You've probably heard by now, but in an unexpected turn of events, authorities in Sacramento, California arrested the notorious Golden State Killer in late April 2018. After being suspected of committing more than 100 burglaries, 50 rapes and 12 murders in California between from 1974 to 1986, he's finally behind bars. But that means he was walking free for 32 years since his last suspected murder.
The twist is authorities nabbed him thanks to DNA. But not how you'd expect. This was different. They found the Golden State Killer through his family tree after comparing DNA evidence from a crime scene to a popular genealogy site called GEDmatch.
While the Golden State Killer's capture is unusual, serial killers remaining on the loose, unfortunately, is not. How many other monsters like the Golden State Killer lurk unmasked, some never to see justice? Stuff They Don't Want You To Know hosts Ben Bowlin, Matt Frederick and Noel Brown return to the podcast's ongoing series to examine that very question in this episode, Uncaught Serial Killers Part 3.
First, what exactly constitutes a serial killer? According to the FBI, it's a murderer who kills two or more people within 30 days, with a cooling-off period in between. Usually there's some kind of method to their madness, too. The victims are often similar in some way, or linked somehow, or even killed in the same manner. That's certainly the case for the serial killers discussed in this episode: They all targeted gay men.
The Beer Man was a killer operating in Mumbai, India in 2006. He killed eight men, five of whom the killer had sex with before stabbing or bludgeoning them to death. On a few occasions, he left a Kingfisher beer can beside his victim's body, inspiring the name.
Authorities did catch a suspect, Ravindra Kantrole, who confessed to killing 15 people unrelated to the case. But his admissions were made when he was subjected to a narco-analysis test — basically truth serum — and brain-mapping scans, neither of which are admissible in Indian courts. Kantrole went on trial for three of the Beer Man murders, and was convicted and sentenced, but the Bombay high court overturned the ruling, and Kantrole went free in 2012.
Soon after, Open magazine reported he set up a fast food stall and that his lawyer had written a movie script about him. But where he is today is hard to pin down. But the Beer Man is still out there ... and so is Kantrole.
In Johannesburg, South Africa, nine victims, all gay men, were found bound and murdered between 2010 and 2011. Several were killed in their homes, so it appeared they may have known their attacker. Authorities thought it was a gang of homophobic killers, but others believed it was the work of a single killer. And the South African Police Service was under fire from gay rights advocacy groups for not taking enough action to track down the murderer — or murderers. Eight years later, authorities still don't know exactly what went down in Johannesburg.
Homophobia also played a role in the next case: The Doodler lurked around San Francisco's Castro neighborhood in the '70s, meeting gay men in bars. He'd later sketch or paint their portraits, go somewhere with them to have sex, and then stab them. He killed 14 men, and police even questioned a suspect for over a year. But witnesses and survivors of the killer refused to testify, for fear of outing themselves in an intolerant time, so no one has ever been convicted. If The Doodler is still alive, he would be in his 60s.
Sadly, there are many more serial killers still on the loose, including the murderer of the Jeff Davis 8. And the cover up of these killings by the local Louisiana police department is so shocking, it reads like fiction. The only thing scarier than these true-crime stories is that these cases — and so many others — remain unsolved. Maybe you can provide a lead to crack one of them wide open and put a killer behind bars. But you'll never know if you don't listen to the entire podcast to find out.