• Unspeakable Times

10 Killers Who Evaded Capture For Years

If there's one thing to learn from the lives of the elusive criminals on this list, it’s that there might very well be crafty murderers walking through your city streets right now plotting their next crime.

But how are these killers able to be active for years, sometimes decades, without detection? Some of them managed to blend in with society by wearing a mask of civic engagement. They donated their time to local organizations and worked alongside the police department in order to make their communities a better place. Others are simply career criminals who spent their lives perfecting their craft. 

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  • The Grim Sleeper

    Video: YouTube

    Length of evasion: 22 years 

    From 1985 to 2007, Lonnie David Franklin Jr., or The Grim Sleeper, murdered at least 10 people across Los Angeles.

    He got his nickname because for a time he appeared to have stopped killing. When he struck again, the case finally gained momentum in the media and police started actively searching for him. He was arrested in 2010 and sentenced to death in August 2016. 

  • Photo: King County Sheriff's Office / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    The Green River Killer 

    Length of evasion: 19 years 

    Gary Ridgway murdered at least 49 women and was apprehended in 2001 when his DNA positively linked to murders.

    He thought that cops weren't trying to solve the murders of stray sex workers. Ridgway took advantage of their vulnerability and was able to kill so many because no one was looking for them when they disappeared.

  • Todd Kohlhepp

    Video: YouTube

    Length of evasion: 13 years 

    Despite being convicted in a 1987 kidnapping case for abducting and raping a teen girl before threatening to kill her family - and serving 15 years in prison - Todd Kohlhepp started a real estate firm and moved to South Carolina.

    He also bought nearly 100 acres of land in the middle of nowhere. Kohlhepp murdered seven people and kept one woman chained by a dog collar in a storage container on his property. 

    Kohlhepp avoided being caught for so long by killing intermittently and by lying about his status as a sexual predator to everyone he met. It wasn't until the disappearance of Kala Brown and her boyfriend, Charles Carver, that Kohlhepp admitted to the earlier slayings. Brown was found chained on his property while her boyfriend was found in a shallow grave. 

  • Length of evasion: 14 years 

    Israel Keyes was a meticulous criminal who admitted to murder, rape, burglary, bank robbing, and arson in states ranging from Alaska to New York, Texas, Vermont, and Washington. He had no apparent motive. 

    Keyes was finally caught when he began using the debit card of one of his victims while traveling. Before Keyes could be sent to trial, he killed himself in his cell in December 2012.