The Benders’ wagon was soon found a few miles away from their home. Noté /5. As such, Dr. William Henry York set out looking for Longcor and Mary Ann in spring of 1873. After the death of his wife, Longcor and his 18-month-old daughter Mary Ann had left Independence, Kansas for Iowa, but never made it. The unsettling true story of America's first serial killing family. Oct 17, 2017 - Early American Serial Killers. From there, it’s hard to tell what is real, and what is urban legend. Soon, Dr. William Henry York—Longcor’s former neighbor, who’d sold Longcor horses and a wagon for the trip—was alerted that the team had been found abandoned near Fort Scott, Kansas. Image Source: Damonhynes via wikimedia. There, Colonel York confronted them about a woman who claimed to have fled the Bender Inn after Elvira threatened her with knives and pistols. They would then bludgeon their guests to death, bury their bodies, and steal whatever valuables they had (if any). The message is accompanied by a link of unknown origin—one that is likely an attempt to gather personal information. One detective even claimed to have tracked John Jr. to the border and found that he’d died of apoplexy. Leading member of the "Bloody Benders" Kate Bender gained the reputation as an attractive but dangerous woman in her Labette County community. BY Miss Cellania. The Benders admitted to housing him, but suggested that he may have met trouble with local Indians. In fact, it is now believed that none of the four were actually named Bender, and that only the mother and daughter were related. Yet she’s far from the only writer hoping to cash in on the crimes committed by this family; an episode of Supernatural featured a family of serial killers named the Benders, while two of the main characters in the video game Red Dead Redemption are modeled after John Jr. and Kate Bender. Photo credit: The Lineup. Bender Inn wasn’t the safe haven it pretended to be, and would soon become the focus of an inquisition into a series of mysterious disappearances and deaths in the region. What the Benders didn’t realize was that their latest victim came from a prominent family — Dr. York’s two brothers were Colonel Ed York and Alexander M. York, a member of the Kansas State Senate. The body would then be dropped through the trap door, stripped, and later buried or dismembered. To this day in Kansas, a traveling mother and daughter might be teased about being Ma and Kate Bender—the women, like the legend itself, immortal in their infamy. The Labette County, Kansas, family consisted of four people—John Bender, his wife Elvira, and their children John Jr. and Kate. In the 1870s, Kansas was home to wholesome homesteaders – and a family of serial killers, known as The Bloody Benders. “Pa” or John Sr. spoke with a heavy accent. Over a century later, you can still find them in books, TV, and on the big screen – people never get tired of their story! The Bloody Benders, America's First Serial Killer Family. This is the story of the Bloody Benders, America’s first family of serial killers. The Bloody Benders Marker. There, the family had used canvas to split the one-room cabin into two parts—the back was kept as the living quarters, while the front was converted into a general store, kitchen, and dining table where travelers could stop for dry goods, a meal, or even a night of rest. Kate soon gained notoriety as a self proclaimed healer and spiritualist. The family consisted of John Bender, Mrs. Bender, son John Jr. and daughter Kate. For many years after the crimes, two women traveling together would be accused of being Kate and Elvira Bender. In the front half of the house, the family ran an inn and store, while the back half was the family living area. The Benders built a small house on the Osage Trail in Labette County, Kansas. While Bender mythology holds that John and Kate were brother and sister, contemporary newspapers reported that several of the Benders' neighbors have stated that they claimed to be married, possibly a common law marriage. Elvira is thought to have been born Almira Mark in the Adirondack Mountains, and to have had multiple children and husbands—some say who died of head injuries—before she took up the Bender alias. 6 The Bloody Benders’ House. The Bender family home was a one-room house that was divided in half by a curtain. Located on a main road, the Benders sold meals and supplies to travelers. She lived with her parents and brother while helping them run an isolated grocery and road house. In October 1870, five families moved to this area of Osage, settling around seven miles from where the city of Cherryvale would be established. Even in a community of spiritualists, her sermons on the value of free love were considered a little odd. He was probably born in Germany or the Netherlands. Hammers allegedly from the home have been displayed at the Cherryvale Museum, while a stained knife thought to have been taken from the Bender Inn now belongs to the Kansas Historical Society. A manhunt was immediately launched for the murderers. The same modus operandi—the victims were hit in the head, likely with a hammer, before having their throat slit—was evident on all bodies except that of Mary Ann, who was likely buried alive. Laura Ingalls Wilder, author of the Little House on the Prairie series that talks about her life and relationships with friends and family, stated her father joined the search party looking for the Benders. But it was too late—Elvira had already revealed both her mastery of the English language, as well as her true nature. 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