Globalization of Serial Murder 15
Ted Bundy Mugshot (left)
Andrei Chikatilo Mugshot (below)
Pedro Lopez Mugshot
Richard Ramirez at arraignment
Running Header: Globalization of Serial Murder: Investigative tools and the globalization of
Globalization of Serial Murder
Investigative tools and the Globalization of Data
Deviance and Violence CJ266
February 2, 2010
The crime of serial murder is not just a problem in the United States, it is in fact a global problem.
In the United States, the local jurisdictions have the help of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and
their Behavioral Analysis Unit to provide profiles and expertise in solving these types of crimes. They
also held a Symposium on Serial Murder to help law enforcement learn new techniques involving a
Multi Disciplinary Approach (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 2005). The 187 member countries of
Interpol, held a Symposium on Homicide and Serial Rape in 2008, and have come to the conclusion
that there should be more international cooperation and sharing of information on these types of
crimes (Noble, 2008). We will look at the investigative techniques used in the cases of Andrei
Chikatilo from Russia, and Pedro Lopez to discuss foreign investigations while comparing what their
law enforcement did in relation to what the FBI describes as successful techniques to investigate this
type of violent crime. While the phenomenon of serial murder is more publicized in the United States,
with countless books, television shows, and movies, this violent crime happens all over the world. The
investigative techniques, and the way that the crime is perceived varies from country to country
depending on local customs, cultures, and whatever advances in technology are present or lacking in
that particular society. These same differences in cultural society also influence the techniques that the
killer uses along with their motivations to kill (Hickey, n.d.). In conclusion, law enforcement in our
country and in other countries is beginning to understand the value of sharing information for study,
or cross reference in an active investigation.
The Globalization of Serial Murder: Investigative Tools and the Globalization of Data
The crime of serial murder is not just a problem in the United States; it is in fact a global problem. In
the United States, the local jurisdictions have the help of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and their
Behavioral Analysis Unit to provide profiles and expertise in solving these types of crimes. They also
held a Symposium on Serial Murder to help law enforcement learn new techniques involving a Multi
Disciplinary Approach. This Symposium involved mental health experts, investigators in the law
enforcement field, scholars, and representatives of the media who have as separate groups, been
studying this phenomenon for years (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 2005). The 187 member
countries of Interpol, held a Symposium on Homicide and Serial Rape in 2008, and have come to the
conclusion that there should be more international cooperation and sharing of information on these
types of crimes (Noble, 2008). While a lot of serial killers tend to stay in their comfort zones, there are
predators who roam from state to state, or even country to country because of their job or hobbies
routinely, These criminals are harder to catch because of the multiple jurisdictions, customs, and state
or country government differences. We will look at the investigative techniques used in the cases of
Andrei Chikatilo from Russia, and Pedro Lopez to discuss foreign investigations while comparing what
their law enforcement did in relation to what the FBI describes as “successful” techniques to
investigate this type of violent crime. While the phenomenon of serial murder is more publicized in the
United States, with countless books, television shows, and movies, this violent crime happens all over
the world. The investigative techniques, and the way that the crime is perceived varies from country to
country depending on local customs, cultures, and whatever advances in technology are present or
lacking in that particular society. These same differences in cultural society also influence the
techniques that the killer uses along with their motivations to kill (Hickey, n.d.). The wide public
interest in serial murder began in Whitechapel London in the late 1880’s with Jack the Ripper’s crimes
which were never solved, and continues today. Unfortunately, most of the public’s knowledge of these
crimes is based on productions made in Hollywood, where they usually enhance the facts of the crimes
to sell more tickets instead of portraying the actualities of the crimes. Public pressure to solve these
crimes appears in the form of elected officials leaning on the investigators. Pressure from the media
arrives in the form of sensationalized coverage of the crimes, along with conjecture produced and aired
by so called experts which are discussed later in this essay. Law enforcement personnel are subject to
misinformation from professionals employed as pathologists, investigators, and prosecutors by taking
experience from a single case, and trying to advise law enforcement with results and circumstances
from their experience (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 2005).
