We've all seen those internet threads and memes about things you'd have at the check-out lane that might make someone think you're a killer. We never thought that situation would happen in the real world - but this Reddit user is convinced they met a killer in real life, and they're not the only ones with a story like this:
Have you ever met a killer? Or think you've met one?
I made a throwaway account to post this because it still creeps me out, 12 years later, and I don't want it linked to my account that could identify me.
About 12 years ago I was in my early 20s and living in a southern state in the US. Late one night I realized I urgently needed to buy something and so I went to the only store near me I knew was open — a Wal-Mart Supercenter that was open 24/7. This store is right off a major US interstate exit (I-85) and it was a weekday around 1 AM in the morning when I was at the store. The parking lot of this store is huge and often truckers (big rigs) would park their trucks in the lot overnight, along with some random campers and RVs.
I was in line to check out and immediately noticed the man in front of me. The store was otherwise almost empty. He was youngish white guy, average build, maybe 30s? He was hunched over, with a baseball cap bunched down over much of his face. He purchased these items: a shovel, three pack of duct tape, rope, a set of zip ties, a box of latex gloves, a pair of leather gloves, an empty gas container (the red plastic kind), and a disposable cell phone (one of those "Trac Phone" type things). He seemed to be unwilling to engage with the check out person (who also seemed annoyed to be working at 1 AM on a Tuesday - fair enough). He paid in cash.
Now even if he wasn't buying those items I think I would have felt creeped out — there was something just off about the situation to me. I know that sounds crazy, but I just sensed something "wrong." But to buy those specific items together (and nothing else), to buy them at 1 AM on a Tuesday, and to pay cash?!?
I waited in the store for a long time and asked the assistant night manager to walk me to my car (which he didn't want to do, but finally agreed). The next day I called the local FBI field office and explained/reported the situation. The people taking the complaint asked me repeatedly if I was calling in response to a specific crime (uhh, creepiness?) but took my information.
Didn't hear of anything or see anything on the news that caused alarm.
A few months later the FBI local office reached back out to me to ask if I paid with a credit card at Wal-Mart (I did).
I never heard from them again. I have no idea who the man was, what he was doing, who he may have harmed, or where he did it. I don't know if he's been captured or not. But I'm pretty darn sure I witnessed someone buying things to murder someone else.
Anyone else ever have a run-in with someone they suspected of killing someone else?
Turns out YES, people DID have stories. Holy crap. Here are a few, edited for language and clarity if needed. Oh - and TRIGGER WARNING for... um ... everything, this is an article about killers. Proceed with caution.
"I Shook The Same Hands That Killed..."
Journalist at a local newspaper doing the Sunday evening shift. Got a call about a guy whose car had been hijacked with his 2 year old son in it. I met him at the police station to interview him, get a pic of the kid so we could publish and ask people to be on the lookout etc. The man was devastated. I'd been a journalist for years, traveled all over, I was no pushover and generally really good at reading people. This man was clearly in a state. I had a hard time staying professional and not bawling my eyes out in front of him.
At the end of the interview I clasped his hands tightly, trying to convey how awful I found his situation to be. I told him all I could do was write the best story possible. Maybe someone would read it, see the pic and help find the kid.
I didn't sleep that night.
The next day (day off after weekend shift) one of my colleagues phoned me, they'd found the body of the little boy at a rubbish dump. And they'd arrested his father for the murder. He'd had issues with the boy's mother so murdered his own son out of spite or something. I don't know. I don't want to know. He made up the story of the hijacking.
All I know is I shook the same hands that had killed a little boy. I cried for him while he just played me, knowing he'd killed his son just hours before.
That haunted me for years.
The Guy On The SubwayGiphy
My mom in her late teens - early 20s living in Toronto around the time the Scarborough Rapist, Paul Bernardo, was active. My mom told me that during this time, women in the area (including herself) were super paranoid about being victimized.
One night she was on the subway and a young guy was sitting across from her who she noticed kept staring at her. She felt uncomfortable especially due to her paranoia, and decided to test her gut feeling by standing up - he stood up too. She quickly sat down, and tried it one more time before the next stop. Again, he got up when she did. Eventually her stop came up and she decided to get off. The guy got off too, and she said she immediately knew something bad would happen. He started following her and she bolted. She got lucky as she crossed the middle of the street because a bunch of vehicles passed and he couldn't cross, and she never saw him again.
