BHB Investigation

The Bay Harbor Butcher Investigation was a police investigation into a series of murders of known killers that were found to have evaded the justice system. This case was the second major case in the series and the biggest case in Miami Metro's history at the time (outdoing the preceding case - Ice Truck Killer Investigation). The next major case after this one was the Skinner Case.

The Investigation

“Just as the worst heat wave in years hits Miami, the heat is also on me. It's week 3 of the Bay Harbor Butcher investigation, and super-duper Special Agent Lundy has yet to throw up his hands and say, ‘Wow! This guy's good. I give up.’ ” ~Dexter ("See-Through")

Dexter usually disposed of his victims by dismembering them, putting the body parts into black trash bags, and dropping them off of his fishing boat near Miami. When scuba divers discovered many of these trash bags, an expedition team retrieved them, and the body parts were laid out in an air-conditioned field morgue. Due to the location where the bodies were found and how they were cut up, the media dubbed the unknown killer the 'Bay Harbor Butcher'-- a moniker that Dexter hated. After DNA analysis, all of the bodies were found to be murderers that had slipped through the law. When it became public that the ‘Butcher’ only killed other killers, some people expressed support for him. This led to the creation of the ‘Dark Defender,’ a comic book anti-hero concept based on the ‘Bay Harbor Butcher.’ When a renowned serial-killer-hunter, FBI Special Agent Frank Lundy, arrived in Miami to help with the investigation, Dexter took steps to deflect suspicions away from himself. These actions included deleting video footage from his marina; moving his boat to a different location; changing his dumping site to the powerful Gulf Stream; sending an anonymous, confusing manifesto to the press; sabotaging the air conditioning in the field morgue; and planting evidence to frame Sergeant James Doakes. After the FBI found Dexter's Blood Slide Box that Doakes had stolen, Dexter was ordered to analyze its 46 slides. He matched 18 of the blood slides to the 18 recovered bodies. The other 28 slides were matched to missing persons. Additional events seemed to confirm that Doakes was the ‘Butcher’ and the case was closed. Several years later, Captain Maria LaGuerta found a blood slide near the scene of Travis Marshall's presumed suicide and she tried to reopen the case to clear Doakes' name, but failed.


  • Brian Moser - Initially, he was suspected of being the Butcher based on the fact that Brian's victims were dismembered. Eventually, he was ruled out because Brian's M.O. and method of dismemberment didn't match the Butcher. Also, Brian's victims were mostly female, while the Butcher's victims were mostly male.
  • Ken Olson - He was suspected of being the Butcher but, because Olson's M.O. was sloppy, he was cleared for the Butcher murders and managed to evade arrest for his actual murders. Later, Olson was killed and dismembered by Dexter (the real Butcher) to discourage any more vigilante attacks.
  • James Doakes - He was a Sergeant in the Miami Metro Homicide division. Doakes had a weird feeling that Dexter was hiding something and he began to follow him. When Doakes hid Dexter's blood slides in his car, he unintentionally set himself up as the killer. After Doakes died in a blaze, his body and the dismembered body of a criminal were found near each other. The police viewed this as conclusive evidence that Doakes was the Bay Harbor Butcher. In reality, Dexter had killed the criminal using his own M.O. and left his corpse and Doakes in the cabin so that the police would think that Doakes was guilty of the murder.
  • Dexter Morgan (the true Butcher) - In the early stages of the investigation, Frank Lundy suspected him. However, he later came to believe that Doakes was the Butcher. Lundy never found out that Dexter was the true killer. 

Early History of Killer

Born in Blood

When Dexter was three-years-old, he witnessed his mother being chainsawed to death inside a shipping container. Two days later, he was found sitting in blood and rescued by a homicide detective, Harry Morgan. During his early years, Dexter felt a need to kill and he began to kill animals. When Dexter couldn't suppress his urges, Harry trained him in ways to get away with murder (The Code of Harry). After Harry died, Dexter bought a boat and began to bury his victims in Bay Harbor.

