21 Extremely Dark True Crime Stories From People's Hometowns That Are The Definition Of Nightmare

We recently asked the BuzzFeed Community to tell us about a wild, shocking, or unsolved crime that was committed in their hometowns. There were so many responses and comments to that post we decided to do a part two. Here are more bone-chilling stories people shared:

Warning: Graphic and disturbing content ahead including mentions of rape and murder.

1."I live just a couple minutes from where Austin Harrouff, aka the 'Frat Boy Killer,' ate a guy's face off."

Austin Harrouff in court


According to a report by CNN in November 2022, "The 25-year-old accused of stabbing a Florida couple to death and biting the face of the male victim in 2016, will be sent to a mental hospital instead of prison. [...] Florida Judge Sherwood Bauer, of the 19th Judicial Circuit, found Harrouff not guilty by reason of insanity and ordered him to be sent to a mental hospital after the prosecution and the defense reached an agreement to avoid trial, according to court documents."

WPTV / Via youtube.com

2."I lived about 20 minutes away from where Elizabeth Smart was kidnapped. My younger sister, who was probably about 8 at the time, refused to sleep in her room for weeks. Her room was in the front of the house, and she was terrified someone would sneak in through the front window and take her."

An Elizabeth Smart pin


Elizabeth Smart is a child safety activist and commentator for ABC News. When she was 14 years old, she was kidnapped at gunpoint from her bedroom in Salt Lake City, Utah by a man named Brian David Mitchell on June 5, 2002. Smart was held captive for nine months where she was tied up, raped, and threatened with death. Smart was rescued on March 12, 2003, in a public area, despite having been concealed by a veil and a wig.

George Frey / Getty Images

3."I went to school with some boys who were in 'BTK's' boy scout troop. They interviewed one of them on the news after he was arrested."

Closeup of the BTK killer


Serial killer Dennis Rader gave himself the nickname "BTK" — an acronym for "bind, torture, kill," which was how he killed his victims. Rader was responsible for a series of murders that took place over a long period of time from 1974-1991. However, Rader was not caught until three decades later in 2005. In total, he killed 10 people and was known for dressing up as his victims and taking photographs of himself that way. Rader is currently serving 10 consecutive life sentences in a maximum security prison in Kansas.

Getty Images

4."Aurora, Colorado. Movie theater. You do the math. I lived in an apartment complex within walking distance from that very theater. To this day, every time I drive past it, I get the chills. I can't believe it's still open and they didn't tear that sucker down."

the Aurora, Colorado Century 16 movie theater


On July 20, 2012, a mass shooting occurred at the Century 16 movie theater in Aurora, Colorado during a screening of The Dark Knight Rises killing 12 people and injuring 70 others. It is the deadliest shooting by a lone perpetrator in Colorado's history and the state's second deadliest mass shooting after Columbine.

Don Emmert / AFP via Getty Images

5."I live in West Yorkshire, England, and where I worked, I used to have to park my car on a road where one of the Yorkshire Ripper's victim's bodies was found. I would have to walk past it on my way back to my car when I finished late, and it was pitch black. It was all just shrubs and bushes; they’ve now made it into a car park. I also used to play sports on the field where the first victim was found, but I didn’t know that until years later."

The Yorkshire Ripper


According to CNN, Peter Sutcliffe, "Nicknamed the 'Yorkshire Ripper' by the UK press, was convicted in 1981 for murdering 13 women and attempting to murder seven others during a reign of terror in northern England between 1975 and 1980." Sutcliffe died in a hospital, aged 74, in 2020 after contracting COVID-19 while serving a life term.

Bettmann / Bettmann Archive

6."I live in the same area as the 'Golden State Killer,' Citrus Heights, California. I was shocked at the proximity of our homes and sometimes wonder if I was ever in the same place at the same time as him. Fuck that guy."

Closeup of the Golden State Killer


Joseph James DeAngelo, aka the "Golden State Killer," committed (at least) 13 murders, 51 rapes, and 120 burglaries throughout California from 1974-1986. DeAngelo is currently serving multiple life terms at Corcoran State Prison.

Interestingly, Michelle McNamara, the late wife of actor Patton Oswalt, had a hand in capturing DeAngelo. According to USA Today, "McNamara, who died unexpectedly in 2016, had investigated the assailant and chronicled her search for the killer in a book, I'll Be Gone in the Dark, which was published posthumously in 2018. Her book prompted renewed interest in the case, and DeAngelo was arrested shortly after it was published."

Handout / Getty Images

7."I lived about one mile away from Casey Anthony. When they were searching for her daughter, Caylee, I watched the dive team look in the lake by our home. Later, they found her in the woods right by my daughter’s elementary school."

