25 of the Most Notorious Female Serial Killers Throughout History

There’s no telling what makes a serial killer. Common stereotypes would have us believe that serial killers are typically men, and that women are less likely to commit such atrocious acts as murdering defenseless children, lovers, friends, family members, or even unsuspecting strangers in cold and calculated ways. However, this list of the 25 most notorious female serial killers throughout history, some of whom are still living, proves otherwise. Keep reading to learn all of the important details about the crimes these dangerous women committed, including how they chose their victims and why they did what made them tick.

In most people’s minds, the term “serial killer” often evokes a singularly stereotypical image of a seemingly normal and unassuming white male in his early to mid-30s. These are usually men who are able to easily integrate themselves into the very fabric of our society, allowing their crimes to go largely undetected for indeterminate time periods. In some cases, it could be decades before a heinous crime is even solved and by then, the perpetrator could be completely off the radar, impossible to trace, or deceased.

Perhaps that explains why a lot of people are often shocked to discover that some of the most notorious, ruthless, and sadistic serial killers throughout history have actually been women. Regardless of gender, society seems to have an equal parts unwavering and abhorrent fascination with the lives of serial killers and the brutal crimes they commit. The countless pop culture references, books, movies, songs, and lore that have been produced and preserved about the crimes committed by the women on this list is a strong testament to that fact.

Without further ado, here is a detailed list of the 25 most notorious female serial killers throughout history complete with descriptions of the crimes they committed and their punishments.

Also Read: Famous Last Words of the 25 Most Notorious Serial Killers

1. Aileen Wuornos

Birth Date and Age

Born Aileen Carol Pittman in Rochester, Michigan on February 29, 1956, she was 46 years old at the time of her death.

Aileen Wuornos

Photo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yFBcjII3QAE&t=9s

How Did She Kill?

Like most of the deranged sociopaths on this list, Aileen Wuornos not only had a very troubled childhood that led her to a life of reprehensible crime, but it also caused her to develop a propensity for impulsive, erratic, and violent behaviour that proved to be dangerous for those around her. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, she was forced to delve into prostitution, and committed a few other petty crimes in order to financially support herself. In the span of one year (1989-1990) Wuornos ended up killing seven of her clients by shooting them all at point blank range, claiming these murders were acts of self defense because the men allegedly attempted to sexually assault her.

Sentencing and Cause of Death

Aileen Wuornos was arrested on January 9, 1991 after her girlfriend, Tyria Moore—who acted as an accomplice to some of her crimes—agreed to cooperate with police and help them locate Wuornos. She was convicted of all but one of her alleged murders, due to lack of sufficient evidence, and the police were never able to locate his body. In total, Wuornos was convicted of six counts of first degree murder and was sentenced to death by lethal injection. As a final act of defiance, Wuornos declined her right to a last meal of her choosing, and simply asked for a cup of coffee instead.

2. Lady Elizabeth Bathory

Birth Date and Age

Lady Bathory was a well known Hungarian noblewoman born on August 7, 1560 in the Kingdom of Hungary as a member of the Hapsburg monarchy. She died on August 21, 1614 at the age of 54.

How Did She Kill?

It’s estimated that Lady Bathory brutally tortured and murdered approximately 650 young girls and women between 1590 and 1609, but that number has been largely debated by historians. Her target prey were young daughters of peasants from her kingdom, who were enticed work as servants and maids in her castle by promises of lucrative pay. Many of them were also abducted from their families in the middle of the night and subjected to grotesque and unimaginable horrors in her chambers. Purportedly, she’d burn their extremities; bite their faces and consume their flesh, even forcing one young girl to cook and eat her own flesh; and she was also known for denying them food and water, causing many to succumb to starvation and dehydration. Their bodies were also scalded with hot tongs right before being thrown into ice cold water while they were still alive. Lady Bathory also took a sadistic pleasure in covering her victims with honey and then pouring live ants all over them.

As the legend goes, she was nicknamed “the Blood Countess,” because she liked to bathe in the blood of her victims, believing that their virgin blood would help her preserve a youthful appearance.

Sentencing and Cause of Death

Considering the magnitude and unrelenting viciousness of her crimes, it seems the countess received a very light sentencing because of her social status. For years, her family’s nobility coupled with the poor status of her victims allowed authorities to turn a blind eye to these atrocities, dismissing it all as hearsay.

