The Deadliest Serial Killers in Modern History

By Sophie for Into The Mind

It's often difficult to pinpoint the exact number of victims one serial killer has claimed, especially if they have been active over a long period of time. Many serial killers are compulsive liars, therefore we can't entirely trust the amount they claim to have killed, and it's often an amount that they change frequently. There is many different ideas of how to quantify the total amount of victims, most lists use the total amount the killer was charged with.

Here is a list taking into account the claims made by the killers themselves, the suspicions of the police and the amount of crimes they were ultimately charged with.


1. Luis Garavito

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Convicted for: 138 Suspected: 300+

Luis Garavito a.k.a "La Bestia" (The Beast) is the world's most prolific serial killer. In 1999 he admitted to the rape, torture and murder of 138 street children in Colombia between the years of 1992 - 1999. His victims were mainly boys, all aged between just 6 - 16. Garavito is currently incarcerated and could spend up to 80 years in prison. While in prison he has been drawing maps to show the location of his victims, these maps suggest his total amount of victims could be over 300.


2. Pedro Lopez

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Image Source: Criminal Minds Wiki

Convicted for: 80 Suspected: 300+

Pedro Lopez a.k.a "The Monster of the Andes" was previously the most prolific, until the arrest of his compatriot, Luis Garavito. He claims to have raped and killed of 300 young girls across Colombia, Peru and Ecuador between the years of 1969 - 1980. He was convicted for 80 murders after  several mass graves were discovered. Due to unusual laws on maximum sentence in Colombia, Pedro Lopez was released in 1998. His current whereabouts is unknown, as is the question of whether he has killed again.


3. Harold Shipman

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Convicted for: 15 Suspected: 250+

Over a period of 23 years (1975 - 1998) Harold Shipman is thought to have killed over 250 of his patients. He was a well respected doctor in a town in Northern England, he was well liked and trusted by all of his elderly patients. Shipman would kill his patients with an overdose or lethal drug and claim it as natural causes, he would then forge the victims will and edit himself in. A government report puts Shipmans total number of victims at 236, 218 of which could be positively identified. Shipman committed suicide in prison in 2004, aged 57.


4. Daniel Camargo Barbosa

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Convicted for: 73 Suspected: 150-180

Daniel Camargo Barbosa is the 3rd Colombian to make the list after admitting to murdering at least 73 young girls in Colombia and Ecuador between 1974 - 1986. He was originally arrested in 1974 and although at that time police believed he had killed over 80 girls, he was only charged with the death of one. He escaped from prison in 1984 and started killing again. In 1986 he was apprehended again, and this time confessed to killing 72 girls since his escape 2 years earlier. It's believed he is responsible for at least 150 murders. In 1994 he was stabbed to death in prison.


5. Javed Iqbal Mughal

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Convicted for: 100 Suspected: 100

In 1999 police in Pakistan received a letter from Javad Iqbal, claiming he had killed 100 children. He had lured the children off the streets with the help of 4 accomplices, then sexually abused, strangled and dismembered their bodies before dissolving them in acid. When police searched his property they only found the remains of 2 children and a large vat of acid. However, photographs of the missing children helped with the identification of some of his victims. Iqbal died in an apparent suicide in 2001.


6. Pedro Rodrigues Filho

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Image Source: Criminal Minds Wiki

Convicted of: 71 Suspected: 100+

Pedro Rodrigues Filho a.k.a. "Pedrinho Matador" killed at least 71 people between the years of 1967 - 2003. He first killed at age 14, a revenge killing on behalf of his father. By the time he was 18 he had already killed 10 people, all revenge killings. He later also killed his own father, after his father killed his mother. In total Filho claims to have killed over 100 people, despite this in Brazil certain laws mean a person can only be incarcerated for so long. He was released from prison in 2007.


7. Abul Djabar

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Convicted of: 65 Suspected: 300+

Abul Djabar was arrested in Afghanistan 1970 for the rape and murder of over 65 young boys. It is suspected that he actually killed over 300. Unfortunately before they arrested Djabar, Afghan authorities had already executed 2 innocent people for the murders. In 1970 he was executed.


8. Gary Ridgway

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Convicted for: 40 Suspected: 90+

During the 1980's and 1990's it is thought that Gary Ridgway (a.k.a. "The Green River Killer") killed over 90 female sex workers and vulnerable women. He would strangle his victims, then dump their bodies in forested areas, returning at later dates to have sex with the corpses. In 2001 Ridgway was arrested and eventually convicted of 49 murders, making him the most prolific killer in the USA. Ridgway has confessed to 71 murders, saying that it's difficult to keep count as he had killed so many.


9. Kampatimar Shankariya

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Image Source: The Mind of James Donahue

Convicted for: 70 Suspected: 70+

Kampatimar Shankariya was convicted in India in 1979 of the murders of 70 people over 2 years. He chose his victims randomly, killing both men and women, later telling police that he just killed for the pleasure it provided him. He killed his victims by beating them with a hammer. He was executed in 1979.


10. Yang Xinhai

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Convicted for: 65 Suspected: 65

Yang Xinhai is China's most prolific serial killer.  He confessed to 67 murders and 23 rapes over the years of 1999 - 2003. Xinhai would enter his victims houses and kill all of the occupants by beating them to death with a hammer. In 2004 he was executed by firing squad.


11. Andrei Chikatilo

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Convicted of: 52 Suspected: 56+

Over the course of 12 years Andrei Chikatilo a.k.a. "The Rostov Ripper" killed, mutilated and sexually assaulted at least 52 women and children in Russia. His wife later revealed that Chikatilo could not have sex in any normal way, he would work himself up by stabbing and mutilating his victims before he could rape them. It's believed that in total Chikatilo murdered at least 56 young people, mainly young girls. He was executed in 1994.


12. Alexander Pichushkin

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Image Source: Daily Mirror

Convicted of: 49 Suspected: 63

Alexander Pichuskin is a Russian serial killer known as "The Chessboard Killer" because for each of his victims, he would place a piece on his chessboard. By the time he was arrested, he had already filled 62 out of 64 squares. Both his victims and method varied from murder to murder, he seemed to be more interested in beating his compatriot Andrei Chikatilo. He killed between 1992 - 2006, with a period in 2005 where police were finding a new body a week. He was arrested in 2006 and convicted of 49 murders, just below the amount Chikatilo was convicted of.


13. Anatoly Onoprienko

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Convicted of: 52 Suspected: 52

Ukrainian serial killer Anatoly Onoprienko is better known as "The Terminator" and is also Ukraine's most prolific serial killer. In 1996 he was arrested and confessed to killing 52 people between 1989 - 1996. Onoprienko would choose an isolated home, break in at dawn and round up and kill all the occupants and witnesses. He would then steal anything he could and set the house on fire. He died in prison in 2013, aged 54.


14. Wang Qiang

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Convicted of: 45 Suspected: 45+

Wang Qiang is a Chinese serial killer and rapist. He was arrested in 2003 for 45 murders and 10 rapes between the years of 1995 - 2003. He would also rape some of his young female victims post-mortem. He was executed in 2005.


15. Ahmad Suradji

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Image Source: Murderpedia

Convicted of: 42 Suspected 42+

Ahmad Suradji admitted to killing 42 women and girls between 1986 - 1997 in Indonesia. His victims we aged between 17 - 40. He would bury his victims alive, up to their waists, then strangle them to death and drink their saliva. He then buried them near his home with their heads facing his house in a sort of ritual he believed would make him more powerful. He was executed in 2008 by firing squad.


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