Were the Bloody Benders Killed by Vigilantes? (2022)

What Happened to the Bloody Benders?

Editor’s Note: The Bloody Benders were a family of serial killers who lived and operated in Labette County, Kansas, between 1871 and 1873. Nearly a dozen travelers who stopped at their small inn were murdered, and their bodies later found buried on the Benders’ property. The family of four disappeared before they could be arrested. Over the years, a dozen different accounts of their fate were theorized or told. The story below—that they were killed soon after they were suspected in the disappearances of eleven people—is just one of those accounts, but this one comes from one anonymous source, and two deathbed confessions by individuals who all said they were involved in the interrogation and execution of all four Bender family members. It was written and published in obscure true crime magazine in 1951, and has since passed into the public domain.

WHEN Osage Township began seriously to worry, about March 1, 1873, over vanishing travelers on the road from Fort Scott on the Missouri line to Independence deep toward the Indian nations, those travelers had been vanishing for about two years. One more was still to vanish, before Kansas and the world would know how these disappearances had come to pass.

In those days news did not travel fast or far, especially news about lost strangers nobody expected to meet, anyway. People were too busy settling.

First there was only a trail leading southwest into Kansas, bitten through the buffalo grass by heavy-rimmed, ox-drawn wheels. As the Civil War spent itself and a new impulse of settlement strove that way, the trail was hardened and widened by much travel into a highway. Wagonloads of settlers trundled in. Here and there on the treeless plain sprang up farmsteads, relieving a monotony hitherto broken only by occasional meager creeks, small knolls, or willow and cottonwood scrub. Osage Township in Labette County, just east of the new village of Cherryvale, was distin¬guished from the rest of the developing country only by the faint color and flavor of mystery.

Many of the sunburnt farmers had served in the Union Army. Their women were plain and industrious, their children shock-headed, barelegged, shrill. These people built their own houses, butchered and smoked their own meat, ground their own flour from their own grain, sewed their own clothing and cobbled their own shoes. They had no theatres, no libraries. Occasionally there was a barn-raising, a revival meeting, a spelling school. Neighbors made much of every trifle of entertainment and sociability.

Leroy Dick was Osage Township Trustee. Among his neighbors were Rudolph Brockman, bluff, jovial and Teutonic; Silas Toles, of shrewd Yankee stock; George Frye and Thomas Jeans, modest and laconic farmers; Maurice Sparks, whose quick temper sometimes fulfilled the implication of his name; and the Bender family, whose roadside home did duty as store, restaurant, and hotel.

Indeed, the Bender place was almost as much a focus of the country community’s interest as the little Carpenter Schoolhouse, which rendered extra service as church and meeting hall. Not that the Benders lived pretentiously; their house sat a hundred yards back from the road, simple and well kept, an inartistic oblong of unpainted planks. Behind it stood a stable, a pigsty, a railed barnyard and, close to the back stoop, a well curb with rope and bucket. Flanking all these on the right rose an unusual and grateful sight in that new, bald and semi-arid country, an orchard. The Benders came from Germany, where good nurserymen are bred. They had set out fifty young fruit trees in orderly rows, and cultivated them tirelessly. There was promise of apples, cherries and peaches.

The house was divided into two chambers by a canvas cover nailed to a row of perpendicular studding. Against this makeshift partition stood a heavy table, with benches behind and before. Meals were served there. To one side were ranged shelves and a counter, with a small stock of canned goods, bolts of cloth and simple “notions.”

Customers fell easily into talk with the daughter of the house. Kate Bender, acting as storekeeper and waitress, was a bright-haired, rosy girl in her early twenties. An old Kansan still alive in 1930 remembered that her figure was fully and finely curved, and that her red mouth smiled and smiled. He said that she would have been admired in larger and more critical communities than old Osage Township. By all accounts, she was possessed of a sparkling vitality and considerable intelligence. She claimed to be a spiritualistic medium, and had presented séances of delightfully creepy hokus-pokus in the Carpenter Schoolhouse and in Cherryvale, eight miles west. Readily and saucily she joked with any man who glanced her way. Grinning young admirers surrounded her at all the rustic gatherings.

While she gossiped with customers inside the house, their horses were tended outside by her brother John. He was tall and slender, attractive in a somewhat delicate and boyish way. He looked and acted less than his twenty-five years. He laughed even more than Kate did — some neighbors said that John would laugh at nothing at all.

The parents were seen less often. Occasionally, the father left his work in field, stable or orchard to serve a customer or greet a neighbor. William John Bender was nearly sixty, with coarse gray hair and a bulky thickness of body. He stood six feet tall for all the stoop in his powerful shoulders. From under straight brows his dark eyes gazed steadily. He, too, liked to joke, and his German accent made his jokes seem funnier than they actually were.

The mother was the only sober-faced Bender. She looked older than her husband, unhealthily fat, with thin, iron-gray hair combed severely back from a frown-seamed forehead. She spoke almost no English and seemed shy, even dour, to strangers. Usually she stayed in the rear apartment behind the canvas, with the stove and the family’s beds. By Osage Township’s standards, she was a good cook.

These four Benders were to be by far the most widely celebrated dwellers in their community. Their country home, with the canvas partition and the table and the counter, with the barn and the orchard, soon became familiar, by word of mouth and by steel engravings, to a great part of the world.

Why, it began to be asked solemnly as the year 1873 began, did travelers disappear from the road between Fort Scott and Independence?

One man of that region was no admirer of the Benders. John Rader — Happy Jack, they called him — rode into Cherryvale one day, and he did not look or sound happy. To a group of friends in front of a store, he said that riding up to the Bender house in the early evening he had seen Kate through a window, and she was wearing no more clothes than would, in the idiom of the community, dust the keys of a fife. Nor was Kate flustered by Happy Jack’s frankly admiring stare. She had waved for him to come in! And what had he done? Well, he’d done what any real man would do. He had dismounted, tossed his reins to the waiting John, and entered. Disappointingly enough, Kate had hurried on her clothes in the intervening few seconds, and the old folks had come into the front room. They’d made Happy Jack welcome, he’d eaten supper there, and what with one thing and another he’d announced he’d stay the night. They made him a pallet on the floor of the front room.

All this sounded hospitable of the Benders, protested Rader’s friends, and some of them chuckled. But not Happy Jack.

