The Hunt for the Chicago Strangler on ID is investigating the possibility that a serial killer has been operating for the last 20 years in Chicago and has murdered over 50 women without being detected.
These murders have predominantly occurred in the West and South Side communities, which are already known for their high levels of crime, poverty, and social deprivation.
These areas are well known nationally for hitting the headlines due to shooting deaths among young men, but the high number of murders of women has, tragically, gone underreported in the media.
From 2001 to 2017, 75 women have been brutally murdered through strangulation or smothering in these areas. The women affected were predominantly Black and were considered to be vulnerable and on the margins of society. The women’s bodies were often dumped in trash cans, abandoned buildings, and dark alleys.
Approximately 20 of these cases have been solved, reports vary as to whether 51 or 55 of the murders remain unsolved, but some fear it may be many more than that.
By 2007, 30 women had been killed, and the Chicago PD was continuing to investigate each case individually. However, that year, within 24 hours, the remains of two women were discovered at opposite ends of a popular South Side park; they had been strangled, and their bodies were burned.
The cops saw a clear connection between these two murders and began to wonder if they could connect others.
Chicago police are now searching for connections between the murders
The Murder Accountability Project (MAP) was formed a short time later to track the strangulations. They have since found various patterns that suggest a serial killer or killers are operating in Chicago and are preying on the most vulnerable.
The killings appeared to stop in 2014 but recommenced in 2017 when two more women were murdered within three months. The police have since formed a special task force and are working with the FBI to gather DNA samples from each murder and to collect any information they deem may help solve the crimes.
There has been a surge of activism surrounding these murders in recent years, and there have been accusations that systemic racism helped lead to vulnerable members of the Black community being abandoned. As of writing, the hunt for the Chicago strangler is continuing.
More from Investigation Discovery
Follow the links to read about more shocking crimes profiled on ID.
Cesar Barone, aka The Serial Killer of Washington County, killed at least four women in Oregon in the early 1990s. He sexually assaulted his victims before shooting or strangling them.
Mother-of-two, Andrea Knabel, vanished while walking in her hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, in the summer of 2019. She had just left her sister’s house and was thought to be going in the direction of her parent’s home. Family members say she had been arguing with them and was distressed, she has not been seen since.
The Hunt for the Chicago Strangler airs in three parts on Saturday February 26 from 9/8c on Investigation Discovery. It is also available to be streamed on Discovery+