Born in Germany, Hans Schmidt was an odd child. He would often watch cows and pigs being processed in a slaughterhouse. By the time Schmidt turned 25 years old, he would be ordained as a priest but after 4 years of service in Germany and due to many disagreements with the senior staff at the church he was forced to relocate to Kentucky, USA.
Schmidt didn’t last long in Kentucky before being relocated again, to St. Boniface Church on the east side of Midtown Manhattan. He wasn’t the only new face at St. Boniface Church, an Austrian woman named Anna Aumuller had recently been hired as the housekeeper. It didn’t take long before Schmidt and Aumuller began having an affair but after the church found out about the affair Schmidt was transferred to St. Joseph’s Church in West Harlem.
But not the distance or the fact that priests were banned from getting married couldn’t stop the two lovers from being together and on February 26th, 1913 Schmidt and Aumuller married in a ceremony performed by Schmidt himself.
The marriage was short-lived because, on September 2nd, 1913 Schmidt slit Aumuller’s throat with a 12-inch butchers knife. He then cut her head off with a hack saw, cut her body in half, wrapped the pieces of her body in newspaper and dumped her in the Hudson River.
Three days later, two kids playing by the river found her torso an investigation by the NYPD found that Aumuller had given birth prematurely before she was murdered. When authorities searched Aumuller’s apartment the walls and floor were covered in bloodstains, showing just how brutal her murder was.
Detectives went to visit Schmidt and he confessed to the murder immediately, stating that “I loved her. Sacrifices should be consummated in blood”. Schmidt was arrested and charged with murder.
On December 7th, 1913 Schmidt’s trial began and his lawyers began claiming that he was overwhelmed with blood lust and too insane to know right from wrong. The trial ended in a hung jury 10-2 with 2 jury members believing Schmidt was insane.
Schmidt wasn’t as lucky during his second trial after being found guilty of Aumuller’s murder and sentenced to death by electric chair. On February 18th, 1916 Hans Schmidt was executed.
Further investigations uncovered a secret apartment that Schmidt had rented and inside they found a printing press and counterfeit money. Authorities also discovered that he was planning on teaming up with a Manhattan dentist and they were going to commit a bunch of murders and claim the life insurance money of their victims.
There have also been reports that the body of a 9-year-old girl was found in the church that Schmidt first worked at when he arrived in Kentucky. The girl’s body had been dismembered similarly to the way Aumuller’s body was dismembered.
Police were also able to track Schmidt back to Germany where they discovered that German police had trace evidence linking him to the murder of a young girl in his hometown but he was executed before he could be charged with that murder.
A loner who was bullied at school and regularly beaten with a leather strap by his catholic father Robert Berdella had a seemingly uneventful life until his father suddenly died from a heart attack when he was 16 years old and that’s also when he started to be sexually abused by a coworker at the restaurant he was working at.
Not long after Berdella’s father died his mother remarried much to his dismay and he found it impossible to hide his distaste for his new stepfather. He began to develop an interest in art but the weirder the art the better and he would eventually become quite the artist himself which led to him being offered a partial scholarship at 18 years old to the Kansas City Art Institute.
He began his studies at the art institute in 1967 but by 1969 he was forced out of the school because his art projects had become extremely concerning, including when he killed a dog onstage as part of one of his performances. After leaving the school he began befriending local prostitutes, drug dealers and petty criminals with most of them viewing him as a sort of father figure.
• In July 1984, Berdella drugged his friend prostitute Jerry Howell and then kept him in his basement where he tortured and raped him until he ended up strangling him to death the next day.
• In April 1985, Berdella drugged his friend Robert Sheldon and kept him in his basement where he tortured him but then he had a change of mind about hurting him and he ended up taking him to the doctor so he could get his injuries treated but then he had another change of mind about hurting him and he returned Sheldon to his basement where he continued to torture him until he strangled him to death.
• In June 1985, Berdella found Mark Wallace hiding in his shed during a storm and he invited him into his home. After being drugged and enduring hours of torture he was strangled to death.
• In September 1985, Berdella who was openly gay went to a gay bar and picked up James Ferris. He invited Ferris back to his home where he held him captive and tortured him for weeks before killing him.
• In June 1986, Berdella’s friend Todd Stoops who was a prostitute was invited to Berdella’s home for lunch and sex but he ended up being held captive for 6 weeks where he was tortured until finally being murdered.
• The following year, Berdella bailed his new friend Larry Pearson out of jail and offered him a place to stay. Once Pearson was in his home, he held him captive and tortured him for 6 weeks before murdering him.
• In March 1988, Berdella abducted his last known victim, prostitute Chris Bryson but when Berdella was at work Bryson jumped out of a second-floor window and ran to safety at a neighbour’s house. Bryson was naked and only wearing a dog collar when he escaped.
The police investigation uncovered Berdella’s dungeon in the basement and second-floor bedroom, numerous photos of his victims and even some of his victims remains.
Berdella gave a full confession to avoid the death penalty. He was found guilty of 2 counts of first-degree murder, 4 counts of second-degree murder, 1 count of selling amphetamines, 6 counts of sodomy and numerous counts of sexual assault. He was sentenced to life without parole but 4 years into his prison sentence he died from a heart attack.
