and cannibalised some 17 young men in the Milwaukee area.

Many local residents lay blame for Zach Ramsay's death at the door of a Massachusetts judge, who ordered Bar-Jonah to move to his mother's home in Montana as a condition of his release from a mental hospital.

"One thing I'm happy about, if one can be happy about a case like this, is that it is putting a spotlight on child molesters being shuffled off to other states," the Cascade County prosecutor, Brant Light, said.

While moving toward trial in the Ramsay murder, authorities are investigating Bar-Jonah's travels over two decades and are culling his 25-year string of convictions for child molestation, seeking clues on a number of other possible victims. Bar-Jonah has said he is innocent of all charges. He is being held in county jail in Great Falls, about 70 miles north-east of Helena.

In February 1996, Zach disappeared without a trace while walking to his school. Detectives believe Bar-Jonah, using his mother's car, followed Zach and shot him with a stun gun.

Bar-Jonah, who grew up in Webster, Massachusetts, had a history of child molestation and had spent 12 years in a treatment centre for the sexually dangerous for the attempted murder of two teenage boys.

But in 1991, a judge agreed with psychological evaluations and ruled he was no longer a threat – releasing him on the condition that he move to Montana, where his mother lived.

Montana investigators say they received no warning that Bar-Jonah was headed their way. And, they say, once in the state his obsession with boys and cannibalism reasserted itself with Zach as the victim.

They allege that after Bar-Jonah kidnapped the boy and brought him to his house, he tied Zach to a piece of plywood, stabbed him, and chopped his body into pieces.

In a nightmarish twist, neighbours recall Bar-Jonah bringing them spaghetti, stew, chilli and a pot pie, all containing a "strange-tasting" meat. Debby Cotes, a woman Bar-Jonah met in 1996, said he told her that he'd killed, butchered, and wrapped the meat himself.

Bar-Jonah was arrested in 1999 after an off-duty police officer noticed him acting suspiciously around a school. Police searched Bar-Jonah's flat and found a stun gun, police badge, pepper spray and a realistic toy gun – equipment detectives believe he used to fool children into going with him.

"Our evidence is circumstantial, but that can be overwhelming when you have enough of it," Mr Light said. "You cannot let people get away with murder just because they're cunning enough to dispose of a body completely."


Montana Cannibal what a Monster

January 10, 2001

GREAT FALLS, Mont. - Tucked between majestic mountain ranges and surrounded by miles of wheat and cattle farms, this cowboy outpost on the Missouri River is no stranger to violence.

But neither the old fashioned drunken shoot-'em-ups or the crystal meth madness of recent years could have prepared anyone in Montana's second-largest city for Nathaniel Bar-Jonah, the hulking child molester from Massachusetts who arrived in 1991 with his own twisted brand of sinister sadism.

Nathaniel Bar-Jonah.Busted a little over a year ago for lurking around an elementary school while brandishing a stun gun and pepper spray, the portly 43-year-old from Massachusetts has become the embodiment of evil for the 56,000 people who call Great Falls home.

And Bar-Jonah's litany of alleged misdeeds against children - a perversion established in his native Webster and allowed to fester for 12 years at the Massachusetts Treatment Center for the sexually dangerous - has grown increasingly horrific with each passing day.

Impersonating a police officer. Molestation. Abduction. Murder. Cannibalism.

"It´s an absolute outrage," said a clerk at the Cascade County courthouse, who has read the chilling court documents outlining Bar-Jonah´s one-man wave of terror.

More is expected to come to light this week, when Bar-Jonah is arraigned on charges he kidnapped and murdered 10-year-old Zachary Ramsay. Ramsay's body has never been recovered, and investigators believe Bar-Jonah ate the remains and fed them to others.

Although Ramsay disappeared in 1996, the scars wrought by Bar-Jonah remain as fresh as the disturbed soil around his former garage - where last summer investigators unearthed bones from an unidentified child, another apparent victim of the suspected serial killer.

"The kids are scared he´s going to get out," said Cascade County Attorney Brant Light. "I think this has been just a horrendous crime for this community. They want us to do our job and make sure he never walks the streets again."

