People Who Knew Murderers Are Sharing What They Were Like, And These Stories Are Bone-Chilling

    "That Friday when we got to school, the whole school was abuzz with the news that he and his brothers had been in a police chase."

    Recently, we wrote about people who knew or met murderers, and the responses were chilling. The BuzzFeed Community submitted even more responses in the comments, so we're back with more stories. Here are 32 shocking and heartbreaking experiences people had with serial killers and murderers.

    NOTE: There are mentions of violence, school shootings, sex trafficking, assault, and cannibalism.

    1. "I interacted with this person online. I was a little weirdo, and back in the day, I was on a Columbine forum that discussed the murders, the killers themselves, and just sort of trying to understand how this could happen. There were always a couple edgelords on the site, but the one that always weirded me out was this guy who called himself Mr. Smiggles. He'd say that schools were dangerous for kids, they needed to be kept safe, and other weird shit. He also would say that sleeping with underage teens was okay. Never quite figured that out. We had a few interactions — nothing heated or anything, just sort of talking. Well, I left the site because it was turning into a fan board rather than a discussion board (this was around the time the Columbine community was forming in earnest, and I wanted NO PART of the fanboys/fangirls being on there)."

    "It was 2011. I remember this because the next year, the guy was all over the news and so was the site. The guy was Adam Lanza [the Sandy Hook shooter]. I had talked with Adam Lanza about Columbine and his weirdass theories and never knew it. 

    A few years later, there was ANOTHER shooter that came from that site who lived a close enough drive to me that I could've driven to where he lived in less than an hour. It was Randy Stair, the Weis Markets killer. That one REALLY freaked me out because my family shopped at Weis all the time (but the one in our hometown), and all the connections really fucked with my head. So yeah, I talked to a school shooter on a web forum, and I'm still extremely messed up about it, and I can't even talk about it in counseling because how do you even BEGIN to untangle that mess without sounding like you're cuckoo for cocoa puffs?"


    Vintage photo of three individuals smiling at the camera

    2. "I was living in Milwaukee at the time — circa 2007. There was a story about a woman who broke apart concrete slabs in her driveway and found two dead bodies. The case was being investigated and they had a possible suspect. Around the same time, I encountered a man named Steven, or Steve, who was funny, charming, and easy to talk to. We had lunch and got to know each other. There was something familiar about this guy, like I knew him from somewhere even though I had never met him prior. A date followed, and I couldn’t shake the feeling that I knew him, but something told me to stay away from him. As we talked, he mentioned that he was a business owner with money and three cars: a Bentley, a Benz, and an Escalade."

    "He bragged about this and that, and during our date, he had business calls coming in, plus he met up with different people during the course of our date that he played off as 'running into someone he knew.' I couldn’t help but notice that he appeared to be conducting business deals on the date, and I felt like I was being displayed as a pawn in the negotiations. That night, he wanted to take me to his house, but I declined. I couldn’t get away fast enough and knew at this point I needed to get away before something happened to me. A few days later, he made plans for another date, which I laughed so hard at that I peed in my pants, because he wanted to get a hotel room with me. 

    The story about the woman who found the concrete slabs with the bodies underneath now had a suspect's name: Michael Steven Locke. A picture of him in the paper surfaced in which he was holding a pile of money and a basketball. Behind him were three cars: a Bentley, a Benz, and an Escalade. 

    I went out with a murderer who killed the two people whose corpses were found under the concrete, plus more. He was a pimp who ran a prostitution ring. The day I had lunch with him, he was most likely sizing me up, and the night I went out with him, he was most likely taking calls for me from clients, with my debut set to take place at the hotel room he wanted to get with me. He was sentenced to two life terms for the homicides of the bodies found, plus 22 years for the kidnapping and torture of a third victim. This was in 2008. Ladies, always listen to that little voice in your head. It saved my life and will save yours too, I promise."


