High-profile killers are served justice when caught, but what happens to the children of these monsters in the wake of their atrocities?
When we read and hear stories of infamous murderers, we naturally become fixated on the perpetrators and their stories. It’s not often that we stop to think about how the children of these dangerous criminals might have been affected by their coldhearted acts. Here are ten people who live in the shadow of a parent’s fatal deeds and what became of them in the aftermath.
10. Kerri Rawson
Kerri Rawson is the daughter of Dennis Rader, the BTK killer, who committed ten murders between 1974 and 1991. After his arrest, Rader pleaded guilty and was sentenced to ten consecutive life sentences. Rawson came into the spotlight in 2014, when she gave an interview criticizing author Stephen King. King had written a short story based on the BTK murders, entitled “The Good Marriage,” which later became a film. Rawson was the first of the BTK killer’s family members to give a public interview after his capture in 2005.
Rawson says that she and her mother hadn’t known about the killings until her father was arrested. An FBI agent showed up to her home in Detroit to deliver the news. She says that she and her husband were in shock and had to deal with reporters hounding them. Over the next few years, Rawson coped with her father’s actions with the help of her church and a psychologist. She lives in Michigan with her husband and two children.
9. Melissa Moore
As the daughter of the notorious Happy Face Killer, otherwise known as Keith Jesperson, Melissa Moore still struggles with the ripple effects of her father’s crimes. From 1990 to 1995, Jesperson murdered eight women from around the US while working as a long-haul truck driver. He would then write anonymous letters to police and media outlets detailing his crimes, letters which he would sign with a happy face.
The murders remained a mystery until he turned himself in in 1995, when Moore was 15 years old. Though she couldn’t have imagined that her father was a murderer, she says that she always knew that there was something dark about him. In a BBC article, she stated that her father would make her uncomfortable by openly talking about his sexual life and was often lewd in his flirtation with women. Now a mother herself, Moore still struggles with how to tell her children why their grandfather is absent from their lives. She said in a 2015 interview with ABC News that there are no instructions on what to do if your father is a serial killer.
Moore has made it her mission to help the families of serial killers to heal their wounds. She wrote a book about her story entitled Shattered Silence: The Untold Story of a Serial Killer’s Daughter, which led to her become a sort of advocate for relatives of serial killers who are seeking answers and closure. In 2016, she began hosting a cable network show called Monster in my Family, which examines the stories of these people, whom she calls “secondary victims” of serial killers. Her father is currently serving three consecutive life sentences in Oregon State Penitentiary.