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Signs of a sociopath and why they matter in Thurston County

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Is it possible for a regular citizen to catch the Thurston County Cat Killer? The answer is yes.

Most psychologists will tell you the Thurston County Cat Killer — or anyone murdering and mutilating cats — is most likely a sociopath, or scientifically speaking, suffering from Antisocial Personality Disorder. Add Dr. John Grohol to the list of psychologists who have diagnosed the individual as such.

“You’re looking at someone who has an aggressiveness and a disregard for social norms,” Grohol said. “The laws don’t apply to them, and they don’t have much regard for other people’s safety or animals’ safety.”

Grohol is an author, researcher and expert in mental health, with a doctorate in clinical psychology. He is also the founder of Psych Central. The cat murders in Thurston County trouble him.

“It’s … a really clear warning sign that the individual who is doing this is going down a road that’s going to be very difficult for them to navigate if they don’t seek out treatment or get help for themselves,” Grohol said.

Signs of Antisocial Personality Disorder

But locals can do more than monitor their pets and look for suspicious behavior. After all, we’re looking for someone with Antisocial Personality Disorder, and who may have trouble fitting in. Those kind of people often show signs.

“They generally have a … reckless disregard for the safety of themselves or other people,” Grohol said. “They are consistently irresponsible. They won’t maintain any kind of commitments that they’ve made, whether it to be to go to work, to school, in a relationship, that kind of thing. They don’t show a lot of remorse when they hurt another person or they’ve mistreated another person.”

While not every person with APD is slaying pets, it is naturally worth seeking treatment for. It’s also a benefit to the public if those individuals are identified.

“They can be very irritable and aggressive,” Grohol said. “It’s not unheard of for them to get into a fight or an assault. And they’re very good at being deceitful; at lying to other people about their behaviors, covering up their behaviors or their true thoughts and feelings. People can often times feel like they’re very good at … smoothing situations over.”

Grohol said the killings indicate the suspect is in their late-teens or early adulthood years, between the ages 15 and 25.

While it’s been well-documented that sociopaths often crave media attention, Grohol points out that it can be a double-edged sword.

“The irony of it is they are more likely to get caught because more people are on the lookout for it; it’s not just law enforcement, but the average citizen,” Grohol said. “People are looking for, ‘hey, this person has shown a lot of interest in my house, and my house has cats.’”

A string of feline murders across Thurston County has claimed the lives of cats over the past year-and-a-half. Most recently, a cat was found decapitated near Lacey with the “missing pet” flier for the pet posted above the head.

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