Who is Joshua Jenkins? An Author’s Tale.
ost people have forgotten the teenager or never heard of him. I used to be one of them.
It was a lovely day in Los Angeles. I had just flown in from New York to visit my friend, Fern. One of our favorite pastimes was to swap stories – everything from local people to major events. Fern asked me if I knew about Joshua Jenkins.
“Joshua Jenkins. He used to live in my neighborhood.”
“You never told me that one,” I frowned.
Fern took a deep breath. “He’s the 15 year old kid who murdered his parents, grandparents, and sister.”
“He was always a strange, troubled kid,” Fern continued. “But no one saw it coming.”
One night, Joshua took a hammer and knife and killed his parents. He turned on his grandparents and killed them. The next day, he took his little sister, 10 year old Megan, who had slept through everything, to a home supplies store. He told her to pick out an ax. They returned home and he killed her.
Then he set everything on fire.
In a statement made to the police right after the murders, Joshua calmly said why he killed his family. “The world’s really messed up and I didn’t want them to live in it anymore . . . too much gangs . . . too much problems . . . too much hate.”
“Do you believe it?” Fern asked breathlessly.
I was very quiet. Too quiet.
As an author, I recognized the symptoms. Sometimes a face, a name, or a story creeps into your imagination and takes hold. It begins to grow, taking on fictional dimensions, and a new story evolves. Joshua’s story also developed through my work as a Family Therapist – I had to understand why a teenager would suddenly morph into a mass murderer.
Fern felt my silence.
“No,” she said nervously. “You’re not going to write about him?”
It was too late.
Now, well over six years and six books later, I did a lot more than write about Joshua Jenkins. I studied psychopaths, interviewed experts, explored forensic science, mentally revisited my own psychopathic patients, and viewed videos – confessions, manifestos, interrogations – trying to understand the nature and genesis of psychopaths. It became clear, through popular books, movies, newspapers, magazine articles, and online sites, that people were fascinated with these extreme killers. I even found a psychopathic in my own family tree.
The most sobering thing I discovered was that most psychopaths aren’t violent; many have psychopathic traits – they live, work, and play with us.
In an interview with psychiatrist Dr. Paul Strauss, after the murders, Joshua said matter-of-factly, “I feel sad. I miss my family, but I kind of think I did the right thing. If my aunts and uncles were there, I’d have wiped them out too.”
Clear, easy words. No feeling, no empathy. No conscience. The hallmarks of a psychopath. Totally devoid of responsibility or guilt; moving through life like human monsters who appear normal but beneath the surface lies true evil. My six books didn’t just explore the murders – they went both forward and back in time – to understand the nature and nurture of people like Joshua. I had to know why – I had to dig deep into the heart of human nature to see how people like Joshua emerge from haunted family trees.
It was a trip that changed me forever.
Today, Joshua Jenkins languishes in a California prison, living out a sentence of 112 years in prison without parole.
“There are some kids that are broken,” Jeff Reilly, Joshua’s lawyer, said. “Josh is a broken child. He didn’t choose to be broken; he didn’t break himself, but . . .”
Read the fictionalized account of Joshua, haunted family trees, psychopaths who don’t kill, and their journeys through human history.
To purchase or read an excerpt click here Broken By Truth
Are these books based upon joshua jenkins. His sister Megan was my best friend in elementary school and him and my brother wete close. I even named my first born Megan.19 years later his name still paralyzes me but i am obsessed. I have nightmares of him being released. I still see megan die in my sleep. I have gone back to our old street on Chatfield drive here and place memories flood my mind. I would love to hear what you have learned on him and i also have stories of my own. I still ask myself why. Without realizing it he took my childhood.
I went to jr high and high school with Joshua jenkins.
i LIVED IN VISTA, CA FROM 89-97, THE mASTER PLANNED COMMUNITY WAS CALLED SHADOWRIDGE. IT WAS A FINE PLACE TO LIVE UNTIL 92. AFTER THAT IT WAS A NIGHTMARE. HATEFUL NEIGHBORS, SUICIDES, THE MURDER OF A JEWELER, BANK ROBBERIES, OUR BANK SHUT DOWN. IT WAS AS IF THE DEVIL HIMSELF HAD DESCENDED UPON OUT LIVES. WE MOVED IN 97.
