The Real Buffalo Bill & His House Of Horror | Gary Michael Heidnik | Part One

(Gary Michael Heidnik. Picture credit:

I first came across this case many years ago in a true crime magazine as a teenager, (yes, I was even researching cases and interested in criminology back then too) and I remember this magazine didn't hold back on the gory details and also had pictures which shocked me and I couldn't get my head around the details or what I was seeing. As you may know, I'm a huge fan of the movie Silence Of The Lambs and you may know that the character Buffalo Bill (who was played magnificently by Ted Levine, who should have gotten an Oscar for that performance) was based on 6 serial killers, Ed Gein, Ted Bundy, Edmund Kemper, Jerry Brudos, Gary Ridgway and Gary Michael Heidnik who I will be covering in the next two posts. 

Also, let me know if you would like me to cover any of the above (except for Ted Bundy who I feel has been covered significantly and I don't think I'd be able to bring anything new to the table that people had not heard or read about before), I would be happy to do so if you are a subscriber on my Ko-fi page. 

I decided to focus on Gary Michael Heidnik first of all because despite his horrendous crimes, he is not a name that pops into people's heads as quickly as the likes of Ted Bundy and John Wayne Gacy. A lot of people don't know who he is or what he did, some people believe that the reason he isn't mentioned as much as other killers is because of racist reasons as his victims were African American women and some of the victims were known to be sex workers. Unfortunately back then the police and certain members of the public had a backward view when victims would be revealed to be, as they called them 'prostitutes' and would judge and assume it was something to do with drugs and leading an unsavoury lifestyle. I remember my research on the Yorkshire Ripper (Peter Sutcliffe) I learnt that a lot of the mistakes made during that investigation was due to the judgemental view to the victims lifestyles as sex workers, it was only when a young girl (who was not involved in that industry) was murdered that the police and the public started to take it seriously which is horrible, everyone, no matter what the circumstances (nobody knows what these women had been going through to end up having to work on the streets) a victim should be treated with the same respect as everyone else and their case should be taken seriously.

So before I get into this case, I just want to remind you that you can find all of my cases listed at the end of this post and for my weekly personal posts, you can find them here. For all of my social media links, click here  

Gary Michael Heidnik is classed by many as a serial killer. As with a lot of cases we may never know the full number of victims, he was charged with the murders of two women but some people believe that because of the horrendous nature of his crimes and how evil he was, that there is a possibility that he may have killed more women. 

Some of the details shared in the following posts are quite disturbing, please bare that in mind before reading further. 

Gary Michael Heidnik was born on the 22nd of November 1943 in Eastlake, Ohio in the United States. He lived with his parents and younger brother Terry until his parents got divorced in 1946. Gary and Terry lived with their mother for four years before going to live with their father and their stepmother. Apparently, everything up until this point was normal but when the boys lived with their father they suffered emotional and physical abuse. Gary had a severe problem with wetting the bed at night which made his father furious. His father would force Gary to hang the stained bedsheets out of his bedroom window so that the neighbours could see as a way of humiliating him to not do it again. Gary couldn't help his problem and this continued right up until his death later on in life. Some people believe that the trauma that he was experiencing living with his father was a contributing factor to his bed wetting problem. He also fell out of a tree one day whilst playing and suffered an injury to his head which caused his head to become misshapen. Gary developed a real complex about this especially as the kids at school made fun of him about it. The children would call him ''Peanut head''. Gary was very quiet at school and didn't like mixing with other children. He was very antisocial and if anyone tried to make conversation he could be very snappy with them, especially girls. One day a girl had asked a general question about his homework and he snapped at her. He told her that she was not ''worthy enough'' to talk to him. 

Looking back over his childhood some of the red flags are there but was his behaviour later on in life due to his father's physical and emotional abuse, the fall where he injured his head (his brother said he was never the same after the fall) or was he just born this way? People still speculate to this day. In my opinion I think that everything contributed to what he later became. Let me know what your thoughts are. 

