At any one time, it’s believed that there are around 25-50 active serial killers lurking in the dark corners of the USA, stalking the streets and highways for their next potential victim.
While the term serial killer usually conjures up images of people like Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy and Richard Ramirez, there are a whole host of other serial killers who are perhaps even more terrifying – for the sole reason they’ve never been caught.
Here are 9 current serial killers who are still at large. UpdatedMarch 1, 2022.
The Long Island Serial Killer
One New York serial killer has been plying his grisly trade for over twenty years now, killing at least ten victims between 1996 and 2010, and possibly more we haven’t yet discovered.
Dubbed the Long Island Serial Killer or the Craigslist Ripper, the extent of these unsolved crimes is still unknown.
It was only after authorities accidentally stumbled upon human remains whilst searching for missing sex worker Shannan Gilbert that they realized Gilgo Beach might be a dumping area for a serial killer.
After initially uncovering four bodies, police widened their search and discovered another six. Eight of them were women, allescorts who used Craigslist to advertise their services.
One body was that of a toddler, later discovered to be the daughter of one of the victims. Another body was that of a cross-dressing male, adding further mystery to the killer’s motives.
Several suspects were soon identified but none of them with any conclusive ties to the ten victims found. It’s theorized that the killer possibly has a law enforcement background judging by how he’s managed to elude capture for so long.
The mystery of the LISK lives on.
Jeff Davis 8 Killers
Between 2005 and 2009, the bodies of eight women between the ages of 17-30 were found dumped in the swamps of Jefferson Davis Parish near Jennings, Louisiana.
Interestingly, the victims had several things in common. Several of them knew each other, one pair of victims even being cousins. Perhaps more bizarrely was that all of the victims acted as police informants, several of whom actually reported on other Jeff Davis victims before their own murders.
The investigation into murders of the Jeff Davis 8 never identified a legitimate suspect, but it led to wild allegations of misconduct amongst Louisiana police.
Muddling the case further, an investigative reporter later stated the person (or people) responsible for these killings were most likely part of law enforcement. Given each victims’ history, this isn’t too implausible.
The fact that the perpetrator or perpetrators could be investigating their own crimes makes the Jeff Davis 8 a particularly disturbing case.
Today, the case is known as a possible example of police corruption. In October 2019, interest in the case was renewed as a result of Showtime’s new documentary on the case.
The West Mesa Bone Collector
In February 2009, a woman out for a walk with her dog discovered what she believed to be human bones on a mesa near Albuquerque, New Mexico. Police soon investigated, and to their shock, they subsequently discovered the remains of eleven women in total along the same stretch of land.
The women ranged between ages 15-32 and were all involved in the sex trade. Most were of Hispanic descent and one of the women was pregnant at the time of her murder.
While the case remains unsolved, police do have two major suspects. However, one of them is in prison on an unrelated charge and the other is dead. Lorenzo Montoya lived in a trailer a few miles from where the victims were found, but was killed in 2006 by a sex worker (and most likely his next victim). Joseph Blea was a known rapist in the area, and when police invaded his home, they found a stash of women’s jewelry and underwear.
Unfortunately, police haven’t been able to confirm a definite link between either suspect and the West Mesa bodies. The case is still open today.
Brazil's Rainbow Maniac
It’s not just the USA where serial killers go uncaught, it happens all over the world. The Rainbow Maniac was a serial killer in Carapicuiba, Brazil who targeted gay men.
Over the span of 18 months between 2007 and 2008, the Rainbow Maniac killed 13 people execution-style with bullets to the head, all of whom were killed in Paturis Park and then dumped in nearby bushes with their trousers around their ankles.
One of his victims he beat to death and his twelfth victim was shot a grand total of twelve times.
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São Paulo, where Carapicuiba is located, has remained one of the most progressive cities in South America. However, at the time of the murders, several ultra-conservative groups were highly vocal of their intolerance towards homosexuality.
It’s possible that the person responsible for these killings was a vengeful homophobe looking to reduce the numbers of the gay community.
In 2011, a suspect was arrested and trialed in relation to the killings, but was found not guilty by the deciding jury. So, whoever the Rainbow Maniac might be is still out there, and it’s very possibly he’s gotten away with murder.
Ibadan Forest Serial Killers
While we’re on the subject of overseas murder, here’s some real nightmare fuel for you.
InNigeria there’s a place known as the Ibadan Forest of Horror, or the Evil Forest. Back in 2014, a curious motorcyclist made his way into Soka forest in Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria, and what he found was like something from a HP Lovecraft story.
He found a small colonized area of decrepit buildings, and inside there were over twenty rotten corpses and severed human skulls, and most terrifyingly, ten live people chained to slaughter benches.
Other buildings had piles of clothes, boots and passports inside them. Police have attempted to trace the owners of the passports but have been unable to find them.