Beneath the palpable fear and revulsion, however, is a simmering anger. It's directed not at Bar-Jonah, though, but at the Massachusetts authorities who allowed Bar-Jonah to end up in Great Falls in 1991 after he convinced them he was no longer a threat to society.

"It´s very nervy," said Kerrie Chiappetta, a former neighbor of Bar-Jonah´s whose stepson was smart enough to bolt one day when Bar-Jonah rolled a blue ball to him in an apparent attempt to lure the boy inside his smelly apartment. "I wonder who else they´re going to send to live next door to me."

Bar-Jonah was born in Worcester on Feb. 15, 1957, under the name David P. Brown and grew up in Webster as the youngest of four children.

Hints of trouble began early. He was only in the first grade when he choked a female classmate.

In 1975 and again in 1977, he pleaded guilty to dressing as a police officer and abducting young boys. In all three cases, he repeatedly strangled his victims, an apparent thrill along with sitting on the terrified children that would become his signature.

Bar-Jonah was sentenced to 18-to-20 years in jail for 1977 attack on two teenage boys. He was quickly identified as a sexually dangerous person and shipped to the Massachusetts Treatment Center for therapy.

In July of 1991 he was released after a Suffolk Superior Court judge believed two psychologists who said Bar-Jonah was no longer a danger to the community. Apparently taking advantage of a generous loophole in state sentencing laws, which used to grant inmates with good behavior 12.5 days off their sentence for every month served, Bar-Jonah tasted freedom 5 years early.

A month later, however, he was on the prowl again, assaulting the boy in Oxford. Despite his history, he copped a plea with Worcester County prosecutors that allowed him to avoid jail time. Instead he was given a two year suspended sentence, reportedly on the condition he move to Montana with his mother.

"It was slam, bam, thank you ma´am, and those prosecutors, defense attorneys and judges ought to be ashamed,´´ said Mike Redpath, Bar-Jonah´s former probation officer in Great Falls. ``They set up Montana.´´

Redpath said Massachusetts sent just a "slim" file on Bar-Jonah, which he said is "highly unusual." And it arrived after Bar-Jonah had already shown up unannounced at the probation office.

"We were just in no man's land with this guy," said Redpath.

The veteran probation officer, used to dealing with two-bit thugs, was stunned to learn what kind of criminal Bar-Jonah was during his initial interview.

"This guy starts telling me about his background (at Bridgewater)," said Redpath. "He was very candid. I said, `Whoa. Wait a minute here.´ There was nothing in the packet that reflected that."

But Coria Holland, a spokeswoman for the state office of the Commissioner of Probation in Massachusetts, said their records indicate Montana corrections officials received Bar-Jonah's complete packet of information on Aug. 26, 1991, and that it contained all the necessary documentation, including a full social and criminal history.

Redpath said Bar-Jonah's mother soon moved back to Massachusetts, leaving her youngest son with his older brother, Bob Brown. Despite an apparent violation of the plea agreement, Bar-Jonah was now Montana's problem.

"I said, `We don´t want this guy," said Redpath. "But the word we got back (from Massachusetts) was that they basically said, `Tough. He´s out there. We´re not going to take him back.´ ´´

Holland, however, said Montana officially accepted Bar-Jonah's probation on Oct. 10 - more than a month after he first arrived in Great Falls. She acknowledged that it's not the "general practice for the probationer to show up before being officially accepted ... although there are exceptions to the rule."

Redpath said Bar-Jonah's two years of probation were uneventful, with him reporting faithfully.

After arriving in Great Falls, Bar-Jonah quickly lined up employment, bouncing from one fast-food joint to another, where he'd work as a cook. He supplemented his income, and reportedly fed his fetish for young boys, by selling toys to children at flea markets and from his garage.

Bar-Jonah's former fiancee in Great Falls said he would often spend hours in the garage, which she described as a "paradise" for children, with its scores of dolls and collectibles.

