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Moms Or Demons: Daniel LaPlante

Writted by: Naomi

Trigger Warning: Child Abuse, Childhood Sexual Assault, Sexual Assault


It is 1986 and sisters Annie and Jessica Andrews decide to try to contact their deceased mother through a séance in their basement. The girls had no clue what they were doing and didn't seem to be getting any communication, leading them to decide to go to bed. That night however they received rhythmic tapping on their bedroom walls and asked questions to the unseen spirit, who answered by the taps on their walls; leading them to believe they finally had contacted their dear mother. This continued for several days and now the heartwarming communication with their lost one was disturbing the girl’s sleep. Items that would be in specific places in the house would move or be thrown over. Even whole pieces of furniture were moved clear across rooms - leading the girls to believe they had accidentally contacted a d̠ͨe͙̬̤̹̲̯̝̎̽̒m̪̀̑ͩo͔̻n͕̦̮̹͉͈̓ͧ rather than their mother. Their father, Brian Andrews, believed this was the girls work and that they were setting up a hoax or prank in the wake of the emotional aftershocks of their mother's death. In January 1987 Annie and Jessica once again heard the tapping when they were in their front room, but to their horror it was not coming from the walls, but rather the basement where they had first done the séance. Terrified, the girls grabbed a kitchen knife and crept into the basement. There they were met by a seen straight from a horror movie. On the wall, written in blood, “I'm in your room, come and find me.” The girls fled their home and called their father from a neighbor's house. Brian still did not believe his daughters and felt the joke had gone too far, admitting both his daughters for counseling to deal with the emotional trauma of losing their mother. But once again the taps returned several weeks later, this time in Annie's room and on her wall in blood were the words, “I'm back, find me if you can.” Once again the girls flee and call their father from the neighbors house. Brian was angry at this point but when he returned home. He was met with evidence that there had been someone in his home. There were more things moved and in Annie's room another message had been painted, “Marry me.” And in the corner of the room was a thin form, he wore the clothes of Brian's deceased wife and wore her makeup, a messy blonde wig on his head and he held a hatchet. When Brian attempted to fight the stranger in his daughters bedroom the figure disappeared and the police were called. They searched the house and could not determine where this person could be hiding until they discovered a build in cabinet in Annie's room that had access to a secret crawlspace. Inside they found Daniel LaPlante curled up, still clutching his hatchet, waiting to do who knows what to the girls and father that night when they went to bed.

In 1970 Daniel LaPlante was born in Townsend, Massachusetts and lived with his mother and stepfather. Daniel is said to have been sexually, mentally, and psychologically abused by multiple adults during his childhood, his father being one to carry out a majority of his “punishments” and Daniel had run ins with the law as a minor.

Daniel had issues at school academically and socially and was often bullied, he was referred to as creepy and weird by other kids through childhood to his teen years. He had very few friends and saw the school psychologist a number of times for odd behavior, lack of hygiene, and general disregard for his own appearance.

At this time Daniel was diagnosed with hyperactivity disorder which pushed the rest of his deteriorating mental health over the edge along with the fact that the school psychologist made sexual advances towards Daniel and later he started to sexually abuse Daniel during their meetings. All of this before Daniel was 15. He started with breaking into people's property to destroy and steal things but then began to move things around the property so that people would know that someone had been there and would do this for the pure mind game nature of it. It was likely during this time that Daniel found the phone number for his first victims - the Andrews family which consisted of a father and his two daughters. In 1986 Daniel, 16 at the time, called the Andrews and claimed to have gotten the number from a classmate who went to the same school as the family's two daughters Annie and Jessica. He told the girls that he was a blonde, athletic, good looking and well educated boy, he and Annie started to get close even organizing a date to meet each other. When Annie opened the door the perfect boy she had been cat fished about was actually the dark haired, greasy, and having no attractive features whatsoever - Daniel. Annie allowed Daniel to take her to the fair anyway before excusing herself an hour later and returning home. During this date Daniel learned that Annie and Jessica had lost their mother recently to cancer and was obsessed with the topic, asking Annie how she felt when her mother died and how much her mother suffered. That night Annie returns home and a few days later, conducts the séance with her sister, that would start their months of torture. When the police arrived and arrested Daniel that night they found that the “blood” the messages had been written in was ketchup and after further investigating the home detectives found that Daniel had been living in the walls of the Andrews house, making tunnels to other parts of the home with peepholes so he could watch Annie in any room she was in.

Priscilla, Abbigail, and William Gustafson

Daniel was placed in a juvenile detention center until October of that year but it was not the end of Daniels crimes. When he was released he returned to his burglary streak, stealing two handguns from a home in November and in December he entered the home of 33 year old Priscilla and Andrew Gustafson where they raised their two young children, seven year old Abbigail and five year old William, another child soon on the way. When Andrew returned home from work he was met with a horrific sight. His heavily pregnant wife was face down on their bed, raped and shot point blank multiple times in the head. His children were found drowned in separate bathtubs. Daniel was thought to have held the family at gunpoint while restraining them from items in their own home before killing the mother first to remove the largest threat then killing the children one by one. It is believed that the reason he moved so quickly from burglary to murder was that now he had the weapons to do so when before he probably didn't have the physical strength to overpower others.

The police made the connection between this murder and Daniel but by the time they went to make an arrest it was discovered that Daniel had fled town sparking a manhunt. A few towns over he broke into another woman's house and kidnapped her in her car. Luckily the woman escaped and Daniel was reported by someone who had seen his picture in the news. He was found 48 hours after his manhunt started hiding in a dumpster.

He was charged for the murder when the hair of the Gustafson’s daughter was found on his sock tying him to the crime. He was sentenced with three life sentences a year later when he appeared in court. During his time in prison he has shown little remorse for his actions and even tried to sue the courts and prison system for violating his rights and religious freedom, saying that he was a Satanist and the prison system did not allow him to have the necessary materials needed for rituals. However in 2017 he appealed for a lesser sentence and went to the court to say, “I do not have the words to fully express my profound sorrow. But I am truly sorry for the harm I have caused. From the very essence of who I am, from the depth of my soul, I am sorry.” The appeal was denied.

Andrew Gustafson died in 2014 and on his deathbed he said, “Don’t ever let him out. He should rot in prison.” A psychologist had been called in and said that Daniel had no chance of rehabilitation.

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