Nathaniel Benjamin Levi Bar-Jonah (February
15, 1957 – April 13, 2008), born David Paul Brown, was a
felon who was serving a 130-year prison sentence without the
possibility of parole in Montana
after being convicted of
aggravated assault, and
sexual assault of various children. He was born in
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
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.
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
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
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.
By Charles Montaldo - About.com
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
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.
Gender - Male
Religion - Unknown
Ethnicity - White
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
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
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
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.
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
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
"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
Missing Since: February 6, 1996
from Great Falls, Montana
Date Of Birth: December 18,
Age: 10 years old
Height and Weight: 4'0, 100
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
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
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.
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
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
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: Charges Dropped In Child
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.
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.
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."
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
Montana Cannibal what a
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
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
"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
"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.
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
"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
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
But Kelley is confident that those men weren't suffering from memory
blocks. "I just didn´t get that impression," she said.
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
Bone Fragment Found in Montana
Home Remains a Mystery
Dec. 26, 2000
By Seamus McGraw
GREAT FALLS, Mont. (APBnews.com) -- 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
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.
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
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
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
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
Dec. 20, 2000
By Seamus McGraw
GREAT FALLS, Mont. (APBnews.com) -- 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
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
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
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
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
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. (APBnews.com) -- 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
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
'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
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
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
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
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