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Top 10 Most Notorious Serial Killers Arrested in the 21st Century

Every time a neighborhood is associated with a serial killer, the terror shakes everything including property prices. Hunting down a serial killer also takes years with their crimes continuing to hurt the society making unserved justice to these murderers so painful. Serial killers are one of the most unpredictable threats to security even in the 21st century. While society has never established one main reason for their actions, these people are dangerous and very elusive. Every arrested serial killer brings justice to the victims of their crime. These are 10 of the most notorious serial killers arrested in this century.

1. Mikhail Popkov: Russia 1992 – 2012

This is Russia‘s most prolific serial killer with over 100 murders to his head and counting. Mikhail Popkov’s murders seem unending after another 22 deaths were added to his initial 84 which he confessed to after his arrest. Also known as the Wednesday killer or the Angarsk Maniac, Popkov’s motive for killing women was “cleansing the city.” He claimed the women who were walking alone at night were immoral, leaving their husbands and children at home to go drinking.

Over the 20 years of his criminal acts, Popkov, a former police officer, kidnapped women late at night in his car and killed them with tools such as hammers. He is also believed to have raped the victims, so much for cleaning right? He dumped most victims on the roadside and came later as a police officer to visit the crime scene. [1]

2. Harold Shipman: UK 1911 – 2004

Ever heard of a man who kills people just to derive sexual pleasure from watching them die? This is probably one of the few evil doctors that went to record as a serial killer hence his name “Doctor Death.”[2] Harold Shipman was an elusive serial killer who took the opportunity he was given of saving lives as a doctor to kill people. He fantasized having power over life and death and would overdose patients with Morphine or medical heroine and watch them die. The sad thing is that his colleagues never flagged him even after taking a surprisingly large quantity of pain medication. 

He still had thousands of patients recorded to him as a personal physician making him one of the most dangerous serial killers to walk the earth. While the exact number of his victims was never established, he was convicted of 15 before more evidence uncovered more murders over the years. Unlike other serial killers, Shipman denied his crimes until his suicide in 2004. He is still considered the UK’s most prolific serial killer. He thought he was doing the patients a favor because they were going to die anyway.[3]

3. Pedro Rodrigues Filho: Brazil 1967 – 2003

A serial killer that kills bad guys may sound like a less dangerous criminal but Pedro Filho is simply the expression of pure evil.[4] His behavior is highly associated with the abuse he faced as a child, he was born with an injured skull because his dad beat his mother before he was born. He started taking pleasure in killing rapists and killers leading to a conviction on 71 counts of murder although he claimed to have killed over 100 people.

He was arrested in 1973 but continued killing inmates making him a career serial killer.[5]  Filho is probably the evilest vigilante in the world. His killings began before he was 18. He killed a vice mayor for firing his dad on false accusation and went ahead to kill the right culprit. He took up killing bad guys as a hobby, at the peak of his crimes, he killed 7 people in one day during a wedding. He killed his own father for killing his mum with a machete, his most evil side was exposed when he curved out his heart and chewed it.

4. Yang Xinhai: China 1969 – 2004

Yang Xinhai is also called the monster killer or China’s home invader serial killer. He invaded homes and simply killed everyone alive. His motivation was quite interesting too, he just wanted to get back at the world for his terrible misfortunes in life. He was born in the poorest family in the village, imprisoned for raping the girl he loved and rejected by the love of his life. After killing 67 people, he was finally arrested, DNA evidence identified him in all the murder scenes turning him into China’s worst serial killer of the century. He said he enjoyed killing people and there was nothing strange about killing before his execution in 2004.[6]

5. Gary Leon Ridgeway: USA 1949 – 2001

Ted Bundy was the worst serial killer in America until he helped the police arrest his successor on that list. Just like Ted, Gary was a typical serial killer, he derived sexual pleasure from raping his victims mostly made of prostitutes and runaway girls. The infamous green river killings that led to the naming of Route 99 south in King County as haunted went on for over 3 decades. Victims were being murdered and dumped in the woodlands along Green river. His arrest came after Ted Bundy, who was on death row awaiting his execution, advised the authorities to lay a trap for the killer at a fresh grave because the killer would come to have sex with the corpse.[7]

DNA evidence only linked him to 4 murders but there was still a trail of nearly 100 bodies unaccounted for. Gary was a truck painter and a trace of paint he used at murder scenes was linked to 44 other murders turning his number of convictions to 48. He confessed to having killed more than 90 women making him the worst serial killer in American history. According to him, killing was his career.[8] He was imprisoned to multiple life sentences for each of the murders and an additional 480 years for tampering with evidence in each case.