He had gone to sleep. Then he had wakened — someone was stopping a team outside, talking to old William John Bender. Then, of a sudden, the sound of a heavy blow, and a yell like a man’s last sound on earth. Quiet. Moments of quiet. Finally, the Benders, all of them, had stolen into the front room and stood around Happy Jack’s pallet, listening to see if he was awake. Understandably, he had not dared to move. When they left, he lay awake all the rest of the night, and he had ridden away before breakfast.

His rueful face drew a round robin of laughter. His friends comforted him. The Benders do any killing? Shucks, they’d been teasing poor Happy — the Dutch idea of fun.

To support that theory, someone spoke of an old woman’s experience in the Bender home the year before. She had been visiting there, and Kate had grabbed up a knife and screamed that spirits were telling her to kill. The old woman had run for the door, but the Benders did not pursue. They only laughed, the way they must be laughing right now at Happy.

(Video) Bender (Free Full Movie) Drama Thriller History

“Well, I don’t like those jokes,” announced Happy Jack Rader. “They can play them on somebody else.”

If the Benders were pranksters, they seemed to be good citizens. During the first week of March, 1873, William John Bender and his son attended a meeting called at the schoolhouse by Township Trustee Dick. Representatives of various families crowded the benches, bearded, roughly-dressed, serious-faced men. Dick, presiding, spoke of several inquiries from the east, about travelers who had dropped out of sight in the Osage Township Country.

“It’s been charged that we’ve got criminals here,” he said.

Maurice Sparks challenged that from a front bench. Nobody had the right to suspect the township folk without proof. A man is innocent, said Sparks, until he is proven guilty. A neighbor snickered, and Sparks grew angrier.

“If anybody doubts me,” he said, “he can come and search my farm. I’m not hiding anything.”

“Neither am I,” said the elder Bender from where he sat with his son. “Search my farm, too.”

Several made the same offer, but Sparks was not through talking. He urged the organization of a company of vigilantes. “Law-abiding men must stand together for protection,” he said.

Again several listeners approved his suggestion, and among these were the two Benders. But the meeting broke up without any definite action being taken. There would be another meeting soon, promised Leroy Dick.

Meanwhile, Dr. William York, a physician who lived in Independence to the southwest, was coming to Osage Township.

Dr. York was a jaunty, confident young man, who had formerly lived in Fort Scott. In February he had visited his old home, where his lawyer brother, A. M. York, was a substantial citizen. Now he was returning to Independence, and on March 9 he paused at an Osage Township farm to ask the sort of question that recently had vexed Leroy Dick and Maurice Sparks. Had anyone seen or heard of his neighbor G. W. Longcohr? Longcohr, with his little daughter, had gone to visit in Iowa some months previously, and people were wondering why he never wrote.

No. Nobody could give any information about Longcohr, sorry. Say, it was getting on for noon, wouldn’t Dr. York alight and take potluck with the family?

“No, thank you,” said the doctor. “I’ll stop at Bender’s for dinner, and tonight I’ll sleep at Cherryvale.”

He gathered up his reins and urged his fine saddle horse on toward the Benders’, and into oblivion.

Six weeks passed. Leroy Dick may have thought about another township meeting, but did not call it. Along the road traveled something that had the aspect of an avenging army.

For in Fort Scott, Dr. York’s brother wondered about him, even as Dr. York himself had wondered about Longcohr. And Attorney A. M. York was not the man to sit still at home and do his wondering about a vanished kinsman.

A. M. York was forty-five years old in 1873, had served as state senator, and owned a substantial amount of property. He was a man of position and reputation in Fort Scott. A dozen years ago he had gone to the Civil War as a second lieutenant, and for courage and ability had risen to the rank of colonel, commanding a regiment of Negro infantry in the Army of the Frontier. His figure was erect and stalwart, and the mature ruggedness of his features was accentuated by a thick beard, dark and curly. To Independence he rode in mid-April, made inquiries about the brother who had never ridden home, and then started back toward Fort Scott. With him rode fifty friends and neighbors of the lost doctor. They carried weapons.

They paused to speak to residents of Cherryvale. Hadn’t Dr. William York planned to spend the night of March 9 there? But nobody in Cherryvale remembered seeing the young doctor. On the morning of April 24, they rode into Osage Township. Bearded Colonel York — they were calling him colonel and sir, as if he were at the head of a military unit — stopped at house after house to ask about his brother, with all his followers listening in their saddles. He’d been seen in Osage Township, eh? And what was the name of those people with whom he was planning to eat dinner? Bender, was it? It surely was.

Into the Bender yard they rode, and bunched up there like a cavalry patrol.

Young John Bender met them at the front door. One account says that he had been reading a Bible, and stood with it closed upon a finger to mark the place. He answered Colonel York’s questions.

Dr. York? Dr. William York, a nice-looking young fellow on a nice- looking horse? Sure enough, Dr. York had eaten there at noon on March 9. Kate had served him, and she would remember that attractive guest. Leaving the Bender place — yes — it must have been at Drum Creek, yonder across the road, a small stream rimmed and tufted with scrubby trees, that Dr. York had been killed.

(Video) The Strange & Disturbing Case of the Bloody Benders

“I was there not long ago,” said John, “and shots were fired at me.”

“Shots?” repeated Colonel York. “Who fired them?”

“I never stopped to see,” smirked John, plausibly enough. “But you protect me, Colonel, and I’ll take you there and show you.”

Colonel York beckoned to several of his party. They followed John to the banks of Drum Creek, and John pointed to a cottonwood trunk. Colonel York bent down from his saddle to see. Those holes looked like the marks of bullets. …

“A grave!” John Bender almost yelped, pointing.

The men sprang from their horses, gathering at the mound. It bulged upward, the length and width of a man. At York’s crisp order, two cantered back to bring spades and picks from the house. Then they dug. John Bender, helping, forgot to giggle. A spade grated horribly on bone, and a man exclaimed nervously. Carefully they scraped the earth from white ribs, tagged with rotting flesh. Colonel York gazed stonily, his mouth thin in his beard.

“It’s only a hog,” said one of the diggers.

The skull had turned up on a shovel, long-jawed, shallow-craniumed, the skull of a beast. They covered it again, and rejoined their party in the Bender yard.

The other members of the family had come out on the stoop — William John mystified, his wife uncomprehending, Kate pleasurably excited by the presence of so many men. Colonel York entered the house, with some of his party, and sat at the table. He told his errand. Kate listened with every evidence of sympathy and concern.

