How Famous Serial Killers Were Caught

By Tiara

The more times someone commits a heinous crime, the higher their chance of being caught is. This is true not only for murderers, but also serial rapists, burglars, and other criminals who are repetitive in nature.

By analyzing past crimes and cases involving similar circumstances or people, police can find clues that lead to criminal behavior. When these clues match up with an arrest or confession, it becomes clear that the person confessed to his/her previous actions.

Many times, suspects will try to blame others for what they have done before they are caught. Others will claim innocence and refuse to talk. No matter how many times a person lies about what has happened, there are always pieces of evidence that prove them guilty.

Some examples of famous killers who were arrested for murder include: OJ Simpson, Ted Bundy, and John Wayne Gacy. All three had very little explanation as to why they committed their crimes aside from insanity or anger.

In this article, you’ll learn some helpful tips on how to identify if a person may be a murderer and how to determine if he or she is capable of killing again. These tips will apply to both suspected and convicted murderers!

Healing Takes Time

Writing down thoughts and feelings is one of the most important things when trying to heal from hurt or loss. Writing down your innermost worries, fears, and regrets helps reduce stress and gives you time to process what is happening.

John Wayne Gacy

how famous serial killers were caught

In December 1978, just over one year after he began working at Piedmont Community College in Illinois as a teacher, police discovered what would become perhaps his most well-known murder. While looking into an alleged assault complaint, they found 17 boys who claimed to have been lured into Gacy’s home under false pretenses before being murdered. Some were buried alive or had their throats cut.

One of those students was 19-year-old Mark Braun, who said that while walking through the campus parking lot with two friends, he spotted someone he didn’t know getting out of a car nearby. The stranger approached him, asking for a cigarette and then offering money in return for sex. When Braun declined, the man got back into his vehicle and left. A few minutes later, however, he returned to pick up his friend and asked if anyone knew where he could buy some marijuana.

When Braun told him no, the man offered $20 instead if he drove them somewhere and waited there for him. Thinking it strange that this person wanted company, Braun agreed. They went inside a house where the man made more sexual advances towards Braun. After rebuffing him again, the man pulled out a gun and shot Braun twice in the stomach, killing him almost instantly.

He dragged Braun’s body into the back seat of the car and fled.

Jeffrey Dahmer

Born in 1961, Jeffrey Allen Heidegger was an average student until his junior high school years when he began to show signs of behavioral issues. At age 14, he started smoking marijuana for the first time and soon became very involved in the drug culture.

He would later admit that he enjoyed killing animals but nothing more than animals. It took him several attempts before he decided it was okay to kill humans as well.

It is estimated that during his teen years he killed at least 20 different people; some were buried alive, while others were fed parts of their friends or family.

At 17, he turned his obsession into murder and murdered his first victim just two days after buying a knife. For the next three months, he stabbed to death at least eight men and boys between the ages of 16 and 24.

His victims’ bodies were left in various locations all over Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Many had been cannibalized so not much could be used to identify any specific person.

After being caught due to a tip off from another user about a body part found under a bush, police arrested Heidegger in July 1991. Since then he has spent nearly twenty-one of his forty one years incarcerated.

He confessed to murdering a total of 10 men and 1 woman with his knives. Four of these murders he did for food which included eating the heart, tongue, and/or brain. Two of these killings he kept as souvenirs.

Andrei Chikatilo

how famous serial killers were caught

The most famous serial killer in history is also one of the youngest killers we’ve discussed here. He was not only convicted for his horrendous acts, but he killed an astounding 73 people- all within a two year period!

Andrei Nikolayevich Chikatilov was born on March 31st, 1956 in the Soviet Union. His father worked as a police officer and his mother was a teacher. When Andre was eight years old, the family moved to Ukraine where his father continued his career.

He grew up with three older brothers and one younger sister. According to some accounts, his parents were never together and she left home when he was very young.

It seems that both of his parents suffered from mental health issues which may have played a part in his dysfunctional upbringing. They would go through periods of being angry or depressed with no clear reason why.

When he was around twelve years old, he began showing signs of aggression towards other kids at school. These included throwing furniture and punching others. Teachers reported him to be threatening classmates and even physically attacking them.

At age 15, he dropped out of high school and started working full time. It was then that he met someone who would eventually murder five men and claim they had asked to die.

These murders took place over several months and involved torture and decapitation. Many of the victims were either strangled or hit so hard their skulls broke open.

Jack the Ripper

how famous serial killers were caught

In 1888, just over one year after his murder spree began in London, England, police caught up with serial killer “Jack” Theodoros (or sometimes John Allen) Chapman. They arrested him for another crime and found blood stains in the car he was riding in.

