9 Killer Claims to Fame -Before they were Caught

That Time You Watched them on TV

It’s not uncommon for a serial killer to want the attention of the media or police. Sometimes it’s so everyone can see their message to society. And other times it’s to prove they’re smarter than the people trying to catch them. So it’s not unfathomable that a serial killer might have been in the public eye previously. These Serial Killers have claims to fame that happened before they were caught for the horrendous crimes they committed. In hindsight, is it obvious what they were?

This list includes killers who appeared on TV in game shows and on Reality TV. As well as those who were interviewed with regards to the crime they were trying to hide – some were better at hiding the truth than others.

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Stephen Port

A serial poisoner who appeared on Masterchef with singer JB Gill in 2014. A chef by trade, Stephen contacted men through websites and offered them money in return for services. He would then poison them with lethal doses of date rape drugs. Sexually assault them whilst they were unconscious and then dump the bodies.

Rodney Alcala

One of the most well known TV appearances of a serial killer before they were caught was on the show The Dating Game. He did so well he got the girl, but they didn’t end up going on the date -did she have a lucky escape? Having murdered two women before he appeared on The Dating Game he would go on to murder a further five. Although it is believed that the body count is higher and his connection to unsolved cases is still being looked into.

Denis Rader

Once gave an interview on air about animal attacks. You probably know him better as the BTK Killer. He liked to leave clues which was what eventually got him caught. He made his first kills in January 1974, and again in April.  Then he began a new job, in October 1974, with ADT -whilst pursuing his degree in Criminal Justice. He was arrested in 2005. Did you notice a reference to this killer in Mindhunter? Will he be part of Season 2?

John Cooper

Appeared on the darts show Bullseye in 1989. He went on to murder an Oxfordshire couple as they were out walking, and a millionaire farmer and his sister at their home. It was what he said on the show that lead the police to him more than twenty years later. His detailed knowledge of the area the victims were found coupled with an almost exact likeness to a sketch artists impression from the 1989 inquiry made the footage a prime part of the case. He was imprisoned on a life sentence in 2011 for the murder of four people, he’s since been implicated in five more.

Edward Wayne Edwards

A psychopath pretending to be a psychopath on To Tell The Truth. With five known murders to his name, Edwards is suspected of many more. Some suggesting that he could be responsible for some of the murders attributed to the Zodiac Killer -although others are not so sure. His known murders include two in Ohio in 1977, two in Wisconsin in 1980 -also known as the Sweetheart Murders, and one -a boy who had lived with Edwards and his wife as their adopted child- in Ohio in 1996. Almost 29 years later the police got a tip off to his possible involvement. It was confirmed using DNA evidence.

Ryan Jenkins

A reality TV show, Megan Wants a Millionaire,  was the claim to fame of this killer. He was also a participant in an un-aired TV show called I Love Money 3. Jenkins was an investor and real estate developer. His wife was found in a bin with her teeth pulled and her fingers cut off, presumably to slow the investigation down. Wanted on first-degree murder charges he committed suicide in a motel room in Canada before he could be caught and tried.

But not all of the claims to fame are TV shows

Some killers appeared on our screens during interviews with the media. Being questioned about the crime they had committed whilst pretending they were as shocked as everyone else.

Stephen McDaniel

This one is probably still fairly fresh in your memory. In 2011 this law student appeared on TV being interviewed by a reporter at the scene of a fellow students brutal murder. It didn’t take him too long to give himself away.

Debra Kincy

Another interview at the scene situation, but this time the perpetrator was much better at hiding her guilt. Whilst she was the one to call the police and reported the body of her neighbour, Charlotte Nicholas. She was also the one to commit the crime. The pair had reportedly been in the midst of a disagreement, Nicholas having text Kincy telling her to leave her alone. It was, however, a newspaper story that gave Kincy away, as she revealed intelligence that the investigators had not released to the public.

Ian Huntley

During the investigation into the disappearance of two girls in Suffolk, Ian Huntley appeared on the news to express his shock. Helping with the search for the two missing girls. But he began to arouse suspicions, reporters didn’t trust him, his alibi was a lie. And once his face had been seen up and down the country past acquaintances alerted the police to who he really was. It was later found that he had killed them, burned them, and dumped their bodies in a ditch.

More Killer Claims to Fame?

This list does not include every killer with claims to fame before they were caught. Nor will it be a list that stops growing. With more and more social media sites. And more ways to get in front of the camera. We will probably watch other killers before they are caught -without any clue as to what we are witnessing.

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Horror and Fantasy Author – Also writing as K.T. McQueen. Love Western Horror, cowboy boots, my cactus Collin, & my Demon Cat.
Moths – I hate moths, the way they flutter at your face!