On the 13th of April 2008, at the Montana State Prison, the world heaved a sigh of relief. It said good riddance to one of the most depraved and unrepentant psychopaths in the United States history. His name was Nathaniel Bar-Jonah.

You may have heard of him, but it’s more likely that you haven’t. His story isn’t exactly the kind people tell over a game of cards before dinner.

Nathaniel Bar-Jonah had been serving a 130-year prison sentence before his death. The 51-year-old had been convicted of kidnapping, aggravated assault, and sexual assault. 

He was also suspected of killing a child and serving up the child’s meat to unsuspecting neighbors.

There was no conclusive evidence for his cannibalism. Still, the circumstantial evidence was damaging, and even a kindergartener could connect the gruesome dots.

The heavyset Massachusetts man’s crimes made a lot of headlines at that time.

And they would still turn a lot of stomachs today. Here are ten things you will want to know about him. If you’re sure you can hold your lunch, that is.

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10 Victim Of Child Abuse?

Bar-Jonah may have been abused and even raped as a child. This is according to the court records of his psychiatric evaluations. His siblings, however, knew of no such event. “Nathan comes from a functional family, and there’s been a lot of things misconstrued,” said his brother.

It is likely that an abusive event at a young age triggered his strange habits and urges. Those habits had begun to show themselves when he was as young as six.


9 A Craving For Flesh

Bar-Jonah’s strange curiosity over the taste of human flesh was first noticed in 1963. He was just six at that time. He had been caught picking at his scabs till they festered. He would then begin to suck his blood from the wound.

This habit was unsettling to his teachers at Webster Elementary School. They called his mother severally to complain to her, but try as they might, Nathaniel didn’t quit the habit.

It seemed to give him sexual excitement. He kept it up till his death in Montana State Prison, nearly 45 years later!



8 Child Child Offender

Bar-Jonah’s first recorded depraved act was when he was seven. He persuaded a five-year-old neighbor to come into his basement. He had told her that he had an Ouija board which could say to the future, and the fascinated girl believed him.

After he had successfully gotten her into the basement, he began to strangle her. Luckily, she was able to scream through his squeezing seven-year-old hands. Her screams alerted Bar-Jonah’s mother, who was quick to rescue the girl.

7 First Recorded Crime

In March 1975, Bar-Jonah impersonated a police officer and abducted an eight-year-old boy. Bar-Jonah drove to a parking lot, where he began to assault and strangle the boy sexually. A neighbor, however, had seen the abduction and notified the authorities.

After searching for a while, a patrol car observed the car in the parking lot. Bar-Jonah was ordered out and just in time. The boy was found bloodied in the car and nearly dead. 

Bar-Jonah seemed to have a thing for impersonating police officers. He was caught numerous times in the act. He even went as far as purchasing a realistic toy gun for that purpose.

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6 First Conviction

On the 24th of September 1977, Bar-Jonah persuaded two boys coming out of a Cinema to enter his vehicle. He had decided to switch it up. This time he impersonated an FBI agent. Nathaniel drove the boys to a remote area and began to assault them.

He handcuffed, strangled, and flicked cigarette ashes on his victims. Then, he jumped severally on the chest of one of the boys and left him for dead. Bar-Jonah weighed 375 pounds.

Thankfully, the boy regained consciousness and found help. 

The authorities later caught up with Bar-Jonah and found the other boy in his trunk, still alive. Bar-Jonah was sentenced to eighteen to twenty years in prison for attempted murder.

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5 His Time In Prison

Bar-Jonah spent a short time in prison before he was transferred to the Bridgewater State Hospital. There, he was put under psychiatric evaluation. He regaled his psychiatrists with his fantasies of capturing, murdering, and cannibalizing children.

He was surprisingly well-behaved in prison, even went to the lengths of taking a Jewish name. Yes, he wasn’t born Nathaniel Bar-Jonah. He was David Paul Brown up until March 1984. He claimed he wanted to “know what it was like to be discriminated against and persecuted as a Jew.

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4 His Release From Prison

Bar-Jonah was released from prison in 1991 by Superior Court Judge Walter E. Steele. According to the judge and two other psychiatrists, the state had not proven that Bar-Jonah was dangerous. They seemed to completely overlook the fact that Bar-Jonah was in prison for attempted murder. 

Despite the judge’s convictions, he got a promise from Nathaniel. A promise that he would leave Massachusetts. To this, Bar-Jonah agreed wholeheartedly. 

The judge probably let out a deep breath at that point. The man was Montana’s problem now. Good luck to them.

3 Flea Market Jonah

Bar-Jonah moved to Great Falls, Montana, with his mother. There, he became the sort of grown-up kids flocked to. He turned his garage into a children’s paradise. It was filled with toys, dolls, and games children liked. It was like a flea market for kids. 

He also became active in a local church group. Bar-Jonah managed to stay on the right side of the law until 1999 when he was arrested again. This run-in with the law spelled his downfall.

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2 Beginning Of The End

In 1996, a ten-year-old boy went missing in Great Falls, Montana. Zachery Ramsay had been on his way to school before he vanished. 

Some witnesses reported seeing “an obese adult male” following the boy. The detective on the case, Bill Bellusci, knew about Bar-Jonah’s previous crimes and suspected him. However, the witness accounts were not sufficient to get a search warrant.

In 1999, Bar-Jonah was arrested for (you guessed it) impersonating a police officer. He had been loitering suspiciously outside an elementary school, and the teachers had called the authorities. Due to his previous knowledge of Bar-Jonah, Detective Bellusci was assigned the case. 

He quickly got a search warrant for Bar-Jonah’s house. This warrant was the first nail in Nathaniel’s figurative coffin.

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1 Cookouts And Recipes

The search turned up mountains of evidence were found. Evidence that suggested that Bar-Jonah had abducted and tortured underage boys in his house.

The police also found notebooks filled with coded writing. And with some help from the FBI, they succeeded in decoding the script. It contained grotesque recipes that involved children’s body parts. Some of them were titled “Little boy pot pie” and “Barbecue bee sum young guy.”

Bar-Jonah had been holding cookouts and inviting neighbors, including Ramsay’s mother. He had made barbecues, pot pies, and many other meals in the notebooks in these cookouts. 

When the neighbors complained that the meat was weird-tasting, Bar-Jonah had replied that the meat was venison. He said that he had “hunted, killed, butchered and wrapped the meat himself.” Meanwhile, Bar-Jonah had neither a rifle nor a hunting license.

The investigators believed that Bar-Jonah had abducted Zachery and served the boy’s corpse to unsuspecting neighbors. 

The officers also found lists of children’s names. After talks with some children on the list, they discovered that Nathaniel had molested three boys. He even went as far as hanging one of them from a lighting fixture by the neck.

That clinched the case for the detective, and Bar-Jonah was taken to court. There he was given a 130-year sentence, which he served in the Montana State Prison till his death in 2008.

Nathaniel Bar-Jonah was the worst sort of human you could ever allow near your child. Unrepentant, he never showed remorse or any inclination towards change. His reasons for committing those crimes aren’t known and will probably never be.

We can only look in horror at his deeds and hope. I hope that no monster of his caliber walks the earth again.

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