The FBI has recently shared its finding that the profession most conducive to being a serial killer is that of a long-haul truck driver.
“If there is such a thing as an ideal profession for a serial killer, it may well be as a long-haul truck driver.”
This is part of their work on the Highway Serial Killings Initiative, in which they identified a pattern of women’s bodies dumped alongside roadways. The Bureau noted that most of the female victims in these cases are transients living a high-risk lifestyle, and are often prostitutes picked up at truck stops. They state that they’re looking at truckers as suspects, which comes with a lot of challenges. “The mobile nature of the offenders, the unsafe lifestyles of the victims, the significant distances and multiple jurisdictions involved, and the scarcity of witnesses or forensic evidence can make these cases tough to solve,” they say.
Analysts with VICAP, part of the National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime, publicized a map in 2009 that showed more than 500 murder victims that were found along highways, and also names 200 potential suspects. The current version of that map lists more than 750 victims and almost 450 possible suspects. VICAP tracks these potential killers as they do their jobs, through gas-station receipts, trucking company logs, and other evidence. This helps them determine where the trucker was when a particular victim was killed.
Fleet Owner, a website for the owners of commercial trucking fleets, talked to Tod Burke, professor of criminal justice at Radford University in Virginia and a former Maryland police officer about the issue. Burke agrees that truck drivers would have an advantage when it comes to getting away with murder: “They have the means of transportation. They have the space … You could bring them [victims] into the truck. You could have activities with them in the truck, sexual or otherwise. You could go to another location and do a drop off.”
In a blog post on the FBI’s website, they echo that statement, “A long-haul driver can pick up a prostitute at a truck stop in Georgia, rape and murder her, and dump her body on the side of the road in Florida later that day. The victim has no connection to the area where she was found, and there may be no forensic evidence to collect because the crime was committed hundreds of miles away.”
FBI Crime Analyst Christie Palazzolo emphasizes that the number of truckers on the road is only growing, so “the potential for additional highway serial killings is definitely there.”
Main photo: FBI