Eventually, Lady Bathory was brought to relatively light justice when she was finally convicted of her crimes and placed on house arrest. Subsequently, she was forced to spend the remainder of her life—approximately five years—locked up in solitary confinement in a windowless room that only had a few small cracks, and enough space to slide a food tray under the door. She died under mysterious circumstances, apparently complaining to a guard the night before her death that her hands were cold. He ignored her complaints and the next day, her lifeless body was found on the floor of her cell, but no foul play was ever suspected.

3. Dagmar Overbye

Birth Date and Age

Born Dagmar Johanne Amalie Overbye on April 23, 1883 in Denmark, she was 46 at the time of her death.

Dagmar Overbye

Photo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cmTuxjZpldA&t=20s

How Did She Kill?

Known as the “Vesterbro Baby Burner,” Dagmar Overbye worked as a professional child caretaker in Denmark during the 20th century. Her specialty was caring for illegitimate infants born out of wedlock to poor young women who didn’t have the financial means or support to raise these children on their own. The idea was that they’d bring their unwanted babies to Dagmar and she was supposed provide temporary care for them until she could find an upstanding family to adopt them. Under these false pretenses, desperate mothers would willingly hand over their children to Overbye for a substantial fee—many of them worked as live-in maids for wealthy families and would surrender a year’s salary for this purported service. Unbeknownst to them, Overbye took their money and their babies, killing the latter by strangulation, drowning, or burning them alive.

Sentencing and Cause of Death

For years, Overbye was able to get away with her horrendous crimes due to lack of suspicion from destitute mothers who were determined to give their babies away. Everything changed for her when one of the mothers immediately regretted her decision to give up her child and returned to Overbye’s home the very next day. When the woman inquired about the whereabouts of the child, Overbye made up an excuse, stating that she couldn’t recall which family she’d given the baby to or where they lived. Raising a great deal of suspicion, the mother promptly contacted police to investigate the situation. After conducting a thorough investigation, authorities discovered ashes and bone collected at the bottom of Overbye’s stove. She was initially sentenced to death, but at the time, Denmark was in the midst of a more progressive regime change and she was instead sentenced to life in prison, where she died. It’s estimated that over the course of a decade, she killed anywhere between nine and 25 children—one of which was her own—but she was only convicted of nine because there wasn’t enough evidence to corroborate the rest.

4. Vera Renczi

Birth Date and Age

Very little is known about Vera Renczi other than the fact that she was born in Bucharest, Romania and dubbed “the Black Widow” due to the nature of her crimes. Even her date of birth, age, death, and the validity of her alleged murders have all been called into question over the decades.

Vera Renczi

Photo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_fTHMAMBQNc&t=15s

How Did She Kill?

Considered to be one of the most notorious misandrists of all time, Renczi allegedly confessed to murdering her two husbands and numerous other men, including her own son in the 1920s. Her kill count has been estimated to range between 30 and 35 men. Reportedly, Renczi was a very distrusting woman and would often go into a jealous rage if the men in her life left her alone for any reason, even to go to work. She presumed that many of them were unfaithful to her, and that’s what she’d tell the people in her life when her lovers would mysteriously go missing. Her murder weapon of choice was arsenic, and any time she even slightly suspected the infidelity of one of her lovers, she’d poison them and then hide their bodies in her wine cellar.

Sentencing and Cause of Death

Allegedly, the only reason Renczi was caught was because the wife of one of her married lovers followed the man to her house. When he never reemerged, the police were contacted. After conducting a thorough investigation, they discovered over 30 unburied coffins containing male corpses that were in different stages of decomposition in Renczi’s wine cellar. Altogether, she was convicted of 35 murders and sentenced to life in prison, where she purportedly died.

5. Amy Archer-Gilligan

Birth Date and Age

Born the eighth of 10 children in a small Connecticut town in October 1873, Amy Archer-Gilligan was a caregiver at a nursing home for the elderly. She died in a mental asylum at the age of 88.

Amy Archer Gilligan

Photo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=khcoR4swTAQ&t=14s

How Did She Kill?

