A True Crime blog showcasing daily true crime stories, missing people and cold cases...

FAQ

Chelsea Hoffman is an indie criminal profiler and free agent. She is not affiliated with the FBI, nor is she affiliated with any other law enforcement agency. She is a 100% independent -- and not a member of any group or organization -- as a volunteer who takes interest in helping people find answers whether they be big or small. She utilizes her thought processes, intelligence and natural intuition along with digital sleuthing and real-world interview tactics to attempt to provide further help when it is requested of her on a pro bono basis -- meaning she never asks for a cent from any family member who seeks her volunteer assistance.

Chelsea Hoffman balances her time as a blogger and crime writer as a profession and a full time student in studies focused on Criminal Justice, Psychology, History, English and Political Science. Her education is ongoing and consumes much of her time when she is not working. She does not possess a so called “criminal profiling degree,” because there is no such thing as a “criminal profiling degree.” In the United States there are no set criteria for qualifications to become a profiler. This makes it easy for volunteers and hobbyists to help, and it also makes it easier for police departments to train officers to become profilers for their investigations. The only time any credentials are necessary for a criminal profiler is if that criminal profiler produces claims of being an actual FBI agent or law enforcement officer(which Chelsea Hoffman is not).

FAQ

1. Do you have a degree in Criminal Profiling?
As stated above, there is no such thing as a degree in criminal profiling. Criminal profilers in the United States come from a variety of backgrounds. Some profilers have Ivy League (or similar) educations in forensic psychology (though do not be fooled into thinking that profiling and forensic psychology are the same, because they are not). Some profilers are trained by the FBI’s behavioral analysis unit and are contracted/employed agents of the FBI. Some profilers have no formal college education at all, but are trained on the job in some situations as police officers. And there are some profilers who have varying levels of education, who are independent or “hobbyist” profilers. I fall under the final category of profilers.

I am pursuing multiple degrees in a variety of fields-of-study. I am doing this for my own enrichment and desire to better myself throughout all stages of my adult life. As of April 7, 2014 I am nearly finished with my Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice while I continue to study various other courses to supplement my learning. There is sometimes confusion among members of the public who are not privy to my personal education records and details behind my schooling, and there is sometimes confusion among those who view my various social media and blogging accounts who do not grasp what they are reading.

Unfortunately when I post the name of my school (proudly, Ashworth College/U.) and the names of my degrees, some have taken it as me claiming to already have the degree (when I list the info on accounts that I use). That is not my intention, and for that I must clarify that my CJ degree is near completion. When I am referring to my CJ (Criminal Justice) degree I am usually sure to specify that this is what I am referring to when in conversation. When I refer to any other degrees or course programs (such as science, history, psychology, etc., etc.,) I tend not to specify. As stated previously: My education is ongoing and in a lot of different areas-of-study, and that means I take/finish a lot of various courses. I publicly discuss a lot of my educational endeavors on my Facebook fan page, which can be ‘liked’ here. I realize that because of how rich and various my studies are that I cannot 100% avoid the confusion of some individuals. Since I am also on an accelerated learning program, I may have my actual CJ degree by the time you’re reading this if you’re someone who lands on this page in the future before I update!

2. Do you ever take money from families or solicit donations in their names?
Absolutely not. My volunteer assistance as a profiler comes 100% free of charge to family members of victims or missing people. As stated above, my income is made through blogging and writing books. I blog about current events (missing people, crime, politics, etc.) and maintain my blog (ChelseaHoffman.Com) and the Case to Case podcast on Youtube (formerly BlogTalkRadio). My money is made through a combination of ad revenue and contributions from my fans and readers of my various works (both blogging and  book related).

Donations/contributions come through my blog, and readers are given a $1.00 download of a book of my choosing (details on sidebar of the the blog). The donations go to the maintenance of my blog and podcast so that I can have more time available to dedicate to the people who seek my assistance. The contributions also go toward keeping the blog/podcast maintained. I have never, and will never, solicit donations under the name of a missing person. I have never, and will never, solicit donations by misleading the public into thinking the money goes to a victim or victim’s family. Unfortunately there have been failures in the reading comprehension of some, which leads to false claims about my blog’s donation/contribution system. That is why I must continue to clarify and remind people of these facts prior to agreeing to assist with my profiling/consultation.

