Then neighbors remembered finding additional bodies on the prairie the past winter that had been mutilated in much the same fashion. Posted on : 02/07/2020. Because it was not uncommon for travelers to go missing on the rough frontiers of the Old West, it took some time before victims’ disappearances began to attract notice. Photo credit: The Lineup. According to the Salina Journal, authorities were able to piece together the Benders’ modus operandi based on evidence found at the scene. With the Benders gone, neighbors searched their property. It covers the on-going investigation into the Bloody Benders. The front half was used as an inn and general store, selling goods like crackers, sardines and candies, but the sleeping quarters in the back of the property were employed for far more sinister purposes. But it soon became clear that the family had played a more malevolent role in the story. Bloody Benders : biography – Three days after the township meeting, Billy Tole was driving cattle past the Bender property when he noticed that the inn was abandoned and the farm animals were unfed. Article continues after advertisement The men, John Bender, Sr. and Jr., were first to arrive. or Though most accounts place the number of victims at around a dozen, some believe the Benders killed as many as 21 people. ... the Osage Township Trustee who headed the search of the Bender property. Read more about The Bloody Benders, check out Saga of the Bloody Benders by Rick Geary. this link is to an external site that may or may not meet accessibility guidelines. Following the discovery, the governor of Kansas at the time issued a $2000 reward to anyone that could bring the Benders to justice. His brothers traced York’s last-known whereabouts to the Bender farm; the family admitted he had been there but said the doctor had not stayed for long. One of Dr. York’s brothers was able to identify his remains. Coyote Ugly Turns 20: Where Is the Cast Now? Wayward travelers or spiritualist would be lured inside. The family of four disappeared before they could be arrested. Get the best of Smithsonian magazine by email. 17th Annual Photo Contest Finalists Announced. Property Belonging to the 'Bloody Benders', America's First Family of Serial Killers, Goes Up for Sale. And as Jonathan Riley reports for the Salina Journal, the land where they committed their crimes is … Pa, Ma, Kate and John Bender, or the “Bloody Benders ... An investigation into the abandoned Bender property revealed ten bodies, including York, Loncher, and Loncher’s daughter, all buried in their vegetable garden. WICHITA, Kan. -- Kansas cropland that turned into a crime scene of serial slayings in the 1870s is up for auction. Some of the Facts, Mostly. Terms of Use How Wolves Are Driving Down Mountain Lion Populations, Wolverine Captured on Yellowstone Trail Cameras for the First Time, Monument to Coretta Scott and MLK Is Coming to Boston, City Where They Met, The Rise and Fall of America's Lesbian Bars, Yes, Giant Technicolor Squirrels Actually Roam the Forests of Southern India, 3-D Reconstruction of Fossil Reveals Secret Sex Life of Dinosaurs, The Best Board Games of the Ancient World, Caligula's Gardens, Long Hidden Beneath Italian Apartment Building, to Go on View, Ancient Insect Genitals Found in 50-Million-Year-Old Fossil, The History Behind Amazon's 'One Night in Miami', The 'Last' Female Swinhoe's Softshell Turtle Died in 2019. Continue In 1992, Fern Morrow Wood, a Cherryvale teacher, wrote The Benders, Keepers of the Devil's Inn. If you would like to opt out of browser push notifications, please refer to the following instructions specific to your device and browser: Property Belonging to the 'Bloody Benders', America's First Family of Serial Killers, Up for Sale. Approximately 152 acres of land that once belonged to the “Bloody Benders” is for sale as a part of 15 tracts of land that were put up for auction by the Schrader Real Estate and Auction Co. It is the first and only comprehensive story of the Bloody Benders; a terrible chapter in the annuals of crime on this lonely prairie Inn in the southeast Kansas. In the darkened room, she made all sorts of strange manifestations appear, usually with her family’s earthly assista… It appeared as though the Benders were just a normal, working family until people in the area began disappearing. The "Bloody Benders" reportedly killed almost a dozen travelers in Labette County, Kansas. Schrader, the Indiana-based real estate and auction company facilitating the sale, describes the 162-acre tract as containing “some mature trees and a beautiful view overlooking the Drum Creek and the farmland bottoms below.”