Frank

No one knows what he looks like; he covers his tracks too well. Police spokespersons say that investigations have revealed nothing, and they've been saying this for months. Exactly how he manages to so effectively avoid identification is just another mystery surrounding the man the newspapers called Frank.

There are many thousands of drug dealers in America, but for the past 3 years, "Frank" has been consistently making headlines. The first part of his techniqe is to find an impressionable and attractive young lady - maybe at a party, maybe on the streets, maybe somewhere else...no one knows for sure where it begins.

Step two is to get her on drugs. Offer the first hit for free, get her high, and wait for the comedown. Leave her with a contact point - never a phone number. Never anything traceable. Maybe a friend, maybe a place she can go at a certain time. As soon as she comes back for more, it's child's play.

One would expect the third step, once the girl was hooked, to be getting her to work the streets. Have her to bring in money, take it from her, and pay her in drugs. Or instead of pimping her out, convince to rob a store or a house. Play on her addiction to get money, then use the money to get drugs.

But not Frank.

He doesn't pimp the girls out. He doesn't expect them to bring in money or use them for sex - he provides drugs for several weeks, and once they're hooked, makes them completely reliant on him for everything - food, shelter, love.

And then he asks them for a limb.

For reasons unknown, it's very important to Frank to get permission. Hundreds of psychiatrists have explored the issue, and there is no widely accepted theory as to why this is the case. He had the girls. They could go missing and no one would notice. Why not hack one off?

He asks them for a limb. Sometimes they refuse, and he goes another few weeks, expanding the range of drugs being pumped into their bodies, until it's a chemical concoction worth thousands. Then, again, he abruptly cuts them off.

He waits two full days, then approaches them with the same offer - he wants a limb.

No one has ever said no at this point. At least, no one ever recovered has said no at this point.

He's extremely precise about it, almost surgical. Like Jack the Ripper before him, it's been suggested that he was a doctor in his "real" life. He's clearly a very wealthy man; some of the girls are kept for months before the first question is even asked, and considering the quality of the drugs he has access to, Frank must be a wealthy man. Wealthy, and well-connected.

Frank varies in which limb he chooses first. Sometimes an arm, sometimes a leg, there seems to be no real pattern to it. He cuts it off, cauterises the limb, and gives the girl a full two months to recover. He keeps them high the whole time, but also keeps them comfortable; well-fed and watered...he even makes them exercise. Not excessively, just enough to ensure their bodies don't just waste away.

And then he asks for a second limb.

By this point, "no" isn't even an option. This is the man who not only provides them with the substances they live for, he's the man cares for them, who nourished them back into health after losing a limb. The name Frank didn't come from the girls, the newspapers invented it - short for "Frankenstein", the mad scientist from the famous gothic novel. The girls didn't give a name for this man at all, they simply refered to him as "God" or "Love".

Frank never takes more than two limbs. After the second limb, he cauterises the wound, but this time he doesn't nurse the girl back to health. Instead, he drops her to a small-town hospital, several states from whereever she's picked up. The missing limbs are ignored in the first few minutes at the hospital, as the immediate priority is the blood gushing from the girl's eyes.

Immediately before dropping the girls off, Frank removes their eyes. Doctors say that unlike the limbs, it's not done carefully, it's not done surgically, it's not done ceremonially. He simply grabs whatever object is handy, and quickly thrusts it into both eyes, permanently blinding his victim.

No cameras have yet been able to catch the registration plate of his car dropping off the bleeding girls, but amateur crime theorists think that this will be the key to catching him and have started rallying for mandatory video cameras outside of all hospital drop-off points.

Frank's tale has captured the nation - indeed, the world. Over the three years that he's been operating he's so far maimed a 17 girls that the media is aware of. All of Frank's victims have been interviewed, but have been unable (or perhaps simply unwilling) to talk about the man they call "God" - perhaps out of loyalty, perhaps out of insanity, perhaps simply because they themselves never saw the man clearly.

It's possible their reactions would be more helpful to the case if they were presented with a photo of him, but this is obviously impossible (and perhaps the reason that their eyes are taken out in the first place).

Ten of the seventeen girls are now dead. They were slowly rehabilitated, however less than a month after getting clean, six of them found a new source, and immediately overdosed (though whether this was done deliberately or not is unconfirmed).

The other four committed suicide just weeks after getting clean, unwilling to face life without two of their limbs (whether two arms, two legs, or one of each) and with no eyes.

The other seven remain on drugs. Despite the media attention on their lifestyle, there has been no police action. There are various theories as to why the police don't act, but no official statements on the subject have been made.

The girls supply surprisingly little information, whether high or sober - so far, all that has been ascertained from the interviews are his method, as described above. What remains unknown is exactly what he does with the limbs - after agreeing to the removal, each girl is put under, and she never sees the limb again.

A public outcry against the police's inefficiency has caught the attention of the politicians, and there's no adequate response to the main question being asked - "Why can't they catch him?"

No one is suggesting that there's a benefit to Frank's actions, but the media frenzy around his crimes has given a second wind to the War on Drugs, with a much stronger emphasis on the dealers. This has resulted in a nation-wide drop in crime use, although Frank is no closer to being identified.

His height, weight, race, age, and even gender are all unknown (although no one is seriously theorizing that the killer is a woman). A Clarice Starling is needed to crack the case, but no one is stepping forward. Inevitably, he will make an error, leave a clue of some kind. Inevitably, one of the girls he dismembers will talk more conclusively. Until then, the police are on the case, and the public are closely watching.

More on this as it develops.