The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

How Many Women Did Suspected Serial Killer Felix Vail Murder?

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.)



46 Responses to “How Many Women Did Suspected Serial Killer Felix Vail Murder?”

  1. Anamika
    April 14th, 2014 @ 3:42 pm

    The nation is always shocked by criminal cases like the latest Utah case or such as Andrea Yates a decade ago, a mother of five who methodically drowned all of her children in a bathtub then calmly called police, but mothers killing their children are more common than we might think:

    Women Who Kill Their Children
    Women Who Kill: Profiles of Female Serial Killers
    Female serial killers:

    (It seems 15% of all serial killers in the US are female.)

    About time to kick females from the “we’re such lovely creatures” pedestals eh? 😀

    Any idea how without the blindness due to testosterone, female criminal behavior would be recorded instead of swept under the carpet?

  2. Kirby McCain
    April 14th, 2014 @ 3:48 pm

    This fellow maybe “Suspect Zero. ” One of the best films about a serial killer in recent years.

  3. Kirby McCain
    April 14th, 2014 @ 3:50 pm

    We may never know how many women he killed but I’m sure a lot of cold case investigators will want to talk to him.

  4. Dianna Deeley
    April 14th, 2014 @ 3:52 pm

    Jim Butcher, in Dead Beat, one of my favorite Harry Dresden books, ran another character through the, “Well, where are they?” calculation. It’s really strange, if you start thinking about it.

    My only question, really, is: if the bodies were dismembered, how come the body parts don’t show up? I grant, it would be much easier to transport and dispose of the body in pieces, but you’d have to do more trips, wouldn’t you? And wouldn’t that increase your chances of getting caught?

    I was recently reading about the torso murders in London during the years around the Ripper’s activities, and it’s got me thinking about the trunk murders of the 30’s, which leads to my questions about how thi does or does not answer questions.

  5. Dianna Deeley
    April 14th, 2014 @ 3:53 pm

    I will see if I can’t download that. It’s not really gory, is it?

  6. Kirby McCain
    April 14th, 2014 @ 3:59 pm

    Not really gory, it’s focus is the toll it takes on the agent and stopping the next murder.

  7. Anamika
    April 14th, 2014 @ 4:02 pm

    I remember watching Suspect Zero at movies while I was in Boston! Went along with a friend, we went in with a LOT of expectation, but I recall being extremely disappointed. It was a poorly made film….from a cinematic impact point of view.

  8. Kirby McCain
    April 14th, 2014 @ 4:04 pm

    In Louisiana, you feed the gators. In urban areas, toss them in the dumpster. Knoxville Horror, dumpster and the two just caught in Southern California – dumpster.

  9. Anamika
    April 14th, 2014 @ 4:08 pm

    One of the best serial killer films I have seen made in Hollywood is Zodiac. Based on real events. It remains unsolved.

  10. Mm
    April 14th, 2014 @ 4:09 pm

    You’re a Harry Dresden fan? I knew you were ok! The newest book in the series comes out next month!

  11. Mm
    April 14th, 2014 @ 4:11 pm

    As for disposing of body parts, watch a bunch of true crime shows or the movie, “Fargo.”. Watch for the wood chipper.

  12. Anamika
    April 14th, 2014 @ 4:14 pm

    The best from world cinema I have seen has got to be, Korean films,

    Memories of Murder“(2003) (unsolved) Great Movie (even outside serial killer genres) Excellent film making.

    & “I Saw the Devil” (2010) (very gory!).

  13. M. Thompson
    April 14th, 2014 @ 4:14 pm

    Up here in MN, it’s get them nice and small, and put the bits into a lake. 10,000 places to hide a body.

  14. richard mcenroe
    April 14th, 2014 @ 4:16 pm

    The B LM’s been hiring; start there.

  15. richard mcenroe
    April 14th, 2014 @ 4:17 pm

    Harry Dresden and Monster Hunter International

  16. Anamika
    April 14th, 2014 @ 4:23 pm

    Speaking of toll on agents in hunt for serial killers, I really enjoyed watching True Detective, one of the best directed television series of all time.

