Notorious Female Serial Killers You’ve Probably Forgotten: PART 2

In part one of our two-part series on female serial killers, we discussed two women: Judias Buenoano, who murdered her entire family and several significant others, and Dorothea Puente, a nurse who injected elderly patients at a care facility in Massachusetts with lethal doses of epinephrine, which is typically used to jumpstart hearts during cardiac arrest. Some female serial killers were far more successful than most of their counterparts.

For example, Japanese midwife Miyuki Ishikawa killed between 85 and 169 young children and infants during the 1940s. To date, this is the most successful spate of murders in Japan’s history. Which is why you might be surprised to know that, once apprehended, she received only a four-year prison sentence. 

Ishikawa had been hired to carry out these murders. She was arrested on January 15, 1948 after a couple police officers discovered the remains of several of the children. The legal defense was probably even more appalling in that it basically worked: she argued that the parents of the children were truly responsible for their well-being, and that they should be faulted for their deaths.

Are you pro-life? Consider this: most of these murders were carried out after parents who did not want or could not afford their children paid to have Ishikawa dispose of them. This spate of murders is widely considered the primary reason that the Japanese government subsequently decided to pursue the legalization of abortion. Only one year after Ishikawa’s arrest, Japan legalized abortion — albeit for primarily economic reasons.

Nannie Doss killed at least 11 people in three decades, including most of her own family. Later nicknamed “Giggling Granny,” the “Black Widow, and “Lady Blue Beard,” she murdered four husbands, two children, two sisters, her mom, her grandson, and several others. The killings were carried out with rat poison — but perhaps the real crime is how on earth the authorities failed to figure out she was the culprit considering how many years it took her to carry out these murders.