After opening the Archer Home for the Elderly and Infirm with her first husband—who apparently died of natural causes—a great deal of suspicion was raised when the family members of residents began to notice the abnormally high death rates. Approximately 60 residents died between 1907 and 1917, all of whom were in perfect health at the time of their deaths. It turned out that Archer-Gilligan was poisoning her charges with rat poison in order to collect on their insurance money.

Sentencing and Cause of Death

Originally, Archer-Gilligan was charged with five counts of murder after the same number of bodies was exhumed from her property. Post-mortem examinations determined the causes of death to be poison by arsenic. However, her lawyers were able to reduce the charges to one count for the murder of Franklin R. Andrews, whose mysterious and untimely death aroused suspicion amongst his family members. She was sentenced to death on June 18, 1917, but was granted a new trial in 1919 during which she pleaded insanity, and was instead sentenced to life in prison. Archer-Gilligan was later on ruled to be temporarily insane and was officially moved to the Connecticut Hospital for the Insane in 1924, where she remained for the rest of her life. She died on April 23, 1962.

6. Myra Hindley

Birth Date and Age

Born on July 23, 1942 Myra Hindley died of bronchial pneumonia in 2002 at the age of 60, while still serving her prison term.

Myra Hindley

Photo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vaial7Y8ZRI

How Did She Kill?

Alongside her lover, Ian Brady, the pair terrorized Britain in the 1960s. They abducted, sexually abused, raped, and brutally murdered five children who were between the ages of 10 and 17. These murders famously came to be known as “The Moors Murders” because the victims were buried in the remote Saddleworth Moor, located in North West England. Hindley and Brady would scope out heavily populated areas, like fairgrounds and shopping centers, that were frequented by young people. Or, they’d drive around town at night looking for unaccompanied minors. Once they identified their ideal prey Hindley would use deceptive tactics to lure the kids into her van.

Sentencing and Cause of Death

Hindley’s teenaged brother-in-law witnessed Ian Brady brutally beat and kill 17-year-old Edward Evans to death in Brady’s living room one night, and was forced to help dispose of the body. When he went home, he informed Hindley’s sister—his wife—of what happened. She insisted that they go to the police, and an investigation into the matter commenced immediately. The trial lasted 14 days, but as the decades wore on, more and more details of the gruesome crimes were unveiled. Brady and Hindley were even taken to the burial sites on separate occasions to help uncover some of the corpses of their victims, but a few of them were never found. Hindley died in prison in 2002 from bronchial pneumonia.

7. Leonarda Cianciulli

Birth Date and Age

Leonarda Cianciulli was born on April 18, 1894 in Montello Avelino, Italy and she died at the age of 76 on October 15, 1970 in Pozzuoli Naples.

Leonarda Cianciulli mugshot

Leonarda Cianciulli mugshot (Photo: Wikimedia)

How Did She Kill?

She was known as the “Soap Maker of Correggio” because she baked the flesh and blood of her victims into teacakes and bars of soap, which she then sold to her neighbours. Cianciulli killed three local women from her village between 1939 and 1940. She was caught because the sister-in-law of one of her victims became very suspicious by the woman’s sudden disappearance and reported to local officials that she was last seen entering Cianciulli soap shop, but never reemerged after the fact.

Sentencing and Cause of Death

Cianciulli didn’t come clean about her heinous crimes until police started investigating the eldest of her four surviving children—to whom she was devoted to a fault—and accused him of murdering those women. Showing absolutely no remorse and complete disregard for the lives she’d taken, not to mention invoking cannibalism in her town without the knowledge of her neighbours, Cianciulli confessed to murdering the three women. A jury found her guilty, and sentenced her to 30 years in prison, then three years in a criminal asylum where she died of cerebral apoplexy in 1970.

8. Karla Homolka

Birth Date and Age

Karla Homolka was born on May 4, 1970 in Port Credit, Ontario, Canada and is currently 47 years old. She resides in Quebec with her second husband and three kids.

Karla Homolka

Photo: Facebook/SousObservation

How Did She Kill?

In the early 1990s, Homolka and her first husband, Paul Bernardo, were arrested for allegedly abducting, viciously sexually assaulting, and murdering three young women in Ontario, one of which was Homolka’s younger sister. Bernardo was already a person of interest in several previous rape cases, and was known to local police. On January 5, 1993, he severely beat his wife. When her mother saw her injuries, she demanded that Homolka leave the house immediately and stay with her for a while. It was during this time when Homolka confessed to her relatives that they’d killed their first victim nearly two years prior. Bernardo was never convicted of the previous crimes of which he was suspected due to lack of evidence and because he came off as a very well-adjusted member of society.

