The Rage of Jonathan Baker

C. B. Butler


From the Journal News of Litchfield, IL, Monday, June 6, 1983


Tragedy struck a neighborhood baseball field yesterday afternoon in Litchfield. Two local Baptist churches were co-hosting tryouts for their Little League baseball teams when a series of explosions erupted, resulting in the deaths of one adult and four children. At least twenty others were being treated at St. Francis Hospital in Litchfield and one child was flown to St. Louis Children’s Hospital for major injuries. The other injuries were listed from critical to non-life-threatening.

Police and firefighters are still investigating the source of the explosion, but it is believed at this time that one of the vehicles in the parking lot was the origin. Many of the investigators speculated that a gas line could have leaked and ignited, setting off a chain reaction. At least seven vehicles were damaged in the explosion, most of them completely burnt. Investigators would not speculate at this time whether arson or foul play was involved.

“All I remember is that Baker kid’s dad was arguing with one of the coaches and one of the other parents. He looked like he was getting ready to fight. He grabbed his son and was heading for the parking lot when it happened. I only remember a bright light and then I was falling backwards off the bleachers,” said Gerald Kincaid of Hillsboro, whose five-year old son was not injured in the blast.

“A lot of us parents were standing up because we thought Michael Baker and Gary Nash were going to start fighting,” said Carrie Green of Litchfield. “We weren’t even sure what the argument was about. But Michael had his hand around his son’s arm. The little boy was trying his best to get away and not to cry. Eventually he stormed off and we figured he was going to leave. I relaxed a bit and turned to one of the other parents to talk about it. Then I heard and felt the explosion at the same time. When I turned around, there was a massive fire ball rising over the far side of the field and all the people on that side were either on the ground or had fallen off the bleachers. I’m just glad my son was on the far bench and wasn’t hurt, but I am sorry for the other kids who were not so lucky. I ask you all to pray for them.”

A prayer service will be held tonight at First Baptist Church at 608 North Van Buren Street and tomorrow at St. Francis Baptist Church at 1025 East Ryder Street. Both services begin at 7:00 and are open to the community. Donations to the victims are requested by both congregations and will be accepted at the services.


From the Saint Louis Post Dispatch, Monday, April 19, 1993:


Ilse Brigham, 16, of Ferguson, was killed yesterday afternoon, at approximately 3:00 PM when her mother’s 1987 Chevrolet Celebrity ran off of MacArthur Blvd and collided with a tree. No one else was hurt in the accident.

Shortly thereafter, Gregory Ross, 48, was taken into custody by Ferguson police. Mr. Ross is the husband of Rosita Ross, Ilse’s mother. Sergeant Jack Harrison has stated that an investigation of the crash led officers to believe that the brake lines of Mrs. Ross’ car had been tampered with and that the evidence led to Mr. Ross himself. He is being held in custody while awaiting charges.


From Joseph Ahl’s Editorial in the Saint Louis Post Dispatch, Friday, April 30, 1993:


Dellwood and Saint Louis County Police, along with the help of the local FBI offices, are investigating the incident that took place Monday at McGuire High School in the town of Dellwood in North Saint Louis County. Two sophomore and three freshman students were found shot to death after the school was evacuated around ten o’ clock Monday morning. The cause of death in every instance was initially ruled as suicide. However, one other sophomore student is being held in juvenile detention, presumably as a key witness and possible accomplice to the mass suicides. Several other students interviewed off the record by this reporter have admitted that the student being held was completely responsible for the shooting deaths. The names of the students questioned are withheld due to their status as minors.

“He did it. He held us all hostage and he talked them all into killing themselves.” These are the nearly incoherent words of a very scared young lady that opened up to me as I arrived on the scene.

A young man nearby backed up her admission. “He did it, alright. I don’t know how to explain it. He had us all in some kind of trance or something. We couldn’t move.” The young man, who looked to be an athlete with the typical tough demeanor, started to break down at this point. “I couldn’t think straight. It was like he was in my head.” The young lady nodded in agreement. She was also becoming quite emotional. The young man continued his rhetoric. “I actually wanted them to do it. I wanted them to do it, and they did.”

I did not have to ask this young man what he meant by ‘do it.’ I was shocked speechless myself. The two students embraced, both of them crying. The young man broke the embrace and faced me, a hard look now in his moist eyes. “I hated them, do you understand that? I hated them for what they all did to him. I hated them and now they’re all dead.”

The police officers arriving on the scene must have heard him yelling, because they soon approached and shooed me off. I was again shocked speechless. I did not know how to report this bizarre story, but now you have it, as incomplete as it is.

While I searched among the survivors, looking for eyewitness accounts, many parents were arriving on the scene, blocking the streets with their stalled cars while searching for their sons or daughters. No one else would stop to be questioned. The police officers I eventually encountered would also not comment, but they all looked as shell-shocked as I felt.