IT WAS THEN (WHILE WORKING FOR THE DOD) THAT I BECAME SUSPICIOUS OF THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE PRESENCE IN THE WORLD. ALMOST ALL HIGH PROFILE MURDERS ARE GOVERNMENT ORCHESTRATED VIA MKULTRA/MONARCH MIND CONTROL. I HAVEN’T RESEARCHED THE JENKINS CASE BUT SEE WHAT YOU THINK…THERE IS ALWAYS A LARGE MILITARY INSTALLATION NEAR THESE FALSE FLAG ABOMINATIONS. THIS STUFF IS GOING ON IN AN UNIMAGINABLE SCALE, AND HAS BEEN FOR A VERY LONG TIME. MOST OF THESE PSYCHOTIC INDIVIDUALS (LONE GUNMEN) HAVE DISSOCIATIVE IDENTITY DISORDER (DID). IN MY JOB AS A CIVILIAN WITH THE DOD i SAW THESE MONSTERS BEING CREATED.
Dear Dr. Fink,
For whatever reason my Josh came into my thoughts and I googled him AND FOUND YOUR ARTICLE. GEORGE JENKINS WAS A CLOSE FRIEND OF MINE. We first met in 1979 as I was in the Escrow business and Geroge was a real Estate investor.
I was adopted and when he decided to Adopt Josh we had a connection. As you know Josh was a private adoption I was adopted through Vista Del Mar. Josh was in a live in program at VistaDel Mar and homefor the weekend when he killed George, Alene, Megan, and his grandparents.
Weeks before I received a call from George as he was having issues with Josh and nowhere to get help. He asked me to fly to Las Vegas and speak with Josh. When he picked me up and drove to the condo he was afraid to go inside until Alene returned home. We had lunch and Josh was very agrressive with words and bumping George. At first he refused to talk with me as he thought I was taking him to VistA Del Mar. eventually I got him to take a ride with me to talk. I drove him to a remote are called Red Rock. Looking back I was very lucky. I returned to Geroge’s house, talked with Gorge and Alene and then my brother who lives in Las Vegas picked me up. I spoke with my sister in law who was a judge and and tried to get him help. She told me at the system was such that you there was not much she could to as no one had been hurt. Weeks later my brother called when it happened.
If you ever would like to talk about it please contact me.
I lived in vista at the time of Joshua’s rampage. my wife and i moved there from santa ana ca. we lived in a neighborhood called falcon hill, which annexed shadow ridge next door to the high school and about 2 miles from the court/jail facilities. it was a visually beautiful place to live, but my wife and did’t fit the mold: we didn’t have children. that neighborhood became a living hell by the parents of totally uncontrolled children approaching their teenage years. We moved out in March of 1997, the same day the hale boppers did a mass suicide in rancho santa fe about 40 miles south of us. A few years prior a young jeweler was gunned down in his little business on sycamore, the killer’s name was letwon weaver. Joshua came to symbolize the hell we went through for 3 years in shadowridge. I’ve since become aware of mkultra and monarch mind control in conjunction with my affiliation with the DOD. it has become clear to me that the child trafficking horror surrounding many presidential inquiries into abduction/torture/murder facilitated by the airborne sections of our nation of mercenary military. the california coast is a transport corridor for all of that.
with nellis being near las vegas i had to wonder if joshua was part of mkultra from conception. the american people live under the horrendous illusion that us military is there to protect them domestically and on foreign soil. that illusion has kept literally millions of abducted children under the control of the cia for black ops, another story that dovetails into mine. china lake naval weapons center produced the manson family and many other serial killers. the mkultra program is still in operation on an international scale. it is worse than nazi germany and josef mengele worked at china lake as dr. green.
went to Vista del Mar with Joshua. he was my roommate at one point
I knew Josh when I was a kid. I was 9 when I met him, he was 7. We hung out quite a bit until my family moved east in 93. I heard about the murders in 2010 after reconnecting with an old friend who also knew josh. The old friend told me about the killings and was shocked that I was oblivious to them after they had been in the news. The last time I saw Josh he was in mrs. Jenkin’s minivan at the Dunkin donuts shop in agoura. He was quiet. I was 15 at the time, I think he had his barmitzfa that year. This whole story is so surreal. We used to sleep in our sleeping bags on his bedroom floor. So strange.
