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10th Sep 2019

Mindhunter’s Brian Tench storyline is based on a real child murder case from the ’70s

Jade Hayden

Chilling scenes.

If you’ve watched season two Mindhunter, you’ll no doubt know a few things to be true.

One of those things is that criminal profiling has come a long way since the 1970s. Another is that Charles Manson is a fairly creepy guy.

And another is that much of what goes on in the series is actually based on real-life events.

A lot of Mindhunter season two is focused on the Atlanta child murders, a series of killings that saw the lives of dozens of young people lost to a then unknown assailant.

However, there was another Mindhunter season two plot that was also derived from events that did actually happen – Brian Tench’s troubling involvement in the murder of a child.

Towards the beginning of season two, lead detective Bill Tench learns that his son Brian had placed the body of a toddler on a cross after he was accidentally killed in an attempt to bring him back to life.

Brian isn’t charged with anything, but his parents do have to bring him to see a counsellor. A social worker also drops by repeatedly, as Bill struggles to balance his work and family life while dealing with the consequences of what his adopted son did.

As it turns out though, the story wasn’t simply invented for the show. Rather, it was based on a real life case from San Francisco in 1971.

10-year-old and seven-year-old brothers murdered a toddler with a brick when they became frustrated that he wouldn’t stop crying.

The boys then held the body up, akin to a crucifixion, seemingly believing that he would rise again like Jesus.

Obviously the narrative in the show has its differences, but ultimately the details are still there – as haunted and as unnerving as they were in real life.

Mindhunter season two is available to stream on Netflix now.