West Virginia January 30, 2017
The Stories Behind These 6 Serial Killers Who Lived In Small Town West Virginia Are Chilling
These terrifying serial killers have one thing in common: they all spent time in West Virginia. Although it’s awful to think that such people have lived in our state, it’s worthwhile to be aware of history. Here are their disturbing stories.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Harry Powers (The "Lonely Hearts" Killer)
Harry Powers was born as Herman Drenth in 1892 in the Netherlands. His family settled in West Virginia in 1926. He married and bought a home home in Quiet Dell, WV, but soon began taking out personal ads in the paper claiming to be looking for love. When women answered the ads, he killed them and stole their money. He was caught and convicted in 1931 and executed in 1932. He came to be known as "The Lonely Hearts Killer" and "The Bluebeard of Quiet Dell."
2. James Childers
James Childers came from Clarksburg, owned a farm in Braxton County and worked as a handyman. In 2009, Childers sent an audio recording to police, describing where they could find 2 bodies buried in Braxton and Barbour Counties. He claimed to have murdered several more people, but most of the bodies were never found. He shot himself when police came to arrest him after listening to the recordings.
3. Bobbie Joe Long
Bobbie Joe Long was born in Kenova, West Virginia in 1953. Before turning to murder, Long had committed at least 50 rapes as the "Classified Ad Rapist" in Florida, answering ads about small appliances, and then raping women if they were home alone. He was once charged and convicted, but requested a new trial. All of the rape charges against him were dropped by authorities, and some of the charges were never pursued at all. After getting away with rape for for several years, Long began killing his victims, as well, in 1984. He killed at least 10 women before he was finally arrested later that year. He is now serving multiple life sentences without possibility of parole.
4. Henry Lee Lucas
Henry Lee Lucas spent 10 years in prison for the murder of his mother, before he was released in 1970 because of prison overcrowding. He then attempted to kidnap three schoolgirls, and served another five years in prison. After that he moved to West Virginia, where he began a relationship with a woman, but left the state after her family confronted him about being abusive. Lucas then spent time in Florida and Texas, and after several additional brushes with the law, confessed to hundreds of murders. It's likely that most of those were false confessions, but he was ultimately convicted of 11 homicides. He died in prison from heart failure at age 64.
5. Charles Manson
Notorious cult leader Charles Manson lived in McMechen, West Virginia for a time with his aunt and uncle while his mother served prison time for robbing a Charleston service station. Although Manson did not personally commit the killings famously perpetrated by his cult, Manson was convicted of first-degree murder for giving the orders to kill the victims.
6. The Mad Butcher
This case remains one of West Virginia's unsolved mysteries. In the 1960s, seven people in Fayette County went missing, and various dismembered body parts were later found strewn around the mountains. There's little information available about the case, but no one was ever convicted of the crimes.
For more tragic stories from West Virginia, take a look at these
ten horrifying disasters that happened in our state.