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Jordan Adam CRIADO





Classification: Mass murderer
Characteristics: After learning his wife had spent the night with another man
Number of victims: 5
Date of murders: July 18, 2011
Date of arrest: Same day (suicide attempt)
Date of birth: 1960
Victims profile: His wife, Tabash Paige-Criado, 30, and their four children, Elijah, 7, Isaac, 6, Andrew, 5, and Aurora, 2
Method of murder: Stabbing with knife - Smothering
Location: Medford, Jackson County, Oregon, USA
Status: Sentenced to life in prison without parole on April 14, 2013

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Medford man who killed family, torched home gets life without parole

April 15, 2013

MEDFORD A 53-year-old Oregon man has been sentenced to life in prison without parole for killing his wife and four young children.

In a tearful and rambling statement on Monday, Jordan Adam Criado of Medford maintained that he had only killed his wife after she killed the children.

But Jackson County Circuit Judge Lorenzo Mejia told the defendant he was delusional, and the evidence was overwhelming that he had killed his entire family on July 18, 2011, and set fire to the house after learning his wife had spent the night with another man.

"Maybe you can't admit to yourself that you killed them, but that is clearly what happened," Mejia said. "You dishonor the memory of how good a father you were and dishonor the memory of your children by your insistence that she killed them."

Prosecutors agreed not to seek the death penalty after Criado entered what are known as Alford guilty pleas to five counts of aggravated murder and one of arson. That means he did not admit guilt, but acknowledged there was enough evidence to convict him. The judge added 90 months for arson to be served concurrently with the five life sentences.

After sentencing, District Attorney Beth Heckert released the first detailed account of the evidence against Criado.

It said that firefighters called to the house had to break in, because the front door was deadbolted, with a burning couch in front of it, and a back sliding door was blocked by a wooden dowel. One firefighter told investigators that when they found the unconscious Criado, he was holding a kitchen knife covered with blood that later turned out to be his own. The entire family was in the master bedroom, where one of four fires had been set.

Authorities said the evidence showed Criado gave the four children - Elijah, 7, Isaac, 6, Andrew, 5, and Aurora, 2 a large dose of melatonin to make them sleep, then sneaked up on his wife, Tabash Paige-Criado, 30, and stabbed her to death. There were no signs of a struggle. An autopsy showed she had been stabbed twice in the face, twice in the neck, and 10 times in the abdomen.

He killed each of the children, stabbing and smothering the boys, and smothering the girl, then carried them to the master bedroom, where he put two of them on the bed, and the other two on a mattress on the floor next to their mother.

He left the knife he used on his wife on a bunk bed in the kids' room, then he went around the house starting fires and splashing cooking oil on the walls and the bodies his wife and children to help them burn, authorities said.

Evidence showed Criado cut his wrists in attempt to kill himself, but firefighters were able to revive him after taking him from the burning house. He spent months unconscious from smoke inhalation in a hospital, and was arrested immediately upon discharge.

Criado told authorities that when his wife came home, she told him she had woken up in a man's bed and believed she had been drugged. He went into the back yard to fix a car, and later felt something was not right. When he went into the house he saw flames, and his wife standing over the dead children with a knife.

Heckert said Criado had worked at a local factory after moving to Southern Oregon from California, but lost his job and the family was evicted from a house in Central Point. All the children had special needs, and Paige-Criado was treated for bipolar disorder. She had been telling her husband for some time she wanted a divorce.

Dressed in a black suit, Paige-Criado's father, Willie Johnson, said he was a victim of domestic violence several times over, including the murders of his two sisters. He added that Craido was not himself to blame, but the California prison system, where he did time for molesting his first wife's daughters.

"Jordan wasn't released from prison," Johnson said. "Jordan was unleashed on society."

While Criado averted his gaze, Johnson said he hoped his son-in-law would do something good in prison to make up for his crimes.