Hi Dr. Jeri Fink, thank you for sharing your article with us. I personally knew megan, she was a gOod friend If mine and in my fifth grade Class with me. I still remember when our teacher broke the news if her tragic Fate when we returned back To school on monday.
I never prrsonally met joshua, i know he Was adopted by the family and sUffered from schizophrenia. His family was visiting him from las vegas In california, where his grandparents lived when he did what they did.
I still think if megan often. I would just lime to share a little about what i remember about her. She was like most girls very outgoing, very smart and kind. She enjoyed swimming, and she Really loved horses. She came over to our home a few times, where we lived on a horse ranch in vegas and she would spent hours outside with all of the animals.
One day, i hope to speak to joshua in person and let him know that she is still being rememberEd.
I knew JOSH Jenkins from vista Del Mar in Culver city, where we were both held in a facility that was similar to that of a jail or inpatient psychiatric institute with abominable living conditions and gross mistreatment. I was told about what happened the day of the his arrest of what really happened on that weekend pass. His little sister didn’t sleep through the murders. She was bound and forced to watch as he bludgeoned and butchered his foster FAMILY. Chopping them into pieces to hide the evidence. He killed her last. I remember how devoid he was or any emotion which made him stand OUT in our collective of misfits and future felons. I once asked him why he was even THERE, as we acted like the animals we were treated as and conditioned to be. He replied expressionlessly “Family Problems”. He set the house ablaze but didn’t make it very FAR in their luxury vehicle. I would like to speak to a professional about Josh and perhaps shed a little more light upon what really happened and if it was only the news that omitted the horrible truth.
Jeri, IT WOULD BE INTERESTING TO SEE A 2018 STORY ON JOSHUA JENKINS. I HAVE CORRESPONDED WITH HIM FOR OVER A YEAR NOW AS PART OF A CHRISTIAN LETTER WRITING GROUP TO INMATES ALL OVER THE USA. I AM AFRAID TIME HAS NOT STABALIZED JOSHUA….IN FACT, I JUST THIS WEEK STOPPED WRITING HIM HE IS SO OUT OF TOUCH WITH REALITY. I DON’T KNOW WHERE HE’S GETTING HIS INFORMATION BUT IN ALL MY MANY YEARS I HAVE FOUND NO OTHER PERSON AS CONFUSED AS HE IS.;
I AM ABOUT TO ORDER THE TWO BOOKS YOU MENTION IN THIS ARTICLE. AND MY HEART BREAKS FOR THIS YOUNG MAN WHO STILL THINKS LIKE THE YOUNG KILLER HE WAS.
Your book sounds very interesting. I have been writing a book about Joshfor the last 8 years and can not figure out an ending to it. I have been writing leyters to him on and off since 2001, when I did my term paper about him at Palomar College.
Joshua Jenkins is a good person. The last letter I received from him from Lancaster said he had not gotten any mail and I had previously goyten two other letters where the handwriting looked like his, but every word was spelled perfectly and it leads me to wonder if it is not really him. Even when he had an automatic spell checker, he would at least misspell some if the more common words like moer instead of more and espeshily instead of especially. Taek rather than take. I just think maybe there are upset correctional officers who intercept his mail. Then I got a letter written on the back of a piece of paper that mentions an incident 11/20/13 where he was found with no vital signs in his cell. He had written a letter explaining that event and I thought I had been weiting him back. Now I am starting to wonder if it was really him because I just got this paper from 2013 in the mail June of 2017 and the writing on the back looks like his but again the words are all spelled perfectly. I was wondering if you might have spoken to him recently and know if he is okay or if something might have happened to him that they are trying to cover up. I hope not. The note about him being found unresponsive in his cell was 11/30/13 which is really weird because the post mark on the envelope was june 2017 but I just saw it for the first time yesterday. Most likely, there is a certain someone who interferes with my mail also.
