Serial killer

Photo of the Day

Joseph Michael Swango (born October 21, 1954) is an American serial killer and former licensed physician. It is estimated that Swango has been involved in as many as 60 fatal poisonings of patients and colleagues, though he only admitted to causing three deaths.

A License to Kill

Doctor “Double-O Swango”

Joseph Michael Swango is a serial killer who, as a trusted doctor, had easy access to his victims. Authorities believe he murdered up to 60 people and poisoned countless others, including co-workers, friends, and his wife.

Though American doctor Michael Swango appeared to be handsome and congenial in nature, signs of his inner mental instability were noticeable to colleagues even while he was attending medical school. Swango’s classmates observed that he often worked on a scrapbook containing images of horrific, bloody disasters, and they worried that some of the basic anatomical knowledge expected from a physician was sorely lacking. However, no one knew how scary Swango really was until they discovered years later that he had killed between thirty and sixty of his patients.
As an intern in 1983, Swango’s patients started quietly dying after he had been in the room with him. Though nurses alerted hospital officials at Ohio State University, their cursory investigations revealed nothing, and Swango continued to practice medicine without reproach. He moved to Illinois, taking a job as an ambulance driver because he admitted that he liked seeing the blood and gore of accidents. It was there that his co-workers again became suspicious of him. Swango began slowly poisoning his co-workers with ant poison, sending them home sick with terrible stomach pains. After a particularly bad episode involving a tainted batch of doughnuts, his co-workers set a trap for Swango by leaving him alone in a room with a pitcher of iced tea. They later had the tea tested in a lab and found that Swango had indeed put ant poison in the tea.

Read more »

Photo of the Day

?Vampire of Cinkota?

Be careful next time you answer a romance Ad!

In 1932, an excited New York City detective named Henry Oswald said he was certain he had spotted one of the world’s most wanted men strolling out of the subway at Times Square. Oswald tried to follow, but the man quickly vanished into the crowd.

The detective was certain it was Bela Kiss, Hungary?s prince of love ?em and bleed ?em.

At that time, Kiss had been eluding justice for more than 15 years. He had killed at least 30 women and one man, preying on lonely women looking for love in the want ads.

Lovelorn men and women have always been an easy target for serial killers. Kiss had a singular technique for ridding himself of all those inconvenient corpses. He pickled them.

In 1914, Kiss, then 37, marched off to fight in World War I. He left his home ? a cottage he rented for more than 15 years in Cinkota, near Budapest ? in the care of an elderly housekeeper. Then he disappeared into the chaos that was Europe in those years.

He had lived in the town since around 1900, but no one knew much about him. Tall, blond, and handsome, Kiss had a prosperous tinsmith business and was known as a bon vivant who loved to throw parties. Cinkota?s most eligible bachelor or so many ladies thought.

His first attempt at wedded bliss had ended in disaster a year after the 1912 wedding. His wife, Marie, was 15 years younger than her husband. Her eye strayed to a suitor closer to her age, a handsome artist, Paul Bikari.

The pair disappeared shortly after the start of their affair. Kiss told anyone who asked that his wife and her paramour had run off to America to start a new life. Shortly after his wife?s disappearance, Kiss, as with many bachelors of his era, was known to have begun frequenting various brothels. Though unlike certain other serial killers, he did not target prostitutes in his murderous endeavours.

Read more »

Photo of the Day

People came from near and far to watch as police investigated these horrific crimes.

Black Widow

Belle Sorenson Gunness was a six-foot-tall Norwegian-American woman who killed between 25- 40 people in her lifetime, some say many more. Nicknamed “Lady Bluebeard,” Gunness allegedly killed several of her suitors, boyfriends, husbands, and children. But why? She committed these murders to collect large sums of money in life insurance (as well as other valuables), then killed her witnesses?

A series of suspicious fires and deaths (mostly resulting in insurance awards) followed. Belle also began posting notices in lovelorn columns to entice wealthy men to her farm, after which they were never seen again. Authorities eventually found the remains of over 40 victims on her property, but Belle disappeared without a trace.

Children in La Porte, Indiana, grew up listening to graphic horror stories about the gruesome murders committed by Belle Gunness on her farm at the end of McClung Road. The most disturbing part about these grisly stories is that the gory parts are not fiction. Belle Gunness (also known as Lady Bluebeard, The?LaPorte Black Widow, The Mistress of Murder Farm, and Hell?s Belle) was probably one of America?s most prolific serial killers.

Read more »

Photo of the Day

The original portrait of the Countess from 1585 is lost (spirited away in the 1990s). However, this is a fairly contemporary copy of that original, probably painted in the late 16th century. She was 25 when the original portrait — the only known image of her — was painted.

