So good and evil in the end become confounded.
-- T. S. Eliot The Hollow Men
Although the female serial murderer is often an elusive and challenging criminal, her motives generally become apparent once she has been apprehended and tried for her crimes. However, there are some cases of serial killing in which the motive for murder has never been satisfactorily discovered, despite the fact that the perpetrator was apprehended and even confessed her crimes. Obviously, such murders are especially troubling since they allow for no understanding of why they occurred. Particularly disturbing is the fact that many cases in which the motive for murder is never understood involve the deaths of children.
This chapter examines several incidents of serial murderer in which the motive of the perpetrator has never been satisfactorily understood. We define the perpetrator whose crimes fit the category of Unexplained as: a woman who systemically murders for reasons that are wholly inexplicable or for a motive that has not been made sufficiently clear for categorization. As the following case histories will show, unexplained motives vary in their mystery and meaning. In some cases, the behavior of the murderer and the pattern of her crimes permit a reasonable assumption of motive. In other instances, it is impossible to even offer a somewhat reliable assumption. Ironically, in many of the cases categorized as Unexplained, even the serial killer was unable (or unwilling) to articulate an understandable motive for her crimes.