Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

What Really Drove Criminal Minds Serial Killer Jeffrey Charles To A Life Of Crime

The long-running CBS crime procedural "Criminal Minds" made a name for itself by producing stories of murderers whose tactics make viewers' skin crawl. The series follows members of the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit who are tasked with trying to discover the identities of unknown dangerous criminals by inhabiting their minds — hence the name of the show. So, psychology features heavily in the BAU's profiling process. The Season 10 villain Mr. Scratch harnesses his former foster siblings' fears of a croaking monster with long, sharp fingers to make them murder their own loved ones, while Adam Rain — also from Season 10 — committed his murders because of a car accident that returned him to his childhood brain, with which he failed to see the wrong in what he was doing.

But the most horrifying "Criminal Minds" episodes don't center on unsubs with trauma from their childhoods; rather, they follow actual children who kill. That's the case with the Season 2 episode "The Boogeyman," in which Jeffrey Charles (Cameron Monaghan — one of many stars who appear on "Criminal Minds") is a murderous elementary schooler who lures other kids deep into the woods where their screams can't be heard and then bludgeons them with an aluminum baseball bat. His string of kills seems to the BAU the work of an adult with sophisticated hunting knowledge and a firm grasp on the lay of the land. In fact, Jeffrey's own father, the local school's guidance counselor, almost goes down for his son's crime! Killer kids are super rare, so what drove Jeffrey Charles to become a murderer?

Jeffrey Charles wanted more attention at home -- and lashed out when he didn't get it

Although Jeffrey Charles is a child, the motive behind his turn to a life of crime is similar to a lot of the unsubs on "Criminal Minds": he isn't inherently evil, he's responding to traumatic events in his life in a heinous way. After Jeffrey is caught by the BAU, Agent Jason Gideon (Mandy Patinkin) asks the boy why he was hurting his classmates. Jeffrey looks him dead in the eye and bluntly replies, "Because I wanted to." But the BAU has already done their profiling and talked to Jeffrey's father, so they know it goes much deeper than that.

Several months prior to the events of the episode, Jeffrey's mother separated from his father, abandoning him in the process — and creating a huge void in his life. Without the attention of his mother, Jeffrey had to rely on his now-single father for all the emotional support a child needs, and his father's job as a school guidance counselor prevented him from giving his son the attention he required. Jealousy factored in, too, with other children getting support from his father due to the nature of his job. So Jeffrey lashed out, seeking to punish the other kids for occupying so much of his father's time. He would ultimately claim the lives of three of his classmates and forever change the atmosphere of his small town of Ozona, Texas, before being caught by the BAU — not that his capture is a happy ending to the story. His own life will be forever damaged, and all because of the violent response this 12-year-old had to his family's dissolution.