Medford man agrees to plea deal in slaying of wife, children

March 19, 2013

MEDFORD, Ore. Sobbing and beating his chest in court Tuesday, a Southern Oregon man admitted that he killed his wife in July 2011 after she came home from being out all night, but blamed her for killing their four young children.

However, Jordan Adam Criado, 53, of Medford, entered what's known as an Alford guilty plea to four counts of aggravated murder and one of arson. That means that while he does not admit guilt, he acknowledged there was enough evidence to convict him. In return, prosecutors will not pursue a death sentence, and will recommend life in prison without parole.

"For my wife, Tabasha, I know I have killed her, and I am sorry for that," said Criado, dressed in an orange jail smock and pants, his shoulder-length dark hair hanging in his face. "My son, Elijah, I did not kill him."

"I kill my wife, because she kill my babies. My Elijah, my Isaac, my Andrew, my babies," he sobbed in heavily accented English, thumping his chest with the points of stiff fingers on the name of each child. Turning to District Attorney Beth Heckert, he went on, "My babies. My babies. My babies."

Judge Lorenzo Mejia accepted the pleas, telling Criado that the evidence against him was overwhelming.

Sentencing was set for April 15. Heckert said the evidence against Criado will come out then.

Tabasha Paige-Criado, 30, was out all night, and appeared completely at ease in a security video from a convenience store, where police picked her up and gave her a ride home after Criado reported her missing. She had been posting on her Facebook page that while she loved her children Elijah, 7; Isaac, 6; Andrew, 5, and Aurora, 2 she could not stand "my hubby."

Hours later, firefighters pulled all five members of the family from their burning house and tried to revive them on the front lawn as bystanders watched, but Criado was the only one to survive. He lay unconscious for nearly three weeks from smoke inhalation and was arrested when hospital staffed discharged him in a wheelchair. Authorities said Paige-Criado and three of the children were stabbed. Autopsies list the probable cause of death for all four children as smoke inhalation. Authorities said they found multiple knives, and fires had been started throughout the house, which has since been torn down.

Wally Johnson, Paige-Criado's biological father, sat silently in court, dressed all in black, but had nothing to say after the pleas were entered.

The case marked the highest number of murder victims in a single case in Jackson County history, said Police Chief Tim George.

"People did a superhuman effort to revive people," he said. "Unfortunately, the only survivor was the suspect. You never get over it. People who worked that case put their heart and soul into it. It scarred a community."

Friends and family said Paige-Criado met her husband at a community college in Bakersfield, Calif., after getting out of the Navy. She married him despite knowing he had been sentenced to 20 years in prison for molesting three girls under the age of 14 in Sacramento County. Criado moved his family to Oregon to get away from his wife's family. She went to another local community college, and he worked out of his home fixing cars, neighbors said.


Not guilty pleas entered for Jordan Criado of Medford, accused of killing family and setting fire to house

December 13, 2011

MEDFORD -- His gaze on the floor and his handcuffed hands in his lap, a Southern Oregon man sat silently Tuesday while a judge entered not guilty pleas to charges the man murdered his wife and four young children last summer and set fire to their house.

Dressed in orange jail garb, Jordan Criado, 51, appeared by video from jail in Jackson County Circuit Court in Medford. His shoulder-length hair was disheveled, and his grey beard rested on his chest. His only communication was to nod when asked by the judge if he could hear.

After a conference in chambers, defense attorney Geoff Gokey told Judge Lorenzo Mejia in court that Criado was "not able to enter a plea at this time." Asked why after the brief hearing, Gokey replied, "I can't say."

Criado is accused of stabbing his wife, 30-year-old Tabasha Paige-Criado, and two of the children, and setting multiple fires in their small Medford house in July.

Family and friends have said Paige-Criado, a student at the local community college, wanted a divorce.

A registered sex offender in California, Criado is being held on 24 counts of aggravated murder, which carry a potential death penalty, as well as felony murder, manslaughter and arson charges.

The many counts of aggravated murder are based on different theories of the crime. Twenty of them refer to multiple victims. Four are based on victims under the age of 14 -- Elijah, 7; Isaac, 6, Andrew, 5, and Aurora, 2. The felony murder counts are related to four counts of arson.

