At any one time, it’s believed that there are around 25-50 active serial killers lurking in the dark corners of the USA, stalking the streets and highways for their next potential victim.
While the term serial killer usually conjures up images of people like Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy and Richard Ramirez, there are a whole host of other serial killers who are perhaps even more terrifying – for the sole reason they’ve never been caught.
Here are 9 current serial killers who are still at large. Updated March 1, 2022.
The Long Island Serial Killer
One New York serial killer has been plying his grisly trade for over twenty years now, killing at least ten victims between 1996 and 2010, and possibly more we haven’t yet discovered.
Dubbed the Long Island Serial Killer or the Craigslist Ripper, the extent of these unsolved crimes is still unknown.
It was only after authorities accidentally stumbled upon human remains whilst searching for missing sex worker Shannan Gilbert that they realized Gilgo Beach might be a dumping area for a serial killer.
After initially uncovering four bodies, police widened their search and discovered another six. Eight of them were women, all escorts who used Craigslist to advertise their services.
One body was that of a toddler, later discovered to be the daughter of one of the victims. Another body was that of a cross-dressing male, adding further mystery to the killer’s motives.
Several suspects were soon identified but none of them with any conclusive ties to the ten victims found. It’s theorized that the killer possibly has a law enforcement background judging by how he’s managed to elude capture for so long.
The mystery of the LISK lives on.
Jeff Davis 8 Killers
Between 2005 and 2009, the bodies of eight women between the ages of 17-30 were found dumped in the swamps of Jefferson Davis Parish near Jennings, Louisiana.
Interestingly, the victims had several things in common. Several of them knew each other, one pair of victims even being cousins. Perhaps more bizarrely was that all of the victims acted as police informants, several of whom actually reported on other Jeff Davis victims before their own murders.
The investigation into murders of the Jeff Davis 8 never identified a legitimate suspect, but it led to wild allegations of misconduct amongst Louisiana police.
Muddling the case further, an investigative reporter later stated the person (or people) responsible for these killings were most likely part of law enforcement. Given each victims’ history, this isn’t too implausible.
The fact that the perpetrator or perpetrators could be investigating their own crimes makes the Jeff Davis 8 a particularly disturbing case.
Today, the case is known as a possible example of police corruption. In October 2019, interest in the case was renewed as a result of Showtime’s new documentary on the case.
The West Mesa Bone Collector
In February 2009, a woman out for a walk with her dog discovered what she believed to be human bones on a mesa near Albuquerque, New Mexico. Police soon investigated, and to their shock, they subsequently discovered the remains of eleven women in total along the same stretch of land.
The women ranged between ages 15-32 and were all involved in the sex trade. Most were of Hispanic descent and one of the women was pregnant at the time of her murder.
While the case remains unsolved, police do have two major suspects. However, one of them is in prison on an unrelated charge and the other is dead. Lorenzo Montoya lived in a trailer a few miles from where the victims were found, but was killed in 2006 by a sex worker (and most likely his next victim). Joseph Blea was a known rapist in the area, and when police invaded his home, they found a stash of women’s jewelry and underwear.
Unfortunately, police haven’t been able to confirm a definite link between either suspect and the West Mesa bodies. The case is still open today.
Brazil's Rainbow Maniac
It’s not just the USA where serial killers go uncaught, it happens all over the world. The Rainbow Maniac was a serial killer in Carapicuiba, Brazil who targeted gay men.
Over the span of 18 months between 2007 and 2008, the Rainbow Maniac killed 13 people execution-style with bullets to the head, all of whom were killed in Paturis Park and then dumped in nearby bushes with their trousers around their ankles.
One of his victims he beat to death and his twelfth victim was shot a grand total of twelve times.
Read Next: The 29 Most Gruesome Unsolved Murders In History
São Paulo, where Carapicuiba is located, has remained one of the most progressive cities in South America. However, at the time of the murders, several ultra-conservative groups were highly vocal of their intolerance towards homosexuality.
It’s possible that the person responsible for these killings was a vengeful homophobe looking to reduce the numbers of the gay community.
In 2011, a suspect was arrested and trialed in relation to the killings, but was found not guilty by the deciding jury. So, whoever the Rainbow Maniac might be is still out there, and it’s very possibly he’s gotten away with murder.
Ibadan Forest Serial Killers
While we’re on the subject of overseas murder, here’s some real nightmare fuel for you.
