Criminal profiler explains mind of kidnapper - CBS46 News

Criminal profiler explains mind of kidnapper

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ATLANTA (CBS ATLANTA) -

As new details emerged about the kidnappings of three young women in Cleveland, CBS Atlanta spoke with a criminal profiler who explained why anyone would torment and hold someone in captivity for so many years.

Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight were held captive for 10 years.

Dr. Dave Davis said the people who kidnapped those young women are tormented and sadistic people, who are able to compartmentalize their emotions and fool the outside world.

"It's very unlikely anyone raised in a healthy family would do that," said Davis, a criminal profiler and medical director of Piedmont Hospital's Psychiatric Clinic.

"The first thing we think of is someone with a lack of empathy, someone who can't put themselves in a feeling way in the place of the person they've kidnapped," said Davis, who has interviewed hundreds of criminals including serial killers and rapists over a career that has spanned decades.

Davis said the people who kidnapped the women are sadistic and emotionally tormented, "narcissistic, psychopathic," individuals who likely suffered abuse themselves early on in life.

"Generally, people like this had childhoods where they had been abused, where there's been violence, sometimes neglect and violence or sometimes sexual abuse," Davis said.

The kidnappers may not be mentally ill, in the medical sense, but they are still sick people, whose feelings of powerlessness drive them to make others who are physically weaker suffer, Davis said.

"It's being in control, being the one who's on top, who can call the shots," Davis said.

People who torture others know what they're doing is wrong, but they're somehow able to convince themselves it's justified, Davis said.

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