  17. Evi L. Bloggerlady
    April 14th, 2014 @ 4:36 pm

    Walleyed bait

  18. Dianna Deeley
    April 14th, 2014 @ 4:48 pm

    I know, I have it on pre-order, and am salivating.

  19. Dianna Deeley
    April 14th, 2014 @ 4:49 pm

    I’ve been reading Larry’s “The Grimnoir Chronicles”. That’s not bad, either, though I thought it could use a slightly more aggressive editor’s pencil.

  20. Dianna Deeley
    April 14th, 2014 @ 4:52 pm

    I thought of that, but I’d half-expect that a wood chipper would send bits spraying everywhere, and the mulch would smell really weird. OK, awful. Still, once everything’s ground up, I would guess that you could distribute it over a fairly wide area, and no one the wiser.

  21. rustypaladin
    April 14th, 2014 @ 5:13 pm

    Both Butcher and Correia? I knew I was in good company here!

  22. rustypaladin
    April 14th, 2014 @ 5:20 pm

    Oddly enough, I like the movie Citizen X, based on Andrei Chikatilo.

  23. GVK
    April 14th, 2014 @ 5:23 pm
  24. Dianna Deeley
    April 14th, 2014 @ 5:32 pm


    Well, it’s not terribly expensive, and if I hate it, I can always just delete.

  25. Dianna Deeley
    April 14th, 2014 @ 5:33 pm

    Ringo and Kratman? Weber?

  26. Kirby McCain
    April 14th, 2014 @ 5:47 pm

    There was a third serial killer story I was watching this weekend. The arrest came after the discovery of a woman’s body in a recycling plant. The press conference was today so some more information. The two suspects targeted vulnerable women and both had been convicted for lewd and lascivious on a minor under 14.

  27. Anamika
    April 14th, 2014 @ 5:48 pm

    I think you are being very unfair here. I won’t be judgmental at all about Kirby McCain’s tastes in films. There are many instances where I like a particular film and most people don’t. It’s like this…I consider myself to have a very fine taste in films but perhaps 90% of the time my taste matches with the consensus, but about 10% of the time it mayn’t.

    I can imagine there could actually be a high percentage of serial killer movie fans who would rate Suspect Zero at the top of their list (no less for Ben Kingsley’s performance.)

    I actually have one such example (SZ is rated 7 in top 13 list of this enthusiast/reviewer):

    Generally speaking though — if I have to decide about watching or not watching a film that I don’t know much about i base it on two things: 1) if it has an RT rating less than 60% generally I avoid it. 2) And if has an rating of less than 6/10 I totally avoid it.

  28. rustypaladin
    April 14th, 2014 @ 6:16 pm

    I read all three 🙂

  29. Dianna Deeley
    April 14th, 2014 @ 6:27 pm

    Oh, certainly!

  30. RKae
    April 14th, 2014 @ 6:32 pm

    The main reason I’m for the death penalty is that it’s a bargaining tool. Never has this proven more useful than the case of Gary Ridgeway (The Green River Killer). When faced with execution, he decided to give up the locations of as many victims as he could recall. It provided the victims’ families with closure, being able to finally lay their daughters to rest.

    There was an excellent film (while we’re on the subject of serial killers and films) called “The Capture of the Green River Killer.” The end where Dave Reichert (played by Tom Cavanaugh) sits down with Ridgeway (played by John Pielmeier) is eerie and unsettling.

  31. Freedom of Choice: Meet Megan Huntsman | Batshit Crazy News
    April 14th, 2014 @ 6:34 pm

    […] TOM: And if choice is such a virtue, why shouldn’t Felix Vail have the choice to off wives when the… […]

  32. Bob Belvedere
    April 14th, 2014 @ 7:42 pm

    If you want to begin to understand the mind of a serial killer, I highly recommend James Ellroy’s Killer On The Road.

    Great writer.

  33. Bob Belvedere
    April 14th, 2014 @ 7:44 pm


    Stacy asks:How Many Women Did Suspected Serial Killer Felix Vail Murder?

    Ask Rich

  34. Mike G.
    April 14th, 2014 @ 7:48 pm

    The Hog Pen…won’t be nothing left. They’ll even crush and eat the bones.