Mejia set a March 5 deadline for the defense to decide whether it will pursue a defense of not guilty by reason of insanity. Attorneys also will agree on a trial date then.

Active in social networking, Paige-Criado made it clear on Facebook that she loved her children and no longer wanted to be with her husband.

She met Criado at community college in Bakersfield, Calif., and married him despite knowing he had been convicted of molesting three girls in Sacramento County, Calif., family members have said. They said he moved his family to Oregon to get away from his wife's family, who disapproved of him.

Criado was pulled from the burning house with his wife and children. Firefighters worked to revive them on the front lawn, but only Criado survived. He spent nearly three weeks unconscious in a hospital after suffering smoke inhalation.

Criado was eventually released to police, who immediately arrested him. He has remained in jail without bail.

An autopsy listed Paige-Criado' cause of death as stab wounds to the neck and abdomen. The children all died of smoke inhalation, with stab wounds to the neck listed as an additional cause for Isaac and Andrew.


Medford family's 'domestic disaster' begins as one-alarm fire, unfolds into 'ugly scene'

By Kimberly A.C. Wilson - The Oregonian

July 23, 2011

Here is what disaster sounded like Monday morning, when what appeared to be an ordinary house fire in west Medford turned out to be the area's worst mass homicide: The clank of air tanks, the crack of a wood-paneled door pried open and the whoosh of a gasoline-powered fan pushing black smoke through a burning house. Fire sirens, air horns, idling diesel engines, the barks of startled dogs, and voices calling out, "Bring me another EMS bag!"

But in the moment, none of it registered.

"I don't recall any single sound," said Deputy Fire Chief Gordon Sletmoe, who was the first firefighter to arrive at what police would later describe as a domestic disaster: five members of a family stabbed and left to die in a burning house.

Firefighters pulled Tabasha Paige-Criado, 30, from the home, along with her three sons, Elijah, 7, Isaac, 6, and Andrew, 5, and her daughter Aurora, 2. All five were pronounced dead at a hospital.

Rescuers found her 51-year-old husband, Jordan Adam Criado, injured and unconscious, overcome by smoke. Unresponsive and in guarded condition on a ventilator at a local trauma center, Criado is under police guard, the only individual police have named as a "person of interest" in the killings.

The crime has unnerved Medford, the largest city in southern Oregon, with nearly 75,000 residents.

But what grew to a four-alarm, five-ambulance, 100-emergency worker response began much like any ordinary house fire call.

A neighbor first noticed the black smoke curling under the eaves of the tan bungalow on West 10th Street. It was a cool, damp morning and smoke gathered around the home's front door and poured from the chimney.

At 9:23 a.m., after getting no response to his knocking, a neighbor phoned 9-1-1.

Two community service officers from the Medford Police Department were a few blocks away when they heard the call. Forty-five seconds later, they were standing outside the one-story wood-frame house. No one answered their knocks.

They radioed in light smoke.

That Monday morning, all of the on-duty fire crews in Medford were at a monthly shift meeting about a mile away. So when the call sounded, Sletmoe, at his desk four blocks away, grabbed two radios and his cellphone and quickly drove over.

He arrived at the same moment as a patrol officer, at 9:27 a.m. Two minutes later, the first fire engine arrived and the second a minute later.

It was 9:31 a.m. when a neighbor told firefighters that he thought the family was home, so the routine house fire had the potential to be a rescue.

"We had some very vague neighbor reports that somebody might be inside," Sletmoe said. "I walked around the house."

He saw an officer looking through a partly open sliding glass door, calling out "Hello, hello, is anybody in there?"

No one replied.

Sletmoe called for an ambulance as a precaution.

Next door, an officer waved to Susan Coghill, who was drawn to her front window by the noise of sirens. Coghill spied the smoke seeping from eaves barely 10 feet from her house.

Her frightened dogs were barking when she evacuated.