When he had finished, she raised her eyes to the roof beams. “I am a spiritualistic medium,” she said slowly. “Perhaps I can help you, Colonel York.”

The Bender Family. Were they executed by vigilantes?

Sitting down opposite him, she clasped her hands as though praying. Her lips moved soundlessly, her body grew tense and rigid, her eyes closed dreamily. Then she started up, shaking her head.

“There are unbelievers here,” she said accusingly.

Colonel York said with utter gravity that if Kate Bender could find his brother, he would believe in her power forever.

“Return in five days without the skeptics,” she replied. “I will find your brother — yes!” Her voice rose shrilly. “Even if he is in hell!”

The colonel sat silent for a moment, then rose and bowed his thanks. He walked out, followed by the others. Mounting, he led the party away.

He had voiced no definite acceptance of Kate Bender’s invitation to a private seance, and nobody saw him return until he was sent for.

On May 4, shrewd Silas Toles rode up to the door of the Bender house. John was not there to take his bridle, and when Toles dismounted and knocked, nobody answered. Puzzled, Toles led his horse around to the back yard.

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In the barnyard he saw the cows and the horses. They moved around, weakly and wretchedly. At a glance he saw that they were famished. At once, he drew water at the well, and watched them drink greedily. Then he went in at the rear door, calling aloud for Mr. and Mrs. Bender. But nobody was there.

Toles summoned other neighbors. A man rode at a gallop to send a telegram to Colonel York in Fort Scott. On the following day, May 5, York arrived, with a friend or two. Toles and others met him in front of the Bender house.

“It’s another disappearance,” said Toles, and York nodded silently. He took charge of the situation. They followed him into the front room, around the canvas partition and in among the unmade beds and dirty dishes. Near the mid-point of the canvas, York stooped and picked up something. It was a heavy sledge hammer.

“See how the light shines through that canvas,” he said evenly. “Right here, opposite where I’m standing, is the bench where a guest would sit. If Kate said something to make his head press back against the canvas, and somebody stood here — probably the old man, he was big and strong —”

He swung the sledge against the canvas, and dropped it on the floor. His silent companions stared sickly at each other. But Colonel York was striding back into the front room. “Pull that table out,” he commanded.

It was done. Kneeling, York pried at the floor boards. A section of them rose up like a trapdoor. Someone held a lantern down into the darkness, and they could see a pit, six feet across and nearly as deep. A sickening stench rose. The earth was gummy with clotted blood.

“Then they would open the trap,” continued York, in the same quiet, confident voice. “They would hold their victim above it and cut his throat. They would hide his body there until night, when they would drag it out, rob its pockets, and carry it away to bury it.”

“Bury it?” repeated someone.

Colonel York went outside, still followed by his companions. He paused to draw from the tail gate of a dismantled wagon a long thin rod of iron.

Then he paced in among the trees of the orchard, thick with pink and white springtime blossoms. He seemed to measure, to judge, the harrowed earth around their roots. Finally he thrust the rod deep into the soil. When he drew it back, they could see a tuft of hair at its tip.

“There is where my brother is buried.”

More people had been gathering around him. A digging party set to work. Meanwhile, the colonel walked away under the trees. Again and again he stopped to probe. By the time the first hole had been dug to five feet, he had indicated the positions of half a score of graves.

They called him back to where they had uncovered a half-naked human corpse. He gazed into its rotting face, and nodded.

“That is my brother,” he said.

The busy spades turned up ten other bodies — eight men, a woman, and a little girl. The missing Longcohr and his daughter lay in the same grave. She had been strangled. All the others had died of smashing blows on the head, or of cut throats. One by one the bodies were identified, then and later. Some of the men were known to have carried large sums of money.

The searchers glared at the pitiful bodies, and at one another. A community interest in vengeance swelled among them. For some minutes Rudolph Brockman, who had helped uncover the graves, was threatened with lynching for no better reason than that he, like William John Bender, spoke with a German accent. Then his neighbors turned from him, and organized quickly into four posses, to scour the country in all directions. They returned from their missions — very soon, indeed, for manhunters, it was remarked — to report that the Benders left no trail whatever.

Still later, several bodies were found buried near Drum Creek. It was rumored that as many as forty other victims of the Benders were never found.

And that is the end of the official history of the Benders.

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For decades afterward, efforts were made to explain what happened to them. Several persons broke into the news from time to time, either claiming to be the Benders or charging others with that baleful identity. The most plausible of such reports led to the arrest, in the autumn of 1889, of Mrs. Almira Griffith and her daughter, Mrs. Sarah Eliza Davis, in Michigan. They bore striking resemblances to Mrs. Bender and Kate, and were tried in Labette County for the murder of Dr. York. Their able defense counsel, John T. James, offered such convincing evidence of mistaken identity that the prosecutor moved for dismissal of the case.

At about the time of the outbreak of World War II, a vague rumor spread in Kansas that Kate and her brother John still lived, two old and feeble paupers, in widely separated parts of the country. No official took this tale seriously enough to go hunting for them.

Did, then, the Benders escape unpunished, to enjoy their bloodsoaked plunder? They did not, official opinion to the contrary notwithstanding.

There are at least three solemn and definite avowals by men who claim to have helped kill the entire Bender family.

Two of the three accounts are deathbed confessions and, as such, merit respectful notice. Living, a man may have a host of reasons — hope of gain, revenge, thirst for notoriety — to lie, but when he is dying, with no prospects but the grave and what may meet him beyond, his impulse generally is to tell the truth. In courts of law, deathbed declarations are given much weight.

When George Downer’s doctors pronounced him mortally ill in 1909 at his home in Downer’s Grove, the Chicago suburb named after his grandfather, he wanted to ease his soul of a secret too heavy and fearsome to carry to the eternal silence of the grave. In his last hour he summoned a lawyer and some friends.

Haltingly, he told them that as a young man he had lived in Independence, Kansas, and that in April of 1873 he had joined Colonel York’s search party. He had helped, he said, to capture and kill the Benders. As he talked, his strength and voice failed. Mrs. Downer sat beside his bed and told the tale of blood as she had heard it from her husband years before. Feebly Downer spoke from time to time, prompting or correcting. As she finished, he closed his eyes and died. His statement was put into written form and the witnesses swore to it.

