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Crime News Mark of a Serial Killer

What To Know About The Highway Killer Before ‘Mark Of A Serial Killer’ Returns

In the 1980s, Larry Eyler, a vicious murderer who preyed on young men, became known as the Highway Killer.

By Joe Dziemianowicz
Larry Eyler Ap

Serial killer Larry Eyler isn’t as well known as Ted Bundy and John Wayne Gacy, but he was one of the most prolific mass murderers of the 1980s.

Eyler, nefariously known as the Highway Killer, left his signature mark on his nearly two-dozen victims — typically teenaged boys and young men in their 20s. 

In “Mark of a Serial Killer,” airing on Oxygen on Sunday, October 17 at 7/6c, a journalist describes the out-of-control carnage of Eyler’s “rage” stabbings. “It looked like someone gutted a deer,” she tells producers.

In advance of the series’ return, we get up to speed on the infamous serial killer Larry Eyler.

Who was the killer?

Larry Eyler, a Chicago house painter and counter clerk, is believed to have killed between 19 and 23 individuals over a two-year period beginning in 1982, according to The Chicago Tribune.

What was Eyler’s telltale mark?

Eyler violently and repeatedly stabbed his victims to the point of overkill. His victims’ bodies, often crudely covered with brush, sticks, or other materials, were typically found with their pants pulled down.

Why was he nicknamed the Highway Killer? 

Eyler’s murders spanned several states, including Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, and Wisconsin. He would cruise gay bars and highways in search of victims and dumped them in the vicinity of major interstates or roadways, including U.S. Route 41, according to a separate Chicago Tribune report.

What was his death row confession?

Eyler eventually admitted to at least 20 killings before dying from AIDS in an Illinois prison in 1994, reported the Associated PressAfter his death, Eyler’s defense attorney released his list of victims.  

What was the recent development in this case?

In April 2021, authorities identified human remains found in 1983 in a shallow grave in a barn off US-41 as one of Eyler’s victims, according to an April 2021 New County Coroner’s Office news release. The man was identified through DNA analysis and genetic genealogy as John Ingram Brandenburg Jr. of Chicago. 

To learn more about Eyeler and how he was caught, watch “Mark of a Serial Killer,” airing Sunday, October 17 at 7/6c on Oxygen.