10 Serial Killers Who Have Never Been Caught (2024)

10 Serial Killers Who Have Never Been Caught (1)

There's something irresistibly macabre about serial killers that has long fascinated humans since the early days of newspapers. Perhaps it's the psychological fascination offered by someone who could do something so far out outside the bounds of social acceptance, or it might be the fear readers get from wondering about the tiny chance the person working at their local grocery store may have the most chilling of secrets.

But the stories that really keep the public up at night, or at least make the average person triple-check their front door dock, are the serial killers who haven't been caught. While it's unsettling to read about the atrocious acts committed by serial killers such as Jeffrey Dahmer or Ted Bundy, it's just as engrossing to speculate about the ones still at large — or the ones who are so skilled we don't even know they're out there.


Here are 10 of the most chilling stories of serial killers who have never been caught and may forever get away with their crimes.


  1. The Babysitter Killer
  2. The Highway of Tears Killer(s)
  3. Bible John
  4. The Alphabet Killer
  5. The West Mesa Bone Collector
  6. Servant Girl Annihilator
  7. The Long Island Killer*
  8. The Black Doodler
  9. The Zodiac Killer
  10. Jack the Ripper

10. The Babysitter Killer

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The Oakland County Child Killer, also known as the Babysitter Killer, is an unidentified serial killer who murdered at least four children in Oakland County, Michigan, between 1976 and 1977. The killer's macabre alias comes from the fact that he bathed each child before committing the crimes, which led FBI profilers to posit that the killer had some form of twisted parental instinct.

The killer's choice to target children gripped parents throughout Michigan and spawned dozens of neighborhood-watch initiatives. Despite a few promising leads, including the discovery of a vehicle suspected to belong to the killer, the case remains open and unsolved. The most recent development was in 2012 when investigators managed to create a DNA profile of the killer — but it didn't match anyone arrested in conjunction with the case (or anyone in the police system, for that matter).


But perhaps the most disturbing part, aside from the fact that the killer is still at-large, is the extent of his abductions: all four children were held for anywhere from four to 19 days before being bathed and killed.

9. The Highway of Tears Killer(s)

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While the modern-day serial killer may be thought of primarily as U.S. phenomenon — Jack the Ripper notwithstanding — Canada has had its fair share of heinous murders, including more than a few that remain unsolved.

Perhaps the most infamous are the Highway of Tears murders in British Columbia. The highway is a 450-mile (724-kilometer) stretch of Highway 16 between Prince George and Prince Rupert and has the unfortunate designation of being the site of at least 18 (and possibly as many as 40) murders or disappearances between 1969 and 2011, mostly of Indigenous women.

Since the murders span 50 years, investigators believe multiple killers were patrolling the highway. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) found only enough evidence to prosecute one of the murders, leaving the other 17 cases in their purview unsolved. Unfortunately, investigators have concluded the perpetrator's whereabouts over the decades in question mean he could only be responsible for two of the other killings at most, so it's likely that the other killer (or killers) remain at large.

8. Bible John

Spurring Scotland's most extensive manhunt, the answer of who exactly is "Bible John" has shifted over the years. But the serial killer's identity has remained a mystery in the 50-something years since the murders of Patricia Docker in 1968, and Jemima McDonald and Helen Puttock in 1969, all in their late 20s to early 30s. All three victims were beaten and raped before their murders after meeting the killer at the same popular Glasgow nightclub: the Barrowland Ballroom.

The few details known in the case came from Helen Puttock's sister Jean, who shared a taxi with her sister and the supposed killer on the night of Helen's murder. Jean's information helped investigators form a psychological profile of the killer, who supposedly made frequent references to the Bible — hence his nickname. Unfortunately, Jean died in 2010, and as she was the only witness associated with the case, the chances of finding the true identity of Bible John are next to nothing.


7. The Alphabet Killer

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The Alphabet Murders occurred in the early 1970s in Rochester, New York. The killer's alias comes from his choice of victims: He only chose victims — all of whom were young girls — with first and last names beginning with the same letter.

