10 Female Serial Killers Througout History

So lately I’ve been watching Fox’s The Following. We’re only a few episodes in at this point but it seems to be an intriguing, although disturbing, premise so far. While talking with a friend about the show, she objected immediately to one of the key plot points in a recent episode. It wasn’t that she was disturbed by the violence, the kidnapping at the center of the show or even a serial killer with so much power over people he has planned out elaborate attacked while still behind bars. She took issue with the idea of a female serial killer, saying it didn’t seem believable. That probably has something to do with the fact that many people seem to believe serial killing is something only men are capable of. That just isn’t true. The women on this list prove that.

Perhaps part of the reason the more prolific serial killers on this list aren’t as well known as less prolific male serial killers is the method that’s often used. Most, although not all, female serial killers are quieter about their deeds. They poison. They smother. They don’t use knives and stage gory scenes to shock us (there are, of course, exceptions) like their male counterparts sometimes do. That doesn’t make the toll they take any less tragic though. Innocent lives are still lost at their hands. Pain and misery is still felt by the families of their victims. This article isn’t intended to glorify the crimes these women committed. This article is intended to shed light on a part of criminal justice that isn’t often talked about or recognized – the life and crimes of female serial killers.

Unlike the list of male serial killers I published not long ago, I wasn’t able to find a definitive list of prolific female serial killers. Instead, I looked at several lists of the most prolific serial killers in history and culled this list from that information. I did not stick to American female serial killers because I thought the article would be more informative if I included other countries as well. I did my best to do a comprehensive list but there was a lot of information – very disturbing information, at that – to sort through. If I missed anything, I apologize.  The number of victims for each woman represents, in most cases, the number of confirmed victims tied to the killer. In some cases, the actual number of victims is thought to be much higher. I’ve put this list in order by the number of estimated victims because in a lot of these cases, deaths were tied to the murderess but charges were never brought or there wasn’t any concrete evidence of the crime or enough concrete evidence tying the crime to the killer.

image source: wikipedia.com
image source: wikipedia.com

15: Aileen Wuornos

Born: Aileen Carol Pittman on February 29, 1956 in Rochester, Michigan
Died: October 9, 2002 in Florida State Prison at age 46
Number of Victims: 7
Punishment: Sentenced to death by lethal injection

About Aileen Wuornos’ Crimes

image source: Le Petit Journal (via Wikipedia)
image source: Le Petit Journal (via Wikipedia)

14: Jeanne Weber

Born: October 7, 1874 in Northern France
Died: 1940 of suicide by hanging in Mareville, France
Number of Victims: 10
Punishment: Declared insane and commited to an asylum in Mareville where she committed suicide

About Jeanne Weber’s Crimes

image source: renotahoemoms.com
image source: renotahoemoms.com

13: Charlene Gallego

Born: October 10, 1956 in Sacremento, California
Died: not applicable
Number of Victims: 10
Punishment: Sentenced to 16 years

About Charlene Gallego’s Crimes

image source: murderpedia.org
image source: murderpedia.org

12: Nancy “Nannie Doss” Hazle

Born: November 4, 1905 in Blue Mountain, Alabama
Died: June 2, 1965 of leukemia at age 59
Number of Victims: 11
Punishment: life imprisonment

About Nannie Doss’ Crimes

image source: Wikipedia
image source: Wikipedia

11: Enriqueta Marti

Born: 1868
Died: May 12, 1913 in Barcelona, Spain
Number of Victims: 12 (possibly more)
Punishment: Murdered by her cellmates before she was able to stand trial

About Enriqueta Marti’s Crimes

image source: serialkillersmurders.com
image source: serialkillersmurders.com

10: Bertha Gifford

Born: 1872
Died: 1951 of natural causes in Missouri State Hospital #4
Number of Victims: 3-17
Punishment: found not guilty by reason of insanity, committed to a mental institution

About Bertha Gifford’s Crimes

image source: tumblr.com
image source: tumblr.com

09: Mary Ann Cotton

Born: October 1832 in Low Moorsley, Durham, England
Died: March 24, 1873 in Durham Gaol by hanging at age 40
Number of Victims: 21
Punishment: Sentenced to death by hanging

About Mary Ann Cotton’s Crimes

image source: .com
image source: serialkillersmurders.com

08: Jane Toppan

Born: 1987
Died: August 17, 1938 of natural causes at age 81 in Taunton Insane Hospital
Number of Victims: 31 (confessed to 31 although additional cases are suspected)
Punishment: Found not guilty by reason of insanity at trial, committed to Taunton Insane Hospital

About Jane Toopan’s Crimes

image source: serialkillersmurders.com
image source: serialkillersmurders.com

07: Belle Gunness

Born: November 11, 1859
Died: April 28, 1908 (this date is not known for certain)
Number of Victims: 25-40
Punishment: Evaded capture

About Belle Guenness’ Crimes

image source: blog.mspp.edu
image source: blog.mspp.edu

06: Juana “La Mataviejitas” Barraza

Born: 1956
Died: not applicable
Number of Victims: 11 confirmed, believed to be as many as 49
Punishment: 759 years

About Juana Barraza’s Crimes

image source: serialkillersmurders.com
image source: serialkillersmurders.com

05: Amy Archer-Gilligan

Born: October 1868
Died: April 23, 1962 of natural causes in Connecticut Hospital for the Insane in Middletown, Connecticut
Number of Victims: 5-50
Punishment: Sentenced to death but later declared insane and committed to the Connecticut Hospital for the Insane

About Amy Archer-Gilligan’s Crimes

image source: themagazine.ca
image source: themagazine.ca

04: Delphine LaLaurie

Born: 1775 in Louisiana
Died: December 7, 1842 (unknown for certain)
Number of Victims: 10 for certain but believed to be as many as 90
Punishment: Evaded capture

About Delphine LaLaurie’s Crimes

image source: murderpedia.org
image source: murderpedia.org

03: Delfina and Maria de Jesus Gonzalez

Born: unknown
Died: unknown (Delfina died in prison. Maria’s whereabouts after prison are unknown)
Number of Victims: 91
Punishment: Both were sentenced to 40 years in prison.

About Delfina and Maria de Jesus Gonzalez’s Crimes

image source: Wikipedia
image source: Wikipedia

02: Amelia Dyer

Born: 1938 in Pyle Marsh, Bristol, England
Died: June 10, 1896 in Newgate Prison, London, England
Number of Victims: unknown but believed to be in the hundreds
Punishment: Execution by hanging

About Amelia Dyer’s Crimes

image source: Wikipedia
image source: Wikipedia

01: Elizabeth “The Blood Countess” Bathory

Born: August 7, 1560 in the Kingdom of Hungary
Died: August 21, 1614
Number of Victims: Convicted of 80, believed to be responsible for as many as 650 murders
Punishment: Lifetime confinement

About Elizabeth Bathory’s Crimes