    3. "We went to high school together. We were not best friends or anything, but we sat beside each other in English and talked and often said 'hello' in the hallways. I even tried to set him up with one of my friends. He was so friendly even though he was more popular than I was, and always said 'hi' to me all four years of high school. As he got older, he opened his own travel company and seemed like he was living a great life (from what I saw on social media). I'm from a small city in southern Ontario, Canada where there are a lot of mob ties. There was a hit set out by a local mob boss and an innocent woman was murdered. Turns out, the hitman was the same guy from high school. It was a complete shock and many people from our school (from what I saw on social media) could not believe it."

    "There are four of them tied to this and multiple other crimes. One turned himself in, two were found deceased in Mexico, and the guy I knew is still on the run. There was recently a BOLO ('Be On The Lookout') out for him and a $50,000 reward for finding him. I believe his travel business gave him a means of escaping. As a true crime enthusiast, I look into this case often, but I still cannot fathom how he became this person. I do hope he is found soon for justice for the victims. This senseless murder was a catalyst for many other mob hits and/or messages to the mob here and other people close to my community have suffered greatly."


    4. "I went to high school with the Yosemite Park Killer [Cary Stayner]. We were in an art class together and sat at the same table. He was quiet and very talented in drawing. Our high school yearbook featured quite a bit of his artwork. We were once having a conversation around a table and the subject of a child who went missing in the early '70s was mentioned. I remember saying how sad it was that he hasn’t been found. He said, 'That is my brother.' I felt so bad, I had no idea. All in all, a tragic story for all involved."

    Editor's Note with some additional context: Cary Stayner was 11 when his younger brother Steven was kidnapped at age seven. Steven was held hostage for over seven years, resurfacing in 1980 when he walked into a police station with a five-year-old his kidnapper had recently abducted, having rescued him. Steven died in a motorcycle accident in 1989, at age 24. 

    In 1999, Cary killed at least four women after meeting them at his job at the Cedar Lodge Motel just outside Yosemite, and was suspected of multiple other murders over the years. He is currently on Death Row in California.

    Old photo of an adult and a child standing close together, both looking at the camera

    5. "A friend from high school murdered our football coach a few years after we graduated. He went into the high school weight room and shot him in front of students. He was a very nice guy. Funny, had a wonderful smile. Would give you the shirt off his back if you needed it. I had nothing negative to say about him. Until he got deep into drugs and was diagnosed with schizophrenia. A few days prior to the killing, he was arrested for an unrelated charge and was placed under a 72-hour psych hold. They released him and he committed the murder shortly after."


    6. "I met my neighbor's nephew a few times when I was in high school in the late ‘90s/early ‘00s at their family barbecues and parties. He seemed nice; he was good-looking and a few years older than me. ... In 2011, he essentially convinced a guy that he was part of the mafia. He told this guy he could join if he killed someone, then orchestrated a fake drug deal to set up the guy and the victim (guy’s childhood best friend). The guy killed his friend with a pickaxe. My neighbor’s nephew was sentenced to 30 years in prison. You can read about it here."


    7. "Not me, but one of my uncles and his (now ex) wife were friends with Daniel Rakowitz, aka the Butcher of Tompkins Square Park. I don’t know how close they were, but they were some of the friends who didn't believe him when he told them that he had killed and dismembered his roommate. Apparently, the guy hadn’t been very sane for a long time beforehand; my aunt described how one time he was ranting to her about how god was talking to him through the pages of a book."


    Newspaper article about acquittal in a murder case with details on the trial and suspect's background

    8. "I got in a fight with a kid named Harold in grade school when I was 10. He hit me in the back of my head while we were walking down the hall to go outside for recess. I chased him and he ran around a corner and straight into a wall and broke his arm. He screamed bloody murder and said that I somehow managed to break his arm, but there were plenty of witnesses who said otherwise. We moved and I never saw him again. About 20 years later, I heard on the news he was found guilty of murdering a guy. He tried to cover it up by burning the guy’s body in the trunk of a car. It actually ended up keeping the body from burning long enough for the fire department to put out the fire and discover the body. Harold wasn’t that bright. He’s serving life."


