What Would Be the Motive to Kill Carla Shaffer?
Although the authorities concluded that no crime had been committed, the conspiracy-mongers were determined to accuse someone. However, even they never expressed a reason for anyone to kill Carla, other than Reed Goodrich’s all-encompassing obsession that everything involved had to do with satanic rituals.
What could possibly be a motive? Be Scofield’s statement about someone saying that Carla “may have been trying to leave the group” is impossible to verify because, as usual, Scofield did not provide any source for that recklessly vague statement. And how many times does it need to be said by how many people that there was no membership in Ma Pushan or later, Sambodha, so there was never a “group” to “leave.” Anyone attending one of the events could simply walk out the door at any time. Scofield is once again hinting that attending a lecture or a meditation session is akin to joining a “cult.”
On multiple occasions, Carla told police, EMTs, and the staff in the hospital that she had not been attacked by any human, but by a “less dense being” or a supernatural being.
There is not a single statement in the police reports that describes Carla saying anything, let alone anything negative, about Aaravindha, Ashayrah, or Ma Pushan (she wouldn’t have mentioned Sambodha, because that business name didn’t exist until a year after Carla died). For that matter, there’s no record of Carla saying anything negative about any other person or group, except for statements reported by authorities that she said “don’t tell Jim” about the stabbing, and while in the hospital, she told people that did not want to talk to her ex-husband, Jim Shaffer-Bauck.
When loved ones die accidentally or by their own hands due to mental illness, that’s hard for friends and relatives to accept, because those around the deceased often feel guilt. Why didn’t they know the severity of the problem? Why didn’t they see it coming? Why didn’t they make more of an effort to help the victim? It’s tempting to believe that the terrible outcome in Carla’s story was someone else’s fault.
But even if you were one of the conspiracy fans like Scofield who want to believe that Carla Shaffer was murdered, a hard look at the facts make that a difficult tale to swallow. If someone else perpetrated the stabbing attack, it was one of the most inept murder attempts in history.
Carla was stabbed multiple times (the number varies depending on who tells the story) with shallow cuts, as well as hit in the face. What a patient, feeble would-be killer! Medical reports show that all Carla’s wounds were on the front of her body; there were no defensive wounds on her arms or hands. Did Carla simply stand there, naked, arms out, while the attacker stabbed and hit her over and over again?
After the stabbing, Carla left her house, naked, driving her car.
Did the would-be killer say, “Damn it, I’ve got to go find a sharper knife? Stay here until I get back,” and then leave Carla’s house? Why would a killer let Carla grab her car keys and leave?
The houses in Opal Commons are very close together, but nobody reported a scream or any commotion. None of the neighbors noticed anyone coming to or leaving from Carla’s house. None of the neighbors remarked on any unusual cars.
There were broken jars and spilled red beans in Carla’s kitchen, and Carla had facial injuries including broken teeth. On observing the damage to the house, neighbor Deborah Martyn thought Carla might have climbed to get a jar of lentils and then slipped and fell. Nobody knows. It’s understandably difficult and painful to imagine Carla doing all of this to herself. But remember that the police reports contain a statement that it took eight people to restrain Carla in the hospital.
Any professional who has dealt with a victim in the grip of psychosis can tell you that people experiencing hallucinations are capable of unspeakable acts. They have been known to bang their heads against walls, intentionally slice or burn their own skin, cut off their own hands because they believe their limbs are possessed, kill their children to “save them,” and jump off buildings, believing they can fly.
Nobody can know what was going on in Carla’s mind in the early hours of December 14, 2005. And nobody can know what was in Carla’s mind on January 6, 2006, the day she died.
Based on her statements about “a less dense being” and a “struggle between light and dark,” it seems likely that Carla believed she was attacked by a demon of some kind. This is not an uncommon hallucination during a psychotic break; the annals of police reports are filled with insane criminals who have told authorities that a demon made them commit their crimes.