Rest In Peace Jerry Howell, Robert Sheldon, Mark Wallace, James Ferris, Todd Stoops and Larry Pearson.
It was August 19th, 1992 when Ebony Simpson was last seen getting off the school bus in the small New South Wales town of Bargo but somewhere along the 1km walk from the bus stop to her home she had disappeared without a trace. We now know that the day before her disappearance the police had given a talk at her school about stranger danger.
Usually, the routine would be that Ebony would get off the school bus and meet her mother but on this particular day, her mother was running a little late so she asked one of her sons to go and meet Ebony at the bus stop but in a sick twist of fate his bus was running late so he missed her bus and assumed she had walked home.
The police were called and they began to put together a search party to find 9-year-old Ebony but during their investigation, an older man came up to the police and informed them that his two sons had seen Ebony when she was walking home but they also saw a man with a yellow car that had its bonnet up. This was the last confirmed sighting of Ebony Simpson. Police asked the community to get involved in the search and the whole town volunteered to help in any way they could.
The next morning, detectives try to piece together who the man was with the broken down yellow car and they discover that Ebony’s mother had seen a man with a broken-down yellow car, which she believed was a Datsun 120y near the bus stop and that she had seen that particular car twice but the other time it was parked near the bus stop. Police asked the neighbours if they had seen any unusual cars around the vicinity and they also said that in the weeks leading up to Ebony’s disappearance they saw the same yellow car. Police then go and interview the older man’s two sons who had seen Ebony walking home and the broken-down yellow car but they said the car was a Mazda 808.
Ebony has now been missing for 18 hours and more and more people were coming forward to help with the search. The police, SES, rural fire service and volunteers were split into groups and they all had their areas to search around the town and bush. Police officers were coming to the town from other areas of New South Wales to help with the search and a couple of officers from Campbeltown had arrived after the search party briefing so they were given a quick rundown on what they were searching for. The officers were told they were searching for Ebony and a yellow Mazda 808, that’s when one of the Campbeltown officers turned around and said like that car over there. It turned out that the car they had been looking for was parked 50m away from them at the command post that the police had set up.
A detective spoke to Ebony’s mother Christine and asked her for a detailed description of the man she saw with the yellow car so they can put together a sketch; the detective then took the sketch to his boss who looked at the sketch and said “that was the bloke we were just talking too”, it turned out that the man police were looking for had joined the search party for Ebony Simpson. Officers then went back to Christine’s home and said I think the guy you saw is out the front and so she went out there with them to see if she could identify the yellow car. Detectives then waited to see if this mystery man would come back to the yellow car and he did, they began asking him questions about his whereabouts and the car. Police then asked if they could take photos and search the car and by all reports the man was compliant.
The mystery man with the broken down yellow car had agreed to let the police take the car down to the police station so they could conduct some testing on the car and he also agreed to go to the station for questioning. He was so cool and calm that police began to question if he had any involvement in the disappearance of Ebony Simpson. This mysterious man was 29-year-old Andrew Garforth and he and his wife and their two children had only just moved to the town within the last few months from Western Australia.
During questioning, Garforth recounted his whereabouts on the day that Ebony went missing. He said he had gone into town to return a video rental and then to the hardware store to buy two bolts then when police asked him what route he took into town he gave a very specific route but when he was asked to go over the details again, this time he gave a completely different route which put him near the bus stop where Ebony was last seen. After 15 minutes of questioning Garforth said something that took the detectives by surprise, he said “and when the young girl was walking past the car, I grabbed her and put her in the boot”.
Garforth began to calmly tell detectives about the details of what happened to Ebony, he said she even asked him if he was going to let her go and he said that he told her he didn’t know. He ended up driving down a bush track with Ebony in the boot of his car; once he stopped he tied her hands and feet together behind her back with speaker wire, then he pulled down her pants and sexually assaulted her, filled her backpack with rocks and then he threw her into a dam.
Ebony Simpson has now been missing for 31 hours and the police take Garforth to the scene of the crime, where they find Ebony’s pink lunchbox floating on top of the still dam water and then they searched the rest of the body of water until they found a lifeless Ebony who had drowned.
Andrew Garforth was charged with the murder of Ebony Simpson and he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. We still have no idea as to why Garforth committed this heinous crime.
Between May 23rd, 1918 and October 27th, 1919 there were 6 murders and 6 attempted murders that took place in New Orleans. The media would later point out the similarities in some unsolved murders that date back to 1911.
The killer’s Modus Operandi was simple but brutal, the killer would more often than not break into their victim’s homes by removing a panel in the backdoor with a chisel, they would then lay that panel down on the floor and attack their victims with a cut throat razor and an axe. Usually, the axe would belong to the victims and it would always be left at the scene of the crime.
Authorities would later discover that these murders weren’t motivated by robbery as nothing would ever be taken from the victim’s homes. It was also clear that the victims were all mainly Italian immigrants or Italian-Americans, which led many to believe these murders were either racially motivated or paid for by the mafia.