Entering the house

Sletmoe coordinated the fire response as crews arrived. Geared up in an air pack and tan fireproof suit, one firefighter pried the door open. Nearly a dozen firefighters marched into the wall of smoke. Another put a fan inside the front door to push the black smoke out the back.

Within seconds, a firefighter inside radioed that they had found victims.

Sletmoe called for a second alarm, for additional fire units, and he ordered two more ambulances.

At roughly 9:39 a.m., firefighters began to emerge, arms filled with victims.

Most of them were bloody, Sletmoe said.

After the first victim, the others were discovered in rapid succession. They had visible stab wounds. Paige-Criado was stabbed in the neck, as were the two youngest boys.

"There was some hope for at least two of them because it looked like they got some pulse or life signs," said Medford Police Chief Tim George.

But hope was thin.

Sletmoe raised the response to a third and then a fourth alarm, needing more emergency medical technicians.

By 9:44, all six victims were on the lawn.

The house fire was no longer the focus.

Five victims lay sprawled across one side of the postage stamp front yard, each being tended by medics and rescuers administering CPR, putting in IVs, trying to manage the bleeding even as they worked to get oxygen into smoke-filled lungs. The sixth victim lay on the other side of the yard, also being treated.

This wasn't artistry, or poetry in motion, or chaos, said Sletmoe. "It was an ugly scene," he said. "Some of the kids are really small."

Fire engines blocked traffic for several blocks, but crowds gathered on the sidewalks to watch medics working feverishly over tiny bodies, dressed in pajamas stained with blood.

As the first supervisor at the scene, Sletmoe remained in charge of the fire operations. Tim Doney, deputy chief of police, handled the police side of what had evolved into a crime scene.

"Really, their training took over," said George.

After the last ambulance pulled away, it seemed a strange stillness descended.

"It looked like a van crash," Sletmoe said.

Pediatric kits and plastic caps and packs of gauze littered the grass. The door hung inward while the fan blew smoke through the interior and out into the deep, cluttered yard. The crowds of weeping neighbors swelled. The house fire still smoldered.

It felt as if the air had been let out of a balloon.

"When it all was over there was this lull," Sletmoe said.


Sletmoe and George called all the emergency workers onto the lawn for a real-time debriefing. A police chaplain lowered his head. They all did.

"We made a circle right there on the grass," said Sletmoe.

The supervisors each said a few words, thanking the crews for their efforts. "We told them to go take a shower, go get cleaned up, we were taking them out of service."

The fire commander and the police chief were following a protocol for taking care of first responders who must deal with the emotion and stress of caring for those injured and killed in a catastrophic event.

Sletmoe said emergency service managers recognized the need for such care beginning 30 years ago when baggage handlers who had to collect body parts after a midair plane crash over San Diego developed post-traumatic stress syndrome. Workers quit, committed suicide and teetered emotionally afterward.

"That was the turning point in American emergency services," Sletmoe said. George said 9/11 offered further lessons, saying it "made everyone stop and think, gosh, we've got to be ready."

An hour after wrapping up the scene Monday, emergency workers met for a "defusing" at Fire Station 6, a large group therapy session to share their experiences.

"No matter how it ended," Sletmoe said, "I wanted these guys to know that what they did was exactly the right thing to do."


Medford woman, two of her children were stabbed in neck, says autopsy report

July 21, 2011

MEDFORD  -- A Medford mother and two of her four children were stabbed in the neck before firefighters found them in their burning house on Monday morning, autopsy reports show.

The woman, Tabasha Paige-Criado, died from stab wounds to her neck and abdomen, Medford police Lt. Bob Hansen announced Thursday.

Autopsies list the probable cause of death for all four of the young children -- Elijah, 7; Isaac, 6; Andrew, 5; and Aurora, 2 -- as smoke inhalation, he said. Stab wounds to the neck are listed as an additional cause of death for two of the boys, Isaac and Andrew.

A final determination on the autopsy depends on toxicology tests, which may take several weeks.

