Valentine's Day Murders Define Career of Safe Hiring Solutions CEO

choking-in-fearAre you the type of person who likes to know about the people you are doing business with? Maybe it is just me, but I am very relational.  I love meeting people, learning about them, their professional and personal lives.  And that is the way I have built the culture at Safe Hiring Solutions.

We make sure we hire people of integrity but we also want people with personality and curiosity.  That are "people-oriented".  That are passionate about life and their career.

This translates into great customer service.

So I thought I would divert off our normal path on this article.  It has nothing to do with trends in background screening or tips to keep your organization safe.  This is an article about a horrible mass murder that propelled me on a course of becoming a violent crime detective and ultimately to launch Safe Hiring Solutions.

I'm sure you were not expecting an article on one of the most shocking murders in American history when you clicked on the blog link.  But stay with me.  There are no grisly details and it will help you better understand how we approach keeping your organization safe.

Here we go...

I grew up in the sleepy small town of Waveland, Indiana in the west central part of the state, the son of an Indiana state police officer.  As a kid, a major crime in our community was a stolen bicycle.

Until Valentine's Day 1977.

That's when four young men burst into a home shortly after midnight, just four miles down the road from my home, and lined the mother and her four sons up on the floor and executed them with shotguns.  Purely for the sport of killing.  The mother survived after her wig was blown off in the dark and the killers believed it was her head.

The crime shocked the nation and choked my community with fear.  The killers were unknown for more than three weeks as my dad and the Indiana State Police tracked down hundreds of leads.

I was nine years old and terrified.  Our entire community was panicked.

Then the killers were identified and one of them confessed.  The other three perpetrators had fled the state.

My fears were heightened because they were young men my dad had arrested.  And the gang was led by a sociopath my dad had prosecuted for a multitude of crimes including statutory rape of a fourteen year old girl.

There was no guide for processing a crime of this magnitude.  My response was to save every newspaper article I could get my hands on.  I collected them off of footstools and kitchen tables, every place I found some bit of information on this crime.  My parents thought I was obsessed.

This preoccupation gnawed at me even after the four killers were tucked away in prison.  I graduated from college and headed for law school but I could find no personal fulfillment in law school so I did what most men in my family have done- I became a police officer.

I carried the manila folder of yellowed newspaper clippings with me when I moved to Nashville, TN and became a violent crime detective.  I would sit and re-read the articles as a young detective.

It puzzled my family.  Why couldn't I file this crime away and move on?

I needed answers.  I needed to know how a crime like this could have been committed in my community.  I needed the truth and how that truth might help me as a detective prevent a crime like this from ever happening again.

So I reached out to the surviving mother, friend of my family.  And she shared everything, including her personal letters she had written to the boys after the murders.

Then I wrote letters to each of the four killers.  And one of them responded and agreed to answer my questions and meet with me so we could better understand this crime.

He eventually wrote the forward to my book.  And the surviving mother allowed me to publish her letters as part of the book.

Yes, I finally wrote a book.  It was originally published ten years ago, coincidentally this coincided with my launch of Safe Hiring Solutions.  However, the original publisher was very difficult to work with and did not make the book readily available.

Then they wanted me to pay them for the rights to my book.  I refused.

But over the years I would receive a large number of calls, emails or social media messages from people looking for the book.   But I was too busy to republish.

Then in October 2013, the Discovery Channel called me and wanted to do a documentary based on my book.  They have a series entitled "Very Bad Men" and wanted the final in the series to be about this crime.

The documentary ran a couple weeks ago.  And I was able to get my book published again, literally hitting Amazon two hours before the documentary aired.

Choking in Fear:  a Memoir of the Hollandsburg Murders is now back on the shelves.

As the Founder & CEO of Safe Hiring Solutions I want you to know that we are not just aggregators of data like much of the background screening industry.  We are focused on safety and security because it is part of my DNA and ingrained in our culture!