The Beauty Queen Killer: Christopher Bernard Wilder | Serial Killer

 

(Christopher Wilder. Picture credit: The Telegraph)

Here is a real-life monster who most refer to as The Beauty Queen Killer, Christopher Bernard Wilder went on a rampage in the 1980s across America leaving a trail of victims behind him. He was obsessed with beautiful young women and would approach his victims posing as a photographer with promises of securing a modeling contract for them.

Once he had hold of the girls, they were subjected to a horrendous ordeal of torture and sexual assault before being brutally murdered, their bodies dumped and in many cases, never found. 

But, did Christopher really start killing in the 1980s? Some believe he started as far back as the 1960s. In my 75th true crime post, I'm going to be looking into The Beauty Queen Killer and some of the details that I will be sharing will be quite disturbing so please take that into consideration before reading any further.

So who was Christopher Wilder and how many lives was he responsible for taking? Well, the number varies depending on who you talk to but it is estimated that he murdered between 8-18 women. As with a lot of serial killer cases, there are those victims that we know about, and those that we don't and in the case of Christopher Wilder, there are many many more murders that he is suspected to have been responsible for. 

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Christopher Bernard Wilder was born in Sydney, Australia on the 13th of March 1945. His father was an American naval officer and his mother was an Australian national. From the get-go, Christopher had problems. He battled a lot of illnesses as a child and at one point a priest had to be called in because they thought he wasn't going to make it. As well as bad health, he seemed to be plagued with bad luck and almost drowned in a swimming pool. On another occasion when he was just 3 years old he was in his parents car and began having fits to the point of having to be resuscitated. 

It was a wonder how he made it past his childhood with the amount of near deaths that he had. One can imagine that it must have been traumatic not just for him but for his parents. Little did anyone know that this sickly boy would grow up to become an evil monster. You would think that his problems with illness in his childhood would make Christopher grow up with a more appreciation of life but instead he enjoyed taking it and causing as much pain and suffering to others as he possibly could. 

The red flags of what was to come later on started at the age of 17. Christopher was part of a sickening gang rape that took part on a beach. Instead of proper punishment, they gave him a year's probation and recommended that he have counselling along with Electroconvulsive Therapy

Some would argue that the Electroconvulsive Therapy could have been the cause of what he became but I would say that I disagree, as he'd already taken part in a very serious sexual assault beforehand. 

The therapy did nothing for him.

Fast forward to the age of 23 and roots of evil were getting deeper and deeper. Christopher got married but it wasn't to last, he abused his wife and when she found a stash of pictures of nude women and a pair of panties that didn't belong to her, she left him. 

The stash of nude pictures were found in a briefcase in his car and this was him in his early 20s. Who were the women in the pictures? Was he carrying out his sickening crimes back then? 

In 1969 he threatened a student nurse that he would humiliate her by showing her nude pictures publicly. Going by my research into Christopher it sounds like he used his tactic of pretending to be a photographer and managed to persuade this woman to have nude photographs taken in exchange for either money or a modelling contract. It is possible that he tried to blackmail her into having sex with him and she refused. Whatever the case, the lady went to the police but the charges were soon dropped after she didn't feel comfortable having to testify against him in court. 

It wasn't long after this that Christopher ran off to America. A lot has been said about this, that he attacked and possibly murdered a number of women in his homeland of Australia and decided to make a swift exit before the cops were hot on his tail.

Once he was in America he settled in Southern Florida and did pretty well for himself financially because of his construction and electrical contracting work. Christopher began living the high life with expensive cars, parties at his luxurious home and even had a photographic studio in his house to carry on with his creepy obsession. 

It seemed that no matter how much money Christopher had and the lovely lifestyle, the sickness within him was too deep and he just could not help himself. He was soon back on the prowl again.

In 1971, Christopher was in hot water again for about 5 minutes as per usual, nothing was done. He'd been walking up to pretty young girls again using his usual routine of being a photographer who could help them get onto the cover of magazines. All he got was a slap on the wrist and a small fine. Christopher was soon free to continue on with his sickening ways.

In 1980 he tricked a young teenage girl into his car and drove her to a rural area where he subjected her to a horrific sexual assault. The poor girl managed to escape and the police were informed. Again, Christopher managed to get away with it and got 5 years probation and more useless therapy. 

Having his little brush with the law must have made Christopher feel that he had to lay low for a little bit so he went to Australia to visit his parents but he just couldn't help himself and abducted two girls from a beach. He was charged with kidnap and sexual assault. His parents bailed him out and he was sent packing back to America.

He was supposed to attend a court appearance in May of 1983 but delays meant that the date was changed to the 3rd of April 1984, an appearance he would never make. 

From February 1984 to April 1984, Christopher would go on a rampage (some believe he first started killing in 1962) from state to state, abducting girls, sexually assaulting, torturing and killing them. One of the victims was his ex girlfriend who had also been a beauty queen, her name was Elizabeth Kenyon. 

Soon the police were keeping watch with so many reports of a bearded man posing as a photographer and approaching women at the beaches and shopping malls trying to get them to go with him. 

Christopher celebrated his 39th birthday with a brand new car which was a 1973 Chrysler.

Soon the newspapers were reporting that the police were looking for a man fitting his description plus the same make of car and he panicked. he told his business partner that under no circumstances would he ever go to jail. Christopher was terrified of being put in prison and soon fled.

