When people think serial killers, they typically think of men. Although men make up the majority of serial killers, there have been some ruthless female ones that have left their murderous marks on history. One of the most infmaous cases of a female serial killer is Aileen Wuornos. Oxygen's Snapped will explore her case in depth in "Snapped: Notorious - Aileen Wuornos," premiering March 25 at 6/5c.
Check out some of the most well-known serial killers and their troubling details.
1. Juana Barraza
Juana Barraza was a Mexican professional wrestler, but wrestling wasn’t her only “talent.” The wrestler, born in 1957, became known as "The Old Lady Killer." She murdered between 42 and 48 elderly women, her first murder dating back to the 1990s. Barraza would beat and strangle the retirees. After killing her elderly victims, she would steal their belongings. In 2008, she was found guilty on 16 counts of murder and aggravated burglary.
2. Amelia Dyer
It is possible that Amelia Dyer is the most lethal and prolific serial killer of all time. Although the English-born woman was only convicted of one murder, she is suspected of killing about 400 children. The kids were allegedly murdered over a 20-year span at the "baby farm" where she worked. She would advertise to adopt and watch children. But instead of watching she would kill. The child would typically be murdered after a few days of being in Dyer’s care. It is believed that Dyer drugged her earlier victims with opium-based products. She strangled some infants with white tape. It is believed she wrapped all her victims’ bodies in paper packages and bags before dumping them in rivers. Dyer was hanged in 1896.
3. Aileen Wuornos
Arguably the most infamous female serial killer in contemporary times, Aileen Wuornos was a highway prostitute who shot and killed seven men in Florida between 1989 and 1990. Wuornos had alleged that the victims either raped or attempted to rape her. Multiple documentaries were made about her, in addition to the award-winning 2003 Hollywood blockbuster starring Charlize Theron Monster. She shocked the nation, and before her killings, many Americans didn't even know that female serial killers existed.
4. Nannie Doss
Nannie Doss had no problem killing her own family members. She killed 11 people in Oklahoma between the 1920s and 1954. Her victims included her five husbands, two of her sisters and two of her sisters' children, a mother-in-law. She even murdered her own mother. She killed them with arsenic, which she stirred into stewed prunes, coffee, or moonshine. After her victims died, she collected their insurance policies. She was known for smiling all the time and appearing cheery in photographs. She blamed the murders, at least the romantic ones, on marital boredom. After her incarceration she claimed that she would dream of discovering the ideal husband, like the ones she read about in her favorite “True Romance” magazines. “That’s about it,” the serial killer once told her interrogators. “I was searching for the perfect mate, the real romance of life.”
5. Gesche Gottfried
German serial killer Gesche Gottfried used arsenic, just like Nannie Doss, to murder 15 people. She was like Doss in more ways than one. She also took a liking to killing her own family. She was believed to have killed her children, her parents, her two husbands and her fiance between 1813 and 1827. She would poison her victims and when they fell “mysteriously” ill, she would nurse them to their death. She mixed flakes of arsenic into her victims’ food while she cared for their ailing bodies -- meaning further poisoning.
6. Dorothea Helen Puente
[Central California Women's Facility]
This female serial killer is believed to have murdered between 9 and 15 people. In the 1980s, Puente ran a boarding house in Sacramento, California. Elderly people would check in and never check out. That’s because Puente would murder them and bury them in her backyard. After killing her guests, she would take over their social security checks. Newspapers had dubbed her the "Death House Landlady."