10 Serial Killer Mysteries That Were Finally Solved

10 Serial Killer Mysteries That Were Finally Solved
VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Sarah O'Sullivan
These killers couldn't escape the long arm of the law. For this list, we'll be looking at sinister killers who were able to elude capture for years but were eventually brought to justice. Our countdown of serial killer mysteries that were finally solved includes François Vérove: The Pockmarked Man, Gary Ridgway: The Green River Killer, Dennis Rader: The BTK Killer, and more!

10 Serial Killer Mysteries That Were Finally Solved

Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re examining 10 Serial Killer Mysteries That Were Finally Solved.

For this list, we’ll be looking at sinister killers who were able to elude capture for years but were eventually brought to justice.

Do you know of any other murderers who took a huge amount of time and effort to hunt down? Let us know in the comments!

Bradley Robert Edwards: The Claremont Killer

Between 1996 and 1997, three women went missing from Claremont, a suburb in Western Australia; two were later found dead. These circumstances made police suspect a serial killer was responsible–but finding that killer would require one of the longest, most expensive investigations in Australian history. Over the following years, numerous suspects were interrogated, watched, and eventually ruled out. Then, a study of fibers from the crime scenes revealed two important facts: what the murderer had been wearing, and what kind of car he drove. Both implicated Bradley Robert Edwards. His DNA also turned out to match samples found under one victim’s fingernails. Edwards was arrested and charged with murder in 2016, and is currently serving a life sentence in prison.

François Vérove: The Pockmarked Man

Being a police officer probably helped François Vérove conceal the murders and assaults he committed in France between 1986 and 1994; however, his career ultimately proved his undoing. When a young girl’s body was discovered in her apartment complex in 1986, and witnesses described a stranger with acne scars on his face, the killer was dubbed “Le Grêlé,” or the “Pockmarked Man.” Vérove went on to murder at least two more people, but some of his victims survived, and their descriptions of his badge and radio made investigators suspect that the killer was a policeman. In 2021, they required all officers from that period to submit a DNA sample; when Vérove learned this, he took his own life, leaving behind a written confession.

Bruce Lindahl: The Monster

He lived only twenty-eight years. He was arrested and fined multiple times, but never imprisoned. It took decades for police to realize that Bruce Lindahl had been a vicious serial killer; his crimes are still under investigation, but Lindahl is confirmed to have murdered four people, and remains a suspect in twelve other murder cases in the Chicago area during the 1970s and ‘80s. And that’s aside from all his assaults. Even while he was alive, reports of Lindahl’s attacks were largely dismissed; one trial was canceled because the victim disappeared. Her body was found a year later. One surviving victim said, “He was a monster. I tried to tell them there was a monster and nobody wanted to listen.”

Terry Peder Rasmussen: The Chameleon Killer

In 2002, a woman in California went missing. Police discovered her body at the house she shared with a man named Larry Vanner. When they arrested Vanner, they found that his fingerprints matched those of Curtis Kimball, who’d been arrested in 1985. The man was convicted as Kimball, and died in prison in 2010. Then, DNA evidence revealed that Kimball was also Bob Evans, who kidnapped a girl after her mother disappeared. Finally, in 2017, investigators realized that the same man was connected to an unsolved murder case in New Hampshire from 1978. His real name was Terry Rasmussen. He killed at least six people. But because of Rasmussen’s various identities in different places, the full extent of his crimes may never be known.

Albert DeSalvo: The Boston Strangler

Between 1962 and 1964, thirteen women in the Boston, Massachusetts area were murdered. Most of them were strangled to death. Albert DeSalvo, who was arrested for assault and burglary, seemed almost insignificant by comparison–until he suddenly confessed to the murders while in custody. Most outsiders assumed DeSalvo was lying; those who interviewed him weren’t so sure, as he seemed to know a lot about the murders. However, there was no physical evidence against him, so he was only tried on the original charges. DeSalvo died in prison in 1973, with the Boston Strangler case still unsolved. But finally, in 2013, investigators were able to match DeSalvo’s DNA to samples preserved since 1964, and confirm that he was indeed telling the truth.

Andrei Chikatilo: The Butcher of Rostov

Chikatilo was one of the worst serial killers in Russian history. He murdered at least fifty-two people. And worst of all, there were several times when he was almost caught. As a teacher in the 1970s and early ‘80s, Chikatilo abused many of his students, but it attracted little attention. His first murder, in 1978, was blamed on someone else. When police realized there was an active serial killer, they promptly went after all the wrong people, like men who were gay, mentally ill, or had intellectual disabilities. Chikatilo was arrested in 1984, but dismissed as a suspect because they thought he had the wrong blood type. It wasn’t until 1990–too late, for many of his victims–that he was finally caught and convicted.

Gary Ridgway: The Green River Killer

For someone whose IQ apparently tested in the low eighties, Gary Ridgway was amazingly clever. He murdered forty-eight women in Washington state, yet evaded capture for almost twenty years. He hid his victims deep in the woods or the river; he even left other people’s trash near the bodies to confuse investigators. Ridgway was actually a suspect in 1982, soon after the murders began, but there wasn’t enough evidence to charge him until 2001. Ridgway was something of an enigma. He claimed to hate sex workers, but frequently hired them, even while married; he was devoutly religious one moment, murderous the next. Perhaps he’s best summed up in his own words: “Choking is what I did, and I was pretty good at it.”

Lonnie David Franklin Jr.: The Grim Sleeper

Like Chikatilo, Lonnie Franklin seemed to avoid suspicion with remarkable ease. After being kicked out of the army for sexual assault, Franklin settled in Los Angeles, California. He was convicted of assault and theft in LA as well, but never linked to the murders sweeping poor communities in the 1980s and ‘90s. Evidence suggests that the police may have been slower to investigate because the victims were poor people of color. Despite witnesses providing a description of him, and Franklin being arrested on felony charges in 2003, he remained unsuspected; it was only when investigators traced DNA from the crimes to Franklin’s son that they went after Franklin himself. In 2016, he was convicted of ten murders–but he is suspected of many more.

Dennis Rader: The BTK Killer

Unlike most killers on this list, Rader wanted recognition. To people in his daily life, he was a model citizen: church official, Boy Scout leader, loving husband and father. But the Kansas police knew him as a vicious killer–because he told them. From 1974 to 1991, as he was murdering people, Rader sent chilling letters. “How many do I have to kill before I get a name in the paper or some national recognition?” one said. Then, in 2005, he made a mistake: he sent a floppy disk. IT experts were able to recover a deleted file that included Rader’s name and the name of his church. If it hadn’t been for that last boast, he might never have been caught.

Joseph James DeAngelo: The Golden State Killer

He was known as the Visalia Ransacker and the Original Night Stalker, among other things, before police realized it was the work of one man. His murders inspired terror across California in the 1970s and ‘80s. It would take over forty years to catch him–and some outside help. DeAngelo knew police procedure, and left no traces for investigators to follow. The advent of DNA testing helped to connect him with various crime scenes, but his DNA didn’t match any in the police database. Then, in 2017, retired investigator Paul Holes had an idea. He put the killer’s DNA sample on a genealogy website–and found DeAngelo’s great-great-great grandparents. Officials were finally able to track down DeAngelo and put him away for life.