[FOUNTAIN]To catch a serial killer

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[FOUNTAIN]To catch a serial killer

On January 31, 1974, University of Washington student Linda Healy vanished at her lodging in Seattle. A month later, another female college student disappeared in Washington State. In the vicinity, more than 20 women went missing; they were later discovered raped and brutally murdered. A tip led to the arrest of a key suspect, Ted Bundy. He was reportedly obsessed with pornography, indicative of sexual perversions including necrophilia, that led him to commit the brutal crimes.
Sexual deviance sometimes manifests itself in criminal behavior. Such offenders often obtain pleasure from killing sex partners. Albert DeSalvo, who strangled 13 women in the Boston area in the 1960s, was also killing for pleasure. He was known as the Green Man, a reference to the green work pants he wore when he committed the murders.
The psychology of sex offenders is so complex that it is nearly impossible to uncover a motive. One pattern that has been revealed is that many serial sex killers had fallen under the influence of the negative character of their father more so than their mother ― drinking heavily, violent and leading a prodigal life. An underprivileged childhood is another factor commonly found among notorious killers. In some cases, the killers matched no known profile. A British serial killer, Dennis Nielsen, murdered 15 homosexual men and kept the bodies in his apartment until he was captured in 1983. He himself was homosexual. Aileen Wuornos, the first female serial killer in the United States, lured and then murdered five men in Florida over a two-year period starting in 1989. Psychological tests showed she loathed men because of her abusive father and history of sexual exploitation.
The most talked about criminal today in the United States is Gary Ridgway, the notorious Green River Killer. He confessed to the murders of 48 prostitutes, starting from the early 1980s. He was named a suspect in the murders in 1984 but was not indicted for lack of evidence. Thanks to technological advancements in DNA testing, which confirmed samples of his DNA matched physical evidence recovered from the victims, Ridgway was recently charged in the murders.
One of the unsolved cases in Korea is the serial rape-murder in Hwaseong in the 1980s. After the first victim was found in September 1986, dozens of women went missing and were found dead. Let’s pray for a breakthrough in this case.


by Lee Kyu-youn

The writer is a deputy social affairs news editor of the JoongAng Ilbo.
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