. The Bloody Benders were a … While the actual home and inn the notorious family lived in is long gone, the story of their brutal crimes lives on. In the 1870s, a family of four settled on the frontier prairie lands of southeastern Kansas, not far from the town of Cherryvale. Keep up-to-date on: © 2021 Smithsonian Magazine. In May of 1871, the body of a man named Mr. Jones, who had his skull crushed and … The Benders’ cabin was demolished long ago, and the precise location of the home and its garden are not known. Their murderous gimmick was later revealed in the national newspapers to be quite simple. A manhunt was immediately launched for the murderers. Today, the tract of land holds no visible signs of the farm’s macabre history. Now, Researchers Found Another, Renewing Hope for the Species, Meet Joseph Rainey, the First Black Congressman, The State of American Craft Has Never Been Stronger. LABETTE COUNTY — A 162-acre tract of land in Labette County that was once the site of almost a dozen murders by the infamous Bender family, known as the “Bloody Benders,” will be auctioned in February. In 1871 the Benders opened up a roadside inn adjacent to their Parsons, Kansas property. Text us for exclusive photos and videos, royal news, and way more. Land belonging to one of America’s first serial killer families — the “Bloody Benders” — is up for sale. Bloody Benders : biography – Killing method. The former property of the "Bloody Benders" is up for sale. A tract of land up for auction in Kansas features rolling views, tillable soil, and a history of some of the most infamous murders ever committed in the state. Interestingly, the Bender property came up for sale in February 2020 with the caveat that the property had likely not been excavated since the murders, says CNN. The Kansas site where the Bender family, dubbed the ‘Bloody Benders’, lured travelers to their deaths will be sold off at auction in February The family of four would invite weary travelers into their property before slashing their throats and crushing their skulls with hammers Approximately 152 acres of land that once belonged to the "Bloody Benders" is for sale as a part of 15 tracts of land that were put up for auction by the Schrader Real Estate and Auction Co. Located in Labette County, Kansas, the land was once owned by the notorious Bender family and is being auctioned off by the Schrader Real Estate and Auction Co. The cold-blooded Benders, with the brutal efficiency of predatory animals, claimed many victims in the early 1870s in Osage Township, Labette County, Kan. Tole reported the fact to the township trustee, but because of inclement weather, several days lapsed before the abandonment could be […] Dr. York was the first body to be uncovered, according to KHS. You'll get the latest updates on this topic in your browser notifications. The Bloody Benders quickly passed into legend as America’s first serial killer family. California Do Not Sell My Info George Loncher and his daughter are believed to be the first victims when they vanished after traveling through the area en route to Iowa, according to KHS. They arrived in Kansas after the southeastern part of the state had opened to settlers, according to the Kansas Historical Society. The ghastly discovery of eight bodies, including the corpse of a little girl, plus the bloody, stench-filled cellar, told the grim tale. It is on this property, the Bender family is believed to have slaughtered at least 11 people, according to CNN and Smithsonian Magazine. A property that once belonged to a family of serial killers known as the “Bloody Benders” goes up for sale ... there are no structures or buildings on the property. Her work has appeared in a number of publications, including NYmag.com, Flavorwire and Tina Brown Media's Women in the World. World News . And as Jonathan Riley reports for the Salina Journal, the land where they committed their crimes is now up for sale. The property where the Bender murders reportedly took place is among 1,061 acres of mostly cropland on the auction block on Feb. 11 in southeast Kansas. According to Amy Renee Leiker of the Wichita Eagle, the property’s current owners purchased the land in the 1950s or 60s, long after souvenir seekers drawn in by the gory tale had picked apart the original Bender homestead. The danger of dining with the Bender’s came when seated with your back to the canvas wall. Some travelers complained of hearing strange sounds from behind the curtain while they ate. Find