At daybreak on January 6, 1986, a couple on a camping trip in the Mojave Desert set out for a stroll and never returned. The local sheriff’s office eventually discovered that Barry and Louise Berman had been murdered. As years passed and the double homicide remained unsolved, the Berman case spawned speculation and conjecture. Despite extensive investigation by local and federal authorities, to date there’s never been an arrest made in the case – let alone a conviction. But this doesn’t mean the crime is unsolvable.
After years of investigation, research, and interviews, Kari was able to link the Berman murders to a Cambodian sex crimes and trafficking case involving a former Marine. This is the first book to tell the full story of the Berman murders and uncover the likely suspect.
Doug Kari is an attorney and journalist who focuses on true crime. Besides the Berman case, his stories range from the cartel’s slaughter of Mormon moms and children in Mexico, to the baffling disappearance of a Vietnam veteran in Death Valley. Doug’s articles have run in Las Vegas Review-Journal, LA Weekly, LA Times, and many other outlets.
Chapter One: A Search for Two Lovers Leads to Silence
Chapter Two: Desperate and Heartbreaking Mission
Chapter Three: All-Seeing Eyes Looked Deep Within Him
Chapter Four: All but Broke, In Jail, and About to Turn Forty
Chapter Five: Blissfully Unaware of What Lay Ahead
Chapter Six: Clues Too Few and the Desert Too Vast
Chapter Seven: “Michael Was Weird with Sexual Stuff”
Chapter Eight: Liars Tend to Be Vague
Chapter Nine: Peered Beneath the Gaps and Saw Bones
Chapter Ten: Violating a Near-Universal Taboo
Chapter Eleven: Fighting Spirit of a Brave Little Girl
Chapter Twelve: Marshals Led Him in to Hear the Verdict Read
Chapter Thirteen: Pulling Back the Veil on the Murder Case
Chapter Fourteen: “Suspect in Unsolved Murders Set to Be Freed”
Chapter Fifteen: Driven to Dominate and Inflict Pain
Chapter Sixteen: Pepe Began Sputtering Questions
About the Author
The twists and turns in The Berman Murders will have you on the edge of your seat. The story begins in a Mojave Desert valley, where a hippie couple on a camping trip vanishes from a hot springs oasis after bathing with naked strangers. By delving into the backgrounds of the people at the scene, the author presents a theory about how deviant sexual dynamics may have led to the double murder. The story follows the path of the chief suspect across the world to Cambodia, where behind the walls of an upscale villa he rapes and tortures underage girls – never guessing that someday they’ll confront him in open court.
It’s hard to believe this story is actually real – it’s fascinating, creepy, and ultimately inspiring. The BermanMurders starts with a counterculture couple (one being a reluctant heir) who mysteriously disappear in a remote desert valley and ends with girls who were sex trafficked in Asia. The author ties these two worlds together in such a compelling way that it's hard to put the book down. I love that the book features so many strong women: the federal court judge; the two lead prosecutors; and brave young women who cross the ocean from Cambodia to confront the alleged perpetrator.
The Berman murders tells the story of a heinous cold case that became hot again and was finally solved, thanks to a dogged sheriff and attorney/author, Doug Kari. The reader is taken on a roller coaster ride that begins in a remote California desert valley, then takes you to a villa of repeated child sex abuse in Cambodia, a conviction, an overturned conviction and then finally justice. Captivating and extremely well-written. Kudos to the author for his persistence and for putting this gripping saga on paper for all to read.
The Berman Murders is a gripping story about an unsolved double homicide. The depth of Doug’s nine-year investigation into the perplexing case is impressive. The result is a book that takes you from a hot springs oasis in Death Valley, where two campers mysteriously vanished, to the slums of Phnom Penh, where underage children are trafficked for sex. The book follows the case’s path to wherever it leads.