People Magazine Investigates Recap for Natural Born Killers
Zachary Ford is the son of Joshua Ford. He describes his father as a gregarious guy who was always the life of the party. Joshua was also very much into the martial arts scene, much like the other men in his family. Zachary also remembers him as a huge fan of Boston sports, which is something they bonded over.
Joshua and Zachary’s mother divorced when he was two and Joshua went on to date a woman named Geney Crutchley. Zachary recalls her as always being sweet and loving. In 2001, Joshua was offered a job in the DC area, causing him and Geney to move.
That Fateful Trip
On Memorial Day 2002, Joshua and Geney decided to go on a last minute getaway to Ocean City, Maryland. However, when the weekend was over, neither one of them returned to work and nobody heard from them since the previous Saturday, when Joshua’s brother Mark talked to him. The two had plans to talk the next day, but Joshua never answered the phone.
The Investigation Begins
Geney’s coworkers were concerned when she failed to show up for an important meeting. Since this was so out of character, they reported her missing right away. Authorities in both Fairfax (where Geney worked) and Ocean City were contacted. Detective Bernal remembered being so concerned that he even disobeyed orders to work on the case.
Geney’s car had a license plate with her name on it, making it easy to track. Once it was found, it was obvious it hadn’t been moved for awhile. The room where they were staying also revealed an eerie scene—things were still unpacked, Joshua’s wallet was there with cash and money inside and several other personal items, as well as wine glasses that were half full.
Further inspection find receipts from a bar dated for Saturday night and a grocery receipt from Friday. This sent alarm bells off for authorities, especially since nobody heard from them since Saturday.
Flyers go up immediately alerting people of the missing couple, while authorities spring into action. Zachary remembers finding out the news—when he was only eight years old.
A Lead and Disturbing Discoveries
Authorities go to the Greene Turtle, the bar where the couple had been that Saturday. A waitress recalled them being very sweet, but didn’t see them after they paid the bill. They go on to question a bus driver, who also recalled them being nice to another couple. The other couple was a Caucasian couple in their twenties and the four of them got off to go to another bar called Seacrets. Employees recall seeing the four of them together, but didn’t see them leave.
On May 29th, three days after Joshua and Geney disappear, a silent alarm is set off at a Hooters in the area where they disappeared. A robbery seemed to be in progress and a male and female were caught red handed. The two of them were arrested and their car was searched. Police find ski masks and flex cuffs in the car. The female assailant asks for her purse, claiming to be having a panic attack. The police officer gets her purse to give her her meds….and find a gun….and the IDs of Joshua and Geney.
Authorities, including Detective Bernal, are called and given the chilling update. The suspects are identified as Erika and Benjamin ‘BJ’ Sifrit. Erika claimed she had no idea why the IDs were in her purse, nor did she know why the spent and live rounds were there.
The car Erika and BJ were in had a parking permit for the Rainbow Condominium. There is a mad rush to get there, as authorities think there is a chance Joshua and Geney are there….and possibly still alive. They get to the room, the found a keychain for the place where Joshua and Geney were staying, two spent bullets and what was suspected to be cocaine. However, there was no sign of Geney or Joshua. Authorities would need a search warrant to investigate further.
BJ and Erika were arrested on robbery charges. When they looked through their things, they discovered Erika had a designer purse and expensive jewelry. One ring, which had a dragon design, had blood on it, so it is taken to a lab for DNA analysis.
A background showed BJ as a former medic for the Navy SEALS. He was the youngest every to graduate and receive Honor Man. Detective Bernal also received an Honor Man award in the Marines, so he used this as a way to try and get BJ to talk. However, he only asked for a lawyer.
Erika, for her part, acted flirtatious during her questioning and denied knowing Geney and Joshua. However, she gave 50-50 statistics on whether or not they were dead or alive.
More Disturbing Findings
Authorities headed back to Erika and BJ’s room to look for forensic evidence. To the naked eye, it looked immaculate, but further investigation found traces of blood all over. A bullet hole was also found in the drywall and the windows had handprints on them. There were also pictures that showed Joshua and Geney. A further look into the condo found scrapbooks of Erika and BJ’s life together. An even deeper look into the initial picture showed that Joshua was wearing the very ring Erika had in her purse.
Detective Bernal showed Erika the picture in hopes of getting her to talk. She admits they went to a bar and she and BJ paid for their drinks in exchange for Joshua and Geney paying for the bus fare. They decided to go back to their place to use the hot tub, but first stopped at Joshua and Geney’s so they can get their swimsuits.
Erika claimed to have lost her purse and ring and accused Joshua and Geney of stealing it. This led to BJ brutally killing the couple. She claimed to have nothing to do with the murders and that BJ forced her at gunpoint to help hide the bodies in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.
She takes authorities on a wild goose chase trying to find the bodies. When they get impatient with her, she gets angry and threatens them, but then changes the story, saying the bodies were dismembered. She then gives more details, which leads to authorities contacting sanitation workers in hopes of finding where the bodies were dumped.
Another search begins and leads authorities to finding their dismembered body parts, exactly how Erika described. They now have to inform their families. Zachary recalls finding out the news and how he could do nothing but sit on a tire swing once he found out his father and Geney died.
Another Possible Connection
A scrapbook belonging to Erika is also found by the bodies and everyone in the pictures were found and identified. A woman named Melissa Selig is identified and she shared a story about how her friend met Erika and BJ in a bar. The four of them went out partying and back to the condo. Erika pulled the same missing purse story while BJ held the women at gunpoint, saying he killed two people the week before. However, the women found the purse, which saved their lives.
Connecting the Killers
The body parts were investigated and pieces of the bullets were found in Joshua’s body—the same ones from the ones found at the scene of the crime. This, along with the DNA on the ring are enough to charge Erika and BJ with murder.
At the request of the families of the victims, the death penalty is off the table. BJ refused to cooperate, but authorities tried to strike a deal with Erika in order to use her as a witness. If she cooperated, she would not be charged with murder. However, she had to pass a polygraph.
During the pre-polygraph interview, she ended up admitting she was the one who killed Geney, giving details one would only know if they actually killed someone in that manner. She also admitted to getting a tattoo afterward—in the same place where she stabbed Geney. This new confession means the deal that was made would not be honored.
The Trial and Updates
In April 2003, BJ goes on trial, with Melissa testifying. BJ also testified, claiming that Erika acted alone. Due to this and the other evidence, it makes it difficult to charge him. He is cleared in Joshua’s murder, but charged for Geney’s murder. He gets 38 years in prison with the possibility of parole.
The Ford family is not happy with this.
Erika’s trial was June 3rd, 2003. She is charged for killing both Joshua and Geney, receiving life plus 25 years with the possibility of parole.
Zachary recalls the difficulty of growing up without his dad, but also how it motivated him to become a prosecutor. He plans on working hard to make sure the parole is not granted for the two who murdered his father and Geney.
BJ’s parole was denied, thanks to Zachary addressing the board, but there is a possibility he can be released from prison early. Erika is serving her sentence and will be eligible for parole in 2024.