Photo via thenationalonlineng.net
Exactly who might be responsible for such horrors is still unconfirmed, but rumors state that the place may have been a den for religious zealots to indulge in ritual sacrifice and flesh-eating.
Nigeria is a very religious country, and such cannibalistic acts have deep primal associations. Since the discovery of the forest, many Nigerians with missing relatives have flocked to the area to search for their loved ones.
The Smiley Face Killers
45 colleged-aged males across a 20-year span. All drowned after getting intoxicated. However, the kicker is that these drownings happening in 11 different states.
Despite the distance between them, some detectives think that drownings are actually the work of a serial killer or group of serial killers. This is dubbed the Smiley Face Murder Theory.
Allegedly, detectives claim that smiley faces have been found near the sites where at least twelve of the men have drowned. It’s believed that these men are abducted, murdered and then disposed of in bodies of water to give the impression of accidental drowning.
Read more: Signs of a Serial Killer: 11 Common Serial Killer Traits
It’s definitely a stretch to connect the murders, but they have a few things in common. Firstly, date-rape drugs were found in the systems of some of the victims – enough to render them completely unconscious. The victim profile is very similar in every case – male, white, athletic, successful, popular.
Lastly is the condition of the bodies. One victim had been missing for 40 days, but the deterioration of his corpse was nowhere near consistent with someone who had been in water for 6 weeks. This was also the case for multiple other victims.
Whether or not you think that the Smiley Face Theory is fact or fiction, there’s no doubt it’s definitely a little creepy.
Pedro Lopez - Monster Of The Andes
This entry is quite unique, given that we know the serial killer’s name. However, that’s all we know.
Pedro Lopez was born Columbia in 1948. He was the son of a prostitute and as a child, was forced to watch his mother partake in extreme sexual acts. He himself was often molested too, and Lopez claimed that these events significantly affected his psyche.
By the early 1970s, Lopez had begun to rape and kill young girls across South America. When an attempted abduction went wrong in 1980, Lopez was apprehended by locals and handed over to police in Peru.
Once in custody, Lopez spewed out his colorful life story, including being captured by a native tribe and sentenced to execution for killing a young girl. He then said he’d killed ‘about three girls’ a week for two years, raising his total number of victims to 300.
Police were naturally skeptical of such a claim, but Lopez led police to a mass grave where they found the remains of 53 of his victims.
The details then a little hazy after this, with different sources reporting different stories, but what is confirmed is that Pedro Lopez was set free from prison in 1994, despite racking up one of the highest body counts in known history. He was sent to a mental home for three years and was then set free.
In 2002, Lopez was suspected of being responsible for a new murder. However, no one has been able to find him since 1998.
The Vending Machine Killer
If you want to go full weird, this entry has you covered.
Japan’s infatuation with vending machines is widely acknowledged. There are five million vending machines across the country, making an average of one vending machine per every 23 people.
Between April and November 1985 in Hiroshima, 12 people were killed as a result of paraquat poisoning and a further 35 were seriously injured.
When authorities looked into the circumstances surrounding these poisonings, they found that most of the victims had one thing in common: they’d recently consumed the drink Oronamin C.
Around the same time, the company behind Oronamin C had launched a marketing campaign offering free bottles of the drink from vending machines whenever someone made a purchase.
In Japanese culture, sometimes peoplewill place the Oronamin C drink on top of the vending machine for someone else to take if they didn’t want it themselves.
Police soon pieced things together and found that someone had been lacing these Oronamin C drinks with paraquat and placing them back on top of the vending machine.
It was almost impossible for the police to track down the person responsible since it was difficult to narrow down where a person had originally picked up the drink. Most of the vending machines responsible were in quiet back streets with no CCTV around.
The person who carried out the poisonings was never found.
The Maniac With Dull Eyes
Also known as the Danilovsky Maniac, the Maniac with Dull Eyes was a Russian serial killer responsible for at least seven murders between 2004 and 2007.
Over in Cherepovets, Vologda Oblast, Russia, various bodies were found around the city, dumped in construction sites and in abandoned buildings. All of his victims were women between the ages of 17-31 and they’d all been raped prior to their slaughter.
Perhaps most creepily, however, is that with each scene the killer left a calling card. Police found crude pornographic drawings on the walls near where every body was found.
After establishing that a serial killer was likely responsible for these seven murders, police also linked the Maniac with a series of murders dating back to 1999. He was also suspected in the murder of a young woman in 2010. His total assumed victim count is 17.
The Maniac was never caught and probably still remains out there today.
An ever-elusive bunch, serial killers are perhaps the most unsettling phenomenon of modern life. While there are many serial killers out hunting today, it’s comforting to know that the killers featured in these serial killer documentariesaren’t hiding out in your neighborhood.
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