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True crime. Casually done.

Joshua Roy Tucker: Killing the Body Snatchers

Do you ever feel like you’re being watched? Actually, that’s kind of a stupid question nowadays. At this very moment, most of you out there will be within earshot of at least two or three listening devices, and maybe even have a webcam pointed right at your face. Everyone say hello to the nice man from the NSA.

Yes, it’s kind of given these days that government agencies and corporate giants have the power to harvest data from inside our own homes; the best thing to do is just not think about it. But what if you just couldn’t shake that feeling? What if you started to realize that the forces behind this digital home invasion weren’t just looking to log your masturbation and shopping habits — they were beginning to threaten your family?

That was the nightmare endured by one man in 2018. Joshua Roy Tucker’s relatively peaceful life in rural Canada was turned upside down, when his home was plagued by strange occurrences and mysterious visitors, who threatened the lives of those he loved most…

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The Tuckers

Joshua was born in 1991 in the Saskatchewan Province of Canada. Shortly after giving birth to him, his biological mother decided to put him up for adoption. Little Joshua found a loving home when he was just four days old, with Kim and Gordon Tucker.

Saskatchewan, Canada
Saskatchewan, Canada

The couple lived on a peaceful farm near the village of Cochin, around 30 minutes from the town of Battlefield, where Joshua went to school. After dropping out of high school in his mid teens, he got increasingly involved with local gang members, and was indirectly implicated in some of their dealings; his adoptive father had to drive down to the police station to pick him up on more than one occasion. 

Still, the two remained close. In fact, Joshua had a loving relationship with both of his parents throughout his teens and twenties. Eventually Kim and Gordon turned from saintly parents to doting grandparents, when Joshua had a child of his own. They even stepped in to take custody of the little boy when he and his ex-partner were unable to provide for him.

It might have been the birth of his son which inspired Joshua to clean up his act. He stopped getting involved in drugs when he was 27, and cut off contact with his old gang member buddies. You’d think that things would generally improve from there, but in fact this marked the turning point where Joshua’s life descended into David Fincher levels of weird.

It began with the fear of retaliation from his old acquaintances, whose business dealings Joshua knew a fair deal about. Then came the strange noises from his attic, and then threats from an unseen menace. Over the course of several weeks, the danger slowly revealed itself until Joshua’s worst fears were realized: his son was kidnapped. 

When Joshua went to ask his father for help, he had a disturbing realization: the man in the living room wasn’t his father — it was an intruder sitting in the chair. Joshua rushed out to his car, grabbed his rifle, and pointed it at the impostor. 

“Where is my son!?”

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Strange Happenings on the Tucker Farm

It all started in the early spring of that year, at Joshua’s home on the farm. His parents lived in a different house on the property, meaning that he had the entire place to himself… or so he thought. In April, Joshua began hearing strange sounds from the attic: footsteps and voices above his head.

House in farm

Anyone who’s been following the show will be well aware of the horrifying reality of unwanted squatters, and how deadly they can be. And Joshua had extra reason to worry: he could swear he had seen drug gang members tailing him when he was out and about in town. There was every chance they had invaded his home to kill him in his sleep!

By the time Joshua worked up the nerve to confront his unwanted guests, they had already disappeared. He assumed they had snuck out through a crawlspace, and started frantically searching the old farmhouse for their secret entrance, to no avail. 

The squatters would intermittently return every now and then through April and into May. Joshua’s mother called the police to come investigate the attic, but they couldn’t find any clear point of entry, so they refused to investigate further. Joshua was distraught: not even the police could help him — he would have to take matters into his own hands. And his methods were… fairly extreme.

A few days later he was startled by a creaking footstep from above. His guests had returned, and this time he wasn’t going to let them get away. Listening out for the whispering voices, he manically cut a hole in the ceiling with an axe, hoping to catch them off guard. But once again, the intruders slipped away to their hiding place. 