In Nigeria there’s a place known as the Ibadan Forest of Horror, or the Evil Forest. Back in 2014, a curious motorcyclist made his way into Soka forest in Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria, and what he found was like something from a HP Lovecraft story.
He found a small colonized area of decrepit buildings, and inside there were over twenty rotten corpses and severed human skulls, and most terrifyingly, ten live people chained to slaughter benches.
Other buildings had piles of clothes, boots and passports inside them. Police have attempted to trace the owners of the passports but have been unable to find them.
Photo via thenationalonlineng.net
Exactly who might be responsible for such horrors is still unconfirmed, but rumors state that the place may have been a den for religious zealots to indulge in ritual sacrifice and flesh-eating.
Nigeria is a very religious country, and such cannibalistic acts have deep primal associations. Since the discovery of the forest, many Nigerians with missing relatives have flocked to the area to search for their loved ones.
The Smiley Face Killers
45 colleged-aged males across a 20-year span. All drowned after getting intoxicated. However, the kicker is that these drownings happening in 11 different states.
Despite the distance between them, some detectives think that drownings are actually the work of a serial killer or group of serial killers. This is dubbed the Smiley Face Murder Theory.
Allegedly, detectives claim that smiley faces have been found near the sites where at least twelve of the men have drowned. It’s believed that these men are abducted, murdered and then disposed of in bodies of water to give the impression of accidental drowning.
Read more: Signs of a Serial Killer: 11 Common Serial Killer Traits
It’s definitely a stretch to connect the murders, but they have a few things in common. Firstly, date-rape drugs were found in the systems of some of the victims – enough to render them completely unconscious. The victim profile is very similar in every case – male, white, athletic, successful, popular.
Lastly is the condition of the bodies. One victim had been missing for 40 days, but the deterioration of his corpse was nowhere near consistent with someone who had been in water for 6 weeks. This was also the case for multiple other victims.
Whether or not you think that the Smiley Face Theory is fact or fiction, there’s no doubt it’s definitely a little creepy.
Pedro Lopez - Monster Of The Andes
This entry is quite unique, given that we know the serial killer’s name. However, that’s all we know.
Pedro Lopez was born Columbia in 1948. He was the son of a prostitute and as a child, was forced to watch his mother partake in extreme sexual acts. He himself was often molested too, and Lopez claimed that these events significantly affected his psyche.
By the early 1970s, Lopez had begun to rape and kill young girls across South America. When an attempted abduction went wrong in 1980, Lopez was apprehended by locals and handed over to police in Peru.
Once in custody, Lopez spewed out his colorful life story, including being captured by a native tribe and sentenced to execution for killing a young girl. He then said he’d killed ‘about three girls’ a week for two years, raising his total number of victims to 300.
Police were naturally skeptical of such a claim, but Lopez led police to a mass grave where they found the remains of 53 of his victims.
The details then a little hazy after this, with different sources reporting different stories, but what is confirmed is that Pedro Lopez was set free from prison in 1994, despite racking up one of the highest body counts in known history. He was sent to a mental home for three years and was then set free.
In 2002, Lopez was suspected of being responsible for a new murder. However, no one has been able to find him since 1998.
The Vending Machine Killer
If you want to go full weird, this entry has you covered.
Japan’s infatuation with vending machines is widely acknowledged. There are five million vending machines across the country, making an average of one vending machine per every 23 people.
Between April and November 1985 in Hiroshima, 12 people were killed as a result of paraquat poisoning and a further 35 were seriously injured.
When authorities looked into the circumstances surrounding these poisonings, they found that most of the victims had one thing in common: they’d recently consumed the drink Oronamin C.
Around the same time, the company behind Oronamin C had launched a marketing campaign offering free bottles of the drink from vending machines whenever someone made a purchase.
In Japanese culture, sometimes people will place the Oronamin C drink on top of the vending machine for someone else to take if they didn’t want it themselves.
Police soon pieced things together and found that someone had been lacing these Oronamin C drinks with paraquat and placing them back on top of the vending machine.
It was almost impossible for the police to track down the person responsible since it was difficult to narrow down where a person had originally picked up the drink. Most of the vending machines responsible were in quiet back streets with no CCTV around.
The person who carried out the poisonings was never found.
The Maniac With Dull Eyes
Also known as the Danilovsky Maniac, the Maniac with Dull Eyes was a Russian serial killer responsible for at least seven murders between 2004 and 2007.