Being on the run from the police didn't stop him carrying out more crimes. On the 19th of March 1984 he abducted a 21 year old girl by the name of Terry Ferguson from a shopping mall. The police found the poor girl's body four days later in a canal. 

The very next day he kidnapped a university student in Tallahassee and drove for miles until finally stopping at a cheap motel where he proceeded to sexually assault her repeatedly. As well as carrying out these sickening acts, he super glued her eyes and gave her electric shocks. By some miracle the girl was able to get herself into the bathroom, lock the door, scream and bang on the walls in an attempt to alert other people at the motel. Being the coward that he was, Christopher soon jumped in his car and sped off. 

He soon ended up in Texas and his next target was Suzanne Logan, she had vanished from a shopping mall and was found days later on the 26th of March, the same day the body of 24 year old Terry Walden was found. Terry had actually mentioned to her husband a few days before that there was a creepy guy telling her how beautiful she was outside one of her classes and how he thought she could be a model. Her husband thought nothing of it until Terry suddenly vanished. Both women had been sexually assaulted, tortured and stabbed to death.

His thirst for murder, rape and torture was still not up, he continued to Colorado where he abducted and murdered Sheryl Bonaventura on the 29th of March. Witnesses had said that they saw a man fitting Christopher's description in a restaurant in the mall. He was also seen talking to young girls about modelling shoots. 

On the 17th of April he abducted a young aspiring model, Michelle Korfman from a fashion show at a shopping mall in Las Vegas. Her body was later found in June and had to be identified using her dental records.

The police were desperate to find this monster and the FBI put Christopher on their Most Wanted List on the 3rd of April 1984. 

On the 4th of April, Christopher abducted a 16 year old girl, Tina Marie Risico. Once he had taken her back to a motel room and repeatedly raped her, he decided not to kill her but to keep her alive. He believed that she could help him find more victims. Christopher took the terrified teenager on the road with him going from state to state. The poor child did whatever he asked out of fear of being killed. 

On the 10th of April, Tina helped Christopher abduct a 16 year old girl from a shopping mall in Indiana. The poor girl was raped repeatedly by Christopher as Tina was instructed to keep driving the car. Eventually he told Tina to drive to a wooded area, once there, took the young girl who was called Dawnette Wilt, out of the car and tried to suffocate and stab her to death. Thinking she was dead, he got back in the car with Tina and they drove off. Luckily, Dawnette was still alive and managed to tie her jeans around herself to help stop some of the bleeding and was able to find help.

Dawnette was able to get the life saving surgery she needed and was able to make a full recovery physically but one must wonder of what terrible scars that must leave on a person psychologically, to have been through something so horrendous and terrifying.

Christopher's final victim was a 33 year old woman called Beth Dodge who he shot and dumped in a gravel pit before he and Tina drove to Logan Airport in Boston. Surprisingly, he bought Tina a ticket and told her that she could leave and get on the plane. 

He made an attempt at abducting a woman at gunpoint in Massachusetts but she was able to get away. 

On the 13th of April 1984 Christopher stopped at a gas station where he was recognised by two police officers. When the police attempted to arrest him, a struggle ensued with two gun shots being fired. Christopher Wilder was pronounced dead at the scene, his sickening and evil spree was now over. 

(Tammi Leppert. Picture credit: IMDB)

Much has been said about how many victims Christopher Wilder is responsible for exactly. He has been linked to so many unsolved murders and disappearances especially the Tammi Leppert case. Tammi was a teenage model and actress who mysteriously vanished on the 6th of July 1983. The police don't seem to think there is a link to Christopher Wilder. Originally her family thought he was responsible and tried to sue his estate but soon dropped the case as there were doubts at his guilt in relation to Tammi.

(A magazine article about the case with pictures of the known victims on the left and the cold blooded murderer and sexual sadist himself, on the right. Picture credit: Press Reader)

It is both infuriating and heartbreaking that this evil man was able to carry on abducting, sexually assaulting, torturing and murdering these innocent women for so long. It angers me that he never got to face justice or tell the families where his victims were buried and it seemed that all through his life he managed to get away with whatever pain he caused to other people. Him dying whilst at the point of being caught and stopped was just another example of him getting away with it. 

I think about the young women he murdered, the ones who lived to tell the tale and their families, I can't imagine what they all must feel. 

RIP to the victims that we know about and the ones that we don't. I pray for strength for their families and for those who managed to survive.

Further reading & sources:




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3 comments:

  1. What a MONSTER !!! I'm in disbelief ! He killed so many young innocent girls when he was supposed to be in prison. I will comment on your patreon page. This guy was pure evilness. RIP to all the victims and all the familly involved. Thank you Jo Xxx

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  2. Sickening, it's a very unfortunate circumstance that the officers that tried to apprehend him got into a fire fight with him. I really wish they had been able to take him in alive with the hope of getting answers about everything he had done. There is such a long span of time that he was operating in that there has to be more victims than what we know about. This true crime story was disturbing and the monster in this story was truly sick and truly evil. Incredible work and one hell of a case for your 75th true crime story. 🙏🏼❤💖

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  3. Thank you so much for taking the time to read and leave comments. Much appreciated x

    ReplyDelete