    9. "I used to watch my cousin (by law, not blood) when he was younger, and knew at an early age that there was something severely off with him. He had always had issues. ... It was basically ignored that he had threatened his mother and siblings with violence, including setting the porch of their rental home on fire. ... After some time, I simply refused to look after him anymore, as I was a young teen, and taking care of other cousins to make ends meet for my own family. Around five years later, after I had already moved north to another state and my cousin was 'grown,' I saw on TV that ... he and a friend had found a grower’s stash of marijuana growing in a patch near a local railroad in Missouri. They'd harvested the crop and taken it back to my cousin’s sister’s rental. In the basement, they got into an argument, during which my cousin stabbed his best (probably only) friend to death, and attempted to hide the body under the newfound cache of cannabis."

    "By the time his older sister arrived, he showed her what he had done, laughing about her reaction to a cadaver in her home. After being convicted and incarcerated for several weeks, he eventually escaped prison for several days, but was eventually found and returned to prison. 

    To this day, if I even get a hint that someone might be even mildly unhinged, I have absolutely no issues in speaking to the local agency or MET programs. He’s mainly part of why I’m joining the local law enforcement agency. Had he been given the proper treatment, his whole life might have turned out differently."


    10. "I used to work at a jail so I’ve met quite more than a fair share. ... I always tried not to look at an inmate’s charges, because I didn’t want it to make me treat them differently unconsciously. Now, while you never TRUST an inmate, there are some who show themselves to be reliable. I worked with the women and one I’ll call Tina was definitely one of those. She was very respectful, would try to smooth out drama in the unit, and (correctly) tipped me off several times to drugs in the unit and plots going on. I hoped that she was innocent of whatever she had been charged with, because I believed she would have been a very productive member of society. After having been there for something like two years and a months-long trial, she got convicted. Her charge? Sex trafficking minors and killing them if they proved not 'useful'… including her own daughter."


    Person in orange outfit holding onto a metal gate with a serious expression

    11. "One of my best childhood friends ... was the perfect kid. He got straight A's, was an Eagle Scout and regular volunteer, and didn't even like other kids swearing around him. He was largely raised by his grandparents, as his own parents were often deployed in the military. He moved back in with his parents around age 13, and I only saw him once afterward — he seemed distant and very quiet. Turns out he was being sexually abused by his father, and I guess something snapped in him when his mother was deployed again. He shot his dad in the back of the head and made a brief run for it, but surrendered a few days later. The state wanted to lock him up forever, but he managed to get (only) 40 years...This is a state that prides itself on 'self defense' laws for gun owners. I could only imagine what an incredible adult he would have become had this not happened to him."


    12. "A girl I went to high school with had a baby young and when she couldn’t get him to stop crying she smothered him, killing him. I don’t remember the exact details but she confessed right away and I don’t believe she got much time since she was young. The whole thing is sad."


    13. "He was my best friend's nephew. We hung out with him on holidays. He seemed a little strange, and his dad had died by suicide. He killed his mother by stabbing her to death. He then wrapped her body in her comforter. The police found a pentagram in the yard and his bedroom was filled with satanic images. He blamed his drug addiction for the murder. He is now serving life."


    Pentagram shape made of stones on the ground with candles at each point in a dimly lit setting

    14. "I went to school with Jeremy Strohmeyer from junior high until maybe 10–11th grade. Being a girl and a late bloomer, he was very cruel to me. He ran with the popular crowd. They seemed to think his 'jokes' were funny. Honestly, I think it’s weird that we went to a private religious school and he’s not the only murderer that went there. There were two other guys, a bit older, that were friends with my brother. They viciously murdered one of my classmate's ex-boyfriends who assaulted her. They both got arrested after fleeing to Mexico. One was a big sweetheart, the other was sus...Handsome, charming — just the sort that uses his looks to get away with a lot."


    15. "The guy I knew growing up in the '90s, Chad Tate, was a bigger guy ... and had to grow up kinda tough ('90s weren’t a great time if you didn’t fit the social norm). ... As we approached the end of our freshman school year, he approached me and my adopted brother, asking if we had any music he could borrow for a road trip he was taking with his brothers. Mind you, it was around spring break when this happened — around the first of April. I didn’t have anything on me other than a Papa Roach CD, so I told him to just give it back whenever we got back to school. Well the next day, we all noticed he wasn’t in our AJROTC class we had together. Figuring he left early, we didn’t think anything about it. That Friday when we got to school, the whole school was abuzz with the news that he and his brothers had been in a police chase that ended in Texas or Arkansas (I can’t remember where)."