My mom told me that when Paul Bernardo was caught, she saw his picture in the news and felt chills - he was the guy on the subway. When I saw pictures of his victims, I also felt chills because when my mom was in her 20's, she looked exactly like one of them. It's pretty scary. He was denied parole.
A Discussion About Morality And Religion
Freshman year of college, I was in a very small English class. It was a super small class so we got pretty comfortable with each other.
A couple months into the semester, a 10 -year old girl was kidnapped, and later found murdered. It was a major news story in Colorado. The biggest shock was finding out that the killer, Austin, was in my English class.
Before he was arrested, we had done a class review of people's papers and my professor pulled my classmates essay up on the projector. It was odd though, because his papers were usually well-written but this was full of grammatical and spelling errors and fragmented ideas going nowhere. Austin told us he was sorry about all the mistakes and that the draft was rushed because he was busy and couldn't focus. After he was arrested, a classmate realized that was a day or two after she was kidnapped and murdered.
One day, me and him had walked together to our cars and had a discussion about morality and religion. That conversation stuck with me a lot, especially when some more details of his life and what lead up to the murder came out.
I still get an icky feeling about it.
Her Yellow Dress
My mom told me that when she was a kid her and her mom were driving on a highway when they saw two men taking a woman out of the trunk of the car and moving her to another car. The car was in the opposing direction and this was before they had cell phones. By the time they got to the other side of the road both cars were gone. Reported it to police but they never heard anything. My mom can't forget about her yellow dress.
I dated one for a few months! I ended up breaking it off because I always got a super weird vibe being alone with him. Near the end I was making all of our nights out into double dates or just bringing a friend along, so I figured it was better just to break it off.
He ended up beating two people to death while they were in their bed and then he moved the bodies and slept on their bloody mattress for 3 days. He was then caught and is now in prison.
Gerard Baden Clay was a customer of ours at my old work he was a real prick to deal with and I was the only one who could ever satisfy his unrealistic expectations. When the news broke his wife had gone missing my colleagues and I all thought instantly that he had done something. All the news stories and people close to him came out saying what a wonderful man he was and we were all thinking wtf? He was the biggest piece of sh!t person i have ever met. Really slimy guy typical of a real estate agent.
He would frequently go off his nut and get abusive over the smallest things to my co workers. When he would try it on me I'd just smile and say "Ok Gerard" fix the problem and leave.
Moms Know Things
My ex went on to murder a future girlfriend. I was a teenager and my mom insisted that he was creepy even though he seemed so nice and treated me well. She actually forbid me to see him which was a something that only ever happened with him so I did gently end things. Moms KNOW things.
Bait & Tackle & The FBI
Unsure of the actual crime(s) as we weren't given exact details, but my husband worked in a bait & tackle/camping type store for awhile. Guy came in, gathered a few expensive camping supplies, zero degree sleeping bag, tent, backpack, boots, etc. He goes to ring him up, the card won't go thru so the guy just grabs his card back and ditches everything, leaves. A few minutes later the store received a call from the FBI asking if he was still there, if they knew what vehicle he may have been driving, do they have video recording in/around the store (they did). They sent agents out that afternoon to the headquarters for copy of the tapes. We never heard anything after that, but definitely creepy.
Changed My Views On EvilGiphy
A guy I was best friends with when we were 6-13 years old (i went on holiday with him a couple of times) is now serving 27 years for murder. The weirdest thing is he was a nice kid, just troubled, then got mixed up with the wrong people etc.
It completely changed my view on what constitutes "evil". What he did was terrible but he isn't an evil guy. Makes me think that lots of "evil" people aren't intrinsically bad, just have terrible circumstances; however that doesn't absolve them of what they do.
I still see his mum from time to time, she's a close family friend and a lovely woman.
Another Kind Of Victim
Three of the "popular" boys I went to high school with went over to a man's house to rob him and then beat him to death. All of them got 25 to life.
I didn't know them too well because I ran in different circles, but I distinctly remember the next few weeks in school because a large population of our high school was devastated about them doing this/getting sentenced. I was friends with one of the guys' little sisters and she was so heartbroken. They had a counselor come and talk to every class repeatedly. It reminds me how friends/family of the perpetrators can, in a way, also be victims.
No Call/No Show
I used to work with a guy named Erik Grumpelt who ended up killing another co-worker of ours. He ended up sleeping with her body under his bed for 2 to 3 months, the sick bastard.
