I investigated the best case for psychic detectives, offered by Skeptiko podcast host Alex Tsakiris, in 2008. It was claimed to be one of the strongest cases in history,  due in part to the fact that (according to a TV show Alex watched) two police detectives support Nancy Weber’s claim of having assisted in the 1983 investigation of serial killer James Koedatich.

The case is far too complex to summarize here, but appears as chapter 6 in my book Scientific Paranormal Investigation: How to Solve Unexplained Mysteries. Below are excerpts of interviews with both police detectives, so you can hear the eyewitnesses in their own words.

Below are some excerpts from the scratchy audio of my original interviews (with transcriptions). These clips highlight a few examples of how the two detectives, Moore and Hughes, recollections vary from the story that Nancy Weber tells. But both detectives do think Weber did a remarkable feat – even if she didn’t help solve the case with her information. How can this discrepancy be explained? I believe this is a classic case of Confirmation Bias – the witnesses are remembering the hits but forgetting the misses. Check out all the evidence and decide for yourself.

Not only are these clips of low quality, they are of uneven volume. Make sure you’ve got a volume control available!

1) When did Nancy provide her information – before or after the death of O’Brien?

Radford: Do you remember the date that Nancy Weber gave that information about Koedatich?
Moore: The exact date?
Radford: Well, okay, look I mean was it…
Moore: Well, it was probably toward the end of November.
Radford: Would be this before or after O’Brien was found?
Moore: Before
Radford: Before
Radford: Do you remember the date you and Moore and Nancy met to first go over the information on James Koedatich?
Hughes: No, I don’t remember the particular date.
Radford: Okay. Do we know, would that have been before O’Brien was found on December 5th, do you know?
Hughes: Um, I, I don’t think we met until after.
Radford: Okay
Hughes: Not until after that.

Commentary: Here the two detectives disagree on whether the information they got from Nancy was before or after the death of another victim, O’Brien.

2) Did Weber tell the police that the killer’s last name ended in “ich” or “itch,” as Weber claims?  

Radford: [Weber said] His first name starts with like a “J” or a “James.”
Moore: His first name was James, yeah, his first name was James, and I believe his name was James, and there’s a hard K in his last name.
Radford: And ended with “-ich” is that right?
Moore: Well, I don’t remember that, to be honest with you. She may have said that, maybe Bill can corroborate that. But I don’t remember the “-ich.” But I do remember the hard “K”.
Radford: What about the first name and the first letter of his last name?
Hughes: Oh, the “K” and the “ich”? You know, I don’t recall her— I don’t specifically recall her coming up with the “K” and the “-ich.” She came up with part of it, in that it was of Eastern European, the name was Eastern Europe – He was of Eastern European descent-
Radford : Okay.
Hughes: -Which would tell me Slovak or Russian or something like that, maybe Romanian? Again, you’re, you’re talking about thousands of names. Where do you narrow it down from there?
Radford: Right
Weber: And then I got the name “James”[…] and then I got a last name that was Polish that began with a “K” and ended in an “-ich” and I could not get it. It was “K – blablablabla – ich.” And that’s what I’d say.

Commentary: Here the two detectives come up with slightly different information regarding Nancy’s name information. Neither seems to remember the “-ich” in the name.

3) Did Weber say the killer was of Eastern European descent, or Polish (as Weber claims)?

4) Did Weber tell the police that the killer’s name had a ‘K’ somewhere in it, or that it began with a K (as Weber claims?)

Moore: I think she said he’s of European descent, Eastern European descent. He’s thin-built, black hair, she said something about a hair area…I don’t remember exactly what.
Radford: Yes, she said something about a hairline that seemed–
Moore: Something about a hairline… She did say he was of Eastern European descent, and I believe with a hard “K” in his name.
Hughes: We have a very large Russian population [out of all the population]
Radford: Right, right.
Hughes: And um it just didn’t – there’s nowhere to go.
Radford: Okay.
Weber: And then I got Polish and I connected that as Polish descent.

5) Did Weber tell the police that the killer had served time in “the South,” or in Florida, as Weber claims?

