Expert: How to Identify, Deal With Stalker
Forensic psychiatrist Dr. Michael Welner shares signs of a dangerous stalker.
Feb. 11, 2010 — -- When an alleged stalker refused to stop harassing 23-year-old Alissa Blanton, she went to the courts to get an emergency protection order.
Her request was denied. A week later, she was dead. The 61-year-old man Blanton had apparently tried to get the protection order against allegedly gunned down the newlywed in a parking lot near the University of Florida before turning the gun on himself.
According to Dr. Michael Welner, one of America's top forensic psychiatrists, there are several clues to help distinguish the merely annoying from legitimate stalkers that present a serious threat and several steps you can take if you think you are dealing with a stalker.
Before deciding what to do about a potential stalker, Welner said you need to ask two questions: One, do you feel you're being stalked? And two, do you feel it's dangerous?
"In the first [instance], what you have to do is convey to the person who's being a nuisance that you do not want to have any further contact with him or her," Welner said. "Do it in writing because you must create a paper trail for legal reasons."
Welner said the message should be clear: you do not want contact with that person anymore and continuing to seek out contact will be stalking and the police could become involved.
"That way you put someone on notice," he said. "They have to say 'Do I want an arrest on my record? Do I want to have legal trouble?' That may be enough.
If that's not enough, you could be dealing with a legitimate threat, Welner said. Here are some other signs to watch out for in a potential stalker:
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