The Villisca Ax Murders

(ShaniMiller/Getty Images)

One of the coldest cases in Iowa may also be its most haunting. An astounding eight people lost their lives in a single night in Villisca thanks to a crazed madman with an ax. The victims, six of whom were children, were all found in their beds and likely asleep at the time of the attack. How is that possible? How could a person sneak through a house unnoticed while committing so much gruesome violence?

The Victims

The victims comprised the Moore family (including Josiah, a successful and well-liked businessman; his wife, Sarah; and their four children, aged five through eleven) and two other girls, the eight- and twelve-year-old Stillinger sisters, who picked a very unfortunate night to have a sleepover. Though the Moores were known as churchgoers and pillars of the community, Josiah had run into his fair share of conflicts during his years running his business, and Sarah's extended family featured a few rough characters.