Sunday, April 19, 2009

With Schnitzer In Prison, Our Mission Is Accomplished

With last Tuesday's [April 14, 2009] conviction and sentencing of David Caruso's stalker, it's high time for
The Stalker Chronicles to announce "mission accomplished." With that, this blog will no longer provide updates on this story. At the time of this writing, we understand Heidemarie Schnitzer's attorney is considering filing an appeal. We anticipate Andreas Grabenweger and his client will not in all likelihood prevail at the appellate level. Unless it can be shown there was some egregious error on the part of Innsbruck's trial court, Schnitzer will go to prison for seven months followed by incarceration in a psychiatric facility for an undisclosed period of time. Our Austrian sources have indicated it's conceivable Schnitzer might not be released until 2011. See related story.

The catalyst for The Stalker Chronicles was the January/February 2007 issue of Cigar Aficionado featuring David Caruso. After reading the cover story, we decided to do some Internet research on the actor. What we found shocked us to say the least. After mistakenly landing on one of Schnitzer's four hate-David Caruso blogs, we discovered that Schnitzer had plagiarized the Cigar Aficionado article adding her own slanderous spins and fabrications. When she posted her version, she committed textbook libel. We immediately notified the editors of Cigar Aficionado who in turn informed Schnitzer of their intent to take legal action if she did not remove her rendition of their copyrighted story. Shortly thereafter, Schnitzer was forced to delete it from the offending site only later to re-post it on another one of her blogs.

For the next year, we followed Schnitzer's on-line tirades against Caruso.
When The Stalker Chronicles first went on-line early 2008, we never imagined how difficult the road to last Tuesday's guilty verdict would be. The highs were few and far between with the lows dominating as the wheels of foreign judicial systems wound very slowly.

After learning in April 2008 Schnitzer had fled Austria for a second time, nearly six months went by before there were any news updates from Austria. After witnessing Schnitzer's Internet stalking rampage of David Caruso day in and day out, we were determined to see this mentally unbalanced woman brought to justice. At one point, the Kansas City Star's Aaron Barnhart coined us "the stalker's stalker," a badge of honor we proudly wore.

Our first major success came in July 2008 when we became the first blog to publish photos of Heidemarie Schnitzer and the children she had abandoned to stalk David Caruso. Once we published her photo, Schnitzer vehemently denied the photo was her for weeks on end. A month later, we began an e-mail campaign to Austrian law enforcement officials alerting them Schnitzer had fled to Mexico to avoid prosecution on stalking charges. We had evidence of her location and we provided the proof.

We expanded our efforts to Mexico's attache to Austria, Alejandro Diaz Perez Duarte and Austria's attache to Mexico, Werner Druml. We also contacted Austrian Court officials along with Austria's Minister of Justice, Dr. Maria Berger. We cannot thank these individuals enough for their help which ultimately resulted in February's arrest of Schnitzer.

After making numerous phone calls to the Tijuana and Rosarito police, we began an e-mail blitz to Mexican officials including the Governor of Baja California, Jose Guadalupe Osuna Millan and Mexico's top cop, Genaro Garcia Luna. Time and again, we e-mailed Mexican Immigration officials including their administrative assistants and low-level bureaucrats. We banked on someone getting this story to the proper officials and it worked.

We posted biographical pieces about each Baja mayor publishing their photos and e-mail addresses. When time went by without any results, we e-mailed them again and again and yet again. Along the way, we made many friends both in Mexico and Austria who provided us with invaluable information and tips.

In October 2008 our long and at times exhaustive attempts to bring Schnitzer to justice, saw a small victory when Austrian Judge Guenther Boehler modified his original warrant for the stalker's arrest and issued an International warrant. The new warrant which was valid outside the E.U. made headlines around the world and a global manhunt ensued. Officials close to the story however knew for a fact that Schnitzer was hiding out on Mexico's Baja peninsula.

Clearly in denial that law enforcement was closing in, Schnitzer stepped up her Internet hate campaign against David Caruso. She repeatedly updated her four anti-Caruso blogs in her ongoing efforts to disparage the actor, his family and associates. From her Mexican spider hole, Schnitzer trolled and spammed forums, boards and fan sites reportedly for 16 to 20 hours a day to foment comment wars and attack Caruso at every opportunity. She used hundreds of pseudonyms to slander David Caruso attempting to give the illusion of support when there wasn't any. After receiving a tip of her activity, Digg banned her from their site. At one point, Schnitzer posted pornographic comments about Caruso's toddler son on the Who's Dated Who forum. Said comment has since been deleted by the site.

Finally Friday, February 20, 2009, on what had been an otherwise uneventful day, turned out to be the moment The Stalker Chronicles and so many others had worked for many long and hard hours. The Stalker Chronicles decided to check Mexico's on-line papers for possible updates never expecting to find anything substantive. We were stunned to say the least when we read the RSS Feeds for OEM En Linea and learned, thanks in part to our many hours of college level Spanish, that Schnitzer had been arrested the night before by the Tijuana police. We were humbled when we read that Tijuana law enforcement had credited The Stalker Chronicles for aiding them in the capture of Heidemarie Schnitzer.

Within moments, we contacted our source at Mexico City's Associated Press bureau and learned they too were planning to run with the story. And when the wires updated, The Stalker Chronicles again was recognized by the venerable Associated Press. Our long and oftentimes arduous trek as an Internet detective was seeing recognition we never in our wildest dreams imagined could be possible.

A month after Schnitzer was captured by the Tijuana police, she was extradited to Austria by Interpol. And finally on April 14, 2009, Schnitzer was tried and convicted for sending death threats to David Caruso in part when the prosecutor introduced evidence of a prior conviction. In 1994, Schnitzer was found guilty of making threats to an ex-boyfriend and at one point told her lawyer she was capable of going on a "killing spree." We now understand why Schnitzer fled not once, but twice after being indicted for stalking David Caruso. Schnitzer's prior conviction weighed heavily in Judge Guenther Boehler's decision to sentence her to seven months in prison followed by an extended confinement in a psychiatric facility.
We applaud Judge Boehler for taking a tough stance and condemning stalking.

And now it's time dear readers for The Stalker Chronicles to sign off. But before we do, we would like to thank some very special people we met along the way who helped and supported our investigative endeavors: Ace of SpadesHQ, Aaron Barnhart, The Associated Press, The Austrian Times, Lindy, CorupusChriste, Tanyadell, Krystal, George C., I Like To Watch TV, Across The Border, Thomas Hochwarter, Marcus J. Oswald, Thomas Lechner, William Kole, Niko Price, Mike G and our many friends in Tijuana and Rosarito including Nancy. A heartfelt thanks goes to Lacyleanne who first published the stalker's given name. And many thanks to Rachel who paved the way with her in-depth research.

To borrow from Dylan Thomas, we will "not go gentle into that good night." In fact, we plan to continue in the blogosphere blogging about a life-long hobby. So long dear friends. It was a wild ride indeed.

Schnitzer's Death Threat

Schnitzer's Death Threat
Actual Letter Sent to Caruso