Victims 1 & 2: Joseph and Catherine Maggio.
On May 23rd, 1918 married couple Joseph and Catherine were asleep when their home was broken into and their throats were cut. Before leaving the scene the murderer bashed the couple’s heads in with an axe.
Catherine died instantly, with her throat being slit so deep that her head was almost severed from her body but Joseph survived the attack but later died after being discovered by his brothers Jake and Andrew two hours after the attack.
Authorities discovered the murderer’s blood-soaked clothing at the scene, along with the cut-throat razor used to slit the couple’s throats. The razor ended up belonging to Joseph’s brother Andrew who was a barber.
Victims 3 & 4: Louis Besumer and Harriet Lowe.
On June 27th, 1918 at his residence located at the back of his grocery store Louis was asleep with his mistress Harriet when they were attacked with an axe.
Louis was struck with his axe just above his right temple which resulted in a fractured skull, whereas Harriet was struck just above her left ear, they both survived the attack. The pair were discovered in a pool of their blood at 7 am by delivery man John Zanca. Louis’ axe was left in the bathroom by the attacker.
Authorities arrested 41-year-old Lewis Oubicon, an African American man who was employed by Louis. There was no evidence that Lewis had any involvement in the attempted murders and was later released.
After authorities found letters written in German, Russian and Yiddish at Louis’ home, they suspected that he was a German spy and they started a full investigation into a potential plan for espionage. Harriet was interviewed by police when she was in hospital as she was drifting in and out of consciousness, she told police that Louis was a German spy and police arrested him. Two days after his arrest the two lead detectives were demoted due to poor police work and Louis was released.
Then in August of 1918, when Harriet was on her death bed in hospital due to a failed surgery to restore her paralysed face she told authorities that Louis had attacked her with his axe and again Louis was arrested. A couple of days later, Harriet passed away and that made the case against Louis harder to prove.
After spending 9 months in prison, Louis was acquitted of murder on May 1st, 1919 after a jury deliberated for 10 minutes. Whilst Louis was in prison, more axeman attacks had occurred.
Victim 5: Anna Schneider.
On August 5th, 1918 a heavily pregnant Anna was woken up by a figure standing at the end of her bed. She was continuously beaten in the face with a bedside lamp and it had resulted in her scalp being cut. Anna was discovered covered in blood just after midnight by her husband Ed. Anna stated she remembered nothing about the attack and two days later she gave birth to a healthy baby girl.
Convict James Gleason was originally arrested for the attack but was released soon after because of the lack of evidence. There have been no other suspects mentioned in the attack.
Victim 6: Joseph Romano.
On August 10th, 1918 Joseph’s two nieces that he lived with sisters Pauline and Mary were abruptly woken up by a struggle they heard coming from their uncle’s room. The sisters went into their uncle’s bedroom where they found him with two open cuts to his head after being hit in the head.
Later, the sisters would tell authorities that the attacker was fleeing the scene when they walked into their uncle’s bedroom. They described the attacker as a dark-skinned, heavyset, dark suit-wearing male with a hat.
Joseph was able to walk to the ambulance after the attack but he died two days later in hospital from head trauma. It was discovered that he was attacked with an axe that was later found in his backyard.
Victims 7, 8 & 9: Charles, Rosie and Mary Cortimiglia.
On March 10th, 1919 husband and wife Charles and Rosie were asleep with their infant daughter Mary when screams were heard coming from their home by the neighbours.
Neighbour Lorlando Jordano rushed across the street and found Rosie with a serious head wound whilst she was holding her deceased baby and Charles was laying on the floor covered in blood from his head wound. Police found a blood-soaked axe on the back porch.
The couple was rushed to the hospital where it was discovered that they both had skull fractures. Two days later Charles was released from hospital but his wife Rosie had to remain in the hospital for more treatment.
When Rosie was interviewed by police in the hospital she said that her neighbour Lorlando Jordano and his son Frank were responsible for the attack and murder of her daughter. Charles denied his wife’s claim and said that it was not the father and son who attacked them.
During the police investigation, they discovered that Lorlando was too old and frail to have committed the attacks and that his son Frank was too tall and heavy to have been able to fit through the removed panel from the back door. Nevertheless, police still arrested and charged the father and son for the attack and murder.
Both men were found guilty and Lorlando was sentenced to life in prison and his son Frank was sentenced to death by hanging. After the trial, Charles divorced his wife Rosie and a year later Rosie confessed that she had lied out of jealousy and spite about the father and son being involved in the attack and murder of her daughter. Lorlando and Frank were released not long after Rosie admitted she lied.
Victim 10: Steve Boca.
On August 10th, 1919 grocer Steve was attacked whilst he slept by an intruder wielding an axe. When he regained consciousness he ran outside to investigate the intrusion but realised that his head had been split open.
After making his way to his neighbour Frank Genusa’s home he collapsed and lost consciousness. He would eventually recover from his wounds but he had no memory of the attack or the attacker.
Victim 11: Sarah Laumann.
On September 4th, 1919 neighbours of 19-year-old Sarah broke into her home after they were unable to reach her. They found an unconscious Sarah with a head wound and a blood-soaked axe on the front lawn.
