The Serial Killer is usually apprehended in an hour or less in today’s crime dramas. On the other hand, we can all agree that it’s not true, especially on such a massive scale. Murder cases were only closed 62 percent of the time in 2017, according to the Department of Justice. As a result, the quantity of cold cases is steadily rising, and that’s a problem. There are an estimated 250,000 unresolved murder cases in the United States, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics.
That’s increasing all the time, & law enforcement expects that number to rise by around 6,000 every year. Tom McAndrew, a retired trooper with the Pennsylvania State Troopers, says it’s a big concern “All unsolved killings may have unidentified perpetrators who have yet to be captured. A violent criminal is likely to re-offend, according to history and study.” Some of these criminals may be apprehended thanks to recent developments in DNA technology.
Think of the Golden State Murderer, a serial killer who has been implicated in several murders over many years in the state of California. He began murdering in 1976, but his whereabouts were just discovered and he was apprehended in 2018. Let’s take a look at the more notorious serial murderers still at large in the hopes that justice will be served for those who have been wronged.
PEDRO ALONSO LOPEZ: MONSTER OF THE ANDES
“A person who kills three or more people over more than a month, including “cooling down” period between killings,” is the commonly recognized description of a serial killer (per the Crime Museum). Look at the case of Columbian murderer Pedro Lopez, who has made his way throughout South America on the prowl and remains at large.
He’s much beyond that point now. He had a predisposition for violence and murder from an early age, according to Rolling Stone magazine. Born in 1948, he was jailed in 1980 in Ecuador. There he admitted to 110 killings in Ecuador alone, & eventually added 240 additional victims from other nations. He tended to prey on youngsters between the ages of seven and twelve, and he was linked to at least 300 other murders. There is a chance that the narrative might grow much more distressing if he is prosecuted.
For excellent conduct, Lopez was granted early release from an Ecuadorian prison after serving fourteen years of a sixteen-year sentence. After that, he was deported back to Colombia, where he was promptly arrested and tried for the killings that had occurred there. A mental facility took him in after the trial and housed him there for the next four years, from 1996 to 1998. Then he was freed on a $50 bond for good conduct. He was never seen again, but he’s been linked to numerous murders since then.
THE LONG ISLAND FEMALE SERIAL KILLER REMAINS UNIDENTIFIED
After a period of time, the case became what 48 Hours refers to as “the largest unresolved murder case in New York history.” Shannan Gilbert initiated the incident with such a 23-minute 911 call. As soon as Gilbert, an escort, had been dropped off at a client’s house barely three hours earlier, she escaped that house, raced to a neighbor and sought assistance, and then vanished from view.
When the quest for Gilbert began on Gilgo Beach on Long Island on December 11, 2010, it was in May of that year. That included Maureen Brainard-Barnes, who was gone for three years, & Megan Waterman, who left behind a kid of three years old. In the months that followed, more remains were found, bringing the number to ten. Not only is the perpetrator still at large after more than a decade, but the bodies of five women discovered along that isolated stretch of coastline also remain unsolved.
The investigation is still quite active, as per ABC News, and fresh evidence has just been revealed to the public, including a picture of a belt containing the letters WH or HM. Despite Netflix’s publication of the film Lost Girls in 2020, which was loosely based on the murders, no new information has emerged since then, and the female serial killer is still free.
THE COLONIAL PARKWAY MURDERS THE WORST SERIAL KILLER
A so Colonial Parkway Murders are made up of three years, eight corpses, and a 23-mile stretch of Virginia Highway. According to Oxygen, there’s a great deal of evidence pointing to a single assassin for all eight of the killings. Each victim was snatched from their automobile while looking for identification and registration information during October 1986 & September 1989; they were all young families slain at the same time and in the same location.
To conclude, the murderer was assumed to be a member of the police enforcement. Some authorities, however, were reluctant to label the crimes as those of serial murderers due to the variety of methods used to murder the victims. Forensic technological advancements and newfound attention in the case have made it possible for Bill Thomas, a director of a 4 Oxygen documentary on the killings and the brother from one of the victims, to revisit his sister’s murderer in 2021, he claims (via Fox News).
ARE THE FAMOUS SMILEY FACE KILLERS REAL OR NOT!
More horrifying than the prospect of a serial murderer prowling the streets is the unsettling knowledge that one may be lurking nearby. However, no one can say for sure. Is the case, according to Rolling Stone, a sequence of killings with unsettling similarities—the victims are white college-aged guys, their deaths blamed on drinking, and their corpses found in nearby waterways. The drownings may be the act of a serial murderer or killers, but are they genuinely accidental?
Ex-NYPD officer Anthony Duarte, former Boston police detective Kevin Gannon, & criminology professor Lee Gilbertson all support the latter hypothesis. A smiling face graffiti on a victim’s body indicates that the victim was targeted by a mob because of their perceived position as “privileged.” They also refer to characteristics like identical decomposition rates & the presence of GHB, a substance that was found in several autopsies, as evidence for the serial killer idea.
Surprisingly, they discovered 335 instances in 2019 that were related to the alleged Smiley Face Killers. According to the FBI, it’s still not apparent whether the fatalities are accidental or if there’s anything more going on. What if people are perceiving patterns that don’t exist? Bryanna Fox, a former FBI agent, says it’s conceivable that believing in a serial murderer is simpler than believing in our own susceptibility to catastrophe.
PHILADELPHIA’S FAMOUS SERIAL KILLERS
Between 1985 to 1990, a serial murderer was on the loose in Philadelphia, and it was a horrific experience for the city’s residents. As per NBC Philadelphia, the so-called Frankford Slasher murdered at least eight women over the course of five years. A three-block length of Franklin Avenue was the scene of a series of attacks on a group of white women, all of whom had been known patrons of the pubs in the area.
Leonard Christopher, a Black man, was arrested in 1990 on suspicion of the murder of Carol Dowd and later found guilty. Because he didn’t fit any of the characteristics of the murderer, identified by eyewitnesses as a Caucasian, middle-aged male, despite the fact that another lady was slain following his arrest. Christopher died of cancer in prison, despite his unwavering belief in his own innocence throughout his ordeal. In the meanwhile, another prospective suspect had already vanished.
According to Penn State, the case had a slew of flaws, the first of which was law enforcement’s refusal to acknowledge the victims’ links. In Philadelphia, at least, no other victims have been found, but the availability of DNA evidence implies that technology may one day allow for a match to be established, enabling this long-open case to be solved.