The Montana Child Murderer – The Ghastly Crimes of Nathaniel Bar-Jonah
The over 300 pound Nathaniel Bar-Jonah was one of the world’s worst child serial killers. Bar-Jonah was a sick pedophile, a kidnapper, and a killer and molester of young boys. But the heinousness of his crimes did not stop there. He was also said to have been a cannibal and that he had even served the flesh of some of his victims to neighbors at a barbecue!
Nathaniel Bar-Jonah was born David Paul Brown in Worcester, Mass., in 1957, and there were early signs that he wasn’t a normal child.
In 1964, Bar-Jonah received an Ouija board for his seventh birthday. Using the promise of trying the board out, he lured a five-year-old neighbor into his basement. There, he tried to strangle her. Luckily, the girl’s screams alerted Bar-Jonah’s mother, who ran downstairs and forced him to let her go.
His mother likely assumed that the boy didn’t know what he was doing, and nothing came of the incident. But in 1970, Bar-Jonah decided to try again. Promising another neighbor, a six-year-old boy, that they could go sledding, Bar-Jonah lured the child to a secluded area. He then sexually assaulted him.
This became a pattern for Nathaniel Bar-Jonah. But as he grew older, he developed a more sophisticated technique to gain access to victims.
In 1975, Bar-Jonah approached an eight-year-old boy on his way to school. Claiming to be a police officer, Bar-Jonah lured the boy into his car, where he began to sexually assault and strangle him.
Luckily for the boy, a neighbor looking out their window saw the boy being abducted and called the police. Bar-Jonah was arrested but was only sentenced to a year’s probation.
The light sentence emboldened Bar-Jonah, and three years later, he abducted another two boys from a movie theatre after claiming to be a police officer and telling them they were under arrest. He handcuffed the boys before taking them to a secluded area and molesting them.
Trying to silence a potential witness, Bar-Jonah began strangling one of the children. When he was convinced that the boy was dead, he put the other victim in his trunk and drove away. Though he was left for dead, the boy had actually survived the attack and ran to get help. Bar-Jonah was soon found by the police with the other victim still in his trunk. This time, Bar-Jonah was charged with attempted murder and sentenced to 18-20 years in prison.
While in prison, Bar-Jonah began meeting with a psychiatrist. After hearing him describe his fantasies, which revolved around murdering, dissecting, and eventually eating children, the psychiatrist recommended that he be moved to a mental hospital.
But in 1991, a judge concurred with psychiatric evaluations that had somehow found him to not be a dangerous threat. Inexplicably, the judge agreed to release Bar-Jonah on probation if he moved to Montana to live with his mother, though it was recommended that he seek psychiatric help.
There, his crimes escalated to horrific levels – eventually earning him the name of the Montana Child Murderer.
An Evil Let Loose on Society
That short-sighted judge let an evil loose on society – a lurid pedophile with no remorse nor inclination to stop acting on his perverse fantasies. Just days after being released, Bar-Jonah – who at the time was still going by David Brown, spotted a seven-year-old boy sitting in a parked car. He forced his way into the car and tried to smother the boy by sitting on top of him. Luckily, Bar-Jonah was stopped by the boy’s mother and quickly arrested.
Somehow, in yet another miscarriage of justice, after his arrest, no one from the Massachusetts court followed up with the probation officers in Montana. This allowed Bar-Jonah to melt into the local community. By now, he had changed his name from David Brown to Nathaniel Benjamin Levi Bar-Jonah, claiming that he wanted to know what it felt like to live with the persecution that Jewish people experienced (he alternatively claimed that he had always been Jewish, and the actual truth may never be known for sure).
But the name and possibly his religion was the only thing that changed about Bar-Jonah. In 1996, 10-year-old Zachary Ramsay disappeared on his way to school. His parents filed a missing person report, but the local police department wasn’t used to this sort of crime. With few leads, the case went cold.
Meanwhile, Nathaniel Bar-Jonah was living in a nearby apartment complex. There, he’d secretly been luring young boys from the area inside his apartment before sexually assaulting them. He’d even installed a pulley from the ceiling where he hung at least one of them by the neck. Yet, these crimes went undiscovered for years. One woman grew suspicious after her child suddenly became withdrawn and angry after spending time with Bar-Jonah, but no one thought that someone in the sleepy little town of Great Falls could be molesting children.
And no one suspected that Bar-Jonah was a murderer.
But neighbors did notice that the food Bar-Jonah made for them was full of strange meat that they couldn’t identify. When asked, Bar-Jonah claimed that it had come from a deer he shot, though no one knew Bar-Jonah to ever go hunting.
Another Arrest and a Shocking Discovery!
In 1999, he was arrested outside a local elementary school carrying a fake gun and dressed as a police officer. At first, the charge was simply impersonating a police officer. But when the police searched Bar-Jonah’s home, they made a shocking discovery.
Inside Nathaniel Bar-Jonah’s home, investigators discovered thousands of photos of children cut from magazines and a bizarre journal written in code. Even more importantly for the investigation, they also found a piece of human bone.
The journal was sent to the FBI to be decoded while the police began looking into the possibility that Bar-Jonah had murdered Ramsay. Meanwhile, other neighbors now came forward with allegations that Bar-Jonah had been molesting their children, and Bar-Jonah was quickly charged with kidnapping and sexual assault.
The FBI managed to crack the ciphers and found that it detailed the torture and murder of several boys and also contained bizarre “recipes” for cooking their flesh. “Barbequed Kid,” “Sex A La Carte,” “My Little Kid Dessert,” “Little Boy Stew,” “Little Boy Pot Pies,” and “Lunch is Served on the Patio with Roasted Child,” were all entries in Bar-Jonah’s twisted writings.
Worse yet, investigators believed that these dishes were allegedly served at barbeques which he held in his yard for the local community.
A meat grinder at his house contained human hair, and upon deeper investigation, 21 more human bone fragments were found at his property.
Bar-Jonah was convicted of kidnapping, aggravated assault, and sexual assault of three boys, although he was suspected of being a serial child murderer. However, there was no specific evidence that connected him to the death of Zach Ramsay or any other missing child. Zach’s mother refused to believe that her child was dead nor that Bar-Jonah could have killed him, and she would not testify at the trial.
Bar-Jonah received 130 years behind bars without the possibility of parole.
However, morbidly obese at over 300 pounds, he died in April 2008, aged 51, from a heart attack.
Zach Ramsey was never seen again.