Serial killer may be killing more people than previously thought

December 9th, 2007 - 11:11 am ICT by admin  

Washington, Dec 8 (ANI): Serial killers may be responsible for up to 10 times more U.S. deaths than previously thought because investigators fail to notice marginalized victims like prostitutes and nursing home residents, according to a new study.

Criminologist Kenna Quinet, associate professor at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, said investigators not only overlook victims who are never reported missing, such as street kids, but also ignore murders committed in hospitals or nursing homes where deaths are expected.

Recent academic estimates of the average number of serial killer victims each year range from 67 to 180. Quinet’s analysis, based on conservative extrapolations from existing data, would add at least 182 and possibly as many 1,832 victims.

“We’re talking about a factor of two clear up to a factor of 10. And this is not new — these are victims that we’ve always been not counting, she said.

Quinet said some victims of serial killers, including prostitutes, transients, gay street hustlers, foster children and street kids, are never reported missing, and so go uncounted.

The article cites the case of the Green River serial killer in Washington as an example of how including the “missing missing” could change the numbers. One-third of the killer’s 48 known victims were never reported missing, had been mistakenly deleted from police missing-persons databases, or were never identified.

But Quinet said an even larger pool of overlooked victims may be the “misidentified dead,” including hospital patients and nursing home residents who are thought to have died from natural causes but were in fact victims of medical murderers.

“From a humanitarian standpoint, the idea that some deaths don’t matter as much as others infuriates me, particularly if they could have been prevented,” she said.

In research published in 1990, Quinet debunked wildly inflated claims about the number of serial killer victims that had been circulated by special interest and advocacy groups and in the news media.

The article titled, “The Missing Missing: Toward a Quantification of Serial Murder Victimization in the United States, was published recently in the journal Homicide Studies. (ANI)

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