In Norse and Bavarian culture the night of December 5th is the night of the Krampus. According to the myth, the Krampus roamed the streets looking for naughty children. While good little boys and girls could expect their boots to be filled with candy and small presents on the following night by St. Nicholas, the Krampus would visit the naughty children, bringing with him lumps of coal and birch switches for beating the children. He would then take these children back to his Krampus lair to do unspeakable things to them.
The church and government once outlawed these old pagan traditions, but we’ve since seen that many looking for non-traditional Christmas celebrations are bringing back the lore and planning celebrations around it. The modern take on this tradition involves the Krampus drunkenly tormenting children and parents scaring their children into behaving throughout the holiday season with stories of the Norse devil creature that will kidnap them from their own beds.
It would seem fitting that police announced that serial child abductor Justin A. Christian was arrested on the morning of December 5th, 2016. Christian had struck fear in the hearts of parents and children alike after several attempted and one successful child abduction within the Northeastern Ohio area.
The first report came out in February of 2016. A 10-year-old Elyria girl had been asleep in her bed when an unknown man, now presumed to have been Christian, grabbed her by her legs and tried to drag her through her bedroom window. Christian’s attempt was unsuccessful, but police were eager to capture the Krampus-like figure who left an entire community on edge.
Three months later, a 6-year-old Cleveland girl had been take from her home. Christian took her to his home in Lorain where he raped the girl. He dropped her off the following evening on a street near her home on West 104th Street. The girl said that there had been another man and a woman living in the home with Christian and that she was ordered to hide whenever one of them knocked on Christian’s bedroom door.
Police were able to obtain surveillance footage of the man lurking through the alleyways behind the girl’s home and started conducting door-to-door interviews in attempts to identify the man. It was through these door-to-door interviews that police learned that in 2015 a young girl from the town of North Ridgeville had been asleep in her bed when an intruder grabbed her and took her down the street. The man left her for a moment and said that he’d be right back. The girl took off running and was able to tell her father, who had also been asleep during the abduction, about her terrifying ordeal.
Throughout the warm summer months many parents within the areas of Lorain and Cuyahoga Counties chose to keep their windows shut and locked, for fear that their child would be next on the list for the Northeastern Ohio Krampus. Finally, on December 5th, for the first time in nearly a year, these parents were able to breathe a sigh of relief. Justin Christian had been arrested and charged for the terror he spread throughout the area.
Living in the area myself, I’ve witnessed a lot of chatter on social media from people who had fleetingly known Christian. In the hours following his arrest, some have stated that he had friend requested them on Facebook, and feel awful for the possible danger they may have placed their and other people’s children in. Police have since suggested that the attempted abductions, as well as the abduction of the Cleveland girl, may have had a social media link. One news source suggested that parents should be aware of who their children are talking to online, but it would seem that based on these conversations that it’s also the parents who need to be cautious about who they accept friend requests from.
Christian has since been charged with eight counts of abduction, three counts of rape, two counts of attempted burglary, and one count of tampering with evidence. His arraignment is set for December 8th of 2016. This is the first case where familial DNA has been used to help solve a crime. Though Christian’s DNA was not stored in a national database, DNA from a family member of Christian was used as evidence to link him to the abduction cases.