Casey Anthony in court


After a strange and gruesome investigation, Casey Anthony was charged with murdering her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee, in 2008. Despite public outcry and a very long and highly publicized trial, Anthony was famously acquitted of charges of murder, manslaughter, and child abuse on July 5, 2011. However, she was convicted on four misdemeanor counts of providing false information to law enforcement officers. She would go on to spend only two weeks in prison after receiving a 4-year sentence.

Pool / Getty Images

8."I live in Dubuque, Iowa where 14-year-old Kenny Joe Johnson was strangled, wrapped in an old carpet, and dumped in a park on the edge of the Mississippi in the ‘80s when he should’ve been in school. He made it to his morning classes, but no one knows what happened that afternoon or how. Complete mystery. When I walk in the secluded park, I wonder what fate the boy encountered that day."

Dubuque, Iowa
John Elk / Getty Images

9."Less than 15 minutes from where I live, the gunshot-riddled body of a man named Rickey Herriage was discovered, thrown off a bridge in Athens, Texas, into a creek back in 1987. His sister still routinely posts on social media about it, hoping that even after all these years, SOMEONE will come forward, but still? Nothing. No witnesses, no evidence, no 'last person to see him alive.' It breaks my heart that after 36 years, there is still NO sense of closure at all."

A newspaper about the Rickey Herriage murder
CBS19 / Via youtube.com

10."I went to school in a small town called Farmville, Virginia. That school has two true crime stories (that have gone semi-viral; it's got a bunch of other bullshit associated with it, but alas): The first one was the 'Farmville murders,' which happened while I was in school there. A professor (Dr. Debra Kelley), her husband, her daughter, and her daughter's friend were murdered by a guy the daughter met online. The guy almost got away, but he called and admitted to the murders, and cops found him sleeping in the baggage claim of a local airport."

A river surrounded by forest

"The second is what I'm assuming is a cold case at this point: One of my roommates from college has been missing since 2011. She was supposed to be cleaning someone's house, but the owner of the house came home to find that the house hadn't been cleaned and a revolver had been stolen (she let the dogs out, though!). She visited a friend at a local gas station and then disappeared. There's been absolutely no update to her case in over a decade."


Joe_potato / Getty Images/iStockphoto

11."I live less than 10 miles from where one of the victims of the 'Alphabet murders' (aka the 'Double Initial murders') was found around Rochester, New York. My mom remembers these well, as she was in her teens when the murders occurred. In the early '70s, three young girls were horrifically murdered — r*ped, then either ligature or manual strangulation. The body of Carmen Colon, 10, was found in Churchville. Wanda Walkowicz, 11, was found in Webster. Michelle Maenza, also 11, was found in Macedon."

A "Who Killed Carmen Colon?" sign

"There have been hundreds of suspects, and there is a likelihood of two perpetrators, but the cases remain unsolved 50 years later."


Bettmann / Bettmann Archive

12."I live not far from Manheim, and the Kreider killing was all we talked about when it happened. I was in high school at the time, and it was wild...until the Roseboro murder happened down the road from my house a year later."

Screenshot of a news report


Kreider killing: In 2007, Alec Kreider, who was 16 years old at the time, brutally murdered his classmate and friend Kevin Haines as well as Haines's parents, Thomas and Lisa. It was a month before Kreider was finally tracked down, arrested, and confessed to the killings. Kreider died by suicide before a re-sentencing hearing was scheduled.

Roseboro murder: In 2008, Michael Roseboro, a Lancaster County funeral director, killed his wife Jan, the mother of their four children, by "bludgeoning, punching, kicking, and strangling her before dumping her in the family's backyard swimming pool." According to Lancaster Online, Roseboro's motive was so he could marry his mistress.

WGALTV / Via youtube.com

13."I lived in Madison, Wisconsin, when Christine Rothschild was murdered in 1968. Her body was found behind Sterling Hall (later the site of an infamous bombing). It was a friend of mine, working as a night watchman, who found her body. Her best friend, Linda Tomaszewski, said she knew who the murderer was, but conflicts between the campus and city cops and general bad police investigating allowed him to get away."

Sterling Hall
Bettmann / Bettmann Archive

14."The Kyron Horman case out of Portland, Oregon. It’s crazy to me that his stepmom has walked away and started a new life."

Portland, Oregon


"He was a 7-year-old boy, and his stepmom, Terri, walked him part of the way to his class before school, but he never made it to his class, and he's still missing to this day. Many believe Terri did it, but there are a lot of plot holes that suggest she couldn't have. Also, there's evidence to suggest that she actually hired a hitman to kill her husband, Kyron's father, prior to the incident. This one is also creepy to me because this was local for me. I was around Kyron's age, and I had actually met him a few times."


