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Serial Killer Family Who Murdered Travellers And Dumped Their Bodies Down Trapdoor
The 'Bloody Benders' home in Kansas
August 5th, 2022 | 14:15 PM | 165 views
UNITED STATES AMERICA
If you were a weary traveller passing through Kansas state in the US during the early parts of 1870s then you would do well to steer clear of Bender Inn.
A seemingly quiet family of four in Labette County became known as the 'Bloody Benders' after it emerged they slaughtered guest after guest staying at their bed and breakfast.
They are believed to be America's first serial-killing family and the gruesome tales of how they would lure in travellers with the promise of a lovely hot meal and rest for the night before savagely murdering them are enough to give you goosebumps.
Husband John Sr., 60, and his wife Elvira, 55, are believed to have originally emigrated from Germany.
They lived with their two adult children John Jr. and Kate on 165 acres of land that included a general store where people could and stay over.
Both were said to barely speak a word of English, with John Sr. having a rough foreign accent and Elvira being called a "she- devil " by neighbours who thought her unfriendly.
Conversely the children, both in their twenties and good-looking, could speak English well and were popular around the town - Kate claimed she could communicate with the dead and had healing abilities.
Between 1871 and 1873 the family murdered and robbed their victims, who sometimes carried large amounts of money for stock buying.
Missing people heading across the vast plains of Kentucky was not uncommon back then, especially since the Civil War had not long finished, and the first few men that disappeared after stopping off at the Bender's around little curiosity.
But by spring 1873 rumours had spread about the increasing amount of missing men and travellers began to avoid the Osage Mission-Independence Trail area, where Bender Inn was located.
Both John Sr. and John Jr. even attended a local gathering at a school to see what could be done about the worrying situation.
The disappearance of George Newton Longcor and his 18-month-old daughter on their way through to Iowa marked the beginning of the end for the Benders, though.
Longcor's neighbour, a well-known physician called William Henry York, went looking for the pair along the trail and was never seen again.
A search party of around 75 men was sent out for York, including his two brothers, and visited all the homesteads the doctor would have passed for any information on his whereabouts.
It was discovered that he had stayed at Bender Inn.
One of the brothers, Colonel York, returned to the inn with a few others after reports that a woman had fled the property in fear after Elvira threatened her with knives.
Elvira called the woman a witch who had cursed her with coffee in an outburst that revealed she could speak and understand English better than she said she could.
The men were convinced that the Benders were responsible for the disappearances but Col. York insisted they needed evidence.
A neighbour of the Benders noticed weeks later that their animals had not been fed, which led to the property being searched and the discovery that the family themselves had disappeared.
The empty property had an awful stench inside and when a nailed-down trapdoor was found and prised open a horrifying six-foot hole filled with blood was seen.
Excavation of the property began and York's body was discovered face down buried in the vegetable garden - his throat had been cut.
More digging around revealed lots of bodies and dismembered body parts, including a woman and small girl, and evidence of slashed necks and smashed-in skulls on all but one victim.
A contemporaneous Kansas City Times report read: "The little girl was probably eight years of age.
" One arm was broken. The breastbone had been driven in.
"The right knee had been wrenched from its socket and the leg doubled up under the body.
"Nothing like this sickening series of crimes had ever been recorded in the whole history of the country.”
Eleven people were found buried but some estimates suggest it could have been 21 in total.
Thousands of dollars were offered in reward money for the capture of all four Benders at large.
Through testimonies from those lucky enough to escape them, it was believed that the family would seat their victims in a chair at the dinner table over the trapdoor.
Kate would distract the travellers while the Bender men came from behind a curtain and hit them on the head with a hammer.
One of the women would then cut their throa t before relieving their pockets of any money and dumping their dead bodies down the trap door until later being buried outside under the cover of night.
Despite a large manhunt for the Benders and some alleged sightings, they were never found.
One theory put forward over the years is that the four were not even related.
Books, TV shows and even a macabre museum in Kentucky dedicated to the bloodthirsty family have since popped up.
The location where they carried out the mass murders was sold in 2020 and is now a cropland with little evidence of the atrocities committed there long ago.
courtesy of MIRROR
by Steven White
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