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Omaima Nelson, otherwise known as the “Thanksgiving Butcher", was a crafty individual. Here's everything we know about cannibal Omaima Nelson.

Omaima Nelson: The Thanksgiving Butcher carved up her husband

Often, come springtime, we long for the comfort of the good old fashioned family dinners we enjoyed during the chilly holiday months. We assure you that after reading the story of the Thanksgiving Butcher you will no longer have a craving for carved turkey. In fact, you might never even look at a juicy piece of ribs the same way again.

Omaima Nelson, otherwise known as the “Thanksgiving Butcher”, was a crafty individual. Her occupation was professional gold-digger and for many years she excelled at her career. It’s true that Omaima did not have the peachiest of childhoods, but most would say that doesn’t excuse her from her wiley crimes. 

Omaima Nelson’s rough childhood & shady past

Omaima grew up in a poor Southern Egyptian village where her father physically and sexually abused both her and her and her mother on a regular basis. He was a brutal man, who even went as far as subjecting Omaima to female circumcision. The procedure would make sexual intercourse painful and uncomfortable for Omaima later on, but this would not prevent her from using her body to her advantage in the future.

Eventually, Omaima’s mother chose to leave her abusive husband, but this left her and young Omaima dirt poor. They moved to a Cairo slum called “the city of the dead” because shanties were built in the graveyard among the gravestones. 

When Omaima was eighteen, she met an American oil worker who she started having a sexual relationship with. Whether Omaima actually fancied the man at one point or not is unknown, but when her mother suggested she marry the man and move to the United States to get out of her poverty-stricken situation, Omaima agreed. 

The marriage between Omaima and the oil worker didn’t last. Omaima was forced to take housekeeping and nannying jobs to survive in a place she didn’t speak English very well. Because of Omaima’s considerable beauty, she was able to land modeling gigs too. Eventually, Omaima was not satisfied with only using her looks to get one-time jobs. She started a series of relationships with men where she would swindle money from them. 

Omaima Nelson would drift from man to man and town to town doing this. She even threatened one of her lovers with a shotgun before robbing and leaving him. Eventually, Omaima landed in Orange County, California. Here she would meet her ultimate target: Bill Nelson. 

Omaima’s Nelson’s ultimate target

Bill Nelson had a gigantic personality and he never shied away from bragging about the thick stack of cash he carried around. When Omaima caught sight of this cash-wielding man, she knew immediately he’d be a great mark. 

Bill was not a guiltless man. When he used to be a pilot he once got caught smuggling a load of cannabis on his plane, and when he married Omaima after only a few weeks of dating period, he was still legally married to another woman. Regardless of his flaws, he didn’t quite deserve what would happen to him at the end of his relationship with Omaima. 

It was nearing Thanksgiving so Bill would try to invite his daughter over for a holiday dinner after raving about how great things were with the new wife that was half his age. His daughter would decline, but that wouldn’t discourage Omaima from holding a small Thanksgiving meal for just the two of them. 

Bill Nelson would never eat another meal again

On December 1st, Omaima came running to an ex-boyfriend named Jose Esquivel whom she had dated about a year ago. Considering her history with ex-boyfriends, it would take a lot for Omaima to do such a thing. What she told Jose when he answered the door upon a second round of knocks would be a lot indeed. 

She frantically told Jose that her husband had attacked and raped her, and that she had been forced to kill him in self-defense as a result. Omaima begged Jose to help her dispose of the body. She promised him $75,000 and two motorcycles in exchange for his help. Jose carefully calmed her down and told her to wait for him at her apartment. Then, once Omaima left, he called 9-1-1. Thank God he did. 

When police arrived at the scene, what they found was the stuff of nightmares. There were bags of organs in Bill’s red corvette, trash bags filled with pieces of human in the house, an abundance of blood on the bedroom mattress, and a skinned human torso hanging from some clothes hangers in the bathroom. 

Omaima insisted to police that the human remains were the aftermath of a person Bill had killed and that he was away on a business trip in Florida. That story would quickly be unraveled once they found Bill’s aluminum foil wrapped the head in the freezer. 

The carnage of the kill was bad enough, but what they further noticed sent even more chills up their spines. Neighbors had told police that they had been hearing Bill’s garbage disposal grinding almost continuously for days. The nice version of this story would be that Omaima had just tried to get rid of the evidence in a foolish way. What they discovered was worse. 

Not only was Bill’s head wrapped in aluminum foil, but his face had burns consistent with having been thrown in a vat of boiling oil. When investigators looked in the deep fryer they found two human hands mixed among the turkey bits. 

Omaima Nelson’s arrest and conviction 

Omaima’s explanation as to why so many strange things had been done to Bill’s body was inconsistent. She tried still pretending Bill was alive for a while, but her story kept changing from being forced to kill Bill in self-defense to an ancient Egyptian demon whispering for her to dismember Bill’s body. 

Investigators had noted that nearly 100 pounds of Bill’s corpse still remained to be accounted for. When Omaima was evaluated by psychologists, the truth finally emerged into full daylight. She told psychologists that she had cooked Bill’s ribs and dipped them barbecue sauce. “It’s so sweet!” she declared and insisted that “nothing was sweeter” than the taste of her husband’s flesh. 

Omaima tried to take back her confessions of cannibalism later but was still charged second-degree murder and the assault of her past boyfriend. Omaima was diagnosed as being psychotic and a sufferer of PTSD. She was sentenced to 28 years to life. Omaima has made a couple of appeals for parole but has been denied because she never took responsibility for the murder and was ruled “a serious threat to public safety.” 

You can learn more about Omaima Nelson on Snapped episode one of season fourteen, entitled “Omaima Nelson”.

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