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4 uncaught serial killers who are still at large

A man holds an axe in front of car headlights

When you consider that 40% of killers are never arrested it presents a rather terrifying prospect. There must be serial killers that are currently off the radar and quietly living among us.

It’s very difficult to say how many serial killers are out there with any specificity. The FBI claims that there could be anywhere between 25 and 50 uncaught in the US alone. Whereas former detective and current academic and criminology lecturer Michael Arntfield says that the figure is significantly higher, maybe even as high as 4,000.

Here are four eye-catching serial killers that are still very much on the loose.

1. The Craigslist Ripper

Also known as The Long Island Serial Killer, The Manorville Butcher and The Gilgo Beach Killer, this at-large multiple murderer has caused untold head scratching and consternation amongst New York law enforcement.

The Suffolk County Police Department has conceded that ten bodies found on stretches of the Long Island coast in 2010 and 2011 were all the work of one serial killer.

So how is it that police haven’t managed to track down the killer after twelve years? It could be that The Craigslist Ripper (named for his method of finding his sex worker victims) is simply too wily. Or it could be that police incompetence or even corruption is responsible. The latter possibility was investigated in a recent TV documentary series about the case.

One popular theory is that imprisoned serial killer Joel Rifkin, who killed between nine and seventeen women in the early 1990s, might be responsible.

2. The Little Rock Slasher

Between 24th August 2020 and 11th April 2021, Larry Eugene McChristian, Jeff Welch, Debra Walker and Marlon Anthony Franklin were all attacked and stabbed by a random man in Little Rock, Arkansas. Walker survived, while the other three died of their injuries.

It quickly became apparent to the investigators looking into the stabbings that one assailant was responsible. The modus operandi was too similar for it to be a coincidence. Although the victim profiles differed, the timing, location and pattern of behaviour were all too similar.

After the fourth murder, Little Rock PD announced a $20,000 reward, but no information provided has led to an arrest as yet. Debra Walker was able to give police a partial description. She recalled her attacker as being ‘a young, black male with a slender build and over six feet tall’.

‘Jack the Knife’, as the killer is also called by the media and authorities, is still at large.

3. The Chicago Strangler

Despite compelling evidence to the contrary, Chicago PD refuses to publicly concede that a repeat murderer is stalking the streets of The Windy City.

At least 55 sex workers have turned up strangled to death in alleyways and abandoned buildings over the past two decades. Plot the ‘burial’ sites and you’ll find yourself drawing a near-perfect straight line.

Police assert that there is no DNA evidence to tie the murders together. However, the Murder Accountability Project (MAP), a non-profit organisation that disseminates information about murders, has another theory. MAP were the ones to first alert the authorities about the similarities of the murders and they believe that the lack of DNA is evidence in and of itself. They say that the killer is meticulous and simply leaves no trace.

4. Pedro López

Pedro López, the so-called ‘Monster of the Andes’, is not behind bars because he was released from prison.

His life was one of suffering from an early age. He was born to a sex worker mother, his father having been killed at the beginning of ‘La Violencia’, Colombia’s decade-long civil war between 1948 and 1958. From a baby he was forced to witness his mother’s profession up close, watching her be assaulted and raped regularly. Not many years later his mother caught him abusing one of his sisters and kicked him out of the house.

Then homeless and without money, the young López travelled to Bogota and joined a street gang. Soon, he began raping and killing young girls. This continued for years, with ‘The Monster’ moving around his home nation, Ecuador and Peru, killing at will. He claims that, at one point, he was murdering ‘up to three girls a week’. So it’s little wonder that he is thought to have a kill count of well over 300.

This ruthlessly prolific serial killer was eventually caught in Ecuador and, while incarcerated, led police to a mass grave containing the remains of 57 young women and girls. He was only sentenced to sixteen years in prison due to local laws.

López served fourteen years behind bars before being released in 1994, two years early due to good behaviour. He was swiftly extradited to Colombia, where officials tried to convict him of a murder that occurred two decades earlier. López was instead diagnosed as insane and confined at a mental hospital in 1995.

He was deemed sane in February 1998 and released on a $50 bond with further conditions. The killer then disappeared, raising questions about his potential involvement in a 2002 homicide. His whereabouts remain a mystery.