When you think of serial killers, well-known murderers of the past like John Wayne Gacy or Charles Manson come to mind. They’re even famous enough to find their way onto slick apparel in our shop. These nine current serial killers, however, have eluded identification and could be lurking near you.
The Long Island Killer
One New York serial killer has been plying his grisly trade since the mid-1990s, killing at least ten victims over the years. The extent of these crimes is still unknown, and the murders were only discovered after an accidental find of human remains on Gilgo Beach in 2010. The police soon uncovered the decomposed bodies of numerous victims whose deaths stretched back as far as 1996. Distressingly, investigators believe the killer has a background in law enforcement, helping him to elude capture all these years. Though one possible suspect was sentenced to 46 months in federal prison in 2015 on unrelated charges, it is pretty likely that the police have more of this killer’s victims to find.
Jeff Davis 8 Killers
From 2005 to 2009, near Jennings, Louisiana, the bodies of eight women were found dumped in the swamps of Jefferson Davis Parish. Many of the women knew each other, and all of them were criminal informants. The investigation into the murders of the Jeff Davis 8 never identified a legitimate suspect, but it led to allegations of misconduct in the police department. Muddling the case further, investigative reporter Ethan Brown believes that several individuals in the police department killed the women. That the perpetrator or perpetrators could be investigating their own crimes makes the Jeff Davis 8 a particularly disturbing case, even among more violent serial killers at large
Daytona Beach Killer
When the body of Laquetta Gunther, a Florida prostitute, was found in an alley in December 2005, Daytona Beach police had no idea a serial killer was on the loose. Less than a month later, Julie Green, another prostitute, was found under nearly identical circumstances, and investigators connected the killings. Their murderer would go on to shoot and kill two other women, with several other killings attributed to him in 2006 and 2007. As with many other current serial killers, the Daytona Beach killer vanished as mysteriously as he appeared, and no serious suspects have ever been identified by police.
The B1 Butcher
In October of 2005, the headless body of Juanita Mabula, a 22-year old sex-worker, was found next to National Road B1 near Windhoek, Namibia, a country in southern Africa. Mabula’s murder was soon linked to that of Melanie Janse, who was found naked and strangled near the B1 two months before. Their killer would claim at least three more victims, all dismembered and dumped along the B1, before disappearing in late 2007. Clouding matters, investigators believe that there may be multiple Butchers, an original and his copycats. The B1 Butcher, however many versions of him there may be, remains at large, free to commit further gruesome crimes in Africa and abroad.
The Maryvale Shooter
It’s very rare to hear of a serial killer with two accomplices, but it seems to be the case in the Maryvale neighborhood of Phoenix, Arizona. From March 17 through July 11, 2016, an unidentified shooter killed seven people and injured two others, sometimes with passengers in his car. He also shot at and missed two relatively lucky individuals. Described by surviving witnesses as a young, lanky Latino male, the suspect has yet to be unidentified. Given the perpetrator’s young age, it’s possible that the novice killer could go on to commit more gruesome crimes if he isn’t apprehended soon.
The West Mesa Bone Collector
In February 2009, a woman out for a walk with her dog discovered what she believed to be a human femur on a mesa near Albuquerque, New Mexico. Police subsequently uncovered the remains of eleven women on West Mesa, many involved in drugs or the sex trade. The women were killed and buried between 2001 and 2005. While authorities believe some of the area prostitutes may have information on a possible suspect, no one has been charged with the killings, and the perpetrator is still at large.
Brazil’s Rainbow Maniac
The Rainbow Manaic, one of many creatively named killers, was active in Carapicuiba, Brazil, as recently as 2009. Over the course of two years, the unidentified perpetrator murdered twelve gay men in Paturis Park. He typically shot his victims once in the head, though he beat one to death and shot his final victim twelve times. The only viable suspect in the murders was acquitted by a jury in 2011, which means that whoever he is, the Rainbow Maniac is still a free man.
The Johannesburg Killer
A serial killer in Johannesburg, South Africa, bound and strangled nine gay men from 2010 to 2013. As with so many serial killers, the connection between victims was not immediately apparent. In this case, it took intervention by local activists to spur the police to investigate the murders as serial killings. Though the police haven't yet determined the number of killers, whoever has been killing the gay men of Johannesburg is still out lurking somewhere.
Highway Serial Killings
While not a single killer, a phenomenon dubbed Highway Serial Killings by the FBI plagues the highways of the US and Canada. The typical victim is female with a history of substance abuse and sex work. Many of the suspects are long-haul truckers. While the FBI has apprehended at least ten of the Highway Serial Killers in the past few years, solving over 30 cases, more than 500 cases remain unresolved, and more slayings happen all too frequently.
An ever-elusive bunch, serial killers are perhaps the most unsettling phenomenon of modern life. While there are many serial killers out hunting today, it’s comforting to know that the killers featured in these six documentaries aren’t hiding out in your neighborhood.
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