27 Serial Killers Who Were Never Caught, And The Stories About What Happened

Warning: Graphic and disturbing content ahead including mentions of assault, rape, abuse, and murder.

1.The "Alphabet Killer," who is believed to be responsible for the sexual assault and killing of three girls between 1971 and 1973 in Rochester, New York. The victims all had names whose initials were the same letter: Carmen Colón, Wanda Walkowicz, and Michelle Maenza.

A billboard with a photo of carmen colon asking for information

According to A&E, "Their names were alliterative, and their bodies were discarded in towns or villages beginning with the same letter as the victim’s initials. Yet, law enforcement concluded this was 'coincidence.'"

Although MANY people were interrogated and several were even narrowed down as suspects, the case remains unsolved.

Bettmann / Bettmann Archive

2."Bible John," an unidentified serial killer who's believed to have murdered three women between 1968 and 1969 in Glasgow, Scotland. The killer was dubbed "Bible John" because, according to a witness, he would quote Bible scripture.

a street where one of the crimes was committed in a row house neighborhood

According to BBC News, "The Bible John investigation became one of the largest ever carried out by Scottish police. More than 5,000 people were interviewed — and the inquiry saw the first use of a police photofit of the suspect. But no arrests were made. One suspect's body was exhumed after the case was reopened in 1995, but he was eliminated after tests failed to find a DNA link to the killings."

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3.The "Stoneman," an unknown serial killer in India who murdered at least 26 people experiencing homelessness, while they were asleep, in the mid to late '80s. The moniker comes from the fact that the killer would crush the victims' heads with a large stone.

view of a busy Kolkata street with many cars and people milling about

According to Yahoo News, the Stoneman was active from 1985 until 1988 in Mumbai. However, in 1989, a similar series of murders started happening in Kolkata.

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4.The "Servant Girl Annihilator," aka the "Austin Axe Murderer," a serial killer (or killers) active in Austin, Texas from 1884 to 1885 who was never identified, but is generally considered America's first serial killer.

an old newspaper that says shocking butcheries at Austin

According to PBS, "In 1884, a string of gruesome murders terrorized the people of Austin, Texas. Three years before Jack the Ripper struck London, a killer — or possibly multiple killers — brutally attacked and murdered eight women in their beds. The heinous crimes stopped as abruptly as they began, and the slayings have remained unsolved for over a century."

KVUE / Via youtube.com

5.The "Doodler," a serial killer who is suspected of killing and/or assaulting as many as 14 men in San Francisco from January 1974 to September 1975 and was never caught. The moniker came from the fact that the Doodler would sketch his victims before stabbing them.

Police sketch of the possible killer, a bald man

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, "By all accounts a good-looking young man with real artistic skills, he’d stroll into one of the scores of gay bars in Polk Gulch, the Tenderloin, and the Castro. Pick a mark. Knock out a quick sketch of a man. Show him the 'doodle' — flatter him, suggest they peel away for sex.

Next day, the victim turns up dead on a beach or in a park. Savagely knifed and slashed, over and over. Rage killings. Always in spots known for clandestine gay hookups. Despite the efforts of two famous San Francisco homicide detectives, he was never caught."

News Nation / Via youtube.com

6.The "Butcher of Mons," an unidentified serial killer who is believed to have killed at least six women in or around Mons, Belgium between January 1996 and July 1997. The victims' bodies were dismembered with "anatomical expertise," and various body parts were left in "neatly tied" bags.

Location where one of the bags was found

According to a report by the Guardian, a police spokesman at the time said, "This is clearly the work of a highly intelligent, ritual psychopath, as you can see from the way the body parts are cut, the way they are wrapped, and the places in which they are deposited." The same article reported some of the bags had been found in locations with suspiciously specific names like "Worry Street" and "Deposit Street."

Jean-francois Deroubaix / Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

7.The "Zodiac Killer," a self-given pseudonym of an unidentified serial killer who operated in Northern California in the late 1960s, and whose crimes are widely considered the most famous unsolved murder case in American history.

wanted poster

Known for using cryptic messages that he sent to the media as well as taunting police and reporters with ciphers, the Zodiac claimed to have had 37 victims. However, authorities have only ever identified five confirmed victims.

