17 Terrifying True Stories of People Who Knew Murderers

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This probably tops the list of my worst fears. There are very few things I can think of that would be worse than finding out that someone you know, and maybe even are close to, is actually a murderer. Except, I guess, being killed.

These stories shared by AskReddit users are pretty terrifying, and, honestly, we’ll see how well I sleep tonight.

Maybe they’ll give you nightmares too.

1. The Aurora Shooter

I knew James Holmes in college. He was one year ahead of me, but same major. I remember taking classes with him, he also did a bit of research in the vivaria, and so did I but in separate labs. So our paths crossed often.

I remember him being super paranoid. I remember filling out health questionnaires/medical clearance forms for a final that required in vivo work and access to the vivarium. He threw a fit in our lab, telling our TA he wasn’t going to fill it out. He finally did, but put a disclaimer on the bottom of it. It was bizarre. I think that was around 2008/09, I think he was already unraveling then.

I remember when I found out about Aurora, my old college roommate texted me asking if I heard about the shooting in Colorado, followed shortly by her texting me who did it. My roommate remembered him clearly from a GE class we both took with him. I remember feeling scared for some reason when I put the name to a face. My teeth started chattering wildly. I was shocked.

It still freaks me out to this day remembering working in labs, and having class discussions with that guy. We were definitely not friends, but I probably saw him nearly every day for at least a couple years. I can still see him working across from me under a fume hood in my minds eye anytime his name is brought up.

2. Dating Ted Bundy

Ted Bundy dated my aunt.

I grew up in Kirkland, Washington – which is right outside of Seattle. My aunt lived in Ballard at the time.

They dated for a few months and it just sort of fell apart. She said that he was one of the most polite, nicest people that she had ever met.

Freaky as fuck.

3. “My Dad became good friends with him…”

One of our close family friends murdered his wife around 22 years ago. My Dad became good friends with him as they went to the same marina and often ended up chatting about their boats. He’d always come by the house for drinks or some snooker with my Dad, and we’d go for dinner at his place and sometimes he would come for dinner too. He became a really good friend to my Dad and the rest of us.

Anyway, one day another one of my Dad’s friends saw my Dad with him. Apparently, this guy grew up in the same neighborhood as him and warned my Dad that this guy murdered his wife some 20 odd years ago. My Dad asked him about it and he told him that it was true. He killed her in a jealous rage when he thought she was cheating with her brother-in-law. My Dad kind of distanced himself from him then and stopped letting him come to the house. He was supposed to refurbish the bathroom, but I guess my Dad called it off. I actually asked my Dad about him a couple months ago and he said he still has occasional chat with him at the marina but he didn’t feel at ease around him. Didn’t really effect me, but there you have it.

4. “They looked like a fine couple.”

This year a co-worker sent me a news post of a murder.

The news mentioned a guy with a name I didn’t really recognize, but it said that he was 2 years older than me, and graduated from the same college with the same major. I look up the name on Facebook and I immediately recognize him. I had a couple of classes with him and he was the President of my major’s student association (I didn’t get involved much with these kind of things).

He beat his girlfriend to death, stayed inside the house with the body for 3 days and then killed himself with a plastic bag. It surprisingly affected me more than I expected since I barely even knew the guy. I felt sick the whole day.

Didn’t impact me much after, but it sucks, the poor girl was highly involved in non-profit organizations and they looked like a fine couple. Strange world.

5. Snapped

I went to school with a popular guy, on the pro athlete team, but always kept to himself. He seemed to only interact with others when he was playing with his teammates. But he wasn’t awkwardly quiet or anything he said hey/smiled at others. Cool content guy. But then he was on the news for killing his girlfriend, girlfriend’s mom, and little sister (a minor). It was a domestic violence situation until he decided to take things further I guess. Police found him walking down the street with blood all over him. It just seems weird because you know this person and it makes you wonder what made them react to that extent.

6. “Something akin to evil”

I cut my teeth as a teacher at a rough school in Portsmouth. It was a deprived area where lots of students had it tough outside the school gates – lots of drug-addicted parents, thieves as role models, etc. I’ve posted before about a boy who pulled a knife in my classroom.

