15 Horrific Details About The Ken And Barbie Killers

In the early 1990s, Karla Homolka and Paul Bernardo committed multiple crimes against teen girls in Ontario, Canada. The sexual assault and murder of three teens made them one of the most notorious couples in Canadian history. Because of their middle-class lifestyles - Homolka was a veterinary technician and Bernardo was an accountant - and their classic good looks, the press dubbed them the "Ken and Barbie Killers" after law enforcement tied them to the crimes.

However, long before Bernardo attacked teenage girls with the help of Homolka, he'd acted alone, committing a series of sexual assaults all over the city of Scarborough. When biological evidence found on one of the teenagers the couple attacked together matched semen collected from one of the victims of the “Scarborough Rapist,” investigators closed in on Bernardo and discovered the secrets he and his wife had been hiding.

  • They Drugged And Assaulted Homolka's Sister
    Photo: Family Photo / via AC News / Fair Use

    They Drugged And Assaulted Homolka's Sister

    In July 1990, 21-year-old Karla Homolka - with the help of her boyfriend, 26-year-old Paul Bernardo - drugged her younger sister, Tammy. Homolka served her 15-year-old sister a meal of spaghetti laced with Valium, which she’d stolen from the veterinarian’s office where she worked as a vet tech. Bernardo then briefly violated the teen but stopped when she quickly regained consciousness.

    Several months later, on December 23, 1990, the couple again drugged Tammy - who was unaware of the prior assault - using eggnog spiked with Halcion. Reportedly, both Bernardo and Homolka sexually assaulted Tammy while she was under its effects. The couple hatched their plan months earlier when Bernardo became obsessed with his girlfriend's little sister.

    Homolka was not a virgin when she started dating Bernardo and this allegedly upset him. Homolka agreed to provide her boyfriend with her younger sister’s virginity in an effort to make up for her own lack of chastity.

  • Tammy's Death Was Ruled An Accident

    After Homolka and Bernardo took advantage of Tammy, the teen awoke and began vomiting. Tammy then choked on her vomit and fell back out of consciousness. Bernardo and Homolka later maintained they tried to revive Tammy, but fearful of discovery, they re-dressed her and cleaned up the scene of the crime.

    Bernardo and Homolka called for an ambulance, and emergency service providers took Tammy to a nearby hospital where she passed shortly thereafter. Despite the presence of a large chemical burn on her face, examiners determined Tammy’s cause of death as accidental choking caused by alcohol-induced vomiting.

  • Bernardo Kidnapped A 14-Year-Old 
    Photo: Family Photo/Handout / via CBC News / Fair Use

    Bernardo Kidnapped A 14-Year-Old 

    Approximately six months after Tammy’s death, Bernardo took 14-year-old Leslie Mahaffy in the early hours of June 15, 1991. The teenager had attended the wake of a friend and arrived home around 2 am. The doors to the family home were locked, and Leslie didn’t have a key. 

    Bernardo later admitted to being in the teen’s neighborhood that night. He forced her into his vehicle at knifepoint. Afterward, Bernardo took Leslie back to the home he shared with his fiancée. Reportedly, he and Homolka repeatedly sexually assaulted her. 

    According to Homolka’s testimony, Bernardo then strangled the teenager with an electrical cord and dismembered the girl’s body using a circular saw. The couple hid the body in a nearby lake, after they covered it in concrete.

  • Her Remains Were Found On Their Wedding Day

    Homolka and Bernardo married on June 29, 1991, in an extravagant ceremony near Niagara Falls - less than two weeks after they brutalized Leslie. On the same day as the wedding, a couple paddling in Lake Gibson found a chunk of concrete, which contained part of Leslie’s remains.

    Because Leslie had experienced some conflict with her parents prior to her disappearance, the police initially thought she ran away from home. Authorities identified her recovered remains using dental and orthodontic records.

  • Homolka Helped Bernardo Kidnap Another Teenage Girl
    Photo: Family Photo/Handout / via CBC News / Fair Use

    Homolka Helped Bernardo Kidnap Another Teenage Girl

    On April 16, 1992 - approximately 10 months after Leslie’s passing -  Homolka and Bernardo took 15-year-old Kristen French from a church parking lot as the teenager was walking home from school. While Homolka pretended to need help with directions, Bernardo forced the girl into their vehicle, and the pair took French back to their home in St. Catharines, Ontario.

    Over the course of three days, the young married couple repeatedly assaulted Kristen. Bernardo also made the teenager wear a schoolgirl uniform matching an outfit Homolka also wore. Bernardo strangled Kristen with an electrical cord, and he and his wife cut off the teenager’s hair and left her body in a ditch. Authorities recovered her body 11 days later.

    Examiners found Kristen’s body covered in bruises and cigar burns. The DNA discovered during the autopsy linked Kristen's unknown assailant to whom authorities called the “Scarborough Rapist.” 

  • Bernardo Was A Serial Offender

    When forensic analysts tested the DNA evidence found on Kristen’s body, they discovered the sample matched semen recovered from victims of the Scarborough suspect. Authorities knew the unidentified perpetrator had abused at least 13 women and teenage girls in the city of Scarborough. Many of the victims were attacked from behind at night and were forced at knifepoint into isolated areas.

    The known assaults occurred from May 1987 until May 1990, and the victims were predominantly under the age of 21. A task force formed to apprehend the unidentified attacker, and two different people told law enforcement they suspected Bernardo.

    Due to these tips - as well as his resemblance to a composite sketch made with the help of one of the victims - police questioned Bernardo multiple times. The authorities even got Bernardo to provide DNA samples to test against evidence taken from victims, but officials didn’t compare these samples until December 1992.