You know the old saying, “The family that slays together, stays together.” Or something like that. We know the names of infamous serial killers, like Ted Bundy, Jeff Dahmer, Rodney Alcala. But serial killer families? Imagine a troop of serial killers. Three or four or more, all out there with kidnapping, torturing, and killing in mind. Sometimes, it’s a double act by brothers. Sometimes, they’re serial killer sisters. Sometimes, the whole family, including mom, get in on the butchery. One family seated “guests” in a chair over a trap door that sent terrified victims hurdling down to the cellar floor. Two nasty Mexican sisters set up a brothel and killed working girls who didn’t perform. We’ve even got a cannibal serial-killing clan or two. Some of our families of serial killers have been immortalized in (usually bad) movies. We’ll be using some stills from those flicks, just to give you an idea of how they operated. So, have no fear. The gore you will see is credited to the movies. Here are 15 of the bloodiest serial killer families ever. Let the gore begin.
15. Sawney Bean Clan – Army Of Cannibal Killers
We’re talking 13th Scotland. Sawney Bean, newly married, decided to rob for a living. Then, he decided to kill his victims to avoid detection. Then presto! Why not eat them? So, with all that protein in their diet, he and the missus produced 14 little Beanie Babies. Over the years, the clan grew and grew into a 48-member “army” that waylaid, robbed, and ate to their hearts’ content. The missing person list just kept growing by leaps and bounds. Caught in the act, the army was pursued by a real army, headed by none other than King James I (of Bible fame). The Bean men were dismembered and left to bleed to death. And the women? Burned at the stake. Some say Hannibal Lecter is modeled on Sawney. Sawney was deliciously played by Scottish actor David Hayman in a 2012 film Lord of Darkness.
14. The Bloody Benders – The Hotel You Can Never Leave
Weary travelers would check into the Benders’ Inn. Most never checked out again. Mr. and Mrs. Bender weren’t much to look at, but their daughter, Kate, was a stunner. The guys totally loved her and (literally) followed her home. “Professor Miss Kate Bender” also did a nifty psychic touring show kind of act. Back in the 1870’s, this cozy band of serial killers owned an Inn and a tiny general store in southeastern Kansas. Twelve or more travelers perished after being seated at the head of the dining table, conveniently positioned over a trap door. Wham bam! All of a sudden, victims are stabbed, strangled, dead, and buried. They were outed in 1874 and fled, really fast, leaving behind hastily dug graves and one stinky cellar. What became of them? Nobody knows. They are the stuff of legend in Kansas.
13. The Gonzalez Sisters – The Brothel From Hell
With around 100 dead, we’re talking Guinness Book of World Records’ certified “most prolific murder partnership.” Meet Delfina and Maria de Jesus Gonzalez, two nasty babes who ran a mega-prostitution ring in Northern Mexico in the 1950’s and 1960’s. They hired a guy nicknamed “The Executioner” to kidnap poor girls, who were held against their will as working s*x slaves at their “Rancho El Angel.” It’s been dubbed “The Brothel from Hell.” The place was popular with the local police so the sisters had a sweet little racket going until they were grassed up by a relative. If girls got sick or pregnant, they were bumped off and buried in the “vegetable” garden. Tasty tomatoes, no doubt.
12. Tarverdiyeva Family – Toy Boy Dentist And Cougar Teacher
Back in 2007, former teacher Inessa Tarverdiyeva was a 40-something cougar married to 30-something toy boy dentist, Roman Podkopaev. Like Sawney Bean centuries before, the Russian couple decided they were going to rob for a living. Hey, killing their victims seemed like a good way of avoiding capture. So, for six years, killing was literally “like going to the office” for the pair and Inessa’s daughter, Viktoria. Even Viktoria’s teenage daughter got in on the fun and games. At least 30 men, women, and children perished in their reign of terror. When caught, Inessa gave a callous demonstration of how she shot her victims. It didn’t seem to bother her that Roman had died in a shoot out with police. It was her 15 of fame. She was the Ma Barker of Russia. “I was born to kill,” she said. These days? Orange is the new black for our Inessa.
