Greg Fernandez Jr. ◊ January 20th, 2018
On January 10th, 2016, at 8:54 pm, Mason Hendricks sent me an instant message on Facebook, a link to Tom Lyden’s article on the alleged double-murder suicide committed by David Crowley.
“Thanks for the link,” I responded.
“No problem” wrote Hendricks. “Hopefully you all can have some questions answered with all of this.”
“I just feel bad for the family,” I told Hendricks. I had just learned that Allahu Akbar was written in blood on the living room wall of the Crowley house. I was surprised by this bizarre twist of events. “If David wrote Allahu Akbar in Komel’s blood that’s Fn disgusting.”
“He did,” Hendricks wrote back. “And now you see why Sidrah acted how she did. Imagine knowing what her and I knew and because the investigation was still going that you could not talk about what was all done. I’ve been in the house. I’ve seen it all. Imagine being her and seeing people write and talk about how great David was. He shot her twice in the head, Rani once. Imagine being the police walking in and seeing what they saw. There were so many government agencies looking into this because of what he wrote and they had to go through 13 hard drives I believe, all the photos, all the videos. So many investigators had to review and sign off.”
Hendricks stated he could not talk “about what was all done” during the investigation. Yet Hendricks said he was speaking to the media on behalf of both sides of the family within days of the bodies being discovered. Hendricks first met David at the end of 2010 or the beginning of 2011.
In some of the early news stories, Hendricks spoke of the two notes police found and how they didn’t answer any questions about the crimes.
I found it interesting that Mason Hendricks was not mentioned in the 94 pages of police reports or the 485 pages of investigator documents later obtained by Dan Hennen. It seemed obvious police had spoken to him at some point, and Hendricks knew about Dan Hennen’s first data request from the Apple Valley Police Department.
Hendricks claimed there were “many government agencies looking into this because of what” was written by David. Later, Hendricks stated the BCA were the ones who “messed up” and released graphic images, including photographs of David with his head eaten off and Rani without her right arm, to Tom Lyden.
Hendricks stated there were images that were not supposed to be released at the behest of, possibly, the Department of Homeland Security or the FBI. However, when we asked AVPD Detective Jim Gummert if either agency was involved in their investigation, he responded with, “No.”
Backtrack on the Pact
On February 12th, 2015, Mason Hendricks posted a strange statement on Facebook, claiming that even if David was the one who used the gun, Komel could still be part of a joint decision to kill themselves and their daughter.
A year later, his view had completely changed and I wanted to know why. “Well that is a long story,” Hendricks responded, “and that is what we were led to believe…No I don’t think that. That all changed the day after the first interview. Komel was innocent. It was all David.” Hendricks felt the pact theory had originated from “David’s family.”
Hendricks told me I was free to call him, he just didn’t want his phone number shared with the group. “I have no problem talking on the phone,” I told him, “but anything said would have to be able to be shared with the group. Other people have reached out to me and I’ve told them the same thing. I don’t want people thinking we are going to have a private conversation and then I turn around and share it in the group, if I choose to.”
“Now that this is done,” Hendricks reassured me, “I could care less what you post. Just leave my phone number out of it.” I also reminded him that I wanted to make sure his statements were accurate and not taken out of context.
Three days later, on January 13th, 2016, at 7:24 am, Hendricks again stated he didn’t care what I did with the information he planned on sharing, “Writing back and forth will take way too long. I don’t care if you record what we say or any of that shit.”
So, I moved on with the interview, with the full intent of using his quotes for proper context and accuracy. Mason Hendricks was working on a photography project when we first spoke over the phone on January 13th, 2016. He claimed to have a degree in law enforcement. After being a troublesome child himself, Hendricks wanted to work with troubled kids as a police liaison. The indoctrinated racism he saw within some police officers made Hendricks change his mind about a future in law enforcement.
The last time Mason saw David Crowley was early December of 2014, somewhere around December 6th, when Hendricks showed up unannounced, to return a camera lens David let him borrow.
“What are you doing here?” David asked.
Usually, David would let Mason in the house, but not this time. Usually Komel would be cooking in the house and Rani would be running around, but this time Hendricks did not see or hear either of them.
“He looked like shit,” Hendricks repeatedly said. “He’s usually pretty well put together. But I don’t know. He looked like he just hadn’t been eating much, and smelt bad. Usually you’d hear Rani running around. She wasn’t running around. Komel didn’t come out. It was just tense.” David gave Mason three books related to film and lighting before sending his friend on his way.
Hendricks believed another friend went to David’s house on the 16th or 17th of that same year. Whoever the unnamed friend was, David gave him a bunch of books on film.
“Even if [David] didn’t know that he was going to end up doing what he did,” Mason speculated, “he started eliciting signs. Like giving stuff away, trying to downsize, his whole garage sale. It’s almost like his subconscious knew possibly that this was going to happen.”
Are we supposed to believe that in the same month David had a garage sale, and was working with Michael Entertainment Group to turn Gray State into a television series, that he was also “subconsciously” preparing to end his life? Yet Hendricks also stated the murders were not premeditated. How can anyone take Mason Hendricks seriously with such conflicting statements?
Hendricks told me he understood why outsiders like me had doubts about David’s guilt, “But when you see all this stuff, when you’ve been in the house, you’ve seen the bullet hole, the this & that, you see this stuff and you’re like, yeah, this was David. This was him.”
