The most gruesome unsolved murders

For every serial killer caught, around ten roam free.

While we've been lucky enough to have captured many of history's most infamous killers, there are still thousands of serial cases without answers.

Here are 29 gruesome murders which have never been solved.

1. Jack The Ripper

Perhaps the most infamous un-captured serial killer of all time, Jack the Ripper's story still haunts the backstreets of Whitechapel, England to this day.

In 1888, an unknown perpetrator brutally took the lives of five sex workers in London by stabbing and mutilating them as they walked the streets. The culprit then taunted the press and police, even sending a local newspaper a victim's kidney.

Even 130 years since the crimes, new theories are regularly put forward by researchers as to the identity of this legendary predator. However, we'll most likely never know the true identity of the Whitechapel fiend.

2. The Zodiac Killer

In terms of legacy and notoriety, the Zodiac Killer is second to only Jack the Ripper.

In the late 1960s to early 1970s, an unknown assailant shot and stabbed couples as they sat parked in lovers lanes in the San Francisco Bay Area. The same man then sent ciphers and cryptograms to the press and police, signing himself off as the Zodiac.

Having killed a total of five people, the Zodiac disappeared in 1974, never to be heard from again. Rumors are abound regarding the identity and fate of the Zodiac Killer, but nothing has ever been confirmed. The Zodiac Killer was so famous he even has his own merch.

3. The Villisca Axe Murders

The small village of Villisca, Iowa endured a massacre in 1912 that tainted the town's reputation forever.

An axe-wielding perpetrator snuck into the home of a local wealthy family and then moved from room to room, beating every occupant to death as they slept with his weapon. He murdered a total of eight people in a single night, including six children.

The assailant covered all of the mirrors and glass door panels with pieces of his victim's clothing, left his murder weapon in the house and then locked the doors as he left. To this day, the town of Villisca still suffers from the after effects of these brutal slayings.

4. The Long Island Serial Killer

Long Island serial killer sketch

This one is particularly terrifying, since there's a good chance the Long Island Serial Killer may still be active today.

In 2010, the hunt for the body of a missing sex worker led police to a bushy area off Gilgo Beach, Long Island. There, they found the bodies of four dead women. This led to more discoveries over the years, with at least 10 total deaths being attributed to the LISK.

Investigations are still ongoing into the case, with police recently requesting the help of the general public to track down the perpetrator.

5. The Black Dahlia Murder

Elizabeth Short's iconic image has become forever etched in true crime lore. Her murder has been one of the most highly publicized and explored of the last century.

She was a young woman; an up-and-coming actress with her whole life ahead of her. But in January 1947, Short was discovered in a vacant Los Angeles lot, severely mutilated and completely severed in half at the waist. Her body had been washed and morbidly displayed for the unlucky person who found her.

The Black Dahlia murder remains a staple of the true crime world to this day, with many books, movies and fictionalized accounts exploring the story.

6. The Axeman of New Orleans

Between 1918 and 1919, an unknown perpetrator moved silently through New Orleans, Louisiana, targeting Italian and Italian-American shopkeepers.

The Axeman would break into stores around the city by removing door panels with a chisel. Once inside, he would attack the owners with an axe or blade and leave their bodies where they died. He never stole anything from his victim and appeared to be motivated by racial hatred.

But things got stranger in March 1919. The Axeman sent a letter to local newspapers, saying he would kill again on March 13th, but wouldn't kill anyone who had jazz music playing in their homes. Sure enough, no one was murdered that night, and the Axeman soon disappeared for good.

7. The Keddie Murders

In the rural town of Keddie, California, a family were attacked and killed by an unknown perpetrator in the dead of the night.

In April, 1981, 14-year-old Sheila Sharp returned to her cabin after spending the night at a neighbor's house. Inside, she found the mutilated body of her mother, brother and her brother's friend.

But bizarrely, her other two brothers and their friend were found unharmed in an adjoining bedroom. The boys had no idea that a family massacre had taken place elsewhere in the cabin. Despite many suspects, no one was ever charged for the Keddie Murders.

8. The Freeway Phantom

"This is tantamount to my insensitivity to people, especially women. I will admit the others when you catch me if you can!"

This note was left in the pocket of one of the victims of the Freeway Phantom, a paedophilic serial killer who targeted young black women between 12 and 17 years old. The Phantom would abduct children off the streets, rape, strangle and then dump them near the Washington D.C. freeway.