A year later, in 1910, a man named Harker or Hooker also lay dying in a New Mexico cow camp. Like Downer, he told friends of hunting down the four Benders, and described in some detail what happened after the killing. He and his companions had gathered around the four bodies, decided that it had been an execution without due process of law, and that the deed might be called murder and punished as such. Wherefore they buried the Benders and obliterated all traces of digging. The sum of several thousand dollars, found on the bodies, was divided among the self-elected avengers. Then, with bared heads and raised hands, they had sworn to one another and to God never to tell what had happened.

Harker asked that his confession be repeated to relatives in Kansas. His fellow-cowmen brought the story to Labette County.

Attorney James, who had represented Mrs. Griffith and Mrs. Davis at their trial in 1889, had maintained an unflagging interest in the half-told Bender saga, and through the years he gathered all available material for a history of the case. This he published at his own expense in 1913, in a modest-appearing little book entitled The Benders in Kansas, printed at Wichita. He noted both the Downer and Harker statements, but was inclined to accept a story that the Benders had been seen on a train bound for Texas. His book aroused surprisingly small comment, but it may have contributed to the determination of another Kansas historian to search for yet more evidence.

Mrs. Edith Connelley Ross of Topeka, daughter of the late William Elsey Connelley, Kansas’ foremost historian, was herself a devoted student of her native state’s early annals, and for some years she tracked down hints and rumors about the Benders. In 1928 she prevailed on a pioneer Kansan to tell his own version of the hunt and kill, and wrote an account which is now in the files of the Kansas State Historical Society.

This old man, a lifelong friend of the Connelleys, first swore Mrs. Ross to withhold his name, and this she has done. Neither verbally nor in writing did she ever identify him, saying only that she had absolute faith in his honesty and truthfulness.

He told her that when Colonel York left the Bender house on the afternoon of April 24, the entire party was convinced that they had found the murderers, but that they lacked evidence to convict. York dispersed the band, but quietly told several discreet and trusted friends to return with him after dark the same night. Both Downer and Harker, incidentally, were among these. He led them to the house. They entered and took all four of the Benders captive. Then the questioning began outdoors.

Very little imagination is needed to conjure up a vivid picture — a dark night in early spring, the gloomy prairie stretching far away in all directions to the star-strung horizon, the group of stern frontiersmen with guns at the ready. Colonel York was an accomplished courtroom lawyer, a veteran officer of harsh campaigns, a man of deep family feelings who was determined to find and punish the murderers of his young brother. His face must have been a bearded mask of nemesis as he shot out his questions at one captive, then at another. In him were combined the canny cross-questioner, the seasoned warrior, the righteous avenger of blood. Before his probing queries and fierce charges the Benders, so terrible to unsuspecting and defenseless victims, lost their glum pose of innocence. They fell into contradictions. They made damaging admissions upon which York pounced. They cringed and trembled.

They blurted out all that the inquisitor wanted to know, hoping to move him to mercy. They pleaded and prayed.

At York’s command, the guards stepped away from where the four captives huddled together — Kate’s rosy face pale, her lovely eyes staring; young John’s lips twitching over a nervous snicker; the burly father sagging, snarling; the old mother shaking like jelly. Then a dozen rifles spoke at once. The horses started and reared, their holders swung on the bridle reins. And spades began to bite the earth, hollowing a grave to be big enough for four.

Who would hear that volley, miles away from law-abiding houses? And the place of that markless grave, well back from the road, might not be passed again for a year or more. By then, the buffalo grass would be rooted upon it. The prairie flowers, gold and blue and white, would turn up their guileless faces to welcome another spring. Nobody would recognize the gentle swelling of earth for the resting place of bloody, degenerate murderers, dreadful even on a frontier whose history is clotted with gore, stirred with violence.

In Labette County today live a few oldsters who were little children when, in 1873, their fathers rode with Colonel York to find news of his lost brother. Go there among them. Talk to them about the Benders. They may seem too polite, too age-mellowed, to argue. They may nod, as in agreement, when you say that official records indicate that the Benders escaped.

But even if they won’t say so, they know what happened.

FAQs

Who Killed the Bloody Benders? ›

Several groups of vigilantes were formed to search for the Benders. Many stories say that one vigilante group actually caught the Benders and shot all of them but Kate, whom they burned alive.

What is the story of the Bloody Benders? ›

In 1884, an elderly man who investigators said matched the description of Pa Bender was arrested in Idaho for a murder committed with a hammer. While waiting for more details from Kansas, the man tried to escape by severing his foot; he ended up bleeding to death, and decomposed before an identification could be made.

Was there ever a serial killer family? ›

The Kelly Family was a family of serial killers who operated near a Kansas town called Oak City between August and December 1887. The family consisted of William Kelly (55); his wife Kate; his son Bill, also called 'Billy' (20) and daughter, Kit (18).

Who is the most popular serial killer? ›

Ted Bundy. Ted Bundy loved the attention his murders garnered him, and many in the United States were more than happy to give him that attention.

Did the Benders ever get caught? ›

The family fled when people became suspicious over the missing travelers. They were never captured. The property where the Bender murders reportedly took place is among 1,061 acres of mostly cropland on the auction block on Feb. 11 in southeast Kansas.

Is the Bender family house still standing? ›

The timber cabin where the murders were committed no longer exists, and there are no structures or buildings that remain on the property. It is unknown if the Bender family committed any other murders there.

Is Bender Based on a true story? ›

Bender, the new horror film from director John Alexander, follows a murderous family in 1870s Kansas and how they prey upon visitors who stop by their tucked-away abode. Amazingly and surprisingly the movie is based on a true story.

Is Bender a true story? ›

Bender still.

Based off the true story of one of America's first known serial killing families, the bloody Benders of Kansas. Settling near the Great Osage Trail (which would later become known as the Santa Fe Trail) in the late 1800s, the Bender family built a one-room homestead.

What nationality is the last name Bender? ›

The surname Bender derives from both English and German origin. In England, it derives from old Benden or Benbow. In Germany, it is a form of Fassbinder or Fassbender (Cooper). It is an occupational name in both English and German forms.

Are the Benders and the Kellys the same family? ›

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.

Who is the cruelest serial killer? ›

No list of the most deranged serial killers would be complete without Jeffrey Dahmer. Dahmer, known as the Milwaukee Cannibal, was ultimately convicted of murdering 17 young men over a 14 year period.

