5. The Grave Digger of West Mesa
In 2009, the bodies of eleven women, all sex workers, were found buried in the West Mesa desert in Albuquerque, New Mexico. A woman walking her dog made the grim discovery and following an investigation, all the victims were believed to be aged between 15 to 32 years old, mostly Hispanic, and were involved in either drugs or prostitution. They also found a foetus in the area which they believe is also connected to the killings.
One suspect the police arrested was a photographer who regularly visited the Albuquerque state fair. They confiscated “tens of thousands” of photos from the man, but could not make a connection between him and the bodies. Another serial killer, Scott Lee Kimball, was also investigated but he denied the killings.
Whoever was responsible – they have never been bought to justice.
4. The Stoneman
The Stoneman was the name given to a serial killer active in Calcutta, India, during the mid-1980s. The Stoneman would target the homeless who were sleeping on the street and would crush their skills by dropping a single stone on their heads – often the stones weighed as much as 30kg. His total victim count is believed to be 13 people.
The Calcutta Police believe the majority of these brutal killings could be attributed to The Stoneman, however, there may have been others involved as they attempted to recreate these crimes as a copycat killer.
They established, based on an account from one victim who had miraculously survived the attack, that the killer was well-built and clean cut – but with no other eye-witness accounts and the attacks taking place during the night, they were at a dead end. In 1988, the attacks stopped and The Stoneman was gone but not forgotten.
3. The Honolulu Strangler
The first known serial killer in Hawaii was “The Honolulu Strangler”, the killer was responsible for the murders of five women between 1985 and 1986. The bodies belonging to the victims, all aged between 17 and 36-years-old, were found with their hands bound, sexually assaulted and cause of death was strangulation.
Forensic psychologists knew very little of The Honolulu Strangler, except that he was an opportunist killer – attacking only vulnerable women mostly as they waited at bus stops – after he had stalked them for some time. The way their hands were tied, also led them to believe this was a fetish crime.
The Honolulu Police Department assembled a 27-person serial task force task force, including help from the FBI and the Green River taskforce, to try and help catch the killer. Roadblocks were issued in the area – as they attempted to stop and question frequent commuters. A $25,000 reward was put up but still, nobody was caught and convicted.
2. Jack The Ripper
The Whitechapel Murders took place in impoverished areas around Whitechapel, London in 1888. The serial killer was never identified but was given the name “Jack the Ripper”. The Ripper became of the first criminals in history to be profiled. His reign of terror has inspired many books, movies, poems and chilling ghost stories throughout history.
In 1888, one police postmortem read: “All murders no doubt were committed by the same hand. In the first four the throats appear to have been cut from left to right, in the last case owing to the extensive mutilation it is impossible to say in what direction the fatal cut was made, but arterial blood was found on the wall in splashes close to where the woman’s head must have been lying.
“All the circumstances surrounding the murders lead me to form the opinion that the women must have been lying down when murdered and in every case, the throat was first cut.”
The Ripper was known for targeting female prostitutes who worked in the slums. The victim’s bodies were often discovered with their throats slit and their internal organs removed. Although none of the victims were sexually assaulted, he would often leave the bodies in sexually degrading positions with their wounds exposed to haunt investigators. Psychologists believed The Ripper received sexual satisfaction from his attacks – whoever he might have been.
Then on September 27th, 1888, the police received a very chilling letter which read:
I keep on hearing the police have caught me but they wont fix me just yet. I have laughed when they look so clever and talk about being on the right track. That joke about Leather Apron gave me real fits. I am down on whores and shant quit ripping them till I do get buckled. Grand work the last job was. I gave the lady no time to squeal. How can they catch me now. I love my work and want to start again. You will soon hear of me with my funny little games.
I saved some of the proper red stuff in a ginger beer bottle over the last job to write with but it went thick like glue and I cant use it. Red ink is fit enough I hope ha. ha. The next job I do I shall clip the ladys ears off and send to the police officers just for jolly wouldn’t you. Keep this letter back till I do a bit more work, then give it out straight. My knife’s so nice and sharp I want to get to work right away if I get a chance. Good Luck. Yours truly
Jack the Ripper
Dont mind me giving the trade name
PS Wasnt good enough to post this before I got all the red ink off my hands curse it No luck yet. They say I’m a doctor now.
Still, to this day, nobody knows who Jack the Ripper really was.
1. The Zodiac Killer
The self-proclaimed “Zodiac Killer” carried out the random, brutal murders of five people in California’s Bay Area in 1968 and 1969. He then sent a series of taunting cryptic notes including a cipher code to the police, claiming that if they were de-coded it would reveal his true identity.
The Zodiac Killer also sent taunting letters to the San Francisco Examiner. Beginning “Dear Editor: This is the Zodiac speaking…” where he continued to describe the murders in detail and taunted police for not being able to crack his code or catch him.
The FBI have been investigating the case since 1969. They have enlisted cryptanalysts and code-breakers to help unravel the complex cipher that used more than 50 shapes and symbols to represent the 26 letters of the alphabet.
Ultimately the code was published by local newspapers and broken by two university professors – all they could read was: “I like killing people because it is so much fun.”
Despite the code, fingerprints left at the scene of the crimes and witnesses helping police to sketch a description – the identity of the Zodiac killer still haunts police today.