Have you ever wondered about serial killers who were never captured? You’re not alone, as these unsolved cases tend to draw a lot of curiosity. This article lists some of the most notorious serial killers to evade justice, from Jack the Ripper to the Zodiac Killer.
As of today, there have been several investigations into serial killers who were never caught. Many would consider these men to be some of the most terrifying and violent killers to ever exist. The following list examines the details of the investigations into these killers, their victims, and the timeline of their crimes.
1. Jack the Ripper
This is the name given to an unidentified killer, or killers, active in and around the Whitechapel district of London in 1888. The killer has also been dubbed the “Whitechapel Murderer” and “Leather Apron.”
The origin of the “Jack” moniker is an anonymous letter by someone claiming to be the murderer. The letter is believed by many to have been a hoax. Some even speculate it was a way for journalists to generate more interest in the story from the public.
The killer’s victims included female prostitutes who lived and worked in the impoverished East End of London. Their throats were cut before their abdomens were mutilated. At least three victims had their internal organs removed, leading investigators to believe the killer had some surgical knowledge.
There were multiple murders ascribed to the Ripper, but it was never confirmed whether the slayings were the work of a single individual or multiple killers. Authorities did not agree upon the identity and profession of the killer, and the list of named suspects reached over 100.
2. Zodiac Killer
The case of the Zodiac Killer is considered to be the most notorious unsolved murder mystery in the United States. The Zodiac operated in northern California in the late 1960s, and his identity remains unknown.
Victims were killed in Benicia, Vallejo, Lake Berryessa, and San Francisco, California from December 1968 to October 1969. The origin of the “Zodiac” name is a series of taunting letters from the killer sent to the local press in the Bay Area. The letters included four cryptograms, but only one was solved.
The Zodiac claimed responsibility for 37 murders in letters written to newspapers, but investigators found only seven confirmed victims, two of whom survived. The case remains open in San Francisco, Vallejo, Napa County, and Solano County.
3. Highway of Tears Killers
The Highway of Tears killers are responsible for a series of murders and disappearances in British Columbia, Canada. Many of the victims were aboriginal women, and the slayings spanned a 450-mile section of Highway 16 from 1969 to 2011.
The impoverished region lacks public transportation, leading many citizens to hitchhike to get around. To date, only one of these murders has been solved—Canadian serial killer Cody Legebokoff was convicted in 2014.
Garry Taylor Handlen, a serial rapist, was charged in two other cases. There were other men suspected of murdering victims along Highway 16, but insufficient evidence prevented the authorities from pressing charges.
4. Original Night Stalker
Another unidentified serial killer and rapist is known as the Original Night Stalker. The killer is responsible for at least 10 murders in Southern California from 1979 to 1986.
At least 50 women were sexually assaulted in Sacramento from June 18, 1976 to July 5, 1979. The killer was also dubbed the “East Area Rapist.”
5. The Axeman of New Orleans
The Axeman was active in New Orleans, Louisiana from May 1918 to October 1919. Six victims were reported dead, and 12 were injured.
Reports during the height of the public panic over the murders mentioned similar cases as far back as 1911, but contemporary researchers questioned the connection between these slayings.
6. Long Island Serial Killer
This unidentified serial killer was suspected of killing 10 to 17 people associated with the sex trade. The murders occurred over a period of almost two decades.
The killer dumped the bodies along the Ocean Parkway, near the Long Island beach towns of Gilgo Beach and Oak Beach in Suffolk Country. Bodies were also found around Jones Beach State Park in Nassau County.
The killings occurred from 1996 to 2010, and possibly until 2013. The killer had multiple nicknames including the “Gilgo Killer,” “Gilgo Beach Killer,” “Seashore Serial Killer,” and “Craigslist Ripper.”
7. Oakland County Child Killer
The Oakland County Child Killer (OCCK) was also named the “Babysitter Killer.” His murders spanned from February 15, 1976 to March 16, 1977 in Michigan.
He is responsible for the killings of at least four children, two girls and two boys, in Oakland County. Despite all the theories and suspects in this case, it remains unsolved.
8. Cleveland Torso Murderer
Responsible for at least 12 murders, the Cleveland Torso Murderer was also dubbed the “Mad Butcher of Kingsbury Run.” This unidentified serial killer murdered and dismembered people in the Cleveland, Ohio area during the 1930s.
Like the killer, some of his victims also remained unidentified. The main connection between each case is that the victims were dismembered.
9. Phantom Killer
Also known as the “Texarkana Moonlight Murderer,” this killer is responsible for murdering five victims and wounding three from February 22 to May 3, 1946 in Texas.
The murders and attacks all occurred within 10 weeks, and were reported nationally and internationally by numerous publications. The news alarmed many Texarkana residents, who decided to buy firearms and locks to protect themselves. Local stores sold out of guns, ammunition, locks, window shades, and blinds.
Two of the surviving victims described the killer as six feet tall with a white mask on his face. Holes were cut out for his eyes and mouth.
During the investigation into the Phantom Killer, nearly 400 suspects were taken in by authorities, and police had to deal with numerous false confessions.