Sentencing

Bernardo received a life sentence in prison, where he still is, alongside the title of dangerous offender, which is considered to be the highest sentence granted in Canada. Homolka, on the other hand, was able to strike a deal with prosecutors. In exchange for her cooperation and a guilty plea bargain, she got a reduced sentence of 12 years in prison, and was charged with manslaughter. Later on, video evidence of the crimes were released and police discovered that Homolka wasn’t simply an involuntary accessory to the crimes, as she originally led them to believe, but was an equally active participant as Bernardo. Rather than overturning the original deal, though, Homolka remained in prison until her infamous release in 2005, which was met with grave criticism and a huge public outcry.

9. Martha Beck

Birth Date and Age

She was born Martha Jule Seabrook on May 6, 1920 and died March 8, 1951 at the age of 31 in Sing Sing Prison in Ossining, New York.

Martha Beck

Photo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=icJDEVxul1Y

How Did She Kill?

As an unlucky-in-love divorced single mother of two young children, Beck was desperate to find romance. In 1947, she placed a “lonely hearts” personal ad in the newspaper and her future partner in crime, Raymond Fernandez, answered it. Together, they were accused of 17 murders, but were only convicted of and executed for three, all of which allegedly took place in 1949. Reportedly, the couple lured their victims—who were all women—into their apartment by placing personal ads or answering them in the newspaper. Fernandez would pretend that Beck was his sister, and that they lived together or were visiting one another, which made the women feel more at ease about spending the night at his apartment.

Sentencing and Cause of Death

They were eventually caught when family members of the one of the women they abducted grew suspicious about her sudden disappearance and contacted police. Fernandez confessed to the crimes while the couple was in Michigan under the false belief that the authorities were powerless to extradite them to New York, where the crimes took place. After the couple were extradited back to New York, he then attempted to retract his confession, claiming that he was just trying to save Beck from conviction. They were both executed by electric chair on March 8, 1951.

10. Nannie Doss

Birth Date and Age

She was born Nancy Hazel on November 4, 1905 and died at the age of 59 on June 2, 1965 of leukemia. Doss was also known as “the Giggling Nanny,” “the Giggling Granny,” “the Jolly Black Widow,” and “the Lonely Heats Killer.”

Nannie Doss

Photo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ap9w_6cBkS4

How Did She Kill?

Doss killed 11 people between 1927 and 1954, including four of her five husbands (one of them purportedly died of heart failure), two kids, two of her sisters, her own mother, one of her grandsons (to collect the insurance money), and one of her mothers-in-law. She was known as “the Lonely Hearts Killer” because she met all of her husbands through personal ads.

Sentencing and Cause of Death

Even though Doss willingly confessed to all of the killings in 1954, she was only ever prosecuted and convicted in the case of her last husband, Samuel Doss, who was a minister. She poisoned him with a large quantity of arsenic so that she could collect on the two life insurance policies she took out on him. His doctor was suspicious of the circumstances of his death and immediately ordered an autopsy, because Samuel was just released from the hospital that same day after being treated for a digestive tract infection. Doss was arrested right away and confessed to all of her crimes. Since the state of Oklahoma condemned the death penalty against women, she received life imprisonment sentence instead and died of leukemia at the age of 59, in the Oklahoma State Penitentiary hospital ward in 1965.

11. Jane Toppan

Birth Date and Age

She was born Honora Kelley on August 17, 1854 in Boston, Massachusetts and died at the age of 84 on October 29, 1938. Due to her generally jovial demeanour and popularity with her coworkers while she was training to be a nurse at Cambridge University, she was nicknamed “Jolly Jane.”

How Did She Kill?

Toppan had a very tough childhood. Her mother passed away when she was a young child and her father, who was a known alcoholic, surrendered her and her sister to a group home because he couldn’t care for them. Despite all of that hardship, Toppan actually became a well respected and successful nurse practitioner, and even had her own practice for a number of years. However, she admitted to experiencing a sexual thrill from poisoning her patients—particularly her elderly charges—watching them come close to the brink of death, and then being temporarily revitalized only to pass away shortly thereafter. Historians speculated that her killings were the result of jealousy, or that they were crimes of passion. Regardless, upon her arrest in 1901, she was quoted as saying that her goal was “to have killed more people—helpless people—than any other man or woman who ever lived.” She was convicted of murdering 31 people.