According to USA Today, "The Zodiac was known to target couples, attacking three separate young pairs in his killing spree, although two of the male victims survived. In 1969, after his second attack, The Zodiac called the police to report the crime himself and to claim responsibility for a previous double homicide. Though The Zodiac was never caught and the official investigation remains open but public interest has remained high. Countless theories have gained traction over the years, pointing a finger at various men who share physical markers or specific interests with the famed killer."

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8.The "Monster of Florence," an Italian serial killer (or killers) active in the areas in and around Florence, Italy from 1968-1985. Their killings were so shocking they inspired the creation of the character Hannibal Lecter.

view of florence from the hills looking over the ponte vecchio

According to the Guardian, "The novelist Thomas Harris, sitting in on the original hearings, seemed to share suspicions that a society figure had masterminded the gore and so made his fictional killer, Hannibal Lecter, a psychiatrist."

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9.The "Phantom Killer," or "Phantom of Texarkana," an unidentified killer responsible for several unsolved serial murders and related violent crimes in and around Arkansas and Texas in 1946. The crimes were so shocking to the community that they would go on to inspire the 1976 film The Town that Dreaded Sundown.

poster for the film the town that dreaded sundown

According to Texas Monthly, there were "three violent attacks on young people parked on lovers’ lanes on the Texas side of town; the fourth was the shooting of a middle-aged couple in their rural farmhouse on the Arkansas side. At the end of the spree, three people had been seriously wounded and five had been shot dead."

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10.The "Severed Leg Killer," an unidentified serial killer who murdered several people in Turkey from 2000 to 2001. The moniker was given because severed legs from the victims were found around different areas in Istanbul.

view of istanbul, with all its domed buildings

It was reported that, "All of the legs found belong to young and well-groomed women, and while they were carefully cut, only one leg was a man's leg, and it was cut off randomly. Oddly enough, the rest of the bodies were never found."

Chris Mcgrath / Getty Images

11.The "West Mesa Bone Collector," who is believed to be responsible for the murder of 11 women in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The victims' bodies were discovered in 2009, after having been buried in the desert.

crime scene in the desert and photos of the identified women victims

The victims, ranging from 15 to 32 years old, have been identified and were reported as missing between 2001-2005. It is believed they were linked to a sex trafficking ring operating in the Southwest. There have been multiple suspects, but due to a lack of forensic evidence and witnesses, the case remains unsolved and the perpetrator (or perpetrators) unidentified.

KRQE / Via youtube.com

12.The "Long Island Serial Killer," aka the "Gilgo Beach Killer" or the "Craigslist Ripper," a suspected serial killer who is thought to have murdered 10-18 people over a period of 20 years. The victims' bodies were found along the beach in Long Island, New York starting in 2010.

police searching brush in long island

According to Fox News, "The investigation began in 2010, when 23-year-old Shannan Gilbert, who advertised work online as an escort, dialed 911, telling an operator that someone was trying to kill her, before mysteriously disappearing from a gated community on the south shore of Long Island. During the search for Gilbert, the remains of four other women, 24-year-old Melissa Barthelemy, 27-year-old Amber Lynn Costello, 22-year-old Megan Waterman, and 25-year-old Maureen Brainard-Barnes were found. The women were nicknamed the 'Gilgo Beach Four.'" For the next several months, more partial remains and skeletons of other victims were found in the same area.

Spencer Platt / Getty Images

13.The "Oakland County Child Killer," aka the "Babysitter Killer," who was active in Oakland County, Michigan between 1976 and 1977. The unidentified perpetrator (or perpetrators) is responsible for kidnapping, holding captive, and then violently killing at least four children.