Who was the worst serial killer? ›

Serial killers with the highest known victim count
NameCountryYears active
Luis GaravitoColombia Ecuador Venezuela1992–1999
Pedro LópezColombia Peru Ecuador1969–1980
Javed IqbalPakistan1998–1999
Mikhail PopkovRussia1992–2010
29 more rows

Are killers born or made? ›

In The Anatomy of Violence, criminologist Dr. Adrian Raine says that, “Genetics and environment work together to encourage violent behaviour.” Therefore, it seems like there are various factors namely, genetics, environment, trauma and personality traits that contribute to the making of a serial killer.

What are the Benders? ›

Avatar: All Specialized Bending Techniques, Ranked By Their Power
  • 10 Waterbending: Healing. ...
  • 9 Airbending: Spiritual Projection. ...
  • 8 Airbending: Flight. ...
  • 7 Waterbending: Spiritbending. ...
  • 6 Earthbending: Lavabending. ...
  • 5 Earthbending: Metalbending. ...
  • 4 Earth Bending: Seismic Sense. ...
  • 3 Firebending: Combustion Bending.
16 May 2022

Where is Richard Grissom? ›

Despite the missing bodies, the mountain of evidence resulted in a guilty verdict and a life sentence for Grissom. Today, he is 55 years old and will remain in prison for the rest of his days.

Who is Greg Bender? ›

On May 28, 2021, Gregory Bender was found guilty of first-degree murder. Bender's attorneys say the search of his home was illegal and plan to appeal the conviction, but he is now in prison serving a life sentence with no possibility of parole.

What is a Bender house? ›

A bender tent is a simple shelter. A bender is made using flexible branches or withies, such as those of hazel or willow. These are lodged in the ground, then bent and woven together to form a strong dome-shape. The dome is then covered using any tarpaulin available.

Where was the movie Bender filmed? ›

Four years later, the film “Bender” shot in Geary County, Wichita, El Dorado and Hall County, Neb., will make its North America debut on Aug. 1, with its worldwide debut to come.

What is John DiMaggio known for? ›

Career. DiMaggio is known for his roles as Bender on Futurama, Marcus Fenix in the Gears of War franchise, Dr. Drakken on Kim Possible, Jake the Dog on Adventure Time, Wakka and Kimahri in Final Fantasy X, and Niblet on Pound Puppies.

Why is Bender called Bender? ›

The name Bender was chosen by creator Matt Groening as an homage to John Bender (Judd Nelson), a character in The Breakfast Club. In that film, John Bender told Principal Vernon (Paul Gleason), "Eat my shorts," an eventual catchphrase for another Groening creation, Bart Simpson.

What does the Bender name mean? ›

Meaning and Origin of: Bender

English : from an agent derivative of Old English bendan 'to bend (the bow)', hence probably a metonymic occupational name for an archer.

Where does the name Bridgman come from? ›

The ancestry of the name Bridgman can be traced back to the Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. It is a name for a dweller by or "keeper of the bridge" in various parts of England.

Who are the Kelly Family Singers? ›

The Kelly Family

Who is the youngest serial killer? ›

If reports are to be believed, an 8-year-old boy from Bihar, Amarjeet Sada, whose life is steeped in poverty, is the "youngest serial killer in the world." He was born in 1998 in the village of Mushahar in Bihar. He has murdered three people. Sada committed the first murder at the age of 7.

Which serial killers ate their victims? ›

Some murderers, such as Albert Fish, Boone Helm, Andrei Chikatilo, and Jeffrey Dahmer, are known to have devoured their victims after killing them.

Who has most kills in the world? ›

Luis Garavito is one of those men. A Colombian serial killer, Garavito is believed to be the world's most prolific murderer. Between 1992 to 1999, he raped, tortured, and murdered 100 to 400 boys between the ages of six and 16. Officially, Garavito confessed to killing 140 children.

Who was the first black serial killer? ›

Samuel Little (born McDowell; June 7, 1940 – December 30, 2020) was an American serial killer who confessed to murdering 93 women between 1970 and 2005.
...
Samuel Little
Known forBeing the most prolific serial killer in United States history by number of confirmed victims
Conviction(s)Murder (x4)
13 more rows

Is there a killer gene? ›

As I said before, there's no “serial killer” gene—there's a gene that can influence someone's level of aggression and emotional control. Classifying people as “serial killer gene carriers” is a terrible idea for several reasons.

Who is the first serial killer? ›

H.H. Holmes, byname of Herman Mudgett, (born May 16, 1861?, Gilmanton, New Hampshire, U.S.—died May 7, 1896, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), American swindler and confidence trickster who is widely considered the country's first known serial killer.

What month is the most serial killers born in? ›

According to the website UberFacts: “Seventeen serial killers were born in November, compared with an average of nine for other months, out of a total of more than 100 in the study. Those born in November are most likely to believe they get a raw deal. A 2005 study found that they grow up to be the most pessimistic.”

Do serial killers feel remorse? ›

Serial killers almost always lack remorse. Most of the time, though, lack of remorse is directly related to a killer's lack of empathy. If you're unable to empathize with someone who is afraid or in pain, you aren't going to feel much (if any) remorse about ending that person's life.

How do serial killers think? ›

Although psychological gratification is the usual motive for serial killing, and most serial killings involve sexual contact with the victim, the FBI states that the motives of serial killers can include anger, thrill-seeking, financial gain, and attention seeking.

Who is the serial killer RDR2? ›

One such discovery is the case of the Blackwater Athletic Club, the members of which appear to have fallen victim to RDR2's infamous serial killer, Edmund Lowry Jr. Throughout the course of Red Dead Redemption 2's single-player, Dutch's gang seems to be consistently stuck in a bad place.

Is Bender Based on a true story? ›

Bender, the new horror film from director John Alexander, follows a murderous family in 1870s Kansas and how they prey upon visitors who stop by their tucked-away abode. Amazingly and surprisingly the movie is based on a true story.

What is the origin of the name bender? ›

The surname Bender derives from both English and German origin. In England, it derives from old Benden or Benbow. In Germany, it is a form of Fassbinder or Fassbender (Cooper). It is an occupational name in both English and German forms.

Can you ever find Gavin rdr2? ›

Gavin is not seen anywhere in the game. The player can encounter his friend Nigel in 1907, where he appears to have gone insane due to the excessive searching. He appears much more unkempt and stressed than he did eight years before.

