An Angel of Death (also called an Angel of Mercy) is a type of serial killer who is employed as a caregiver and kills the people they care for. Or the term can refer to killers who kill because they believe they are ending their victims' suffering (real or perceived).
Angels of Death can be motivated by a belief (delusional or not) that their victims are suffering and/or beyond help. This motive has become a main attribute to Angels of Death thanks to popular culture. However, in reality, the motive for these types of killers is highly variable: some can be motivated by Hero Syndrome, while others have a need to exert power and control over their helpless victims.
Angels of Death may share the following characteristics:
- Usually in the medical profession
- Most often female, but males are fairly common
- Most often use passive means (poison, etc.)
On Criminal Minds
Angels of death featured on the show
- Season Two
- Season Three
- Ervin Robles ("Children of the Dark") - A serial killer, poisoner, and robber who would target and slaughter abusive families with his partner Gary. Gary would kill the parents, while Ervin would euthanize and kill the children abused there.
- Peter Redding ("A Higher Power") - A serial-turned-spree killer who targeted the parents who lost their children in a fire at a recreational center, highly motivated by his abusive brother's own murder at his hands.
- Season Seven
- Season Nine
- Season Twelve
- Season Thirteen
- Suzanne Silvan ("Finishing School") - A serial killer and poisoner who killed girls she and her husband Lawrence Silvan abducted and raised, after they reached puberty and began menstruation. Because she felt the need to protect them from men, because her own father sexually abused her when she began menstruating, which ultimately left her infertility and led to her parents' deaths (her father's possibly at her hands).