out what your cat is trying to tell you with a new cat app, Princess Diana died when Harry was just 12 years old, Engineer Creates App To Translate Your Cat, The Sweetest Photos of Princes Harry with Diana, Sean Connery's Cause of Death Revealed Weeks After He Dies at Age 90. As a family of psychopaths, the Bloody Benders often killed their victims simply for the sheer thrill of it, but they also profited well from the property they got from guests. But morbid mementos of the crime may still linger beneath the surface of the land. Lochner and his daughter were found buried together in a single grave. “The Bender Family Photo”, Found image without citation scattered all over the internet, Unknown Source. In May of 1873, residents noticed that the Bender’s inn was abandoned, according to KHS. Located in Labette County, Kansas, the land was once owned by … An investigation of the Bender property revealed the remains of an estimated 11 individuals buried in the garden, their skulls smashed in and throats slashed. Brigit Katz is a freelance writer based in Toronto. The family members, who appeared to have fled the scene, were quickly identified as the perpetrators of these grisly murders. Today, the “ Bloody Benders ” endure as a notorious serial killing family of the Old West. Some say the Benders were killed by vigilantes; others believe they successfully escaped punishment. He suspects that the property will continue to be used as farmland by its new owner but notes that the upcoming sale of the property could provide “a neat opportunity for somebody who’s interested in that type of history.”, The Benders are often described as a family of German descent, though little is known about them, and some researchers have questioned whether they were actually related. Alarm bells were first raised when one George Lochner and his daughter, traveling from Kansas to visit family in Iowa, vanished without a trace. • 1) May 1871: Mr. Jones. Editor’s Note: The Bloody Benders were a family of serial killers who lived and operated in Labette County, Kansas, between 1871 and 1873. In October 1870, five families moved to this area of Osage, settling around seven miles from where the city of Cherryvale would be established. Introducing ... PEOPLE's Products Worth the Hype. One of these families was the Benders, who moved onto a 160-acre property facing the Osage Trail. Cookie Policy Privacy Statement You Could Own the House of Horrors From 'Silence of the Lambs', Archaeologists Unearth Egyptian Queen's Tomb, 13-Foot 'Book of the Dead' Scroll, You Can Now Explore the CIA's 'Entire' Collection of UFO Documents Online. Get push notifications with news, features and more. Kate would also place her spiritualist clients with their backs to the curtain. “It’s strictly cropland,” Brent Wellings, Schrader’s southwest auction manager, tells the Eagle. The Benders admitted that Dr. York had stopped by, but his body was still nowhere to be found, according to KHS. A canvas curtain divided the family’s home into two sections. Upon settling in the rural town, the Benders built an inn and a grocery store, welcoming settlers and travelers, according to KHS. One of the Benders’ neighbors noticed starving farm animals one day in the Benders’ property and decided to check out the situation. In spring 1873, a local noticed that the Bender inn had been abandoned and, upon closer investigation, found the family’s livestock dead or starving. More than 140 years ago, one family committed such evil that they became known as the Bloody Benders. One of the family members would hide behind the dividing curtain, then creep up on the victim from behind and attack them with a hammer. In 1870, according to the Kansas Historical Society, the Bender family moved to Labette County from Germany. It turned out that the Benders had fled without any warning whatsoever. The family consisted of husband and wife John and Kate and their adult children daughter Kate Jr. and son John Jr. The Bender killings, “were considered some of the more gruesome perpetrated on Kansas soil,” according to the Kansas Historical Society, and occurred in the early 1870s. Between 1871 and 1873 at least 11 people had mysteriously gone missing. Body found in Drum Creek with a crushed skull and throat cut. Various other gruesome evidence clinched the Benders as one of the first documented teams of serial killers in the United States. Reward for Catching Bloody Benders. Curious locals began to explore the empty house and discovered a trap door in the floor that led to a blood-soaked cellar. Other corpses found in the area, as well as the many mysterious disappearances of other lonely travelers, led the locals to believe that the Benders actually killed more than 20 people. The family would become known as the Bloody Benders… RELATED: Calif. Woman Survived Attack by Serial Killer, but Ordeal Wasn’t Over: ‘I Had to Forgive Myself’. Advertising Notice 1) “The Bloody Benders” A gang of four so ferocious they have the catchy nickname to prove it, the Benders settled in isolated Labette County, Kansas, in the early 1870s. Nearly a dozen travelers who stopped at their small inn were murdered, and their bodies later found buried on the Benders’ property. 