Another problem presenting itself is the “talking head“issue. These people publicly state their opinions
as fact, and are given credibility by the media. They portray them selves as experts, appear often on
television and in the news, and hypothesize the reasons a particular offender commits these heinous
crimes or on the character or physical traits of the offender. The sad truth, however, is that none of
these people have access to the confidential facts surrounding the case. The badly chosen commentaries
just promote more misunderstanding about the subject, and can actually damage law enforcement
attempts at solving the case at hand (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 2005).
The professionals attending the Serial Murder Symposium all agreed that there is no generic blueprint
of a serial murderer; however, they did notice several traits that they all seem to possess. These are: a
need for sensation, a pronounced deficiency in remorse or feelings of guilt, controlling nature, and
impulsive or predatory behavior. Because these traits are dependable indicators of psychopathic
personality disorder, it was noted of the importance of law enforcement and any other persons involved
in the criminal justice system to have an understanding of psychopathic personalities and the relative
nature that this contributes to investigating serial murder. (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 2005)
The Symposium participants recognized several successful analytical procedures to investigate a serial
murder case. These are as follows:
o Identification- The identification of a series of murders is the first and foremost step,
and can prove to be the most challenging step due to the multiple jurisdictions and
transient nature of the offender and the crimes.
o Leadership- The challenges of investigation crimes such as these is greater than that of
most homicides because of added pressure from elected officials, the public, victims
families, and the media. Because of this, members of the Symposium concluded that the
most important aspect of the investigation remains to be the analytical role because that
is what will catch the offender, and all other functions of the investigation are
secondary. A firm grasp must be maintained on the chain of command in order to have a
successful investigation, as the added pressures become a factor of the job.
o Task Force Organization- Lead agency must be established to take on the main role in
the investigation, all other law enforcement organizations must have agents on the force,
following this, a head and co-head investigator is assigned to the case, from here, other
officers and liaison personnel are assigned tasks to perform for the head investigator.
There must be a clear line of communication between administrators and investigators
and maintain a definite rapport while keeping up with their own tasks assigned on the
o Resource Augmentation- While it is sometimes better to have fewer people involved in
an investigation, other personnel may be required to complete tasks for the investigation
either permanently or temporarily, however the former is recommended over the latter
to provide stability to the investigation. The role of the head investigator is to run the
investigation while the role of the administration is to provide the investigative team the
tools and support they need to complete the task.
o Communications- Daily briefings, face to face case briefings, and submitting ViCAP
reports are effective communication measures.
o Data Management- Reports should be compiled as soon as the investigation provides
information to ensure that all agencies and parties involved have real time information,
ideally the reports would be generated by a computer. The FBI Rapid Start program is
an effective tool in data management.
o Analytic Tools- Crime analysts assigned to the head investigators to provide information
sorting, charting, and analyzing functions.
o Autopsy- An autopsy provided by the coroner or medical examiner is essential for these
types of crimes.
Investigations of serial murder in the United States tend to have a clear plan and investigative tools are
used which have been ascertained by a group of people who have dealt with offenders of this type
(Federal Bureau of Investigation, 2005).
Interpol also had a 2008 conference on Homicide and Serial Sexual Crimes, that involved 36
countries altogether. The main focus of this conference was to discuss the fact that serial murder and
rape are global problems, needing a global solution and cooperation exceeding national boundaries.
The conference also addressed the need for global databases for countries to collect DNA and
fingerprints and be able to run them globally instead of nationally. This conference begins to address
the issue of serial murderers having comfort zones across multiple jurisdictions, countries, and cultures,
laying the groundwork for future globalization if data, through the utilization of Interpol (Noble, 2008).
Take the case of Pedro Lopez nicknamed “The Monster of the Andes”, who was said to have killed
over 300 girls in Columbia, Ecuador, and Peru beginning in 1978 upon his release from prison. Pedro
was born in Columbia, to a harsh upbringing with a domineering prostitute mother whom he later
blamed for all of his problems. In fact when Pedro was only eight years old he was caught having sex
with his sister and his mother kicked him out telling him to find his own way in life. He ended up on
the streets of Bogota after a year of sleeping in alleyways, terrified of strangers because an older man
tricked him into believing that he was offering him help, and instead sodomized him for days before
turning him back out on the street. When he was in his late twenties he ended up in jail in Bogota.