I knew them both. Our work was very quiet & in shock the day we all heard about it We just couldn't believe it. What really messed with me was that she had been missing for a couple months and nobody reported her missing or thought it was odd for her to just disappear.
Work just marked her down as a "no call/no show" and eventually terminated her employment. There was no follow up. Like, no other coworkers attempted to contact her? Or if they did try to, they didn't think it was odd when they never could get ahold of her?
And what about her family? None of them noticed she was gone for 3 months & never showed up to work?
The entire thing just messed with my head. The only reason all this was found out was because Erik couldn't live with the guilt anymore and came clean to his dad, who immediately called the police.
Part of me wonders if he hadn't done that, how much longer it would've been before anyone started looking for her.
If you Google his name you'll see plenty of news articles about it.
Over the next couple years we would sometimes receive calls from debt collectors at work asking for him. As far as I know, debt collectors aren't allowed to call places of business, but I could be wrong.
Anyways, I would always tell them that they probably wouldn't be hearing from him anytime soon & to Google his name if they want to know why.
She Never Stopped Loving Him
Not me, but my mom met Richard Ramirez. Her aunt used to babysit her and dated Richard and would bring my mom along because she would go out with him on nights that she was supposed to watch my mom. My mom hated him--she thought he was really creepy. My great aunt loved him though. She never stopped. He sent her a wedding gift while he was on death row. She mourned him when he passed. F*cked up because my aunt is a bible banging Christian and disowned my mom for coming out as gay.
Hanging Out With Javy
I was a sophomore in high school in 2011. One night my friend, Danny, asked me if I wanted to hang out. I said yeah and invited my best friend to come along; Danny invited his friend Javy. Danny picked us up we stopped by a gas station. I got out of the car with Danny. Javy also got out. We paid and went to out the gas in the car we finished and Javy was still inside the store. We were just waiting then we see him running yelling at Danny:
"Turn on the car! Hurry!"
He had stolen beer. Danny didn't seem to happy that Javy didn't at least warn him of what he was planing to do. He could've gotten caught. We get back to Danny's place where Javy seemed like he had an interest in my best friend he was trying to talk to her but he wasn't her type. Javy didn't quite make a good impression, but at the time that was Danny's close friend. Spring break came along and we started hanging out more going out bowling and just hanging out at Danny's house and going to the movies. Javy kinda grew on me, but one thing I've always noticed was that Danny never left us girls alone with him. Class had resumed and we didn't hang out with Danny as much because had graduated already.
I live in a quiet neighborhood where nothing really happens no robberies, violence, such things like that. Until we did hear a girl that got murdered near where we live people started making it a big deal because that's unheard of there. One day I was getting ready in my mom's room and heard the news talking about the story.
I didn't think anything of it until I happened to walked by the TV and there was Javy's picture there. I stood there frozen. I cried out "That's Javy!" and just started crying. My mom kept asking me what's wrong so I explained that was who I hung out with them my whole spring break. I called my best friend and told her to turn on the news. We watched in shock.
Apparently, Javy stalked her on her way home from a friends. He raped her, stabbed her and then burned her body. To this day I get the chills to think what he was capable of. He got sentenced to death.
All On Camera
My high school boyfriend had this best friend, who we spent a lot of time with, that I was always a little meh about. Our main hang out place was the friends' house. I appreciated his parents for letting us hang out. After I graduated I left the boyfriend and never saw either of them again. About 2 years ago it was reported that the best friend had a psychotic break and murdered his father. His family was concerned about his well being and had installed cameras and caught it all on camera.
What WAS UnthinkableGiphy
We went to school together, and I tore his ACL in practice. I went to college in upstate NY at SUNY Geneseo. His name was Colin Kingston. I knew him by name, if we saw each other wed give a nod and say "yo". I played Rugby and he was really good friends with some other guys on the team so he would show up at parties and gatherings every now and again. He even came to a few practices but was an upper classman and I guess focused more on getting out of school at the time. At one practice I tackled him and he fell the wrong way tearing his ACL. I remember because I felt really bad about it. He was a casual member of team and I remember feeling some guilt that he would be injured causing him to miss whatever games he would've been able to play. A couple years after graduation, he was maybe 2-3 years older than I, his girlfriend, still a current student, breaks up with him.
Early Sunday morning he drives to her house and stabs her and, I'm assuming, her new boyfriend. The victims were Kelsey Annesse and Matthew Hutchinson. Both Student athletes, her a basketball player, and he a hockey recruit. The murder happened early morning so maybe he walked in on them sleeping, I'm not sure. After he realized what he had done he phoned his dad and confessed saying he was going to take his own life thus turning it into a double murder suicide.