In the case of one victim, the Phantom forced the girl to call her family before strangling her. She was found dead the next morning. The killings began in April 1971 and ceased in September 1972. The killer was never heard from again.

9. The Lake Bodom Massacre

In the early morning hours in June 1960, a crazed assailant attacked four teenagers as they camped on the shore of Finland’s famous Lake Bodom.

Their remains were discovered by a local swimmer, who found three dead bodies, one of whom in particular had been brutally mutilated post-mortem. One victim was unconscious but breathing, laying naked on top of their shredded tent.

Various items had been stolen, and their clothing was found discarded around the Lake Bodom shore. Many suspects arose, even a few confessions, but the case of the Lake Bodom murders remains unsolved.

10. The West Mesa Bone Collector

West Mesa Bone Collector

One of the more recent cases, the West Mesa Bone Collector is the name given to an unidentified serial murderer believed to have murdered 11 people in Albuquerque, New Mexico between 2001 and 2005.

It wasn't until 2009 that various bones were discovered in an arroyo bank, leading to the discovery of the remains of eleven people in total. All of the victims were women and the majority of them were sex workers.

The police were not short of suspects. Two men in particular stood out, however, one passed away in 2006 and the other is currently serving 35 years in prison. Therefore, the likelihood of anyone ever being charged and sentenced for the West Mesa murders is slim.

11. The Servant Girl Annihilator

One of the first serial killers in known history, predating both Jack the Ripper and H.H.Holmes, was the Servant Girl Annihilator. Between 1884 and 1885, an unknown offender killed and mutilated eight people in Austin, Texas.

The Annihilator attacked victims with an axe while they slept, at first focussing on local servants and then moving on to young girls and eventually a local wealthy woman.

The crimes were overtly ruthless, as in addition to being brutalized with an axe, the Annihilator also raped, stabbed, and even scalped one of his kills. Almost a year to the day after they began, the murders abruptly stopped, and the person responsible was never heard from again.

12. Bible John

In the late 1960s, Glasgow, Scotland was the home of a serial killer and rapist known as Bible John.

Bible John claimed the lives of three women, all of whom had been beaten, sexually assaulted and then strangled with their own stockings. Furthermore, all of the women were taken from the same place; a Glasgow nightclub with a seedy reputation.

One of the victim's sisters recalled meeting the killer in person in the same nightclub her sister died. She said that he kept quoting Bible verses in her presence, and referred to the nightclub they were in as an "adulterous den of iniquity." Was this mysterious man killing people for engaging in impulsive sex? We'll never know,

13. The Alphabet Murders

The Alphabet Murders, also known as the Double Initial Murders, are like something ripped from the pages of a best-selling crime novel.

In Rochester, New York in the early 1970s, a serial offender targeted children between 10-11, abducted, raped and then strangled them and left them on roadsides. But then things get weirder. All of the victims had alliterative names; Carmen Colón, Wanda Walkowicz and Michelle Maenza.

Some believe the names are purely a co-incidence, while some believe the perp purposely targeted these youngsters. Police interviewed around 800 viable suspects in relation to the Alphabet murders, including Hillside Strangler Kenneth Bianci. However, no one was ever tried or charged.

14. The Hinterkaifeck Massacre

Considered to be one of the most mysterious cases in true crime history, the Hinterkaifeck Murders will certainly get the inner detective in you working overtime.

In March 1922, six locals on a farmstead in Munich, Germany were found decapitated. This consisted of four adults and two children, all of whom had been killed with a pickaxe. Allegedly, the killer hid in the farm's barn and lured each victim their one-by-one.

But the killer didn't leave the farm right away. He spent around four days living with the corpses, using the farm resources as though they were his own. Stranger still, there were a series of strange incidents in the days leading up to the murder, such as the maid being convinced the farm was haunted and the father finding odd objects around the house.

15. The Mad Butcher

Also known as the Cleveland Torso Murderer, the Mad Butcher of Kingsbury Run terrorized Cleveland, Ohio throughout the 1930s.

Kingsbury Run was an area famous for its shady establishments such as gambling dens and whore houses. It was also preferred destination for any local homeless people. Between 1935 and 1938, a total of thirteen vagrants were found stabbed, dismembered, decapitated, and in some cases castrated.

The Butcher had no real physical preferences. He killed both men and women in equally violent ways. The only link was that they were all living on the streets. Despite an extensive manhunt and some very likely suspects, the Butcher was never found.

