Serial killers have become a point of fascination in recent years. From the amazing award-winning Bear Brook podcast to Mindhunter on Netflix, media producers guessed (correctly) the public would become captivated by these outliers of society.
So today I wondered, would people also be interested in knowing about several notorious killers who could be sitting beside them in a cafe right now?
Because here’s 3 of them.
1. The Norwegian Kiss of Death
Born on October 25, 1934, in Norway, Arnfinn Nesset was a manager at a nursing home who became one of the most notorious serial killers in Scandinavia.
While working at several nursing homes over the course of a 20-year career, co-workers often found an unusual occurrence — the rate of deaths increased quickly right after he began working.
While most people weren’t able to pinpoint the cause, one administrator noticed an unusual order of a massive quantity of suxamethonium chloride, a strong muscle relaxant.
It turned out this was Arnfinn’s preferred method of killing patients, likely due to his need for “complete control over life and death.”
He admitted to killing dozens of people but later retracted most of his statements. After an arduous 2 year investigation, he was found guilty of murdering 22 of them. Some suspected him of killing up to 138 of his patients.
His punishment? A sentence of only 27 years — the maximum at the time — but he was released after 12 years for good behavior in 1995.
He changed his name after release and his whereabouts aren’t disclosed.
He’d be 84 now.
2. The Lainz Angels of Death
Between 1983 and 1989, four Austrian nurses found camaraderie in an unusual hobby — murdering the elderly.
A woman by the name of Waltraud Wagner first got a taste for her wicked addiction when she severely overdosed a patient on morphine.
Feeling the power over life and death, Waltraud felt a strange need to share her new pleasure. She recruited 3 other co-workers —Maria Gruber, Irene Leidolf, and Stephanija Meyer— to help her out on her insane mission.
Through the course of morbid experimentation, they arrived at their preferred method of killing. They would dose a patient with tranquilizers and insulin, one of the nurses of death would then pinch the patient’s nose, and the others would pour water into the victim’s mouth until drowning.
The kicker? Since it’s not uncommon for elderly sick patients to have fluid in their lungs and be on pain medication, their method of killing went undetected.
But what didn’t go undetected was their bragging. A doctor overheard them boasting of their recent success one night at a pub which sparked the investigation.
In the end, they suspected the quad-team of murdering up to 200 elderly patients. The gang leader Waltraud was only convicted of 15, with far fewer for the other accomplices.
By 2008, all four of them have been released, changed their names, and are possibly drinking a coffee beside you as you read this.
3. The Monster of the Andes
By far the worst on this list — if you can really choose between evil serial killers — is Pedro López.
He had a remarkably screwed-up childhood. Growing up with 12 siblings, he was kicked out of the house at the age of only eight after being discovered fondling his sister. He fled to Bogotá, the capital city, and continued to encounter abuse. Pedro claimed he was raped multiple times by different adults while growing up on the streets, contributing to his sickness.
By the age of 18, he was making a living stealing cars and selling them to local chop-shops. Something he apparently wasn’t very good at — as he was incarcerated shortly after.
It was in prison when he got his first taste for murder. After being brutally gang-raped by four men, he later told a reporter he hunted each of them down and killed them for revenge. The authorities considered the killings a form of self-defense and only added two years to his sentence.
Unfortunately, the story gets incredibly worse from there. This is when one of the most heinous serial killers in the world started abducting, raping, and murdering young girls, likely over 300 of them in total.
He roamed the countryside of Colombia, Peru, and Ecuador looking for victims and committing these heinous acts at least three times a week.
During one of these outings, he was apprehended by village chiefs in Peru whom they suspected of murdering two children.
Pedro later said this chilling passage about the incident:
“Indians in Peru had me tied up and buried in sand up to my neck. They had placed syrup on me and were going to let me be eaten by ants.
But an American missionary lady came by in her jeep and promised them she would turn me over to police. But she released me at the border of Colombia and let me go.
She didn’t attract me because she was too old.”
His spree continued, but now with a focus on Ecuador. In 1980, he was caught again and imprisoned. While there, he admitted to an undercover police officer acting as his cellmate that he had murdered over 100 girls. Less than a year later, he was convicted of killing 3 of them while confessing in court to strangling over 300 victims.
In 1981, he was sentenced to the maximum allowed in the country at the time — 16 years. In an insane decision, he was released 2 years early and deported to Colombia.
While he could’ve faced a firing squad there, the prosecutors were unable to secure a decision. Instead, he was committed to a psychiatric hospital for reasons of insanity.
The hospital changed their minds a few short years later in 1999 and released him on bail after being declared sane.
As you can probably guess, he quickly fled.
In 2002, Colombian police instigated an Interpol order for his arrest, as a series of crimes fit his M.O.
He was never apprehended and it’s unknown whether he’s alive or dead to this day. He would be 72 years old today.
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