11. The Shen Brothers – Cannibal Serial Killers Into Working Girls
The Chinese Shen brothers frequented clubs and bars in search of prostitutes. No, not for the usual reason. They would sometimes rob them, always kill them, and usually eat their livers. Liver is, after all, a good source of protein, as well as iron. Between 2003 and 2004, the bros and their female accomplices killed 11 working girls. One of their intended victims saved herself and talked her way into the gang by promising to bring them more girls. The M.O. was simple—rob, kill, dismember, dissolve with acid, and flush down the bog. Sometimes, a food processor came into it. Don’t ask. The gang moved around a bit to avoid the cops, but were finally cornered in 2004. The sentence? Need you ask? Death, of course.
10. The Briley Brothers – Escaped Death Row
It’s 1979 in Richmond, Virginia, and Linwood, Anthony, and James B. Briley are three busy dudes. For seven months, the brothers were randomly attacking, assaulting, and shooting people in their own homes. Their victims? At least 11. Well, maybe as many as 20 people. Who knows? The brothers used baseball bats, guns, and scissors to torture and kill their helpless victims. But the end came when they brutally murdered the Wilkinson family, including a husband and wife, together with their 5-year-old son and unborn baby. Anthony got life. The rest were sentenced to death. In 1984, Linwood and J.B. escaped from death row but were recaptured less than three weeks later. They were executed pretty soon after that little adventure.
9. The Kelly Family – Little Slaughterhouse On The Prairie
What is it with Kansas? First, the Benders. Now, the Kelly family. It’s the late 1800’s and the nice Kelly clan have settled in Kansas’ lawless No-Man’s-Land, a place travelers enter and usually never leave. There’s mom Kate and dad William, together with a son, Bill, and daughter, Kit. Now, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. So, in homage to the Benders, the Kellys took in travelers who (wait for it) are seated above a trap door. With the flick of a switch, they were dispatched to the basement where, if the fall didn’t kill them, the Kellys would. Around a dozen died before the Kellys fled. Now, Kansas had been well and truly p*ssed off with the Benders and so a posse tracked them down and the whole clan was either lynched or shot to death. Daddy William got strung up for a minute or two, cut down alive, and then strung up again. It took a while. The vigilantes were said to have had a great time that day.
8. Fred And Rose West – The Garden Of Death
They were into abducting, r*ping, and killing young girls. How many? 8 or 10…or maybe more. 25 Cromwell Street, Gloucester in the U.K. became a house of horrors where young girls were lured in, assaulted, and then viciously murdered before being unceremoniously buried. It was the 1970’s and Britain had never seen the likes of the Wests and their reign of terror. Girls would disappear, never to be seen again; until their bodies were unearthed in and around the Wests’ modest home. They weren’t nabbed until 1992, after Fred did a video of him r*ping his own daughter. Fred hung himself in a police cell. And Rose? She’s banged up for life and, at last word, was selling autographs to hero-worshiping female inmates. How much? Around $7 a pop. 25 Cromwell Street was demolished big time.
7. The Staffleback Family – Pioneering Serial Killers
No kidding. It’s the 1800’s in Kansas yet again! Ten years or so after the Kellys were strung up, here come the Stafflebacks. Mom Nancy, together with her two sons, were into killing and then sometimes dumping bodies down a well or mine shaft. Seems like they may have robbed and killed around 50 people. Rumor has it that some of the deceased had been clients of a brothel and that their first victim was a girlfriend of one of the sons. So much for love. Seems like dad was nowhere to be found after being accused by his wife and children of unspeakable, unnatural acts. The mind boggles. Anyway, the Stafflebacks were as ugly as they were mean. And they were caught and, unlike the Kellys, actually had a trial. Guilty, guilty, guilty.
