In today's Sunday New York Times, Elizabeth Olson reports that the first in-depth federal study looking into the prevalence of stalking found that only one in three cases is ever reported to law enforcement. Many states are working to change existing laws making stalking a felony as opposed to a misdemeanor in hopes that more victims will come forward and report the crime. Austria's Minister of Justice Dr. Maria Berger, who has taken a personal interest in the David Caruso stalker case, is also a tireless advocate for stronger anti-stalking laws in her country.
The following are excerpts from "Though Many Are Stalked, Few Report It, Study Finds:"
"Whether they are obsessed fans fixating on celebrities...stalkers...typically invoke spurned love--real or imagined--to defend their actions...'Often stalkers want to make their victims fearful,' said Eugene A. Rugala, a former F.B.I. profiler who advises on workplace threats." David Caruso's stalker Heidemarie Schnitzer sent the above death threat letter to Caruso in care of CBS Studios for the purpose of inducing fear in her prey.
" 'Stalking is treated like domestic violence was 20 or 25 years ago,' said Mary Lou Leary, executive director of the National Center for Victims of Crime and a former federal prosecutor. 'Law enforcement is often suspicious or cynical, but is now beginning to deal with stalking as a crime.' " Perhaps this accounts for Austria and Mexico's failure to swiftly locate Schnitzer and bring some closure to this matter.
According to one stalking victim Cameron Wallace, whose perpetrator Ryan Clutter is now serving a 13 year sentence, "Mr. Clutter called 'at 1 a.m.and said I had 30 days to get out of the house or he would kill me and my husband,' she recalled. 'That's when I really started getting scared.'...Three years later [Clutter] broke into her house and then, by e-mail sent her a photograph he had taken of her sleeping. When the police searched his apartment, they found a kind of shrine to Ms. Wallace, with stolen articles of her clothing." According to witnesses who wish to remain anonymous, Schnitzer had a "shrine" to David Caruso when she worked for the University of Innsbruck's Medical Center. Her office walls were literally plastered with Caruso photos and memorabilia.
Although stalking is illegal in all 50 states, laws need to be made tougher for perpetrators. "...Incarceration..[is] not enough; stalkers also 'require individualized treatment... They almost never admit something is wrong with them.' " And in the case of Schnitzer, who will undoubtedly go down in history as the first stalker to use the Internet as a means to stalk, libel and destroy David Caruso, anyone who follows this sad story knows all too well how Schnitzer uses hundreds of pseudonyms to deny she's the stalker while at the same time posting her hatred of the actor on any site possible.
The Stalker Chronicles wishes to thank Dr. Maria Berger for her personal interest in seeing that Heidemarie Schnitzer is brought to justice. Dr. Berger along with Innsbruck's Judge Guenther Boehler have both been very responsive when provided with irrefutable evidence of Schnitzer's continuing crimes. As it stands, once Schnitzer is arrested she will be tried for stalking, mailing death threats, failure to appear for two court hearings and fleeing the jurisdiction to avoid prosecution thereof. If convicted, the stalking charges alone carry a three year sentence. Schnitzer will also be looking at additional time for the other offenses as well. Had Schnitzer stayed in Austria and faced the music two years ago, she would have received the help she so desperately needs and probably would have been a free woman today united with her abandoned children. As it stands, she's an international fugitive hiding out in Mexico attempting to avoid capture.
Heidemarie Schnitzer remains at large on Mexico's Baja peninsula wanted on an International Warrant for threatening to murder CSI Miami's David Caruso and for fleeing Austria to avoid prosecution thereof. Schnitzer is armed and considered to be extremely dangerous. Please do not attempt to apprehend this woman. Contact the U.S. Border Patrol at 1-800-232-5378 , the FBI at (310) 477-6565 or Austria's Bundeskriminalamt at +43-(0)1-531 26-0