Lady Killers: Kate Bender

A member of the notorious Bloody Benders of Labette County, Kansas, beautiful 22-year-old Kate Bender claimed to be a psychic. In 1872 and 1873, she enthralled male guests over dinner at the family’s inn while men posing as her father and brother sneaked up behind the victims and bashed in their skulls with a sledgehammer or slit their throats. Among the four Bender family members, only Kate and her mother were related, though Kate may have been married to the man posing as her brother. When a traveling doctor disappeared after visiting the Benders’ waystation in 1872, his brother began an investigation that turned up eleven bodies buried on the property.

The Benders, whose motive was robbery, disappeared without a trace. A persistent rumor claims vigilantes dispensed final justice somewhere on the Kansas prairie.

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