Sentencing and Cause of Death

Following her arrest, Toppan allegedly confessed to the murder of 31 people, but according to an article in The New York Journal, she allegedly confessed to her lawyer that her kill count was much higher. She also allegedly told her lawyer that she wanted to be found insane so that she could have a chance at being released on parole, but later testified in court that she was completely sane and knew exactly what she was doing. The jury ruled that she was guilty by reason of insanity anyway, and she was committed to the Taunton Insane Hospital where she died at the age of 84.

12. Kristen Gilbert

Birth Date and Age

She was born Kristen Heather Strickland on November 13, 1967 and is currently 50 years old, serving time at the Federal Medical Center in Carswell Fort Worth, Texas.

Kristen Gilbert

Photo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vOakJ6gFIdg

How Did She Kill?

Gilbert was a nurse at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Northampton, MA. She is responsible for the murders of four people, and the attempted murders of two others. She was nicknamed the “Angel of Death” by the other nurses, due to the high death rate of her patients, but they just attributed those deaths to illnesses and didn’t suspect anything malicious was going on. In reality, Gilbert was purposely injecting her patients with lethal amounts of epinephrine, an untraceable heart stimulant that can induce cardiac arrest.

Sentencing

Gilbert was found guilty of three counts of first degree murder, one count of second degree murder, and two counts of attempted murder. She was sentenced to four consecutive life sentences, plus an additional 20 years in prison without the possibility of parole.

13. Juana Barraza

Birth Date and Age

Juana Barraza was born on December 27, 1957 in Epazoyucan Hidalgo, Mexico. She was a famous Mexican wrestler and her stage name was “The Lady of Silence.” After the murders began, the media nicknamed her “The Old Lady Killer.” At the age of 60, she’s still in prison serving multiple life sentences.

Juana Barraza

Photo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nQQIw5PiL_U

How Did She Kill?

It’s estimated that Barraza killed approximately 42-48 elderly women. The murders allegedly began in the late 1990s. While Barraza only admitted to killing three women, it was suspected that she committed at least 40 murders under the guise of being a social worker, who was assisting these older women with signing up for welfare. She attributed her urge to kill women over the age of 60 to the reprehensible treatment she received from her mother as a child, who was an alcoholic, and allegedly traded her daughter for three beers to a man who then sexually abused her.

Sentencing

On March 31, 2008, Barraza was found guilty of 16 counts of murder and aggravated burglary. She’s currently serving a 759 year term in prison for her crimes.

14. Beverly Allitt

Birth Date and Age

She was born Beverly Gail Allitt on October 4, 1968 in Grantham, Lincolnshire, England and is currently 49 years old.

Beverly Allitt

Photo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VuEZwM6Ec2E

How Did She Kill?

Allitt was a pediatric nurse who killed four children, attempted to murder three more, and caused serious bodily harm to at least six others in the span of 59 days between February and April 1991. Her MO was to inject lethal doses of insulin into her victims, which caused many of the children to unexpectedly go into cardiac arrest.

Sentencing

Allitt attacked a total of 13 children and was convicted of four counts of murder, 11 counts of attempted murder, and 11 counts of causing grievous bodily harm. Despite pleading not guilty on all charges, the jury decided otherwise. On May 28, 1993, she was found guilty of all charges and sentenced to 13 consecutive life sentences and is currently serving her time at Rampton Secure Hospital in Nottinghamshire, England.

15. Darya Nikolayevna Saltykova

Birth Date and Age

Born Darya Nikolayevna Ivanova on November 3, 1730 in the Russian Empire, she was a noblewoman who was serving a life sentence for her crimes when she died at the age of 71.

How Did She Kill?

Often compared to her Hungarian predecessor, The Blood Countess Elizabeth Bathory, Saltykova was also accused and convicted of torturing and brutally killing young servant girls who worked for her. While her kill count was much lower, ranging somewhere between 138 and 140, they were equally vicious. In spite of constant complaints and allegations of abuse from the families of her victims, authorities largely ignored her crimes due to her nobility.