6 The Bloody Benders’ House. The property was sold by Schrader Auction for a whopping $2,215,200, ... Texas native "Bloody Bill" Longley stepped up to the gallows in Giddings. Though the tales of what happened to the Benders can only be speculated as to their accuracy, the fact that ten bodies were found on the property is not disputed. The hammers were displayed at the Bender Museum in Cherryvale, Kansas from 1967 to 1978 when the site was acquired for a fire station. Though authorities issued a $2,000 reward (more than $50,000 today) for the family’s capture, their fate remains unclear. A historical marker set up near the Bender farm states that the younger Kate “soon gained notoriety as a self-proclaimed healer and spiritualist.”. The historic Bender farm is listed as “Tract 2” in a bundle of 15 properties heading to auction on February 11. Land belonging to one of America’s first serial killer families — the “Bloody Benders” — is up for sale. Smithsonian Institution. Subsequent searches of the property revealed a blood-soaked cellar and multiple bodies in the garden. When the inn was searched, its cellar was found covered in blood — earning them the name the “Bloody Benders.”, A number of unmarked graves were also uncovered on the grounds. Vote Now! A one-room house belonging to the Bender family was found to be abandoned, and the family’s farm animals were left starving. It was initially believed that the Benders had also gone missing, however, a search of their property proved they had instead fled town. The Labette County, Kansas, family consisted of four people—John Bender, his wife Elvira, and their children John Jr. and Kate. Fearing the number would rise, locals began searching every property in the area. And their story remains a ghastly part of Kansas folklore to this day. After digging around the property, the investigators found 11 bodies, all murdered by the Bloody Benders. Give a Gift. The family is said to have enticed travelers into the small cabin with the promise of a hot meal and a chance to rest. Then, a well-known local doctor named William York disappeared. John and Kate Bender, along with their two adult children, also named John and Kate, operated an inn and grocery store that catered to travelers along a nearby road—until, one day, they vanished. The search revealed a single-room timber cabin that had been divided into two by a curtain. Life went back to normal again after the weather turned to normal. They didn’t realize what might be coming their way for dessert. Who Was Charles Curtis, the First Vice President of Color? And, Wellings tells the Eagle, he is “pretty confident” the property has never been scanned for missing bodies. RELATED: FBI Hopes to ID Victims of America’s Deadliest Serial Killer: Women ‘Were Missed and Loved’. Locals initially thought the Benders were the latest victims in a string of mysterious disappearances plaguing the area. The hapless individual was then dropped through a trap door into the cellar, where another waiting Bender would slash their throat. It wasn’t until a man named Dr. William York disappeared and his brother tracked his last known whereabouts to the inn, that the community grew suspicious of the Benders, according to KHS. The diggers would harvest the bodies of other unwary travelers who had fallen prey. The over 1,000 acres of land that used to belong to the Benders in Kansas was recently auctioned off for just over $2.2 million. Today, the “Bloody Benders” endure as a notorious serial killing family of the Old West. Land belonging to one of America’s first serial killer families — the “Bloody Benders” — is up for sale. After removing anything of value from the dead, the Benders waited until nightfall and buried the bodies on their property. To auction on February 11 Schrader ’ s brothers was able to identify his remains NYmag.com, Flavorwire Tina... 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