I once taught a boy called Carter. He was a rude, aggressive boy who liked to make people squirm. He had streak in him that, when it came out, made him into something akin to evil – cutting girls’ hair, pushing over old ladies, and the like. However, Carter and I had a strong relationship. I was always praised for “getting through to him” and we often had lengthy chats about life after secondary school. It was my second year as a teacher when he left and I genuinely thought I’d made a difference.

Five years later, Carter’s face is on the news. He’d mown down two teenage girls – on purpose – as they walked home from a party. He drove over them, then rounded a roundabout to drive over them again.

Nothing compared to the horror I felt alongside the impotent feeling left inside me – I thought I’d perhaps got through to him in some way, but clearly I hadn’t. I felt like I could have done, should have done more to help him seek the good inside himself in those four hours a week we spent together. I was naive.

I’m no longer so arrogant as to believe that my words can change lives, but it hasn’t stopped me from trying.

As a teacher, life can be tough. You are but a flicker in the long night of these students’ lives, and you strive to make a difference, but at times like that – when you realize you made none – that really hurts.

7. Small talk with a Baseball Bat Murderer

In grade school I sat next to this guy named George. Super quiet kid, and occasionally I would go over his house after school. His mom would occasionally be our substitute teacher.

Fast forward to when I am in college and go to pick up a New York Post in the morning. I see the headline “THREE STRIKES, SHE’S OUT…KID BEATS MOM TO DEATH WITH BASEBALL BAT.” And there was a photo of George and his mom. It was big news in NY for a brief period, and last I heard he was sent to jail.

Fast forward a few years later and I am working in Manhattan and I literally bump right into him on the subway platform. Apparently he got out after a few years. It was seriously the most awkward small talk I ever made with someone in my life.

8. High School Hatchet Murderer

When I was in middle school I lived a street over and went to school with a kid who’s older brother murdered his parents with a hatchet, and sliced up his siblings. It was horrifying.

His sister was in my class, she survived…barely, she moved away afterwards. The parents died in the attack…she, her older brother, and the 6-year-old boy survived. The youngest left the house while the boy was killing the rest of his family and wandered the street with hatchet marks on his body and face, eventually he walked up to a neighbors house and they called the cops for him.

The boy who killed his family attempted to run away through the open sewers away from his house from the cops. He escaped for a few hours but was eventually captured.

It was really strange afterwards. The front glass door had small bloody handprints on it from where the littlest one had tried to escape and two of the front windows had blood on them. The girl I went to school with spent a long time in the ICU. I walked by their house often to get to my best friend’s house and there was caution tape around it for months. Then the tape fell and no one did anything. I remember thinking that there seemed to be no justice for the family and that lives were so fragile.

The boy that snapped and killed his family used to walk by my house every day on his way home from school. He went to Grissom High School I think so he was older than I was by a few years at least. He used to say pretty normal stuff like, “I like your dog,” but in the most creepy way that once my mom even cried after talking to him. He wore all black, gothy stuff. His window at his house had a pentagram sticker on it and some an*rchist stuff. He lived in the corner room.

After I found out I cried pretty hard. I couldn’t understand what had happened to my friend and her family. The middle school I went to went into a sort of mourning. I never saw that girl again, but I hope that she is doing ok.

9. “Claims to have no memory of doing it.”

When I was in high school, one of my friends murdered his family kind of out of nowhere.

The day it happened, it started to get around to my friends that something went down at his house. This was before most people had cell phones, and texting wasn’t a thing at all, so throughout the day, more and more people were contacted and headed over to the guy’s (whose name is Louis) best friend’s house. The first officers on scene got his name and his brother’s name mixed up, and we were all told that his brother had snapped and shot their parents and then him, then called the police and gave himself up with no struggle. So we all got together, mourned as a group or whatever, then got up and went to school the next day.

Shortly into the first hour of classes, everyone who was a known friend of Louis’ was pulled out of class and called into the office. Once we were all there, the principal told us that Louis was alive, and that he had actually been the one who committed the murders. Everyone was pretty shocked, this dude was a totally harmless stoner who never even really seemed to disagree with anyone, much less have violent tendencies.

I personally went into my standard compartmentalization/disassociation mode and just dealt with it by going kind of numb to it. The funeral was really rough, they had an open casket viewing even though his parents were both shot in the face. Louis claims to have no memory of doing it, and what they’ve pieced together is that he for whatever reason went into his dad’s gun locker, pulled out a rifle and shot his parents in their kitchen. It didn’t look like there was any kind of struggle.