Sentencing and Cause of Death

Everything changed when Russian Czarina Catherine II came into power, and the grieving families of the murdered girls brought their complaints before her. Her Collegium of Justice conducted a thorough investigation into the Saltykova estate. Saltykova was only convicted of 38 murders, despite the fact that there were many more mysterious deaths that occurred in her castle. Russia abolished the death sentence in 1754, so Saltykova was chained to a public platform and subjected to public ridicule for about an hour. Afterward, she was locked away for the rest of her life in the cellar of the Ivanovsky Convent in Moscow until her death in 1801.

16. Genene Jones

Birth Date and Age

Genene Anne Jones was born on July 13, 1950 and is currently 67 years old.

Darya Nikolayevna Saltykova

Photo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U_cDcR8pddA

How Did She Kill?

As a licensed vocational nurse, in the 1970s and 1980s, Jones was responsible for the deaths of approximately 60 children, but was only convicted of two murders due to ongoing and inconclusive investigations. During her time at the Bexar County Hospital, which is now known as the University Hospital of San Antonio, she worked in the pediatric intensive care unit where she would inject children with heparin, digoxin, and succinylcholine. Individually and in combination with one another, these drugs have the capacity to make children seriously ill and even induce cardiac arrest, which was her intent all along. Jones wanted to purposely make these kids violently ill so that she could then swoop in to try to resuscitate them and be the hero. Most of the time, she failed, and the children died. It’s unclear exactly how many children she killed because immediately after suspicion of the high death rate was uncovered, the hospital dismissed all of the vocational nurses and replaced them with full-time registered nurses. Hospital authorities also destroyed all of their records, which contained evidence of Jones’ criminal activities in order to avoid prosecution.

Jones was only caught after she went to work for a pediatrician’s clinic in Kerrville, Texas. She was charged with poisoning six children there, after doctor found bottles of succinylcholine with puncture marks in the storage room, and missing quantities of the drug to which only she and Jones had access.

Sentencing

Despite being sentenced to 60 consecutive years in prison for the murder of a 15-month-old child, and attempted murder of another child, Jones is due to be released from prison this year due to Texas’ law that prevents overcrowding in state prisons. Prosecutors filed new charges regarding some of the other murders that happened under her watch in order to keep her from being released.

17. Miyuki Ishikawa

Birth Date and Age

She was born sometime in 1897 in Japan, but her date of death and age at the time is unknown.

Miyuki Ishikawa

Photo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aQSPXq7bA18

How Did She Kill?

Dubbed “the Demon Midwife,” it seems Ishikawa’s crimes were a direct result of the time in which she lived, and the circumstances she endured. She seemed to believe that her actions were justified. By the time she became the director of the Kotobuki maternity hospital, it’s estimated that she was already responsible for the deaths of anywhere between 103 to 169 infants. While she didn’t outright murder the babies, she did purposely neglect to feed, change, and care for them in any way.

Some might argue that, at the time, her reason for doing this was noble as many of the parents whose children were born in her hospital were too poor to provide proper care for their infants. With the help of accomplices, including her husband and some of the doctors on staff, Ishikawa was able to convince her patients that the cost of killing the babies was far less than the cost of raising them. Infanticide was actually a common practice in Japan during the early 1900s, but what makes Ishikawa stand out more than other practitioners was the sheer number of her alleged victims. To this day, she still holds Japan’s highest record of serial killings conducted by a single person.

Sentencing and Cause of Death

Ishikawa was originally sentenced to serving eight years in prison for her crimes, but as a result of a successful appeal, her sentence was cut in half. Her husband was sentenced to two years in prison for his role in the crimes committed. One positive outcome of this case was that it prompted the Japanese government to take an active role in reexamining and establishing specific laws that would give families the option of getting abortions, rather than committing infanticide. The law is called the Eugenic Protection Law and is still in effect today.

18. Julia Fazekas and the Angel Makers of Nagyrév

Birth Date and Age

Unknown.

How Did They Kill?

Fazekas was a midwife in the small Hungarian town of Nagyrév. In addition to birthing children, she also performed abortions, which were illegal along with divorce. As a result, most women were forced by law to keep their unwanted children and husbands, regardless of how abusive many of them were. When World War I commenced, many of Hungary’s able-bodied men were sent off to war, leaving their unhappy wives behind Eventually, their town was seen as the perfect location for prisoners of war to be placed. The women of the town started having affairs with the prisoners to fulfill their sexual desires.