Police said they believe Paige-Criado's husband and the children's father, Jordan Adam Criado, killed his family and went around the house setting fires in several locations.

Criado has not regained consciousness since firefighters carried all six family members out of the small single-story house in this southern Oregon city of about 75,000 and rescuers tried to revive them on the front lawn. He remained in guarded condition in a Medford hospital.

Police said they are waiting for Criado to recover before they arrest him.



Police to search Medford home where mom, kids were stabbed

July 19, 2011

MEDFORD -- Investigators were trying to determine what happened in the hours before a mother and her four children were pulled from a burning home and rescuers discovered they each had been stabbed.

Police believe the 51-year-old father, Jordan Adam Criado, stabbed them and set fire to the house, staying inside as it filled with smoke, said Medford police Chief Tim George. Criado, who was not charged Monday, was sedated in stable condition and under police watch after surviving the fire. 

His 30-year-old wife and children -- ages 2, 5, 6 and 7 -- also were rushed to the hospital, but died.

"The front yard looked like it was a plane crash or something, the people working on those folks," George said. "There were some heroic efforts on the part of police and fire personnel. My understanding is they were actually able to get a pulse on two of those children at the scene, but they eventually succumbed."

George said the number of victims was the highest of any slaying in the history of Medford, a city of about 75,000 in Oregon timber country. Police planned to search the house for more evidence Tuesday.

They said that hours before the fire, Tabasha Paige-Criado was reported missing by her husband. It was just before dawn Monday when he called authorities, and officers found her a couple hours later in the parking lot of a convenience store a few blocks away. They gave her a ride home.

A few hours after, she was dead, along with her children.

"They both met and conversed," George said of Criado and his wife after police brought her home. "What happened between 7:30 and 9:30 in roughly a two-hour time span is what we are trying to figure out right now."

At around 9 a.m., Calvin Kennedy said he and other neighbors saw smoke coming out of the house and contacted police. He pounded on the door as smoke came out of the eaves and windows and around the chimney.

Police who were first on the scene could not get in the front door with all the smoke. Firefighters, equipped with breathing devices, were able to get in and pull all six out and lay them on the front lawn, where teams of medics worked desperately to revive them. The fire was extinguished in minutes.

Jennifer Backes told the Medford Mail Tribune that all she could do was cry as she watched the rescue efforts.

The family was not well known on the street, located in a working class neighborhood of older homes, some undergoing renovation, a few blocks from downtown. Neighbors said they had moved in about a year ago.

A public records database shows that Criado has had addresses in Medford and the nearby cities of White City and Central Point since 2007. The records also show addresses in California -- Sacramento, Bakersfield and Salinas -- before 2000, but nothing in the intervening years.

One neighbor thought Criado, who spoke with an accent, was a single father. Others saw the mother walking with the children -- three boys aged 7, 6 and 5, and a little girl aged 2. The children's names were not released pending positive identification.

Oregon National Guard infantryman Chris Bennett said he met Criado about a year ago. Bennett was driving his Firebird down the street and it broke down in front of Criado's house. Criado suggested Bennett check the fuses. One was burned out. Criado gave Bennett a replacement fuse and refused payment.

Bennett said he was walking by the house late at night a couple weeks ago and he heard the couple arguing loudly.

"He just bluntly told her, 'Hey, you need to calm down, the kids are asleep,'" Bennett said.

"It was always her yelling," said Bennett's fiance, Shilo Croswell, 22. "Anytime we saw him it was just him and the kids. Then we saw this woman. She kept asking him who we were, and he was not responding because he was talking to us."

Kennedy said he never saw any trouble at the family's house.

"It's just sad," he said.



10th Street tragedy

A Medford mother and her four children are found with stab wounds in a burning house Monday; police hold father in connection with the deaths

By Damian Mann -

July 19, 2011

Police suspect a 51-year-old Medford father stabbed his wife and four children and set their house on fire Monday morning in the largest homicide case in Jackson County history.