16. The Jamison Family

Not a serial case, but definitely one of the more bizarre true crime stories out there.

The Jamison Family, consisting of mother Sherilynn, father Bobby and daughter Madyson, mysterious vanished one evening in October 2009. A few days later, their pickup truck was found, but with only a malnourished dog inside. All possessions had been left behind, including wallets, cash and photo IDs.

It wasn't until 2013 that their bodies were found in the woods. As police looked back into the case, they discovered some strange things. Prior to their disappearance, Bobby had told people his house was haunted. The family had begun to look emaciated and weak, and Sherilynn had recently purchased a Satanic bible.

17. The Colonial Parkway Murders

Between 1986 and 1989, the Colonial Parkway thoroughfare in Virginia served the hunting ground for a serial killer.

Each murder grimly echoed those of the Zodiac in the decade prior, focussing on couples parked up in lovers lane along the Parkway. The killer would target a vehicle, shoot the occupants and in some cases, drive their vehicle out of sight of passing cars.

The Colonial Parkway Murderer took a confirmed six lives in total, with another two missing and presumed dead. According to officials, 130 suspects have been identified over the past 30 years. However, the case remains unsolved.

18. The Doodler

The Doodler Police Sketch

1970s California was a scary place to live. It was the murder capital of world, enduring the crimes of Edmund Kemper, Randy Kraft, the Zodiac and the Golden State Killer to name a few. There's also one lesser-known name to add to the list: The Doodler.

Between 1974 and 1975, the Doodler claimed the lives of at least five people, with a possible total of sixteen. The unknown perpetrator met his victims in gay clubs, took them to a secluded location and then stabbed them.

His strange nickname comes from the fact one of the Doodler's surviving victims claimed that when he met his attacker, he was sketching caricatures. Suspects have come and gone over time, but the Doodler's identity remains a mystery.

19. The Honolulu Strangler

The Honolulu Strangler was the first serial killer to grace the lands of Hawaii, having killed five women over the span of a year in 1985-1986.

The perpetrator would attack women when they were alone, usually around bus stops and other quiet areas. He'd then rape them, strangle them and leave them for dead. Every victim was found with their hands restrained behind their backs.

As quickly as the Honolulu Strangler showed up, he disappeared in April 1996 never to be heard from again. Despite a major suspect by the name of Howard Gay, no one was ever charged or sentenced for the murders.

20. Elisa Lam

Not a serial killer victim, or even a murder (that we know of), but one of the most bizarre deaths of the last ten years to say the least.

Elisa Lam was a young woman and blogger from Vancouver who, in January 2013, paid a visit to the infamous Cecil Hotel as part of a vacation around the West Coast. A few days into her stay, she was found dead in the water tank on the hotel's roof.

But things get weirder. Hours before Elisa's death, CCTV footage from the hotel's elevator captured her acting very strangely. Elisa jumped in and out the elevator multiple times, pushed buttons randomly and peeks outside as if to make sure no one was watching her.

21. Monster of Florence

Italy's boogeyman, the Monster of Florence is one of the most famous uncaught serial killers in Europe.

From 1968 to 1985, the Monster hunted his way around the city, obsessively stalking his victims before striking from the shadows. He wound find couples being intimate in dark lovers lanes, then kill them either through excessive stab wounds or with a .22 caliber Beretta.

The Monster's M.O. was unique in that he would often extract the sex organs from the female, something which has been theorized to be his entire motivation for killing.

22. The Thames Torso Murders

Victorian England must have been a scary place to live. Not only was Jack the Ripper prowling the streets, but a similar, equally-sadistic killer was also on the loose.

In September 1873, a mass of body parts were found in areas around the Thames River in London. These included a whole torso, a skinned face and scalp, a shoulder, thigh and a pair of lungs. In total, enough parts to make two women were discovered.

Could Jack and the Torso Killer be one and the same? The London police department didn't seem to think so at the time, but it's a question which researchers have pondered deeply over the years.

23. The Maniac With Dull Eyes

The Manic with Dull Eyes Police Sketch

The Maniac with Dull Eyes, or the Danilovsky Maniac, was a Russian serial killer who claimed seven victims between 2004 and 2007.

The bodies of young women were discovered in abandoned buildings and unused construction sites around Vologda Oblast, Russia. More eerily was that with each crime scene, the killer had sketched crude pornographic drawings near every death site.