Despite all of the hassle at home, the bullying at school and his attitude towards other children, he did very well at school academically (he was reported to have an I.Q. of 148) and at the age of 14 he enrolled in Military school for two years, he left before graduation and spent some more time in public high school before joining the Army at age 17. He spent 13 months in the Army and during basic training he was described by his Drill Sergeant as ''excellent'', however when he tried to apply for a number of specialist positions which included the Military police he failed to pass the exams. He went to Texas to train as a medic which he seemed to do well in and was soon posted to a hospital in Germany where he earned his GED. In October 1962, Gary was honourably discharged from the military due to ill health. During a routine examination from a doctor as he complained of headaches, nausea and stomach problems, he was diagnosed with Gastroenteritis but the doctor also found that he had signs of mental illness and conducted more tests. He was placed on medication and diagnosed with Schizoid Personality Disorder which could possibly explain his earlier behaviour at school and not being comfortable in social situations and later, his attitude towards his victims. 

Now that he was out of the military, he managed to find work as a nurse and went to University but this was short lived as he dropped out after only one semester. He also worked as a psychiatric nurse for a short period of time before being fired from that job after complaints piled up about his negative attitude towards fellow colleagues and patients, he also turned up to work late on more than one occasion. 

Things seemed to get even worse from this period onwards as he attempted suicide 13 times and was in and out of psychiatric hospitals. Attempts at suicide seemed to run in the family as his brother Terry, also suffered with mental health troubles and tried to take his own life many times. 

In 1970, Gary's mother, who was an alcoholic, had been diagnosed with bone cancer and decided to take her own life by drinking mercuric chloride.

A short while after his mother passed away, Gary decided to open his own church which he named ''The United Church of The Ministers of God'' and managed to make quite a lot of money which was said to total something around $500,000. 

In 1976 he was arrested for aggravated assault after shooting a man and grazing his face with the bullet. 

He was in a hurry to get married and start a family and for two years he had written to a mail order bride named Betty Disto from the Philippines who eventually came over to join and marry him in 1985. The marriage was short lived as Gary was very abusive towards Betty both psychologically and physically. He raped her several times and forced her to watch him have sex with other women. Betty was pregnant but kept this a secret from Gary as she was planning to escape back to the Philippines. Luckily, she managed to get back home with help from friends and relatives. Gary had no idea that he had a son with Betty until some time later in 1987 when he started receiving letters demanding that he pay child support. 

Gary tried to have children with two other women (Gail Lincow and Anjeanette Davidson) but those children were placed in foster care. 

In 1978, he kidnapped the mentally disabled sister of Anjeanette Davidson from a psychiatric hospital and held her captive in a locked storage room in his basement. The poor woman was raped repeatedly and kept tied up. She was eventually found and returned to the hospital where the doctors discovered a number of injuries to her body which were consistent with rape and sodomy. Gary was sentenced to three years in prison but was deemed unfit psychologically and spend the three years in Psychiatric care. He was released in 1983.

Continued in part two... 

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Check out some of the true crime cases I have covered previously:

Playing With Fire: Mick & Mairead Philpott 

What Happened To The Petit Family?

The Most Evil Cult Leader In History? | Roch Theriault

The Truck Stop Serial Killer 

Deadly Lust: The Pamela Smart Story 

The Dark & Haunting History of Overtoun Bridge 

The Stuff Of Nightmares | The Toy Box Killer: David Parker Ray

Beyond Evil: The Murder of Jessica Lunsford 

Death Row Scot: The Kenny Richey Story: Part One

Death Row Scot: The Kenny Richey Story: Part Two

Death Row Scot: The kenny Richey Story: Part Three

Don't Talk, Just Listen...The Weepy Voiced Killer

Amityville | The DeFeo Murders

What Really Happened To Mavis Bran? 

Nowhere To Run: The Marilyn McKenna Story | Part One

 Unsolved : Part Three: The Highway Of Tears & The Disappearance Of Maddy Scott 

Unsolved: Part Two | What Happened To Melanie Melanson? 

- Unsolved: Part One | Molly Bish & Holly Piirainen 

The Dark Side of The Internet: The Amanda Todd Story 

The Story of Bible John

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