sometimes quite active in repeated acts of sexual homicide. Because the crimes of team killers tend to be flagrant and impulsive, the period of lethal activity of these perpetrators is relatively short compared to murders committed by other types of female serial killers.
In general, female serial murderers can be profiled in two, somewhat discrete categories. The perpetrator who acts alone will often be mature, careful, deliberate, socially adept, and highly organized; she will tend to attack in a secretive manner, using a method that is difficult for law enforcement personnel to quickly identify. On the other hand, the female perpetrator who is a member of a killing team will often prove to be younger, aggressive, vicious in her attack, sometimes disorganized, and usually unable to carefully plan her murders. The perpetrator who acts alone will usually attack her victims in her home, their home, or her place of work, whereas the female member of a killing team will attack her victims in diverse locations as the opportunity for murder presents itself. Female serial killers who operate alone tend to favor weapons or methods such as poison, lethal injection, or suffocation, whereas members of a killing team will often use much more violent means, such as shooting, stabbing, or physical torture.
Regardless of the similarities that may seem apparent among the known incidents of serial murder committed by women, there is no reliable profile of this perpetrator. As the case histories in this book will show, the female serial killer is a complex and diverse criminal who murders for a variety of reasons and in many different ways. Although her presence and impact have long been overlooked by researchers and law enforcement personnel, the female serial murderer is a criminal of surprising complexity and unquestioned lethality.