Where is the hanging body in rdr2? ›

From Valentine head towards the path to the right of Castor's Ridge on the map. Here, just off to the side of the path, you'll find a leg. Head up towards the bridge and there's a body hanging from the structure and some words written on the rocks.

What happens if Arthur doesnt sleep? ›

Game Informer's Red Dead Redemption 2 preview explained the following: Arthur has needs, too, like eating and sleeping. As you play, Arthur gets hungry and tired over time. If you don't eat or sleep, you won't regenerate your health or stamina as quickly.

What are the Benders? ›

Avatar: All Specialized Bending Techniques, Ranked By Their Power
  • 10 Waterbending: Healing. ...
  • 9 Airbending: Spiritual Projection. ...
  • 8 Airbending: Flight. ...
  • 7 Waterbending: Spiritbending. ...
  • 6 Earthbending: Lavabending. ...
  • 5 Earthbending: Metalbending. ...
  • 4 Earth Bending: Seismic Sense. ...
  • 3 Firebending: Combustion Bending.
16 May 2022

What is a Bender house? ›

A bender tent is a simple shelter. A bender is made using flexible branches or withies, such as those of hazel or willow. These are lodged in the ground, then bent and woven together to form a strong dome-shape. The dome is then covered using any tarpaulin available.

Where was the movie Bender filmed? ›

Four years later, the film “Bender” shot in Geary County, Wichita, El Dorado and Hall County, Neb., will make its North America debut on Aug. 1, with its worldwide debut to come.

Who is Bender based on? ›

The name Bender was chosen by creator Matt Groening as an homage to John Bender (Judd Nelson), a character in The Breakfast Club. In that film, John Bender told Principal Vernon (Paul Gleason), "Eat my shorts," an eventual catchphrase for another Groening creation, Bart Simpson.

What does the Bender name mean? ›

Meaning and Origin of: Bender

English : from an agent derivative of Old English bendan 'to bend (the bow)', hence probably a metonymic occupational name for an archer.

Where does the name Bridgman come from? ›

The ancestry of the name Bridgman can be traced back to the Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. It is a name for a dweller by or "keeper of the bridge" in various parts of England.

The Bloody Benders were a family of murderous innkeepers in 1870s Kansas, but by the time their crimes were known they had disappeared. Where did they go?

The Bender family, immortalized as the “Bloody Benders” killed over a dozen men in little more than a year.. The Benders family, of German descent, was one of the families who moved to the outskirts of Kansas .. John Bender Sr. and John Bender Jr. were the first of the family to come to the property and create a small cabin.. Many historians believe that her public speeches and looks are what brought travelers to the Bender inn, where they would fall victim to the murderous Benders.. The astonishing observation about these crimes committed by the Bender family is that they hid the bodies so well that no one suspected the family for a long time.. Artist sketch of the Bloody Benders (John Towner / ) The tracks of a horse-drawn wagon led away from the property, and when these were followed the searchers came across the Bender family wagon 12 miles (19 km) from the house, with the starving horses still in harness.. There are even some accounts that will lead you to believe that the Bender family was not an actual family but professional serial killers.

Hello, Readers! I’m continuing my (brief) series on True Crimes from history this month. And for this post, we’ll explore the serial-killing...

However, starting around May 1871 (roughly the time when Elvira and Kate came to the homestead), bodies began turning up.. They spoke to every traveler and homesteader in the area.. Photo of the Bender homestead with suspected victim's graves marked in pen.So what happened to the Benders, you ask?. Some speculate that John Jr. and Kate parted from their parents and with all sorts of ideas on what may have become of them from there.. Every trail leads back to Stephen—and therefore, Emma.

The Bender family murdered pioneers headed west during the late 1800s, here is their forgotten story.

The Bender family lived in southeastern Kansas and murdered pioneers headed west during the late 1800s.. One was the Bender family, which consisted of John, his wife, known simply as Ma, their son John Jr., and their daughter Kate.. Kate’s charismatic personality and spiritualist activities attracted many travelers to the home.. But people who stayed at the Bender house found a whole different sort of rest.. A canvas curtain divided the home into two rooms.. John or John Jr. would then sneak up behind the victim and smash their skull in with a hammer.. The posse questioned every traveler along the trail and visited all the homesteads.. The body of a young girl was found without any injuries, leading people to believe she had been buried alive.

In the late 1800s, travelers stopping for the night at a one-room inn outside of Cherryvale, Kansas, were often never seen again.

A one-room house belonging to the Bender family was found to be abandoned, and the family’s farm animals were left starving.. The events that had unfolded in the house would be quickly pieced together by law enforcement, and a nationwide manhunt for the Bender family would begin.. The Benders, consisting of John Sr. (or Pa), Ma, John Jr., and Kate, were one of a group of Spiritualist families who had moved to an area outside of Cherryvale, Kansas.. The Bender family home was a one-room house that was divided in half by a curtain.. Over a dozen bullet holes were found along the house's roof and walls, suggesting that some of the Benders’ victims may have unsuccessfully put up resistance before being killed.. Pa Bender was speculated to be a man named John Flickinger who had immigrated from either Germany or the Netherlands, and John Jr. was said to actually be named John Gebhardt based on an inscribed Bible which had been found in the house.. None of these stories of the “real” identities of the Bender family have ever been officially confirmed, and comes from the often conflicting reports of the time, which is why so many modern accounts, this one included, tend to vary on the details.. No person or group ever claimed any of the reward money being offered, although several vigilante groups formed to track down the Benders, and a few claimed to have found them.. It wasn’t unheard of for two women traveling together to be accused of being Ma and Kate Bender, and in 1889, two women were extradited from Detroit on suspicion of just that.. Sarah allegedly told the police that Almira was Ma Bender, but that she was one of Ma’s other children, not Kate.

The Bloody Benders A family of serial killers from Labette County, Kansas from 1871 to 1873. The fam

Kate was believed to be Elvira’s fifth daughter, born Sarah Eliza Mark.. In February 1872, the bodies of two men were found with the same injuries as Jones.. WikipediaOn March 28, 1873, Colonel York arrived at Benders’ Inn with a ‘Mr Johnson’ and explained that his brother had gone missing.. Seventy-five locals, including Colonel York and both Bender men attended the meeting.. One body was found in the well with a number of dismembered body parts.. And yet another group claimed to have killed the Benders during a gunfight and buried their bodies on the prairie.. The story of the Benders’ escape spread and the search continued on and off over the next fifty years.. In mid-October, Deputy Sheriff Leroy Dick (the Osage Township trustee who had headed up the search of the Bender property) arrived in Michigan and arrested the pair on October 30, following their release on the larceny charges.

