This article will be covering the infamous Bender family serial killers from Labette County, Kansas, where Pa, Ma, John and Kate used to take a hammer and knife to their unsuspecting victims…
The Bloody Benders Family
More than a dozen victims were killed at the breakfast inn owned by the ‘Bloody Benders Family’ between 1871 and 1873.
Back in 1970, five families had banded together and created a township along the great Osage Trail, in Kansas. It was a popular and busy route due to it being a main line for anyone looking to travel west.
One of these family units was John Bender Senior and his son John Bender Junior, who successfully made a claim to land, then began constructing a simple home. Once this building was finished – they sent for their remaining family members, Kate Bender and her daughter Kate.
The Bender parents found it hard to make friends in the simple community – they spoke very little English so they were considered to be low in intelligence. Their son, John, spoke perfect English, but he was also considered to be a bit of an idiot due to laughing fits he used to have in public.
Kate was the shining star of the family – she was incredibly good looking and had a great head for business.
The Bender’s home was subdivided by a sheet – this allowed the family to have living quarters and at the same time, use the front of the property as a general store and inn.
It was a decent little community – everyone knew everyone else and little of interest ever happened there.
Every now and again there were reports of missing travelers coming through…but that couldn’t possibly have anything to do with Osage Trail families…could it?
One day, the body of a traveler was found in a nearby creek – his head had been split in half by a blunt instrument and his throat had been cut. The following year, 1872, the bodies of two other travelers were found…again with crushed heads, and slit throats.
All of a sudden – the residents of the small community began to get suspicious…
The Osage township had a meeting which resulted in a handful of vigilante groups being formed. These groups would then patrol the area and arrest anyone who looked mildly suspicious.
Later in 1872, an Osage man and his daughter decided to pack up and try their luck in a different area of America. They told the friends they were leaving behind, that they would stay in contact.
They were never heard from again…
A neighbor, Doctor York, immediately got suspicious – he knew them well and he was expecting correspondence from them.
He decided to retrace their trail out of town…and he never returned.
Doctor York’s brothers decide to try and track down their missing sibling…and the trail led straight to the Bender’s home. The family did admit that the doctor had stayed with them for a night, but then he went on his way.
They also suggested that he may have been killed by Indians.
The Bender Family Murders
A few weeks later, Ma Bender was caught chasing a woman through the street with a knife. Doctor York’s brothers heard about this incident and returned to the Bender family home.
They were told by Ma Bender that the woman she had chased was a witch – they did not believe her. Eventually Kate stepped in and offered the brothers a psychic reading the following night, to help locate their missing brother.
The York brothers left but they were convinced that the Bender family was behind their brother’s disappearance.
A meeting was arranged at the township in the hopes of organizing a warrant to search all the homes…but they were only interested in one house.
As this meeting took place…the Bender family quietly took their possessions and fled the township.
The township went through their property with a fine tooth comb, but they only found large quantities of blood. They eventually lifted the whole building to dig below – still no bodies.
Eventually they dug up the Bender’s vegetable patch…and came across the bodies – one of the first found was Doctor York. They also stumbled across a few bodies in the nearby well.
All the victims had been killed the same way – one side of the head smashed in and their throats cut.
All the local friends of the Bender family were tortured and interrogated, but not one of them knew where the family had escaped to.
The Bender family just seemed to disappear from the history books.
If you have any thoughts or opinions on the Bender family serial killers, please leave them in the comment section below.