Detectives on Case

  • FBI Special Agent Frank Lundy - Worked on the case from the beginning of the case, coordinating the Miami Metro officers and his fellow FBI agents.
  • Officer Debra Morgan - Assigned to the Task Force from the beginning of the case, using her experience with Brian Moser to help determine this killer's motives.
  • Detective Angel Batista - Assigned to the Task Force from the beginning of the case. Acted as the supervisor of the Miami Metro officers part of the Task Force.
  • Lieutenant Esmee Pascal - Initially ran the Miami Metro personnel until she was fired from her position.
  • Captain Thomas "Tom" Matthews - Appeared in the beginning of the case to help set up Lundy's Task Force and use the case to bolster his campaign for Deputy Chief.
  • Deputy Director Max Adams - Took over the investigation from Lundy after he let James Doakes leave during questioning when he was a potential suspect.

Other Operatives

  • Forensics Specialist Vince Masuka - He was brought in to cover the bodies since there was no blood.
  • Forensic Blood Spatter Analyst Dexter Morgan - Temporarily assigned to collect bone marrow samples. Later, he worked the Train Yard Crime Scene after Lundy gets disturbed by Masuka's off-color-remarks.
  • Sergeant-Detective James Doakes - Investigated Dexter himself, but was not part of the task force.
  • Detective - Lieutenant - Captain Maria LaGuerta - Unofficially started investigating when Doakes was named the prime suspect. She tried to establish Doakes' innocence by providing an alibi for one of the murders, but her attempt was rendered moot when Doakes died.

Bay Harbor Butcher 18

These eighteen bodies were recovered from Bay Harbor. All (including the unknown) were matched to blood slides in the first box.

  1. Unknown
  2. Unknown
  3. Unknown
  4. Unknown
  5. Anthony Rodrigo
  6. Oscar Sota
  7. Shannon Reynolds
  8. Chad Carpenter
  9. Joseph Cepeda
  10. Renzo Sandoval
  11. Jeff Linder
  12. Dylan Maddock
  13. Carlos Gutierrez
  14. Robert Thatcher
  15. Rick Jensen
  16. Marcus White
  17. Smith
  18. Orozco

Indirect Victims

  • John Henry - He was attacked but not killed. Initially, he was suspected of being an attempted victim of the Butcher. Further investigation revealed that it was the work of a copycat killer named Ken Olson.

Other Victims

  • Ken Olson - Decapitated by the real Bay Harbor Butcher. His body parts were left in Olson's planned kill site (a train car) as a warning that the Butcher wouldn't tolerate copycats.

Blood Slide Matches

Forty-six blood slides were found in a box, of which eighteen matched the bodies found in Bay Harbor. The other twenty-eight blood slides were matched to missing murderers. Four of the names on this list account for the "Unknowns" listed in the Bay Harbor Butcher 18.

  1. Alex Timmons
  2. Gene Marshall
  3. Cindy Landon
  4. Luke Wellens
  5. Andy Jorgen
  6. Rachel Rhodes
  7. Kevin Mott
  8. Jerry Voltic
  9. Sean Dibberman
  10. Berry Cooper
  11. Herbert Washington
  12. Jacob Wilson
  13. George Hoss
  14. Olman Estavez
  15. Rick Cross
  16. Peter Matherson
  17. Alan Elson
  18. Henry Vortman
  19. Larry Costes
  20. Marty Terison
  21. Buck Forester
  22. Alan Matherson
  23. Thomas Hillstat
  24. Larry Mueller
  25. Leandro Noriega
  26. Mike Donovan
  27. Jamie Jaworski
  28. Matt Chambers
  29. Jorge Castillo
  30. Emmett Meridian
  31. Little Chino
  32. Roger Hicks

Unofficial Victims

Jose Garza & James Doakes - Police found their bodies after the cabin in the Everglades exploded. It was officially ruled that Doakes had first killed Garza and then killed himself to avoid being arrested. In reality, Dexter had murdered Garza as part of his plan to frame Doakes. Then, when Lila found the cabin by using Dexter's GPS tracker, Doakes told her that Dexter was The Bay Harbor Butcher. In order to protect Dexter, Lila turned on the gas and a flame, which killed Doakes when the cabin exploded.

Closure of Case

Dexter Morgan successfully framed Doakes as the Bay Harbor Butcher and the case was officially closed.

Fallout from Case

James Doakes' reputation as an officer of the law was ruined when he was labeled the Bay Harbor Butcher. Several years later, Captain Maria LaGuerta found a blood slide at Travis Marshall's crime scene and she tried to reopen the case. However, no one believed Maria when she brought forward her suspicions that Dexter was the true Bay Harbor Butcher. Later, Maria was shot and killed by Debra Morgan to protect Dexter, but this event caused Debra to experience severe emotional distress for months.

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