Deep in the forests of Oregon in 1978, the power of forensic psychology and forensic
science would solve a vicious murder. Julio and Candra Torres were enjoying their first
wedding anniversary away in the deep forests hunting and fishing. It would be in the
Oregon forests that the couple would meet Tom Brown and things would never be the
Fishing for the Torres' was not proving to be successful, when they ran into Tom
Brown, who was also fishing g in the same mountain stream. Brown offered up advice
on a better location and soon all three were trekking several miles to get to the new
location. Unfortunately darkness fell and the threesome made camp and stayed the
night. The next morning, Candra was alone making breakfast, when she heard a shot.
Tom Brown came running back to camp explaining that he had shot Julio. Brown then
in self-defence, shot Candra's dog Rusty, when he attacked Brown. Brown promised
Candra that she would live if she lied to the authorities and said it was an accident and
she did witness the event. Candra faced this critical decision and made the choice to
stay with Brown and prolong her survival as long as possible. Over the course of the
next few days, Tom Brown repeatedly raped Candra. Her only method for coping with
the traumatic events was to delve into passages from the Bible, reading them aloud.
Brown eventually explained that in the process of handing the rifle to Julio, Brown
accidentally shot him. Brown would repeatedly state the account as an accident in an
effort to reinforceCandra started to fear for her life when Brown professed that he did
not want to go back to jail, for he had a prior record. When Candra and Tom Brown left
the forest and went to the authorities with the lie, investigators eventually ruled the
event as an accident.
After the case was officially ruled an accident, Candra returned the home she
shared with Julio. Soon after arriving home, the reality of the horrific events were
beginning surface to Candra. Even Candra’s mother was sensing something was
terribly wrong. Candra couldn’t’ find peace and went back to the authorities and
retold the events as they really occurred.
To confirm the accuracy of the events, both Candra and Tom were given
polygraph tests. Based on the false account, Tom passed his test while Candra failed
hers. Naturally this puzzled investigators. Investigators doubted both results and
suspected the opposite in both cases. After Candra came back with her new account of
the events, investigators felt re-inspired to discover the truth of the Oregon woods.
Candra’s retelling of the accounts led to Tom Brown’s charge of murder.
Before the case could be taken to court, investigators needed to find conclusive
evidence to confirm Candra’s account. After Tom Brown was officially charged with
murder and jailed, he confided in a cellmate of the truth to Candra’s account and the
plan to kill both the prosecution and Candra after his jail term.
To prove the speculation, investigators attempted to recover both Rusty’s and
Julio’s body. Forensic science would confirm Tom and Candra’s testimony by verifying
the gunshot wounds enters the respective bodies at corroborating angles. Rusty’s body
should have had wounds entering from the front, however his body was buried in a
mass grave for animals. Julio’s body was recovered and analyzed. Wounds were
discovered to enter from an angle that was inconsistent with Tom and Candra’s
Forensic evidence also concluded that in no way could the rifle muzzle have
been closer than three feet from Julio. From the evidence, no way could Tom Brown
have handed the rifle off to Julio and shoot him from the level angle that the
bullet entered Julio’s body.
Based on the evidence, Tom Brown was sentenced for life with parole for
the murder of Julio Torres and the repeated rape of Candra Torres.
Candra’s initial belief of the lies Tom Brown was feeding her has happened
before and has a psychological explanation. In the Korean War, American prisoners of
war were brainwashed to take the side of their Korean captors. Through a process of
traumatic events, isolation, indoctrination and a promise of a reward, American
POW’s, like Candra took the side of their captors. Stockholm Syndrome was
named after bank hostages in Sweden who eventually took the side of the bank
robbers and protected the robbers from police. Candra’s witnessing of Rusty being
shot to death was her initial traumatic event and led her to side with Tom Brown.