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Serial killer Joel Rifkin killed 17 women in the 1990s before the police tried to pull him over for a missing license plate (and discovered his latest victim).
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Joel Rifkin (born January 20, 1959) was obsessed with Hitchcock's Frenzy as a young adult and began using prostitutes regularly. In 1989, he killed his first woman. He discarded the bodies of his victims so they could not be identified. But in 1993
Serial killer. Born Joel David Rifkin on January 20, 1959, to two unwed college students. New York couple Bernard and Jeanne Rifkin adopted Joel three weeks after his birth, on February 14, 1959. Three years later they also adopted a daughter, Jan. In 1965 the family moved to East Meadow, Long Island, where Joel enrolled in Prospect Avenue Elementary School.
Rifkin had difficulty fitting in with his peers, and became a frequent target of school bullies. He was excluded from team sports and neighborhood games because of his sloping posture and slow gait. Suffering from undiagnosed dyslexia, he also struggled academically despite his 128 IQ.
As Rifkin entered his teens, he desperately tried to fit in. He joined the track team with the hopes of making friends, but his teammates frequently tormented him. Frustrated with athletics, Rifkin joined the yearbook staff. His camera was immediately stolen, and he was excluded from the wrap party at the end of the year.
The mistreatment and isolation eventually wore on Rifkin, who began retreating to his own disturbed world. He started having daydreams about raping and stabbing women. In 1972, inspired by the Alfred Hitchcock film Frenzy, Rifkin became fixated on the idea of strangling prostitutes. Around this same time, his parents gave him a car. He started using the vehicle to troll for prostitutes in nearby Hempstead, and later Manhattan.
His passion for prostitutes would increase as he entered Nassau Community College in 1977. He frequently skipped his classes and rarely showed up to his part-time jobs, preferring to spend his time with prostitutes instead. His obsession drained Rifkin of what little money he had, causing him to move in and out of his parents' house throughout the 80s. He also bounced from school to school, earning poor grades, until he finally dropped out in 1984.
By March of 1989, Rifkin could no longer fight the violent mental fantasies. Joel waited for his mother to leave on a business trip, and then picked up a young prostitute named Susie. He brought the woman back to his Long Island home, where he bludgeoned her with a Howitzer artillery shell. When she continued to struggle, he strangled her to death.
He then dismembered the corpse with an X-acto knife, removing her identity by severing her fingertips and removing her teeth with pliers. He hid her severed head in an old paint can, and stashed the rest of her body into garbage bags. Rifkin dumped Susie's head and legs in the woods in Hopewell, New Jersey, and tossed the arms and torso into the East River back in New York.
Despite Rifkin's elaborate attempts to conceal the murder, a member of the Hopewell Valley Golf Club found the can containing Susie's head several days later.
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