Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Vampire Killers

Recent Attacks

In San Francisco in 1998, Joshua Rudiger, 22, claimed to be a 2,000-year-old vampire and went about the city slashing the necks of vulnerable homeless people with a knife.  He hurt three men and killed a woman sleeping in a doorway, and when one victim's identification led to his arrest, he claimed that he needed to drink human blood.  The woman indeed died from a lack of blood. 

"Prey is prey," he told investigators.    

Rudiger proved to have a history of mental illness, having claimed alternately to be a vampire and a ninja warrior, and had once attempted suicide with a Samurai sword.  Dr. Paul Good, who testified in his case, discovered that he'd been diagnosed at the age of four as psychotic.  Rudiger went into foster homes and psychiatric hospitals, where he would lick the chests of other patients.  Before he was 18, he told a therapist that he was going to be a vampire and suck out the blood of the people around him. 

Allowed to leave when he was 18, he was definitely not cured.  In 1997, after attacking a friend with a bow and arrow, Rudiger was diagnosed with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

Although his attorney entered a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity for the homeless woman's death, Rudiger was found guilty of second-degree murder.  Despite the attorney's request that he be sent to a psychiatric hospital for treatment, he got 23 years to life in prison.

More recently than Rudiger's case is an example of two mentally unstable people role-playing as vampires and encouraging each other's violence.

Manuela and Daniel Ruda
Manuela and Daniel Ruda

In early 2002, a couple who met through a heavy metal rock magazine ad were tried in Bochum, Germany for killing a friend in what appeared to be a Satanic ritual.  Manuela Ruda, 23, and her husband Daniel, 26, stabbed Frank Haagen 66 times, beat him with hammers, drank his blood, and left his decomposing body next to the coffin in which Manuela liked to sleep.  A scalpel protruded from his stomach and a pentagram was carved onto his chest.

They then drove around awaiting Satan's next order and armed themselves with a chainsaw, just to be "prepared."  They were arrested at a gas station.

In court, Manuela claimed that she'd gotten a taste for vampirism when she encountered vampire cults in Britain.  With "willing donors" contacted on the Internet, she had learned to drink blood at "bite parties."  They would bite all parts of the body except the jugular, which was strictly forbidden.  Then Manuela delivered her soul to Satan, who had ordered the "sacrifice" in what she described as an aura of light and energy.  She and her husband did commit the crime with which they were accused, they admitted, but they were not responsible.  They were merely Satan's instruments and had to "make sure the victim suffered well."

Forensic psychiatrist Norbert Leygraf assessed them and said they were severely disturbed and could kill again.  He recommended that they be kept in a secure institution.


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