The Bloody Benders


Original newspaper accounts of America’s most prolific murderers.

This episode, we’re looking at the legend of a Kansas family that killed at least 11 visitors to their roadhouse in the early 1870s. They aroused suspicion by choosing as a victim a well-known physician, whose family soon pulled out all stops in a search until they uncovered his body, along with 10 missing travelers, on the Bender property. The Bender Family was nowhere to be found, and never were. Sightings and even arrests were regular for many years, even into the next century, but the second act of this episode purports to tell the true story of what happened to the mass murdering hostelers.

Music by Chuck Wiggins.

The Murderpedia entery on the Bloody Benders has photos of the scene and drawings from newspapers.


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The Murderous Mania of Jolly Jane


The Unexpected Crimes of Nurse Toppan

History contains many cases of nurses who turned out to be killers, but there may not be one as bizarre as the case of Jane Toppan. Because she had such a cheerful disposition, people called her “Jolly Jane,” and so were completely surprised when she was arrested for the murder of a family in Barnstable County, Massachusetts. Once suspicions were aroused, accusations began to fall like rain. The exact count of her death toll remains a mystery, but estimates put it between 31 and 84 murders.


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