On January 19th, 2015, Hendricks and a group of friends went to the Crowley residence. Hendricks stated they did a lot of organizing for the family, “We spent a couple of days cleaning, organizing stuff so that when Sidrah came she wouldn’t have to go through all of her sister’s mess.”
Mason stated the group was hoping to find something that left a clue as to why David murdered his family, “Something that one of us would possibly find. We took and tore into everything. You know, ceilings, up in the attics, we were everywhere.”
Hendricks and company searched the entire house, including the attic, but didn’t find anything to help them understand why David committed a double-murder suicide. Even so, they still continued with the assumption that David was guilty.
Hendricks didn’t understand how police missed the bullet hole above their heads in the living room.
It was pretty difficult to not see this hole in the ceiling, “We ended up letting them know that. So, the police had to come back.” On January 19th, 2015, police received a call about a suspicious person in the Crowley house.
Hendricks stated police found David’s blood on the bullet and confirmed the bullet came from David’s gun, “The Christmas tree was in the trajectory path of where it went up and into the ceiling.”
The bullet hole in the ceiling was not near the Christmas tree. In the image below, the hole is supposed to be to the left of the light near the front door.
Unfortunately, we do not have a photograph of the bullet hole on January 17th, 2015. We only have the photographs taken a month later on February 18th, 2015. In the image below you can see the hole is nowhere near where the Christmas tree was, before and after the bodies were moved.
Even if the Christmas tree was moved, it was not tall enough to block the view of the bullet hole in the ceiling.
“They had to move stuff around a little bit,” Hendricks explained. “I believe they moved the tree right into where the hole went up. Or something like that.” Do you believe Mason?
In one of his last reports, Detective Brian Bone stated the Latent Print Division of the Minnesota BCA “showed that latent prints in blood were found on the pistol recovered in the living room as well as the magazine from that same gun. The BCA found a palm print on the gun and a fingerprint on the magazine.”
I asked Hendricks why he thought police were able to prove David guilty, “He would have been the only one to have logged into his computers. His fingerprints were on the gun. His fingerprints had Komel’s blood, which were all over the wall…bloody fingerprints on the computer, which were his fingerprints.”
But Detective Bone stated something different, “The print from the magazine was submitted to the Midwest Automated Fingerprint Identification Network (MAFIN) and did not generate any matches. The comparison to David Crowley was inconclusive due to limited quality of latent prints. The BCA did not have a comparable known palm print for David Crowley. The latent fingerprints found on the note pad from the office revealed two suitable prints for comparison. One was inconclusive as belonging to David Crowley due to the limited quality of the print and the other indicated the print came from David Crowley’s left middle finger. No other meaningful results were discovered in the latent print exam.”1
Detective Bone told the BCA crime scene lead, Joe Cooksley “that the exam of the indented writings was not needed at this time.” Bone’s report was written on August 6th, 2015, five months before I spoke with Hendricks.
“If I remember correctly, the dog gnawed off the right hand and ate part of it,” Hendricks told me, “and that was found in the basement. But they were able to get partial palm prints, but they didn’t actually use the palm for evidence because they didn’t need to, because they used the fingerprints from the blood and all that stuff.”
Police reported David’s right hand was “missing” and gave no indication it was recovered in the basement. Was Hendricks lying, or was this information fed to him?
“The police were honestly terrified when they went into David’s house,” Hendricks told me. “They thought that because it said Allah Akbar on the wall that possibly the house was rigged with explosives or something like that.”
Hendricks thought police handled the case “very, very well. There’s certain things that maybe [they did] not so well…but…one of the police officers had a picture of David, of Raniya, and Komel on his computer that he looked at to remind him who he was dealing with. And this case affected every single one of those officers.”
Overall, Hendricks found the police work “impressive,” especially when dealing with such a horrifying tragedy.
“For them to handle this with such care,” Hendricks continued, “finesse, and to be so, I guess you would say, caring and nurturing with the families means, how they did handle this, it’s actually impressive. This shit, it affected them. I mean, some of them have gone to talk with people because the shit they saw was horrifying.”
In the end, police were still left without a motive. If they don’t have a motive, what do they really have? Just like Hendricks and the others in the Crowley house on January 19th, 2015, authorities were unable to find anything that would help them understand why David committed the double-murder suicide. After the Dakota County Electronics Crime Task Force reviewed “all electronic items” in their possession, on October 6th, 2015, Detective Bone reported, “Detective Klokonos and the DCECTF did not find any information on the related devices that showed motive or cause for what happened during or up to this incident.”
“With the conclusion of the review of the digital devices,” Detective Bone wrote in the last publicly-released report, “there is no other information available for further investigation. Throughout this investigation the AVPD has not discovered any information or evidence that shows anybody but David Crowley is the perpetrator of these crimes, including the killing of his wife, child, and himself.”
After reading the 94 pages of police reports, I was left wondering if the Apple Valley Police Department ever discovered “any information or evidence” to prove David Crowley was “the perpetrator of these crimes.” Dan Hennen was able to get 485 pages of police reports and documents, along with over 600 photographs taken at the crime scene. Still, it was clear that police found nothing to help them understand why David committed the crimes, which led to the ultimate question, Did David Crowley commit these crimes?