A newspaper headline indicating one of the victims had been found

According to WDIV Local 4 News, "There are four children police consider confirmed victims in the Oakland County Child Killer case: Mark Stebbins, 12; Jill Robinson, 12; Kristine Mihelich, 10; and Timothy King, 11. [...] Police believe only the boys had been sexually assaulted. The cause of death in three of the cases is listed as suffocation, but Jill Robinson was murdered with a shotgun. [...] The investigation into the serial killings was the largest of its kind in US history at the time."

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14.The "Belize Ripper," a serial killer active in Belize City from 1998 to 2000 responsible for the abduction, rape, and murder of several young girls. Although there was a major investigation, no one was ever convicted, and the murders remain unsolved.

a street in belize city with a bus going down the road

According to Belize News 5, "Belizeans likened the murderer to 'Jack the Ripper,' an unidentified serial killer. Pathologist Dr. Mario Estradabran back in 2000 made an interesting revelation. His autopsy revealed that the girls were heinously murdered after their bodies were numbed with alcohol and drugs. The killer or killers immobilized the little girls before taking their lives, using the same weapon each time. [The killer] either had a medical background or access to surgical instruments."

John Elk / Getty Images

15.The "Monster of Udine," an unidentified serial killer with at least four victims active in northeastern Italy from 1971-1989. All the victims were women, some sex workers, and were killed either by stabbing or strangulation. One victim even had an incision that was shaped in a kind of "S" formation.

an old square in udine with large sculpture and stone buildings

According to the book Disturbed: The Crazy Stories of the Most Perverse Serial Killers of Modern Times, "The investigations were reopened in 2019, during the filming of the documentary series Il Mostro di Udine.

Massanph / Getty Images

16.The "Danilovsky Maniac," an unidentified serial killer suspected of killing at least seven people between 2004 and 2007 in the city of Cherepovets in Russia. The name comes from a location on Danilov Street where three of the victims' bodies were found.

police tape at a crime scene in russia

According to Grunge, "Authorities believed the seven murders were related based on the killer's method of operation, and DNA evidence proved they were killed by the same person. Unfortunately, the DNA did not match anyone in the database."

Thomas Faull / Getty Images/iStockphoto

17.The "Highway of Tears" killer (or killers), which refers to a 450-mile corridor of Highway 16 in British Columbia where many Indigenous women have gone missing and/or been murdered since at least 1986.

warning sign by the highway of tears saying killer on the loose

According to the Highway of Tears Governing Body, "From 1989 to 2006, nine young women went missing or were found murdered along the 724-kilometer length of Highway 16 — now commonly referred to as the "Highway of Tears." All but one of these victims were Indigenous women. Additionally, they explain, "There is still much debate over the exact number of women who have gone missing in northern BC, but many people living in the north believe that the number exceeds 30."

Andrew Lichtenstein / Corbis via Getty Images

18.The "Axeman of New Orleans," a serial killer active in the New Orleans area from 1917 to 1919 who mainly targeted Italian immigrants and Italian-Americans and was never caught or identified.

Old drawing of a street in new orleans

According to Smithsonian Magazine, "In the dead of the night, the Axeman of New Orleans (as he came to be known) broke into a series of Italian groceries, attacking the grocers and their families. Some he left wounded; four people he left dead. The attacks were vicious. [One victim] Joseph Maggio, for example, had his skull fractured with his own axe and his throat cut with a razor. His wife, Catherine, also had her throat cut; she asphyxiated on her own blood as she bled out."

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19.The "North Kanto Serial Young Girl Kidnapping and Murder Case," involving five victims, all young girls between the ages of 4 and 8, that occurred between 1979 and 1996. None of the cases have been solved and no suspects arrested, either.

the river where some of the victims' bodies were found

According to Medium, the cases shared similar traits: The victims were young, three were kidnapped near a pachinko parlor, three bodies were dumped in a riverbed, and four cases occurred on Friday, a weekend, or a holiday.

Masato / Getty Images/iStockphoto

20.The "B1 Butcher," a serial killer who murdered at least five women in Namibia between 2005-2007 and was never identified. The killer was dubbed the "B1 Butcher" by the media because the victims' remains were found near the Namibian National Road B1.

desolate road in namibia with a small rest stop

According to the Namibian newspaper the Villager, "The police arrested an unnamed German-born Namibian as a suspect but had to let him go for lack of evidence."