3. Are you affiliated or have you ever claimed to be affiliated with law enforcement or the FBI?
I am not affiliated with law enforcement or FBI. I have never claimed to be a police officer or FBI agent. Anybody making such a claim is in complete error -- not that this would be the first time someone has been in error in their claims about me! However, I do interview law enforcement any chance I get when it comes to researching cases for my crime books and online blogs. When it comes to privately assisting a family as a profiler, I request that I be allowed contact with law enforcement if it is necessary.

As an independent criminal profiler and crime writer/blogger, I try to maintain contact with law enforcement agencies, and I do try to encourage a working relationship with officers/detectives when I cover a case or am personally assisting on one as a profiler. I always enter a case with the hope that law enforcement will work with me as an independent profiler who is assisting the family. Other times I am very critical of law enforcement agencies, and therefore “working together” for the unity and solidarity of helping a family is out of the question. It depends on the case and it depends on how much information I am able to get.

The end point is that I am 100% independent -- a civilian -- and I intend on remaining this way.

4. Do you “troll” or mistreat family members of missing people or homicide victims?
I am absolutely not a troll. However, my blog commentary has been known to confuse and even offend some people. When I speculate about crimes that are reported on in the news, I speculate from a place of experience and knowledge about similar cases, which is why I have many faithful readers who are appreciative of my insight. However, there are some people who misread what is said, or are unable to understand the context in which I analyze different cases. This causes some family members in different cases to question my reasoning. Many times family members understand what I am doing, but some become belligerent and rude, and some downright refuse to hear an explanation or refuse to accept that no offense was intended. I have had a couple issues with a very small percentage of the families of victims I write about.

However, these situations are usually attributed to a family member threatening me, harassing me or attempting to all around stifel my freedom of speech. It’s never pleasant when the loved one of a missing or murdered person targets you for simply sharing the facts and your opinion about said facts. But it happens. Unfortunately the public doesn’t see the true personalities of some of the parents and assorted loved ones of these missing/victims. While all of these parents are mourning and experiencing the worst situations of their lives, not all of them are necessarily “good people,” and some of them make no qualms about expressing this with unwarranted insults, harassment and threats. There is also the unfortunate aspect of ‘mob mentalities’ that bring out the worst of certain communities when these cases take place -- and those real-life trolls tend to come out of the woodwork to also harass and cause pain to not only me, but others who are merely trying to help the victims!

I have never knowingly or maliciously harmed the loved one of a missing person -- and never have I maliciously or knowingly harmed any of the family members who have asked for my assistance. However, there have been plenty of misunderstandings and unfortunate rumors. In order to make sure that anybody who seeks my assistance is comfortable with me and truly trusts me, I have to address these rumors and far-out lies:

There are screenshots that exist of me saying things in retaliation to attacks and threats made by various trolls and bullies on the internet who have come to my various social media profiles to spread negativity -- and who have made horrifying comments to initiate my undignified moments where I have lost my temper. Sadly, one of the main effects of being cyberbullied is being accused of bullying yourself when you try to defend yourself -- whether you do so gracefully or not. In fact, that is often a tactic used by cyberbullies and trolls to continue their emotional abuse on their targeted victims.

It is true that there is a screenshot that exists of me saying to someone that their daughter “takes loads to the face.” However, it is absolutely untrue that I said this to the loved one of a missing or murdered person. There are negative people who have evil in their hearts that like to spread this false rumor, but it must be made clear that that was never quoted to the loved one of a missing person. The quote was muttered back to two adult women who took turns harassing me one evening over a blog post I wrote. It was a very unfortunate situation, and I have actually apologized for this comment a handful of times over the years. But the comment was certainly not targeting a crime victim, and it was not targeting an underage person, but instead a 20-something-year-old woman (and then her 50+ mother) who made extremely disparaging remarks to me in the first place. As I’ve said before: I am human. And any human being can only be pushed and harassed so far before they reach their boiling point and either say or do something in retaliation. I have that fiery redhead’s temper sometimes, and it shows! It happens. We move on from it. We heal.

It is true that I have a rather large base of anti-fans, i.e. haters. Or as I like to call them: Fans in denial. This is something that happens to any public persona or celebrity of any type. Even a five-year-old Disney television start was targeted with death threats on Instagram and other social media sites simply because her show promoted the acceptance and love of homosexuals as human beings who deserve rights. Now, if there are nutjobs like that out there who’d target a little girl, there are definitely crowds of internet trolls and real-life psychopaths who follow me and devote their time to smearing me, trashing me and attempting to disparage and harm me (as well as my family and innocent acquaintances).

