Unspeakable Times

21st Century Serial Killers 

Ranker Crime
Updated August 21, 2019 483.6k views 21 items

Based on the decrease in news coverage, one might suspect that the age of the serial killer is long past. Serial killers since 2000 would seem to have become increasingly rare, and you might be under the impression that recent serial murderers are virtually non-existent.

In point of fact, 21st-century serial killers do exist, but somehow, these modern Jack the Rippers barely warrant a casual mention around the water cooler - never mind a hundred-year manhunt. Reading over this list, you might recognize a few names and faces here and there; probably a couple of cases will ring a bell. But it might be worth asking: Why aren't all of these brutal monsters as burned into our collective memory as Jack the Ripper, Ted Bundy, or John Wayne Gacy were?

Maybe it's because the monsters among us are still among us, they just don't make for entertaining news in our current age.  

The Maniac Of Angarsk is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list 21st Century Serial Killers
Photo:  Pavel Medzyun/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY 2.0
The Maniac Of Angarsk

A former Russian police officer was already serving a life sentence for murdering 22 women - and attempting two more - as the result of a 2015 conviction. In December of 2018, Mikhail Popkov, known as the "Maniac of Angarsk," received a second life sentence when he confessed to 56 additional murders and a handful of other crimes. According to investigators, his victims were primarily women ranging from their mid-teens to about 40 years old, and Popkov used his status as an officer of the law to lure his victims to their deaths.

Popkov provided authorities with detailed information about his victims - some of whom he first assaulted - and the crimes, allowing investigators to exhume decades-old remains and bolster the murder conviction.

Psychiatric exams have proven Popkov was allegedly sane when he committed his crimes; the media has subsequently dubbed Popkov one of Russia's "deadliest serial killers" in the nation's history.

The Phoenix Serial Shooter
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In the summer of 2016, police in Phoenix, Arizona began urgently searching for a murderer they dubbed the "Serial Street Shooter." From March to July, the assailant managed to kill seven people and wound two others (ranging in age from late teens to early 60s), each time with a semi-automatic handgun. The shooter always attacked at night, and was seen by multiple witnesses standing outside of his car.

Although the killings all happened around the low-income neighborhood of Maryvale, none of the victims seem to be connected to each other or the suspect. The police department and district attorney's office announced they would offer a $30,000 reward to anyone with any information that could help them catch the Serial Street Shooter.

In August 2016, the FBI sent profilers to Phoenix to assist in the manhunt.

Darren Deon Vann
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Darren Deon Vann is suspected of killing seven women in total. Vann was arrested in connection with the strangulation death of Afrika Hardy, whose body was discovered in a Motel 6 in Hammond, IN in December 2014.

Vann then led police to the remains of five other victims, which he had stored in various abandoned structured around Gary, IN. 

As of September 2016, Vann is still on trial, with prosecutors seeking the death penalty.  Vann's attorney, however, has attempted to show that Indiana's current death penalty laws are unconstitutional. 

One of the most pervasive stories about Vann on the Internet involves the killer opening his own "haunted attraction," which featured his victims on display as Halloween decorations. This account is from a "satirical" news site, though, and is completely fabricated.

Long Island serial kille... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list 21st Century Serial Killers
Photo:  Will/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

This Long Island killer serves as the prototypical 21st century cautionary tale. From 1996 to 2013, the Craigslist Killer is believed to have murdered at least 17 women he met in the personals section on the site. Many were believed to have been in the sex trade, escorts working for "donations."

Their bodies were dumped along the Ocean Parkway in Long Island, often tied up in burlap sacks. Police found the remains in two sets, and believe the second set may have been the work of a copycat killer.