A desperate Joshua decided that’d be the last time he would be fooled, and resorted to shooting into the ceiling at the source of the sounds the next time he heard a tap from above. But then when he went up to check, nothing. No home invaders, no secret crawl space. Absolutely no sign of anything beyond a few bullet holes in the rafters. 

But he did find one thing as he inspected the Swiss cheese remains of his ceiling: a small electrical device which he thought had no right being there. It was plain as day in the palm of his hand: his house had been bugged. Had the police decided he was actually more heavily involved in his old buddies’ criminal activities than he had let on? Of course they weren’t interested in helping him with his so-called “squatters” — they were behind the whole thing!

This little electronic bug — whether it was installed by the police or the gang — must have been the source of the sounds all along. Joshua tore the place apart trying to debug each room, and more surveillance devices turned up in the ceiling and walls, some with what he believed to be speakers attached to them.

Things only got stranger from there.

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The Impostors 

The Impostors

See, Joshua’s theories on the identity of his mysterious spies developed throughout the following days. This wasn’t the work of the police, nor any low-level local gangsters  — sure, they might be connected, but the people watching him were likely part of something much bigger. And he reckoned he could guess what they were after: they wanted the farm. 

Rather than continue blasting his ceiling like that Texan from The Simpsons, Joshua decided he’d better start patrolling the fields throughout the day and night, to catch any intruders that might be roaming the fields. He began checking in on his parents by phone dozens of times a day, worried that his enemies might be planning to kill them to get ahold of their property. 

Kim, his mother, started to worry about her son. When she went around to check on him in mid May, he showed her one of the devices that he had discovered in the wall, but she wasn’t convinced by his explanation. She took the piece along to a local electrician to prove to him there was no reason to worry, and ordered a device online which could scan the house for surveillance tech. But Joshua wouldn’t have it. Even if his own mother wouldn’t believe him, he knew what was really going on: 

— Their family had become the target of an organization which had infiltrated their homes and lives.

— The organization was killing people around town and replacing them with government clones, hence the lying electrician and that sketchy bus driver from the other day.

— He had in fact managed to kill one of the bodysnatchers in the attic, but the body disappeared but the time the got up, and his attack only made the spooks angrier.

— The voices he had heard were communications coming through the bugs, direct from the organization, who also sometimes sent him messages through TV shows. 

— And they were coming to kill them all.

Kim sighed, heartbroken. Things were clearly much worse than she thought…

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An Uneasy Homecoming

Her son had suffered from paranoia in the past, but nothing like this. Before, it had come and gone sporadically, but this time it was swallowing him whole. She decided to arrange for a sophisticated alarm to be installed in Joshua’s house, hoping that it would be enough reassurance to calm his frayed nerves. 

The security company couldn’t install the system until the 31st, so in the meantime Kim invited her son to live in the basement of the family home, where she and Gordon (now in their late fifties) could look after him. And she wasn’t the only one who had grown worried about his mental state.

On the 25th of May, the same officer who had checked the attic was sent out to the Tucker Farm on a wellness call, phoned in by Joshua’s biological mother Darien Flett. Unexpected visits from the police are always so relaxing, so I’m sure this did wonders for his paranoia.

Things got predictably worse from there. Joshua started directly addressing the spooks spying on him in the basement late at night, demanding they leave him and his family alone. Of course, they refused, and reacted by intensifying their threats. 

As things escalated, Gordon Tucker suggested to his wife that she take a few days for herself, and go visit her family in British Columbia. She decided it’d be for the best. Then it was just Joshua and his father in the house. Oh, and the government agents, of course.

Over the following days, their voices began to taunt Joshua more and more insidiously, threatening his son, and goading him to kill his whole family. Then, on the 30th, their messages changed; they were no longer just threatening: the organization had kidnapped his son from school…

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The Kidnapping

Joshua was terrified when the announcement came from the walls. To prove they had his boy, the spooks even let him hear the kid’s voice coming through the speakers. Panicking, Joshua went to his father for help, but stopped when he reached the living room. 

