Sometime around the age of eight, Dean Runkle's twin sister, Diane, died. The circumstances of this sudden death remain a mystery. Family claim that Diane died from polio. But I have combed the archives in Ashland, Huron, and surrounding counties and can find no evidence of this, let alone any death certificate for Diane, herself.
What is known is that Runkle's mother blamed Dean and often told the young boy that it should have been him and not his sister who died.
The more I think about this case the more I have come to believe that this event may explain everything.
Psychopaths, like serial killer Ted Bundy, are very organized, charming men on the outside. But inside, they are extreme narcissists, constantly trying to gain respect and admiration from peers. Many psychopaths have something else in common with serial killers: something very traumatic occurred in their childhood. This trauma basically freezes their development at that age. This is called "arrested development" and it plays a part in some serial killer's methodology. For example, several serial killers appear to have been recreating some traumatic event from their childhood; their victims would take the place of their mother or sister or friend. Perhaps their mother beat them and hurt them somehow. Only, this time around, THEY have control. And they murder their victim in place of their mother. Other times, they are recreating some trauma--a rape, some sort of torture--in an effort to better understand what happened to them when they were young.
Psychopaths with identify with children. They understand them because they, in a way, have forever remained on their level. This is one reason the majority of psychopaths have also sexually abused children.
Dean Runkle exhibits many signs of psychopathy. He shows narcissistic needs-- showcasing his classroom on local TV, playing ragtime piano for rooms full of Cedar Point goers, running for Teacher of the Year. He relates to children-- he was well known to "befriend" certain students, driving them places alone, taking them to Wendy's for treats. And we know he attempted to have a sexual relationship with at least one student, whom he sent love letters to.
Now take all this and look again at the death of his twin. He grew up with a mother who hated him for this and told him so. What confusion that must have caused. What rage.
Would he seek to better understand this with a surrogate to take the place of his sister? To "play it out" as many psychopaths do?
For more on psychopathy, read these articles.