When he was released in 1978 he went to Peru, where he began stalking and murdering girls from the
various Indian Tribes located there. When the Indians turned him over to the authorities, they deported
him back to Ecuador because they reasoned that they didn’t have time to waste investigating Indian
deaths (Lohr, n.d.).
During the time that Lopez was travelling Ecuador, he would make frequent stops in Columbia as
well. Authorities were noticing the rise in cases of missing girls in the area, but all dismissed the fact to
a rise in human sex slave trafficking. It was not until a major flood in 1980 in Ambato Ecuador, when
four bodies were unearthed by flood waters that authorities thought any differently. A few days after
the flood, Lopez tried to abduct a 12 year old girl. Local merchants chased him down and held him
until police could come get him (Lohr, n.d.).
When confronted with some evidence and an interview with an informant that had gained his trust
earlier, Pedro confessed to 100 murders in Columbia, 110 in Ecuador, and over 100 in Peru (Lohr,
n.d.). If the tools proposed by the FBI and Interpol were in place when these murders were committed,
these countries would have had access to profiles, information, fingerprints and DNA profiles. Armed
with this information, the police in Peru might not have simply deported him, because before they spent
costly hours investigating, they could have looked at information gathered on this suspect, and made
the decision that getting him off of the streets would have been well worth their time.
Another case worth looking at is the case of Andrei Chikatilo in Russia. The globalization of
information could have helped in another way to prevent the loss of life in this gruesome manner. In
the last two months of 1982, a man seeking firewood came across the remains of a young girl in the
lesopolosa which is a strip of land forested to prevent erosion. It turned out to be the body of a missing
13 year old girl named Lyubov Biryuk. Major Mikhail Fetisov, head investigator for the whole region
of the country, ordered a search of the area, inquired about other cases of people missing in the area,
and had the skin left on the body tested for fingerprints. For all of his work, the remains of the girl were
positively identified, however DNA testing was not available yet, and the resulting investigation
yielded no clues to the killer’s identity. This girl had been stabbed 22 times after being hit hard in the
head from behind. Within two months, another body had been found near railroad tracks in another
town 20 miles from the original body. Investigators noted that this body also had the eyes lacerated,
and a number of stab wounds. No persons of that description had been reported missing, so this victim
remained anonymous. Ten miles and a month later, a soldier collecting wood came across yet another
set of remains of a woman face down on the ground. Despite showing the same type of stab wounds
and eye gouging, this victim also remained nameless (Ramsland, n.d.).
Despite the evident connection, no one in the government would own up to that fact. They were
formally looked at as three individual crimes that were not solved. The Major quickly, formed a task
force. Among the 10 men chosen for this assignment was a man from the criminology lab named
Viktor Burakov, who would prove to be especially diligent in his tasks of heading the criminal
investigation and providing the diligence needed to see this investigation to the end despite numerous
setbacks. The killer had been picking victims of both sexes, perplexing authorities even more. In 1984,
the tenth victim was found, which happened to be male. There was semen found in the anus of 14 year
old Sergei Markov. With the semen, blood antigens could be matched to eliminate suspects who had
the wrong blood type which turned out to read type A. This test eliminated all suspects questioned so
far in the investigation, so that left investigators back at square one. During 1984 another clue surfaced
in the form of a size 13 shoeprint left in mud by the crime scene of a woman killed in the same frenzied
manner of the other victims. Semen and blood were found on her clothing. During the autopsy, the
medical examiner found evidence of pubic lice, an absence of semen in the body, and her stomach still
had food in the process of digestion in it. Her eyes were also left intact, and she was missing a finger.
This 18 year old girl was impoverished, and could have easily been led away by the mention of food.