Sarah suffered a severe head injury from being beaten with a blunt object and she was missing several teeth. She recovered from her injuries but had no memory of the attack or attacker.
Victim 12: Mike Pepitone.
On October 27th, 1919 and his wife was woken up by a loud noise and she went to the bedroom door where she saw an axe-wielding man fleeing from the scene.
Her husband Mike had been violently attacked with an axe and his blood was splattered all over the place including on a photo of the Virgin Mary. Mike died from his severe head injury.
The Axeman’s Letter:
On March 13th, 1919 just 3 days after the Cortimiglia family attack the infamous Axeman sent a letter to the local newspaper that said;
Hottest Hell, March 13, 1919
Esteemed Mortal of New Orleans: The Axeman
They have never caught me and they never will. They have never seen me, for I am invisible, even as the ether that surrounds your earth. I am not a human being, but a spirit and a demon from the hottest hell. I am what you Orleanians and your foolish police call the Axeman.
When I see fit, I shall come and claim other victims. I alone know whom they shall be. I shall leave no clue except my bloody axe, besmeared with blood and brains of he whom I have sent below to keep me company.
If you wish you may tell the police to be careful not to rile me. Of course, I am a reasonable spirit. I take no offence at the way they have conducted their investigations in the past. In fact, they have been so utterly stupid as to not only amuse me, but His Satanic Majesty, Francis Josef, etc. But tell them to beware. Let them not try to discover what I am, for it were better that they were never born than to incur the wrath of the Axeman. I don’t think there is any need of such a warning, for I feel sure the police will always dodge me, as they have in the past. They are wise and know how to keep away from all harm.
Undoubtedly, you Orleanians think of me as a most horrible murderer, which I am, but I could be much worse if I wanted to. If I wished, I could pay a visit to your city every night. At will I could slay thousands of your best citizens (and the worst), for I am in close relationship with the Angel of Death.
Now, to be exact, at 12:15 (earthly time) on next Tuesday night, I am going to pass over New Orleans. In my infinite mercy, I am going to make a little proposition to you people. Here it is: I am very fond of jazz music, and I swear by all the devils in the nether regions that every person shall be spared in whose home a jazz band is in full swing at the time I have just mentioned. If everyone has a jazz band going, well, then, so much the better for you people. One thing is certain and that is that some of your people who do not jazz it out on that specific Tuesday night (if there be any) will get the axe.
Well, as I am cold and crave the warmth of my native Tartarus, and it is about time I leave your earthly home, I will cease my discourse. Hoping that thou wilt publish this, that it may go well with thee, I have been, am and will be the worst spirit that ever existed either in fact or realm of fancy.
The crime writer Colin Wilson believed that the Axeman was Joseph Momfre, who was shot and killed by the last victim of the Axeman Mike Pepitone’s wife in December 1920 in Los Angeles. Another crime writer named Michael Newton researched Wilson’s theory and was unable to find anyone by the name of Joseph Momfre who had been killed or assaulted in Los Angeles. Based off of Wilson’s theory academic Richard Warner believed that the Axeman was Frank “Doc” Mumphrey who used the alias Leon Joseph Monfre/Manfre.
Still to this day we are no closer to knowing who the Axeman of New Orleans was.
It is believed that the Axeman was responsible for up to 17 murders and 14 attempted murders.
Rest In Peace Joseph Maggio, Catherine Maggio, Harriet Lowe, Joseph Romano, Mary Cortimiglia and Mike Pepitone.
From November 16th, 1971 till November 26th, 1973 there were three child murders in Rochester, New York. All three victims were aged either 10 or 11 years old, they all had a first and last name that started with the same letter, they were sexually assaulted, strangled and dumped in a town whose name started with the same first letter as each victims name.
Victim 1: Carmen Colón.
On November 16th, 1971 a 10-year-old Colón was running an errand around 4:20 pm at a pharmacy. Around 5:10 pm Colón was seen by motorists driving along Interstate 490, they reported that they saw her naked from the waist down and running away from a reversing vehicle. Witnesses would later report that Colón was seen being led back submissively to the dark-coloured Ford Pinto Hatchback.
Two days later, a couple of teenage boys found Colón’s lifeless and semi-naked body near Churchville in a gully near where witnesses had last reported seeing her along Interstate 490. An autopsy found that Colón had a fractured vertebra and skull with scratches all over her body. She had been raped and strangled to death.
Victim 2: Wanda Walkowicz.
On April 2nd, 1973 a 11-year-old Walkowicz was running an errand around 5 pm at a deli. Around 5:15 pm Walkowicz was seen leaving the deli and walking home alone, witnesses reported seeing her struggle to carry a bag of groceries and that Walkowicz was leaning up against a wire fence to try and get a better grip on the plastic bag, whilst a brown car was driving past and some witnesses reported seeing Walkowicz standing next to the brown car talking to the driver.
The next day, Walkowicz’s body was found in Webster along State Route 104. The position of her body suggests that she was thrown out of a moving vehicle and then her body had rolled down the embankment. An autopsy found that Walkowicz was raped, strangled to death, she had defensive wounds and there were traces of semen, pubic hair and white cat fur even though the family didn’t own a cat. Her body had been redressed before being dumped.