His brother came up from their basement and he shot him at the top of the stairs. He then called the police and told the dispatcher that his parents were dead, and when she asked who killed them he said he had. He went outside and stood on the lawn waiting for the police to come. Once they got there, he went into a full on panic asking about his brother. He had no idea that he’d shot him.

He got 18 years for each murder, I think, and was sent to prison. I wrote to him here and there in the beginning, but his replies just felt really strange to me. I feel a little bit guilty now about fading out of his life, but it was honestly really, really hard to reconcile the person I was friends with with the person I was writing to, the person who killed his family. He sounded very stiff and hollow in the replies. I guess that makes some sense.

I keep up with the details now through a friend who still keeps in touch with him. He tried to escape a few years ago, the guy he was trying to escape with was killed in the process and his sentence was upped to life. I check his profile on the Michigan offenders search page sometimes, but it makes me pretty sad to see him. He’s gone all white power, I’m sure to save his ass, which is bizarre considering how 100% anti-racism he was prior to all this. I don’t know how it’s affected me really other than my senior year in high school was a little fucked up because of it. There was a weird thing where a lot of people who didn’t know him or weren’t friends with him got really into the whole mourning thing, and maybe they took advantage, but they went to this group therapy thing that the school administrators had going for awhile. I had to have mandatory counseling, along with a few other friends, but I wasn’t really into it and I had nothing to talk about.

Not exactly the same as a serial killer, but it was all pretty fucked up. I’m 30 now, and whenever it comes up (which is rare) I feel very disconnected to it.

10. “She hasn’t been seen since.”

The story goes, circa 2002 a group of my friends were in a car driven by a guy called Bill, who was cousin to two of them. Bill was a bit of a prick. So, Bill thought it would be fun to go racing with them in the car. Bill was also not a very good driver. So, after accelerating along a long straight, Bill approached a roundabout, braked too hard, came off-road, hit a lamp post, and killed everyone in the car apart from himself.

What happened after that isn’t entirely clear. I know there was a major family feud (as you’d expect when one cousin kills two others), and I know Bill had a major row with his mother. What happened there though, only Bill knows. The police couldn’t find anything other than traces of her blood. She hasn’t been seen since. Bill has never been convicted, apparently due to lack of evidence.

I still don’t know what to make of it.

11. Tattoo

I worked in a boxing factory for a couple weeks once when I was in college. After working there for about two weeks, some of my coworkers begin telling me that the guy who was working in my section was pretty new and that he was from Idaho. Nobody really knew anything else about him because he didn’t talk much. He was the softest speaking guy I had ever met. I noticed a tattoo of a child’s face on his right shoulder and asked who it was.

He said it was his son who he choked to death because he wouldn’t stop crying. It had happened 40 years before, and he was in his late 60s, early 70s. I smoked a couple joints with him before work and during lunch time too. I can’t really describe how I felt when I had realized I’ve been smoking every day with a guy who had choked his son to death 50 years before. I ended up quitting a couple days later.

12. BFFs with an Ex Triad

Like a trillion other people at the beginning of this century I was doing freelance web design. I was terrible. I tried real hard but in hindsight, my work was awful. Even worse I had hit a low point in physical health due to staring at a screen all day and doing little else.

It was time for a change.

There was a construction site down the road from my apartment. I walked on site and asked for a job as a laborer. In normal times they would have laughed me out the door, but it was right in the middle of a construction boom and they were desperate for regular, dependable people (i.e. I wasn’t a crack head so I got the job).

The next day was my first shift. It was rough. It was a big site with lots of very intimidating dudes who seemed to take pleasure in pointing out my inadequacies. Luckily for me I was paired up with a guy who was even more useless than me. His name was Dave. Although I still got picked on, Dave took the brunt of it. He was stoic throughout it all. He even seemed amused by some of the harsher comments and threats thrown at him. We were soon referred to as ‘The Retard Twins’ or collectively as ‘ChinkFag’ because Dave was Asian and I was…well, not the manliest man.

This went on for a few weeks. But out of the blue our foreman was fired for stealing material. The next day we met our new crew foreman. He made his rounds. When he finally made it to me and Dave things got weird. He stared at Dave for an uncomfortable amount of time and then just walked away. I asked Dave what that was all about but he just laughed, shrugged, and carried on sweeping.