"Common sense told me something wasn´t right with him," said Jim Chiappetta, the neighbor whose son ducked Bar-Jonah´s clumsy overtures. "Grown men usually don´t have a bunch of little boys around all the time."

Police later recovered scores of pictures from Bar-Jonah's house of children in various stages of undress and of his own genitalia. They also took away bloody clothing, lists of names of prior victims and suspected victims and coded notes with bizarre phrases hinting at his alleged cannibalism.

In a sad statement of what kind of monster Massachusetts unleashed on Montana, Bar-Jonah's alleged sexual assault victims out there now feel relieved he didn't take his violence to new depths of depravity with them.

"They were really shocked when this all came out," said Light. "Because now they realize how probably fortunate they were that they were just molested and played this bizarre game, the strangulation game, that he likes."

Meanwhile the most lurid episodes have drawn attention worldwide, even as some in Great Falls shudder from the shocking headlines.

"I choose not to follow it because it´s so disgusting," said Jim Moore, bar manager at Bert -&- Ernies, a rustic downtown pub that offers local microbrews like Moose Drool Ale and Hooper´s Hooch. Others, however, are simply unable to believe someone so repugnant could live among them.

"I just know what I read in the paper and I don´t believe everything that´s written," said an elderly woman who moved next door to Bar-Jonah´s former house, the one where police found the unidentified bones.


Nathaniel Bar-Jonah

Tuesday, January 9, 2001

While accused cannibal Nathaniel Bar-Jonah is scheduled to be arraigned Thursday on charges he killed, cooked and served a 10-year-old boy to unsuspecting neighbors, a Montana prosecutor said he isn't likely to seek the death penalty.

"Probably not," Cascade County Attorney Brant Light said yesterday. "We´ve never recovered a weapon. We don´t have a body. This case is very circumstantial."

"And I always check with the victims´ families. Sometimes it´s enough for them to hear that this man will never walk the street again."

Suspected serial killer Bar-Jonah, who grew up as David P. Brown in Webster, is charged with kidnapping and murdering Zachary Ramsay, who disappeared Feb. 6, 1996, on his way to school in Great Falls, Mont. After discovering small bones that were not from Ramsay's remains in Bar-Jonah's, police suspected the 43-year-old former mental patient may also be a serial killer.

In Webster, police are investigating a document entitled ``Lake Webster´´ that lists 27 suspected victims, ages 5 to 17. The handwritten list found in Bar-Jonah´s home by authorities is composed of people he encountered between 1963 and 1977.

Four people on the list are confirmed sexual assault victims of Bar-Jonah, including a classmate he choked in the first grade, two Shrewsbury children he abducted, and a then-Webster boy.

Webster police officer Michaela Kelley said she has interviewed another two men - one who lived on the same street and one who went to school with Bar-Jonah - who were shocked to learn their names had appeared on the list. They denied being assaulted by Bar-Jonah.

"We´re still going over the list and trying to identify anyone. We´re trying to talk to them and establish whether they have ever been victimized by Bar-Jonah," she said.

Southbridge police Sgt. Norman Brodeau, who requested a copy of the list in hopes of answering some of his town's own unsolved mysteries, said he's not sure the list is filled with victims of heinous crimes. "We don´t know if the people on the (list) are in fact victims," he said yesterday. "It might have been like a hit list or maybe he thought they were attractive."

Brodeau said some of the people on the list may not want to talk about their encounters with Bar-Jonah. "Children who are victimized at a young age sometimes don´t report it or don´t remember it," he said. "Hopefully bringing people in and talking to them, maybe it will jar something."

But Kelley is confident that those men weren't suffering from memory blocks. "I just didn´t get that impression," she said.


Nathaniel Bar-Jonah

January 2, 2001

Police said they found the names of four former Webster boys on a handwritten list seized from accused murderer and pedophile Nathaniel Bar-Jonah's Montana home. Police say that 27 of the 54 names on the list may be those of Massachusetts children whom Bar-Jonah knew when he grew up in the town of Webster (as David P. Brown) in the 1960s and 1970s. Included on the list are names of three boys whom Bar-Jonah was convicted of abducting in 1975 and 1977. Webster police Officer John Bolduc said he recognized several other names on the list despite misspellings.