Victim 3: Michelle Maenza.
On November 26th, 1973 a 11-year-old Maenza was walking home from school at around 3:20 pm. According to witnesses, Maenza was seen around 3:30 pm crying in a beige or tan coloured vehicle that was speeding away. At 5:30 pm a man holding the wrist of a young girl believed to be Maenza, was seen standing next to his beige or tan coloured vehicle with a flat tire, with witnesses reporting that the man was acting strange.
Two days later, Maenza’s body was found lying face down in a ditch in Macedon. An autopsy revealed that Maenza had been the victim of blunt force trauma, she had been raped, strangled to death, she had traces of semen in her underwear, a palm print on her neck and white cat fur even though the family didn’t own a cat.
Suspect 1: Miguel Colón.
Miguel who was Carmen Colón’s uncle from her father’s side was considered by authorities to be a likely suspect since he had begun a relationship with his brother’s ex-wife and Carmen’s mother. Miguel had also purchased a vehicle just weeks before Carmen was murdered that was similar to the vehicle witnesses reported seeing in pursuit of her on the day of the murder. After authorities searched his car they found that the interior and exterior of the car had been cleaned thoroughly and they also found a doll belonging to Carmen in his car.
Miguel had told his friends two days after his niece’s murder that he was planning to leave the country because he had “done something wrong in Rochester”. Four days after Carmen Colón was murdered, her uncle Miguel Colón moved out of the country and relocated to Puerto Rico.
Authorities ended up going to Puerto Rico in 1975 but after the newspaper published an article saying that authorities were planning on questioning him about the murder, he originally fled but then he agreed to be extradited to the United States to be questioned.
Once he returned to the United States he faced questioning about his whereabouts on the day of his niece’s murder but he was unable to provide a credible alibi. However, since all the authorities had was purely circumstantial evidence and there was no physical evidence linking him to the murder he was never formally charged with the murder.
In 1991, following a domestic assault incident where Miguel had shot and wounded his wife and brother, Miguel Colón committed suicide.
Suspect 2: Dennis Termini.
Dennis was a local fireman who was known as the ‘Garage Rapists’ because he was known to have raped a minimum of 14 teenage girls and young women between 1971 and 1973.
He was considered to be a strong suspect because he owned a beige car that matched the description of numerous witnesses and he lived near where Michelle Maenza was last seen alive.
On January 1st, 1974 just over a month after the last victim was murdered, Dennis had attempted to abduct a teenage girl at gunpoint but was unsuccessful after the teenager started screaming. Then shortly after, he successfully abducted another teenage girl but was followed by police and before they captured him he committed suicide by shooting himself.
A forensic examination of Dennis’ car found the fur of a white cat but it’s not known if it is a match to the white fur found on the victims. In January of 2007, his body was exhumed for authorities to obtain a DNA sample so they could compare it to the semen recovered from Walkowicz’s body, the test came back negative.
Suspect 3: Kenneth Bianchi.
Kenneth was an ice cream vendor who was known to have worked near the first two murder scenes. He was considered a suspect because he owned a similar vehicle to the one described by numerous witnesses.
The most compelling reason why authorities believe he could be responsible for the murders is that once he moved from Rochester to Los Angeles after the murders, he along with his cousin Angelo Buono, Jr. committed the murder of 10 young girls and women between 1977 and 1978. These murders would later be known as the notorious Hillside Strangler murders.
Suspect 4: Joseph Naso.
Joseph became a suspect after it was discovered that before he committed the 4 murders of prostitutes in California, he lived in Rochester.
There was no physical or DNA evidence to link him to any of the Alphabet Murders and therefore has never been charged. However, for the 4 California murders, he was found guilty and sentenced to death.
Although authorities interviewed over 800 suspects, still to this day no one has been formally charged or arrested in connection with these murders.
Rest In Peace Carmen Colón, Wanda Walkowicz and Michelle Maenza.
In 2006, couple Jennifer Hart and Sarah Gengler decided to foster three siblings; Markis who was 8 years old, Hannah who was 4 years old and Abigail who was 2 years old. Then in 2008, when Hannah was 6 years old she showed up to school with bruises on her arm and told her teacher that she had been whipped with a belt. The incident was reported to the police and the couple were interviewed but no charges were filed. Not long after the incident, the couple decided to foster another three siblings; Devonte who was 5 years old, Jeremiah who was 4 years old and Sierra who was 3 years old.
Then when Abigail was 6 years old, Sarah was charged with malicious punishment of a child and misdemeanor domestic assault after Abigail showed up to school with bruises. In the police report, Abigail says that Jennifer had hurt her because she thought she stole a penny that fell out of her pocket. The other children were interviewed by police also with them all saying that they are often hurt and sent to bed without food. Sarah told police that she had spanked Abigail and Jennifer supported her story. In 2011, Sarah pled guilty and was sentenced to community services and one-year probation.
