top of page
  • Rod Kackley

The Murders of Bob Berdella: A Shocking True Crime Story

They called him the "Kansas City Butcher." Nicknames aside, Bob Berdella is one of the most vicious serial killers you’ve ever read about.

And he was lurking in plain sight.

The former chef who lived near Kansas City, Missouri’s Hyde Park, ran a curio shop in the early 1980s, aptly named “Bob’s Bazaar Bizarre.”

Bob was a leader of his neighborhood’s crime prevention and neighborhood watch organizations. He also represented South Hyde Park neighborhood groups at fundraising events for their local public television station.

Lots of people liked Bob, especially the male prostitutes he patronized, until, that is, Bob started killing them.

If they’d known in the late 1960s what we know about serial killers now, everyone would have seen Bob coming.

Only 19 years of age, Bob was big into drugs and alcohol. He was busted for trying to sell meth to an undercover cop and received a suspended sentence. Later, Bob and two other students were arrested for possession of marijuana and LSD. He spent five days in jail, but the charges were eventually dropped.

But it wasn’t the liquor or the dope that should have been a red flag to what Bob would do nearly 20 years later.

It was the dead animals that should have sounded a loud and clear warning.

Bob, after enrolling in the Kansas City Art Institute with dreams of becoming a college professor, entertained friends by torturing animals. Once, he cut off the head of a duck. Another time, Bob, used sedatives and tranquilizers on a dog.

Bob, left KCIA after killing and cooking a duck, as a work of performance art.

Nobody knows what flipped Bob’s switch and turned him into a mad serial killer who came to be known as “The Kansas City Butcher.”

It might have been a 1965 psychological horror film, “The Collector.”

At least Bob said the story of a young Englishman who stalks a co-ed before kidnapping the young woman and keeping her in a farmhouse basement inspired him.

Whatever it was, this friendly yet unusual guy started murdering people somewhere along the way. And Bob didn’t just abduct and murder people. He also kept them as prisoners for up to six weeks before killing them.

His first victim, Jerry Howell, died in 1984 after Bob drugged and sodomized him.

Bob kept Jerry tied to his bed for more than a day, 28 hours to be exact, ignoring Jerry’s pleas to be freed and to answer the question, “why?”

Finally, Jerry gagged to death on his own vomit, or maybe the drugs Bob plied him with were too strong. There's no way to be certain. But, the young man died. Whatever the cause of death, Jerry became Bob’s first victim.

Bob chopped up Jerry’s body, dumped the parts and pieces in a plastic bag, and left it on the curb for the garbage man to cart away.

Robert Sheldon was the second to die and the first to be blinded with drain cleaner before he was killed.

Bob kept him drugged with sedatives and held the man captive in a second-floor bedroom for three days.

Bob tortured Robert by inserting needles beneath his fingertips, binding his wrists with piano wire, and filling his ears with caulking.

That was in the spring of 1985. After Bob killed Robert, he cut off his victim’s head and buried it in the backyard.

Mark Wallace was the next to die. He was killed in the summer of ’85. Then in the fall, James Ferris fell victim to Bob.

Todd Stoops was a 23-year-old male prostitute when Bob picked him up and tortured him for weeks before Todd died of blood loss.

Two years later, Larry Pearson fell victim to Bob. He was tortured for six long weeks. Finally, Bob put a plastic bag over Larry’s head and suffocated the guy. Like the others, Bob chopped up Larry’s body. Most of Larry's corpse was left at the curb for a garbage truck.

But not all of it.

Bob took Larry’s head to the backyard, buried it, and unearthed Robert Sheldon’s skull, which Bob carried into his house and set up on display.

Chris Bryson, a 22-year-old male prostitute, was Bob’s next house guest.

Bob tortured him for days after smashing Chris over the head and drugging him.

But one day, when Bob left to open his shop, Chris found a match, lit it, and used it to burn through his ropes. Then, naked, except for a dog collar around his neck, Chris jumped out a second-story window and ran.

A utility employee, reading the neighborhood gas meters, found Chris and called the police; the rest is serial-killer history.

Bob made it easy for the cops.

Inside his home, police officers discovered two skulls, human teeth, and vertebrae. As if that wasn’t enough, police found dozens of photographs, syringes, and even notebooks in which Bob had detailed how he tortured and killed his victims.

Bob agreed to give a full confession in exchange for a life prison sentence instead of capital punishment.

Bob suffered a heart attack and died in prison in October 1992.

The mother of one of his victims complained, “the guy (Bob) didn’t suffer long enough.”

November 2, 1945: On her way to a high school football game with friends, a fourteen-year-old girl vanishes after driving away with a man who says he needs a babysitter.

The FBI unleashes its top kidnapping expert, an agent who helped bring John Dillinger down. Will that be enough to find the girl and her abductor?

Agents chase the suspected kidnapper from California to Illinois and back again.

Arrested in Los Angeles, he admits abducting the child. He also tells the FBI he killed the girl and threw her body into the Pacific Ocean. A search for her corpse proves fruitless.

Then, when all hope is lost, authorities discover the skeleton of another young woman who's fallen victim to this madman.

Ready for another twist? The wife of the man who made that discovery is found dead at the bottom of the cliff.

During the accused killer's trial, women around the country fall in love with the handsome monster and literally break down the doors of a courthouse to get close to him.

Wild enough for you? Wait. After the child's killer is convicted and sentenced to the gas chamber, a scientist shows up and says he can bring the murderer back from the dead.

The Murder of Thora Chamberlain: A Shocking True Crime Story: This is the wildest, most shocking, true crime story you've ever read.


bottom of page