A lonely hearts killer is a journalistic term that refers to a type of killer who lures in victims after contacting them when they post or answer classified or personal newspaper ads. These types of killers are also referred to as want-ad killers or matrimonial bureau murderers.
Lonely hearts killers have varied motives, but they must fulfill the aforementioned criteria in order for him or her to be classified as a lonely hearts killer. Murders can be involved with robberies gone wrong, elaborate insurance-fraud schemes, sexual violence, or any other pathological impulse. Lonely hearts killers sometimes do not mean to actually commit murder, but were instead forced to resort to it, either by accident or to cover up their tracks. However, other lonely hearts killers, usually serial killers, lure in their victims this way in order to gain easy access to them.
On Criminal Minds
- Robert Parker ("52 Pickup") - In 2007, Robert killed two prostitutes and wounded a third after luring them in by contacting them through classified ads. When the surviving prostitute fought back and wounded him, Robert drastically changed his M.O., abandoning his method of finding prostitutes to kill.
- Patrick Murphy ("Breath Play") - In the case of his last murder victim, Patrick found her using a fake profile on a discreet dating website.
- Raymond Fernandez and Martha Beck - Known as "The Lonely Hearts Killers"
- Rodney Alcala – Known as "The Dating Game Killer"
- Harvey Glatman - known as "The Lonely Hearts Killer"
- Albert Fish
- Robert Hansen
- Harvey Carignan – Known as "The Want-Ad Killer"
- Bobby Joe Long – Known as "The Classified-Ad Rapist"
- Harry Powers – Known as "The Lonely Hearts Killer", "The Matrimonial Bureau Murderer", "The West Virginia Bluebeard", and "The Butcher of Clarksburg"
- Nannie Doss - known as "The Lonely Hearts Killer", among other names
- Belle Gunness
- Henri Désiré Landru
- Philip Markoff – Known as "The Craigslist Killer"