Serial killers are inherently frightening. The idea of a person lurking within everyday society who secretly and continually murders people whom he does not know personally is a disturbing thought. Yet, there is one observation about these serial offenders that many people find comforting: as a rule, sooner or later they’re apprehended. Unfortunately, this is not always true. Three well-known serial killers were never apprehended. They are the Zodiac Killer, EAR/ONS, and the Texarckana Phantom. Knowing that killers such as these can perpetrate their heinous crimes and, in the end, escape justice makes these killers that much scarier.
The Zodiac Killer
The Zodiac Killer committed his first crime on December 20, 1968 when he murdered David Faraday and Betty Lou Jensen, two high-school students on their first date. Over the course of the next ten months, Zodiac definitely murdered three more victims and seriously injured an additional two. Some think the killer was responsible for more murders before and after this time frame.
What really set Zodiac apart from many other serial killers was that he sent numerous letters to San Francisco Bay Area newspapers. In these letters, Zodiac shared details that only the killer would know. He also taunted the police and claimed to have murdered more people than police could account for. In one of his last letters, Zodiac claimed to have killed 37 people. Most people do not believe this claim.
Another interesting thing the killer did was send codes along with his letters. One code was broken by a high school teacher. The broken code started off by saying “I like killing people because it is so much fun…” The remaining three codes have never been solved.
EAR / ONS
The next serial killer who was never apprehended has not one, but two different names: the East Area Rapist and the Original Night Stalker. He has these two different names because he developed two separate criminal histories in two separate parts of California.
EAR/ONS started out as a serial rapist in the Sacramento, California area. From 1976 to 1979, the man committed a staggering number of home-invasion rapes, approximately 50. In the beginning, he targeted lone women. Later, he evolved and often targeted couples where he would subdue the male and rape the female.
As the Northern California rapes stopped, a new series of crimes began in Southern California. Between approximately 1980 and 1986, a series of home-invasion murders, sometimes involving rape, were committed by a man dubbed the Original Night Stalker. In all, the killer murdered ten people across six separate attacks.
In 2001, DNA analysis revealed that the East Area Rapist and the Original Night Stalker were, in fact, one and the same.
To this day, the man remains unidentified.
The Texarkana Phantom Killer
The Phantom Killer is the name given to a man who killed five people and seriously injured three others in the spring of 1946. The man attacked three couples parked in lover’s lane areas late at night. Then, breaking the pattern, the killer attacked a middle-aged couple in a farmhouse (although there is some question about whether or not this latter crime is the work of the Phantom).
The killer was known for wearing a bag-like mask over his head and sexually assaulting the female victims. With all of the crimes happening over a three month period, the time frame of this never-identified serial killer is much shorter than that of EAR/ONS or the Zodiac Killer.
The story of the Texarkana Phantom Killer was made into a movie in 1976, called The Town that Dreaded Sundown.
There will always be some mysteries that will never be solved, regardless of how many and how much people long for a resolution. There’s still a chance that these serial killers — the Zodiac Killer, EAR/ONS, and the Texarckana Phantom Killer — may one day be solved. But, the chance of that happening at this late date is pretty low. Sometimes, the bad guys get away with their crimes…