What’s more terrifying than a famous serial killer? The one you don’t know about—a vicious killer who flies under the radar. These serial killers’ untold stories are sure to have even the most dedicated true crime fans looking over their shoulders. From the Ypsilanti Ripper (who was only convicted of one murder, but suspected of seven) to the Butcher Baker (the Alaskan serial killer who hunted his victims for sport), these cringe-worthy true crime stories will make you fear the unknown.
To Kill and Kill Again
From 1974 to 1986, a serial killer who came to be known as the “Missoula Mauler” terrorized Missoula, Montana. Little did the residents know that Wayne Nance, a friendly local man, was the person behind the brutal killings that claimed five victims—potentially more. The police never got a chance to question Nance, though. When Nance entered the home of Doug and Kris Wells one fateful night, Doug managed to get free from his binds and killed Nance with a shotgun blow to the head. Wall Street Journal editor John Coston’s To Kill and Kill Again tells the incredible true crime story of the unknown Nance, who eventually paid the ultimate price for his crimes.
In the late 1990s, the town of Poughkeepsie in upstate New York found itself in the midst of a serial murder spree. When prostitutes started to disappear off the streets, the police were led to a man named Kendall Francois; but when he passed a lie detector test, they were forced to release him for lack of evidence. Then, one lucky victim managed to escape—and she led the authorities back to Francois’ literal house of horrors. What they found in his attic and crawl space shook them to their core. In Body Dump, true crime specialist Fred Rosen tells the horrific story of what had happened behind Kendall Francois’ closed doors.
Serial murderer Robert Hansen, who abducted and then hunted down his victims in the woods, managed to evade justice … even when one victim escaped and told the police of his savagery. Based on his meek demeanor, they just didn’t believe Hansen was capable of rape, torture, and murder. Police would live to regret their serious oversight. Finally, when the bodies of three women were discovered in Anchorage, Alaska, one enterprising FBI agent ordered a psychological profile that fit Hansen to a T. Though he only pled guilty to four murders, he then led authorities to 17 grave sites—12 of which authorities did not know about. In Butcher, Baker, Walter Gilmore and Leland E. Hale prove that appearances can be darkly, devastatingly deceiving.
Though his crimes aren’t as famous as those of Ted Bundy or Jeffrey Dahmer, John Norman Collins is every bit as infamous. Between 1967 and 1969, a serial killer who targeted young female students—torturing, raping and murdering them and mutilating their bodies—terrorized Ypsilanti, Michigan. From the outside, Collins looked like a typical American frat boy, but police discovered he was harboring the darkest of secrets. Though he was only convicted of one murder, he’s suspected of seven. This true crime account by Edward Keyes shows how the lesser known, but equally horrific, murders changed this small town in Michigan forever.
The Paradiso Files
Former homicide prosecutor Timothy M. Burke had one case that just stuck with him … that of Leonard Paradiso—a man convicted of second-degree murder for the strangulation and rape of a 20-year-old woman. But Burke was always convinced that Paradiso was responsible for other crimes—including the murder of Joan Webster, a Harvard University graduate student who disappeared after getting off a plane in Boston in 1981. Though Paradiso died just nine days after the book was published in 2008, Burke’s compelling argument led Boston-area prosecutors to re-open the unsolved murder cases of three young women who they believe are linked to Paradiso.
Devil in the Darkness
Unlike most serial killers, Israel Keyes doesn’t fit any profile—Keyes killed his victims far from home between the 1990s and 2012, and sometimes planned them years in advance. But despite the fact that he’s connected to several murders, he was only ever arrested for one and committed suicide before trial. Because of that, Keyes largely remains unknown to the public. Bestselling author J.T. Hunter details the life of this master of deception in Devil in the Darkness.
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