Posted on | April 14, 2014 | 46 Comments
Mississippi native Felix Vail, 74, has been accused of murdering his first wife in 1962. Two of his other wives disappeared in 1973 and 1984. You may wonder how he could have gotten away with it:
Enzo Yaksic, founder of the Serial Homicide Expertise and Information Sharing Collaborative, said in his research since 2001, that he has found that serial killers are typically caught within one to three years after they start their sprees.
But those that dismember victims (5 percent of the 2,600 offenders in the database) more often avoid detection for four years or more, he said.
If a victim’s body cannot be found, or if a body cannot be identified, proving murder is extremely difficult. No matter how strong the suspicion, the victim who simply disappears . . . Well, they’re just gone, you see? There have been a few cases where people were convicted of murder without the prosecution having the victim’s body, but these are exceptions that prove the rule. Every year, hundreds of homicide cases go unsolved, and there are many suspicious disappearances that might be murder cases, if the bodies could ever be found.
This means that there are always a certain number of serial killers at large and undetected. You never know who they are until they get caught. And some of them never get caught.
(Hat-tip: Kirby McCain on Twitter.)