Graveyard Shift

The Horribly Messed Up Life And Crimes Of Aileen Wuornos

Serial killer Aileen Wuornos killed six men in Florida between 1989 and 1990. A sex worker serial killer, Wuornos targeted middle-aged men on the I-75 freeway, luring her victims off the road with the promise of sex. At the same time, she also maintained an ongoing relationship with Tyria Moore, whom Wuornos supported via her sex work and, eventually, the money she stole from her murder victims. When authorities finally caught Wuornos, Moore turned against her former lover during the trial. Given the rarity of female serial killers, Wuornos's tale gained widespread media coverage, to the point that people involved in the case actively attempt to sell her's and their stories to Hollywood.

As it happens, the Aileen Wournos story eventually made it to the big screen in the form of Monster, a film starring Charlize Theron that offers a sympathetic look at Wuornos and her life of crime. In the end, based on the facts, Wuornos obviously deserved sympathy for the traumas she endured, but they don't change the fact she decided to become a serial killer with a specific type.

  • She Suffered Abuse As A Child

    Though she engaged in sex work and killing as an adult, Wuornos also endured a great deal of trauma during her childhood growing up in Troy, Michigan. Her father went to prison for child molestation and ended up committing suicide there, while her mother left both Wuornos and her brother Keith, who both ended up living with their grandparents. Wuornos claimed her grandfather sexually abused her and that she had an incestuous relationship with her brother as a teenager. At one point in her teens, she gave birth to a child who got put up for adoption, and also stated she lived a vagabond lifestyle after being kicked out of the house.

  • Her Upbringing Was Shrouded In Lies

    In addition to suffering abuse as a child, Wuornos got misled by her grandparents about her parents' identity. Her grandfather Lauri and grandmother Britta never told the children about their true mother and raised the children as if they were their own. Of course, things like this rarely remain secrets forever, and when Wuornos and her brother Keith found out about their parents during adolescence, they became unruly. By the time she reached age 14, Wuornos carried a baby after a family friend raped her, which she delivered at a home for unwed mothers in 1971. She had a son but gave the child up for adoption.

  • Aileen Suffered Disfigurement As A Child

    When she was six-years-old, Wuornos and her brother Keith tried playing with matches and lighter fluid. As is the case when unsupervised children play with fire, the two started a conflagration they could not control which left Wuornos badly burned. Though Wuornos survived, the burns never healed and she lived the rest of her life with scars on her face. The incident illustrates the level of neglect she suffered as a child. 

  • Her First Marriage Ended In Disaster

    After her tumultuous childhood, Wuornos decided to get out of Michigan. She ended up hitchhiking across the country and eventually made it all the way to Florida. It seemed like her life might take a turn for the better with the move. Once she arrived in the Sunshine State, Wuornos met Lewis Fell, a 69-year-old affluent man who ran a yacht club. The elderly gentleman and Wuornos married in 1976 but her penchant for crime soon got the better of her. After a bar fight, Wuornos went to jail, and Mr. Fell annuled the marriage.