April 12, 2024

How Amy Loughren Caught America’s Most Prolific Serial Killer

The person I am today is not the same as the woman you see on screen — I am 20 years wiser and more confident. I’m a much better version of myself than I was then. Jessica offered a gentleness to that 20-year-old past self that I didn’t realise I had and that to me was one of the most beautiful things that she put into play. ”

What do you think sets it apart to other true crime films?

“Director Tobias Lindholm went above and beyond to make this a film about friendship and how regular people can do really hard things, they don’t have to be perfect, but they can show up as a friend, a confidant, a mother. They can still see do good stuff without being perfect. He made it about the friendship and love Charles and I had for one another, and that humans are complicated. He didn’t sensationalise the fact that he was a serial killer, he showed humanity, gentleness and hope. ”

At what point did you realise that he was a murderer? Did you have any suspicions before the police contacted you about their concerns?

“No, I thought maybe he had a bit of depression. We bonded over the fact that we both had darkness within us — my darkness was different to his. Mine went in a direction of seeking out light and his went into an obsession with darkness. I didn’t see any outward darkness until I met the murderer. When I did realise he was a killer, there were so many emotions. When I first read the evidence and there was no doubt there was something sinister, I had a moment that you see in movies where my vision went. I don’t even remember driving home that day. It was like everything shut down, I completely disassociated from reality because I could not process it. It was such an intense emotion that I couldn’t even grasp it. ”

What was your biggest worry in working with the police? Were you scared?

“I was scared shitless. It was terrifying going in, especially when they wired me up, saw my scar of a recent pacemaker implantation and the detective said ‘no, we can’t put this wire on you. ’ I said, ‘Yes you can. I’m a cardiac nurse, I know I’ll be ok. ’ He went to his colleague and they talked about shutting this down, so I had to talk them into it. The truth is I didn’t know how this would affect my heart, but I knew I needed to go in there and get that confession. I was determined maybe, not brave. ”

I wanted to be part of this, so that I could shine a light on those victims because so many people believe he was a mercy killer and we have white washed people into thinking that his victims were already too sick to survive.

When was the last time you saw him and how did that feel?

“When he found out that I had been working for the New Jersey Crown Prosecution that was the last time he answered my letters. Up until then, I saw him in prison maybe dozens of times. I really wanted to know if I had harmed someone accidentally and I wanted answers and closure. I think I wanted to be in denial that he was a mercy killer, I wanted to make certain that whoever my friend Charlie was that he was no longer there. I didn’t get the answers I wanted, but I was able to see how charismatic he was and how easy it was to be drawn in. It was a process of being able to forgive myself for not seeing it.

I knew that monster needed to be behind bars, but I was also putting my friend Charlie behind bars. I struggled with that. Also, the guilt of knowing that my patient had been harmed — people who I was supposed to protect had been harmed in my care. It was another reason I wanted to be part of this, so that I could shine a light on those victims because so many people believe he was a mercy killer and we have white washed people into thinking that his victims were already too sick to survive. People thought that because there were no blood and guts that it wasn’t monstrous, but the medication that Charles Cullen used were terrifying and paralytic so he could take them off their sedation, wake them up, give them a paralytic and watch them struggle to breathe. They couldn’t even call out for help. ”

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