SERIAL KILLER MYTHS EXPOSED
Myth Number One
Unless you hear about a serial killer at large in your area, you can assume no serial killers are living in your community.
Police are reluctant to label a murder as a possible serial homicide. Telling the community a serial killer is out there stirs up a lot of unpleasant attention. The bad publicity kills tourism, and citizens start asking police what they are doing about catching this creep terrorizing their neighborhood. Besides, if one follows the gotta have killed three requirement, unless there are at least those three and there is DNA matching the murders or the bodies are all dumped in the same place, the police arent going to say there is a serial killer involved.
There is also the problem of determining the motive of the murderer. Suppose a girl is found strangled in the bushes but she is fully clothed: was it a drug deal gone bad or an angry boyfriend? Or is this really a serial killer who didnt rape the victim? Or how about a body found in a field one year after she disappeared? There may be little evidence to determine what actually occurred in the crime. We also have to deal with people who have just gone missing. They may be buried in a forest, at the bottom of a lake, or under that new cement slab the man at the end of the block just laid down.
Without solid connections between homicides, we may have the reverse problem of believing three local murders are the work of one serial killer when they may actually be the work of three! We may just not know that there are yet other homicides connected to each one of the serial killers.
Many of the less prolific killers stories go unheard because they simply dont make good books. Most well-known serial killers have victims numbering in the dozens, have sent taunting letters to the police or have done bizarre things to the bodies. The average serial killer will be ignored because he isnt cool enough or he simply didnt get convicted of enough murders to be considered a serial killer. Of course, it is also possible you will never hear about them because they never got caught.
Janie needs a place to stay because her boyfriend just ended up in jail and she has no place to go. She calls one of her co-workers, Bobby Joe Leonard, and asks if she can stay at his place. She isnt too worried about staying there because he lives with his girlfriend and kids. It never even occurs to her that he could be a dangerous predator. Serial killers arent people you know; they are strangers who live alone or with their mothers, arent they?