9 Serial Killer Families That Murdered Together

Serial killers are terrifying when it's just one person - but when it's a whole family? That's beyond creepy. When most people think of serial killers, they think of men, or maybe killer couples or seriously troubled women.  

What you might not think of are serial killer families. What's more horrifying than a family of murderers who kill together? These families are ruthless killers who you absolutely wouldn't want living next door!

  • The Bean Clan Ambushed And Ate Unwitting Travelers

    The Bean Clan Ambushed And Ate Unwitting Travelers
    Photo: Unknown / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    Historians tend to believe that the notorious Bean clan is legend rather than real. Nevertheless, the story of this murderous family has a lengthy history and continues strong to this day. The Beans supposedly lived during the 16th century in Scotland. As the story goes, Alexander "Sawney" Bean, a Scottish farm worker, and his wife took up residence in a cave called Bennane Cave just after they were married. Mr. Bean then decided to support his family by robbing travelers who passed by.

    Bean soon determined he had to kill the victims he robbed so he wouldn't get caught. The decision to murder the robbery victims quickly led to the idea of eating them, as well. Mr. and Mrs. Bean started a family - reportedly 14 children and 32 grandchildren - all through incest. They sustained their family on a diet of human meat, and as the children grew up, they supposedly began to take part in the murdering and the cooking. The Bean clan was said to have killed half a dozen victims all at once in an ambush. According to legend, the family killed and consumed as many as 1,000 victims within a span of 25 years. 

    Purportedly, the family finally met its end when King James VI of Scotland sent a party of 400 royal soldiers, accompanied by bloodhounds, to find and execute the brood. While no evidence has been discovered to support the lore of the Bean family, it's often said that there's a grain of truth in every story. It's been suggested that the tale of "Sawney" Bean is based upon the real-life 14th-century cannibal-murderer, Christie Cleek, a butcher who preyed upon (and ate) unsuspecting travelers. 

    Either way, the thought that a cannibal-murderer (or murderers!) was lurking in our midst is terrifying!

  • The Tarverdiyeva Family Went From Regular Day Jobs To A Life Of Killing

    The Tarverdiyeva family was allegedly responsible for at least 30 murders in the Rostov region of Russia from 2007 to 2013. The matriarch, Inessa, gave up her job as a nursery school teacher in favor of robbing and killing people. She, her dentist husband, and her two daughters purportedly robbed and killed people while traveling under the guise of going on family camping trips. The youngest daughter was only 13 at the time the family was apprehended, but was not charged with the crimes. Family members of Inessa's husband, Roman Podkopayev, were reportedly also involved.

    The family typically broke into homes to rob and kill its victims, although some victims were killed in their cars. Among the family's victims were six policemen, murdered for their weapons and money.

    Inessa showed no remorse when she was finally arrested, saying, "I am a gangster by nature," and that killing was a "means of earning money."

  • The González Sisters Set A Murder World Record

    The González Sisters Set A Murder World Record
    Video: YouTube

    The González sisters killed at least 90 people in the 1950s and '60s in the state of Guanajuato, north of Mexico City. Delfina and María de Jesús González Valenzuela ran a brothel, called Rancho El Angel ("The Angel Ranch"), featuring prostitutes they kidnapped and enslaved. The sisters recruited women, promising them jobs as waitresses or maids, but then forced them into prostitution.

    When the enslaved women became sick or refused to have sex with customers, the González sisters killed them by starving or beating them. When some of the women became pregnant, the sisters forced them to abort their babies. When the property was eventually raided, the bodies of several fetuses were found along with adult victims.

    The sisters also killed male customers who brandished a lot of money. Their body count of 90 earned them the Guinness World Records title of "Most prolific murder partnership." In 1964, each sister received a 40-year prison sentence (the maximum sentence in Mexico). As many as 19 other members of the slave ring, some of them family, were reportedly also sentenced to jail time.

  • The Harpe Brothers Were Likely America's First Serial Killers

    The Harpe brothers were likely the first serial killers in America. Although they were actually cousins, they grew close over time and became widely known as "brothers" Micajah “Big” Harpe and Wiley “Little” Harpe (due to their difference in size). In 1775, they left their homestead in North Carolina in search of money and adventure. Traveling through the wild and lawless backwoods of Kentucky and Tennessee after the American Revolution, they quickly became outlaws and murderers.

    From 1781 to 1799, the Harpes murdered dozens of victims from Tennessee to Illinois, often teaming up with other outlaws along the way. Their victims were mostly travelers or pioneers in small settlements or inns. Their signature was disemboweling the bodies of their victims, filling them with rocks, and throwing them into the river to sink.

    In 1799, one of the brothers was shot by the father of one of his victims. The other brother escaped but was finally captured and executed in 1804.  The two men confessed to killing at least 39 people, however it's believed to be closer to 50.

  • The Bender Family Duped Unsuspecting Travelers

    The Bender Family Duped Unsuspecting Travelers
    Photo: John Towner James / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    The Bender family consisted of husband John Sr., wife Elvira, and their children, Kate and John Jr. The family settled in Kansas in 1870, near the Great Osage Trail (later known as the Santa Fe Trail), and began murdering unsuspecting travelers shortly thereafter. Pioneer settlers would often offer travelers food, supplies, and a place to sleep for a night. The Benders offered all of these services in order to lure their victims inside their home.

    The family would invite their victim to sit in a seat of honor for supper, right in front of a huge curtain. Unbeknownst to the victim, a member of the family was waiting behind the curtain to hit them in the head with a hammer. Once they had been hit, their throat was slit and their body dropped into a cellar via a trap door. The family murdered countless victims in this way, attracting little attention.

    However, after killing a well-known doctor, the family fell under serious suspicion by the doctor's brother and their neighbors. By the time local investigators searched the Bender home, the family was long gone. During their search, investigators found 10 bodies buried in the garden, but they concluded that the family had murdered a total of 21 victims. Though reward money was offered for their capture, the Bender family was never found, likely because it was suspected that Bender was not their real name.

    The "Bloody Benders" cabin became a spectacle to see for journalists and curiosity-seekers alike from all over the country. The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported over 300 people at the crime scene. The cabin was carried away piece by piece as souvenirs, leaving nothing to mark the horrors that occurred there.


  • The Kelly Family - Another Family Who Preyed Upon Passersby

    The Kelly family was so similar to the Bender family, it's unclear whether they were the same people or copycats. Just like the Benders, the Kellys were a family of four: a husband, wife, son, and daughter. They also lived in a remote region of Kansas near a well-traveled road. They were active in the 1880s, shortly after the Benders escaped. However, a newspaper article puts the children's ages at 18 and 20 in 1888, which seems to make them too young to be the Benders.

    Whether they were the same family or not, their crimes were just as gruesome. In December 1887, a hunt for a missing drummer from Chicago led a search party to the vacant Kelly house, where they found five bodies in the cellar and four buried under the stable. They also found a blunt ax covered with human flesh and hair.

    The Kelly family was hunted down and hanged by the search party. Before the father was killed, he confessed that they had killed nine men and two women, some of whom were rich travelers who had stopped to stay at their home.