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Mr. George Harvey is the main antagonist of the 2002 novel The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold and its 2009 film adaption, directed by Peter Jackson. He is a rapist and a serial killer who raped and murdered Susie Salmon.
The novel and the film are relatively the same in portraying his character with the exception being that the film omits his sympathetic backstory: Harvey's mother had bipolar disorder and committed petty theft during her manic phases.
When Harvey was eight years old, he witnessed his mother being gang-raped by a group of men whom she had robbed. Shortly afterward, his cold, abusive father banished her from the family.
As an adult, Harvey murdered a number of girls and women. He took a souvenir from each victim. He lived alone in Norristown, Pennsylvania, making a living building dollhouses and claiming to be a widower. Between murders, he satisfies his bloodlust by torturing and killing animals.
In 1973, he lured his 14-year-old neighbor Susie Salmon into an underground "clubhouse" he had built in the woods near his house, and raped and murdered her once she was in his power. He then dismembered her body, put it in a safe and dumped it a landfill. He kept a piece of her bracelet as a souvenir.
He thought he got away with the "perfect crime", and started to look for more other victims. Susie, while looking down from Heaven on her family and her murderer, had to choose between her family and vengeance.
Harvey was forced to move, because Lindsey, Susie's sister, broke into his house, to find evidence in order to learn about the disappearance of her sister. She eventually found it, but Harvey caught her. He ran after her, but she was too quick and got away with the evidence. Harvey realized that he would be caught if he stayed, so he packed up and moved.
After leaving Pennsylvania, he lived a nomadic existence for several years, and eventually settled down in New Hampshire. On a wintry night, he approached a young woman named Clair outside a diner and offered to give her a ride, intending to make her his next victim. She rebuffed his advances, however, telling him to "piss off". Moments later, an icicle hanging from a tree branch fell on his shoulder. Stunned, he stumbled backwards on a slope and into a ravine. He was severely injured and knocked unconscious, and eventually died of exposure.
List of Victims
Besides Susie, Harvey murdered several other girls and women:
- Sophie Cichetti - A 49-year-old woman in Pennsylvania whom Havey murdered in 1960. She was Harvey's landlady. They had sex, and he impulsively smashed her skull in and left her body by a creek.
- Lana Johnson (Leidia Johnson in the novel) - His youngest victim, a six-year-old girl he killed in Bucks County, Pennsylvania in 1960. He lured into a shack he had built and raped and murdered her.
- Flora Hernandez - An 8-year-old girl in Delaware, whom he murdered in 1963. Harvey had only wanted to touch her, but he killed her when she screamed. He left her body to decompose in an old basement. Only her left sock and shoe was ever found.
- Jackie Meyer - A girl in Delaware who has just turned 13 when Harvey killed her in 1967. Her body was found in a drainage ditch by the side of the road.
- Leah Fox - A 12 year-old girl whom Harvey murdered in Delaware in 1969. He fell asleep on top of her after he raped her and she suffocated. She was already dead when Harvey dumped her corpse in a river.
- Denise Lee Ang (Wendy Richter in the novel) - A 13-year-old girl whom Harvey murdered in Connecticut in 1971. She liked to call herself "Holly Golightly", after the protagonist of the movie Breakfast at Tiffany's. She was waiting for her father to close up their shop when Harvey kidnapped, raped and strangled her.
- 14 years after the death of Susie Salmon and later George Harvey, a Norristown couple finds Susie's charm bracelet but never realize its significance.
- Ralph Cichetti, Sophie Cichetti’s son, tells Hal Heckler, brother of Lindsey Salmon's boyfriend Samuel, that he thinks his mother was killed by a boarder who made dollhouses; Hal connects this to Susie’s murderer.