How to Catch a Killer: Hunting and Capturing the World's Most Notorious Serial Killers

How to Catch a Killer: Hunting and Capturing the World's Most Notorious Serial Killers

by Katherine Ramsland PhD


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There are two parts to every crime story: how they did it and why they got caught.This book is about the second part, and how it changes the way we catch serial killers.
No two stories about the capture of a serial killer are the same. Sometimes, the killers make crucial mistakes; other times, investigators get lucky. And the process of profiling, hunting, and apprehending these predators has changed radically over time, particularly in the field of criminal forensics, which has exploded in the last ten to 15 years. Laser ablation, video spectral analysis, cyber-sleuthing, and even DNA-based genetic genealogy are now crucial tools in solving murders, including the recent capture of the so-called Golden State Killer. This book in the new Profiles in Crime series tells the history of forensics through the “capture stories” of some of the most notorious serial killers, going back almost a century.

The killers include:
  • Rodney Alcala, a serial rapist and murderer sometimes called “Dating Game killer” for his appearance on that TV show. No one knows the exact number of his victims.
  • Takahiro Shiraishi, the suicide killer from Zama, Japan, who dismembered nine victims and stored their bodies in his refrigerator.
  • Aileen Wuornos, one of the rare female serial killers. She shot seven men in Florida and was turned in by an accomplice.
  • Jeffrey Dahmer, the “Milwaukee Cannibal,” and Bobby Joe Long, both identified by survivors
  • Ted Bundy and David Berkowitz (“Son of Sam”), who both made mistakes
  • Ludwig Tessnow, who killed several children in Germany, and was caught through new methods in forensic investigation that could distinguish human from animal blood

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781454939375
Publisher: Sterling
Publication date: 07/07/2020
Series: Profiles in Crime Series , #1
Pages: 312
Sales rank: 192,811
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Katherine Ramsland, PhD, is a professor of forensic psychology and criminal justice at DeSales University. She has published more than 1,000 articles and 60 books, most focusing on serial killers, and speaks internationally on the subject. She was a regular contributor to Court TV’s Crime Library, and is a regular guest on The Today Show, 20/20, NPR, and E! True Hollywood.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction x

Part I Forensic Innovation

1 The Mad Carpenter 2

2 The Footpad Killer 10

3 The Clean-Cut Killer 18

4 The Vienna Courier 27

5 BTK 36

6 The Golden State Killer 48

Part II Police Procedure

7 The Cannibal Killer 58

8 The Killer Clown 68

9 The Dating Game Killer 78

10 The Slave Master 87

11 The ABC Killer 95

12 The Hanging Pro 104

13 The Grudge Collector 112

14 The Choke-and-Stroke Killer 122

15 The Chicago Scammer 132

16 The Moors Murderers 141

17 The Cross-Country Chameleon 150

18 The Classified Ad Rapist 160

19 The Bundy Wannabe 170

20 The Chessboard Killer 179

21 The Grindr Killer 186

Part IV Witness Reports

22 The Soap Maker of Correggio 196

23 The Son of Sam 205

24 The Night Stalker 213

25 The Man-Eater 222

26 The Milwaukee Monster 230

27 La Mataviejitas 240

Part V Self-Surrender

28 The Candy Man's Apprentice 250

29 The Coed Killer 260

30 The Angel of Death 268

Summary 277

Sources 279

Image Credits 295

Index 296

About the Author 300

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