Over in Cherepovets, Vologda Oblast, Russia, various bodies were found around the city, dumped in construction sites and in abandoned buildings. All of his victims were women between the ages of 17-31 and they’d all been raped prior to their slaughter.
Perhaps most creepily, however, is that with each scene the killer left a calling card. Police found crude pornographic drawings on the walls near where every body was found.
After establishing that a serial killer was likely responsible for these seven murders, police also linked the Maniac with a series of murders dating back to 1999. He was also suspected in the murder of a young woman in 2010. His total assumed victim count is 17.
The Maniac was never caught and probably still remains out there today.
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 serial killer documentaries aren’t hiding out in your neighborhood.
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21 Disturbing Serial Killer Quotes
Ruby, what does that even mean???
Ruby- “your kind of people”! So you’re insinuating that you are a serial killer?
They ARE sex workers. How is that offensive if it was their line of work? The only people that think labeling a victim as a sex worker is wrong are people who are judgemental against sex workers. Stop, just stop!
Angela, you may think it’s “disgusting” and “disrespectful” to refer to women as sex workers, but did it ever occur to you that those specific words are used because they are also a group of people that are generally heavily targeted by killers, both one offs and serial. So get off of you feminism high horse and realise why they are labelled the way the are.
“Progressivism” is what got every one of those released early, released. Congratulations, leftists. You’re responsible for even more deaths.
Please remove "God"s comment above.
They chose to sell there bodies he should of used prostitute right instead of sex worker cause ??? Sex work is work after all
To those who are victim activists. We all know it is not the victims fault, however the key to finding these people and giving their potential victims a chance to avoid their gaze ut is important to portray the victim as they are. Especially for killers who’s MO is unknown. Its not about degrading their memory, they life they lead they did so until their end. And letting people know of their occupation, location and other defining factors can help others avoid meeting the MO of these people. Its sad yes, but we need to learn from these incidents. Don’t let the person die in vein. Who they are is who they are. For example sex worker…. she sold her body for sex, was a prostitute, or what ever you want to call it. It is who she is, and we need to accept that those people put them selves in dangerous situations. But the public needs to be aware. So no don’t change the title, its not about the victim, its about finding out who the killer targets. Serial killers have a preferred target. Its not the victims fault they are the target, but people should know who the killer targets. No dancing around the subject. That kind of thinking gives the killer opportunity.
John bitterly is like and the murders started in 88.I also believe he is responsible for the Atlantic City murders.I have studied all the details for the last 8 years and law enforcement believe several killers are responsible because of the way they were desposed.But John only cared about what he did before he killed them and how he killed them and desposed of them was just an after thought.
For the “Long Island Serial Killer,” can you please remove “sex worker(s)” as a description of Shannan and the other victims? Your choice of words is so denigrating to the memories of these innocent women. There are so many other words you could’ve chosen to use when referring to them, yet you chose to insult their legacy and families. This could’ve easily been avoided with “young female” or “23-year old.” It is truly disappointing seeing some humans lack a sense of respect and sensitivity.
Don’t let this crap ruin your hope, I believe that if something bad happened to you, you in some way contributed to it, for instance rape happen when someone out late at night by themselves, the people drinking that crap could have chosen not to drink, and as for murder, it’s extremely rare for someone to be murdered in their own home in broad daylight. Bad things don’t happen to good smart people.
I believe the Long Island killer may be a copycat since placing his at his first killings that would put him out of shape to continue such murders
Serial killers are one of the most unsettling phenomenon of modern times? I seriously doubt serial killers just sprung up in modern times. They have probably been around a lot longer, more like since ancient times.
It’s not exactly known if the Brazilian victims were transitioning or not and there are no different indicators if their pronouns reflected their actual or perceived gender preference. Some of the victims were prostitutes from what I understand about this case, so the term “transvestite” would be appropriate in this case.
Just a little fact. It’s not Columbia. It’s Colombia.
Draven – if you had checked, you would have found that the killer had murdered gay men, and a transvestite. Not everything is a call to arms.
This was in Brazil. Transgender is somewhat known but only as a western culture label. The term “travesti” is the catch all term for trans women and cross dressing men. It basically means “not man” and is the unofficial third gender. He couldve been a number of different identites but transvestite is the accurate translation from Portugese even if not PC by western standards.