Elizabeth B?thory

Hungarian Countess

Beauty is only skin deep, you know. You can be the most beautiful woman in the world and still have a black heart

If power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely, as Lord Acton once observed, then absolute power in the hands of a psychotic, sexual sadist can unleash the hounds of hell. Such was the case of Erzs?bet ?Elizabeth? B?thory, a late-16th-century Hungarian countess ? and the most prolific female serial killer in history, whose murderous reign historians are still trying to make sense of today.

For centuries Countess Elizabeth B?thory was one of Europe’s most notorious figures. This Hungarian noblewoman – whose castles, palaces and manors stretched across a third of Europe – was convicted of such gruesome crimes that her name still conjures shudders in eastern Europe.

Her crimes caused her to become a legendary and feared figure. Even after the legends have been lifted her crimes still seem unimaginable. Elizabeth B?thory, was the woman who came to be known as the “Blood Countess,” was born into Hungarian nobility in 1560. She is said to have suffered from fits and outbursts of rage — possibly even epilepsy. From an early age, she witnessed her father’s officers torture the peasantry that lived near her family’s estate. Most historical analysis of the countess includes young Elizabeth as witness to a captured thief being sewn into the stomach of a dying horse and left to perish.

Read more »

Photo of the Day

1953: Crowds line the street to stare at 10 Rillington Place in Notting Hill, London.

Rillington Place

At the same nondescript three-story house in a cul-de-sac in London’s Notting Hill, North Kensington, two different murderers were arrested and prosecuted. Both were executed for their crimes, and some people think that justice was done, while others believe that one innocent man went to the gallows, set up by the other who got away with murder. At least, he got away with that one. Until he confessed, that is. But the other man had confessed, too. Who was the real killer?

There have undoubtedly been many miscarriages of justice in the legal system over the years. But none of them is quite as tragic and haunting as the conviction of Welshman Timothy Evans and his subsequent execution in March 1950 for a crime he did not commit.

This is also the story of one of England’s most infamous serial killers; and, more pointedly, how, Timothy Evans, an innocent young family man from South Wales went to the gallows.

Evans was wrongly hanged for the murder of his wife and baby daughter Geraldine. Both had been strangled in a bath house at an address that would a few years later become notorious with murder – 10 Rillington Place.

Read more »

Photo of the Day

This is Christopher Wilder scouting his next victim at the Seventeen Magazine pagent at the very time that he was the subject of a nationwide manhunt. The legs in the foreground were those of Michelle Korfman, who was one of the contestants. She disappeared right after this event and her skeletal remains were found a month later in the mountains near Los Angeles. His M.O. was to approach women wherever they congregated. He approached them in shopping malls, strip-malls, on the street in residential neighborhoods, and in one instance, at a Seventeen Magazine beauty pageant in Las Vegas, where he posed as a photographer.

This is Christopher Wilder scouting his next victim at the Seventeen Magazine pageant at the very time that he was the subject of a nationwide manhunt. The legs in the foreground were those of Michelle Korfman, who was one of the contestants. She disappeared right after this event and her skeletal remains were found a month later in the mountains near Los Angeles. His M.O. was to approach women wherever they congregated. He approached them in shopping malls, strip-malls, on the street in residential neighbourhoods, and in one instance, at a Seventeen Magazine beauty pageant in Las Vegas, where he posed as a photographer.

The Beauty Queen Killer

Christopher Wilder was rich. His friends described him as charming and gallant. He lived a playboy life in South Florida, living well and racing sports cars. He was particularly fond of beautiful young women. In the nineteen eighties he was still in his thirties and living in Boynton Beach in Florida.

Cross-country road trips often conjure images of the wind in your hair as you drive a classic Mustang with the music blaring. Add to this rape, torture and murder and you?d come close to describing Christopher Wilder?s 1984 killing spree across the United States. Also known as The Beauty Queen Killer, Wilder was born in 1945 in Sydney, Australia. Having lived through a rather traumatic childhood where Wilder came close to death not once, but twice, he showed signs of sexual deviance at a young age.

By aged seventeen somewhat innocent window peeking had developed into gang rape. Having plead guilty to this crime, during his year of probation, he received the controversial electroconvulsive therapy. This treatment, thought to correct unwanted mental conditions, involves small electric shocks being passed through the brain to trigger a seizure. Although it was meant to help, this treatment seemed to further fuel Wilder?s disturbing fantasies ? especially those about having complete power over a woman.

That apparently stimulated his fantasies, for unlike before this treatment, he now imagined shocking girls while having sex with them. Therapists noted his need to dominate women and his desire to turn them into slaves for his pleasure. He wanted to hold a woman captive against her will.