These folks follow me for my writing and also fan me on social media -- where they take multiple screenshots of every quote I ever speak. Sadly, many of those quotes are falsely attributed to situations that either do not exist or did not happen in the context being claimed by the trolls. I’ve even seen screenshots of me joking with my friends posted with false claims that I am “lying” or some other false nonsense. There is even a petition about me based on nothing more than rumors and the un-founded assumptions of a few not-so-stable people who could stand to brush up on their reading and reasoning skills!  

The point: Many of the claims about me and screenshots that only show my side of a conversation or argument are based on rumors, misunderstandings and inaccurately presented screenshots. Period. It’s an unfortunate side-effect to fame and popularity that can be frustrating, but overall doesn’t have much of an affect on me or the cases I try to assist. We don’t give bullies power on my page or any of my blogs -- and I try to maintain that mantra in the cases I try to assist.

5. Do you go on ground searches with families to help look for evidence or their missing loved ones?
I do not. Most of what I do is research and interview oriented. However, I have made the mistake in the past of trying to go on a ground search with the mother of a missing woman. I was unable to do so and this ended in the missing woman’s mother being irrationally disappointed in me. This ended up turning into an example of “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” and the entire situation just ended the opposite of how I would have liked things to go. It also ended up being another sad reminder that not all people are “nice” or “good.”

It is because of the aforementioned situation that there will never be any future attempts at ground searches or participation in ground searches. My time is better spent researching, thinking and digging for answers.

6. Are you a journalist or a criminal profiler?
I’m a criminal profiler (also crime analyst/profiler) blogger and crime nonfiction writer (books). I do not identify with the term “journalist” or “reporter,” regardless of what any member of the public may claim. I blog commentary on current events as a profession while writing my books, but I am not a journalist. Sadly there are a lot of people who erroneously believe that  I am a journalist, but I try to remind people periodically that this is not the case.

However, since I am a writer by profession and an indie profiler by hobby/volunteer, I do tend to write about some of the cases that I assist. But I never do this without the consent of the family members, and never share any private information that I have been trusted to keep confidential. When I do write about the cases that get my assistance, I do so to get people interested in the case -- especially since many of the cases that I assist on are cold cases.

7. What do you do when you assist a family as a private criminal profiler or analyst?
A number of things. It varies from case to case, because each case is completely different from the last with different circumstances. I do request that I be given access to police reports and any available crime scene photos as well as descriptions of said crime scenes. In any homicide or presumed homicide crime scene photos and descriptions are extremely important. I also request contact information of any private and official detectives who are working the case as well as any other person who I may benefit from talking to for information about any given case.

I study the cases that I am requested to assist and profile, which can take anywhere from a short span of a weekend to an extended wait of several months. Like I stated previously: Every case is different. Some cases have years and years of information, evidence, witness reports and more that can’t just be pored over and absorbed in a matter of hours, weeks or sometimes months. Once I am done studying the presented factual details of a case that I am assisting, I begin researching all of the various elements that stand out to me, that pique my interest. This could take anywhere from a couple of hours to -- again -- a couple of months. That is due to my busy schedule and the complexity of each case (which varies).

I try to interview any necessary people connected to the case -- but it must be noted that it is not always necessary. I also try to get into contact with official authorities who may or may not offer some kind of insight about a case that I am looking over for loved ones. From here I analyze and compare to other cases based on numerous factors that vary from case to case. This ideally ends in an offender profile or at least a crime profile being created. However, as stated before, each case differs.

If an offender or crime profile is successfully finished, it is put into a private dossier that the family of a victim can use to seek answers or to persuade investigators/authorities to investigate differently.


If you’ve read this entire post and are still interested in seeking my assistance, then please contact me at Chelsea.Hoffman@ChelseaHoffman.Com



Are you offended?

Ask me anything on Ask.fm! I might personally answer you! 

The following is a sort of FAQ/Disclaimer for readers who maybe offended or insulted by any of my opinions or analyses expressed either on this blog, my podcast or any of the other numerous places I may write or participate in discussions on a public level.

The world is huge and I can't please every single person who inhabits it. I am a very opinionated person and I can't take the time to make sure that not one single person alive takes offense to one of my opinions. I'm also not going to edit myself and stifle myself just because someone, somewhere, may be upset with what was said. What kind of life would it be if I did?