What fascinates me is more a lot of the public’s perceptions of what a serial killer should look like, however they conjured that up in their heads (movies, news, pictures, you name it). The fact of the matter is a person would never know, and a lot of serial killers like to blend in. I figure older serial killers are also just aged (whether caught or not) and could have been doing this since teens (maybe before then), early 20’s, 30’s, you name it. Many do and are caught sooner. Also, you cannot go off of looks at all. It’s all around the world and there have been very good looking, decent, to downright ugly. Not to mention all races, tall, short, fat, skinny, degreed, not degreed, on and on. The point is, a person would never know, but it is definitely interesting to talk to others about what they think a serial killer looks like
You called the victims in Brazil “transvestites” . Transvestites are men who dress as women, often being prostitutes. The correct term is transgender.
Pfftt, God doesn’t exist. But this stuff inspires me. qwp
My parents don’t like this but I do. They tried for about a year to keep me from seeing it, never happened, never will.
They caught the Daytona Beach killer today
Everyone,… I stress the importance to know that EVERY PERSON CONVICTED (whomever) of a crime needs to know that what ever the crime may be CONVICTED/ACQUITTED in this life WE ALL are living in the world today; NEEDS to keep in mind that. To WHOMEVER needs to know that whom ever committed the crime may or may not get away with it in this world,… but WE ALL are going to have to stand before God and give an account as to what ever sin or crime committed. GOOD and BAD,….. SAVED or LOST before a Holy/Righteous GOD!!!
They caught the Maryvale shooter after he went cold, he tried to pawn the same gun he used in the murders at a pawn shop…dingus
I agree with TJ, you guys are definitely waaaaayyy off with the delivery of your conclusions who ever is running this site really didn’t do any research at all…. There’s way more to this . this should probably be shut down
None of these killers ar fun, no good plot or anything it’s all boring I know real life is not very fun but I thought at least my kind of people would entertain me
The highway serial killers are by far the most intriguing. Whoever kills on dark lonely highways knows how to find victims. We might be tired from a long drive, angry from a broken down car, young girls traveling when they stumble across sharp objects flattening their cars or more. I think of the easy targets like a ambush hunter. With miles of road to bury victims and toss the evidence for the wind and animals to carry off. Just crazy.
They just found another set of Bones in the West Mesa
OMG freaky…has anyone read the book I Hunt Killers and/or its sequel game by Barry Lyga its waaaaaaay too detailed but yah some of these sound like the murders in the books O_O
anyone of us could be one i knew all 4 girls in daytona i was there from 2001 to 2008 it matters how u bring your kids up its impulse and how u deal with it it sad i wish there family’s the best and may the lord be with them in there time of need may the lord be with all of us we should all be in tune with our lord may god be with all of us now and for ever.those cops in Daytona beach on the beach side are very ruthless and corrupt they should be lookin there for a killer or killers the way they pick on homeless people will leave u in awe i know i wasent even homeless and i was treated like garbadge we are all human people i might be smarter than u but im no differant or better we all are human
I guess the highway serial killings can be included even though it’s a bunch of different serial killers. The B1 butcher was most likely identified from DNA and most of the kills were done by copycats, so he probably shouldn’t be included. You used Charles Manson as one of only 2 examples of a serial killer yet he didn’t actually kill any of the victims he’s in jail for, ergo not a serial killer. The Jeff Davis 8, which you admit was most likely a few individuals knocking off informants, appears to be some sort of cover up making it not the doings of a serial killer. The Maryville killer was caught before this article came out. This site is solely about serial killers? I really hope it’s just a hobby and no one gets paid for this “research”. Looks like you just threw a bunch of junk together to sell lame t-shirts that I could have printed at the mall for half the price. I’m not even gonna bother with browsing the rest of this site.
Well I cant believe that some of the serial killers are still alive today you know its scares me a little thinking that anyone might be the next victim of one of the killers and the police still haven’t found some of the killers yet so they need to do that and then it would be very safe to walk at night no t get snatched and killed by one of these serial killers that are still alive today and police still haven’t found them yet one of them are unknown and they need to find him right now Zodiac Killer they need to find that guy right now. They need to stop giving up on everything.
As far a I know, the B1 Butcher also got caught. The suspect, Hans Husselmann was actually supposed to be serving a life sentence for two previous murders but was released in 2004. Through DNA testing they could connect him to the victims. Hans took his own life after being implicated in the murders.
The Maryvale shooter has been identified and caught as per wikepedia
On May 8, 2017, Aaron Saucedo was charged with the shootings, and an additional two homicides
The Maryvale killer hasn’t been convicted yet, but there has been an arrest & the trial should be starting sometime. Just thought I’d let you know.