I must confess, serial killers hold a certain fascination for me. It’s been stated that at any given time, there are twenty-five or more active serial killers in the United States. Every time a new one is identified, it prompts the same set of questions for me: How does someone end up as a serial killer? Did they kill the first person accidentally, but it awakened some sort of inner demon? Or did they suddenly realize one day that they had an uncontrollable urge to start killing? Is it true that serial killers usually start out by experimenting on animals, or is that an old wives’ tale?
The bigger question for me is how a serial killer who is married manages to hide his double life from a spouse. While serial killers in films are often portrayed as loners with serious social issues, this is often not the case in real life. Many of these men (and occasionally women) are married, gainfully employed, and viewed as average citizens. The Green River Killer was convicted of murdering almost fifty (50!) women and probably killed even more, and yet his wife of thirteen years swears she had no idea he was responsible, even though many of the murders occurred during their marriage. In fact, she claims he was a loving and perfect husband.
She’s not the only one with this claim. While some wives were intimidated or even abused by their serial killer husbands, others described their married lives as perfectly normal or even wonderful. Are these men really so good at covering their tracks? Or are these wives turning a blind eye to obvious problems? I have to suspect that even if the wives found little pieces of evidence (and some did) that pointed to dark secrets or illegal activities, the idea that they could be married to an honest-to-goodness serial killer seemed so far out of the realm of possibilities that it truly never entered their minds.
And if these women really didn’t know, I have one final question. How many other serial killers are out there, just waiting to be caught?