6. Alexander Pichushkin: Russia 1974 – 2006

This man appears on every list of evil men because of his weird motivation to kill. While sexual pleasure, thrill, and attention is the major driver for many serial killers, Alexander only killed to fill his 64 square chase board. His behavior is highly associated with a head injury he received while playing on a swing at a young age. He preyed on weak and poor homeless people especially old men whom he would lure from the park promising them a free vodka. As he himself confessed that he killed so many people until he lost count.[9]

His arrest came after one of his victims was suspicious enough to give his contact to her son which allowed the police to track down the murder scene. He was not remorseful about his crimes, in fact, he was angry because the police arrested him after marking off only 61 of the 64 squares. Other theories say he was competing with Andre Chikatilo, another serial killer convicted of killing children a few years earlier.[10]

7. Sailson Jose Das Gracas: Brazil 2005 – 2014

Like Pedro Filho, this serial killer also started killing at a young age but he got so sporadic that the authorities were surprised by his rate of killing. He acted as a killer for hire apart from his normal fun killings. Das Gracas was not any regular serial killer, he simply killed for fun not money or sexual fantasies. His victim range was rather scattered and all of them happened across a 9-year period making him one of the most sporadic killers in this list.[11]

He had a MO of strangling his victims to death with his hands. He mostly killed white women but his victims included a 2-year-old child and 3 men apart from the 37 women. While attention was claimed as the cause for these actions, he himself said lack of killing made him nervous. After his arrest, he confessed to having killed 42 people and swore to kill again if ever released from prison.[12]

8. Serhiy Tkach: Ukraine 1980 – 2005

This was another ex-police officer who turned into a notorious sexual predator and murderer. His victims were 9 to 17-year-old girls who were raped before being choked to death. He was very elusive running away from police by sticking to railway tracks and busy roads to avoid sniffer dogs. His crimes led to the false accusation of a father who committed suicide because of the sorrow and shame of being accused of killing his own daughter.[13] He also killed another girl and had a young boy who found the body falsely jailed for the offense, he was simply too bad for the society.

After raping victims, he would also rip off their clothes and clear all evidence making it difficult to tie any loose ends. His notorious elusive techniques are what made him one of Ukraine’s most wanted criminals. He was arrested after a group of girls identified him as the kidnapper of a 9-year-old girl. After being sentenced to life in prison, things still turned out well for him after an admirer married him in prison and gave birth to his child.[14]

9. Charles Edmund Cullen: USA 1984 – 2003

Like the UK’s killer doctor, Charles Edmund, a critical patient care nurse, poisoned his patients because he felt he had a calling to save them from their pain.[15] The angel of Death as many people called him was a killer nurse who killed people mercilessly and enjoyed being the ruler over life and death just like other serial killers. He personally confessed to between 30 and 40 murders but after confirming that he poisoned at least 3 people per week since his first job, the police concluded that he may have killed more than 300 people.[16]

He was a deranged person from his early life after attempting suicide many times from the age of 9. He was sentenced to 18 lifetimes in prison for his crimes which ranged for nearly 20 years of his career. When interviewed after his incarceration, he said he was sorry for his crimes but that he would never have stopped killing if he wasn’t caught.

10. Dennis Raider: USA 1970s – 2005

From the president of a Lutheran church to America’s most wanted serial Killer, the arrest of Raider after a floppy disk traced him back to his evil deeds in the previous century shocked the whole nation.[17] This was one of the greatest victories for US law enforcement in serial killer hunts. The BTK killer as many knew him killed 10 people in a span of three decades. Bind, torture, and kill are the three methods he used to kill his highly skewed range of victims. While his number of killings may seem narrow, his methods were so gruesome. He would, first of all, write a letter to the police with hints on his next victim. He stalked the victims and killed them by stabbing or strangling them, he would then write to mock the law enforcement for failing to connect the dots.[18]

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