Serial killers attract a certain macabre fascination. And one reason might be the way they twist our conception of “normal.” After all, what’s the first thing you hear from neighbors about a guy who was found with human bodies in his basement? Your neighbor, your spouse, your friend, any of these people could secretly be sneaking out at night to commit gruesome murders. Even your child could be a murderer as these five examples of serial killers who were murdering people before they hit puberty demonstrates.
“He seemed so normal.”
We just can’t seem to predict who might actually be a serial killer. Your neighbor, your spouse, your friend, any of these people could secretly be sneaking out at night to commit gruesome murders. Even your child could be a murderer.
And if that sounds a little far-fetched to think a child could be a serial killer, just look at these five examples of cold-blooded killers who were murdering people before they hit puberty.
Seisaku Nakamura was born deaf in Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan in 1924. But in spite of his disability, he was well known as a bright child who excelled in school. But his family still treated him poorly, and the people around him began to shun him, turning him into a bit of a pariah.
Perhaps this alienation explains why, at the age of fourteen, Nakamura began to kill. The series of attacks began when he attempted to sexually assault an older girl and her friend. The girls resisted and Nakamura stabbed them to death. This first case went unsolved due to a lack of witnesses. But it seems to have left Nakamura with a taste for blood.
Within a few years, he began prowling the area, seeking victims. In August of 1941, he murdered one woman and injured another. Within a month, he had already killed three more women.
A few days after these most recent attacks, he turned on his family. One night in August, Nakamura charged back into his father’s house, murdering his brother and severely injuring his father, mother, and brother-in-law as they tried to defend themselves from his blade. Nakamura then escaped back into the surrounding hills. But even attacking the family that had mistreated him couldn’t satisfy the now teenaged Nakamura desire to kill.
By now, the authorities were looking for Nakamura, who had been dubbed the “Hamatsu Deaf Killer.” But then ongoing war in the Pacific made the government reluctant to publicize the details of the killings, and so the deaf killer would claim a few more lives before he was finally brought to justice.
Nakamura’s final attack took place in August 1942 when he broke into another home, murdering a man, his wife, and his daughter and attempting rape their surviving daughter. The girl resisted and Nakamura stabbed her instead.
After this incident, the authorities finally located and captured Nakamura before he could kill again. Nakamura was tried and found not guilty by reason of insanity. But a military court quickly overruled this verdict and sentenced him to death.
After his arrest, his injured father committed suicide rather than suffer the shame of living with what his son had done.
Nakamura was finally executed in October, 1942.
Cayetano Santos Godino
Cayetano Godino was born in Argentina in 1896 with congenital syphilis. This condition, which can cause developmental problems, might explain why he had such a troubled childhood. Early in his life, Cayetano developed a fascination with torturing small animals. This behavior is part of a classic identifying test for serial killers called the McDonald Triad.
It’s not known if Cayetano displayed the second behavior in the triad, chronic bedwetting, but he certainly displayed the third: a fascination with fire.
Around the age of ten, Cayetano began setting buildings on fire because he enjoyed watching the buildings burn and seeing firefighters rush to save the people inside.
Around that time, Cayetano also began attacking other children, including one boy who he tried to murder by bashing him in the head with a brick. Luckily, a nearby police officer was able to save the boy. But Cayetano was soon released on the grounds of his age.
Around this time, his parents became aware that Cayetano was a compulsive masturbator. As this was illegal in Argentina at the time, and because she didn’t know how else to manage a child like Cayetano, she turned him over to the authorities and he served a two-month jail sentence. Immediately after his release, he began his career as a serial killer in earnest.
That year, he murdered an older boy, leaving his body to rot in an abandoned building. A few weeks later, he combined his interest in murder and arson, setting a five-year-old girl’s dress on fire. The girl managed to put the flames out but died shortly after from her wounds.
Cayetano’s final murder victim was a young boy whom he lured into an abandoned house with the promise of candy. After striking the boy in the head with a brick wasn’t enough to kill him, Cayetano left to get a more effective weapon. Outside, he ran into the boy’s father who asked if Cayetano had seen his son. Cayetano told him he didn’t, but shortly after the man left, Cayetano came back and hammered a nail into the boy’s skull, killing him.
A few days later, Cayetano was arrested on suspicion of the murder and confessed to his crimes. He was sentenced to a mental institution for several years and then transferred to a prison where he died at the age of 48, possibly murdered by other inmates.
Jesse PomeroyOn April 24, 1874 the Boston police found the mutilated body of four-year-old Horace Millen in a marsh outside the city. Their investigation led to a young boy named Jesse Pomeroy.
Jesse was born in Boston in 1860. From an early age, he was a bit of a social outcast. He had a milky eye and hare-lip which made him the object of ridicule from other children. As a result, he was known to be extremely violent. This violence came to a head when Pomeroy was eleven. That year he began luring younger children into the woods where he would beat them before tying them to a tree and torturing them with a knife.
After being arrested in connection to these attacks, Pomeroy was sent to a reform school. But he was released due to good behavior after just one year. This act of clemency proved to be a mistake, as immediately after being released from the school, Pomeroy graduated to murder.
That March, he kidnapped and murdered a young girl. And he did the same the next month to Horace, slitting his throat so savagely that the boy was nearly decapitated.
After this murder, the police arrested Pomeroy again and he was sentenced to spend the rest of his life in prison. This time, he wasn’t released and died there at the age of seventy-two.
The youngest killer on this list, Amardeep Sada, began murdering other children at just eight years old. Born in rural India, Amadeep first focused his blood lust on his own family. In 2007, Amardeep strangled his 8-month-old sister. And a few months later, he did the same to his infant cousin.
Wanting to protect their child, Amardeep’s family tried to push the murders under the rug. But soon, Amardeep began targeting his neighbors as well. A few weeks after these murders, Amardeep abducted a young girl while her mother was working in a nearby field. He took the girl into the woods and murdered her with a brick.
Because the murder took place so close to a police station, it was easy for the authorities to find Amardeep and he was arrested.
Amardeep was sentenced to a juvenile facility and under Indian law will be eligible for release on his eighteenth birthday, which means he may soon be able to kill again.
And that’s what is so terrifying about children who kill. They’re often held to a lower standard of responsibility by the law. That makes sense, because we can’t expect children to have a fully developed sense of morality. But it raises the question: can a born killer really be expected to never kill again?
Last modified: August 10, 2017