Read more »

Photo of the Day

The 47 suitcases seized by police in a private residence at Villeneuve at the Seine Assize Court during the trial of French mass murderer Dr Marcel Petiot. The cases contain clothes which were identified by relatives of some of his victims. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

The 47 suitcases seized by police in a private residence at Villeneuve at the Seine Assize Court?during the trial of French mass murderer Dr Marcel Petiot. The cases contain clothes which were identified by relatives of some of his victims. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

Dangerous Lunatic

The Monster of Rue Le Sueur

Meet the French doctor who promised Jews safe passage from Nazis, only to rob and murder them

To all who knew him, he was the most devoted, benevolent doctor in Nazi-occupied Paris. Dr Marcel Petiot provided free care for the poor and risked his life helping persecuted Jews flee to safety.
Or so everyone thought ? until locals in his affluent neighbourhood reported a foul stench from his home and thick black smoke pouring out of his chimney in March 1944.

Nazi-occupied Paris was a terrible place to be in the waning days of World War Two, with Jews, Resistance fighters and ordinary citizens all hoping to escape. Disappearances became so common they often weren?t followed up.

And one man used the lawlessness for his own terrible purposes, killing perhaps as many as 60 people.

Petiot?s criminal career stretched from his teenage years to his mid-life, and ran parallel to a successful military, political, and medical career. He was a real life Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

The inherent grisliness of murder makes it hard ? if not impossible ? to describe any murderer as ?better? or ?worse? than another. Still, Marcel Andr? Henri F?lix Petiot was truly superlative in his horror, mainly because of the circumstances and motivations behind his acts: He promised safety and freedom to those leaving Nazi-occupied France, only to strip them of their possessions and lives.

Despite his infamy in France, many elsewhere have never heard his story. As with many serial killers, internal struggle marked much of P?tiot?s early life.

Born on January 17th, 1897, he was the son of a civil servant, and?his uncle, Gaston Petiot, was a professor of philosophy at the College of Auxerre.?From childhood he showed signs of violence, after he strangled a cat after plunging its legs in boiling water.

However, he showed great intelligence, at 5 years old he was reading like a 10-year-old child. He then was found distributing obscene images when he was eight.?Interned at St. Anne for a psychiatric disorder, his mother died when he was 12, he was then subsequently sent to several schools for discipline, but exhibited severe behavioural problems in school and was expelled several times before completing his education.

Read more »

Photo of the Day

Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park.

Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park.

Evil in Paradise

In a setting of beauty and grandeur, a twisted soul was on the loose, a murderer who revived gnawing fears that National Parks are no longer safe. Evidence reveals the confessed killer’s tortured past?and his bizarre obsession with Bigfoot

Yosemite?National Park is a vast area of mountain paths, alpine wilderness and redwood forests, one of the most beautiful scenic attractions in America. Set aside in 1890 to preserve a portion of the natural beauty of the Sierra Nevadas in California, its breathtaking topography rises as high as 13,000 feet above sea level. Two-hundred miles of winding road and 840 miles of foot trail have lured tourists, campers and skiers for decades.

But, under the mosaic of green conifer pines, domes of granite rock, silvery waterfall and misty mountain sky, a killer lurked. His first victims were a 43-year-old woman and two teenagers. They were missing for more than a month, and when the FBI located their bodies a cry of “serial killer!” shook the peaceful tranquility of the park.

On?Thursday morning, July 22, Dr. Desmond Kidd, Yosemite National Park’s medical director, had just finished a busy 24-hour shift at the park’s clinic?it was, after all, the height of the summer tourist season?and the 36-year-old physician was beat. But not long after he arrived back at the log cabin he shared with other park employees in Yosemite Village, his pager went off. Kidd called in to the park dispatcher and was asked to join a search for a missing person?a search, the dispatcher said, “with law enforcement implications.”

In two and a half years of working in Yosemite, Kidd had helped rescue a number of hikers who had lost their way, but before he headed out of Yosemite Village in a convoy of four-wheel-drive vehicles toward the nearby hamlet of Foresta, he learned that this search was different. Five months earlier, three female tourists had vanished from their hotel room at the Cedar Lodge, near Yosemite’s entrance, and had been found a month later, brutally murdered. Now, Kidd was told, another young woman had disappeared. Joie Ruth Armstrong, 26, an ebullient, strawberry-blond naturalist at the nearby Yosemite Institute and a casual acquaintance of Kidd’s, had been planning to spend the weekend visiting friends in Sausalito. Armstrong had never shown up, and her friends feared something had happened to her.

Turning left off the main Yosemite highway, Kidd steered his Jeep down an unmarked road into Foresta: 30 cabins, inhabited mostly by park employees, scattered across the bottom of a wooded glen. A forest fire had roared through this area in 1990, and many of the pine trees here were still blackened and skeletal. For the past year, Armstrong had lived with her boyfriend, another Yosemite Institute naturalist, along with a second roommate, in a green cabin set by itself at the edge of a golden meadow. Rangers had cordoned off the area around Armstrong’s secluded house with yellow police tape. Her white pickup truck was still parked in the driveway, packed with luggage for her trip.

