The Murder Victims No One Cares About

There are victims of serial killers and atrocious murderers whom no one cares about. Their names are known. Their connections apparent, their pain obvious, and yet the public at large still ignores them and many even point fingers and gossip. These victims rarely matter to anyone but each other. They are the killer’s family and friends.

The family and loved ones of convicted killers are treated with extreme disrespect in most cases and even abused physically, emotionally and mentally (including cyberbullying) and no one cares. No one does anything about it. I scoured the Internet for hours and found only a handful of articles and videos on the subject. The family members of killers go through an immense pain not unlike the death of a child or loved one. If the death penalty is on the table, the loss of a child is no different for them than other parents. They are left with feelings of horror, grief, denial, outrage, misery and confusion with no one to turn to but each other. Why is their pain any less significant?

Can you imagine how Isaac Zamora’s mother must feel? He is a delusional spree killer from Washington who killed several innocent people, including women and cops. His neighbors, people he liked. Isaac suffers from severe Schizophrenia. For years his mother begged for help. She committed him, she monitored him, she told his doctors of his violent, abusive and unusual behavior. Nothing was done. Or not enough was done. She feels the grief of each person her son killed and the grief of losing him twice. She lost him to mental illness and to murder. Her agony is doubled, tripled that of other involved in the case as she bears it from all directions. No outpouring of public empathy ours her way. She is threatened. She must always be careful and fears for her life at times.

My decades long friendship with Skott Hale, a man I was with almost daily, killed and ate the heart of a woman in 2014. He texted me while it was happening but I was so used to his crazy antics I let it go and assumed he was drunk. He wasn't.  I was threatened and attacked. My young daughters threatened with rape and murder. Skott's mom, dad and son were terrified of the hate the town was bubbling over with at their family. 

Think also of the families of the Columbine shootings. Those family members had to practically go into hiding. They did nothing wrong. They were abusive or extremists of any sort.

Victim’s assistance programs aren’t offered to the killer’s family.  They are left alone to cope. The public rarely recognizes them positively. An article on CNN states; “In the aftermath of a massacre, questions and criticism are frequently directed at the parents, spouses and children of the accused. The public sometimes sympathizes, often criticizes and even goes so far as to blame family members for the actions of their kin.”

What the hell is going on here?

Many people may point to the fact that it is always close family members who provide the weapons, as in the case of school shooter Adam Lanza, whose mother financed his arsenal. That argument makes no sense, however, when faced with quotes like this about killers;

 “The more psychopathic they are, the better they are about hiding it.” from violence expert, Sandra Brown.

Professional psychologists the world over tell us people are hardwired to believe and protect their kin, even when it comes to facing hard evidence. The human mind still wants to find a solution for the one we love. People must realize that there will always be someone, somewhere who loves that heinous murderer and should not be punished for that.

Experts agree that killer’s families are victims as well. A USA Today article on the subject stated: When young people turn violent, we naturally turn to parenting to explain what went wrong, even though research suggests that hidden, often undiagnosed mental health problems — as well as perpetrators' relationships with peers, teachers and others — can play a much bigger role.

Tragedy Compounded: Killers Parents Become Instant Pariahs
Killers Families Left to Confront Fear and Shame


  1. Love this article. Thank-you so much and you are so right its like having the last name (Booth) ....literally.

    1. Your welcome and thank you. In my work with inmates I have found that the families of murderers are treated as if they were the criminals. It irks me to no end that the pain they feel is not validated and even compounded and everyone thinks its ok.

  2. Thank you very much!

  3. Kelly- I promise this is a question, not an assumption. In your research, how often are violent criminals a product of abusive homes?

    1. Almost always. But my piddly research is useless. Check out some major studies. Its saddening. Violence really does beget violence.


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