Ariceli Edwardson was born in the March of 1996 to a severely dysfunctional family. Her biological father left her mother when he discovered her pregnancy. Ariceli has had many step-fathers. Her mother, Lacey Davis, was a well known prostitute. Lacey also held three day jobs to keep her family afloat. She wasn't very well liked in her neighborhood, not only because of her reputation as a prostitute, but also because she practiced 'black magic', or voodoo. Neighbors claim to hear her shouting things in different languages in the wee hours of the morning. Many also say that Lacey muttered to herself, as if she were having a conversation.
At age nine, Ariceli was diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). She refused treatment, and her mother hardly knew that Ariceli was sick, as her mother spent a lot of time out of the house. Eventually, Child Services stepped in, and Ariceli was put into the system. Most of her foster parents abused her, making her DID more severe.
At age fifteen, Ariceli had finally found a functional family. Mark (23) and Erika (22) Wetzel were a new couple, unable to have their own child. Mark worked as a highly respected surgeon, Erika as a principal for a private school. They could easily afford Ariceli's medication, and anything else the child needed. Erika managed to get Ariceli to take her medication, but Ariceli still exhibited signs of her DID. "Most of the time," Mark recalls, "Ari would be fine. She was a sweet girl. Very bright. The only problem she had was our dog, Ryder."
Ryder was Irish Settler, with a big heart. "She seemed to know that Ariceli was special, but Ariceli hated the thing." Erika says, looking very forlorn. Erika and Ariceli had a mother-daughter connection she and Lacey never had. According to the family, Ariceli had tried on several occasions to kill Ryder. Each time, one of them found her, and, rather naively (as the couple admitted), brushed it off as a small outburst.
Mark and Erika grew increasingly concerned as Ariceli turned sixteen, and began to develop some disturbing habits. The first that caught Mark's attention was the mirror that was in her room. He came in one day to pick up dirty laundry, and noticed that it was no longer on the wall. He searched the room, and discovered it in her closet, in jagged shards, covered in blood. He and Erika brushed it off as an accident of some sort, and didn't bring it up again. Another habit was her staring fixedly at sharp objects; knives, potato peelers, apple cutters, things of that nature. The habit that got the couples attention the most, was her 'midnight walks'.
"At first, I thought it was only sleepwalking." Mark says, shivering at the memories. He and Erika would frequently hear scurrying ("Almost like a squirrel or Racoon." Erika adds), always at the same time: 3:26 a.m. They would get up, and find Ariceli hunched over the kitchen or bathroom sink, gulping down dish detergent, window cleaner, or other toxic liquids. When she was in the bathroom she would stare at herself in the mirror while making tiny incisions on her arms or chest with Erika's razor blade. Each time, the couple would find her, they both claimed that she was in a trance-like state.
Erika finally snapped when she came home from work, and found Ariceli drinking perfume in the bathroom. She also noted that there was vomit all throughout the house, implying that Ariceli had been drinking liquids like that for a long time. Mark and Erika checked Ariceli into a private New Jersey psychiatric hospital, specially equipped and designed for people who have worsening mental conditions like Ariceli.
Ariceli spent two years in the hospital, getting weekly visits from Mark and Erika.
Many nurses and doctors liked Ariceli. They would talk with her when giving her food, or other times, they would stop by when their shift had just started or ended. "The only problem we had with her was giving her the medicine." A nurse, who wanted to stay unidentified, recalls with a small smile. Many of Ariceli's nurses were injured whenever they attempted to give her her medicine. "She always knew when we were going to give her her medicine," another nurse, Jeffery Samuels, says.
He, along with many other nurses, recall that she would crawl into the corner, and hiss ("Almost like a cat when you piss it off!" Another female nurse, Vera Williamson laughs.). It would take multiple nurses to restrain her long enough to shove the pill down her throat, and make her swallow. Ariceli would thrash and kick, and once managed to escape out of the open door, and made it down the hall before being intercepted by a security guard. Aside from being given her medicine, Ariceli was an all around, likeable person.
