The phone rang at 6:30 that evening , I walked over to answer it. “Yeah", I answered. After being debriefed of the situation, I hurriedly jumped in my car and sped to the hospital. A family had been poisoned during their dinner. The doctor explained to me that their chili had been spiked with rat poison, and that they were in critical condition. I asked if the entire family had been affected and the doctor replied “No, their daughter wasn’t.” The next morning I went to speak with her. She was staying with her grandparents at the time. When I first began to ask her questions, she burst into tears and asked if they were gonna be okay. “The doctors are trying their best to flush out the poison, but they’re confident that they’ll make it.” I replied. “So are you accusing me of poisoning them” She asked. “No, just doing my job as a detective”, I assured her. As the conversation went on, she talked about how much she loved her parents and siblings. Finally, I asked her what happened. She, dead serious, replied “Barney told me to hurt them”. I was immediately thinking, what nineteen year old girl would watch an old Barney tape ?. Was she telling the truth, or just trying to build up a case for an insanity plea? Nevertheless, she gave me the tape.

It looked like any other tape that I’d seen, with the “Barney and Friends” logo on it. I had to dig out an old VCR and set it up to play it. The tape, despite some scratches on the film due to age, played beautifully. It seemed like any other one of videos of the show. Then the ending came, it showed Barney staring directly at the screen talking in his happy go lucky voice “You’re a true fan of mine aren’t you”, he asked. “Well, the rest of your family doesn’t like me at all” “Make them pay with their lives”. Then he laughed in his normal laugh. I was horrified, in the first time in ten years as a detective, that a beloved children’s character could be so evil. After having the tapes checked out, it was determined that they hadn’t been altered in any way, another call came in, this time a car wreck. The brake lines had been cut, resulting in the car going down a hill and crashing into a gas pump, Then the car exploded, killing all aborad and few bystanders. The officers had determined that a road flare had been dropped into the pool of gas by the daughter, who had climbed out to “get help”. After interrogating her, she gave me a similar story about Barney telling her to kill her family.  Two similar stories. This had to be stopped.

After doing a little digging online, I found that an odds-and-ends store was selling old Barney and Friends tapes at rock bottom prices, even offering to convert them to DVD for free after purchase. The owner of the store was a man named Martin. He was selling them on Amazon, Ebay, among other sites. After getting the address, I set out to Toledo to confront him. As I drove there, the radio was clogged with stories of families being attacked in various ways across the country, all giving the same story about “evil Barney”. One way or another, I was going to stop him.

When I got to his house, The first thing I did was notify the police of why I was there and where the guy’s address was. I walked to the door “Police, I need to ask you a few questions.” I could hear him moving around inside. “One more time, open the door” He refused. So I kicked the door in, the guy was reaching for something, With my gun on him, I yelled “Drop it and put your hands in the air!” He compiled and I proceeded to cuff him. In a back room, I hit paydirt: a video camera had been set up, a full body Barney costume, a voice changer set to Barney’s voice, and a video splicing tool. As well as several piles of old tapes. “I’ve been doing this for years”, Martin bragged, “Ever since that bitch of my ex wife left me back in 1995. Took my two daughters with her. So I bought all of this and sent them a special Barney tape and did what good ol’ daddy wanted them to do. And do you know what the best part is detective, is that they got off. Then I realized that I could influence children across the nation with these tapes. My revenge will be complete when all children kill their ungrateful families. Go ahead, arrest me, I’ll plead insanity and get sent to some ward. And in a few years, I’ll be back here to continue my work”. With that I put my pistol to his head and pulled the trigger. It was the only option that I had left, as he would have gotten off and started this terrible cycle again. As the police arrived, I told them what had happened. I found a mailing list and sent out an email to Amazon and Ebay and asked them to stop selling the videos. I then sent out another email to other potential customers to immediately destroy the tapes when they arrived.  

It took us up to five years but we got most of the tapes, the rest were destroyed. Despite all of Martin’s efforts, his twisted plans for revenge had been stopped. Case closed.

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