7 Serial Killers & The 'Trophies' They Collected From Their Victims
Even though the evidence could lead to their capture, many serial killers throughout history can’t stop themselves from keeping “trophies” of their victims.
Even though the evidence could lead to their capture, many serial killers throughout history can’t stop themselves from keeping “trophies” from their victims.
Experts say that these items can serve as grisly totems to help the killers relive their crimes later. Some take personal possessions like jewelry, IDs, or clothing — while others hoard body parts.
Here are seven serial killers and the “trophy” items they kept:
Photos: Ted Bundy [1980 mug shot/Wikimedia Commons]; Jeffrey Dahmer [Milwaukee Police Department]; Ed Kemper [Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office]
Sean Vincent Gillis is a serial killer who terrorized the city of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, between 1994 and 2003 when he kidnapped, raped, murdered, and mutilated eight women in the city and surrounding areas.
Detectives later found found 45 digital pictures of one of his victim’s bodies on his computer, along with pictures of her corpse in the trunk of his car.
Gillis also kept body parts in his home which, along with the photos, he used to stimulate himself as he remembered the murders.
He was sentenced to life in prison in 2008.
For more on Sean Gillis, watch the "Monster Among Us" episode of Murder By Numbers on ID GO now!
Read more: Daily Mirror
Main photo: Sean Gillis mug shot [Wikimedia Commons]
Jeffrey Dahmer, the infamous serial killer who was also known as the “Milwaukee Cannibal” or the “Milwaukee Monster,” raped, murdered, and dismembered 17 men and boys from 1978 to 1981.
Dahmer was known for his unique and horrifying way of keeping his victims with him: When police searched his apartment in 1991, they found photographs of dead bodies in various stages of decomposition, a severed head in the refrigerator, and several boxes of muriatic acid on the floor. Dahmer later admitted that he kept his victims’ body parts marinating in the acid and preserved parts of their skeletons.
He also stated that he sometimes cooked and ate his victims.
After confessing his crimes to the police, he also told them he had built an altar in his house made of severed human heads and skulls.
For more on Jeffrey Dahmer, watch the "Deadly Desires" episode of Most Evil on ID GO now!
Read more: Vanity Fair
Photo: Jeffrey Dahmer [Milwaukee Police Department]
Ivan Milat is an Australian serial killer who was given the name “The Backpack Killer” due to the seven backpackers and hitchhikers he murdered in the 1990’s.
Milat, whose crimes were dramatized in the horror movie Wolf Creek, would stab or shoot his victims. He sometimes stabbed them in the spine, which would leave them helpless and paralyzed while he killed them.
When police arrested him in 1994, they found many of his victims’ camping supplies – including sleeping bags and clothing.
For more on Ivan Milat, watch the "Backpacker Killer" episode of Blood, Lies & Alibis on ID GO now!
Read more: Biography
Photo: Ivan Milat [Wikimedia Commons]
Edmund Kemper, known as "The Co-Ed Killer," was arrested in 1973 after murdering six female students, his own mother, and her best friend.
Previously, he had shot both of his grandparents. He was incarcerated for those murders, but was eventually released and free to kill again.
Kemper’s MO was to pick up the women while they were hitchhiking in the Santa Cruz area, and then kill – and often decapitate – them and then have sex with their bodies. According to police, he dissected his victims at home and collected their dismembered heads in his apartment.
When police came to Kemper's home to apprehend him, they found the decapitated corpse of his mother there — which Kemper reportedly used for dart practice. His mother's tongue and larynx were found chopped up in the garbage disposal.
For more on Ed Kemper, watch the "Head Hunter" mini-series of Serial Thriller on ID GO now!
Read more: Psychology Today
Photo: Ed Kemper [Santa Cruz Sheriff's Department]
Ted Bundy, whose good looks, charm, and law school education helped him prey on (at least) 36 female victims, kept grisly trophies as well.
After his arrest, he admitted to police that he had decapitated 12 of his victims with a hacksaw before disposing of them.
But Bundy did not dump all of his victims’ bodies right away. He engaged in necrophilia — and collected some of the severed heads at home.
Bundy told police that he applied makeup to his victims' faces and washed their hair after he had killed them. “If you’ve got time,” he reportedly said, “they can be whatever you want them to be.”
For more on Ted Bundy, watch the "Angel of Decay" mini-series of Serial Thriller on ID GO now!
Read more: Daily Mail
Photo: Ted Bundy [Wikimedia Commons]
Between 1974 and 1991, Dennis Rader, who chose the nickname “BTK” to stand for “Bind, Torture, Kill,” murdered 10 people in the Wichita, Kansas, metro area while living a seemingly quiet life as a suburban husband and father.
Rader was particularly known for sending taunting letters to police and newspapers describing the details of his crimes — and enclosing their personal belongings with the letters.
In a letter Rader wrote to The Wichita Eagle, in which he identified himself as “Bill Thomas Killman,” he admitted to killing Vicki Wegerle in 1986. Inside the envelope, BTK enclosed photographs of the crime scene and a photocopy of her driver’s license.
He stole driver’s licenses and various items from other victims, including a radio from the Otero family.
For more on the BTK Killer, watch the "Attention Seekers" episode of Most Evil on ID GO now!
Read more: CrimeFeed
Photo: Dennis Rader [El Dorado Correctional Facility]
Jerry Brudos murdered at least four women in Oregon between 1968 and 1969.
He was taunted as a child by his mother, who physically abused him and told him that she had always wanted a girl.
When he grew up, Brudos took his repressed rage out on his victims. He would kill them, have sex with them post-mortem, and then dress up in high heels and masturbate after the murders.
Brudos kept the body of one of his victims hanging from a pulley in his garage for several days while he dressed and redressed it, took photographs, and had sex with it.
He also admitted that he cut off one of his victim’s breasts and made a resin mold of it that he used as a paperweight.
For more on Jerry Brudos, watch the "Dungeon of Death" episode of Dark Temptations on ID GO now!
Read more: ThoughtCo.com
Photo: Jerry Brudos [Oregeon State Penitentiary]