  35. Julie Pascal
    April 14th, 2014 @ 8:24 pm

    Here in New Mexico everyone knows that bodies are dumped “on the mesa”. Problem is that “_the mesa” is sort of an ambiguous term and covers a huge amount of land. They actually did find a body dump some years ago with several corpses in it. They found the body of a missing woman “on the mesa”. Usually though, who’d be walking through and find them? There could be hundreds of bodies in ravines and gullies. Also, there are coyotes and the coyotes will drag bone to where they are even harder to find.

  36. Kirby McCain
    April 14th, 2014 @ 10:00 pm

    I’m going to have to watch that one.

  37. Adjoran
    April 15th, 2014 @ 1:14 am

    Yes sir, and in a surprisingly short period of time, too. What are the cops going to do? Run a DNA test on bacon?

    I probably shouldn’t be thinking about this until I’ve chosen an Easter ham, though.

  38. Adjoran
    April 15th, 2014 @ 1:21 am

    I want to look at their accounting, too. Must make Enron look straight. They say they don’t have the money to manage the wild horses in the area, which they are mandated by law to do, but they have the money to deploy a small army for days against a 67 year old man.

    And they claim jurisdiction because of a threat to an endangered tortoise, but they waived tortoise concerns twice already for Reid cronies’ developments, and they closed their refuge and killed over 100 of the tortoises because it was unmanageable – the animals reproduced too fast.

    These must be people who understood Schrodinger’s cat the first time, they have no problem with entangling contradictory states.

  39. Adjoran
    April 15th, 2014 @ 1:24 am

    I switched to Pale Moon, which is based on the code for Firefox but cuts out the reporting to Mozilla and Google, in reaction to the recent fiasco, but this site says I am blocked for using Firefox, which I am not.

    Not funny!

  40. Quartermaster
    April 15th, 2014 @ 6:48 am

    Vox Day gave instructions on how to fumigate Firefox from Pale Moon –

    1. Create a new tab.
    2. Type “about:config” into
    the Address Bar as if it were an internet site (URL).
    3. Type “compatMode” into
    the Search box that will appear right below the Address Bar.
    4. On the line general.useragent.compatMode.firefox there are three settings: user set, boolean, true. Click on “true” and it
    will change to false.
    5. Close the tab.

    I quit using Pale Moon because I was getting some strange effects on the websites I visit. I was never cut off from a website for supposedly using Firefox, however, after I fixed the compat setting.

  41. Bob Belvedere
    April 15th, 2014 @ 7:23 am

    Frankly, I think it’s a futile form of protest.

    For work, Firefox meets my requirements best, so I continue to use it, but I also have IE loaded for testing purposes on new web pages.

  42. gingeroni
    April 15th, 2014 @ 7:33 am

    Try the audio book version of Grimnoir. The narrator takes the story from good to AWESOME.

  43. NeoWayland
    April 15th, 2014 @ 8:11 am

    Trust me, looking at the BLM’s books won’t help.

    In a very circumspect way, I was briefly involved in a dispute between the BLM and the Navajo Tribe. There were at least three sets of books that we could account for, and another one or two that we suspected but could not prove. Of the three sets we knew of, each had spending divided by national, regional or district, state, and “special” entities such as the various tribes. These divisions may or may not be official, depending on who you talk to, the time of day, and who is asking.

  44. Adjoran
    April 17th, 2014 @ 12:11 am


  45. Adjoran
    April 17th, 2014 @ 12:14 am

    Probably, but the large number of people ceasing use in a short time has to be noticed. They make $$ from their Google searches and also from Mozilla-specific ads. Except for this link, I’ve found it identical but faster than Firefox (some settings that few use are disabled on PM by default).

    Quartermaster’s fix may even fix this one problem I’ve had with it. Granted, it’s only been a week or so.

  46. James
    April 21st, 2014 @ 3:33 am

    I don’t think some one can be born to kill. I think it starts on how your brought up and if your abused etc and sooner or later you snap and you just don’t give a f*ck about anyone or anything. That’s just my opinion, Do you find serial killers interesting? check out the 30 Serial Killers who were never caught at