Cops Seek More Victims of Accused Cannibal

Bone Fragment Found in Montana Home Remains a Mystery

Dec. 26, 2000

By Seamus McGraw

GREAT FALLS, Mont. ( -- It's just fragment of bone, not much larger than a baby's rattle. But authorities say they fear that it could be the last trace of a vanished child, a possible victim of convicted sexual predator and accused cannibal Nathaniel Bar-Jonah.

For months now, ever since the small fragment of bone was found buried beneath the floor of Bar-Jonah's garage, authorities have been trying to determine the identity of the child, said Sgt. John Cameron, an investigator with the Great Falls Police Department.

They have also been trying to determine whether the child, believed to be between 9 and 14 years old -- they're not even certain whether the child was a boy or girl -- suffered the same fate as young Zachary Ramsay, an 8-year-old local boy who police now say was killed by Bar-Jonah. Investigators also suspect that the 43-year-old pedophile cooked Ramsay's remains into pies and sauces and served them to neighbors.

Following the trail

So far, Cameron said, investigators have had no luck identifying the other child from the small bone fragment.

But they have not given up hope, and local authorities and FBI agents are continuing to follow every step Bar-Jonah has taken in the last two decades, from Boston, to Philadelphia, to Great Falls, searching for clues to the child's identity, and perhaps, for other victims, said William Matthews, a spokesman for the FBI in Salt Lake City, Utah.

"We're going to places where we know he's been, where he's either lived or visited," Matthews said.

Coded messages

Based on Bar-Jonah's own writings, coded messages he left himself in notebooks, authorities say they have reason to believe that there may be other victims. They also believe that the messages, which contained several chilling references to cannibalism, may hold a clue to the horrible fate children may have suffered at Bar-Jonah's hands.

So far, Bar-Jonah, who is being held on $500,000 bail in the Cascade County Jail, is charged with one count of murder in Ramsay's death. He also faces a series of unrelated charges in connection with an attack on a young boy whom he allegedly hung from a lighting fixture in his kitchen while playing out a bizarre and brutal sexual fantasy, authorities said.

Caught lurking near playground

Investigators in Great Falls first came to suspect that Bar-Jonah was a dangerous predator in 1999, three years after Zachary Ramsay had vanished.

Parents at a local elementary school had complained that there was a strange man lurking near the playground in the mornings when they dropped off their children, authorities said.

Police stopped Bar-Jonah, also known as David C. Brown, and found that he was carrying a badge, a police jacket, and, most frightening of all, a stun gun, capable of rendering a child unconscious, according to court records. He was arrested and charged with posing as a police officer.

Dangerous sexual predator

It turned out that police had caught Bar-Jonah using one of his favorite ploys to lure young children, posing as police officer, authorities said. It was a technique Bar-Jonah had first used more than 20 years earlier, in his home state of Massachusetts, according to court records. Since 1976, Bar-Jonah had been convicted three times in Massachusetts of sexually assaulting young boys, and in each case he masqueraded as a police officer, according to court records.

Before he was released from prison in Massachusetts, authorities there declared him a dangerous sexual predator who preferred to target minority children because, he believed, they would be less likely to report his assaults to a real police officers.

But there were even more horrifying entries in his record. Among other things, the convicted pedophile had confided to psychiatrists in Massachusetts that he entertained fantasies of cannibalism, and once wondered aloud what human flesh might taste like, authorities said.

But when Bar Jonah left Boston in 1991, staying in Philadelphia before moving on to Montana to be near his mother and brother, the information about the his sordid past and strange fantasies remained behind, according to Cascade County District Attorney Brandt Light.

Boy reports incident

Not long after his 1999 arrest in Great Falls, authorities say they got a horrifying glimpse of how dangerous Bar-Jonah could be.

Encouraged by media reports of the arrest, a young Native American boy came forward to tell police that Bar-Jonah had lured him and two other boys to his home and, once there, he hung the boy from a lighting fixture and masturbated as the boy lost consciousness, according to prosecutors.

