How Famous Serial Killers Were Caught

By Tiara

The most famous serial killers in history were not necessarily murderers at a young age, but rather men that would eventually murder more than just one person. These individuals’ dark pasts do not make them bad people, however; they simply did something horrible once upon a time.

Many of these infamous perpetrators were abused as children and this abuse led to them developing psychological problems. Some personality traits may have even helped fuel their murderous tendencies- for example, someone who is aggressive might feel compelled to be violent when faced with situations or threats to their existence.

This article will discuss some cases where psychopathic criminals used knives as weapons and how they were caught. We will also look into why some psychologists believe that boys develop mental disorders such as psychopathy later in life.

John Wayne Gacey

how famous serial killers were caught

In May of 1981, just over one year after he was released from prison for stabbing his girlfriend to death, 21-year-old John Wayne Gacy murdered his next victim.

Gacy was already well known in the community as an aspiring actor who frequently volunteered at a local children’s hospital. He also hosted parties where people would drink and dance, according to several witnesses.

One man mentioned Gacy’s penchant for telling gruesome stories while drinking alcohol. The witness said that Gacy once told him about how he killed and dismembered six men while working as a landscaper. Another time, he talked about chopping up prostitutes and eating their livers.

Both accounts were confirmed by other police officers present during these conversations. According to them, Gacy did not seem unusually disturbed or nervous when talking about killing women.

He even joked with some of his colleagues about murdering someone himself. One officer noticed what appeared to be blood dripping off Gacy’s shirt sleeve but thought nothing of it until later.

When he checked out again, he saw that there was actually a lot more blood than before. At this point, he became suspicious and asked if Gacy wanted to tell him why he was covered in blood.

John confessed to murdering eight men and claimed that his method of choice was decapitation.

Ted Kaczynski

how famous serial killers were caught

Most people know who the infamous murderer known as The Trailblazer was – he killed three people, got caught after ten years, and now has a face and name attached to his crimes.

Many also recognize him for another reason: He wrote an article about being motivated by anger. Many experts say that this motivation is what tipped the balance in his favor – it made it easy for him to pick up a weapon and go on a rampage.

But while most people are familiar with his story, not many know how he was actually captured. It’s something that every person should be aware of because if we were ever stalked or confronted by someone we don’t trust, we could find ourselves in a situation like the one Theodore (Ted) Kaczynksi faced.

This article will discuss some important aspects of his capture including where he hid, how law enforcement found him, and why these strategies work.

Jeffrey Dahmer

how famous serial killers were caught

Born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1960, Jeffrey Lionel Dahmer was an aspiring musician who dropped out of college to focus on his career as a singer. He later changed his last name from Davis to better reflect his music ambitions and began referring to himself as The Dandy Man.

In 1978, he met nineteen-year-old Jesse Allen Kicinski at a house party where both men drank alcohol. After leaving together, Kicinski went home while Dahmer stayed behind with some friends.

The next day, Kicinski’s family reported him missing and police were called. They found his partially eaten body in the bathroom along with several broken bottles containing his blood. An autopsy determined that he had been murdered by stabbing and eating parts of his victim.

Police questioned Dahmer but he denied knowing anything about what happened so they released him without filing charges. A few weeks later though, another student accused him of assault and battery which is a less serious offense than murder. This time he was charged.

He spent two days hospitalized before being allowed to return home under strict surveillance. Although he was never formally arrested for the second crime, it made people aware of his criminal past.

Dahmer continued living alone until he got married. His new wife noticed something wasn’t right when she saw bruises on his arms and asked if he would tell her what happened. He admitted killing someone and gave no more details.

Charles Manson

how famous serial killers were caught

In 1969, an obscure musician named Charles Milles Manson gained attention for his bizarre behavior. He gathered a group of people that he called The Family and made them believe that he was a deity who had returned to this planet.

He then began performing music in which he praised violence and death. Some members of the public found his songs inspiring while others were disturbed by him.

At one of his concerts, eight people were stabbed to death and dozens more injured. This resulted in police arriving quickly at the scene and arresting him.

After being interrogated, Manson revealed the details of what he referred to as “The Plan”. According to him, there would be a race war that would lead to the destruction of civilization.

He claimed that he was behind all of it and that he would do it so that only two things could happen. Either everyone would die or he would live out the rest of his days as the world's most famous psychopath.