Read more »

Photo of the Day

Gary Leon Ridgway. King County plea agreement: Pleaded guilty Nov. 5, 2003, to 48 counts of aggravated first-degree murder in a deal that spared him from execution and finally brought answers in the infamous and long-unsolved slayings.

Gary Leon Ridgway. King County plea agreement: Pleaded guilty in 2003, to 48 counts of aggravated first-degree murder in a deal that spared him from execution and finally brought answers in the infamous and long-unsolved slayings.

Green River Killer

Chillingly, He referred to Killing Young Women as his “Career.”

Warning :Some parts in this story are disturbing

He may be America?s most prolific serial killer. Yet the name Gary Ridgway?a.k.a. the Green River Killer?is not as well known when compared to the many other murderers who have haunted nation?s headlines. Convicted of killing 49 women over the course of two decades, Ridgway has confessed to killing almost twice that number, and admitted in later statements that he claimed so many lives he lost count.

On August 15, 1982, Robert Ainsworth, 41, stepped into his rubber raft and began his descent south down the Green River toward the outer edge of Seattle’s city limits. It was a trip he had made on many occasions, yet this time it would be different. As he drifted slowly downstream, he noticed a middle-aged balding man standing by the riverbank and a second, younger man sitting in a nearby pickup truck. Ainsworth suspected that the men were out for a day’s fishing.

He asked the older man if he had caught anything. The man replied that he had not. According to Smith and Guillen’s book, The Search for the Green River Killer , the man standing then asked Ainsworth if he found anything, to which Ainsworth replied, “Just this old singletree.” Soon after, the two men left in the old pick-up truck and Ainsworth continued to float down the river. Moments later he found himself surrounded by death.

As he peered into the clear waters his gaze was met by staring eyes. A young black woman’s face was floating just beneath the surface of the water, her body swaying beneath her with the current. Believing it might be a mannequin, Ainsworth attempted to snag the figure with a pole. Accidentally, the raft overturned as he tried to dislodge the figure from a rock and Ainsworth fell into the river. To his horror, he realized that the figure was not a mannequin, but a dead woman. Seconds later he saw another floating corpse of a half nude black woman, partially submerged in the water.

Quickly, Ainsworth swam toward the riverbank where the truck stood earlier. In shock, he sat down and waited for help to arrive. Within a half hour, he noticed a man with two children on bicycles. He stopped them, told them of his gruesome discovery and asked them to get the police. Before long, a policeman arrived at the scene and questioned Ainsworth about his find. The officer disbelievingly walked into the shallow river and reached out toward the ghostly form. The officer immediately called for backup.

Read more »

Photo Of The Day

First claim: In an interview to be with CBS', Charles Cullen at first says he thought he was helping people by ending their suffering.

First claim: In an interview, Charles Cullen at first says he thought he was helping people by ending their suffering.

The Tainted Kidney

Charles Edmund Cullen (born February 22, 1960) is a former nurse who is the most prolific serial killer in New Jersey history and is suspected to be the most prolific serial killer in American history. He confessed to authorities that he killed up to 40 patients during the course of his 16-year nursing career. But in subsequent interviews with police, psychiatric professionals, and journalists Charles Graeber and Steve Kroft, it became clear that he had killed many more, whom he could not specifically remember by name, though he could often remember details of their case. Experts have estimated that Charles Cullen may ultimately be responsible for over 300 deaths, which would make him the most prolific serial killer in American history

Cullen, is serving eighteen consecutive life sentences in a New Jersey penitentiary. Behind bars, he can no longer take life, yet he?s found a way to give it?in the form of an organ transplant. But no one wants to give him the chance to play God again.

The Angel of Death looks sleepy. His face shows nothing. His eyes are closed. Charles Cullen sits motionless in the wooden defendant?s chair of the Somerset County Courthouse as, hour after hour, his victims? families take the stand. They read poems and show photographs, they weep and yell. If Cullen hears them, he doesn?t say; he never does. During his years in custody, Cullen has never apologized or made excuses. He has never issued a statement, offered a public word, never faced the families of his victims. In fact, the only reason he?s in court today is because he wants to give away one of his kidneys.

To that end, he has cut a deal with prosecutors, agreeing to appear at his sentencing on the condition that he be allowed to donate an organ to the dying relative of a former girlfriend. To many of the families of his victims, this deal is a personal insult?the man in shackles still calling the shots, the serial-killer nurse wanting to control the fate of yet another human life. But for the families of his New Jersey victims, this is the first and last chance to confront Charles Cullen. So they are here, and they are angry.

Read more »