When Kids Kill…

It’s nearly impossible (and irresponsible) to classify a child or teen as being a sociopath or psychopath.  Most children and teens display both characteristics of sociopathic and psychopathic behavior.  However, it is hard to fathom a child or teen killing someone, when it does happen, everyone is left wondering why.  The answer is chilling.

Mary Bell – At age 11, Mary Bell shocked all of England when she was found guilty of manslaughter in the murder of 2 little boys.  Mary’s childhood had been rough, even by the standards of most serial killers, and she was a monster in the making.  Immediately before her 11th birthday, she lured a 4 year old boy to an abandoned building and strangled him.  Due to the small size of her hands though, there wasn’t enough physical evidence to rule it as murder (no broken bones, no marks, nothing).  Between May and July, Mary Bell became friends with another girl named Norma Bell (no relation to Mary) and the two would then lure a 3 year old boy to the same area and murder him.  This time though, there was evidence.  An M was carved into the boy, there were puncture marks on his body, and his genitals had been mutilated (all post-mortem).  Norma Bell was acquitted of the murders, but Mary made some odd statements to the police and she was convicted of manslaughter (due to a diminished capacity).  In 1980, at the age of 23, Mary Bell was released and her identity changed (and protected by the court).  In 1998, a book on her life was written which explains her homelife as a girl and talks about the murders (before and after).  It is still controversial, because Mary Bell received money from the book (even the PM, Tony Blair, attempted to block her ability to profit from it).

Alyssa Bustamante – For Mid-Missourians like myself, this name is terrifying.  At the tender age of 15, Alyssa killed a 9 year old neighbor girl who had been playing with Alyssa’s younger sister.  The victim, Elizabeth Olten, was strangled along with having her throat and wrists slashed.  To make matters worse, Alyssa had actually dug the grave and along with another one before the murder.  When asked why she did it, Alyssa said she wanted to know what killing someone felt like.  In 2012, she was sentenced to life with the possibility of parole.  However, the fact that she dug two graves, makes one wonder who else she was planning on killing and whether she should ever be allowed out of prison.

Pauline Parker and Juliet Hulme – In 1954, Parker aged 16 and Hulme aged 15 lured Pauline Parker’s mother into the woods and bashed her head in with a brick in a stocking.  The reason for the murder: the parents of both children didn’t want them to be together anymore and Hulme was being sent to South Africa to live with relatives.  Surprisingly, a New Zealand court handed down sentences of five years for each of the girls.  The murder was admittedly premeditated and after their release, both girls went on to live normal lives.  Juliet Hulme is a successful mystery writer who writes under the name Anne Perry.

Joshua Phillips – When Joshua’s mother noticed a smell emanating from her teenaged son’s room, she didn’t think much about it.  He was a boy and boy’s had a tendency to smell.  However, she went in to clean up his room and hopefully find the source for the stench and found a wet spot on his carpet.  Believing his waterbed had sprung a leak, she investigated the bed looking for the water leak and found the dead body of a missing 8 year old girl.  Joshua was 14 years old.  He admitted to hitting the girl with a baseball bat, but never explained why he stabbed her 11 times.  She had been missing for 7 days when she was found in Joshua’s waterbed.

Eric Borel – Eric committed suicide in 1995, but only because he was cornered by French police.  He went on a killing spree that would leave 15 people dead, including 3 members of his own family.  Eric killed his stepfather, mother, and step brother on the night of 23 September.  The following morning, he shot his friend in the back after a disagreement took place, fatally wounding him.  He left his friend’s house and began shooting people at random as he wandered through the town of Cuers.  Several more were wounded.

Graham Young – No list would be complete without Graham Young.  In 1962, Young confessed to the attempted murders of his father, sister, and a friend.  Even as a young man, he was a skilled chemist and had a fascination with poisons (he used Atropa Belladonna on his sister).  Unfortunately, he may have gotten away with murder at this time.  His stepmother died in 1962 and at the time, it was thought to be related to injuries in a car accident.  Her remains were cremated and could not be analyzed.  He would serve 8 years in a psychiatric facility for the attempted murders, he was 14 years old.  He was released in 1971 at the age of 22.  After his release, he began working for the John Hadland Laboratories.  He hadn’t been working there long when his supervisor died of illness.  It wasn’t long before 70 of his coworkers were sick and with no cause immediately available, everyone thought it was a virus, it was even named the Bovingdon Bug.  In reality, Young was up to his old tricks and poisoning tea.  However, no deaths came from the illnesses despite some cases being severe.  When two more supervisors became ill and died though, an investigation was started.  Young basically gave himself away.  He reportedly asked a coworker if anyone had checked for thallium poisoning.  Police looked into Young and uncovered his background.  Oddly, while in prison, Young became friends with Ian Brady also known as the Moors Murderer.  Even odder, in Ian Brady’s book The Gates of Janus, Brady said it was impossible not to have empathy for Graham Young.

Graham Young is the only one on the list to grow up and become a serial killer.  Also, this list is very short.  However, there have been hundreds, if not thousands, of killer kids just in the last 100 years (I did not put any school shooters on the list, intentionally, the kids on this list killed because they wanted to know how it felt to kill or were fascinated with killing people).

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  1. Maria D.

     /  October 19, 2015

    As a fellow Missourian – I hope Alyssa Bustamante is never let out of prison. Did not know about Anne Perry – don’t think I’ve ever read any of her books. Child killers are a strange bunch and definitely twisted

    Liked by 1 person

    • I had actually never heard of Anne Perry until I came across a book that included the Parker & Hulme case. What I think I find the most interesting is that they always talk about how bad a serial killer’s childhood was, but a lot of these killers had good childhoods and still killed, a few were really serial killers in the making.



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