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Although some elements of the crime remain shrouded in mystery, there are certain aspects that all parties regard as factual. The murders of three eight year old boys—Christopher Byers, Michael Moore, and Stevie Branch—occurred on May 5, 1993(Leveritt, 6). The details of the crime were particularly gruesome as the boys were found naked, beaten, hogtied with shoelaces, and floating in a bank within the Robin Hood Hills(Leveritt, 11-12). One of the boys was missing parts of their genitals, and it appeared that the primary cause of death was drowning. The murder shocked the close-knit, largely religious community, and there was a lot of pressure on the local police to find the murderers as quickly as possible. After a few leads that did not go very far, the police began to focus on the idea of a gang or cult perhaps having committed or been involved with the murder. This idea quickly took shape due to the disturbing nature of the crime. Additionally, in 1993, there was a certain kind of satanic panic spreading across the United States. Leveritt states, “By the late 1980s, interest in the suspected prevalence of satanic ritual abuse, or SRA, as it became known, had grown so intense in the United States”(Leveritt, 44). Basically, anyone who dressed in black, listened to heavy metal music, or was in any other way an outsider, was seen as someone who could potentially be involved with satanism. Ultimately, it was a combination of the crime and the satanic panic that pointed the police in the direction of three teenagers: Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin, and Jesse Miskelley.
Although these boys were initially suspected due to their odd behavior and dress, there was not really anything to drive the investigation against them other than initial suspicion. ...