Bar-Jonah is scheduled to go on trial for that offense next month, Light has said.

Body never recovered

Prompted by the depravity of that case, authorities came to suspect bar-Jonah in Zachary Ramsay's death. Last week, he was formally charged with Ramsay's murder, Light said.

Ramsay's body was never recovered. But, while piecing together the evidence against Bar-Jonah, investigators searched his house and garage and several notes Bar-Jonah had written to himself in a code which was later cracked by the FBI.

Among other things, the notes contained several references to cannibalism, including one message reading: "Lunch is Served on the Patio with Roasted Child," according to court records.

Authorities also found the single bone which DNA tests indicated was not from Ramsay's body, authorities said. And that, authorities say, leads them to suspect that they have stumbled across the only thing that could possible be more horrible than Ramsay's death: the thought that the boy was not the only child to die and to be consumed by the accused cannibal.


Suspected Cannibal Charged in Boy's Death

FBI Encryption Expert May Have Found Confession

Dec. 20, 2000

By Seamus McGraw

GREAT FALLS, Mont. ( -- On Christmas Day four years ago, Nathaniel Bar-Jonah visited his neighbors for dinner, carrying with him a plate of spaghetti with a peculiar tasting sauce chock full of an unfamiliar kind of meat, authorities said.

Bar-Jonah, a convicted pedophile and dangerous sexual predator from Massachusetts who had concealed his past from his neighbors in Great Falls, convinced his dinner companions that they were eating venison that he had hunted himself, said Cascade County prosecutor Brant Light.

But authorities now believe the truth was far more horrible. They suspect that the meal Bar-Jonah served was actually the flesh of a young boy whom he sexually assaulted, killed and then butchered and cooked, Light said. They believe he may have baked the boy's remains into pies and stews and served it to friends and neighbors on more than one occasion, authorities said.

Charged with murder

Now, after spending a year behind bars on unrelated charges, Bar-Jonah has been charged with murder in the death of 8-year-old Zachary Ramsay, who vanished while walking to school in 1996. The boy's body has never been found, Light said.

But an FBI encryption expert, who stumbled across a coded message among Bar-Jonah's papers earlier this year, found what authorities now believe was a kind of confession of cannibalism, Light said.

According to court documents, the carefully encoded messages contained graphic phrases, including "Lunch is Served on the Patio with Roasted Child," "Roasted Kid," and "Little Boy Stew."

In other writings, the 44-year-old Bar-Jonah, formerly known as David Brown, exalted the virtues of his favorite meal, "gay blade," Light said, a chilling statement that has led authorities to suspect that Zachary may not have been the first of Bar-Jonah's victims to meet a violent end -- or to have been consumed by his killer.

"This could just be the tip of the iceberg," Light said.

Investigators found bones

Investigators say they are all but certain that Bar-Jonah has killed more than once. While excavating beneath the dirt floor of his basement last summer, investigators found the bones of another boy, still unidentified, but believed to have been between 9 and 14 years old when he died.

Authorities have still not determined how, or precisely when, the boy died, and Bar-Jonah has not yet been charged in connection with the boy's remains, Light said. But authorities say privately they are convinced that he was slain and fear that he, too, was eaten.

Strange man in the neighborhood

Authorities in this wide-open section of Montana first learned that Bar-Jonah might be a monster in 1999, three years after Zachary had disappeared, Light said.

Parents at a local elementary school had complained about a strange man lurking in the neighborhood in the mornings when they dropped their children off at school, authorities said.

Police approached the man and found that he was carrying a badge and a police jacket -- all apparently calculated to make him look like a police officer -- and, most frightening of all, a stun gun capable of rendering young boys unconscious, according to court documents.

It turned out that police had stumbled across a dangerous sexual predator who was using his favorite ploy, posing as a police officer to intimidate his victims, authorities said.

It was a technique that Bar-Jonah had been using for more than 20 years. In his home state of Massachusetts, Bar-Jonah had been convicted three times since 1976 of sexually assaulting and kidnapping young boys, and in each case he masqueraded as a police officer, court records show.

