Over the years, investigators have been successful in capturing some of the world’s most notorious serial killers. A shattered world can find peace of mind now that the cold-blooded killer is safely in the justice system. However, in other cases, there are some that have slipped through the hands of investigators and are still on the loose.
Mary Ellen O’Toole, the director of the forensic science program at George Mason University and a retired FBI agent and profiler, told People what to look out for when it comes to a suspected serial killer. She revealed, “What I would say is that when you are dealing with a serial killer, they tend to be very predatory individuals. They are hunting human beings. The predatory behavior has to do with looking for women ultimately to murder.”
Unfortunately, some of these predators are not all safely locked away. Some are still out there, somewhere…
10. Charlie Chop-Off
Named after his notorious killing methods, “Charlie Chop-Off” (named after his gruesome killing technique) targeted young African-American boys in Manhattan between 1972 and 1974. His first victim was Douglas Owen, aged just 8-years-old, his body was found on a rooftop in Manhattan. Owen had been stabbed 38 times, and his genitals mutilated – proving the perpetrator was as sinister as they come.
Following the brutal murder of Owen, there were 4 similar bodies found, all with the same wounds, and all young boys. However, one victim, a young Puerto Rican boy who had been left for dead, had miraculously survived, based on his witness account police were able to arrest their prime suspect, a man named Erno Soto. He confessed to one of the murders but was considered unfit for trial, and with a lack of evidence to tie in with his confession, he was never convicted – instead sent to live out the rest of his years in a mental institution.
Soon after Soto’s return to the institution, Charlie Chop-Off’s signature killing technique ended. Was Soto the real killer or was Charlie Chop-Off playing with the minds of investigators?
9. The Mad Axeman of New Orleans
During the early 1900s, The Mad Axeman or New Orleans terrorized the area and brutally split the heads open and chopped the limbs off twelve men and women. He would enter the homes of his victims through the back doors and slay them with either an axe (which often belonged to the household) or a straight razor. No items would be stolen from the home and this would happen on several different occasions. As the attacks were mostly on Italian immigrants, criminologists today believe they were ethnically motivated crimes.
No items would be stolen from the home and this took place on several different occasions. As the attacks were mostly on Italian immigrants, criminologists today believe they were ethnically motivated crimes.
Citizens were clearly terrified and adding to the frenzy The Mad Axeman contacted the newspapers and declared the date he would kill next – although he said those who played loud Jazz music from their homes would be spared.
His full letter read:
Hell, March 13, 1919
They have never caught me and they never will. They have never seen me, for I am invisible, even as the ether that surrounds your earth. I am not a human being, but a spirit and a demon from the hottest hell. I am what you Orleanians and your foolish police call the Axeman.
When I see fit, I shall come and claim other victims. I alone know whom they shall be. I shall leave no clue except my bloody axe, besmeared with blood and brains of he whom I have sent below to keep me company.
If you wish you may tell the police to be careful not to rile me. Of course, I am a reasonable spirit. I take no offense at the way they have conducted their investigations in the past. In fact, they have been so utterly stupid as to not only amuse me, but His Satanic Majesty, Francis Josef, etc. But tell them to beware. Let them not try to discover what I am, for it were better that they were never born than to incur the wrath of the Axeman. I don’t think there is any need of such a warning, for I feel sure the police will always dodge me, as they have in the past. They are wise and know how to keep away from all harm.
Undoubtedly, you Orleanians think of me as a most horrible murderer, which I am, but I could be much worse if I wanted to. If I wished, I could pay a visit to your city every night. At will I could slay thousands of your best citizens, for I am in close relationship with the Angel of Death.
Now, to be exact, at 12:15 (earthly time) on next Tuesday night, I am going to pass over New Orleans. In my infinite mercy, I am going to make a little proposition to you people. Here it is:
I am very fond of jazz music, and I swear by all the devils in the nether regions that every person shall be spared in whose home a jazz band is in full swing at the time I have just mentioned. If everyone has a jazz band going, well, then, so much the better for you people. One thing is certain and that is that some of your people who do not jazz it on Tuesday night (if there be any) will get the axe.
Well, as I am cold and crave the warmth of my native Tartarus, and it is about time I leave your earthly home, I will cease my discourse. Hoping that thou wilt publish this, that it may go well with thee, I have been, am and will be the worst spirit that ever existed either in fact or realm of fancy.
Just as quickly as the murders started – they soon stopped. The Mad Axeman was never caught, his identity never revealed, but the citizens of New Orleans still shudder when they think about this brutal time in history.
8. The Cleveland Torso Murderer
In 1934, the torso of a slain woman, with her thighs still attached and skin a color that would suggest her body had been doused in chemicals, was discovered washed up on the shore of Lake Erie, Cleaveland, Ohio. Sadly the victim could not be identified as the head was never recovered and this crime marked just the beginning of the gruesome “Cleveland Torso Murders.”
A year later, another body, belonging to a man who was naked apart from only a pair of socks, was found – his genitalia and head were missing. Not far from this body, a second male victim – again with missing head and genitals – was also discovered. Both corpses had the same chemical treatment on their skin as the first victim and word spread amongst locals there was a serial killer known as “The Butcher” on the loose. Altogether, 12 dismembered bodies were found and the slayings were labeled “The Butcher’s Dozen.”
A man named Eliot Ness, who at the time was the Public Safety Director of Cleveland, dedicated time to catching the killer – but he got nowhere. Even at one point in the investigation, The Butcher taunted Ness by placing the remains of two victims in full view of his office in city hall. The crimes that always haunted Ness also still leave locals in the area with a twisted feeling in their stomach.
7. The Long Island Serial Killer
The Long Island Serial Killer has frustrated the FBI as they have spent nearly ten years trying to catch up with the killer. More than ten bodies have been discovered around Long Island’s Gilgo Beach in New York.
The first four sex workers the killer targeted were women who had made contact via an advert online. They had also made contact via a cell phone, which had been destroyed following the crimes.
Criminal profiler John Kelly also revealed to People that the killer is “such a good talker that he is able to find out if the girls are being watched over, if they have a pimp — he’s going to talk to make sure its safe to pick them up.” He added, “He has probably talked to a lot of women that didn’t know he talked to them. If you look at the four girls, the specific four girls from Gilgo, they are not from New York City. They are from different areas, upstate New York and different states. They may not have the street smarts that a girl in New York City might have.”
The hunt for the Long Island Serial Killer still continues today and will hopefully be solved before he claims another victim.
6. Phantom Killer/The Moonlight Murderer
The Phantom Killer, also known as The Phantom Slayer, is the name the media dubbed the suspect who carried out the Texarkana Moonlight Murders during the late 1940s. A string of single murders and double murders throughout the summer of 1946 sent the town of Texarkana, Texas, into into a state of panic.
At sundown, citizens would lock themselves in their homes, heavily armed and police would patrol the streets. Businesses that opened throughout the night lost their customers but for those that sold weapons and ammunition, their trade had never been better.
Others, mostly young adults, decided to take matters into their own hands and would lay bait for the Phantom Killer so they could capture of kill him. Eventually, three months after there were no more murders, the frenzy died down – the long summer was the inspiration for the horror movie The Town That Dreaded Sundown.