Crimes Against Children

Graeme Cunningham

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Graeme Cunningham, 13 years old, was looking forward to a weekend camping trip on Thursday, July 14, 1983. His gear was packed well in advance, and the adventure was his sole topic of conversation as departure time approached. If he was troubled by Troy Ward's disappearance, three weeks earlier to the day, Cunningham hid it well. He would be camping with a junior high school classmate and an adult chaperone, one Roger Downs.

What did he have to fear?

Graeme never made the campout, though. Instead, he vanished from his neighborhood without a trace that Thursday afternoon, his parents alarmed when he failed to report home for dinner. The disappearance made statewide news, and Roger Downs came calling to offer Cunningham's mother any help that lay within his power. Later, in custody, "Downs" would tell detectives (quoted in the Deseret News), that his impulse was sincere. "I wanted to help her," he said. "I just didn't know how to tell her that I killed her son."

Instead, before another week was out, he would be telling the whole story to police.

Authorities went through the usual motions with Graeme Cunningham's disappearance. The search was fruitless; their inquiries produced only blank stares or solemn denials, along with expressions of sympathy for the grieving family. This time, however, something clicked within the task force that had been pursuing Salt Lake City's child killer since 1979. At last, detectives recognized the name of "Roger Downs."

They didn't know his real name yet, but suddenly they realized that "Downs" had been interrogated after each of the five unsolved vanishing acts. Incredibly, he had lived in close proximity to four of the victims and was known to the parents of the fifth.

Could it be that simple, after all their grueling efforts? Four years earlier, Chicago's John Wayne Gacy had been trapped by a similar mistake, seen chatting with the last of his 33 victims shortly before the youth vanished. In fact, detectives realized, serial murder cases were usually broken exactly that way, by killers who let down their guard and made clumsy mistakes.

Sgt. Bruce White and Detective Steven Smith went back to question "Downs" again. They had no evidence against him yet, but there was something in his manner that suggested evasion. Was he one of those innocent persons who sometimes lie to the police instinctively, for no apparent reason, or was he concealing the worst of all possible secrets?

Arthur Gary Biship < Petophile / child Killer

After brief preliminaries, "Downs" accepted an invitation to police headquarters. He was anxious to help find Graeme Cunningham, after all. Veteran homicide detective Don Bell was waiting for "Downs" on arrival. Slowly, surely, he began to pick apart the liar's story. Soon, Bell had Arthur Bishop's real name. By sundown, Bishop had confessed to five murders spanning four years.

Bell and Bishop spent most of the night together, nailing down details.

Retrieval of the dead would have to wait for dawn.

Inasmuch as a couple of these are closed cases some of the victims story is here to indicate the severity of the problem, the importance for us to never take for granted the preciousness of our children, their safety, and the impotence we take a stand. I am not talking about making excuses for adults actions when they rape and kill a child, in my opinion there is no excuse. But the question I have addressed with Congress is how many do we have to loose before enough is enough. I have encourage people like Operah Whinfrey, John Walsh, to make a stand to help us change an injustice to our children and young people. I have often said, the old cliché “The only thing that will allow evil to prevail; is for good men and woman to stand and do nothing.” It is very true, when we refuse to take action, we have made a choice as to where we stand.  

If you have any information on any crimes having to do with Crimes Against Children Please Do Not Hesitate to call the FBI if you wish you do not have to report your name just please call if you know any information concerning a child.
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