During the investigation they learned that this victim had actually gone missing in 1982 (Ramsland,
It was during this time that the forensic scientists brought in from Moscow discovered the semen
type was type AB, and every person that had falsely confessed or any suspects they had would have to
be removed from suspicion. This caused some confusion as to whether their killer was one person or
two, based on the blood type evidence. In March of 1984 he killed another young boy, and left the
biggest clue yet- witnesses. They described a tall man with hollow cheeks, rather large feet, and a
stiffened gait wearing large glasses. None of the witnesses had ever seen him before. By the summers
end in 1984 the known body count had risen to 24. All semen left behind showed the AB antigen.
During this year the killer started to accelerate his cycle to one victim about every two weeks. The
investigators thought that he would make a mistake soon. Little did they know that not only did this
killer make very few mistakes, but there were earlier victims still to be discovered, and this killing
spree was not to come to an end anytime in the near future.During this time, the Minister of Defense
added 12 new investigators and brought the task force numbers up to about 200 men and women
looking for this killer. People were watching train stations, bus terminals, and walking in parks
undercover (Ramsland, n.d.).
The authorities were convinced that they were looking for someone falling in the age range of 25-30
years old, muscular and tall, no less than standard intelligence, careful, and a smooth talker. He was
itinerant, and had a family life either still with his mother, or possibly married. They also concluded
that he may have been treated for mental illness, and that he might be skillful in the areas of anatomy
and wielding a knife. The task force decided that anyone that had any of these characteristics and or
traits would be issued a blood test (Ramsland, n.d.).
During this time, the press was forbidden to write about the issues that link these crimes together,
and the public was not warned about the dangers of walking alone. The authorities were still keeping a
lid on the fact that they had a serial murderer in their country. While watching the Rostov bus station,
an older man was spotted trying to talk to females there. The behavior seemed suspicious, and the man
was questioned. This would be the authorities first contact with the man named Andrei Chikatilo who
would later be found to be the monster everyone was looking for. In this instance, the officer let him go
because Chikatilo simply said that he was a former teacher, and just wanted to talk to younger people
again. When the officer saw Andrei again, he decided to board the same bus that Chikatilo got on and
watch him. The officer spotted him receiving oral sex from a lady of the evening that he had hired; he
was arrested for indecency in public. When his belongings were searched, officers found Vaseline, a
large knife, rope, and a soiled towel. When they took his blood type, however they did not find the AB
typology, and therefore concluded since he had blood type A, was an upstanding member of the
communist party, and had nothing in his background to suggest guilt, to release him (Ramsland, n.d.).
While pressure was mounting on the task force to solve this mystery, a body turned up in Moscow,
who had in fact turned up three bodies matching the pattern, noticed that the killings in Rostov stopped
as the bodies in Moscow turned up. The trail soon travelled back to Shakhty and other victims. More
bodies piled up, along with false confessions. Chief Investigator, Issa Kostoyev, who had already
investigated one killer of this type, was brought in to investigate what had been done so far. He
believed that all of the previous methods had failed, and that investigators had already encountered
their man, and let him go because they did not realize that they were in the presence of the killer.
Earlier on in the investigation, Burakov had used Alexandr Bukhanovsky who was a psychiatrist to
formulate a basic profile of the offender. It was unusual to have one person killing members of both
sexes. The result of the information was not received well initially, however, Burakov turned to him
once again, only this time allowing Bukhanovsky access to all of the crime scene details in the hopes of
receiving a profile that would lead them closer to finding what Bukhanovsky ended up labeling Killer
X. What he found was that the killer was non psychotic, but fancied himself gifted, showing arrogance
and narcissism with only average intelligence levels. Although he was a necrosadist and killed to
achieve sexual gratification by watching his victims die, he cut the eyes out for reasons unknown, and
was heterosexual, and not particularly creative. The profile was 65 pages long, with very detailed
information naming other various traits and characteristics of the offender. Burakov once again did not
feel that this information contained any clues to the identity of the fiend, and sought the counsel of a
killer on death row, awaiting execution for sexually motivated murder. He had hopes of understanding
the mind of a criminal who is capable of these monstrous acts, Anatoly Slivko, who was scheduled for
execution in a few hours. While they did not learn anything new directly, indirectly they noticed the
compartmentalization of his mind which allowed him to do things like murder young boys, all the
while still being able to divide into complete moral outrage at the thought of doing something simple
such as being an adult and indulging in alcoholic beverages in the presence of minors (Ramsland, n.d.).
