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What Happens When Serial Killers Stop?

The End of a Killer's

By Charlene Ann Mildred BarrogaPublished 2 months ago 3 min read
Leon Killer - Photo by Elijah O'Donnell from CANVA PRO

Questions linger in the eerie aftermath.

What leads these shadowed figures to stop their horrifying acts?

Is it a moment of clarity, a brush with the law, or the relentless march of time?

Serial killers are often depicted as evil masterminds. But they are bound by the same mental and physical limits as humans. Dr. Julianne Harcourt is a criminal psychologist. She says, "Many serial killers stop because of police pressure—also, their mind and body decline." And so do life changes. As pressure creeps upon them, so does the decline in physical ability. Often, their mental health worsens, leading to a decrease in crime.

Law enforcement plays a pivotal role in bringing a serial killer's reign to an end. Advancements in forensic science, such as DNA profiling, have been instrumental. The case is about the Golden State Killer. He was a predator who evaded capture for decades. It stands as a testament to this. Genealogical DNA aided in his arrest in 2018. It marked a big win for criminal justice. The FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit uses psychological profiling. It has been vital in understanding and predicting the actions of serial killers. This has led to better strategies for catching them.

Some serial killers stop their activities on their own accord. The reasons can range from a fear of getting caught to a loss of interest in killing. Gary Ridgway was the Green River Killer. He claimed to have stopped killing in the 1990s after finding religion. But, experts are skeptical of this claim. This self-imposed exile is a mystery. It's one of the most enigmatic parts of serial killer psychology.

The public and media play an underestimated role. They both continue and stop a serial killer's activities. Media coverage can sometimes boost the killer's ego and drive them to continue. However, it can also help catch them by raising public awareness and providing tips. The Zodiac Killer terrorized Northern California in the late 1960s. He is a prime example of a killer who thrived on media attention. Yet, it also contributed to heightened public vigilance.

I had the sad privilege of interviewing a survivor of a serial killer. The killer's identity remains protected for safety reasons. "Living through such horror leaves you with indelible scars," she shares. He stopped for some reason. That fact doesn't erase what happened, but it brings a cold comfort." Her strength and resilience in such darkness are both humbling and inspiring.

When the end is not the end

Sometimes, the cessation of killings does not mean the end of the story. We reopen old cases with fresh perspectives and new technology. They can lead to late arrests, bringing closure to families. This persistence of justice means that hope endures even in the darkest times.

Understanding why serial killers stop is more than an exercise in curiosity. It's a step in preventing future tragedies. We can expect and stop such horrors by studying their patterns. We will study their triggers and the effectiveness of law enforcement strategies.

Stay informed.

Support progress in forensic science and criminal psychology.

Most show compassion to the survivors and the families left by such tragedies.

Together, we can contribute to a world where such final acts are no longer a part of our lives.

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About the Creator

Charlene Ann Mildred Barroga

I'm a writer and content creator who loves to share tips on how to maximize your productivity and get the most out of your day. I

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Comments (7)

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  • Murali6 days ago

    One of the important aspects of serial killing is Psychology.

  • L.C. Schäfer2 months ago

    I'm so glad police and media contribute to stopping... could we see an end to the phenomenon in our lifetimes? If a practised killer can be deterred, how much more so someone who hasn't started yet? 🤞

  • Interesting read… “ Support progress in forensic science and criminal psychology.” So glad for the expertise in these fields.

  • Alex H Mittelman 2 months ago

    Fascinating article! Well researched. Killers are interesting.

  • You've interviewed a survivor of a serial killer? If you don't mind me asking, may I know which serial killer was she a victim of?

  • Cyrus Emerson2 months ago

    Have you watched Dexter? It's on Paramount+ I'm only on the second season it's also a book. There are eight seasons though and now a new series. I guess he stops killing only to start again.

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