Fantasies of cannibalism

Before he was released from a Massachusetts prison in 1991, authorities declared him a dangerous and repetitive sex offender. In a horrifying preview of his violent urges, a case worker and a psychiatrist in Massachusetts each wrote more than a decade ago that Bar-Jonah had fantasies of cannibalism and had once wondered aloud to his case worker about what human flesh would taste like, according to court papers.

But word of that designation, and the warning that should have accompanied it, never found its way to Montana, where Bar-Jonah had moved in 1991, reportedly to be close to his mother and brother.

Almost immediately after his arrival, Bar-Jonah allegedly began surrounding himself with children. He held garage sales at his home, specializing in the kinds of toys and games that young boys would find attractive. He became active in a local church group.

He began to again pose as a police officer to lure young victims, almost always targeting young black or Native American boys because he allegedly believed that they and their families would be less likely to report his activities to the real authorities, Light said.

Boy hung by neck

Not long after his arrest in 1999 for posing as a police officer, investigators got their first glimpse of how dangerous Bar-Jonah might be, Light said. Encouraged by media reports, a young Native American boy came forward to report that he and two of his friends had been lured to Bar-Jonah's home, where he had been assaulted, hanged him by the neck until he was barely conscious and masturbated by Bar-Jonah, authorities said. Bar-Jonah is scheduled to go on trial for that assault next month.

The depravity of that alleged crime, the fact that the boys, like Zachary, were minorities, and the discovery of records describing in detail Bar-Jonah's criminal history prompted investigators to search for a link between Bar-Jonah and the missing boy, court records show.

Prosecutors gather evidence

Authorities have since found witnesses who place Bar-Jonah in the area where Zachary was last seen at about the time he disappeared.

Authorities acknowledge that it will be tough to prove that Bar-Jonah butchered and served the young boy's body. They say there is little physical evidence beyond the encrypted messages he wrote to himself and the recollections of his neighbors.

But authorities say they are convinced that they have enough evidence to convict Bar-Jonah, and prosecutors are reviewing the case to determine whether they will seek the death penalty, Light said.


Elusive Pedophile Held in Boys' Slayings

Unregistered Offender Lived Under Assumed Name

July 10, 2000

By Seamus McGraw

CASCADE COUNTY, Mont. ( -- No one in Cascade County knew much about the strange man who called himself Nathaniel Bar-Jonah, authorities said.

They heard he had moved from somewhere back East to be closer to his mother and his brother in Great Falls, and they knew he seemed to like the company of children, young boys especially. He even held garage sales at his home, selling almost nothing, it seemed, but children's toys, authorities said.

What they didn't know is that Bar-Jonah, whose real name is David P. Brown, was a dangerous sexual predator, a man who spent years locked up in Massachusetts for attacks on young boys and who is now suspected of killing an 8-year-old Montana boy, authorities said. Bar-Jonah also is suspected of killing and burying another boy under the floor of the very garage where he sold toys on Saturday mornings, authorities said.

Meanwhile, Bar-Jonah is accused of hanging a 6-year-old Native-American boy from the ceiling of his kitchen until the boy lost consciousness, all for sexual gratification. Bar-Jonah remains jailed in Cascade County on $1 million, charged with a raft of crimes. If convicted of those crimes alone, the 43-year-old pedophile could remain behind bars for the rest of his life, said Cascade County Prosecutor Brant S. Light.

Boy's body never found

But investigators believe those crimes only hint at the horror that Bar-Jonah brought to this north-central Montana community since coming here nine years ago.

Bar-Jonah is now the only suspect in the 1996 disappearance of 8-year-old Zachary Ramsay, who vanished while walking to school. Although the boy's body was never found, authorities believe he was kidnapped and killed, and they are poised to charge Bar-Jonah with murder, Light said.

Authorities also believe he killed another boy whose bones were found scattered underneath the dirt floor of Bar-Jonah's garage, Light said. So far, authorities have been unable to identify the dead boy. Even DNA testing hasn't helped. All they know for sure is that the boy was between 8 and 18 years old, and that Bar-Jonah buried him there, Light said.