From that day forward no one said a word to us. No one would even tell us what to do. I would have to go track down my foreman and ask for jobs to do. It was weird.

By this time me and Dave had become friends. But instead of grabbing a beer after work like normal people, Dave would insist on going for walks through the city. I resisted at first but in all honesty I didn’t have many friends and I was a little lonely at the time. But more so than that, Dave was a very persuasive person. He had this subtle way of controlling situations.

So we would walk, but never through the poorer side of town, even though it was close by. At the time I just assumed he didn’t like all the junkies and weirdos down there. I was wrong.

Our discussions while walking always seemed to revolve around issues of morality. They were pretty deep and often challenging. I would catch myself debating these issues to myself quite often. After a while Dave admitted something to me: he was a Jehovah’s Witness. This added a new dimension to our talks. I pulled no punches. I have always been agnostic, and have no respect for organized religion. Dave was unfazed. In fact he would constantly try to convince me to come to church with him.

I would kindly refuse.

But not for long.

My foreman took me into his office one day and sat me down. I thought I was getting fired. Instead he blew my mind. He informed me that I needed to be very careful around Dave. Everyone on the crew was worried for me. I laughed a bit and told him not to worry. Me and Dave were buddies. What I didn’t know was that Dave was on probation. He had just finished a 15-year bid for murder. But that wasn’t all. That was the FIFTH time he been brought to trial for 5 separate murders. It was only on the fifth trial that they got a conviction. Turns out Dave was running the Triad in Vancouver in the eighties. He was considered one of the baddest fuckers in town.

I researched him. I was appalled…but fascinated.

We continued our walks. He could read me like a book. He knew that I knew. His demeanor became a little more forceful. He insisted I go to church with him. I wish I could say I didn’t…but I did. It was terrible. They were so fucking crazy. He knew how uncomfortable I was. He would tell me I would ‘get used to it’.

Nope. I phoned my boss after leaving the Kingdom Hall for the last time. I quit my job then and there. Dave started calling and leaving long messages saying he was worried about me. I changed my number and within a month I had moved out of town. It cost me a lot of money to just drop everything and relocate. To this day I consider it money well spent.

13. Body in the Truck

Creepy dude lived near us, he was staying with his mom, I believe, just showed up with a Ryder truck and it stayed in the driveway for several weeks, at least. I mowed the lawn for the family next door, I always caught him peeking through the blinds, spying on me while I mowed. I was about 12 or so, just figured it was some weird dude in our quiet little neighborhood, whatever.

Everybody around talked about that damn Ryder truck sitting there looking out of place. Some had noticed an electrical cord running from the garage out to the truck.

One day every cop within 20 miles seemingly showed up there, news trucks, etc. Turns out creepy dude had a freezer in that truck, and in the freezer was a hacked up dead girl he had abducted from an L.A. freeway in the middle of the night. She had been missing for quite a while.

Some friends of ours had dealings with him. He was supposedly a house painter, they tried to get him to do work, he gave them a fair quoted price, but then never showed up. When he did show up he did a shit job and quit a quarter of the way through, etc. He was alone in the house with the woman on several occassions.

Needless to say she was very thankful not to have been murdered!

14. Hiding Baby’s Body

My aunt on my paternal side killed her 5-month-old baby, broke into her neighbor’s basement and tried to hide his body there.

Prior to this event, the family was very close. My dad was one of 6 children and after their father (my grandfather) shot and killed himself, they became closer.

The day it happened, my aunt called her husband at the time and said that the baby was missing. He rushed home only to find her perfectly calm and showing very little panic or worry. He felt it was odd and called the police after discovering that she hadn’t.

It didn’t take long for the neighbor to discover the baby in their basement because the door from the outside looked as though it had been tampered with so they checked it out after hearing about the disappearance of my cousin. He was wrapped up in two towels and placed in a box with dishes.

It wasn’t long before clues were all pieced together and it was found that she drowned him in the bathtub. She never had an ounce of remorse, and when my uncle asked why she’d ever do something like that, her answer was “Because I hated him.”

This tore up my family pretty bad. Half believed she was innocent due to some sort of insanity therefore couldn’t have done this or wouldn’t have done this in her right mind, and the other half chose to have absolutely nothing to do with her. Now, the family is divided and they very rarely speak to one another without tension being really high.