HomeChilling CornerThe Top 10 Most Notorious Serial Killers of Modern Times

The Top 10 Most Notorious Serial Killers of Modern Times

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Many of the most fearsome serial killers in history have managed to remain relatively obscure, despite their chillingly high number of victims. While you may recognize a few names on this list, most will likely be unfamiliar unless you’re a dedicated follower of true crime… 

So let’s delve into the 10 most notorious serial killers of the modern era:

1. Dr Harold Shipman

Known victims: 218 

We kick off with a name that’s far from unknown. Born in Nottingham, the infamous ‘Dr. Death’ is believed to have murdered over 200 of his patients between 1975 and 1998, the majority of whom were elderly women. Convicted for 15 of these morphine murders, Shipman was given a life sentence in 2000. He took his own life in prison four years later.

2. Luis Garavito

Known victims: 138 

Luis Garavito, aka ‘La Bestia’ (‘The Beast’), from Colombia, is currently serving a staggering 1,853-year sentence in La Tramacúa prison in Valledupar. His horrific spree of crimes against vulnerable runaway boys continues to come to light as he confesses to more murders from behind bars. He would lure, capture, abuse, torture, murder, and then dismember his young victims. The discovered mass graves, located in Colombia, Ecuador, and Venezuela, held 138 of his victims, all killed in a brutal seven-year period (1992-1999).

3. Pedro López

Known victims: 110 

Another Colombian, Pedro López, also claimed to have killed over 300 children. Preying on young girls from 1969 onwards, he often crossed borders into neighboring countries to commit his horrific crimes. Initially, police didn’t believe his confessions, until a flash flood revealed some of his burial sites. The most unsettling fact about this ‘Monster of the Andes’ is that he was set free in 1998 and promptly disappeared. His current whereabouts remain a mystery…

4. Javed Iqbal

Known victims: 100 

This Pakistani murderer, targeting homeless children, was found guilty of the terrifying slaughter of 100 innocent children on the streets of Lahore in the late 1990s. Iqbal would strangle his victims, dismember their bodies and then dissolve them in hydrochloric acid. Although his sentencing judge wished the same fate upon him, Iqbal died in custody before it could be enacted. 

5. Mikhail Popkov

Known victims: 83 

Sentenced to life in 2019, Mikhail ‘The Werewolf’ Popkov is a serial killer and rapist active between 1992 and 2010. He was found guilty of 78 murders of young women across various Russian cities and has since confessed to an additional five while in prison. Popkov, a serving police officer, would offer women free rides, then sexually assault and murder them using an assortment of weapons.

6. Daniel Camargo Barbosa

Known victims: 72 

South American criminologists suggest that Colombian serial killer Daniel Camargo Barbosa strangled more than 180 girls and young women between 1974 and 1986, although he was convicted for 72 murders. His fascination for virgins led him to the same Ecuadorian prison as Pedro López. He met his end there in 1994, killed by another inmate, a nephew of one of his victims.

7. Pedro Rodrigues Filho

Known victims: 71 

Rodrigues Filho’s story is somewhat unique. Though his crimes were undeniably vicious, many of his victims were themselves far from innocent. Of the 71 victims, 47 were fellow inmates. Nicknamed ‘The Brazilian Dexter,’ Rodrigues Filho was sentenced to 128 years in prison but was released in 2018 due to Brazilian law capping prison sentences at 30 years. 

8. Kampatimar Shankariya

Known victims: 70  

Hailing from Jaipur, Shankariya claimed the lives of at least 70 people in just one year (1978 – 1979) in his home state of Rajasthan, India. At the time of these crimes, he was just 26. His chilling final words before his execution were, ‘I have murdered in vain. Nobody should become like me.’ 

9. Yang Xinhai

Known victims: 67 

Yang ‘The Monster Killer’ Xinhai stands out as the most notorious serial killer in the history of the People’s Republic of China. His heinous acts of murder and rape revealed his alarming lack of empathy. Xinhai once stated, “When I killed people I had a desire. This inspired me to kill more. I don’t care whether they deserve to live or not. It is none of my concern… I have no desire to be part of society. Society is not my concern.” His brutal spree ended when he was executed by a firing squad on Valentine’s Day 2004.

10. Samuel Little

Known victims: 60 

Hailing from the United States, Samuel Little holds the dubious honor of being the most prolific killer in the nation’s history, which is quite a feat given the country’s long and grim history of serial killers. Nicknamed ‘The Choke and Stroke Killer,’ Little primarily targeted African-American sex workers, murdering women across some 19 states. He passed away on December 30th, 2020, in a Los Angeles County area hospital at the age of 80. 

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