We always hear that female serial killers and mass murderers are really rare and when they do exist, they poison people. For the next month, I’m going to give you 31 female killers that met certain, random criteria I decided to force on them to prove that female serial killers and mass murderers aren’t that rare and don’t always use poison. All of these women killed at least four victims. They did not work with a male partner, and only a small portion used poison (although a few did – but more on that later). The cutoff date I decided to use was 1990. I really struggled with this date, I didn’t want to use anything so recent it was still a raw, weeping wound for the family. Now, don’t get me wrong, some of these families were decimated and time doesn’t heal those wounds very well. But I’m also still bothered by the fact that only 5% of Americans believe serial killers are still a problem, so while some cases are really old, most of them aren’t.
Now, the actions of these women are reprehensible. Some killed for money. Some killed because of mental illness. Others killed just because they could. And many of their victims are children, because children are weaker than them. Having said that, some preyed on the elderly. Some preyed on men they duped into believing they loved them. And some just took victims of opportunity. I think you’ll be surprised that there are fewer nurses acting as Angels of Mercy than you expect. Same with black widows, although there are both.
Unfortunately, there is a disportionate number of family annihilators. Possibly because, it’s easy to kill your family. For some reason, a study found the majority of family annihilators were male. I think the study was flawed and I believe women are in fact just as likely, if not more likely, to murder their entire family. And as I discussed in early September, I consider family annihilators that kill more than 3 to be mass murderers and for the purpose these posts, they had to kill at least 4 people.
The names of their victims, when known, are also included. Because those are the important names in these cases. But, knowledge is power, by learning about killers, no matter how depraved, we get better at catching them and sometimes, preventing them. The differences between male serial killers and female serial killers (and there are differences) will become obvious as we go through. Same for male versus female mass murderers.
Now, because of the arbitrary cutoff date I enforced on the cases, I eliminated two well known female mass murderers. The killings in Goleta, California in 2006 when Jennifer San Marcos, a former post office employee, killed 6 postal workers when she walked in and opened fire at her former place of employment. And Sherrie Rhodes, who opened fire at a tribal eviction meeting in 2014, killing 4 (two of whom she was related to).
And while my cutoff date is 1990, I did include cases from that year. My condolences to all the families of the victims and the killers. Most people don’t realize that the families of killers are victimized by the killer and the general public, especially in serial killer cases. This point was really driven home by the Dennis Rader (BTK) case, when his children came out protesting his innocence at first, until they realized that there was no mistake, the father that raised them and loved them was a serial killer. And the parents of the Columbine shooters received death threats in the immediate aftermath of the massacre.