The township of Osage, Labette County, in Kansas was in the early 1870s the scene of at least a dozen murders by a family that became known as the Bloody Benders. The family consisted of John Bender, 60, his wife Mrs. Bender (later referred to as Kate Sr. since no one knew her given name), 55, son John Jr. and daughter Kate. The Benders were widely believed to be German immigrants, only the male Benders, however, were born overseas and it is widely believed that they were not actually a family. No documentation or definitive proof of their relationships to…

The township of Osage, Labette County, in Kansas was in the early 1870s the scene of at least a dozen murders by a family that became known as the Bloody Benders.. The family consisted of John Bender, 60, his wife Mrs. Bender (later referred to as Kate Sr. since no one knew her given name), 55, son John Jr. and daughter Kate.. The Benders were widely believed to be German immigrants, only the male Benders, however, were born overseas and it is widely believed that they were not actually a family.. It is believed that the method used to dispatch their victims was that when a guest would stay at the Benders’ bed and breakfast inn, the hosts would give the guest a seat of honour at the table which was positioned over a trap door that led into the cellar.. With the victim’s back turned to a strategically placed curtain, that whilst Kate would distract the guest, either John Bender or his son would come from behind the curtain and strike the guest on the right side of the skull with a hammer.. Excavating the graves on the Bloody Bender’s family farmOn April 3, Colonel York returned to the inn with armed men after a woman fled the lodging claiming Ma Bender had threatened her with knives.. The men with York were convinced the Benders were guilty and wanted to hang them all but York insisted that evidence must be found.. In Thayer, 12 miles north of the Bender inn, detectives following wagon tracks discovered the Benders’ wagon, abandoned with a starving team of horses with one of the mares lame.. The Humboldt station manager informed detectives that once there that the family split up, with John Jr. and Kate taking a train south, whilst Ma and Pa Bender, carrying a doghide trunk (possibly loaded with money), had taken a second train to St. Louis.. Yet another claimed to have killed the Benders during a gunfight and buried their bodies on the prairie.. They were released after being found not guilty but were then immediately re-arrested for the Bender murders, after witnesses identified them as Ma and Kate Bender.

In the early 1870s after the Bloody Benders obtained a 160-acre property along the Osage Trail people started disappearing.

One of these families was the Benders, who moved onto a 160-acre property facing the Osage Trail.. Some thought that John and Kate were brother and sister, but neighbors reported that they were husband and wife.. In May of 1871, a man was found in Drum Creek southeast of the Bender property.. Colonel York quickly organized a search party of 75 men who searched the area for Dr. York, and in March 1873 tracked him to the Bender Inn.. The woman was known as the local crazy, so her claims had not been taken seriously, but Colonel York was more than willing to listen.. The woman fled from the home and never returned to the Bender residence.. The first victim to be found was Dr. William York.. As they searched the orchard they would come to find 10 bodies and some additional dismembered parts.

The tale of the Bloody Benders remains one of the most horrifying stories of the Old West.

One of these families was the Benders who presented themselves as John “Pa” Bender, Sr., wife “Ma” Bender, son John Jr., and daughter Kate.. John Bender, Sr. without a beard.Located in a lonely section of the Osage Trail, the Bender business appeared to offer a place to dine and sleep for weary travelers.. Among the 75 people who attended this meeting were Pa and John Jr. Bender.. Within three days, Bender neighbor Billy Tole was driving his cows past Bender Inn and noticed that the Bender farm animals appeared unfed and the property abandoned.. When the search party went to the Bender property, they found the Bender cabin emptied of food, clothes, and other personal possessions.. John Bender, Jr.Actually a man named John GebhardtThe entire search party worked to physically move the cabin to one side so they could search underneath.. A brother of Dr. York who was not part of the search party offered a $1,000 reward for the arrest of the Bender family.. While 10 intact bodies were found, the unidentifiable body parts coupled with reports of missing travelers led many to conclude that the Benders murdered over 20 people.. Reward poster for Bender familyThe Bender story then gets mired in myth.. The Dick family gave three Bender hammers to the Bender Museum in 1967.

The "Bloody Benders" murdered at least 20 unsuspecting travelers, and then vanished without a trace.

The Bloody Benders were a family of serial killers who murdered at least 20 unsuspecting travelers in their small Kansas home and then vanished without a trace.. Illustration of the Kansas home where the Bloody Benders murdered weary travelers. John (Pa) Bender Sr. and son John Bender Jr. arrived with four other families of spiritualists to claim newly vacant Kansas land in October 1870 following relocation of the Osage Indians to a new territory in Oklahoma after the American Civil War.. Three days after a town meeting was held about the disappearances a warrant was issued to search every homestead in the area, a passerby noticed the Bender house had been abandoned.. A pit full of blood was discovered beneath the Bender home. As the investigation continued, many more bodies were discovered in the orchard, as well as one in the well, and numerous body parts that did not belong to the already discovered remains.. While the Benders were never found and their fates remain unknown to this day, twelve men “of bad repute in general” were arrested as accomplices, having been involved in disposing of the victims’ stolen goods.. A shoe hammer, a claw hammer and a sledgehammer which matched indentations in some of the skulls were on display in the Bender Museum in Cherryvale until it closed in 1978.. A small knife reportedly found hidden in a mantel clock in the Bender house can be viewed upon request at the Kansas Museum of History.

Life in the old west was full of hardship, but also opportunity. One family seized their opportunity like no other. The Bender family banded together to take the lives of more than ten guests at their inn. For almost three years, the family preyed upon their patrons, showing no remorse and no mercy. When their deeds were discovered, the Benders packed up and got the hell out of dodge before the authorities could swoop in and arrest them. The Benders left a trail of blood and devastation in their wake. Like many legends of the old west, the line between myth and fact has been blurred beyond recognition. The fate of the Benders, and their exact body count remains a mystery. 

