The Story of Kansas

The Bloody Benders

They were known simply as the Bloody Benders.

Friendly to strangers, it wasn't unusual for the Benders — Ma, Pa, Kate and John Jr. —to invite a road-weary traveler into their simple country home near Cherryvale for a hot meal and a night's sleep.

Once visitors were seated at the table, the Benders would bash them in the head with a hammer and slit their throats — then rob them.

They were Kansas' first serial murderers.

When news broke about the murdering family, a nationwide manhunt began. None of the Benders was ever found.