    "Well as the day went on, the word finally got out and he and his brothers had sexually assaulted and killed a woman and her child. I was absolutely horrified and still am to this day. If you want more details of what happened, it is easily Googled and was in 2001."


    16. "My neighbor when I was a kid. This guy. He killed his wife after she tried to kill him. Essentially, she set up an elaborate house fire situation that would trap him but let their kid and herself escape. It didn’t work. No one suspected at that time how bad things were. The kid got help and the fire department got everyone out. A few months later he ran her over and spent the rest of his life in jail. They seemed normal and pretty unremarkable. I wonder what happened to their poor kid. He was so nice and went to school with me."


    Character from a show looks concerned; two subtitles about a conversation involving someone named Xavier

    17. "In the late '80s, a step-family member murdered a couple of men in/around Tampa, FL by burning them to death in their van. The men had apparently been harassing someone else in the family, and being the nasty person my step-family member is, they did what they did. They have gotten away with a lot of nefarious shit in their lifetime. They no longer live in the US, so I guess they think they are safe. I wish someday they would get what's coming to them, though. I have been questioned about them by agencies, but nothing ever seems to come from it."


    18. "I used to babysit for a family in my neighborhood. The mom was super creative and fun, the dad was quiet and kind of aloof, and the kids were great. They were a perfectly normal family. I learned later that a few years after I stopped babysitting for them, the mom got heavily addicted to drugs and made the family miserable with her erratic behavior. I’m not sure about the exact details of the situation, but the dad eventually lost it and killed the mom in the garage, and then got the son to help him bury her in their backyard! Later the son testified against the dad and was so distraught by what had happened that he died by suicide. It was just tragic."


    19. "I had a coworker who was engaged (later married) to a guy. He was a huge nerd and basically a really nice and regular guy. I also married a nerd at around the same time so we spent a lot of time joking about our partners together. Fast forward a few years — I walked in on her at work crying. This was pretty out of character for her. I sat down next to her, hugged her, and asked her if she wanted to talk. She told me, 'No, I’m okay, I just think things aren’t working between (his name) and me.' She didn’t seem like she was ready to talk about it and I didn’t want to push, so I just sat with her. She never said anything else. I ended up leaving that job, and I didn’t end up seeing her again. A few months later, my phone started blowing up at 1 a.m. from old co-workers saying she had been murdered."

    "She had told him she was leaving and he shot her to death. When he realized he couldn’t hide the murder, he shot himself a few hours later. When she didn’t show up for work, her employees called for a wellness check and that’s when they found the bodies. She was a strong, intelligent, and hardworking woman. She was also a very private person. She was a light to me when I was in a very dark place. It still haunts me that I didn’t push harder that day in the office. She was so loved by so many people and no one knew that she was married to a monster."


    Two scenes from a show with text: "You know, Brie, you don't have to tell me if you don't want to." and a woman nodding

    20. "My friend's dad tried to kill the mom after the divorce. The divorce had been really nasty, and he was upset that she got to keep the house. The house was located on the outskirts of the town, with not many neighbors. One night, when the mom was alone, the dad broke into the house. He was wearing some kind of rubber suit and had a butcher knife and heavy-duty plastic bags with him. She managed to escape, and he was caught. However, he was only sentenced for a little over a year. 🙃"


    21. "My nephew's girlfriend. She was a garbage human being; she stole antique jewelry from my mother when they came to visit us. The next guy she got involved with after my nephew was living with her and her two sons. They got into a fight and she stabbed him in the stomach. One of her sons, thinking he was helping, pulled the knife out and he died. She claimed self-defense and got six years. She's out now and still a garbage human being."


    22. "After graduation, the guy who had sat in front of me in English class in high school was convicted of murdering his girlfriend’s parents and trying to destroy their bodies in a BBQ pit. He was a very quiet guy; nice and polite. The girlfriend convinced him that murder was the only way they could be together."


