Home / Categories / Criminal Cases / Unsolved Serial Murders in the United States

Unsolved Serial Murders in the United States

Serial murders are one of the most terrifying things that can happen to a community. Knowing that there is someone stalking the streets that you live on, looking for victims, is a very scary prospect. Many of these killers strike in the same area for years, others move around spreading fear in new neighborhoods and luckily, many of them are caught. However, when the killer is not caught, citizens are forced to imagine when he or she will strike again. There is also sadness in knowing that the serial murderer was never brought to justice for the crimes they committed. There are many unsolved murder cases in the U.S. that are thought to have been the work of a serial killer. Here are a few of the more famous unsolved serial murders in the United States.

The Axeman of New Orleans, New Orleans, Louisiana

The known Axeman Murders began in New Orleans in 1918, though there may have been murders before this. The murderer would enter a house through a hole in the victim’s door, which he or she (the killer was likely a man) had cut out with a chisel. The murderer would then strike at his/her victims with an axe. In one case, the murderer also used a barber’s razor to slit the victim’s throats. The murderer would then flee the scene, often leaving the murder weapon behind.

Oddly, the axe that was used was often the property of one of the victims. The murderer seemed to delight in confusing authorities. In fact, there were several instances where loved ones or neighbors were arrested for the murders. One man was even sentenced to death and his father sentenced to life in prison for an attack on their neighbors. They were later released after the women that had been attacked confessed that she had lied. No one was ever charged with all of the murders.

At times, many months would pass between killings and the residents of New Orleans would let down their guard, only to have the killer strike again. Then, the killings abruptly ceased in late 1919. There were eleven victims associated with the axeman in all. One was an infant. Five of these victims survived their attacks, though none could say who attacked them.

The Capital City Murders, Madison, Wisconsin

Over a span of fourteen years, women disappeared in and around Madison, Wisconsin and were found dead. The victims began turning up in 1968. The killings were sporadic and in many cases, the police could not identify cause of death due to the decomposed state of some of the victims. There were often spaces of years between victims. Nonetheless, the killings are thought by many to be the work of a serial killer.

All of the victims were young women, between the ages of 17 and 24. In the cases where an autopsy was able to show cause of death, the victims had been stabbed. The bodies were often left out of sight, so some of the women were not found until many days later. Of course, there is the possibility that some victims have never been found.
The killings in Madison stopped in November of 1984. There were seven victims in all. Each was a young woman with long hair. Their killer was never caught.

The Frankford Slasher, Frankford, Pennsylvania

The first victim that is thought to be the work of the Frankford slasher was found in August of 1985. The victims were all women, aged 28-68. Most, if not all, of the victims were raped and found in various states of undress. One poor victim had been raped with a 3-ft. piece of wood. The cause of death was invariably stabbing. One of the victims had been stabbed 74 times.

At the same time these murders were being committed, police uncovered and arrested two other serial killers in the area. Oddly enough, the killings were not connected. The police were obviously very busy, but they followed up every lead they got in the slasher case.
A man was arrested for the killings in 1990. While he was awaiting trial, the final murder took place. The man stood trial anyway and was convicted of the killing of one of the victims. In all, there were seven victims.

If the man was truly guilty of the crime that meant that there must have been two killers with the same M.O., working in the area. Nonetheless, the killings stopped. Some believe that is because the killer is behind bars. Others believe that he is still out there somewhere.

Servant Girl Annihilator, Austin, Texas

The killings began in Austin on New Year’s Eve, 1884. In the beginning, the killer attacked servant girls and whoever was with them when he entered their cabins. It is assumed that he would enter the home and strike its occupants with an axe. However, there were at least three cases where the killer used a different weapon. Once, he bludgeoned a woman with a brick, once he used a knife and once he stabbed an 11-year-old girl through the ears with an iron rod. Many of the female victims were raped and it soon became obvious that the people of Austin had a depraved maniac on their hands.

About Shelly Barclay

Shelly Barclay writes on a variety of topics from animal facts to mysteries in history. Her main focus is military and political history. She is a writer for the Boston History Examiner, Military History Examiner and the Boston American Revolution History Examiner. She also writes for a local historical society newsletter. Shelly was a professional cook for 10 years and still has a passion for food. She cooks and writes about cooking nearly every day. She produces a wide variety of content, on top of her niches. Shelly is a stepmother, a former military, current veteran wife, sister of four and aunt of seven (so far).
  • UpdatingFacts

    Just wanted to post an update on the Grim Sleeper. A suspect was arrested on July 7, 2010 (shortly after this article was written). His name is Lonnie David Franklin, and has been linked by DNA to 10 murders.

    http://www.cnn.com/2010/CRIME/07/08/grim.sleeper.case/index.html?hpt=T2

    • http://www.associatedcontent.com/user/514186/shelly_barclay.html Shelly Barclay

      Thank you very much. I have updated the article with a link to your link. I appreciate the update and I’m elated that he has been caught.