The Alphabet Killer's three victims were each raped and strangled, and while there were several witnesses — including several motorists who saw 10-year-old Carmen Colon half-naked on the side of the road attempting to escape from the killer — police have never managed to close the case.


However, police did have several persons of interest in the case, one of whom was connected as recently as 2011. However, none of the four men considered by authorities could be linked to the crimes, though one was sentenced to death for the murder of sex workers in Nevada. Interestingly, all of his victims also had alliterative names.

6. The West Mesa Bone Collector

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With a nickname that seems as much made for a movie poster as a police investigation, the so-called West Mesa Bone Collector may be currently active in the town of Albuquerque, New Mexico — or anywhere else, for that matter.

The mysterious killer hit the spotlight in 2009, when police found 11 bodies buried in an area of Albuquerque called West Mesa. Following a tip that a woman had noticed a human femur bone partially uncovered in a former construction site, police excavated the area and discovered the bodies of women who'd been reported missing in 2003 and 2005. However, there are at least 13 other missing women who may also potentially have been victims of the West Mesa Bone Collective, reported missing as recently as 2006.


Police considered several suspects, but lacked enough evidence to make a strong case against anyone. Recent theories have suggested that the West Mesa Bone Collector may actually be multiple people running a sex-trafficking ring, possibly because many of the victims were involved in sex work. As recently as 2021, police confirmed that the case is still active, though despite police receiving roughly 20 to 30 tips per year, no new evidence has moved the case along. The reward for useful information is currently $100,000.

5. Servant Girl Annihilator

One of America's first known serial killers, the Servant Girl Annihilator, as he was called in the parlance of the time, killed seven women and one man in Austin, Texas, between December 1884 and December 1885. All the victims were domestic staff, either killed while sleeping or dragged out of their beds and killed outside their homes. In just one night (Dec. 24, 1885), the killer murdered three victims with an ax — a signature that earned him his more politically correct nickname: the Austin Ax Murderer.

Because the case was nearly 125 years ago, police records are spotty — though a New York Times article from Dec. 26, 1885, wrote that more than 400 people had been arrested in conjunction with the case. Modern researchers have suggested that the Austin Ax Murderer may be none other than Jack the Ripper himself, who sent Londoners into a panic just three years later in 1888.


But realistically, the true Servant Girl Annihilator was likely local Nathan Elgin, who only had four toes on one foot, matching footprints found at most of the murder scenes. Elgin was killed by police officer John Bracken in 1886. Bracken shot him after responding to help a girl who'd been dragged from a saloon by a drunk man who was beating her. The girl's name was Julia.

Fortunately, given how long ago the crimes occurred, he's most certainly no longer operating.

4. The Long Island Killer*

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The aptly named Long Island Killer is an unknown murderer who's been killing in New York from 1996 to — possibly — the present. Somewhere between 10 and 17 murders can be attributed to the Long Island Killer, and since he may or may not still be operating, he's one of the most recent serial killers in America to remain at large.

Authorities know very little about the suspect, speculating that he is likely a white male in his mid-20s to 40s with extensive knowledge of law enforcement operations and techniques, which would explain how he successfully avoided capture.


Though the Long Island Killer has killed at least a dozen people, police were unaware that so many of the prior disappearances and murders were linked until the 2010 disappearance of Shannan Gilbert. While searching in the area where she likely disappeared, police came across not just her body, but also 10 more victims buried under the sand on Long Island's Gilgo Beach. Police questioned several suspects, including former Suffolk County Police Chief James Burke, but no one was ever tried and the case remains unsolved. There's currently a $50,000 reward for any information that leads to an arrest.

*Suspect Charged in 2023

In July 2023, a man named Rex Heuermann was arrested for three of the murders associated with the Long Island Killer case. In January 2024, he received a fourth charge. Heuermann has pleaded not guilty and, as of the time of publication, has not been convicted of any of these crimes.

