The story of Daniel LaPlante has become twisted folklore as the story of his bizarre and horrific stalking of a young family is stuff of nightmares.
LaPlante was a 16-year-old when he decided to enter and torment the Bowen family in Townsend, Massachusetts by somehow carefully living in the walls of their home for almost a year.
He would torment the family by pretending to haunt them after discovering they had recently lost their mother to cancer.
From knocks on the wall after the family tried contacting their mother with a Ouija board to causing havoc in home, LaPlante’s actions become notorious with small-town talk often dramatising the truth.
Although his bizarre behaviour with the family is what he is known for, after his arrest and release, Laplante went on to kill another family.
Joe Turner, a British author, has been investigating LaPlante’s story for a forthcoming book to ensure he remains “locked up for life”.
Laplante reportedly dated Tina, one of the three Bowen daughter’s, and who was the main reason behind his behaviour.
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The tale of Laplante torment of Bowen’s young family was originally thought to be months but after Joe spoke to the family, he discovered his actions lasted for almost a year.
“He haunted his victims for almost a year, constantly upped his game as the months went by and even watched them from behind the walls during their most intimate moments,” Joe told the Daily Star.
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“When Danny first started living in their home, he was basically using it as a hiding place to watch Tina. But over time, he began to relish the fact he could terrify this family. His actions got more bizarre as time went on, and at one point they discovered a bathtub full of urine and a trail of pennies scattered over the floor.
“But what was most fascinating to me is how the incident still affects the victims even 30 years on. Tina, the main focus of LaPlante’s rage, has forgiven him and doesn’t hold any ill-feelings towards him. Kathy, Tina’s older adopted sister still can’t sleep in the dark and is counting down the days until LaPlante dies.”
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The most unnerving element of LaPlante’s story is how he managed to continue tormenting the family for so long.
Through Joe’s research, he found out that LaPlante had several hiding places all over the home, some were just over six inches wide.
He managed to work out their schedule and avoided disruption during when their father was home.
One of the most shocking parts of Joe’s research into the book was on Laplante’s upbringing.
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According to Joe, his childhood was “ perfect conditions to create a serial killer”.
He said: “He suffered from a child onset-type conduct disorder which meant he was predisposed to violent and disruptive behaviour from day one. His home life was a mess. His father despised him but his mother naively believed he was a golden child, so LaPlante was constantly pulled between these two extremes and it massively distorted his outlook on relationships.
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“His sexual urges developed from a very young age and by 14 he was addicted to pornography. From that point, he had to keep chasing new highs, and that involved stalking, sexual assault and homicide.”
After LaPlante was caught, he was arrested and given a light sentence but would be released to commit his most horrific crimes.
On December 1 in 1987, he broke into the Gustafson family home with a mother and her two children inside.
Armed with two guns, he raped Priscilla Gustafson before shooting her in the head.
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He went on to drown the two young children, Abigail, 5, and William,8, in two different bathtubs.
Father Andrew Gustafson returned home to find the horrific acts done to his family and sadly passed away before LaPlante finally admitted remorse.
LaPlante was given three life sentences for the murders.
Joe has spoken to LaPlante a few times and has expressed his remorse but the author believes he should never be allowed to walk free.
The Boy In The Walls by Joe Turner is due out this year and you can learn more about the book and his other work by clicking here
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