Once Ariceli turned twenty, her behavior began to change. She would stand in front of the door, and stare out of the small window, at nothing. Ariceli's favorite nurses would stop by to talk, and she would refuse to speak. "Sometimes, She would educe vomiting if we didn't go away soon enough," Fred Jackson, one of her favorite nurses, says. "Ari was really losing her grip on reality.'
Ariceli eventually stopped talking all together. Nurses would say that she would go days without sleeping, just aimlessly walking around her small room, waving her arms about, as if she were deep in conversation with somebody. her bizarre actions escalated, to the point where she would refuse food. "One of her most disturbing habits," A nurse, who would like to be unidentified at the request of her family (She had committed suicide shortly after the interview), says, "is sometimes, Ari would bang on the walls. At first, it was real soft, and slow, but it would very gradually get faster and louder. It scared our other patients."
Of all her bizarre and disturbing habits, only one scared the nurses more.
Relatively close to when she stopped talking, Ariceli began to bite her fingers down to the cuticles, then use the blood to scrawl on the walls. (Let it be noted that the nurse who had commit suicide stabbed herself in the stomach, then scrawled on the walls of her bathroom, just as Ariceli had done.) Many of the messages were just scribbles and backwards letters. "Very rarely would we find something in English on the walls," Jackson mutters, looking distressed, "And when we did, it wasn't pretty."
Other nurses were reluctant to tell what Ari had written, including Jackson. They all wished to remain unidentified. "Many times, we come in, and find the Ari had written all our names down, in alphabetical order, first and last. She only knew our first names." One nurses remembers.
"A few other people had retired when Ariceli was here, and there names were crossed out. We later found out that they had either committed suicide, or had been murdered." Another nurse tells, getting slightly flustered, before storming out in a hurry. (It was later discovered that she had been gunned down in the parking lot. Nobody ever heard the gunshot because of a silencer, as the police speculate.) Few people would allow to be interviewed at this.
Only a few, mostly Vera WilliamSon, Fred Jackson, and one other nurse who went only by the name Joyce, would allow to be questioned.
Vera tells us that Ariceli had killed her favorite nurse, Dean Collin. According to the security camera (Which I had viewed), and witness testimoney, Collins had come in, alone, to give Ariceli her medicine. He only managed to get two steps in before Ariceli pushed him back into the steel frame of the door, rending him unconscious. She then proceeded to bite, and consume, Dean, until help came. Dean was pronounced dead on arrival when he reached the hospital. EMT's claim that she was whispering something, but none of them heard anything.
Ariceli was charged for manslaughter. (Ariceli was charged in a Delaware court, as she was originally from Delaware, not New Jersey.) She was sentenced to death by lethal injection. In court, she testified that her 'twin sister' had told her to.
I got the chance to speak with her before she was killed, and asked what her twin sister's name was. She wrote down 'Ilecira'. I later found that she had written her name backwards.
A remarkable thing happened, though, as she was laying down on the table, awaiting to be killed. When asked if she had any last words, she verbally replied, "Is this going to hurt?. Erika, who had been present at her death, was shocked. (Mark was not present because they had gotten a divorce. Mark was later discovered dead in an apartment building, drowned in a bathtub.) Though she and Ariceli hadn't seen each other for a very long time, the two still had a mother-daughter bond. Arika refused any question after this.
"It's wrong to justify one death with another." A very tearful Vera Williamson says. She was present at Ariceli's death, and still feels that way today. "Ariceli was very sick. It certainly wasn't her fault." The nurse called Joyce says, attempting to console Williamson.
Ariceli Edwardson had definitely changed the lives of many families, and many strangers. All who attended her execution would be astounded; it took enough barbiturate, paralytic, and potassium solution to kill four men before Ariceli finally expired. Medical experts are still stumped to this day, as they never discovered how she could've survived that long. many speculate that the tourniquet was too tight, other speculate that it wasn't her time to go. Whatever the reason, not a single life wasn't changed by Ariceli.
This was written by journalist Shelly Barkdol, as a portion of a book about outstanding mentally ill killers. Barkdol was found dead in her home by a neighbor. Official cause of death was blood loss, as she had either stabbed herself, or had been stabbed by somebody else. Police haven't determined whether or not this was a homicide, or suicide. This was the only thing on her computer. her hard drive had been wiped clean. This story was seized by the government, and never released to the public before now.