    Three-panel image of a tense conversation between a young woman and a young man with shoulder-length hair

    23. "He was my childhood friend's younger brother. He was always a nice guy, but clearly not very smart and their home life was rough. I was in my senior year of high school and hadn’t seen him for a few years. I randomly ran into him and he had just robbed a drug dealer, showing me a massive wad of bills. Apparently, he climbed through a window when nobody was home and cleaned them out. About six months later I read that he and a friend, both high on drugs, beat an old man to death beneath a bridge. There was no reason; they just killed him. They both did about 10 years and as far as I know, he hasn’t been in any trouble since."


    24. "I grew up around and often played with Sean Wentz. My mom and his mom were friends, so whenever they got together Sean and I would play together. For those that don't know the name — Sean Wentz was the triggerman who killed Terrance and Marie Duffy during a robbery of the bar they owned. The Duffys were the parents of Dallas and Step by Step actor Patrick Duffy."


    Portrait of a man with wavy hair smiling, wearing a checkered shirt

    25. "I went to junior high with Tory Nocho. He was new at our school. He was quiet and polite, but mostly kept to himself. ... He ended up killing his coworkers at one of the local fast food restaurants after high school. It shocked us of all who'd known him."


    26. "I used to work at a garden store, and one of my coworkers was fired for a reason I can’t remember. A few days later, I pulled up the news and almost dropped my laptop in surprise — that very same ex-coworker was sentenced to time in prison due to beating a kid to death with brass knuckles over drug money."


    27. "My bio father ... killed two people when he was 18. I literally had no idea because I was adopted out. I did visit with him, but at the time I didn’t know. It was only in my adult years that I googled him. He had killed his mother’s boyfriend and his son, and was sent to a psych ward. He passed when I was 15 after getting beat up. He died in jail alone. It is a tough thing to understand even after all these years."


    Sam Winchester wears a jacket, Dean Winchester in a shirt. Emotional conversation scene from the show Supernatural

    28. "My friend's mom shot his dad in the back of the head 11 times. My friend was the oldest of four, and all the kids were there. She tried saying it was self-defense, but that was definitely not true; he was a good dude and she just lost her mind. My friend and his siblings lost both their parents that day. It's horrible."


    29. "This happened around 1989. I was a sophomore in high school and did some babysitting for pocket money. I was babysitting this amazing little boy. He was two years old. His dad worked for the post office and his mom had a factory job. I babysat for them on the weekends. One day, he just stopped coming. I later found out why. His father killed him. The dad's intent was to kill the little boy and then kill himself. He got scared and didn't kill himself. Just this beautiful little boy. It still makes my heart hurt, all these years later. There is a special place in hell for that man."


    30. "When I was 14, I met a distant cousin, David, who was around my mom's age. He would come and help my family with renovating our church for about a year or so, as he worked in construction. I remember one day I was waiting for the bus after school and he popped up next to me out of nowhere. I don't know what it was, but there was something about his energy that day that was really weird to me, but being young, I didn't really think too much about it. About a month later, I heard from my mom that he had been arrested for killing his wife and stepson after arguing with his wife. He was sentenced to life in prison but then died by suicide after a few years. Never ever saw that coming."


    Woman looking worried sitting in a dimly lit room with two windows in the background

    31. "I picked a kid up hitchhiking back in 1978 and took him to a trailer where he was living with his girlfriend's parents. He had pretty grubby clothes on and looked a bit disheveled. Several days later, I heard he and his girlfriend shot and killed her parents and one of her brothers. The other brother lived but was pretty messed up for a while. I never picked up a hitchhiker again unless I knew them."


    32. And finally..."One of my best friends from middle school ended up helping her boyfriend murder this guy. They lured him to their little trailer and tricked him and started beating him with a hammer until his face was unrecognizable. It was a horrible thing. They're both in prison. It sure makes me sad that she turned so cold."


    Have you ever known someone who admitted to, or was later convicted of, murder? Tell us your story in the comments or via this anonymous form.

    Submissions have been edited for length/clarity.