Hearing the gruesome story of murder in the news can often make you feel uneasy and anxious, leaving you a little more cautious of your surroundings. Since most murders are often considered crimes of passion where the victim knew the murderer, there is typically nothing to lose sleep over. But, what happens when a serial killer is on the loose and there is no rhyme or reason for such horrific crimes?
Serial killers rightfully make everyone in a city nervous as their crimes become the center of the five o’clock news, headlines in newspapers and even chatter among neighborhoods. Typically considered mentally deranged people who seem to have no particular motives other than being heartless and sick, serial killers cause mass panic and anxiety in otherwise quiet towns as they choose to murder randomly and without thought.
While police try their best to catch serial killers by pulling out all the stops, sometimes it simply isn’t enough to find justice. From lacking evidence to the inability to connect all of the clues, police are forced to face an empty wall of leads, meaning that the killer is still on the loose.
Which serial killers completely fooled the police and how? We found 10 serial killers who were never captured, somehow managing to fool authorities, leaving them as some of the world’s most wanted criminals even to this day.
#10 – The Honolulu Strangler
When it comes to horrible crimes in the United States, the last place in the world anyone would ever expect is crime in paradise but, paradise was home to the Honolulu Strangler. Known as the first serial killer in the state, the Honolulu Strangler claimed the lives of five women between 1985 and 1986.
The first known victim was 25 year old Vicki Gail Purdy, who left her home to go clubbing with friends but never showed up, only to be found strangled in an embankment the following day. The other four victims were Regina Sakamoto, 17, Denise Hughes, 21, Louise Medeiros, 25 and Linda Pesce, 36. After Linda’s murder, the police set up roadblocks around her home, leading to the capture and questioning of a suspect who was later released as an informant who told the police that a psychic led him to where the body was. Despite an ongoing investigation into the cold cases, no one was been charged with the murders.
#9 – The Axeman
To earn a nickname like “The Axe Man”, you have to do some pretty vile things which proved to be the case in New Orleans between May 1918 and October 1919 when six (and possibly a seventh) murders were committed. Oddly enough, The Axe Man never carried his own weapon but used axes that belonged to his victims in crimes that were solely based on murder and nothing else.
According to police reports, most of the victims were Italian-Americans, which led police to believe that The Axe Man was a racist with an agenda. It’s also believed that The Axe Man only sought female victims and killed men who got in the way of his attempt to carry out his gruesome plans. Though The Axe Man was never caught, there are theories that he was a huge jazz fan who spared people from death if they were listening to jazz when he entered their homes.
#8 – The Stoneman
The next serial killer on our list who was able to fool the police hails from Calcutta, India and is known as The Stone Man. With a hazy timeline of crime spanning 1985 to as far as 1989, The Stone Man eluded the police so that they have never been able to identify whether or not he worked alone or as part of a group who caused widespread tragedy for many Calcutta citizens.
Known as one of the hardest murderers to catch, The Stone Man targeted and killed only homeless people. Ending the lives of at least 13, the murders were mostly the same as The Stone Man approached the homeless person in a desolate area and then crushed his or her head with stones weighing over 66 pounds. Police almost caught a break when one victim survived but, unfortunately, he wasn’t able to identify the killer so an arrest was never made.
#7 – Jack the Ripper
Long considered one of the most famous serial killers in history, Jack the Ripper committed at least five murders during the late 1800’s in London, England and the surrounding area. Also known as “The Whitechapel Murder” and “Leather Apron”, the victims all had a lot in common as female prostitutes working in the rough part of London whose deaths were caused by their throats being cut and stomachs being mutilated.
While many believe that there are at least a dozen more murders in addition to the original five victims, a valid connection has never been officially made by the authorities. One theory claims that Jack the Ripper didn’t like immigrants coming into England and that he targeted Jewish and Irish refugees of the working class. To this day, the mystery has remained unsolved and is one of the longest standing cold cases in England.