Why was his father sitting and watching TV? At this time of day he should be out working in the fields. Unless, it wasn’t his father at all — the bodysnatchers had finally got to him. This was an impostor, directly involved in the plot to kidnap his boy. Perhaps his one and only chance to find out where they were taking him.

Joshua rushed out to his car, grabbed his rifle, and pointed it at the intruder. 

“Where is my son!?”

Wide-eyed, the clone stood up from the chair and tried to run, but not fast enough. Joshua pulled the trigger. Just like that, Joshua Roy Tucker shot his own father dead in his family home. 

Or had he? He wasn’t sure of much any more — the body heaped on the floor looked like his father, but that’s exactly how they trick you. Joshua’s heart was racing as he struggled to get a grasp on what was real and what was fantasy. Then the voices returned. 

“Clean up and shut up” the walls said, so that’s just what Joshua did. First, he picked his son up from school — relieved to find him safe and sound, but terrified of what that might mean — then dropped the kid off at his mother’s house. He didn’t want him to see what had happened.

But what had happened exactly? Joshua’s doubts returned as he scrubbed the blood from the floor, with the voices berating him all around. At times lucid, the reality of what he had done would seep through the cracks in his paranoid delusions for a few moments. All the while caught between a horrific reality and terrifying fantasy, he dumped the gun in a creek, and heaved the body of his father into the front loader of a tractor.

With the body safely stowed out of sight, a despondent Joshua weighed up his options.

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The Aftermath

By this point the pressure was past unbearable: his own father was dead, either due to drug cartel illuminati bodysnatchers, or by his own hand (he couldn’t be entirely sure). With nobody left to trust, he did the last thing he could think of trying.

On the 31st of May, Joshua walked into the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Station in North Battleford. In a hushed voice, he explained he wanted to act as an informant. When officers took him back for questioning, he cried while explaining that he and his son desperately needed protection. Forces beyond their understanding were after him, and if the police would only keep watch on the property they would soon see he wasn’t lying.

He also requested blood tests and a CT scan, perhaps wondering if he himself was even who he thought he was. So the mounties went to the farm and ended up catching several of the alien shapeshifters in the act, who then took their monstrous final forms and were gunned down by mounties. And that was how we defeated the Great Canadian Bodysnatcher Invasion of 2018.

Or if you’d prefer the real, but far more depressing ending, that’s when the police called Kim Tucker in British Columbia, who told them her husband wasn’t answering her calls. They then went to investigate the farm, finding bloodied clothes around the house, and the body of Gordon Tucker, wrapped in a garage floor mat at the back of the barn. 

Meanwhile, Joshua had been taken to Battleford Mental Health Centre for a psychological examination. He… did not pass.

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A Crash Landing in Reality

Over the weeks which followed, the police and crown prosecution service managed to put together a full picture of events. They spoke to Kim, now a grieving widow, who explained that Joshua had always suffered from mental health issues since his teenage years. His paranoia was only exacerbated by a methamphetamine habit.

In fact, he had even been taken in by police on a mental health warrant earlier that year. In a meeting with his court-appointed psychologist on the 7th of May, Joshua told him about the phantom voices in the attic. It was just before then that he had relapsed on his drug habit, which it seems had a cascading effect for his mental health across the following weeks. He also admitted to the psychologist his fears about retribution from his old gang acquaintances — the makings of a perfect storm of paranoia, which ended in a disaster fit for a Greek tragedy.

Now in the custody of the RCMP, Joshua would be faced with the grim prospect of returning to a reality in which he was guilty of murdering his own father. He readily admitted all the details to the police when questioned, continuing to drift in and out of lucidity. In one of his more clearheaded moments, he admitted: “I thought he was an imposter. I fired at him, and hit him in the back.”

Once the police had separated fact from fiction, and corroborated Joshua’s story with reports from his mother, psychologist, ex-partner, and biological mother, the authorities were faced with a difficult question: if a guy genuinely believes his father is an evil shapeshifting kidnapper who’s threatening his little boy, how culpable is he for killing him?

