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Hearing the worst serial killers come from America's Dairyland can come as a shock. Which deadly, infamous murderers hail from Wisconsin? Find out.

Are some of the world’s worst serial killers from Wisconsin?

The state of Wisconsin is typically known for its NFL team, the Green Bay Packers, liking cheese and being an announced mecca for beer in the Midwest, but it’s also home to some of the worst serial killers in documented history. This may come as a surprise to some, but for true crime buffs, this is old news. 

There’s more than enough evil to go around throughout true crime history, and people who have created these deeply disturbing acts have since paid for their sins. But those who aren’t aware of the several serial killers from Wisconsin are in for a big surprise. 

Warning: this article mentions graphic details of acts and situations these serial killers committed. 

Jeffrey Dahmer

Also known as the “Milwaukee Cannibal”, Jeffrey Dahmer is one of the most prolific serial killers of all time. Born in Milwaukee, WI, in 1960, he was described as a happy boy and seemed to have a relatively normal childhood. He started withdrawing from loved ones by his teens and took a bizarre liking for dead things like roadkill.

Fast-forward to eighteen years old, and Dahmer committed his first murder. Around this time, he was also running into trouble with the law for several sexual deviances. From 1988 to 1992, Dahmer committed over sixteen murders, focusing on young, black men. 

His M.O. was usually to lure them in with promises of money or sex, but instead, he would drug & dismember them. Finally, in 1991, his insidious ways were stopped when he was captured & sentenced to sixteen life terms. After only three years of prison time, a fellow inmate named Christopher Scarver killed him. 

Ed Gein

Some of the most well-known horror movies like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Silence of the Lambs have taken inspiration from the actual murders committed by Ed Gein. Gein’s upbringing was turbulent, as he had an alcoholic father and an over-the-top religious mother. After his father’s death, his mother subjected him and his siblings to brainwashing and kept them in the farmhouse. 

Eventually, Gein began despising his mother, and after her passing, he became obsessed with her memory. So much so, he began grave-robbing. This act wasn’t enough, though, and Gein set his sights on innocent women to satisfy his sick fantasies. 

Fortunately, he was caught and committed for his crimes, but that was only the beginning of the carnage he left in the old farmhouse for the police. Gein had taken to preserving body parts of his victims. Eventually, his “goal” was to make a costume or bodysuit out of what he kept. 

Gein was found mentally incompetent and was sent to a mental hospital. In 1984, he died of heart failure and became known as one of the worst serial killers in Wisconsin. 


David Spanbauer

David Spanbauer was born in Appleton, WI, in 1941. Since his teen years, Spanbauer was in & out of trouble, which led him to quit high school. His decision led him to enlist in the Navy, but quickly, he was dishonorably discharged. 

This failure planted him back in Appleton where he began robbing homes. On one occasion, Spanbauer decided to take things further and r*pe a woman home alone. After killing the woman’s uncle when he returned home, he was caught and sentenced to prison but was released two years later.

Whether it was rage or a lack of remorse, Spanbauer continued this course, which led to the r*pes and murders of one woman and two children. These disgusting and unforgivable acts were the final nail in the coffin for him, as he was sentenced to over 400 years in prison. In 2002, one of the most terrible serial killers in Wisconsin died of heart issues. 

Walter Ellis

Without a doubt, Walter Ellis is known as one of the worst serial killers in Wisconsin. Ellis was born in Milwaukee, WI, and is widely known as the “The Milwaukee North Side Strangler”. From 1986 to 2007, he r*ped & murdered over seven African American women in the area, and during that time, law enforcement had no idea who to look for. 

The cases eventually turned into cold cases until DNA led police to Ellis’s front door in May 2009. When he had his day in court, he was found guilty, and the judge gave him seven life sentences without any chance of parole. 

He was transferred to a maximum-security facility in South Dakota but died in 2013 of natural causes.

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