Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Clifford Olson


 I can well understand why those kids got into a car with him; he really had the gift of the gab.

An RCMP officer.

Hey lemme buy ya a beer after work, Olson would say to a youngster. It was just one of the verbal traps he used to get potential victims to a secluded location or talk them into going to a motel room. He plied them with alcohol and drugs, making them virtually helpless. Some he raped, and then released, but many of the victims he killed.

Even with Olsons small frame, at 5 feet 7 inches, 169 pounds, he would have found it easy to overpower the younger boys and girls. Posing as a construction contractor and handing out a Hale & Olson Construction business card, he impressed the youngsters, especially with the promise of work.

A compelling, anonymous story on the Internet, entitled I Survived Clifford Olson, reveals some of the other ways that Olson enticed the young people to trust him:

On a promise of $5.00 per hour for landscaping labor he hired several of us skinny kids while turning away what I thought to be stronger more suitable workers. Olson raped some of the boys by first singling out a person for special duties...and slowly gaining the confidence and respect of each individual by bragging about how bad he was and how he used to be. He used money or recreational rewards as bribes, even before the sexual activities occurred. Gift giving was one way of courting a child.

He would pick up victims at bus stops, walking on the street, riding a bicycle, or hitchhiking - often with promises of work, enticing the youngsters into his car. According to Dr. Kim Rossmo, geographical programming expert, Some he would drive home, some he would sexually assault, others he would murder. Olson himself doesnt seem to know why he killed those he did; on some occasions he has stated they were murdered so they would not report the assault to the police, and on others he has blamed his use of alcohol and pills.

Ted Bundy And I Hunt For The Green River Killer
Ted Bundy And I
Hunt For The Green
River Killer

Olson describes how a serial killer selects his victims and crime sites. By doing this in the third person, profilers contend that the information will be more substantial and will reflect their crimes, as did serial killer Ted Bundy in his collaboration with profiler Dr. Robert Keppel Ted Bundy And I Hunt For The Green River Killer, published in 1995 with William Birnes.

In an unpublished manuscript that Olson wrote on serial killers, with numerous misspellings and grammatical errors, Olson talks in the third person about selecting victims:

 In cases a lot are just encountered by the serial killer who is hunting for the victim he needs. As for how are they stalked, approached, attacked, and trapped, each serial killers has his own personal mode and manner or form of current style and fashion ...the serial killer kills strangers 95 percent of the time because as the safest target in terms of avoiding detection.... Children: young boys and girls are frequently desirable victims by the serial killer for sex.... Most serial killers have selected there murder scenes by the place they take there victims to: as for the relevant geographic areas selected by the offender (serial killer) this depends on the seasons, and were the serial killer is killing. In fact, most of their victims are strangers although at times family members and acquaintances are slain.

Serial killer John Wayne Gacy killed young boys, claiming that he too found it easy to find victims anywhere: motels, clubs, parking lots, grocery stores, and if kids are the target, in schools, shopping malls, arcades or on the streets. He believed that he could drive anywhere, see what he wanted, and just get it.


We're Following
Slender Man stabbing, Waukesha, Wisconsin
Gilberto Valle 'Cannibal Cop'