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The Judgement

Opinions were divided on the fate of the paranoid patricide, now charged with second-degree murder and a breach of probation. On the one hand, he had a proven track record of mental illness which matched up to the symptoms on show in that tumultuous month.

On the other hand, the prosecutors were able to display the lengths to which Joshua had gone to cover up the crime scene, suggesting a degree of rational comprehension. Sure, he made a mess of the cleanup by leaving bloody clothes everywhere (his underwear was still bloodstained when he went to the police station), but loading a body into a tractor takes a fair bit of forethought and execution. 

Joshua maintained that he had heard voices instructing him to do so, and wanted to protect his son from the shock of seeing his dead grandpa (doppelgänger or no doppelgänger). Throughout the whole thing, he pleaded not guilty. 

After psychologist Dr. Mansfield Mela examined Joshua at the Forensic Unit of Saskatchewan Hospital in July 2018, he built a deeper profile of the delusions to present to the courts. The root of it all was the worries of retaliation from some shadowy criminal organization he believed was connected to his old drug contacts — not a completely absurd idea. 

But as is often the case with this kind of thing when left unchecked, the fiction Joshua’s troubled mind was building spiraled way out of control. By the time he shot his father, it encompassed all the bizarre elements we‘ve already seen, like TV messages and government clones. The official diagnosis presented to the courts was schizophrenia spectrum disorder (but you probably already guessed as much).

These proceedings continued for around 2 and a half years at the Battleford Court House. Then in February of this year, Joshua Tucker was found not criminally responsible for the murder of his father. Judge G. A. Meschishnick returned the decision: 

“Based on the opinions of the Forensic Psychiatrists and the Crown’s admission I am satisfied that the conditions that Joshua claims to have suffered from satisfy the legal test for disease of the mind. […] Post offence conduct of a person suffering from a disease of the mind may not be rational. Nor is conduct after the incident conclusive evidence of whether a person had an operating mind capable of rational thought at the time of the incident.”

In short: he was inhabiting a totally different reality at the time, the cleanup doesn’t negate his delusions, and should be dealt with as an extremely sick patient, rather than a criminal. As a result, Joshua was returned to the mental ward at Saskatchewan Hospital, to be held for an undetermined length of time. 

Repair costs for the ceiling plaster have presumably skyrocketed since his readmission.

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Wrap-up

And that’s about as happy an ending as we can hope for from such a sad story. By all accounts Joshua and his adoptive father had a loving relationship throughout their 27 years together, but a spiral into paranoid delusion ultimately brought that to a horrific end. Ultimately, both men were victims of Joshua’s undiagnosed struggle with schizophrenia.

If you’re wondering why I didn’t just come out and tell you about his condition right away, 1: nobody will publish my thriller novels so I need an outlet, and 2: it’s one thing to judge a person’s delusions from afar, but another thing entirely to view them from the inside: to try to imagine what it’s like for your world to be so utterly consumed by your fears that they totally supplant reality. 

Anyone in that situation deserves our sympathy first and foremost. The human brain is a fragile, messy piece of meaty tech, which can go haywire in a million different ways; most of us have probably experienced this to some degree in our lives. As always, empathy and understanding are key to getting us back on track. 

On a very, very related note: if any of Joshua’s symptoms sound familiar to you — from your own experience or that of  anyone you know — best to get help as soon as possible. We’ll leave a link to some resources down below. 

As for Joshua Tucker, we wish him the best in his recovery. I can’t imagine how tough it will be coming to terms with the events of that night, but here’s hoping he can find some sort of resolution.

Dismembered Appendices

1. Mistaking your loved one for an impostor is known as Capgras Syndrome, and it’s actually quite common in the world of true crime. Consider the case of Blazej Kot, a Kiwi who killed his wife in 2010 in the belief she was an imposter. Or Jeremiah Wright from New Orleans, who in 2014 dismembered his disabled son, purportedly in the belief he was dismantling a CPR dummy!

Credits

https://www.mhanational.org/conditions/schizophrenia

https://thestarphoenix.com/

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