He killed his wife and his children, but no-one could understand why.


Journalists reporting the case for the New York Daily Times, The Oregonian and the Mail Tribune, all said the same thing.

A motive was unclear.

Jordan Criado had murdered his wife and four young children. But no-one could work out why.

The family’s neighbours were stunned by the news.

‘I would never have expected this,’ one said.

‘They were a tight-knit family,’ said another.

There’d never been any problems at the Criado home in Medford, Oregon.

The police had never been called out to the house.

True, neighbours had heard a few rows. Others had complained the back garden was a mess.

Normal family stuff.

But at 5.30am on 18 July 2011, Jordan Criado, 59, made a call to emergency services. His wife Tabasha, 30, was missing.

Two hours later, at 7.30am, an officer found her.

Tabasha Criado

Tabasha was standing on the corner of a street, a short distance from the family’s home.

The officer asked if she was OK. She said everything was fine.

Tabasha didn’t say anything was wrong. She didn’t say that she was scared.

When the officer dropped her home, Jordan came out to meet her.

‘She didn’t express any fear,’ the officer said. ‘They both talked. He seemed calm.’

What happened after that, no-one knows.

Maybe the couple had breakfast. Maybe they rowed.

But after two hours, at around 9.30am, there was another call to the emergency services.

Aurora Criado

This time, it was one of the Criados’ neighbours.

They’d seen smoke coming from the house.

By the time police and firefighters got there, heavy smoke was pouring out of the home where Jordan and Tabasha lived with their four kids, Elijah, 7, Isaac, 6, Andrew, 5, and Aurora, 2.

Andrew Criado

The front door was dead-bolted, a burning settee rammed up against it inside. And the back door was jammed shut with a wooden dowel.

Somehow, the firefighters forced their way in, cleared the heavy smoke with fans.

And then they had found him. Jordan Criado.

Unconscious. But alive.

Isaac Criado

In his hands, a kitchen knife. It was covered in his own blood from where he’d tried to slash his wrists.

Next, they found Tabasha. She’d been stabbed to death.

Finally, the fire crew discovered four little bodies in pyjamas…

Jordan was taken to hospital, kept on a ventilator for the next few months.

Elijah Criado

While he recovered, evidence from the crime scene was pieced together by investigators.

It seemed Jordan had given the kids something to make them sleep.

Then he’d stabbed Tabasha. Twice in the face. Ten times in the abdomen.

He stabbed his three sons, smothered his daughter.

He carried them into the bedroom he’d once shared with Tabasha, placed two of them carefully on his double bed, two of them on a mattress on the floor.

And the last thing he did before slashing his wrists was to splash cooking oil over the wall and floors of his family home…and set a match to it.

The question remained – why?

Police records showed Jordan Criado was a sex offender.

Twenty years before, in 1990, he’d pleaded guilty in Sacramento County, California, to lewd and lascivious acts with three girls under 14 years old.

He’d served 11 years of a 20-year sentence.

But if the investigators were hoping Criado’s dark past might provide a motive, they were to be disappointed.

Tabasha had known about his offences from the time they met.

‘It didn’t faze her,’ her brother told reporters. ‘It has no bearing on what happened now.’

So what had happened?

Tabasha’s hairdresser told police how Tabasha had confided that Jordan made her feel trapped. Another friend said Tabasha had been planning to leave Jordan, although she didn’t know why.

It seemed the marriage was falling apart.

He said he wants to put candles and rose petals on the dining table, wine and dine me and then ravish me, Tabasha wrote on Facebook just two weeks before she was murdered.

I said: I want to take a piece of bread with Nutella, peanut butter, raw eggs, chilli, syrup, mustard and sriracha sauce and smear it on his face :-)).

Had Jordan killed his wife because he feared the end of their relationship? Had he killed her because of his wounded pride? Killed their children to punish Tabasha even more?

When Jordan Criado had recovered from his injuries, he stood trial, accused of five counts of aggravated murder and one of first-degree arson. But he told the court Tabasha had killed the children, then set the house on fire.

‘I did not kill my babies,’ he said. ‘I killed my wife because she killed my babies.’

However, Jordan took Alford pleas for each count – where the defendant doesn’t admit guilt, but admits the evidence is likely to find them guilty.

But the judge and jury didn’t believe Jordan’s story.

He was sentenced to life in prison. Without parole.

Jordan Criado had murdered his wife and his four small children.

No-one knows why. Perhaps not even Jordan Criado himself.