Living With A Killer
Melissa Moore is a crime relationship expert and the author of "Shattered Silence," a book that details her journey of growing up in the hands of a serial killer.
What makes the book chilling is that the serial killer, Keith Jespersen, is Melissa's father. Jespersen, a Canadian-born American from Chilliwack, British Columbia, was sentenced to four life sentences after killing eight women between 1990 to 1995 in five different states.
Jespersen was a long-haul truck driver. His route took him from Washington state to Florida, which gave him plenty of opportunity to seek out his victims. He usually met them in coffee shops or truck stops. After befriending them, he sexually assaulted and strangled them.
In his quest for attention and making sure he got credit for his murders, Jespersen sent anonymous letters to detectives and media outlets detailing the killings. He signed the letters with a happy face, which lead to his nickname: The Happy Face Killer.
But Melissa's relationship and memories of her father growing up weren't always happy.
"As a young girl, my relationship with my father was different. I was afraid of him because I would see what he would do to stray animals," says Melissa. "He would torture them."
After her parents separated in 1990, Melissa says her father grew even stranger. She lived primarily with her mother, but she occasionally visited her dad.
"In the summer of 1991, when we went to visit him, he started to say things I didn't understand,” Melissa says. “He started talking about crimes and assaults. That's when I started feeling more and more uncomfortable being around my father."
Melissa began to suspect that her father was up to no good, but she was young and never imagined that he was killing women when he wasn't with her.
I can't believe this could be possible. Then I remembered him strangling the cats. Then I said, 'it's possible.'
Then in April 1994, Melissa's mom sat her down and told her that her father had been arrested for the murder of Julie Ann Winningham.
“When I heard the news that he killed Julie, it was devastating,” recalls Melissa. "I can't believe this could be possible. Then I remembered him strangling the cats. Then I said, ‘it's possible.’"
It wasn't until Jespersen’s trial began and he stood in court detailing the other murders, did Melissa learn that her father was a serial killer.
Melissa struggled after her dad went to prison. Life was hard.
"Soon after my father was in the local press, the parents of my friends didn't want their kids around me anymore."
Melissa eventually went off to college and started to build a new life for herself. She has decided to speak out and use her past experience as a tool to help others.
A couple of years ago, Melissa decided it was time to share her story with the rest of the world. She started writing her story, which would eventually become "Shattered Silence."
"My hope for the book was to make someone else know that they're not alone -- that there's someone out there that can relate to them,” she says.
“Shattered Silence” is just one way Melissa’s helping other victims. She also consults with the FBI on certain serial killers' cases, providing them with some insight into the mind of an unknown killer they may be trying to track down.
She is also a motivational speaker and is instrumental in raising funds for battered women's shelters.
“I notice that the women on the street are easy prey for serial killers, and I want to educate them and encourage them to change their life, to build up their self-worth, because a lot of them are broken down and in the same place the victims that my father took,” she said. "I know my dad took so many lives away; I hope that I can rescue women.”