1986 and 1987 were relatively quiet for the task force as far as new bodies were concerned, and
many people began to believe that the monster had disappeared, until April of 1988 when more bodies
turned up. They were also learning from the Ministry of Health that the assumption that the typing of
blood from secretions did not mean that the blood type would match. In short, there were documented
cases where they did not match, and that any suspect ruled out by blood type could in fact be the person
committing the murders. Meanwhile the body count rose to 36 by the end of August 1990 with the
killer continuing to evade capture or identification. Finally, after the 36 body was found, the
investigators had information regarding men that were at the nearby train station. A name on the list
sent chills down the spines of investigators: Andrei Chikatilo who had been questioned early in the
investigation and released because his blood type did not match the AB found in the semen samples.
This new discovery produced more evidence that they had found their killer, in the form of witnesses
having seen Chikatilo leaving the woods and washing his hands at a pump. Along with this, he had a
red colored smear along his cheek and ear, and small branches attached to his coat. The task force
arrested Andrei on November 1990, bit still had no real idea of the scope of the killings. During the
interrogation, Kostoyev tried to get Andrei to confess unsuccessfully. During a medical exam it was
discovered that while Andrei’s blood type was actually A, his semen produced a feeble B antibody,
explaining the AB semen results. Kostoyev had 10 days to produce a confession from Chikatilo, and on
the 9 day, after achieving no success on his own, Burakov decided that maybe a different person
interrogating him would produce the desired result. Bukhanovsky was the chosen person to perform
this task. The information gained from Bukhanovsky from that interview, and from subsequent
interviews gleaned that the body count was 56 in total, and that Andrei due to the voracious natures of
his crimes, the movement to different locations to commit the crimes, and that he quit killing for a
whole year during this time span was by the legal definition, sane (Ramsland, n.d.).
After the killing spree of Chikatilo, Russian authorities have the ability to study the phenomenon of
serial murder in depth, and the permission to confer with specialists from other countries including our
own Federal Bureau of Investigation (Ramsland, n.d.). If the measures discussed in the Symposium in
the United States, and the conference held by Interpol would have been in place at the time of the first
semen discovery, information about the rare person who would secrete one blood type, and actually
register another may have been shared knowledge, and Chikatilo would have been caught much earlier
in his murderous spree. The other noteworthy aspect of this case is that had the public been made aware
that there was a killer in their midst, people would have been more watchful and would have noted
more of the strange behaviors associated with this killer.
In conclusion, law enforcement in our country and in other countries are beginning to understand
the value of sharing information for study, or cross reference in an active investigation. Pressures from
the media, elected officials, and the public caused by the heinous nature of these crimes, enables them
to be viewed as high profile cases and makes them harder to investigate, and to keep public fears at
bay, due to the multitude of erroneous information coming from both the media and the public’s
perception of these offenders. Investigators and officials alike are realizing those databases, profiles,
and other various information, should be shared globally in order to reduce recidivism in crimes of this
nature. (Hickey, n.d.)
Federal Bureau of Investigation. (2005). Serial Murder: Multi-Disciplinary Perspectives for
Investigators. Retrieved from the World Wide Web, February 3, 2010.
Hickey, E. W. (n.d.) Serial Murderers and Their Victims. Fourth Edition. Mason:
Lohr, D. (n.d.). Pedro Lopez: The Monster of the Andes. Retrieved from the World Wide
Web February 1, 2010.
Noble, R. K. (2008) Homicide and Serial Sexual Crimes Conference. Retrieved from the
World Wide Web, January 1, 2010.
Ramsland, K. (n.d.). The Devil’s Trail. Retrieved From the World Wide Web, January 1,