In late September 1984, newspaper delivery boy Danny Joe Eberle, 13, was kidnapped between his third and fourth delivery. Three days later, he was found 4 miles from his bicycle, stripped down to his underwear. His hands and feet were tied up; his mouth was taped with surgical tape. He’d been stabbed nine times.
The rope used was peculiar—even the FBI had no records of any similar ropes made by domestic manufacturers. As they began looking into international manufacturers, another body turned up.
It was 12-year-old Christopher Walden covered with snow, just outside of Bellevue, Nebraska. He had not been bound, and police thought he’d been killed immediately following his abduction.
In both cases, witnesses reported a white man in a tan van. One witness to the Walden abduction agreed to be hypnotized and recalled the tan van, with seven license plate digits in no particular order.
The following January, a man working at the Bellevue day care center called in a suspicious man cruising the street outside. The car was white, but the license plate traced back to John Joubert, who was renting the car.
His own car, a tan Nova sedan was being repaired. Two of his license plate numbers matched the hypnotized witness’s digits.
Police found the same peculiar rope in Joubert’s dorm room at Offutt Air Force Base. The rope was specially made for the US military and was manufactured in South Korea. Joubert said he got it from the scoutmaster in the Cub Scout troop where he served as an assistant.
The FBI profiler wrote a description for Joubert, which a police officer in Portland, Maine noticed. The officer connected Joubert to the case of 11-year-old Richard Stetson, who had gone missing on August 22, 1982.
Bite marks found on Stetson’s body matched Joubert’s bite. They believe he joined the military in order to get away from Maine after killing Stetson.
Further investigation revealed a lifetime of violence. Joubert routinely escaped notice for such crimes as stabbing a classmate with a pencil, slashing a boy and a teacher, and strangling a boy half his age.
In the end, he was sentenced to death for the Nebraska murders, and given a life sentence for the Maine murder (Maine did not have the death penalty).
On July 17, 1996, John Joubert was executed by the electric chair in the state of Nebraska.