During later interviews and press releases, it was revealed that the five deceased students, four boys and one girl, had all died from gunshot wounds to the head. Their ages ranged from fifteen-to-sixteen. It was alleged that the juvenile being held in detention had somehow trapped all of the students in their third period English class and had talked the five victims into committing suicide.

The lone security guard of the school, Franklin Wilkinson, was named as a key witness. He had heard the gunshots and ordered the evacuation of the school, along with principal Jillian Grayle and Vice Principal George Hargensen. Mr. Wilkinson and Mr. Hargensen had determined which class the shots had come from and had forced their way in while Mrs. Grayle coordinated the evacuation and kept in contact with local police.

Mr. Wilkinson admits that he took down the alleged perpetrator of the crime due to the fact the young man was holding a pistol and shouting at the other students in the room. He held down the boy briefly while Mr. Hargensen evacuated the class and they waited for police to arrive.

All five students were pronounced dead at the scene by the paramedics who arrived shortly after police.


From Joseph Ahl’s Editorial in the Saint Louis Post Dispatch, Sunday May 2, 1993:


The tragedy that took place last Monday at McGuire High School in the town of Dellwood continues to grow yet more mysterious and confusing. On the same day the mass suicide occurred at the school, two adults and one juvenile were found dead of an alleged murder/suicide in their Dellwood home, less than a mile from the school. The adults were identified as Michael Baker, 44, Georgina Baker, 38, and the juvenile was later identified as their son, Mathew Baker, 13. After a police investigation, it was determined that Georgina and Mathew Baker were strangled to death by Michael Baker before he took his own life via gunshot wound through the roof of the mouth.

Police verified Saturday that the Bakers also had an older son who had not yet been identified due to his status as a minor. Police had been searching for this other son for two days before realizing he was already in their custody. Jonathan Baker, 15, was being held in Juvenile Detention for his alleged role in the suicides of five students at McGuire High the same day police discovered the bodies of his parents and younger brother.

It is now alleged that the two incidents are related. Did the young Mr. Baker convince first his father and then his classmates to commit murder/suicide? It would appear so, at least to this reporter.


From Joseph Ahl’s Editorial in the Saint Louis Post Dispatch, Tuesday, May 4, 1993:


On Monday, April 26, at approximately 10:20 AM, several shots rang out from Room 213 at McGuire High School in the North St. Louis suburb of Dellwood. As students, teachers and administrators evacuated the school, security officer Frank Wilkinson and Vice Principal George Hargensen forced their way into the room to find four young men and one young woman dead. All but one of the students were standing with their backs to the walls and windows of the classroom, facing the carnage. The teacher, Mrs. Regina Victor, was hiding underneath her desk.

The only living student not standing in the rows was Sophomore Jonathan Baker, a recent transplant from Litchfield, Illinois. Mr. Baker was taken into police custody after testimony from Mr. Wilkinson.

This reporter was able to interview two students briefly before police and teachers intervened. Both students acknowledged that they were in the classroom with Jonathan Baker and the deceased students and verified that Mr. Baker had indeed been responsible for the suicides.

Later that same afternoon, two police officers went to the home of Mr. Baker, about one mile away from the school, in an attempt to speak to his parents about the incident. Despite the lone family vehicle parked in front of the townhouse, they did not receive a response from anyone in the home after multiple attempts. After ascertaining that neither Michael nor Georgina Baker had reported for work that day, or the evening before (Georgina Baker worked overnights at Christian Northeast Hospital), and their youngest son Mathew had not been present at classes at Francis North Middle School, officers obtained a search warrant to enter the rental property on Young Drive. When they entered, they found quite a grim scene.

Georgina and Mathew Baker were found in the master bedroom on the second floor, strangled to death. Investigators later reported that Mathew had been strangled in his own bed and then his body had later been placed next to his mother’s. They were not able to determine who had been murdered first.

Michael Baker, after allegedly murdering his wife and youngest son, had then gone to his basement workshop, where he had allegedly taken his own life with a pistol shot to the head. The investigators reported that Mr. Baker had placed the gun inside of his mouth, likely muffling the shot enough that it could not be heard by neighbors. The neighbors on either side were questioned by police and none of them reported hearing anything like a gunshot. The time of death was placed at approximately midnight on the night of Sunday, April 25.

Investigators began to piece together the two incidents and knew there was no coincidence. An anonymous source within the St Louis County Police Department told me that ‘we knew that this boy had somehow been responsible. After learning of both incidents occurring within hours of each other and after all the testimony from students, teachers and the security officer, we knew he was guilty. We just didn’t how he did it.’