David Papazian / Getty Images

15."Elizabeth Breck, a local high school teacher, went missing in 2019 in Tucson, Arizona after having checked herself into a treatment center for PTSD and mental health issues. She was last seen at that treatment center with all of her belongings left in her room. She’s never been heard from again. It’s crazy because there have literally been no leads, no whispers, nothing."

News report about Elizabeth Breck

16."Marysville, Washington — In 2014, a freshman at Marysville Pilchuck High School (MPHS) texted his friends to meet him in the lunch room. When they all got there, he pulled out a gun and shot five of his friends and then himself. Only one of the victims survived. I was a junior at MPHS at the time."

RIP messages and balloons on a fence


According to the Seattle Times, "15-year-old Jaylen Fryberg gathered five friends at a table in the high school cafeteria on Oct. 24, 2014, then opened fire on them with a .40-caliber Beretta handgun before killing himself. Killed were Gia Soriano, Zoe Galasso and Shaylee Chuckulnaskit, all 14, and Andrew Fryberg, 15. A fifth student, Nate Hatch, 15, was shot in the face but survived." The families of the victims settled a lawsuit against the school district's insurance company for $18 million in 2017.

David Ryder / Getty Images

17."I used to live where the 'Highway of Tears' is in Canada. Over 120 First Nations women have been murdered in 40 years (the government and cops only count 40+ women). There have been three convicted serial killers (possibly more), cops suspected of raping some women, and the government of 15 years ago caught destroying evidence and documents about the crimes. It's shameful and an atrocity."

"girls don't hitchhike on the highway of tears. Killer on the loose!"


The "Highway of Tears" is a 450-mile corridor of Highway 16 in British Columbia, and a location where many Indigenous women have gone missing and/or been murdered since at least 1986.

Andrew Lichtenstein / Corbis via Getty Images

18."My family knew David Ludwig and his family. David killed his girlfriend's parents after they had an argument about their age difference (David was 18, and his girlfriend, Kara Beth Borden, was 14). His family was super nice, so not sure how he turned out the way he did."

—aliheck90According to CBS News,


According to CBS News, "Ludwig and Borden were both home-schooled teenagers from Lititz, a small town in Amish country about an hour west of Philadelphia. Police say Ludwig killed Borden's parents, Michael F. and Cathryn Lee Borden, early Sunday after an argument about her curfew when she came home late. The shootings happened at the family's home near Lititz. He was sentenced to two consecutive life terms."

Gary Tognoni / Getty Images/iStockphoto

19."I live five minutes from the Tinley Park crime scene. It’s still terrifying that no one has been found in connection with it. Part of the problem is that the store is right off I-80, so that guy fled for his life. They put a different store there, but I refuse to go in it."

Screenshot of a news report


"Fifteen years ago, five women — four customers and the store manager — were shot and killed at the Lane Bryant store in a popular strip mall. A part-time employee was also shot but survived. The whole area plus surrounding neighborhoods went into lockdown, but the suspects were never identified. That Lane Bryant is no longer there, but we locals still call the shopping center 'Murder Mall.'"


ABC7 Chicago / Via youtube.com

20."A messed up one that happened very close to my hometown, the murder of Shanda Sharer in Madison, Indiana in 1992. Four teenage girls kidnapped Sharer (12) and proceeded to beat and stab her while 'country cruising' with her in the trunk. Then, finding her still alive in the trunk, they took her to a local proving ground and burned her alive. All four women are now released on parole, and my grandma even recognized one at a local McDonald’s with us when we were kids."

A news report about the Shanda Sharer murder
WTHR / Via youtube.com

21.Finally, "My grandmother is buried right near Carol and Christopher DiMaiti (Stuart). I always go visit them as well when I go there. A lot of the Stuart family lived in my hometown; it was such a huge tragedy around there back then."

Carol and Chuck Stuart


"Our neighbors were the Stuarts — as in Chuck and Carol. Chuck put a plan together to kill Carol who was very pregnant with their first child, a son they were going to name Christopher. He shot her and himself on their way home from a birthing class in January 1989 and then blamed it on a Black man. This caused the city of Boston to come under scrutiny for their super racist practices of stop and search — like, they stopped and searched random Black men for MONTHS. Finally, they arrested a guy who was a bad dude, but certainly not guilty of murder. Had Chuck's brother (who was conned into helping him) not gone to the police with Carol's wedding ring to prove the truth, the accused man would have been executed. Once the jig was up, Chuck jumped from the Tobin Bridge, and his body was recovered a few hours later."


Ira Wyman / Sygma via Getty Images

Note: Some submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.