6. The Auto Brothers – Abduction And Death
In the 1980’s, India was the kind of place where poor girls just disappeared, never to be seen again. Sometimes, their own families, too poor to afford a dowry to marry them off, sold them into prostitution. Some family, we think. And when nine poverty-stricken young women disappeared, that’s what the police thought was going on…at least at first. Then, a young girl reported that an auto rickshaw driver called Shankar, had attempted to abduct her. Turns out, “Auto Shankar” and his brother had been responsible for kidnapping, killing, and then burning or burying the bodies of the teenagers. Why? Well, the press blamed the evil influence of violent movies. But, prior to his hanging in 1995, Auto Shankar told the police that he had done it for some “politicians” who had r*ped the girls and wanted it covered up.
5. Dan And Ron Lafferty – Blood Brothers
Utah resident and extreme nutcase Watson Lafferty, was the kind of guy who would beat the family dog to death with a baseball bat. And his sons, Dan and Ron, suffered in his hands. Not surprisingly, they grew up to be angry young men with lunatic religious and political ideas. In 1984, Ron, a self-proclaimed prophet and survivalist, believed that he received a revelation from God to “remove” several people from the face of the earth. So, he and Dan muscled their way into a duplex and slit the throats of his sister-in-law, Brenda Lafferty, and then turned on her 15-month old daughter, eventually killing her. Ron sits on death row, still protesting that Utah’s firing squad executions are a “cruel and unusual” punishment. Some say it’s well-deserved, though.
4. The Bondurant Brothers – That Creepy House
The old Bondurant place gives many people the creeps. It looks like a place where bad things just happen. And trust us, bad things did happen there. Back in the 1980’s, Pete and Pat Bondurant r*ped and murdered a woman called Gwen Dugger. They ended up in prison and the curious Tennessee cops started sniffing around their parents’ creepy old house. There, they found evidence of at least two more murders. The so-called “Evil Twins” murdered, dismembered, and buried their victims. The deadly duo’s mugshots look like something out of Duck Dynasty. Well, it is rural Tennessee after all. The Evil Twins were featured on TV’s Evil Twins. No word on what became of the creepy house.
3. The Harpe Brothers – America’s First Serial Killers
What can we say about America’s first serial killer duo “Big” Harpe and “Little” Harpe? Their signature turn was to rip open the chest of their victims, fill it with stones, and then sink the body in a river. Nice distinctive touch, some say. In late 18th century America, for sure you had robbers and highwaymen. But serial killers? No way. Uh, yes way. They were just nasty killing machines with as many a fifty victims. They were pursued all over the south by revenge-seeking posses of vigilantes. They caught up with Big in Kentucky and slowly cut off his head and stuck it on a pike. If you are ever in Webster County, Kentucky, look out for “Harpes Head Road.” Little Harpe was executed a few years later. His head adorned a pike for a while as well.
2. The Carr Brothers – The Wichita Massacre
Believe it or not, it’s Kansas again. Reginald and Jonathan Carr began their week-long reign of terror on December 7, 2000. Over the week, they randomly robbed, assaulted, r*ped, and murdered five people. Miraculously, one girl survived being shot in the head when a hair clip deflected a bullet and identified them. The so-called “Wichita Massacre” caused outrage throughout Kansas and the U.S. See, the Carr brothers were black and all their victims were white. Many wanted the murders classified as a hate crime. The brothers’ tendency to stage home invasions caused a boom in sales of home security systems. They now sit on death row awaiting their fate.
1. The Cooks – The Lovers’ Lane Killers
It was the late 1970’s and police said that it’s a scary time to be living in Toledo, Ohio. Random murders were happening at an alarming rate. Often, young lovers parked in remote locations were attacked, with the man being killed outright and the woman r*ped before she was murdered. The scenes of crime were grisly and bloody. Anthony was banged up for the murder of a real estate agent in 1981. Once DNA testing had waded in during the 1990’s, the murdering pair were connected with some twelve killings, including the r*pe and murder of a 12-year-old girl. Believe it or not, the murderous pair are eligible for parole. Seems like life without parole was not an option when they were sentenced. The victims’ families are up in arms over that issue.