Most of my official inquiries into the case have gone unanswered. Jonathan Baker is receiving extra attention as he is a minor. Captain Gary Morton of the Saint Louis County Police is heading the investigation. He has held two press conferences in which he has divulged information about the case, while withholding the names of the minors involved.

The two deceased sophomores were students in Ms. Victor’s English class along with Baker. The three freshmen students all had separate classes elsewhere in the building. Students who were held hostage in the class have said that the three freshmen all entered the class simultaneously about ten minutes in. When Ms. Victor asked them what they were doing in her class, they refused to answer. That was when Jonathan Baker began speaking. Most of the students could not recall exactly what was said, but they were somehow convinced to move their chairs and desks to the outside of the room, around the walls. Many of them had also admitted to investigators that although they knew nothing of the students who had interrupted their class, they suddenly had strong feelings against them and wanted them all to die.

Captain Morton’s investigators learned that Jonathan Baker had accused the five victims of murdering his girlfriend, Ilse Brigham, 16, of Ferguson. Ms. Brigham had indeed been killed in a car accident on April 18. Police had ruled foul play in Ms. Brigham’s death after they found the brake lines to her Chevrolet Celebrity had been tampered with. Her stepfather, Gregory Ross, was still under investigation by police for the incident.

Teachers and other students had admitted to investigators that at least a couple of the murdered students had had run-ins with Ms. Brigham over the school year. One of the students had been disciplined for referring to Ms. Brigham as a ‘dyke’. It is speculated that he and the others had also bullied Mr. Baker and referred to him often as a ‘fag’. It was also speculated that Baker and Brigham were both homosexual (or possibly bisexual) and confided in each other in their differences rather than being involved in an authentic, romantic relationship.

Jonathan Baker had been treated in the early spring for a couple of facial bruises by the principal, Mrs. Jillian Grayle, who has a background in first aid. Mrs. Grayle said that Baker would never admit who had struck him, but she assumed that it had been another student. Baker would only say that he had been jumped from behind and could not identify the culprit.

Captain Morton is working under the assumption that Baker forced the victims to commit suicide to get revenge for the death of Ms. Brigham. It is still unknown by all parties involved how Jonathan Baker first lured the three Freshmen into the English class and then convinced them to commit suicide, along with the two Sophomores already in the class with him.


From the Saint Louis Post Dispatch, Wednesday, August 25, 1993


Court hearings on the massacre at McGuire High School on April 26 began yesterday morning at Saint Louis County Court in Clayton. Although a minor at 16, Jonathan Baker, the alleged perpetrator of the murders, is being charged as an adult with first degree murder by prosecutor Harold Nolan. Both Mr. Nolan and the Saint Louis County police department claim that Mr. Baker used psychological tactics to force his father to murder his mother and younger brother, and the five students at McGuire to commit suicide in front of him and the other students in the room. Mr. Nolan is also going through the process of bringing charges against the juvenile for the possession of a firearm and holding the surviving students and the teacher, Mrs. Regina Victor, hostage. Mrs. Victor has since died at the age of 71 from former health problems including a stroke at the age of 66.


From the Saint Louis Post Dispatch, Wednesday, February 2, 1994


After hearings that have lasted close to six months, Jonathan Baker, 16, of Dellwood, Mo, has been released to the care of Dr. Ralph White of Kirkwood Home Psychiatric Hospital in Kirkwood, MO. First Circuit Judge Susan King has ruled Mr. Baker ‘not guilty by reason of insanity’ after taking testimony by several key witnesses, including Dr. White himself. Dr. White was the only physician, court-appointed or otherwise, to examine Mr. Baker in the eight months-plus he was in juvenile detention. Other witnesses who spoke on behalf of Mr. Baker included his aunt and uncle, Mr. And Mrs. Thomas Snell of Litchfield, IL, and the director of the juvenile detention where Baker was incarcerated, Mrs. Patricia Fish. 

The families of the five victims in the April 26 massacre were understandably upset, and several of them were shouting for appeals and lawsuits. However, due to his status as a minor and the judge’s ruling in the case, it is unlikely that any further legal action will be taken against Mr. Baker. It is more likely that he will spend the majority of his life in the psychiatric facility, or one like it.


From the Saint Louis Post Dispatch, Friday, June 3, 2016


The Kirkwood Home Psychiatric Hospital was completely destroyed in a massive fire yesterday morning, killing most of the residents and physicians, nurses and other employees on staff. Kirkwood Fire Chief Vince Quillan said he and his team were investigating the scene to locate the source of the blaze. By the time firefighters, paramedics and police arrived on the scene, around 11 o’clock, much of the building was ablaze and only a few people could be evacuated or rescued. Those who were rescued were rushed to area hospitals for various injuries.

A death toll could not be reached at this time, but records indicate the facility housed around 50 residents. Speculations put the number of staff anywhere from 35 to 70.