Moore: She, she could tell me that the individual responsible for this comes from the Morristown area, then he went to Florida, and while he was in Florida he murdered someone, and then [garbled] he went to jail, and while he was in prison he murdered an inmate.
Hughes: Well, like I said, I don’t recall her specifically saying that he had done time in Florida – just done time in the south.
Weber: That took me to Florida for some reason, where I felt a prison, and I felt him being locked away in prison for murder. And I remember saying to them, “Oh my God! He was in Florida in jail for murder – not one! And they let him out!”
Radford: Do you remember what information she gave regarding Koedatich?
Hughes: That he’s served time in the south, that he’d killed before…

Commentary: Again – which is it? Was it Florida or “The South”? Sgt. Hughes stated on two separate occasions that Weber told him that Hoffman’s killer had served prison time in the south– -the second time specifying that Weber had not mentioned Florida. In a later interview, Hughes changed his mind and stated that Weber had in fact specified Florida.

Radford: Did you pursue or follow up on that information?
Moore: Well, um, I, I didn’t because…  [You mean] as far as the last name goes with the “K” and the “ich”?
Radford: Right, right.
Moore: I believe we didn’t have, I think the stuff that we had [garbled] we didn’t have enough material to go on.
Radford: If the information that she gave you was along the lines of, you know, the name is James, starts with a “K”, did time in Florida, wouldn’t there be some way to cross-check that? I mean, call the Florida DOJ [Department of Justice] and say, “Look, do you have anybody in Florida whose last name starts with a “K” and who relocated here?”
Moore: Could have been done? Yeah, that’s a possibility. We didn’t do it. It wasn’t– I analyzed or thought about, well, how could we check in Florida, but that’s thousands and thousands of inmates. How do you— I didn’t think we had enough to narrow it down, to call and say, ‘This is the guy we’re looking for.”
Radford: Right.
Radford: Did you all pursue or follow up on any of her information?
Hughes: Um, the only specific thing we really had to follow up on was… that he was upset with a Mendham police officer because of the traffic summons that he got… We went to follow up with that, but….the only officer we could logically link it to was on vacation at the time… and before we could follow up again, Koedatich got arrested. The only other thing was that he had been arrested for a petty offense– but oh my God… that would be thousands of people! There was nothing specific for us to point at. Like, ‘a mechanic or related to a mechanic’– but where do you go from there?”
Radford: If the information was as specific and accurate as you say it was why do you think it didn’t solve the case or lead to his arrest?
Weber: Oh I know why. I know exactly why and what happened. The prosecutors office rotates investigators for heading up things. Well unfortunately they rotated and headed up a guy who was not qualified to do the work. This is the only time, and I don’t know if Jimmy would say it – but he has said it, to me – it was the only investigation he had ever seen when he was captain of homicide where the lead prosecuting investigator picked one person and went behind closed doors and would not share any information nor get any information from everybody else. And made it very clear that nobody else was going to do a single thing about this case.
Radford: Right, but in this case – I mean both Moore and Hughes, and yet they had-
Weber: They were not permitted to do anything. They weren’t permitted.
Radford: So their hands were tied with it?
Weber: Oh, big time.
Both detectives agree that Nancy didn’t give them enough information to find or arrest Koedatich. How could I take the information Nancy says she gave the detectives – and use a phonebook to find the killer in twenty minutes?  Which is more likely – the police didn’t think to use the phonebook? Or that Nancy hadn’t given them enough information to act on? The police say the latter, and that is consistent with Radford’s “Confirmation Bias” hypothesis.
Both Moore and Hughes explain that despite all of Weber’s “incredibly accurate” information providing at least a half-dozen specific, identifying details about the killer, the police didn’t have enough to go on.

Commentary: Contradicting Nancy Weber, Det. Moore clearly states that the information Weber gave them was not specific enough to locate Koedatich out of the “thousands and thousands” of former Florida inmates. Yet Koedatich was on parole at the time; it should have been a simple matter to contact the local parole boards to find out if there were any local parolees who had served time in Florida for murder, committed a second murder while in prison, whose first name was James, and whose last name was Polish or Eastern European and began with a “K.” Surely there could be fewer than a handful of local parolees who fit that criteria.

Both police officers Moore and Hughes clearly agree that Weber’s information was too vague to be of use. If Weber’s claims are true, and she gave at least five specific, accurate pieces of information about Koedatich, it is amazing that he was not captured within days. On the other hand, if the police officers are correct and Nancy Weber is wrong (i.e., the information was not as specific as is now being claimed), then the police officers’ failure to find Koedatich makes perfect sense.

In the end, neither Alex nor Nancy Weber provided any evidence of her success in this “best case for psychic detectives.” If you listen carefully to the interviews, you will find that one or both police officers dispute (or do not support) virtually all of Weber’s claims.