On the evening of July 23, 2015, police were dispatched to a small Elkhart Indiana apartment where a 12-year-old girl stabbed her stepmother to death and set the apartment ablaze. When the girl was questioned by police about her motive, she claimed she was instructed to stab her mother with an imaginary clown-like character named ‘Laughing Jack’. The 12-year-old had learned of Laughing Jack by reading a Creepy Pasta story online.
The killer, whose name has not been made public but is referred to as “JT”, had texted another friend, “JP”, on the evening of July 23, 2015.
JT said she could not “TAKE IT ANYMORE" and that she was “ABOUT TO SNAP”. These texts to her friend showed a premedication of the murder she committed.
The two girls planned to meet at a local park around 10pm. They had even discussed bringing food along with them because they were going to run away from home.
According to JT’s father, Edwin Torres, she kept displaying a “big grin, showing all her teeth” while having dinner with her parents. Although she said that she was completely fine, she took on a “strange posture” before running back into her own room.
Later that evening Edwin Torres smelled smoke in the apartment and ran to his daughter’s room where he saw several smalls fire inside her closet. As he rushed to put out the fires, “he heard his wife scream that J.T. had a knife.”
Maria Torres began banging on J.T.’s half-sister’s room, desperately trying to wake her up. When she woke, she saw her mother soaked in blood.
“I’m dying. Call the police.” Maria Torres screamed.
J.T. stabbed Maria Torres multiple times in her face and torso. Her death wound was a 3-and-3-quarter inch deep stab wound to her chest.
She was dead within minutes
The father finally makes his way outside where yelled at his family to get away from the house and that it was too late to save personal items.
Standing by the apartment door was JT. Edwin “looked into her eyes and just didn’t recognize her.”
Edwin told police that her daughter “told him to stay back and not come closer”, and that she was speaking to him in a “clownish” tone of voice.
At that point, J.T. turned the kitchen knife on her father, producing a deep cut on his arm.
After murdering her stepmother, J.T. ran to the park and met up with her friend at the park as planned. She was covered in blood.
The two girls walked up the railroad tracks until the early morning hours. Eventually, they knocked on the door of an older gentleman named Zachary Sleeper, who they woke up asking for food.
The man informed police that the two girls were at his residence and they were quickly arrested.
Online searches of J.T’s computer showed some of the following searches:
The last searches of “Pop Goes the Weasel”, refers to a childhood song that is universally familiar with anyone who hears it.
It is also the same song played when a child winds up a ‘Jack in the box’, right before ‘Jack’ pops out.
Over the recent months, J.T. had become obsessed with a creepy clown-like character called ‘Laughing Jack’.
According to Urban Dictionary, Laughing Jack kills his victims by “slicing open the stomach, removing the innards, and stuffing the body with candy.”
Obviously Laughing Jack is a fictional character, but J.T.’s history of mental illness is not.
While at LaRue Carter Psychiatric Facility, J.T. saw shadows and even booby trapped her room. They deemed her incompetent to stand trial.
Multiple doctors diagnosed j.T. as having PTSD and Dissociative Identity Disorder, formerly known as Multiple Personality Disorder.
Her family had tried to get her help at multiple mental health facilities, but 16 of them refused her.
Holly Curtis, J.T.’s public defender, said about her mental illness, "This little girl has been failed by everyone," Curtis said.
"The risk level for her is beyond anything I think anybody can imagine. For her not to be able to get the help she's crying out for is probably one of the biggest travesties I've seen so far with the system and with a state agency not willing to step up and do their job."
J.T.’s disorder continued to worsen in the months before the murder. Her dissociative identity disorder also worsened and she developed 2 additional unique personalities. ‘Star’ would tell J.T. to hurt others and herself, while ‘Anna’ told her not to listen to Star.
She was worried that Star was getting stronger and having more influence on her body.
Before the murder she had told her father many times about her disorder and he simply told her to “shake it off.”
Her grades began suffering, she had difficulty sleeping, would hear voices, experience blackouts, and even began isolating herself inside her room.
J.T. was bullied at school and found solace with her friend JP and together they started reading Creepy Pastas, even writing their own stories.
J.T.’s disorders may have been passed down by her mother, Dishay, who was a drug addict and alcoholic who suffered from depression, bi-polar disorder, and PTSD. Someone had sexually abused Dishay as a child.
One psychiatrist claims that J.T. had also been molested, “It is almost a certainty that an unidentified person had sexually abused J.T. while living with her mother.”
This “unidentified person” may have been her onetime stepfather, a convicted sex offender that Dishay married after her divorce from Edwin. This man had reportedly punched and choked J.T.’s mother in the presence of her own daughter.