The hospital had been erected in 1966 and had housed various patients suffering from mental illnesses since. Lately, the administrator and CEO of the facility, Dr. Andrew Chamberlain, had been pleading with lawmakers in both Saint Louis County and in Jefferson City to allocate funds to repair the building and grounds. It had been many years since extra funding had been available for the state-run facility and budgets had been continuously cut for over a decade. Dr. Chamberlain and other members of the board of directors had worked diligently to raise extra funds via charity events and donor drives.


From an email retrieved from the account of Dr. Andrew Chamberlain, administrator and Chief Executive Officer of Kirkwood Home Psychiatric Hospital


Hello, Dr. Chamberlain.

My name is Stephen Taylor. I am a freelance writer specializing in paranormal activities and unexplained phenomena. I have published multiple articles and three books on the subject, ranging in topic from telekinesis to trans-human experimentation to poltergeists. You can click on the link below for a sample of my writings if you wish.

I am writing today to request an interview with you and one of your patients. I know the patient in question is rather controversial and you will probably hesitate, considering the nature of my work. But I assure you the interview will remain completely professional and I will treat the subject with complete and total respect.

I would like to interview Mr. Jonathan Baker about the incidents on April 25 and 26, 1993. I am planning a book about Mr. Baker and his unusual abilities and I believe the opportunity to get first-hand accounts from Mr. Baker himself will be of great benefit.

I also think the opportunity to interview Mr. Baker would benefit your organization as well. I am sure you are not necessarily seeking publicity of any kind, but my book could bring recognition to the facility, yourself and your staff. I have read several accounts that the building that houses the hospital needs quite a lot of repairs and upgrades and funds are scarce. With my book about Mr. Baker and the incident twenty-three years ago, along with any articles I could supplement the book with, I could help bring about potential new donors and hopefully get the funding you need for the upgrades.

I have included all of my contact information below the link to my website. I hope to hear from you soon, and to be meeting you soon as well.


Stephen Taylor


From the email account of Dr. Andrew Chamberlain, administrator and Chief Executive Officer of Kirkwood Home Psychiatric Hospital


Mr. Taylor,

After much deliberation among my executive staff and I, we have decided to let you conduct the interview with Jon. We do have several conditions, though. One, I will have to meet you here at the hospital and assure myself that you are indeed courteous and professional enough to conduct an interview with a patient of a psychiatric facility.

Two, you need to remember at all times that Jon is still grief stricken about the loss of his parents and brother, as well as his classmates. Yes, I know that he was ultimately responsible for their deaths, but he was under an extreme amount of pressure at the time and did not understand these so-called ‘abilities’ that he possessed.

Three, I will be sitting in on the interview with you and Jon. If, at any time, Jon gets overwhelmed or upset during the interview, I will call it off, no exceptions.

If you agree to these conditions, please call my assistant at the number listed below to set up a date and time.

Dr. Chamberlain.


From the Lincoln (Nebraska) Journal Star, Saturday, June 11, 2016


The family of Stephen Taylor has confirmed with reporters and police that Mr. Taylor was one of the victims of the explosion and fire that killed dozens at the Kirkwood Home Psychiatric Hospital in Kirkwood, MO on June 2.

Mr. Taylor, 37, was a freelance writer who had contributed to several publications, including Time, Reader’s Digest, True Crime and this newspaper. He has also published three books on paranormal events and one novel. His wife, Vicki Taylor, has said that her husband had traveled to St. Louis on Wednesday, June 1 to conduct research and interviews on the event that took place in Dellwood, MO in April, 1993. Five students committed suicide that day, along with Jonathan Baker’s father Michael, who had murdered his wife and younger son before committing suicide the night before the school suicides. Investigators officially concluded that Jonathan Baker, 15 at the time, had been responsible for all of the deaths. He was committed to the psychiatric hospital in the winter of 1994 and has been a resident there since.

Mrs. Taylor also confirmed that her husband was not only conducting the interviews and research for a book he was planning to write about the incident, but that his older sister Christina had been one of the students murdered by Baker. She said he had ‘always been obsessed with the case’ and had planned on meeting the man responsible someday. Stephen Taylor’s family had moved from Ferguson, Missouri to Lincoln, Nebraska just weeks after Christina, 16, had been killed.

Mr. Taylor leaves behind his wife, two sons and one daughter.

Jonathan Baker, now 39, is still missing from the hospital that was destroyed last week. He was one of the few survivors. St. Louis and Missouri State Police, with the help of the FBI, have been searching for him throughout the area.





C. B. Butler writes (mostly) speculative fiction from the suburbs of Saint Louis. He has previously been published in Page & Spine Fiction Showcase and Fifty-Word Stories. He is currently working on his fourth novel.