3. The Black Doodler

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The Doodler could perhaps have had a more flattering nickname like "The Artist" or "The Sketcher," had he been kinder to the male models who posed for him. But instead, he sexually assaulted and stabbed them, ultimately killing somewhere between six and 14 victims in San Francisco. From January 1974 to September 1975, several men disappeared from the city's gay community, and several more were injured or the victims of attempted murder.

Though San Francisco has always been quite liberal, members of the LGBTQ+ community were generally not accepted into San Francisco's mainstream community in the 1970s, leading many of the killer's surviving victims to decline to cooperate with police for fear of being outed. As a result, there was very little information for authorities to go on, and the case remains open and unsolved.


However, unlike many cases on this list, police may be close to solving the decades-old mystery. More victims have been willing to come forward in the last few years, and thanks to DNA and fingerprint evidence, authorities have said they've narrowed down a person of interest who still resides in San Francisco. There's currently a $200,000 reward for anyone that helps them find the final pieces of evidence to prosecute the case.

2. The Zodiac Killer

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Thanks largely to the 2007 Jake Gyllenhaal and Robert Downey, Jr. blockbuster "Zodiac" the Zodiac Killer is perhaps the most infamous unsolved serial killer case in the United States. Much like Jack the Ripper did in London nearly a century prior, the Zodiac taunted police by sending investigators and the San Francisco Bay Area press cryptic messages and clues over a one-year period in the late 1960s.

In a true game of cat and mouse, the killer made himself known to city residents by leaving clues at the murder scenes, threatening to shoot school buses full of children, mailing pieces of victims' clothing to the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper, and threatening the public if newspapers didn't publish the cryptic letters that became his hallmark.


As of 2022, only two of the killer's four ciphers — which he demanded be published in the paper, lest he claim more victims — have been definitively solved.

Police first opened the case in 1969 after the double murder of two high schoolers parked at a "lover's lane." Five murders have been definitively linked to the case, though the Zodiac — who gave himself the nickname — claimed to have killed 37 people total. There have been numerous suspects over the years, but the case is still very much open.

In 2021, a group of private crime-solving enthusiasts claimed to have identified the Zodiac: Gary Francis Poste. Poste died in prison in 2018, but not before being interviewed by police, who declined to comment on the self-described "elite team's" claims to have wrapped up the case.

1. Jack the Ripper

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It's hard to say why London's Jack the Ripper is arguably the world's most famous serial killer. It could be because he committed his crimes so long ago — in 1888 — they're so far removed from current times that no one connected to the case is still alive. It also could be because of the brutality his killings that earned him his hair-raising nickname or just simply because he was never caught, despite operating in a society that prided itself on law and social order.

Jack the Ripper is often credited with jump-starting the modern serial killer fixation. He murdered at least five women in London's East End — and no, they likely were not all prostitutes. The murders kept London on edge, especially as the police questioned men in professions ranging from butchers to surgeons to barbers, but failed to produce a credible suspect. During Jack the Ripper's timeframe, police and authorities received hundreds of letters signed by Jack the Ripper. While most were frauds, at least four letters likely were from the Ripper himself, including the infamous "From Hell" letter that inspired fiction ranging from comic books to Hollywood movies.

Given that most of the police records on the case were destroyed in World War II bombings, it's likely that the case will never be solved. But that doesn't stop amateur sleuths from pointing the finger in all directions, ranging from author Lewis Carroll to not one but two men linked to Queen Victoria: her surgeon John Williams, and her grandson and heir presumptive to the throne Prince Albert Victor.

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10 Serial Killers Who Have Never Been Caught (2024)


Who is the most famous serial killer never caught? ›

1. Jack the Ripper. It's hard to say why London's Jack the Ripper is arguably the world's most famous serial killer. It could be because he committed his crimes so long ago — in 1888 — they're so far removed from current times that no one connected to the case is still alive.