Even if you buy Scofield’s insinuations that Aaravindha had “followers” on Orcas, why would he want to kill any of them? That simply makes no sense. The authorities in San Juan County can tell you that there is no evidence that any killer except for psychosis had a hand in Carla’s stabbing or death. They found no sign that anyone else was present during either event.
The True Mystery:
Who Wanted to Accuse Aaravindha, and Why?
The true mysteries of this tale are the motives of the handful of Orcas Island residents who were determined to frame Aaravindha for murder.
An attempt to “frame-up” someone for committing a serious crime is itself a crime. That is no doubt why those individuals hung their illegal posters in secret in 2006. In 2020, Reed Goodrich slipped up during a Skype interview and confessed to our investigator that he was responsible for the posters.
The motives of Be Scofield are clear from her blog post: she was thrilled to adopt all the conspiracy theories and disseminate malicious gossip far and wide to promote herself once again as the consummate “cult-hunter.” Although Scofield had access to all the police reports and even to the coroner’s report, she chose to ignore official statements and conclusions from authorities and instead trumpet wild ideas from the disgruntled gossip-mongers to create a “juicy” story. (See “Reactions to Be Scofield’s Malicious Article” later in this report for testimony from Orcas Islanders that Be Scofield was determined to find a cult, even if she had to make one up.)
In any organization, there will be a few malcontents, those who disagree with the organization’s leader or those who had hoped for a solution that the organization did not provide. Troubled people often become seekers, searching for help or inspiration or a sense of belonging. If they don’t get what they want, troubled people often want to blame someone else for their problems. Scofield seeks out these angry people and without any investigation, accepts their stories as true, because that’s what she needs to slap together a sensational story. A professional journalist would speak to multiple people within an organization to get a sense of reality, but Be Scofield finds her truth through vibrations and “cult radar.”
This case is even more bizarre, because the malcontents whom Scofield chose to believe were not associated with Aaravindha in any way. Their only connection was that all of them lived on Orcas Island, and all of them were acquainted with Carla.
As mentioned earlier, the police records contain statements written by three people who didn’t believe the official verdicts about what had happened to Carla, and who were looking for someone to blame:
- Reed Goodrich is a man whom Carla had dated and then broken up with, and whom some Orcas Island residents told our investigator that Carla was afraid of. In his letter to the San Juan County Sheriff’s Department, he named “people of light” and “friends of light,” etc., as the group that should be investigated. These are names never used by Aaravindha or anyone associated with him. Perhaps they came from Carla’s ramblings, when she told medical professionals she believed her stabbing was a “struggle between Light and Dark” and that “the Light kept telling her to look at the Light,” that “the Light told her to go to the car and run to Boucher’s place and warn him not to let anyone in.”
Even before Goodrich admitted he was responsible in April of 2020, many on Orcas told our investigator that they believed the posters in 2006 were the work of Reed Goodrich and other possible associates. Carol McKinstry, Goodrich’s ex-wife, told our investigator that she knew that Reed made the posters. When our investigator finally located Goodrich in Ecuador and interviewed him, he said, “I hung up posters all over the island, but it didn’t do any good. Someone took them down within hours.”
Why Goodrich chose to associate Carla’s hallucinatory tales with Aaravindha is anyone’s guess. There’s no rationale behind that leap of illogic. During the interview in April of 2020, Goodrich and his wife told the investigator that they had “done research” and that what happened to Carla seemed like satanic rituals. Reed Goodrich did not request access to the police records and made no attempt to get them. Goodrich emailed several of his own “research reports” to the investigator. His reports contained accusations toward multiple people that directly conflicted with the police reports of acts by those people.
When the investigator pointed out that the police determined Carla’s wounding to be self-inflicted and that there was absolutely no evidence to put any other person with Carla at the time of the stabbing or at her death, Goodrich’s explanation for that problem was an immediate statement: “The police are in on it.”
