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Serial Murders and Their Victims

NCJ Number
Eric W. Hickey
Date Published
279 pages
Based on an analysis of the lives of 203 serial murderers and the cultural, historical, and religious factors that have contributed to the prevalent stereotypes and myths about serial killers, this book offers psychological and sociological explanations for serial killing and presents the author's own model for understanding serial-murderer behavior.
The author's trauma-control model for understanding serial murder behavior suggests that violent behavior - fueled by facilitators such as fantasies, alcohol, and pornography - and reinforced by the "routine" traumas of daily living, keeps the serial killer in a self-perpetuating cycle of violence. The author places serial killers into three groups: males, females and team killers. Each group is analyzed in term of personal histories and killing patterns. The book also empirically examines the victims of serial killers, with a focus on missing and murdered children. The increasing number of unsolved killings in the United States is addressed, along with serial killing in foreign countries. Regarding the criminal justice system's response to serial murders, the role of law enforcement in addressing serial murderers is discussed, along with the final disposition of cases. Future issues and research agendas are discussed as well. The research underlying this book included visits to prisons, police departments, and numerous university libraries across the United States. Interviews were conducted with several serial murderers, their spouses, ex-spouses, lovers, and friends from their past. The author also communicated with the families of the victims. 311 references and a subject index