Light said authorities are "getting very close" to charging Bar-Jonah with murder in both of those cases.

Accused of posing as police officer

Authorities first learned of Bar-Jonah in 1999, nearly three years after young Zachary had vanished and was later given up for dead, authorities said.

Parents at a local elementary school had complained that there was a suspicious man hanging around when they dropped their children off in the mornings, Light said. Police decided to talk to the man. When they approached him, they found that he was carrying a badge, a police jacket, a stun gun and other items, all designed to make it look as if he was a police officer, Light said.

It turned out that that was Bar-Jonah's preferred method of operation, police said. He had been convicted in Massachusetts three times since 1976 of kidnapping young boys, and in each case he had masqueraded as a police officer, Light said.

Records indicated that Bar-Jonah had been diagnosed as a dangerous sexual predator, Light said. And it also appeared that he was compulsive. In 1991, just four months after he was released from a Massachusetts treatment facility, he allegedly accosted a young boy in a car while the boy's mother ran a few errands, Light said.

'You're not taking anybody anywhere'

He received probation for that offense, and a Massachusetts judge permitted him to move to Great Falls, where his mother and brother live, Light said.

But the man never registered as a sex offender under Montana's version of Megan's Law, and in the ensuing years, the state of Massachusetts never notified Montana authorities that a compulsive pedophile was in its midst, Light said.

"As far as I can tell, they just ... dumped him on us," he said.

With Bar-Jonah in custody, charged with impersonating a police officer and unlawful possession of a weapon, authorities in Cascade County launched a full investigation.

Within a few days, a woman came forward with a story about how a man she now recognized as Bar-Jonah came to her door in 1997, pretending to police officer, and ordered her young son to accompany him to school, Light said.

"She was tough," Light said. "She said, 'You're not taking anybody anywhere,' and the guy took off."

Disenfranchised child targeted?

Then authorities made an even more troubling discovery. During a search of Bar-Jonah's home, they turned up photographs, some showing a naked Bar-Jonah "in various stages of arousal," Light said. Others showed young boys, some wearing only underwear.

It took time, Light said, but eventually investigators found the boys. They told of how Bar-Jonah had molested them, he said. And one of them, a 6-year-old Native-American boy -- authorities believe he was targeted because he was a disenfranchised child who would not likely tell anyone about his ordeal -- described being nearly choked to death.

"Choking seems to be a big part of what he does," Light said. According to the boy, and to a statement later given by Bar-Jonah's roommate, who claims to have seen the whole event and then kept it to himself, Bar-Jonah allegedly wrapped a rope around the boy's neck and then used a pulley in the ceiling to hang the child until he passed out, Light said.

That led authorities to charge Bar-Jonah with three counts of sexual assault, charges that carry a maximum of life in prison, Light said.

Incriminating papers found

It also led investigators to the garage. There, investigators found a total of 13 bones, buried in different parts of the garage, Light said. With them, investigators found buried papers, store receipts and the like, bearing Bar-Jonah's name, Light said.

At first, investigators suspected the bones might have been Zachary's, Light said. But DNA tests indicated that they were not missing boy's remains, nor did they match any of the other boys known to be missing in that region.

The FBI has now joined the investigation and is reaching out to officials in other states to see if the bones match any other missing young boys, Light said.

In the meantime, authorities believe they have collected enough evidence to charge Bar-Jonah with murder in connection with Zachary's death, and they also may charge him in connection with the death of an unidentified boy.

Prosecutor: Won't slip through cracks again

Light said his office has not yet determined whether to pursue the death penalty in the case. To do that, prosecutors would have to prove that the boys were tortured, he said.

Even if a conviction doesn't send Bar-Jonah to death row, Light said it is likely that Bar-Jonah would be sentenced to life without parole.

At least that way, Light said, he wouldn't have to worry about Bar-Jonah somehow slipping through the cracks, the way he believes the suspect did in Massachusetts.

"I can't speak for other states, but in Montana, life without parole means life without parole," he said.



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