During the Skype interview, Goodrich admitted he hadn’t met Aaravindha or Ashayrah before Carla’s death, and he didn’t know what they taught in their seminars. He didn’t know that the Briedises were overseas in 2005 when Carla’s stabbing occurred. Reed Goodrich apparently didn’t even know the couple’s full legal names; he mistakenly attributed Janis Briedis’s last name instead to Markus Naugle and his wife Laura Wheelock in his 2006 letter that appears in the Prosecutor’s public records.
When reminded that the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office never considered the Briedises to be involved in any way, Goodrich quickly changed his accusations to say, “Well, then it could have been the cell phone guys.” He rambled on a bit about the fight against cell phone towers on the island, and then concluded with, “The cell phone company could have hired them (apparently meaning Aaravindha and his friends) to kill her. I will never believe that Carla hurt herself.”
Many of the phrases in Scofield’s articles are the exact words used by Reed Goodrich in his rambling letter to the police. He told our investigator that Be Scofield called him in Ecuador, and he gave her all his “reports” and shared his theories of satanic activities.
Neither Reed Goodrich nor his wife Susan Allred showed an ounce of remorse for their harmful actions. Instead, Goodrich seemed to regret that his vendetta against Aaravindha hadn’t resulted in more damage.
Be Scofield obviously chose to channel this man’s malice, and she used his “information” as a primary source to create her sensational article.
- Georgi Coquereau, whom Aaravindha said he briefly saw one time but never spoke to, was also on a campaign to alert the police to a dangerous “cult” on the island. Why? Coquereau believed that mysterious vehicles were following her and mysterious entities were shining lights in her window at night. She repeatedly used the words “cult,” and also named the “Children of the Light.” That’s a name never used by Aaravindha or any of his associates; according to official records, the entire discussion of “light” seems to have originated with Carla. After learning that our investigator wanted to speak to her regarding her letters contained in the police files on Carla Shaffer, Coquereau would not respond.
- Jim Shaffer-Bauck, Carla’s ex-husband, whom she had refused to associate with, also seemed determined to blame someone for Carla’s death. He repeatedly mentions the Surya group (apparently meaning Aaravindha and friends) and that he “sensed” things and “felt” some of Aaravindha’s friends “staring at him” for “unnaturally long periods of time.” Jim never named Aaravindha or Ma Pushan in his letters to the authorities, but several residents of Orcas told our investigator that Jim carried a notebook and was forever taking notes in it. This is no doubt the “research journal” that Be Scofield repeatedly refers to.
In his letters to the police, Jim Shaffer-Bauck mentioned a “group of six” who believed that Carla was the victim of a cult, but there’s no evidence in the official record to conclude who the other three might be.
When our investigator attempted to talk to Jim Shaffer-Bauck at his residence to get his side of the story, he slammed the door in her face and shouted that he did not want to speak to her. She later made several attempts to call him, urging him to comment, but he never returned her calls. Although Jim Shaffer-Bauck did not hesitate to share his conspiracy theories with Be Scofield, he was unwilling to speak to a legal investigator.
Many of the phrases in Scofield’s article are exact duplicates of wording found in Reed Goodrich’s and Jim Shaffer-Bauck’s letters to the police, and other sections came from Georgi Coquereau’s letters to the police and to the Shaffer family.
It’s disturbing that so many Orcas residents are willing to engage in gossip about people they don’t even know. As if to prove this point, only hours after our investigator checked into her hotel in Eastsound, residents on the other side of the island were speculating about the “FBI agent” at the hotel. Once again, incorrect information was being immediately shared all over the island.
Rumors spread like wildfire on Orcas. Gossiping seems to be a primary source of entertainment for many residents. Even more unfortunate is that the contents of those rumors are so often false, and those who are willing to spread them don’t seem to consider how damaging falsehoods can be.
Carol McKinstry, Reed Goodrich’s ex-wife, told our investigator, “The gossip on Orcas is like carrion, and the vultures just eat it up.”
Be Scofield proved to be one of those eager vultures, and was eager to post that gossip over and over again on the internet. And some of Scofield’s followers, especially on Facebook, were willing to repeat Scofield’s accusations without bothering to check out her story’s veracity.