Since he was determined to go through with his plan, he decided to make himself known as a celebrity. He wanted people to associate his name with the deaths of those eight people and the many other murders he planned to carry out.

Because of this, he orchestrated several killings where he left notes written under the guise of The Beatles song lyrics. Many of these notes mentioned how much he hated society and felt that humanity was going down the wrong path.

Robert Hansen

how famous serial killers were caught

In March of 1980, 24-year-old Robert Hansen murdered his employer, Paul Stine, at his job in Lafayette, California. He then drove to nearby Lake O’Neill where he drowned him before calling police for help.

Hansen was already well known in the community as an eccentric individual with mental health issues. His mother had reported him months earlier after she found guns hidden in his room. At that time, authorities determined he did not pose a threat.

He never received psychiatric treatment and continued to act strangely. For example, he would often tell people that they would all be killed by aliens soon. Others said he made strange statements about how someone needed to die and that it should be done within the next few days.

When he wasn’t talking about death or killing, he would brag about owning a gun and shooting it frequently. Witnesses described hearing gunshots around the area while he worked and lived close to his victim.

After murdering Mr. Stine, Hansen packed up some belongings and left town without telling anyone. It took several weeks for his actions to become suspicious because he didn’t seem upset or concerned about leaving everything behind.

A coworker eventually called the police but Hansen fled before officers arrived. He later abandoned his car near Tahoe and spent the night there before hiking back home. When questioned, he denied knowing anything about the murder and gave inconsistent stories.

Andrei Chikatilo

how famous serial killers were caught

The murderer of at least 53 people in five countries was caught in 1990. Before he was arrested, he had already left an extensive trail of evidence including hairs that belonged to some of his victims.

In May 1989, 48-year-old Andrei Dmitrievich Chikatilov murdered 15-year-old Vanya Polyakov and her friend Olga Shevleva while they were walking home from school. They both died of gunshot wounds.

Police found blood stains on the street where the girls’ bodies lay and also near a nearby dumpster where Chikatilo’s car was parked. There they discovered more blood, along with pieces of flesh that investigators later identified as coming from Polyakov’s leg.

A few days after the murders, police went to Chikatilo’s apartment building looking for clues. He apparently told one officer that he had been up until 4 A.M. the night before but gave no other explanation beyond saying that he sometimes got “carried away” when talking about death.

When asked if there was any reason why anyone might want to hurt him, he replied by mentioning some debts he owed money for drugs and gambling. Police determined that these stories were untrue because everyone who knew him said the same thing: he didn’t owe anybody anything and never used alcohol or illegal substances.

Ted Lewis

In 1978, 33-year-old Theodore Robert “Ted” Lewis murdered his ex-girlfriend Kathi McBride and her best friend Mia Collins. Both women were killed by gunshot wounds to the head in their home in Jacksonville, Florida.

After killing both of his victims, he dragged them into another room where they slept together before moving one of them so that she was face up. He then placed some kind of device next to the body which he later removed for analysis.

It is thought that this may have been used to muffle their screams or to conceal any incriminating evidence at the scene.

When police arrived at the house, they found blood splattered around the bedroom and bathroom. There was also blood in the car parked outside as well as hair and skin under the car hood. This led investigators to believe that Kathi had attempted to fight off her attacker with whatever she could find.

On December 4th, just over two weeks after the murders, Ted visited a local gun shop where he purchased three rifles and several hundred rounds of ammunition. Two days later he drove these items to an abandoned warehouse where he destroyed all of the guns.

He left the bullets behind however which helped detectives link him to the killings. They discovered that the same type of ammo was not only missing from the weapons but from other firearms too. An expert determined that it was probably melted down and recycled.

Gary Ridgeway

how famous serial killers were caught

In May 2013, police in Burlington, Colorado found the body of a man who had been murdered at least ten times before he was buried under some brush. The coroner determined that his cause of death was strangulation, gunshot wounds to the head, and stab wounds.

The victim was identified as 59-year-old John “Jack” Allan Ackley, Jr., a father of two who lived with his wife and children just one block away from where his body was discovered.

Police investigated potential suspects including friends, relatives, and even people whom Ackley may have owed money or blackmailed for money. They also looked into whether someone might be trying to frame him, but these efforts proved fruitless.

It took police almost three months to make their first breakthrough in this case. On October 20th, they arrested 42-year-old Gary Lynn Ridgway outside his home in nearby Parker, Colorado. He made bail soon after and has since remained out of jail while awaiting trial.