Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Munchhausen Syndrome and Munchhausen Syndrome by Proxy

A Bizarre Psychopathic Condition



Often I am asked if there is any such thing as a female serial killer. Many people believe serial homicides must include rape as well as murder and therefore think only men are serial killers. But many serial killers, both male and female, commit homicides that do not necessarily involve sexual assault. Serial killers kill for the power and control they experience during the murders and for the added ego boost they get in the aftermath from community fears, media coverage, and the police investigations. They kill to take revenge on the society they feel has ignored and disrespected them, and the kind of murder they employ is often a matter of personal taste.

David Berkowitz
David Berkowitz
Serial killing can take many forms: the "traditional" rape and murder of individuals in the fashion of Ted Bundy, one of America 's most well-known serial killers; the shooting of victims from a distance, which was the method of David Berkowitz, the infamous Son of Sam; or murdering patients, which was the practice of vocational nurse Genene Ann Jones.As for other serial crimes committed by women, some aid their boyfriends and husbands in abducting, torturing, and killing young women. Such was the kind of "assistance" Karla Homolka gave her boyfriend, Paul Bernardo, during their heyday of slaughtering Canadian schoolgirls. There are women who kill their tenants (and perhaps steal their social security checks) and women who kill their husbands one after the other ("black widows"). Many of these women are labeled psychopaths, except the women who assist their lovers, who are often considered domestically abused women who were under the control of their male partners.

Genene Jones
Genene Jones
Last but not least among serial killer methodologies, we have women who kill their own children. These women we usually label as Munchausen's Syndrome by Proxy (MSBP). We surmise they have a disorder, some latent mental condition from a horrible childhood that causes them to murder their own kids. They must be mentally ill; no, they must be insane. We struggle to understand how any mother could kill her own children. What we seem to not comprehend is the fact that these mothers could care less about their own children. They are just like other serial killers; they are psychopaths, and psychopaths who care about no one but themselves.

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