When their husbands returned home from war, many of the women no longer wanted to be married and decided to take matters into their own hands. They consulted the “wise woman,” Julia Fazekas, for assistance in killing their husbands. She concocted fruit jellies and jams that were laced with arsenic and discreetly sold them to the women. Soon, the trend of killing people just because you didn’t like them or want to care for them became a huge fad in the town. Nearly 300 poison-related deaths took place there between 1911 and 1921. The causes of these deaths went largely undetected because Fazekas’ cousin was the clerk who filed the death certificates of those who were murdered. It wasn’t until 1929 that the cause of these murders finally came to light and the government decided to investigate.

Sentencing

There are numerous varying accounts that depict how this ploy was uncovered by authorities. What we know for sure is that one man and 34 women were charged and 26 Angel Makers were tried. While eight of them were initially sentenced to death, only two were actually executed, and 12 received varying prison sentences.

19. Marybeth Tinning

Birth Date and Age

She was born Marybeth Roe in Duanseburg, New York and is currently 75 years old.

Marybeth Tinning

Photo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=quRlsue_zF8

How Did She Kill?

Marybeth Tinning is a former nursing assistant who was accused of killing her nine children in the 1970s and 1980s. The first seven deaths were considered to be from natural causes as a result of poor familial genes when they occurred. But when the Tinnings’ perfectly healthy adopted son, Michael, died while in their care shortly after they brought him home, people started getting suspicious of the circumstances of the other deaths as well. Then their biological daughter, Tami Lynne, died of what was determined to be asphyxia and this prompted authorities to investigate all of the deaths.

Sentencing

Tinning was convicted of second degree murder for the death of her four-month-old daughter, Tami Lynne. However, the jury decided to acquit her of the original charges for deliberately causing the death of the infant and instead convicted her of one count of murder due to depraved indifference to human life. Her husband, Joseph Tinning, maintained Marybeth’s innocence throughout the entire trial. Tinning was sentenced to 20 years to life in prison. Despite confessing to her husband and police that she had killed Tami Lynne, Tinning later tried to appeal her sentence on the grounds that her confession was coerced. Subsequent, but failed parole attempted followed over the years. Every parole board she’s ever encountered determined that she showed a total lack of remorse for the alleged murders of her children.

20. Delphine LaLaurie

Birth Date and Age

Born Marie Delphine Macarty on March 19, 1787 in New Orleans, Spanish Louisiana Territory, she died at the age of 62 in Paris, France.

How Did She Kill?

Delphine LaLaurie was a well known socialite in New Orleans in the 1800s. For many years, it was widely suspected that she brutally beat, deprived, and tortured her slaves on her property. There was even a special torture room where she kept countless slaves in her home. Even though there was a lot of public speculation regarding the haggard appearances of her slaves, two major incidents provoked official investigations into her sadistic activities. One was the seemingly accidental death of a young slave girl who fell off the roof of the house after LaLaurie chased her up there with a whip in hand. The second was a fire that was purposely started by her cook, who was kept chained to the stove, in an attempt to commit suicide. The fire department and police found the cook chained to the stove and severely beaten within an inch of her life. Neighbors became increasingly furious over the way LaLaurie and her husband abused their slaves and eventually formed a mob to destroy the house, breaking down the doors to the slave chamber only to discover countless living and dead slaves who’d been brutally tortured, dismembered, and left to die.

Sentencing and Cause of Death

LaLaurie and her husband fled to Paris before they could be convicted of their crimes, exiling themselves from the United States. Her cause of death is unknown.

21. Charlene Gallego

Birth Date and Age

She was born Charlene Adell Williams on October 10, 1956 in Sacramento, California and is currently 61 years old.

How Did She Kill?

Charlene was an accomplice to her husband Gerald’s crimes. Together, they kidnapped, tortured, sexually abused, and kept women as their sex slaves before killing them execution-style in various locations. They were ubiquitously dubbed “the Love Slave Killers” and “the Gallego Sex Slave Killers.” Their killing spree lasted from 1978 until 1980, during which time they captured a total of 10 victims.

