The Bloody Benders were a family of serial killers who lived and operated in Labette County, Kansas from 1871 to 1873. The family consisted of John Bender; his wife, Elvira Bender; son, John, Jr.; and daughter, Kate. While Bender mythology holds that John Jr. and Kate were brother and sister, contemporary newspapers reported that several of the Benders’ neighbors had stated that they claimed to be married, possibly a common law marriage.
It is believed that the Benders killed at least a dozen travelers before their crimes were discovered and the family fled, with their fate uncertain. Much folklore and legend surround the Benders, making it difficult to separate fact from fiction.
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