#6 – The Atlanta Ripper
Much like The Axe Man, the Atlanta Ripper made his mark in the southern United States in the early part of the 20th century. In 1911, at least 15 women were murdered in Atlanta, Georgia, where authorities believe one killer claimed at least 21 total lives.
The Atlanta Ripper’s first victim was Belle Walker, an African American woman who was found near her home with her throat slit open. Just two weeks later, an almost identical murder occurred when a woman by the name of Addie Watts was found. The next victim, Lizzie Watkins, was found only 12 days later. With an obvious target for African American women in their early 20s, over a half dozen people were brought in for questioning. Unfortunately, no one was ever charged, leaving the Atlanta Ripper to forever remain anonymous.
#5 – The Bone Collector
One of the most recent serial killers on our list, The Bone Collector targeted the Albuquerque, New Mexico area in 2009. Known for its desolate landscape, New Mexico’s vast expanses of desert and mountains proved to be the ideal setting for murder as 11 women were found buried after a woman discovered a human bone while walking her dog.
Most of the 11 women who were found were Hispanic between the ages of 15 and 32 and were somehow involved in drugs and prostitution. While there were several men who were brought in for questioning, no one has been formally charged with the murders. A reward for $100,000 is still out for any information that leads to the arrest of the murderer.
#4 – The Moonlight Murderer
Just after World War II, Americans worked diligently to rebuild in a new period of peace. Tragedy struck, however, in Texarkana between February 22 and May 3, 1946 when eight people were attacked by someone known in the area as the “Phantom Killer”. While the first victims survived the attack, the others were not as lucky.
Four short weeks after the first attack, Richard Griffin and Polly Ann Moore were killed in a double murder, Three weeks later to the exact day, another male and female were murdered with yet another pair of murders occurring exactly three weeks later. With all of the murders occurring at night, police locked down the city in an attempt to catch the suspect. Unfortunately, no one was ever caught.
#3 – Zodiac Killer
Another of the most notorious serial killers in United States history, the Zodiac Killer struck the Northern region of California during the 1960s and 1970s. Unlike most of the serial killers on our list, however, the Zodiac Killer named himself rather than allowing the press to coin a nickname for his gruesome crimes. Zodiac actually sent letters to the media, including cryptograms, to give them clues about the murders, of which only one was solved.
In 2004, the police had chased all of their leads and were still stumped by Zodiac, causing them to move the case to the inactive files after a total of five confirmed kills with as many as 37 during the height of his killing spree. The case was reopened again in 2007 and remains open to this day as investigators believe that the Zodiac’s mark may extend as far to the east as Nevada, although nothing has been confirmed.
#2 – The Grim Sleeper
Once again in the state of California, we look to the mystery of a serial killer known as The Grim Sleeper. Nicknamed for the 14 year gap spanning his killings from 1988 to 2000, the Sleeper is believed to have killed 10 people with another victim who survived an encounter in Los Angeles dating all the way back to 1985.
In 2010, the police suspected Lonnie Franklin, Jr., a 57 year old garbage man, of burying his victims in a landfill to which he had convenient access thanks to his job. While it has yet to be confirmed that Franklin is in fact the murderer, police strongly believe they have found their man. Franklin’s trial was set to begin in June 2015 but it was pushed back by the California Supreme Court for September 9th, so be sure to stay tuned to the news in the upcoming months.
#1 – Charlie Chop-Off
While there are some pretty unnerving names for the serial killers on our list, perhaps there is none more bone chilling than Charlie Chop-Off. Striking the city of Manhattan from March 1972 to May 1974, Charlie claimed the lives of five African American children and left a sixth for dead. Charlie Chop-Off’s first victim was only eight years old who was found with 38 stab wounds and mutilated genitalia. The heartless pattern continued until a suspect was finally brought in for questioning.
Erno Soto was arrested in 1974 while trying to abduct a boy. Soto had been in and out of a mental hospital over the past five years and, while in police custody, admitted to murdering one of the children but none of the others. During the trial, Soto was deemed unfit by the court for trial and was eventually sent back to the mental hospital. To this day, the case remains open.