Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

John Eric Armstrong: The model sailor

Serial killer John Eric Armstrong was caught by Detroit police when on April 12, 1989, he returned to the dumping ground they had staked out. Armstrong broke down quickly during questioning and began a confession that lasted for days. By the 14th of April he had confessed to over 30 murders around the world.

Green River Killer: River of death

On April 8, 1987, police searched the home of serial killer suspect Gary Ridgway. Though at the time there was not enough evidence to arrest him, he would ultimately be convicted of 49 murders and suspected in dozens more in a slaughter that spanned over a decade.

Slideshow: Serial killer Rodney Alcala’s photos, subjects or victims?

The following photographs were found in convicted serial killer Rodney Alcala’s storage unit. The unsolved mystery surrounding the identities of the people in these photos persists, and police have long feared, could lead to more victims. Do you recognize any of these people?

Tommy Lynn Sells “Coast to Coast” killer executed in Texas

He just loved to kill; it was almost a mission. After 20 or more sexually-motivated murders, however, serial killer Tommy Lynn Sells, who avoided police by traveling through the U.S. and killing in different states, was finally caught with the help of a victim who survived. He was executed Thursday.

Today in Crime History: Andrew Urdiales gets away again

On April 1, 1997, police responded to a noise complaint at a hotel room where serial killer Andrew Urdiales was with a prostitute. When the prostitute told the officer that Urdiales was “kind of kinky” and wanted to take her to Chicago’s Wolf Lake, handcuff her and have sex with her, the officer said, “Geez…don’t do that. We’re finding girls up there dead.”

Today in Crime History: Remains of Genesee River Strangler’s third victim found

On March 24, 1988, hunters found the remains of what was initially thought to be a serial killer’s first victim, but which turned out to be his third. There would be 11 more before he was done. Disturbingly, the killer, Arthur Shawcross, already had a prison record and an early parole despite two convictions for child murder.

Today in Crime History: Serial killer claims to be Mafia boss

While in prison, serial killer Gerard Schaefer tried hard to impress his ex-girlfriend, Sondra London. While proclaiming innocence, he also wrote pornographic murder fiction that mirrored his crimes and inflated the number of people he killed. On March 21, 1989, he wrote London a letter that read, “I am, factually, a captain of the Dixie Mafia…I have, factually, the power to have you killed. I have, in the past, used these powers.”

Elias Abuelazam: A racially motivated serial killer?

In the spring and summer of 2010, the city of Flint, Mich., was terrorized by a serial stabber who targeted black men. The attacker also struck in Ohio and Virginia. In all, five were killed and 18 others injured. The chase for the suspect, Elias Abuelazam, went all the way to the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport as he tried to flee the U.S. to Israel.

Today in Crime History: Ed Gein’s house of horrors burns down

On March 20, 1958, the dilapidated farmhouse in which Gein had slaughtered his victims and adorned himself with the body parts of the dead, burned to the ground destroying most of his belongings. The inspiration for Hollywood’s greatest serial killers, Gein and his crimes are truly the stuff of nightmares.

Cary Stayner and the Yosemite murders

On March 18, 1999, police found the bodies of the first victims of the Yosemite Killer. Shockingly, this serial killer turned out to be the brother of Steven Stayner, who had been abducted into sexual slavery as a child and escaped, turning in his captor seven years later.