Naturally, Phoenix police were taking any tips they could get. So when Allison DuBois called wanting to talk, they listened.
DuBois' name might have sounded familiar to the cops. That summer, season two of Medium, the television series based on her life and alleged psychic powers, had just wrapped. Patricia Arquette, her TV alter ego, had won an Emmy for her work on the show's first season.
Detective Alex Femenia, the lead investigator in the "Baseline Killer" case, followed every tip he got. But DuBois led him nowhere.
DuBois says she called the detective because a mutual friend at the County Attorney's Office asked her to.
At the time, she said in three separate media interviews that the Baseline Killer had possibly fled to California and that he had facial features not tied to any race, and skin that was dark but not necessarily black. DuBois couldn't get as much info on the "Serial Shooter" because he didn't make contact with his victims. (She says she profiles people by getting inside the heads of both the criminals and the victims.)
She said she could "feel" the length of the Baseline Killer's hair, saying it was long enough to tuck up under a cap. She felt he had issues with his mother. She felt the killer would be arrested in August.
Well, she was close on that last one.
In early August 2006, police arrested two white men, Dale Hausner and Samuel John Dieteman, and charged them with the serial shootings. On September 4, the Phoenix Police Department arrested Mark Goudeau, an African American construction worker with short hair, living in Phoenix. In December 2007, Goudeau was convicted of sexually assaulting two women. He is scheduled to stand trial on 74 additional charges, including nine counts of murder.
Dieteman has pleaded guilty to two counts of murder in the Serial Shooter case, and Hausner awaits trial on eight counts.
Police generally refuse to talk about ongoing cases. But when New Times called to tell them about DuBois' latest book, Sergeant Andy Hill made an exception.
Chapter Two of Secrets of the Monarch, published last year, details her take on the Baseline Killer case, including her impressions of the suspects, her anger over how her city was under attack, and her desire to help close the case. To be fair, DuBois does credit the police department with cracking the case, though she says the arrest timeline she gave them was important.
Hill says that according to both the lead investigator, Femenia, and the lead supervisor on the case, DuBois had nothing to do with catching Goudeau.
"Sometime during the sequence of crimes, the lead investigator said that, to his best recollection, he had two conversations with Ms. DuBois," Hill says. "It seemed to him that Ms. DuBois was trying to get information from him. But the only information she suggested was one statement that was totally incorrect, stating she thought the suspect was a transient and had left the state."
That's the thing about DuBois. She's charismatic as hell, and most definitely has friends in high places, but when it comes down to high-profile cases she claims to have worked, the cops and the family members of the victims deny she was any help.
It's been two years since the Baseline Killer terrorized her city, and Allison DuBois has never been more popular. Her show is entering its fifth season of production, she's touring the country with Secrets of the Monarch, and she's begun teaching private classes — at $150 a session — on how to tap into one's psychic abilities.
Her fans don't care whether the police say she never worked with them or whether families of crime victims say her predictions are inconsistent. DuBois shrugs off the criticism, saying denial is par for the course. She fashions herself as much a publicist as a psychic. In the Baseline Killer case, for example, she says she was just trying to raise public awareness.
"It's not always in my hands to solve something, but I can at least get people to look at their neighbors," she says.
DuBois has an almost mesmerizing way of explaining away her mistakes, and she's managed to keep both her erroneous predictions, and her naysayers, largely confined to Internet forums.
She's built a nice empire for herself: three bestselling books, a packed tour schedule, and the reason you know her name — an Emmy-winning, highly rated television show purportedly based on her life.
For this story, DuBois and her husband were interviewed extensively, as were the families and friends of people she's written about and representatives of agencies she says she's worked with. DuBois opened up as much as she ever seems to open up — even allowing her three kids to be interviewed — but much of her private life remains private. Background for this story also came from her bestselling books, a book written about her by Tucson parapsychologist Gary Schwartz, and the show Medium.