The couple then decided to pull all six children out of school and move states in 2013 from Minnesota to Oregon, where they started to home school all six children. When they arrived in Oregon, CPS started to get complaints from numerous people anonymously with one complaint saying that the children looked like “trained robots” who seemed to be “scared to death” of Jennifer. Even a friend of the couple called CPS to report that Jennifer ran the children like they were in a “regimented boot camp” and that if the children laughed too loud, she would get angry but the most concerning thing from the report was the friend saying that “true kindness, love and respect for the kids was largely absent”.
Ultimately these reports led to a new case being opened by CPS but it was eventually dismissed and closed after Jennifer told CPS that “the family’s issues stemmed from others not understanding their alternative lifestyle”. However, it’s important to note that the caseworker stated “the problem is these women look normal”.
By mid-2017, the family had moved states once again, this time to Washington but the reports to CPS would continue with their neighbours Bruce and Dana DeKalb saying that one evening at 1:30 am Hannah came to their front door to report that “she needed help” because Jennifer and Sarah “were not treating her properly” the child also said that she wanted them to “protect her” and that the couple were “racists and they abuse us”. This led to the DeKalb’s calling police to report what Hannah had said, as well as the fact that she was missing her two front teeth after being hit with a belt and denied food as a punishment.
Jennifer tried to convince the DeKalb’s that the children were fine and that they had been subjected to bullying because they were black and their two mothers were white, stating that that’s the reason why the children were being homeschooled. Then Devonte started and would continue to show up to the DeKalb’s door asking for food and eventually telling Dana that the children were not being fed by their mothers. The DeKalb’s made another report to CPS on March 23rd, 2018 but when CPS knocked on the front door of the Hart household there was no answer and the next day the family had left the home.
On March 26th, 2018 Jennifer who was intoxicated, drove the family GMC Yukon XL SUV with her wife and six children in it off a 30-metre cliff in Northern California. The couple and five of their six children’s bodies were recovered from the car or near the car, Devonte’s body has never been recovered but a judge ruled that he was in the car at the time of the crash and a death certificate was issued.
A toxicology report showed that Jennifer had a blood alcohol reading of 0.102 and that Sarah and two of their children had diphenhydramine in their system, which is an ingredient commonly found in Benadryl. Authorities also discovered that before the crash, Sarah had conducted numerous the following Google searches:
“How easily can I overdose on over the counter medications?”
“Can 500mg of Benadryl kill a 125lb woman?”
“How long does it take to die from hypothermia while drowning in a car?”
A 14 person coroner’s jury unanimously found that the couple intentionally killed themselves and their six children, ruling that the case was a murder-suicide. In 2019, the sheriff of Mendocino County officially closed the case.
Born on November 28th, 1946 in Kitakyushu city, Chisako Kakehi grew up in a middle-class family and although she excelled at an academic level, she wasn’t allowed to pursue higher education because her father believed that women should get married and have a family.
Kakehi married her first husband in 1969, where she was introduced to the poison cyanide because he ran a fabric printing company. After her first husband suffered a heart attack in 1994, he was released from hospital in good health but soon after being released from the hospital he died aged 54. His body was cremated. In 2006, Kakehi’s second husband who was a manager for a pharmaceutical company died after suffering a stroke, he was aged 69. His body was also cremated. Then in 2008, her third husband who was an agricultural entrepreneur died three months after they got married from a heart attack, he was aged 75. His body was also cremated. Because all three bodies were cremated, no tests were able to be conducted on the bodies so we don’t know if they were poisoned by Kakehi.
In 2007, Kakehi got engaged to Toshiaki Suehiro, a former prefectural official. He collapsed in the street not long after they got engaged and then spent the next two years on life support until 2009 when he died of cancer aged 81. Traces of cyanide were found in his blood samples. In 2011, Kakehi got engaged to Masanori Honda. He died six months later aged 71 from arrhythmia whilst riding his motorcycle.
Kakehi started casually dating retired architect Minoru Hioki but he died in 2013 aged 75. Originally his death was suspected to be due to lung cancer but further investigation showed that he had been poisoned. In December 2013, Kakehi’s fourth husband Isao Kakehi was found dead in his home a month after they married, traces of cyanide were found in his blood samples.
In 2014, Chisako Kakehi was arrested for the murder of her fourth husband Isao and she confessed that she had killed him because he had given money to lots of other women but nothing to her.
During the investigation, it was discovered that Kakehi would meet men on several match-making websites, aged between 70 and 80 years old, with no children and ideally wealthy. She would charm the men until they made her the beneficiary of their assets and life insurance policies, then she would poison them with a cyanide-laced drink.
She was found guilty of the murder of one of her husbands and the murders of two partners. She was sentenced to death by hanging in 2017.
Although she was only charged and found guilty of three murders, it is suspected that she may have murdered up to 10 men.
In 2005, when Jasmine Richardson was 11 years old she became interested in a gothic group at school. She started to wear black clothing and developed behavioural issues.
After attending a punk rock gig, Richardson who was now 12 years old met 23-year-old Jeremy Allan Steinke. Many people in Richardson’s life including her parents, family and some friends had an issue with their flourishing relationship. Steinke had a long history of violence and had even told people that he was a “300-year-old werewolf” and that he would often wear a vial of blood as a necklace.
