Highway fatalities are not always caused by auto accidents. America’s highways are paved with the blood of victims found alongside the road. Here is a list of six of the most notorious serial killers, known for using the nation’s highways as a hunting and dumping ground for their hundreds of victims.
1. Patrick Kearney
Despite the mild mannered persona Patrick Kearney portrayed, he was a stone cold killer that targeted and murdered young men in the 70’s. Kearney’s prey were often found in gay bars or as hitchhikers along the road. Once alone with his victim he would rape, murder, and occasionally torture the captive. When the deed was done, he would dismember the bodies and dump them in trash bags along California’s highways.
2. William Bonin
Former truck driver, William Bonin was caught while raping an underage, teenage girl. Once in custody on June 11, 1980, police found evidence in Bonin’s car directly tying him to the rape and murder of at least 13 other victims. Bonin did not always work alone. Instead he sought out other depraved minds to commit his crimes with. Bonin and accomplices would dump the bodies on the side of California highways. In 1982 Bonin was found guilty of 10 murders in LA County and 4 murders in Orange County. He was executed in 1996.
3. The Colonial Parkway Murders
In a three year period, (1986-1989) four double homicides occurred on the Colonial Parkway. The killer’s victims were young and appeared to be in romantic relationships with each other. The first couple was found strangled and with their throats slashed in their car. The second duo were shot and dumped in the James River. No evidence of the third couple was found, only the abandoned car left on the side of the road. The final couple was found in the woods off of the road, too decomposed to determine the cause of death. An interesting part of this mystery is that there is enough consistency between the timing, location and profile of the victims to suggest a serial killer. However, the different ways victims were murdered suggests something different. This is why this case is still under active investigation.
4. The New Bedford Highway Killer
Six sex workers went missing between 1988 and 1989 and turned up dead along Route 140, I-95 & Route 88. Two local women who went missing are also suspected of being NBHK victims. Even after decades, no one has been identified as the killer and the murders remain open cases.
5. Randy Kraft
Randy Kraft earned the name “The Scorecard Killer” because of the coded list he kept of his 61 victims. Although the codebook records 61 victims, he was only convicted of killing 16. Kraft differed from Kearney & Bonin in his choice of victim – focusing on older men, particularly servicemen. In 1983 Kraft was arrested and tried for the murder of 16 people and was sentenced to death row. He is currently awaiting execution at the San Quentin State Prison.
6. The 1-45 Killer
This list ends with probably the most active serial killers in US history. The 1-45 Killer left 42 bodies along the 50 mile stretch of road, spanning from Houston to Galveston, Texas. Aside from being women, the victims did not have any commonalities. When the bodies of four young women were found along a particular stretch of highway over a 6 year period, it was named the “Killing Fields”. The lack of similarities between victims suggests that more than a single person may be behind these murders.
The stories, combined, put together a new meaning of ‘highway safety’!