The Most Prolific American Serial Killers

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The United States has been home to some of the worst serial killers in human history.  These American serial killers have some of the highest number of victims in history, arguably making them the scariest human beings on the planet. Although there are many other prolific serial killers throughout the world, the United States has one of the largest groups of killers with 10 or more victims. Although some serial killers boast of hundreds of victims to their names, others have a more terrifying, if not lower number, of kills.

 

With the number of victims that each serial killer on this list has, it’s a wonder that these killers got away with it for as long as they could. Some of the killers had dozens of victims before anyone discovered that a single crime had been committed, while others were hunted by police for years.

 

Which serial killers in the United States had the highest number of victims? How did they get away with the crimes for so long? What was it that finally got them caught? This list features the most prolific serial killers in U.S. history.

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  1. 1
    Gary Ridgway - The Green River... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Most Prolific American Serial Killers
    Photo: Police Mugshot/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain
    Gary Ridgway, better known as "The Green River Killer," was responsible for the deaths of at least 49 proven victims, though he confessed to the murders of at least 71. However, the true number of victims is likely closer to 90 women. Ridgway strangled his victims and dumped the bodies in remote locations from 1982 to 2001. When he was caught in 2001, he was sentenced to life in prison.
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    • Age: 66
    • Birthplace: Salt Lake City, Utah, United States of America
  2. 2
    Donald Harvey is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Most Prolific American Serial Killers
    Photo: Freebase
    Donald Harvey once boasted of killing 87 people, even though the police have only connected 37-57 names to his crimes. While working in a hospital, he acted as a self-professed "Angel of Death" - he killed his victims with painful poisons in order to end their alleged suffering. He was caught in 1987 and sentenced to 28 consecutive life sentences in prison.
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    • Age: 63
    • Birthplace: Ohio, United States of America
    • Profession: Physician
  3. 3
    John Wayne Gacy is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Most Prolific American Serial Killers
    Photo: Freebase/Fair use
    John Wayne Gacy was best known as "The Killer Clown" because of his career as a professional clown entertainer. However, it was his rape and murder of at least 33 young men that earned him infamy. In Chicago, Gacy strangled his victims and then buried the bodies on or around his property. He was apprehended in 1978, sentenced to death, and executed by lethal injection in 1994.
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    • Age: Died at 52 (1942-1994)
    • Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, USA
    • Profession: Clown
  4. 4
    Jane Toppan is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Most Prolific American Serial Killers
    Photo: Freebase
    Jane Toppan once said that it was her greatest wish that she'd have killed more people than any man or woman who ever existed. While she didn't quite reach her goal, Toppan's 31 murder victims in 1885-1901 earned her a place in serial killer history. She killed patients when she worked as a nurse, poisoned her landlords, and murdered her foster sister. When she was discovered in 1901, she was found not guilty by reason of insanity and spent the rest of her life in an insane asylum in Massachusetts. She died in 1938 at age 81.
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    • Age: Died at 81 (1857-1938)
    • Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America
    • Profession: Nurse
  5. 5
    Ted Bundy is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Most Prolific American Serial Killers
    Photo: Freebase/CC-BY-SA
    Ted Bundy killed at least 30 women during his murderous streak in the early 1970s. Bundy kidnapped, killed, and raped his victims in Colorado, California, Idaho, Oregon, Utah, Florida, and Washington. He was caught in 1978, sentenced to death, and executed in the electric chair in 1989.
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    • Age: Died at 43 (1946-1989)
    • Birthplace: Burlington, Vermont, United States of America
    • Profession: Criminal
  6. 6
    Dean Corll is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Most Prolific American Serial Killers
    Photo: Freebase/Public domain
    Dean Corll was never caught in his lifetime for the kidnapping, rape, torture, and murder of at least 28 boys in the early 70s. Corll, aka "The Candy Man," was killed in 1973 by an accomplice while committing the rape of his final victim. Only then were his crimes revealed. Since he was killed, his true number of victims is still unknown, although he may have had a connection to many other missing boys.
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    • Age: Died at 34 (1939-1973)
    • Birthplace: Fort Wayne, Indiana, United States of America
  7. 7
    Juan Corona is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Most Prolific American Serial Killers
    Photo: CNN/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain
    While Juan Corona was working on a fruit ranch in California, he murdered at least 25 of his fellow migrant workers. The victims were brutally attacked and buried throughout Sutter County fruit ranches. The police believe there may still be some bodies that have been yet to be discovered. In 1971, Corona was sentenced to 25 life sentences. He was denied parole for the sixth time in December 2011.
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    • Age: 81
    • Birthplace: Autlán, Mexico
    • Credits: Free Spirit, Swan Song
  8. 8
    As the main suspect in the Atlanta Child Murders, Wayne Williams is allegedly responsible for the deaths of at least 23 children. Williams, who was arrested for the murder of two adult men, denies his involvement, but he was convicted anyway in 1981. He was sentenced to life in prison, but is currently attempting to clear his name. 
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    • Age: 57
    • Birthplace: Atlanta, Georgia, United States of America
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