Depending on the study, researchers claim that currently 6-15% of all serial killers are Tandem Serial Killers. These Serial Killers hunt and kill as a team, and like their solo counterparts, Tandem Serial Killers have been documented in several countries.
The earliest documented Tandem Serial Killers in the US were the Harpes. Cousins Micajah, “Big Harpe”, and Wiley, “Little Harpe”, went on a killing spree through Tennessee, and Kentucky that lasted from the 1780’s until 1798. They are credited with killing over 30 men, women, children, and babies. Their killing spree ended in 1798 when Micajah Harp was captured and killed by a pursuing posse. Wiley Harpe’s fate is uncertain; it is presumed that he was killed shortly after Macajah.
Englands first documented Tandem Serial Killers were William Burke and William Hare. Their crimes would come to be known as the “West Port Murders”, and claim 17 victims between 1827 and 1828. Using a lodging-house owned by Hare’s wife Margaret as their base of operations, these Tandem Serial Killers would smother tenants and other unfortunates that they lured in. The victim’s bodies would then be sold to anatomist Dr. Robert Knox for dissection.
After their arrest, Hare testified against Burke to gain immunity from prosecution. Burke was hanged on January 28, 1829. Hare was released from prison in February of 1829, and was last seen in the English town of Carlisle. Other than being denied a formal position at the Edinburgh Medical School, there were no consequences for Dr. Knox.
The “Finchley Baby Farmers” is perhaps the most disturbing case of Tandem Serial Killers. Operating out of a laying-in home in East Finchley, London, Amelia Sach and Annie Walters offered an informal “adoption” service for mothers that could not keep their babies due to their circumstances. The mother would turn over the baby along with a fee that was to be given to the adopting parents, and she would leave. After the mother had left, the baby would be poisoned, and disposed of. From 1900 until they were discovered in 1903, it is believed these Tandem Serial Killers murdered dozens of babies. They would both be hanged on February 3, 1903.
Bordello owner sisters Delfina and Maria Gonzales of Guanajuato, Mexico murdered over 90 men, women, and babies in their decade long run as Tandem Serial Killers from the 1950’s until their discovery in 1963. Most of their victims were their own prostitutes, who had become pregnant or otherwise undesirable. The pair was convicted in 1964 to 40 years in prison.
Tandem Serial Killer Doctors Teet Haerm and Thomas Allgen, would murder at least 10 women in Stockholm, Sweden between 1982 and 1987. Their victims were prostitutes who would be cannibalized after being murdered. The pair was convicted of a single murder in 1988 after Allegen confessed and received life sentences. The verdict was overturned on a technicality, and both were acquitted at a second trial.
The mother and son Tandem Serial Killers Sasha and Lyudmilla Spesivtsev of Novokuznetsk, Siberia would murder and cannibalize at least 19 children in 1997. Sasha would kill the children, and his mother Lyudmilla would cook them. They are both currently in prison.
Except for Antarctica, Tandem Serial Killers operate on every continent, hunting everyone from homeless children, to the wealthy. They have been killing for hundreds of years and their crimes rank among the most gruesome of all. If you fall into their sights, it is unlikely you will live to tell the tale.