We'll be profiling 13 serial killers over the course of the 13 days leading up to Halloween. Today, we head to West Germany and meet a cannibal. Have any suggestions for our list? Send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
When it comes to the nationalities of serial killers, there is just something inherently creepy about the German ones. Objectively, they're just as bad as serial killers from anywhere else. The perception probably just has something to do with the accent. Today, we meet a German cannibal whose final crime was somehow even more heinous than the rest.
The killer in question -- Joachim Georg Kroll -- is better known as the "Duisburg Man-Eater."
As you might have guessed from the nickname, Kroll lived in the West German town of Duisburg. Kroll was born in 1933, and was the son of a coal miner. Although he was a small, weak child, he was otherwise seen as being pretty normal. That's a trick that all of the most disturbing serial killers tend to master.
Kroll's killing spree began in 1955 when he raped and disemboweled a young woman in a neighboring town.
Between 1955 and 1976, Kroll's killings became more and more twisted. Police began to find mutilated bodies with strips of flesh cut from their thighs and buttocks. Needless to say, this baffled investigators.
Kroll performed a twisted ritual every time he killed someone.
His signature was to surprise his victims and strangle them almost immediately. Kroll then stripped the body and had sex with the corpse. He also masturbated over the body again when he was done.
After that, he mutilated and ate the victim's flesh. After he was arrested, he told police that he ate the corpses to save on groceries. Despite all of that, police had a hard time tracking Kroll down because there were several other killers operating in the Duisburg area at the time.
In 1976, Kroll killed his final victim -- a 4-year-old girl named Marion Ketter. It was this murder that proved to be his undoing.
When Ketter was abducted, police quickly ran out of leads, so they started knocking on doors. They were tipped off about Kroll when they knocked on his neighbor's door. The neighbor told police that he had gone to ask Kroll if he knew what was blocking their building's waste pipe. Kroll simply said "guts" in response.
That's when police went into Kroll's apartment and found most of Ketter's body. Some parts were wrapped up in the refrigerator, and others were cooking on the stove when police arrived. The girls intestines were blocking the plumbing.
Police immediately arrested Kroll, who confessed to everything.
In the end, he was charged with eight murders and given a life sentence. He died in prison in 1991.
I was hungry when I started writing this, but now? Not so much. I can't even imagine how terrible the smell must have been when police entered Kroll's apartment. Yuck.