FAQ:


"You're an awful journalist/reporter. You're not supposed to share your opinion." 
If I was a journalist or reporter, I would be awful. But I'm not. It never ceases to amaze me how many people think that everything they read online equates to journalism and hard news reporting. You write on a blog and suddenly everyone who clicks on it thinks you're Geraldo-freaking-Rivera. That's really not my problem, and it does get old reminding people that blogs don't = journalism. 

As my profiles and bios state all over the internet, I am a crime analyst and profiler. Just because I blog about my speculation and opinions based on facts released about any given case does not mean I am a reporter or journalist. And frankly every time I see this statement (and variations of it) it immediately indicates someone who is not educated enough to even participate in dialogue with me-- so I won't waste my time.

"You speculated more than one theory. Make up your mind!"
All I can say to statements like this is to please, please never try to enter a career in criminal justice...

"Your prediction about a case was wrong!"
I do not make "predictions." I am not a "psychic," a "clairavoyant" or a "soothsayer" in any way shape or form. Again, as I have stated time and time again, I am a crime analyst and profiler who also happens to be a writer -- nothing more, nothing less. If the final outcome of a missing persons case or homicide ends up differing from any of my speculation it doesn't mean that I've made a so called "failed prediction." It truly doesn't mean anything at all. Not every single case or incident abides by statistical probabilities, and not every killer or victim fits the profile of other killers or victims in similar cases. I've passionately believed things about some cases, only to be proven 100% wrong in the end. I've been shocked and surprised by people who don't fit the profiles of those who commit similar crimes, and I've been thrown for a loop by persons of interest -- just like any other human being. I'm human and fallible, and above all else: I'm not psychic and I do not pretend to be.

So in short, if you are reading my analyses and you think I'm a psychic and making clairvoyant "predictions" about cases, then you're grossly in error.


"Your opinion angers me so much that I demand you remove it."
Most of us are taught from a young age that we can't always get what we want. This is one of those situations where that important life lesson applies.

"Your writing is libelous/slander!"
The only time this phrase (or variation of) is directed toward me it's usually in all caps and involves random strings of profanity. Furthermore, the people who often accuse me of these things don't know the first thing about slander/libel/defamation. The only way I can really answer this statement is direct the owners of the butthurt to Black's Law Dictionary and a couple of online law courses. Nuff said. 

"You have insulted (insert interest group or individual here). I demand that you apologize and take back (insert statement here)."
I don't apologize unless I mean it. I seldom mean it.

"You're wrong," or "You don't know the facts," or "You're in error."
If I am, show me with credible citation something to correct me. Provide me with a list of errors and the facts to correct them. It's just that easy -- though, it's not as easy as being a jerk in an article comment on the internet, huh?

"How dare you ask that question (about a victim)? It's none of your business. Your opinion is wrong. Rabble! Rabble! Rabble!" or "How insensitive of you!"
How can an opinion be wrong? Asking questions is important. Digging for answers is important. The truth isn't always pleasant, especially in crime cases -- so the questions definitely aren't always pleasant. If you're only seeking pleasant questions and answers then you're reading the wrong "niche."  

As a crime analyst I do exactly as the title indicates: I analyze crimes. Sometimes analysis involves asking sensitive questions. Sometimes my experience with numerous other cases and my educational training kicks in and I analyze deeply into the details of any given case that's in the news. If those details and analysis are unpleasant, then they're unpleasant. I truly can't be bothered with people who follow these crime stories -- and then bitch about their delicate sensitivities being compromised. 

"You're rude."
Rude is failing to read this page, but still insisting on posting asinine comments on random articles and discussion forums based out of ignorance. If you leave a post laced with profanity that is in all caps and is badly spelled with accusations of me being a piss-poor journalist/reporter -- you're probably not going to be rewarded with a hug from yours truly.

"What are your credentials?"
I'm asked this question a lot, mostly with a snide tone and always by people who don't really know anything about who I am, or what I do. My educational endeavors are quite public, so I yawn at this question. If you're too lazy to read my Facebook page and other public areas where I talk about myself and what I'm doing, then it's none of your business. And if you still feel that you're somehow entitled to this kind of information -- or really anything else about me -- too bad. 

Are you still offended? You have the right to not read anything I write, just like I have the right to express my speculation and coverage of cases on my many platforms. I'm not going to back down from any statements I make, and I won't be bullied or nagged by busybodies who have far too much time on their hands. It's called freedom of speech. Get over it. 



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