Discover the deadliest female serial killers from around the world
Female serial killers, in terms of history, are a rather deadly club. More to the point, they don’t happen that often in comparison to their male counterparts. Now whether female serial killers are underreported in comparison to their men or, you know, sexism of the investigators looking into their crimes play into these low numbers? We can’t say. What we can say, however, is that many female serial killers are terrifying.
But who are the deadliest female serial killers to walk the world over? Which woman would you never want to meet in a dark alley late at night? From grandmas to children, these women prove that it’s probably not Jeffrey Dahmer or B.T.K. that should be giving you nightmares at night.
Over the course of 30 horrifying years back in the 1800s, Amelia Dyer would take in unwanted infants from their parents. As a “baby farmer”, she would look after them for a small fee and promise to take care of them. Dyer, however, did not. Instead, she would force the infants to overdose on opioids and hide their bodies. It’s estimated that she killed over 400 infants.
Dyer is definitely one of the UK’s most notorious serial killers. One could argue that she’s one of the most prolific serial killers of all time with her body count of innocent infants being proof of that. She was executed by hanging.
Gwen Graham and Cathy Wood
Gwen Graham and Cathy Wood are definitely a duo that you wouldn’t want around your ailing grandparents. This killer couple met and fell in love while working at a nursing home in Michigan in the 1980s. As part of some twisted way to prove their love to each other, they started murdering patients. Because what other way is there to prove that you love someone?
At the end of their spree, Graham and Wood killed five elderly patients. And they didn’t even stay together. The pair broke up. Graham is currently serving life imprisonment while Wood was sentenced to 20-40 years in prison and was released in 2020.
Darya Nikolayevna Saltykova
Darya Nikolayevna Saltykova is an 18th-century Russian noblewoman with bodies literally in her home. She would brutally beat and torture the young girls that worked for her so badly that they would die. Of course, due to her position in the Russian aristocracy? No one really cared about the deaths of some peasant girls. She was left to continue on, unchecked.
When nobility finally got around to checking things, they found the bodies of 138 serfs in her home. She was found guilty for these acts. Her punishment had her chained to a platform with “This woman has tortured and murdered” around her neck while everyone ridiculed her. She then had life imprisonment in the cellar of Ivanovsky Convent until her death.
Juana Barraza had an interesting double life. By day, she was a Mexican professional wrestler. By night? She was a serial killer of an elderly woman that reminded her of her mother. From 1998 to 2006, Barraza murdered an estimated 40 women by bludgeoning or strangulation. They let her into their homes because they believed that she was there to help them sign up for welfare programs.
Barraza was sentenced to 759 years in prison. Sentences in Mexican courts, however, are usually served concurrently with the maximum being 60 years. It looks like Barraza will serve her full sentence. Seeing as how she’s 62 at the time of writing this article? She’ll more than likely die in prison.
Miyuki Ishikawa is a Japanese midwife and serial killer. Like Amelia Dyer on this list, her victims were infants. While working at a maternity hospital, Ishikawa believed that the infants of the poor would be better off dead. With the parents’ support, she began to neglect the children and let them die under her watch. In fact, she would even get paid for her death services by the parents.
It’s estimated that around 103 infants died in Ishikawa’s care. Shockingly, however, she only served four years in prison for her crimes when she was apprehended in 1948. Ishikawa remains one of the most prolific serial killers in Japan’s history and the serial killer with the highest body count.