Aileen Wuornos was one of America’s most notorious criminals and the first female serial killer to be profiled by the FBI. The sex worker-turned-murderer confessed to killing seven men within the span of one year, claiming she did so in self-defense. The jury did not agree, and Wuornos spent ten years living on death row before being executed in 2002.
Growing up, Aileen Wuornos’ family life was very troubled and included an unwanted pregnancy when she was just a young teenager. Here’s what we know about Aileen Wuornos’ son and the serial killer’s traumatic upbringing.
Aileen Wuornos Got Pregnant At 14 Years Old
When Wuornos was 14, she became pregnant after being raped by one of her father’s friends. She was sent to a home for unwed mothers (a very common practice back then), where she gave birth to her son on March 23rd, 1971. Wuornos was just 15 years old at the time.
The baby was put up for a closed adoption, which means there was no interaction between Wuornos and the child’s adoptive family. As a result, any information about the identity of Wuornos’ biological child is sealed from the public.
Depending on the type of arrangement that was made, the son himself—who would now be in his 50s—may not even know that his biological mother was one of the nation’s most notorious serial killers.
Wuornos’ Own Traumatic Upbringing
To say that Aileen Wuornos had a difficult childhood would be an understatement. Born in Rochester, Michigan, on February 29, 1956, Wuornos never met her biological father. He was just 16 years old at the time of her birth and was serving a prison sentence for child molestation. In 1969, he died by suicide.
When Wuornos was four, she and her brother were abandoned by their mother and left in the care of their maternal grandparents. Wuornos claimed her grandfather was an abusive alcoholic who beat and sexually assaulted her and allowed his friends to do the same. She was thrown out of the house when she was 15, which prompted her to drop out of school and become a sex worker so she could support herself.
Wuornos turned to criminal behavior while living on the streets, racking up arrests for armed robbery, forging checks, car theft, and other offenses. She murdered her first victim, Richard Charles Mallory, on November 30th, 1989, after he allegedly beat and raped her. He was shot multiple times, robbed, and left in the woods not far from where police found Wuornos’ abandoned car.
Over the course of the next year, Wuornos murdered and robbed six more men in a similar fashion. She was eventually arrested in January of 1991 on an outstanding warrant, and the rest is history.
While Wuornos’ difficult childhood and adolescence were certainly tragic, it goes without saying that her past was no excuse for her heinous crimes. It’s probably best that she gave her son up for adoption so that he could have a normal, safe life of his own.