Richardson’s parents put an end to the relationship between the two but they started to communicate online with each other through their accounts on VampireFreaks.com and Nexopia.
Then on April 22nd, 2006 Steinke and his friends watched the 1994 movie ‘Natural Born Killers’ which is about a guy who kills his girlfriend’s parents so that she can escape their control and they can finally be together. Steinke told his friends that he and Richardson should plan to do something like that so they can be together but that they should not spare her younger brother.
Just a few hours later after everyone had gone to bed Steinke who was dressed in all black with a ski mask on, snuck into the Richardson’s home with a knife. The noise from the break-in woke up Richardson’s mother Debra who went down to the basement to see what the noise was. She was stabbed to death by Steinke in a frenzied attack, the screams from Debra woke up her husband Marc who ran down to the basement and tried to fight off Steinke with a screwdriver but he was unsuccessful and he also was stabbed to death. Richardson went to her 8-year-old brother Jacob’s room to calm him down because he was scared from hearing his parents screaming but then Steinke met Richardson at Jacob’s bedroom door and Jacob told the both of them that he was too young to die, Richardson stabbed her brother in the chest and then Steinke slit his throat.
The next day a friend of Jacob’s went over to the house to play but when he looked through the window he saw Debra and Marc’s lifeless bodies laying on the floor, he ran home and told his mother who called the police. At 1 pm on April 23rd, the police arrived at the Richardson house to find the murdered mother, father and brother but there was no sight of daughter Jasmine Richardson.
Authorities went to Richardson’s school to search her locker and what they found made her go from a missing person to the main suspect. In Richardson’s locker, they found a detailed drawing of a girl lighting her house on fire and then running to her boyfriend’s car. After conducting an investigation authorities found Richardson and Steinke 130kms away from the home. During his interrogation, Steinke asked the detective “have you ever watched the movie Natural Born Killers? I think that’s the best love story of all time”. Both Richardson and Steinke were arrested and charged with three counts of murder. Eleven days later Steinke’s friend 19-year-old Kacy Lancaster, was charged with being an accessory to murder after it was discovered that she had driven the couple out of town and helped them destroy evidence.
On July 7th, 2007 Jasmine Richardson was found guilty of three counts of first-degree murder and sentenced to 10 years which is the maximum for any crime committed by anyone under the age of 14 years old. Her sentence included credit for the 18 months she had already spent in custody to be followed by 4 years in a psychiatric hospital and then 4 and a half years of community supervision. Jasmine Richardson completed her sentenced in May 2016.
On December 15th, 2008 Jeremy Steinke was found guilty of three counts of first-degree murder and sentenced to three life sentences with the possibility of parole after 25 years in prison.
Kacy Lancaster had her charge of accessory to murder dropped after she agreed to plead guilty to an obstruction charge. She was sentenced to one year under house arrest as part of her plea agreement.
Born in North Carolina, Betty Lou Beets had a traumatic childhood with both of her parents being alcoholics. At 3 years old Beets lost her hearing after getting the measles and then at 5 years old Beets’ father started to sexually abuse her. When her mother was institutionalised she had to leave school when she was 12 years old to take care of her brother and sister.
Three years later at 15 years old, she married her first husband Robert Franklin Branson and a year later they welcomed their first child together. After 17 years of marriage, 6 children and a lot of domestic abuse Branson left the family and Beets in financial hardship.
A year later after battling with the emotional toll of her husband walking out and not providing for his children Beets married husband number two Billy York Lane but he too was abusive and the couple divorced. They continued to fight and Lane even broke Beets’ nose and threatened to kill her, this led to Beet shooting Lane and being charged with attempted murder. The charges were eventually dropped after Beets admitted at the trial that Lane had threatened her life. After the trial, the couple fell back in love and got remarried. The marriage lasted a month.
Then six years later in 1978, Beets married her boyfriend of five years Ronnie Threlkold but after one year of marriage and with Beets attempting to run Threlkold down with her car, the couple divorced.
Later on that year it was time for wedding number 5 with Beets marrying Doyle Wayne Barker who she barely knew. Two years after getting married, Barker disappeared and ten months later Beets married Jimmy Don Beets a retired fireman. The couple were married for less than a year when Jimmy also disappeared.
Then two years after Jimmy’s disappearance the Henderson County Sheriff’s Department received information that Jimmy had potentially been murdered. Authorities got a search warrant for Beets’ home and they found two bodies, one was Barkers who had been missing for four years and the other was Jimmy’s. Police also found a gun that matched the weapon used to shoot Barker and Jimmy. Betty Lou Beets was arrested and charged with the murders of Doyle Wayne Barker and Jimmy Don Beets.
During the trial, two of her children testified that they helped cover up the murders and that they knew their mother was planning to shoot both husbands. Beets tried to make out that her children were the actual killers and that she had been framed.
It’s believed that Beets murdered two of her husbands for the insurance money and any pension benefits that may be available. She was never tried for the murder of Barker but she was found guilty of the capital murder of Jimmy and sentenced to death.
