Journal Posts

Tag: journal_zoo_story

The Zoo Story

It had been a fairly regular day in the office when I received a call in which I was assigned to a case that my expertise was vital to. The police had come to a roadblock in their investigation when they tried to determine if this case could be ruled a homicide or a suicide. They told me that the deceased man’s name was Jerry and the other individual under investigation was a middle aged man named Peter. I was also informed that the police had multiple eyewitness reports, but they weren’t very useful because they were inconsistent with each other. Since there weren’t any solid eyewitness testimonies, I decided to interview Peter.
I started the interview by doing a simple test to determine if Peter had any kind of mental disorder, and he did not. I then asked him about the events that transpired on the day that Jerry had died. He told me that it was a Sunday afternoon, sunny and warm, and that he had stopped at a bench just North of the city zoo to read a book just like he had done for years. He said that Jerry approached him in an unusual fashion and started asking questions about his life. The questions weren’t exactly normal. They were very personal and inappropriate questions that were followed by an array of stories that Peter found somewhat pointless. Peter then told me that Jerry was unresponsive to many of the comments he made to the stories and that he began to get rather confrontational and aggressive. Jerry started telling Peter to get off of his bench and began punching him in the arm before pulling out a knife. Peter then said that Jerry threw the knife on the ground and told Peter to pick it up before saying, “... fight, you miserable bastard; fight for that bench..” As Peter was telling his side of the story I could tell by his facial expressions and sincere emotions that he was being truthful. He then told me that he held the knife out in his hand as a way to defend himself, when Jerry ran and seemed to purposely impale himself with the knife. Peter then quoted Jerry as saying, “Thank you, Peter. I mean that, now; thank you very much.”
After hearing Peter’s recollection of the events leading up to Jerry’s death, I was able to determine that Jerry had suffered from at least two mental illnesses. The first that he displayed to Peter is actually a set of rare neurological symptoms known as Witzelsucht. This disorder is characterized by a tendency to make puns, or tell inappropriate jokes or pointless stories in socially inappropriate situations. This was very apparent to me when Peter told about the stories Jerry told and the nonresponsiveness that he showed towards Peter’s reactions. I also believe that Jerry suffered from a borderline personality disorder because of the way his demeanor constantly changed. With a combination of these two disorders and taking into account the background and testimony of Peter, I determined that Jerry’s death was not a homicide, but in fact, a suicide. Although I had a difficult time understanding why Jerry essentially used Peter to do this. After spending days looking into Jerry’s background I came to the conclusion that Jerry was most likely suffering from severe depression. He had gone years without any family or friends and from Peter’s recollections it was apparent that Jerry desired a relationship of some kind with another person. Because of this I believe that Jerry used Peter to commit suicide as a way to have a somewhat “permanent” relationship.
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