Dozens of firefighters and police desperately tried to resuscitate 30-year-old Tabasha Paige-Criado and her four children, three boys ages 7, 6 and 5, and a 2-year-old girl before they were pronounced dead at local hospitals from stab wounds and smoke inhalation.

"When I first saw it, all I could do was cry," said Jennifer Backes, a 37-year-old neighbor, as she watched firefighters wearing respirator masks carry one victim after another out of the smoky house. Three or four firefighters and police performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation and gave oxygen to each victim on the front lawn of the home at 1027 W. 10th St.

Police are holding the father, Jordan Criado, in connection with the deaths. He was listed in critical condition from smoke inhalation Monday night at Rogue Valley Medical Center.

"It's a very sad case," said Medford police Chief Tim George. "At least in my 34 years of memory here, I can't remember five homicides at one time."

George said police don't believe there are additional suspects involved.

Fire officials are continuing to investigate the cause of the fire, which they believe was deliberately set. Autopsies will be performed on the mother and children, District Attorney Mark Huddleston said.

"It's an extremely tragic situation," he said, adding three attorneys would be placed on the case from his office.

The four children were transported to Rogue Valley Medical Center, the mother to Providence Medford Medical Center. They were pronounced dead within an hour and a half.

Police had responded to the house earlier that day, when the husband reported his wife missing at 5:30 a.m. Paige-Criado was located at the corner of 10th Street and Oakdale Avenue at about 7:45 a.m. George said she didn't indicate any concern for her safety and wanted to return to her home. George said the couple spoke briefly outside the house, and there didn't appear to be any indication that something was wrong.

"She didn't express any fear," George said. "They both talked. He seemed calm."

At 9:28 a.m., a neighbor called to report smoke seen inside the Criados' residence. Police arrived within a few minutes, but couldn't enter the house because of heavy smoke.

Medford firefighters used fans to clear the smoke and when they entered the home, they found the victims unconscious inside and called for backup as they realized the magnitude of the crisis. Up to 40 firefighters and additional responders from throughout Jackson County arrived on the scene.

Medford fire Deputy Chief Gordon Sletmoe said three to four responders worked on each victim. None appeared to regain consciousness as they were loaded into waiting ambulances.

But responders held out hope that some of the younger members of the family could be revived.

Police cordoned off the crime scene with yellow tape, but onlookers gathered just across the street on the sidewalk.

Calvin Kennedy, a 64-year-old neighbor, said he approached the house before the firefighters arrived, seeing smoke coming up under the chimney area. But he didn't notice any flames.

"I knocked on the door three or four times, then I called the fire department," he said, adding he didn't hear any sounds from a smoke detector.

Kennedy watched from across the street as responders worked on the family. "I just hope they're all right," Kennedy said.

Like most neighbors, Kennedy didn't notice any problems with the family, who had moved into the house less than a year ago.

"They're a very tight-knit family," Kennedy said.

Debra Gates, a 58-year-old neighbor, said she'd never seen any problems at the house.

"The dad was playing with the kids a lot in the front yard," she said. "I never saw the police come by."

But Nancy Hanon, who rents out a house next door to the victims, said she called Medford code enforcement recently to report trailers and other debris in the backyard.

"We just wanted them to clean up the mess," said the 68-year-old Eagle Point resident.

Hanon said a code enforcement officer called her to say the family was cooperative and appeared to want to comply with the cleanup.

Gloria Oliva said she knew the family only casually, saying she spoke to the mother and saw the children playing.

"I would never expect to see this," said the 40-year-old neighbor. "They're really in bad shape."

Looking on at one young boy being loaded into an ambulance, she said tearfully, "He's still not moving."

George said many of his officers who tried to resuscitate the family were sent home early today. They will be offered the chance to speak to a chaplain or talk to a counselor.

Medford police Lt. Bob Hansen said investigators likely won't know the full extent of stab wounds on the victims until today.

Other details will come out as the investigation continues, he said.

"We haven't been able to positively I.D. the children yet," Hansen said Monday evening. "The difficulty is we don't have parents to talk to."



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