Sentencing

Gerald was convicted of two different crimes in different states, one in Nevada and one in California. He was found guilty in both cases and sentenced to death, but died in prison of cancer while awaiting his execution. Charlene was able to strike a plea bargain with the prosecutors to lighten her sentence to 16 years. She testified against her husband, claiming that she, too, was a victim of his violent behaviour and in many cases, tried to save some of the women. She was released in prison in 1997 after completing her full sentence.

22. Maria Swanenburg  

Birth Date and Age

She was born Maria Catherina Swanenberg on September 9, 1839 in Leiden, Netherlands.

How Did She Kill?

Swanenburg was charged with caring for numerous poor and sick children and elderly people in her village during the 1800s. She was accused of killing at least over 100 people by poisoning them with arsenic. 27 of her charges died while the others became violently ill or developing severe health problems as a direct result. 16 of the people she killed were her own relatives, including her parents. The motive behind her cold-blooded murders was to collect on the life insurance policies and inheritances of her victims, which she secured herself while they were alive.

Sentencing and Cause of Death

She was eventually caught when she attempted to poison the entire Frankhuizen family in 1883 and was sentenced to life imprisonment in a correctional facility where she died in 1915.

23. Waneta Hoyt

Birth Date and Age

Waneta Ethel Nixon was born on May 13, 1946 in Richford, New York and died at the age of 52 on August 13, 1998.

How Did She Kill?

Hoyt killed all five of her biological children before they each turned two years old, but her family, friends, and doctors all originally attributed the deaths to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. After the death of their last child, Waneta and her husband Tim adopted another son, Jay. He was 17 years old when Waneta was arrested in 1994. A forensic pathologist found that the deaths were, in fact, caused by asphyxiation and Waneta was brought in for questioning by police under false pretences. She confessed to killing all five of her biological children, stating that her reason for killing them was that they cried incessantly and she wanted them to stop. She later retracted her confession, claiming she felt coerced by the police and 2 psychiatrists testified to that effect as well.

Sentencing and Cause of Death

Nonetheless, Waneta Hoyt was convicted of all charges in April 1995 and in September of that year, she was sentenced to 75 consecutive years in prison. She died in August of 1998 of pancreatic cancer while serving her sentence but was exonerated by the state of New York because she died before her appeal was scheduled.

24. Amelia Dyer

Birth Date and Age

Known as “the Reading Baby Farmer,” Amelia Elizabeth Hobley was born in 1836 in Pyle Marsh, Bristol, England and she died at the age of 59 or 60.

Amelia Dyer

Amelia Dyer (Photo: Wikimedia)

How Did She Kill?

Dyer was a trained nurse and, after her husband died, she turned to baby farming as a means of supporting herself and making money. Baby farming was a common practice in Victorian Britain. It involved adopting unwanted or illegitimate children in exchange for a fee. In the beginning, she did actually care for the children, but some of them died under her care and she was charged with six months hard labour for those deaths. Eventually, she began to intentionally kill the infants she adopted through strangulation and then disposing their bodies to hide the evidence. With a history of mental illness, she was in and out of mental asylums and had even survived a suicide attempt. On April 4, 1896, she was arrested and convicted for the murder of one infant, though it’s estimated that she actually killed upwards of 400 in the span of 20 years.

Sentencing and Cause of Death

Dyer was hanged on June 10, 1896 in connection to the deaths of three infants.

25. Gesche Gottfried

Birth Date and Age

She was born Gesche Margarethe Timm on March 6, 1785 in Bremen, Germany and died at the age of 46 due to public decapitation.

How Did She Kill?

Gottfried poisoned 15 people including her parents, two husbands, her fiancé, her children, and a few friends between 1813 and 1827. Her motives are unclear, though they could stem from the fact that her parents were emotionally unavailable to her as a child and favoured her twin brother over her. She would slowly poison her victims with rat poison over an extended period of time and then pretend to care for them while they were sick. Her unassuming neighbours pitied her and dubbed her “the Angel of Bremen” before they found out what was really going on.

Sentencing and Cause of Death

She was arrested on March 6, 1828 after one of her victims found white flakes in the food she prepared for him and took it to his doctor for examination. The doctor confirmed that it was rat poison, but by that point, she already poisoned two more people. Gottfried was publicly decapitated on April 21, 1831. Hers was the last case that ended with capitol punishment in the city of Bremen.


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