After coming to the realization that every killing was related, Russian police soon linked the Maniac with other murders throughout the area dating back to 1999. In total, the Manic was linked to a total of 17 possible victims.

24. Hausjärvi Gravel Pit Murders

The Hausjärvi Gravel Pit Murders, or the Järvenpää serial killings, were multiple slayings that took place near gravel pits in Helsinki, Finland in the early nineties.In April 1991, the mutilated body of a 28-year-old woman was found in woods near a gravel pit in Järvenpää, Helsinki. Upon investigation, police discovered that the woman had been abducted from a road several miles away and taken to the gravel pit area to be murdered.

The killer didn't strike for another two years, eventually taking another victim in August 1993. However, this woman's body has never been discovered, and the Helsinki police department claim to have evidence which links her disappearance with the first Gravel Pit victim.

25. The Redhead Murders

For almost 15 years, an unidentified serial murderer targeted women with red hair across the United States.

Beginning in West Virginia in October 1978, the perpetrator focussed on sex workers and runaways, strangling or suffocating each woman and then discarding them on the roadside. In addition to West Virginia, bodies attributed to the same offender were also found Tennessee, Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Pennsylvania.

Theories have ran wild whether or not the killings were committed by the same hand. Many of the victims couldn't be identified due to their transient lifestyle, or possibly because the killer drove them across state lines before dumping them.

26. The Rainbow Maniac

It's not just the U.S. and Europe with their share of murder mysteries. The rest of the world has their fair share too. Over in South America, a perpetrator known as the Rainbow Maniac targeted gay men in Carapicuiba, Brazil.

Carapicuiba was known for being a progressive town, and one of the LGBT hotspots of Brazil. Unfortunately, it attracted the attention of anti-gay conservative groups, and between 2007 and 2008, 13 young men were found dead.

Most of the victims had been shot execution-style in the head, while another man had been beaten to death. They were all killed in Carapicuiba's Paturis Park and left with their trousers around their ankles.

27. Charlie Chop-off

Warning. This one involves children and castration. Proceed with caution.

Charlie Chop-off operated in Manhattan, New York during the early 1970s. His first victim, an 8-year-old boy, was discovered stabbed a total of 38 times and had his genitals partially severed from his body.

Three more victims followed over the next year, all young boys with their genitals completely removed who were found on the roofs of housing blocks. Even though the police had a viable suspect in a man named Erno Soto, a lack of evidence meant he was able to walk away freely.

28. The Babysitter

Also known as the Oakland Country Child Killer, the Babysitter is an unknown offender responsible for the murder of at least four children in and around Oakland, Michigan.

Each victim was between 10 and 12 years old, and were abducted and kept imprisoned somewhere before being sexually assaulted and killed. Three of the children were suffocated, while one had been shot. The bodies were then left on roadsides around Oakland.

Multiple suspects later came to light (including one John Wayne Gacy) and although no one was ever tried or sentenced, Oakland police busted a child pornography ring thanks to their investigation into the case. However, the Babysitter's identity is still a mystery.

29. The Chicago Strangler

For whatever reason, the Chicago Strangler is a relatively unknown murderer, despite him having amassed a staggering body count.

For 20 years, strangled bodies have been showing up in various alleyways, parking lots and abandoned buildings around the Windy City. The first was discovered in 2001 and have continued on a regular basis until as recently as 2018. In total, the Chicago Strangler has claimed the lives of at least 51 women.

All of the women have a history of sex work and the majority of them are of African-American descent. One particular harrowing incident in 2007 saw the Strangler take the lives of two women in one day.


We hope you've enjoyed our list of the most the gruesome unsolved murders in true crime history. Have we missed any killers or bizarre cases? Which mysterious case sticks with you the most? Let us know in the comments!

Check out our horror shirts and true crime apparel, then read about the most famous serial killers of all time.



thats mad wild

SideShow Bob

What about the Phantom/Tex-Arkana/Moonlight murderer? They never caught him.

Matthew Fitzgerald

IU am taking these ones to court in Santa Barbara Superior Cout!


I think it’s so strange how the Villisca axe murder house is standing and being used for ghost tours. It’s actually really neat!


You should do one on the Dr.Shipman case.


that’s crazy


The first known serial killer active in Hawaii was actually Eugene Barrett. His murders spanned from 1959-1995

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