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Serial killer Arthur Shawcross murdered 11 women from 1988 to 1990 in upstate New York, earning the nickname "The Genessee River Killer."
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Arthur Shawcross' parents dispute his claims that he was molested as a child, but it's clear that he was troubled. In 1972, he confessed to killing two children and went to prison. His records were sealed so he could settle in a new town without causing a panic. But from 1988 to 1990, Shawcross killed 11 women in upstate New York, earning the nickname "The Genessee River Killer." He died in prison.
Serial killer Arthur Shawcross was born on June 6, 1945, and died on November 10, 2008 while serving a life sentence for the murder of 11 women. From his birthplace of Kittery, Maine, his family moved to Watertown, a small town near Lake Ontario in New York State, when he was still a child. Shawcross claims that his adolescence was turbulent, and cites a difficult relationship with both parents, particularly his domineering mother, for his later troubles. He says he also exhibited behavioral problems at an early age, including bed-wetting and bullying.
Shawcross also made extreme reports about his early sexuality. He claimed his aunt sexually molested him when he was 9, and that he had sexual relations with his younger sister. He also admitted to his first homosexual encounter at the age of 11, which he says was followed by experimentation with bestiality.
In contrast to these claims, however, his parents and siblings maintain that he had a normal childhood, and the described events were largely the product of his imagination. There is no way of knowing whose version represents the reality of his upbringing, but what became clear, later on, was that Shawcross would change his stories at will, as he was interviewed by various professionals in the course of their investigations.
From school records it can be independently verified that he was an inveterate truant, with a particularly low IQ, a tendency to bullying and violence and that he came under suspicion for a series of juvenile arson attacks as well as burglaries. He dropped out of school after failing to pass the ninth grade, and the next few years were punctuated with violence and jail sentences. He received his first probationary sentence in December 1963 for smashing a shop window.
Shawcross married first wife, Sarah, in September 1964. The couple produced a son in October 1965. But another probationary charge for unlawful entry in November 1965, proved the last straw for his marriage and he was divorced soon after.
His second marriage, following drafting into the Army in April 1967, was also tainted by violence and was equally short-lived. He served a tour of duty in the Vietnam War in October 1967, and he later claimed that he murdered and cannibalized two young Vietnamese girls and several children while there. There is no corroborating evidence to support this, however. He also claimed a "combat kill" total of 39 which, when investigated later, was also discounted as fabrication; authorities claim he killed no one on his tour of duty.
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