‘Mindhunter’ Season 2: Is the Situation Involving Bill Tench’s Son Based on Fact?

Season 2 of Mindhunter is finally here and it’s just as eerie and dark as the first. It’s almost impossible not to watch the season in an entire sitting. The new season is full of serial killers being interviewed, but it also surrounds a troubling situation with Bill Tench’s (Holt McCallany) family. Tench’s adopted son Brian gets caught up in a horrific situation involving a murdered toddler being tied to a cross and left in a home. The trauma hits everyone in the Tench family and things will never be the same for them.

Bill Tench’s son gets involved in a horrible situation

Holt McCallany
Holt McCallany | Jim Spellman/Getty Images

The situation starts to unfold when we learn that Brian has brought some older boys into a home that his mother, Nancy (Stacey Roca), is the realtor of. These older children suffocate a toddler in the house. The situation gets somehow more heinous when Brian suggests that they tie the child to a cross. Brian luckily isn’t blamed directly for the murder, but he does have to meet a series of benchmarks with mandatory visits and a child psychologist.

Nancy starts to unravel from it all and wants to move. Her husband, however, isn’t having any of that. Even when Brian stops talking and is clearly suffering, he doesn’t want to see that his son is still affected by the brutal act he witnessed. Brian starts acting strangely after the incident. The family struggles from then on to find their footing.

Tench is based on the real BSU’s Robert Ressler. Ressler had three kids, including one son and two daughters. The child murder in Mindhunter was added into the story and has no basis on Ressler’s actual life or children.

Did the child murder actually happen?

The murder sounds like something made up for television, but it did actually happen. The situation involving the child slaying is based on a 1971 murder in San Francisco involving two boys who were brothers. They were called “Bobby” and “Billy” by the press. The boys, ages 10 and 7, were playing at a nearby park and were used to being on their own. They ended up coming across a toddler, Noah Alba. He was in the park with his mother who was sunbathing in the grass.

The boys decided to bring the infant to a basement in a home in the neighborhood that many children played in. The child reportedly cried, and the children slapped him, and then hit him with a nearby brick. Law enforcement would later find the child’s body tied to a wooden cross because the boys thought the child could then be resurrected.

The boys didn’t plan to commit the murder

Elvis Mitchell, David Fincher, Jonathan Groff, Holt McCullany, Anna Torv, Cameron Britton, and Laray Mayfield | Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Bobby spoke with Frontline with anonymity. He said his brother and himself had no plan to commit a violent act. They were just “playing around.” Neither of the boys faced charges and instead were placed into foster care and therapy. The older child had to complete two months in a juvenile detention facility. Their true names were never revealed.

“A block-and-a-half away, we had a little spot that me and Billy had been to a couple of times,” Bobby explained. “It was underneath a building, it was kind of like a fort area, [a] little play area that we happened upon in our adventures. We went down there and just stayed there for awhile and played around…That’s pretty much what I can recall at first. We were just playing around.”

See how it all plays out for Tench and his family. Mindhunter seasons 1 and 2 are streaming now on Netflix.