The Bender family banded together to take the lives of more than ten guests at their inn.. Among them were the Benders.. One of Ma’s daughters was Sarah Elizabeth Mark, also known as Kate Bender.. Act or not, John’s bizarre personality and the older Benders inability to speak English made the community wary of the family.. One of these rest stops was the Bender Inn.. When it was time to eat, the men were always seated with their backs to the tarp that served as a divide between the inn and the Benders living area.. On their way to Iowa, widower, George Lochner and his young daughter made the unfortunate mistake of stopping at the Bender’s Inn.. Colonel York arrived at the Bender inn with an army of men in tow.. Kate Bender welcomed the men with open arms.. Many claimed to have seen or captured the elusive Bender family.. Davis confessed to being Kate Bender’s sister Sara.. The woman who initially brought forth the claim was the daughter of one of the Bender’s victims, Mrs. Frances E. McCann.. In a baffling twist, another daughter of Monroe’s, tried to prove that her mother could not have been the infamous Ma Bender, because she had been serving time for a different murder.. Some claimed it was haunted by the Bender’s victims.

During a Detroit book fair in 1978, the author of Little House on the Prairie, Laura Ingalls Wilder, made a claim that shocked her fans. She talked about how she shared a connection to America's very first serial killer family - The Bloody Benders . You see, the Bender murders took place in Cherryv

Wilder said that she and her Pa knew the Benders, and according to Wilder, Pa might have had something to do with the frontier justice that ended the Bender's Killing spree .. “The night of the day the bodies were found, a neighbor rode up to our house and talked earnestly with Pa. Pa took his rifle down from his place over the door and said to Ma, the vigilantes are called out.. Myth 1:Where does morality come from in the brain?. Joe: When you were young Todd, did you ever watch The Little House on the Prairie?. We want to look at what morals look like in the brain and how rare it is to have serial killer morals like the Little House/Benders story.. It is the exact same question, but there's no side track this time.. What just happened was Todd made this grimace as he was considering pushing somebody off of a bridge to stop a trolley, and that wasn't there when he was talking about pulling a lever.. When you ask this question to someone under a functional MRI, parts of the brain light up that are the “moral parts” of the brain.. There is a quote from a CNN article on the brain and moral judgments - “Other studies have since confirmed that these areas are important in processing information about moral decisions as well as an area called the ventral prefrontal cortex.”. That's effectively what morals are.. Myth 2: Do moral values make us better people?. We've looked at where moral values come from within the innate part of our brain.. The control group was asked to write about values and ranked unimportant and the values that might matter to somebody else - So, write values but not ones they valued themselves personally.. In the short term, writing about personal values makes people feel more powerful, in control, proud, and strong.. Values, like honesty, can improve health and writing about your personal values can boost grades and shrink the achievement gap when you're in school.

Around two decades before Agatha Christie was born, on the other side of the Atlantic, another country was undergoing a great change.

Father – John Bender (60 years old), the mother – Elvira Bender (55 years old) & 2 children – Kate Bender (23 years old) & John Bender, Jr. (25 years old).. A family ideally should be a closely-knit group of affectionate people, but the Bloody Bender family was anything but that.. As described earlier, people looking for a new life in the American west passed through an area, pretty close to the Bloody Benders house & they did not know the nature of the Bloody Benders.. This brash display of violent behavior along with the known personality of the Bloody Benders was enough to raise suspicion and Col Ed and his team decided to visit the Benders Family.. About 3 days after the township’s meeting, a neighbor of the Bender family while passing through the Bloody Benders house location, observed that the property appeared to be abandoned and animals of the Bender family, unfed and roaming around.. The news was conveyed to the search team hunting for the missing people; but alas fortune favored the Bloody Benders & the search for the Bender Family & the property would have to be postponed for a few days, because of bad weather.. These were those who managed to escape before the Bloody Benders had the opportunity to carry out their nefarious intentions and later after coming to know about the Bender family murders came forward to tell their own stories.. As the Bloody Bender family were nowhere to be found, they vent their anger on another person named Brockman – who was the family friend of the Bloody Benders.. The Benders family murders had sent a shockwave across the country and high a reward was declared for anyone, who could bring the Bloody Benders to justice.. The hunt for Benders continued, as many vigilante groups claimed that they had apprehended the Bloody Bender family and managed to kill them, but no definite proof for the same was ever given nor the cash reward declared for the same ever collected by anybody.. As the story of Bloody Benders spread, innumerable people flocked to the Bloody Benders house location hunting for souvenirs.. The Bloody Benders Museum hosted 3 hammers recovered from the Bloody Benders house, which supposedly were used by the Bloody Benders for criminal activities.. The artifacts related to Bloody Benders including Bloody Benders pictures would later be shifted to Cherryvale Museum, where they remain to this day.

The infamous Bender family appeared quietly in southeastern Kansas in the spring of 1872. They didn’t appear to be anything special, just another immigrant family that had escaped the confines of the eastern cities to try their hand out west. Like so many others, they merely wanted to make new lives and fortunes in the untamed west. However, their methods for obtaining such fortunes differed greatly from most of the other homesteaders.

Old man Bender, his wife and their dull-witted son spoke little to the strangers who passed through, save for an occasional greeting along the local roads or to sell them canned goods and coffee.. Scene of the crime The danger of dining with the Bender’s came when seated with your back to the canvas wall.. While Kate distracted him, Old Man Bender or his son would sneak up to the curtain with a sledgehammer.. He had stayed there once before on his trip west and informed his brother, Colonel York of Fort Scott, that he would be staying with the Bender’s again on his return journey.. A short time after his brother’s disappearance, on May 4, 1873, Colonel York arrived at the Bender home.. York was in the front part of the inn by himself and so quietly, he slipped out the front door.. York returned to the Bender property the next morning, shortly after sunrise.. The Bender’s, apparently aware that York had disappeared the night before, had packed up and left the place.. The posse began to dig and tragically, the body of Colonel York’s brother was found in the first grave that was opened.

Videos

1. The Deadliest Serial Killers of the Old West
(EXPLORE WITH US)
2. This Insane Family Murdered Old West Pioneers and Vanished
(Vivid Crackle)
3. Becoming EVIL: Serial Killers: Serial Killers of the Old West- Full Film Documentary (2021) HD/HQ
(The Shrine Of Criminology)
4. The History Of Bloodbending (Avatar)
(The Amagi)
5. Murdering in Kansas
(But Have You Heard About?)
6. A family of serial killers [Bloody Benders] True Crime
(Elle Romanova)

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