Groblerdupreez / Getty Images/iStockphoto

21.The "Saw-Killer of Hanover," an unidentified serial killer in Germany who is believed to be responsible for murdering and dismembering at least six people in the 1970s and whose victims were not able to be identified, either.

police tape at a crime scene in germany

According to Der Spiegel, at the time, there was even a "special torso commission" formed to investigate the case.

Kevin Kobs / Getty Images

22.The "Madman of the Route," an alleged serial killer who is believed to be responsible for the disappearance of at least 14 sex workers in Argentina from 1996 to 1999. The crimes were so gruesome that some of the victims were found mutilated with words written on their bodies.

overhead view of mar de plata, argentina, where the crimes occured

As reported in an article on Yahoo Noticias, there is a theory that the "Madman of the Route" was made up and that the murdered sex workers are actually victims of corrupt police officers who had been extorting them. However, to this day, the murders remain unsolved.

Javier Ghersi / Getty Images

23.The "Tyumen Maniac," an alleged serial killer in Russia who is thought to be responsible for the disappearance and possible murder of at least nine children since 1997.

city view of tyumen, russia, with many homes and apartment buildings

According to Yahoo News, "A majority of the children had squints or other eye problems, even if slight. 'It is very likely that the maniac chooses children on this basis. But what drives him is not clear,' said Dmitry Kiryukhin, a former scientific consultant of the Russian Investigative Committee."

Sergeyvbutorin / Getty Images/iStockphoto

24.The "Kigali Ripper," an unidentified serial killer (or killers) who murdered at least 15 sex workers, and possibly a witness, in Rwanda's capital city Kigali in 2012. All the victims were strangled and some mutilated.

map of rwanda with a pin in kigali

According to ABC Radio National, "In November 2012, Rwandan media reported that police had arrested eight suspects in relation to the killings. According to the National Public Prosecution Authority, one man confessed to the killings, and further investigations were being carried out to determine the motive. The man was expected to face trial early this year, but there has been no news coverage in the Rwandan media about the murder cases since February 2013, nothing about a court trial, and the name of the alleged killer hasn't been published."

Dk_photos / Getty Images/iStockphoto

25.The "Monster of the Mangones," an unidentified serial killer in Colombia active between the 1960s and 1970s who is believed to have kidnapped and killed over 30 adolescent boys in Cali.

view of cali columbia with many tall buildings and mountains behind

There's not a lot of concrete information out there about the serial killer, but many myths have developed around the crimes. According to Medium, one legend even suggests he was "afflicted with a disease that rotted his blood, he regularly had himself transfused using that of children who he disemboweled and simply disappeared."

The legend of the "Monster of Mangones" became so notorious, it inspired a film called Pura Sangre.

Juan Madrigal Photo / Getty Images

26.The "Lisbon Ripper," an unidentified serial killer who murdered three sex workers between 1992 and 1993 in Lisbon, Portugal.

view of lisbon from the sea showing a domed building and tour boats on the water

According to Medium, "The victims of the Lisbon Ripper were all young, short brunettes, HIV-positive sex workers, and drug addicts in their 20s. [...] According to the coroner, all the victims were alive when they were gutted but unconscious after being bashed on the head by the ripper, who then proceeded to tear out several internal organs."

Serge Attal / Getty Images

27.Finally, "Jack the Ripper," an unidentified serial killer active in 1888, who mainly targeted sex workers in impoverished areas of London.

old sketch of jack the ripper being caught red handed

The victims were mainly sex workers who lived and worked in impoverished areas of east London. The kills were very violent and including things like throat cutting, mutilation, and the removal of internal organs. Due to the rarity of serial murders at the time (that were known), there was extensive newspaper coverage of the crimes. None of the murders were ever solved.

Hulton Archive / Getty Images

If you or anyone you know has information on a missing person case, call local law enforcement first. You can also contact the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children at 1-800-843-5678 (THE-LOST) or visit the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System site for regional case assistance