Serial killers — their crimes inspire dread among us. Their dark perversions, lack of empathy and guilt repulse us. But these unremorseful psychopaths are not monsters; they’re very human, and that’s the scariest thing of all. They can be anyone from the neighborhood. A serial killer parading as a lawyer or a clown to lure their victims is not unheard of.
In the past, numerous crimes committed were not brought to trial because leads had gone cold. One of the reasons: investigators focused only on people close to the victim. They didn’t see the connections between the seemingly random and unmotivated crimes.
Rise of the Serial Killers
Serial killers were brought to the public consciousness only in the 70s when there was a frightening uptick in the number, with over 450 serial killers at work. It’s also in this decade that profiling was established.
The handsome and charismatic Ted Bundy, who preyed on young women, was one of the first serial killers to be profiled. Though serial killer gained much attention during the 70s, the existence of this series of heinous murders goes back to the 19th century Jack the Ripper and even way back to the prolific serial killer Elizabeth Báthory, a countess from 16th century Hungary.
Serial Killer Profiling
The FBI’s Behavioral Sciences Unit developed the process of profiling in the 1970s. Today, many of those in the authority acknowledge that the profiles are not absolutely accurate.
According to an expert from Mikorscan Distributed Pathology, it is essential that the laboratory where the physical evidence is examined should use precise and state-of-the-art equipment, from scanning slides to DNA Sequencer, to ensure that forensic samples are accurately analyzed.
The investigators and criminal profilers study the autopsy reports, the position of the body in the crime scene and other details, and connect them to the behavior of the suspects or other crimes with the same MO (Modus Operandi) and signature. Profiling is based on statistics and pure deduction. It can’t convict a person, but it can lead the investigation to the right direction or helps investigators narrow down the list of suspects.
In the court of law, physical evidence is a strong ground for conviction. This is where forensic science comes in. Forensic science covers the use of fingerprints, DNA and blood samples to solve a crime.
Serial killer profiling is a double-edged sword. It can either direct the investigation to the right path or lead it to the wrong direction. As long as the physical evidence fails to prove that the accused person committed the crime, then everything is leading to another cold case.