After ten years of appeals, Betty Lou Beets was executed on February 24th, 2000 by lethal injection.
On August 8th, 1973 the Pasadena Police Department receives a phone call from a man saying “Y’all better come here right now! I just killed a man!”. What the police didn’t know is that the man that had been murdered was about to be outed as a serial killer, his name was Dean Corll and he had just been murdered by one of his teenage boy accomplices named Elmer Henley.
Corll got the nickname candy man because his mother ran a candy factory and he would give out free candy to the neighbourhood kids. The factory was actually across the road from the local high school so a lot of the students would hang out there with Corll and do odd jobs at the factory which led to Corll furnishing the factory with couches and a pool table to entice kids to hang out there. One of the teenagers he hired to do jobs around the factory accused Corll of making sexual advances toward him, his mother fired the teenager. Corll had also fitted out his van with carpet, cushions and tv so that he could drive the teenagers to the beach.
After his mother left Texas, Corll ran the candy factory for a few years before it went broke and then he found work as an electrician. He moved around a bit after leaving the factory but he always had a group of teenage boys hanging around him and he would often buy them weed and alcohol.
During his time at his mother’s candy factory, he met 12-year old David Owen Brooks who viewed Corll as a father figure but that soon changed. When Brooks was 15 years old Corll started sexually abusing him and in payment, he would give Brooks money and gifts.
In December of 1970, Brooks walked into Corll’s bedroom and found two boys naked and shackled to the bed. He saw Corll sexually assaulting the boys but he didn’t do anything about it, he just left. Later on that day, Brooks went back to Corll’s home where he explained that the boys were a part of a pornography ring and he offered to buy Brooks a car if he kept quiet. Corll bought him a green corvette and Brooks kept quiet.
For the next 3 years, Brooks along with another teenage boy that Corll was sexually abusing Elmer Henley would bring victims to Corll so he could rape and torture them, then the boys would help him kill the victims and dump their bodies.
Then one morning in 1973, Henley invited his friend 19-year-old Timothy Kerley over to Corll’s home where all three of them drank alcohol and sniffed paint. Then at midnight Henley and Kerley went to buy snacks, once there they ran into another friend of theirs, 15-year-old Rhonda Williams and she went with them back to Corll’s home.
Corll was annoyed that the boys had brought a girl back to his home but after Henley calmed him down they all continued to drink until they passed out. The next morning Henley woke up to find Corll handcuffing him with his mouth taped and ankles bound. He also saw that Kerley and Williams were shackled to his bed. Corll then pointed his gun at Henley and told him that he was going to kill all of them but not until he has had his fun.
Henley convinced Corll to untie him so that he could help him torture and kill the other two. He was ordered by Corll to take a knife and cut Williams’ clothes off and rape her whilst he rapes Kerley. Williams looked Henley in the eyes and asked “is this for real? Aren’t you going to do anything about it?” And that question “flipped a switch” according to Henley, he grabbed the gun and told Corll that he can’t have him killing all of his friends and he shot him until there were no bullets left.
Once the police arrived they found a shocking crime scene. The bedroom floor was covered in plastic with numerous sex toys around, a knife, ropes and handcuffs. After a more extensive search of the property, police discover a casket style box with holes in the side, bags of limes, eight pairs of handcuffs, ropes, more sex toys and glass tubes. The police also searched his van which had blacked-out windows, the walls were covered with pegboards, hooks, dirt-stained carpet and another casket style box with strands of human hair inside.
Once at the police station Henley confessed that he and Brooks had helped torture and murder 6 of Corll’s victims but that they never took part in sexually assaulting the boys. Henley tells police that he can take them to a “warehouse of bodies” where police found 17 bodies.
The next day Brooks goes to the police station with his father and gives a similar story to the one they got from Henley. Then Henley and Brooks take police to a fishing cabin where authorities find 6 more bodies in and around the property. The boys then take police to High Island Beach where authorities find another 6 bodies.
In total authorities discover 27 bodies but they suspect there are a lot more they haven’t found yet. The victims they found were Jeffrey Konen, Danny Yates, James Glass, Jerry Waldrop and his brother Donald Waldrop, Randell Harvey, David Hilligiest, Gregory Malley Winkle, Ruben Watson, Willard ‘Rusty’ Branch Jr., Frank Aguirre, Mark Scott, Johnny Delone, Billy Baulch, Steven Sickman, Wally Jay Simoneaux, Richard Hembree, Richard Kepner, Joseph Lyles, Billy Ray Lawrence, Ray Blackburn, Homer Garcia, John Sellars, Michael ‘Tony’ Baulch, Marty Jones, Charles Cary Cobble and James Dreymala.
Henley stood trial on July 1st, 1973 for the murders of Charles Cobble, Marty Jones, Frank Aguirre, Johnny Delome, Billy Lawrence and Homer Garcia. He was found guilty and sentenced to six life terms.
Brooks was originally indicted for 4 murders but ended up only being charged with the murder of Billy Lawrence. He was found guilty and sentenced to 99 years. Brooks died in May of 2020, after contracting COVID-19.