Are you sure he is alive and it is not all a huge coverup to keep federal oversight out of the california prisons?
Crazy i would stay with my grandma when i was young she lived next to his grandparents and i remember playing with megan when we were young crazy world we live in
I belong to a group that ministers to prisoners through letter writing. Joshua is one of them. Our goal is to “shine a light into the darkness of prisons” telling them that they can be forgiven. I’m afraid all these years later, Joshua has not realized what a gruesome thing he did…he honestly felt like he was doing his mother and sister a favor and he doesn’t kill himself because then he would never be reunited with them. he has great compassion for animals and birds, but believes god is a vengeful tyrant. am I beating my head against a stone trying to reach him (spiritually)? my background is in public safety so I had to come a long way myself to be able to minister to these men with love and without judgment I’ll be ordering your books…thank you..
I shared common wall w/ Joshua Jenkin’s-
I was one who called 911 Tha day.
My dsighter was last one to speak to Joshua JENKINS b4 he set fire to condo
My name is jodi sulzman. I am the granddaughter of the grossmans and the niece of the jenkins. My aunt, my mothers twin sister was Josh’s mom. Your story is so shocking to me. You wrote a fictionalized account? For what purpose? Who does this serve? You are clearly Sensationalizing this to only make money and profit off of my family’s tragedy. You selling this fake story to people who have unhealthy obsessions over “true crime”. I only came about it because a coworker brought it to my attention. An individual who has a morbid fascination with murders. This is shameful. Your folks must be so proud.
Hmmmm. American Monster just aired this story. I reached out to his Aunt Sandy. Joshua is right where he belongs. That story is extremely scary to parents. If we punish them and make them do something they dont want to do……they murder us!! This story is many. There are so many tragic stories like this. Makes you not want to have children, and if you do….fear them. God forbid you punish them when they do wrong or try and guide them in the right direction by instilling discipline, respect, empathy sympathy, kindness, patience, forgiveness and thankfulness. Joshua had all of that!!! I hope he lives with what he has done for the rest of his life! The most senseless, was the murder of his sister!! She had her whole life ahead of her!! Shame on him. I haven’t been a fan of American Justice, because it is flawed in most INSTANCEs. We got it right with this one!
I have been friends with many children who later were involved in assaults killings rapes -I married a guy who well I believe has this capability and –I am divorced now twenty years nearly but seen the signs –he is detached from real life he cries to make you believe he feels –and I was close to his mom who had many psychological issues committed multiple times for years -its interesting but as teens there is a big list of things that can make or break growth and mental wellness –first one is outside sources that help guide and brain balance you–I had a wonderful church group with leaders –he had street gangs and rich boys into drugs –they all lied to their parents -they were sneaky and well drugs alcohol inhibited them —-my ex admitted in Lynwood a black teen had sex with him and it changed him he was too stoned drunk to fight him off then from there he was drawn to dudes but in secret –so dated girls but was not really honest just got thousands of woman a year to give him blow jobs for money –strippers hookers older women never toughed them or kissed them still seeped with men -then this made him more secret more bizarre like an addiction so for the most part hiding truth the normal anger builds –soon he went on craiglist and traveled for work -it became obvious money was an issue to buy all this sex trade stuff he stole from my business became violent and well I found out truth and well to keep me safe I let him have all the money and secrets thank god I am safe do I believe he could kill these women oh my god yes –but the places he works they have him as successful and great Christian man so oh I am hoping I am wrong –but no one seen or been in that home with him like me
Thats just bs sbout not know ehst he was doing.
I wash dishes n looked out kitch window About 9pm the night b4 he killed them all, & I saw all 4 adults ouTside, down by curb, out of earshot talking Amongst thEmselves about joshua! Thry were going to send him to fome MILITARY boarding school & he DIDN’T want go.
Joshua planned those murders cuz hes pschotic n Didn’T want to go. He killed thEm from his inward intense Anger.
He knew he was going to kill them.
He was up with a hammer 🔨 in his hand Sitting On fireplace