When they searched the vehicle more thoroughly, they discovered a suitcase that contained clothes with dried blood on them as well as human remains. When detectives opened the bag, they found an envelope containing a piece of paper with writing they were able to decipher.

On this note, which has become known as the “Trial Note,” Chapman confessed to killing eight women and dumping their bodies in various locations around north-central London. He also mentioned a ninth victim who had survived but only because she was saved by God.

He did not give any reason why these murders took place or what motivated him to kill people, but according at least one source, he suffered from depression.

After he died while in prison almost two decades later, doctors determined he likely killed himself. Even though there is no proof that his suicide was connected to his killings, many still believe it was.

Ted Kaczynski

how famous serial killers were caught

Most people know Theodore Robert “Ted” Kaczynskis for his infamous crimes, but few realize how he was caught. While some might think that breaking into a house to murder someone would attract attention, this is definitely not the case.

It seems that even when an offender does what they are planning on doing very publicly, no one notices until it is too late. This happened with Ted Kacynski who killed three people and injured eight more in the early 1980s before police were able to track him down.

He lived among other workers at a remote cabin site where he worked as a machinist. When he didn’t show up for work one day, coworkers became concerned and went looking for him. They found him dead of gunshot wounds next to his car outside the cabin.

Police soon determined that Kacynski had left the scene in another person’s car and taken their gun along with him. An eyewitness saw two men get out of a green SUV and walk away from the area just moments after hearing gunfire. The witness also identified the man she saw leaving in the car as resembling Ted Kacynski.

Investigation revealed that Kacynski had recently made several harassing phone calls to one of his victims and stolen jewelry belonging to her and her family. He also broke into homes in the neighborhood, taking small items like silverware and towels.

Ariel Castro

how famous serial killers were caught

On Sunday, May 6th, 2013, just over five months ago, police responded to an alarm at a house in Cleveland, Ohio. When they arrived, they found 32-year-old Gina DeJesus locked in a basement room with two of her children. The three were held captive for more than a decade by Ariel Castro, who raped and tortured them both physically and psychologically.

Castro was already well known to law enforcement before this incident because he had been reported as a sex offender back in 2006 when his then 19 year old girlfriend broke up with him. Since she worked close to their home, she frequently saw his young daughters during work hours so he would often take one or both girls out for play dates while she was still working.

He never registered as a sex offender back then even though it is mandatory for someone convicted of rape under eighteen to do so. It’s also illegal not to register as a sex offender if you are determined to be a risk to reoffend. Because of all these things, authorities now believe that he must have known that what he was doing was wrong and could potentially hurt others.

After his arrest, investigators discovered several journals containing details about various murders he planned to carry out. He made notes about how he wanted to torture his victims first and keep track of every minute detail about each murder so that he could replicate the experience later.

Warren Jeffs

how famous serial killers were caught

In 2002, the FBI arrested 51-year-old Joseph Smith for child sexual assault in Arizona. While investigating him, they discovered that he was also involved in polygamy. He admitted to sleeping with several underage girls and marrying at least two of them.

He was charged with aggravated incest and attempted rape of a minor under age 18. The police were able to track down one victim who testified against him during his trial.

After being convicted in 2005, he was sentenced to life in prison without parole. His conviction was later overturned due to lack of evidence, but he had already spent years preying on young teens while preaching an extreme form of Mormonism.

Warren Jeffs is arguably one of the most famous serial killers in history. Not only did he marry dozens of teenage girls, some as young as 12, but he orchestrated what many call the second largest mass suicide in US history by having over 1,000 men get married to his 16 year old daughter.

His followers believed that it would make them rich and powerful, and some even said that their children would be special because they would grow up surrounded by lots of brides. It is thought that many victims didn’t realize how serious Jeffs was until after the wedding when they found out about his other crimes.

Gary Ridgway

how famous serial killers were caught

The main perpetrator in what has been called the Green River Killer case was identified more than two decades ago, but his actions were only truly exposed through media coverage and police work years later. In 2002, authorities discovered that he had lived in Seattle under an assumed name for several years before moving to Washington state as a young adult.

He went by the name of George Taylor and worked as a truck driver. He also lied about his age when he got married and started having children.

After leaving the Army with no honorable discharge in 1989, he began working at a Boeing plant where he met some employees who would later become close friends. One of these people tipped off officials about odd behavior he displayed while at work, but it took investigators time to track him down.

When they did find him, he confessed to drowning over 70 individuals in the river nearby. Many of the bodies never recovered, making identification difficult if not impossible.

Police found DNA evidence linking him to many of the victims, which helped them identify their remains. His criminal record was also checked, revealing that he’d done jail time before for assault and indecent exposure.

In total, he admitted killing 87 people, though there may be many more. It is estimated that between 80-100 additional deaths are linked to poisoning or contamination from the ones he confesses to.