In an even more chilling twisted my good friend and teammate was dating, and still is, one of Kelseys teammates. They knew and played with each other. The incident comes across conversation every so often in our friend group. It really grounded us in terms of the unimaginable. What was unthinkable was now real and we were very close to the epicenter. We all got a little more protective of the women in our lives, both romantic and platonic.
Time For All Of This
I was engaged to one. I've known him since I was 14. He brutally murdered and sexually assaulted his neighbor one night and was able to keep it hidden for almost a decade. He's now on trial. When they discovered his DNA and arrested him, not only did I find this out but I also found out he was involved with many other women across the country and locally. I have no idea how he had time for all of this.
"The Bad Man Tickled Mommy"
Yes. When I was in high school a student teacher approached me and my friend to go drink with him in a motel room. We were not attracted to him in the slightest and laughed at the proposition. That made him angry.
He happened to be friends with a family member of mine who was older and an established member of the community. He told my family member that me and my friends were selling drugs (no way, we were lucky to find a little weed on the weekend).
My family member believed him and began a "we must find out what [me] is doing!" campaign. I came clean about smoking a bit of weed but also shared what this asshole had done. It fell on deaf ears.
A year later, this man murdered his wife in their driveway while their 3 year old son watched. The 3 year old was quoted as saying, "the bad man tickled Mommy." He stabbed her to death.
He is still in jail as far as I know and my family member apologized.
Mono Saved Her Life
I studied abroad in Valparaiso, Chile, in 2010. There is a bar called Cafe Journal that was/is very popular with tourists on Wednesday nights. Unfortunately, I had mono during most of my semester abroad (undiagnosed until I got home to see a doctor) so I had a hard time keeping up with the Latin American college student party lifestyle. I was always the first one of my friends to go home. But I really wanted to go to Cafe Journal on this particular night because our semester was rapidly coming to an end and I wouldn't get many more chances.
I showed up, had a few drinks, got extremely tired right away (as one does with mono.) I decided I'd get ready to leave, and visit the baño real quick. On my way back to my friends, I was approached by a guy I didn't know, whose accent sounded like he was trying to imitate a Chilean. He was friendly at first, but I really just wanted to GTFO and go to bed, so I told him it was nice to meet but I was leaving. He became immediately concerned for my safety and tried to convince me to stay with him. It wasn't safe to go home alone in that area. It's notable that, as a petite blonde American, I looked quite out of place at this bar (even with an abundance of other tourists present) and he had no way of knowing if I was just passing through.
But by this point, I had already lived in the area for a few months and was quite aware of what was and what was not safe to do. In this case, it was totally fine for me to take a colectivo (taxi with a fixed route that picks up and drops off passengers along the way) by myself, so I knew this guy was either being machismo or weird. He stayed friendly but became very pushy and even more "concerned." None of my friends gave a shit I was leaving alone, so neither did I. My gut told me to get away from this as fast as possible. My aching body said "IDGAF JUST LET ME SLEEP!"
I realized I needed to ghost him. I relented to his concern and excused myself to say goodbye to my friends, then he could escort me home to "safety." I went over to my friends' table and told them this weird guy was being pushy about leaving together, and I am trying to leave by myself, so be worried if they don't get a text from me within 30 mins. I made eye contact with him from a distance and acknowledged him.
Then, I said "fuck politeness" and hauled ass out of there! I did my best to put as many people between me and him in the crowd, using my short height to hide in the shadows of drunk people. I walked the longest possible way out of the bar as I could, and headed in the opposite direction of the colectivo line to a very well-lit late-night burger restaurant next door. I bought myself a plate of fries hoping I'd kill enough time that he thought I left without him. It worked; I walked back over to the colectivos, made sure he was gone, had an uneventful ride home back to my host parents' place, and passed out safe in bed.
Creepy, pushy bar guy's face was all over the news by the weekend. He was Joran van der Sloot, and I met him the night before he was arrested for the murder of Stephany Flores Ramirez.
Killers Are All Around UsGiphy
Most people don't realize that killers are all around us. When I worked as an outdoor, downtown-wide security guard, we had to remember a list of POIs. On the list were several murderers and rapists who had done their time and were set free.
They often roamed busy streets and, if they weren't homeless, then they looked like normal people. It's weird walking past someone- daily, mind you- knowing they killed someone.