Kids are cruel. From grade school to high school, children seem dead set on making each other miserable. Bullying has become especially prevalent with the advent of social media; the internet creates a venue for faceless torture. In fact, it’s become so ubiquitous that it’s thought that social media is causing an increase in suicides. But what happens when kids take bullying too far? When the torment of classmates crosses a line, and a young and beautiful girl is killed? Such is the murder of Cassie Jo Stoddart, a high school student from Idaho.
Cassie Jo Stoddart
Cassie Jo Stoddart was a 16 year old high school student at Pocatello High School. Friends and family described her as a “good girl,” one who didn’t drink or do drugs. She performed well in school, and was loved by her teachers. Memorials have all lauded Cassie as a beautiful soul with great promise. She had no known enemies. In fact, she was trustworthy enough to be tasked with housesitting.
Cassie’s aunt and uncle, Frank and Allison Contreras, had just moved to Idaho in 2005. They were looking for a dream home in American suburbia; moving from the Bay Area of San Francisco, Pocatello, Idaho seemed just the place.
Mr. and Mrs. Contreras were travelling out of town, and entrusted their house to the safekeeping of young Cassie. It wasn’t the first time they’d given Cassie responsibility; she had been a babysitter for their son many times before. Moreover, Pocatello, a largely Mormon town, was relatively safe.
On the evening of September 22, 2006, Cassie and her boyfriend Matt Beckham were watching a movie in the Contreras home. Two friends, Torey Adamcik and Brian Draper, joined them for a while but left soon after the movie began. They told Cassie and Matt that they’d rather spend their time at a local movie theater.
Fifteen minutes after they left, the power went out. Cassie was frightened, and Matt phoned his mom to ask permission to spend the night. Mom, unfortunately, denied permission. Matt called Torey to let him know that he was going home, and Beckham’s mother picked him up.
Brian and Torey returned. They cut the lights at the circuit breaker and entered the Contreras home, where they lied in wait in the basement.
The Cassie Jo Stoddart Murder
Brian Draper and Torey Adamcik hoped that Cassie would descend to the basement to find the breaker box. But the girl was frightened, and chose to remain in the living room.
Impatient, Draper and Adamcik returned upstairs wearing masks and dark clothing. They then proceeded to stab Cassie 29 times, including 12 wounds which were fatal. Deep stab wounds were found in Cassie’s torso and throat.
While it’s deplorable that two 16 year old children would so brutally torture and murder their fellow classmate, there are details which are even more chilling.
The night before the murders, Brian Draper and Torey Adamcik recorded a video. In the video, the boys express their excitement at having a plan for the murder of Cassie Jo Stoddart. “There should be no law against killing people,” is the sentiment declared in the footage. The boys went on to describe how they had chosen a victim.
“She’s our friend, but you know what? We all have to make sacrifices.”
The boys laughed as they outlined their plan. Cassie was to be alone in a “big dark house out in the middle of nowhere. I mean, how perfect can you get? … Now we’re just going to wait.”
The video briefly cuts. When audiovisual returns, the boys are elated.
- Brian: I just killed Cassie! We’ve just left her house. This is not a f-ing joke.
- Torey: I’m shaking
- Brian: I stabbed her in the throat! And I saw her lifeless body just… disappear.
- Torey: Oh my God!
- Brian: Dude, I just killed Cassie! That felt like it wasn’t even real, I mean, it just went by so fast!
Cassie Jo Stoddart’s body was found two days later. On Sunday, September 24, 2006, Cassie’s 13 year old cousin found the girl dead on the floor of the living room.
Brian Draper and Torey Adamcik
Several days later, the two boys were arrested for the murder of Cassie Jo Stoddart. They were charged with first degree murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder. The recorded video had been found during the murder investigation, and Tory Adamcik and Brian Draper were the most obvious suspects.
During the interrogations, the boys initially blamed each other for the murder of Cassie Jo Stoddart, but their pride soon got the better of them. Before long, they both confessed to their part in the murder. They led police to a cave where they’d hidden the knives and clothes that they’d used. The murder weapons were a hunting-style knife and a dagger.
Brian Draper, throughout the investigation, admitted to an obsession with the Columbine High School shootings, and stated that he had an admiration for Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold. Similarly, horror films enthralled Torey Adamcik. In particular, he was inspired by the Scream horror franchise.
The boys were tried separately, and both were found guilty in court. Torey Adamcik and Brian Draper are currently each serving a life term in prison, without possibility of parole. Now adult men, they occasionally seek to appeal the sentence, but have been denied each time.
The family of Cassie Jo Stoddart was deeply affected by her death. The home which was to signafy a new life in Idaho is now a morbid reminder of the past. Allison Contreras fell into a deep depression, and husband Frank was forced to take a second job just to pay for medications. Frank admits to using alcohol as a way to forget the memories and the pain. And Cassie’s cousin, who found Cassie’s body, also suffered crippling depression. She attempted suicide.
It’s unlikely that Brian Draper and Torey Adamcik will be released from the Idaho State Correctional Institution.