Who is the number 1 most famous serial killer? ›

7 of History's Most Notorious Serial Killers
  • Jack the Ripper. We call him “Jack the Ripper,” but we don't really know who the person behind one of the older and most notorious murder sprees was. ...
  • Jeffrey Dahmer. ...
  • Harold Shipman. ...
  • John Wayne Gacy. ...
  • H.H. Holmes. ...
  • Pedro Lopez. ...
  • Ted Bundy.

How many serial killers have not been caught? ›

In the US alone, the FBI estimates there are between 25 to 50 active serial killers at any given time, despite the authorities not being aware of them or connecting the killings together. On a worldwide scale, this estimate is certainly larger, but only a handful of serial killer cases are confirmed to be unsolved.

Who is the youngest serial killer? ›

According to ABP News, Amarjeet Sada was responsible for the murders of three, out of which two went unreported. His horrific actions made him known as the world's youngest serial killer.

What serial killer killed couples? ›

During the 1970s, David Berkowitz, also known as 'The Son of Sam,' prowled New York City, fatally shooting couples in cars. By the time he was arrested in August 1977, he had killed six people and wounded seven others.

What serial killer did they not catch? ›

Serial Killers That Were Never Caught: Jack the Ripper, Zodiac Killer & More.

Who is the twin serial killer? ›

Storyline. This installment details the 1990s serial killer Larry Hall, who murdered young women. His identical twin brother, Gary Hall, has never been a suspect in the murders of Larry Hall, who was eventually convicted and sentenced to prison.

Who killed the most humans in history? ›

But both Hitler and Stalin were outdone by Mao Zedong. From 1958 to 1962, his Great Leap Forward policy led to the deaths of up to 45 million people – easily making it the biggest episode of mass murder ever recorded.

Who is the most killed serial killer? ›

Little has confessed to 93 murders, and FBI crime analysts believe all of his confessions are credible. Law enforcement has been able to verify 50 confessions, with many more pending final confirmation. Little says he strangled his 93 victims between 1970 and 2005.

How many serial killers do you walk past in a lifetime? ›

It is when we think of the real-life monsters, the killers that walk among us, that we realize how truly unsettling our off-screen realities can be. It has been said that the average person can unknowingly walk past 36 murderers in their lifetime.

Are there any current serial killers? ›

America remains fascinated with its serial killers. Yet, in recent years, serial killings have plummeted. One scholarly study found that the number of active serial killers dwindled from 198 in 1987, the largest number on record, to 12 in 2018.

Who was the first serial killer? ›

H.H. Holmes (born May 16, 1861?, Gilmanton, New Hampshire, U.S.—died May 7, 1896, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) was an American swindler and confidence trickster who is widely considered the country's first known serial killer.

What serial killer has a daughter? ›

Dennis Rader terrorized Kansas for decades before his arrest in 2005. His daughter, Kerri Rawson, could not bear to see him until this June, when she visited him in prison to help investigators. Kerri Rawson sees her life in two parts: before and after she learned that her father was a serial killer.

Who is the seven year old serial killer? ›

In 2007, India earned a world record for having the Youngest Serial Killer. It was never a record to be proud of. Unlike other serial killers, Amarjeet Sada was only seven years old when he committed three brutal murders.

Which serial killer has the highest IQ? ›

Kemper was formidable: He was 6'9", weighed over 300 pounds, and had an IQ of 145. His victims included his grandparents, several women, and even his own mother. Authorities believe Kemper murdered 10 people in total, and he reportedly kept some of his victims' heads for days before disposing of them.

How many serial killers are active right now? ›

According to World Atlas, the FBI reckons there are between 25 and 50 active serial killers in the United States at any given time, and most haven't been caught.

Are any famous serial killers still alive? ›

Well, there are more serial killers alive today than you might expect. Gary Ridgway is one of many serial killers in prison. Rosemary West, one-half of a duo who committed unspeakable crimes, is one of many famous murderers still alive. Paul Bernardo is probably one of the most dangerous serial killers alive.

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