Victim Studies 006: Christopher Wilderon December 6, 2011 in Serial Killers, Victim Studies, Victimology by Heather Whitney
Christopher Wilder, otherwise known as the Beauty Queen Killer, was involved in the murders of 8 people, but may have been involved in many more. Wilder began his murder series in February of 1984, in the United States, though some argue that he may be involved in the unsolved Wanda Beach Murders in Australia that occurred in 1965.
Wilder’s main hobby was photography, this allowed him to often ask to take photos of women more often without question. Wilder was seen at pageants and malls asking women to pose for him, requesting the models to pose for test shots for his photo shoots. Wilder was often described as being a gentlemen by many of his victims prior to their murders. What the victims did not know was that Wilder had a long history of sexual assault and rape offenses.
It is believed that Wilder began to sexually assault women at the age of 17. He was involved in the gang rape of a girl and was given probation and electroshock treatment as part of his sentence. It was from this experience that Wilder began to fantasize about holding women against their will and torturing them with electricity. All the times that Wilder was arrested or charged his parents would post bail, the last amount was $350,000 to get out of prison.
The victims which Wilder selected were considered to be very physically attractive, some being known beauty queens and pageant winners. Women would agree to meet with him under the pretence of posing for his pictures. Wilder had acquired money through construction, retail and racing and so was able to buy expensive cars and own large houses. He used these material things to convince women that he was a professional photographer. Wilder progressed from molestation to rape and then to murder with his victims. It is believed that prior to his murder series he would release the models after molesting them. However, doing this would allow them to talk to the police and Wilder was determined to stay out of prison.
Wilder was known to have tortured all of his victims. The victims that have been discovered showed signs of sexual assault and being bound in many different positions. One of his victims was kidnapped after she declined his offer to photograph her. She was bound, beaten and placed in his trunk until arriving at a hotel. At this hotel Wilder glued her eyelids shut and put copper wire around her ankles to electrocute her. He would shock her whenever she would misbehave or not do what he wanted. She was held captive for approximately 3 days before locking herself in the bathroom and screaming for help, causing Wilder to flee. Detectives believe that this was not the only woman he would torture with electricity. Some believe that Wilder would shock his victims because of the electroshock treatments he received in his youth when he first began having his twisted fantasies. He made the attempt to make the victims suffer like he had.
Although not all of his victims have been discovered, the majority of the found victims had been stabbed to death. After being raped and tortured, Wilder would then stab the victims and dispose of their bodies. Some of the victims were also shot to death. It is not known why he would differ between methods of murder depending on the victim.
Most of the victims were hidden after they were murdered. It is not known how many victims Wilder accumulated because he was able to hide the bodies very well. Unlike some serial killers, Wilder made no attempt to contact the police or get in contact with the media. Instead, Wilder would panic when the media would mention his name. This resulted in Wilder often changing states once the police came close to catching him.
His last few victims were thought to be chosen while Wilder was in a panic about the thought of being caught by the police. Wilder decided to keep one of his victims, Tina Marie Risico, and forced her to help him acquire more victims. Wilder raped Tina numerous times and believed that she would listen to his instructions. With her help Wilder was able to pick up an additional two victims before his arrest and death. Tina would introduce herself to women in order to make them feel comfortable enough for Wilder to kidnap. As Tina drove to the next destination Wilder would rape and molest his new victims in the backseat. Approximately a week later Wilder bought Tina a one way ticket to Los Angeles. It is not known why he chose to help Tina get home and allowed her to live after the kidnapping.
On April 13, 1984 Wilder’s car was recognized by police in Colebrook, New Hampshire. It was Wilder’s goal to escape the possibility of being arrested by fleeing to Canada. When police tried to approach Wilder he went to his car and armed himself with a .357 Magnum. One of the officers, Leo Jellison, made an attempt to subdue Wilder, but in the scuffle Wilder shot himself in the chest. The bullet passed through his body and into Leo, seriously injuring Leo and killing Wilder.
After searching through Wilder’s possessions, it was found that he had another gun, ammunition, duct tape, rope, stolen credit cards, a sleeping bag and an electrical cord designed to torture his victims. Officers also found a book named “The Collector”, written by John Fowles. This book was about an entomologist who kidnaps and imprisons an art student. She belongs to the entomologist and he saw nothing wrong with his actions, as he gave her everything she needed. It was noted by Wilder’s psychiatrist that Wilder was obsessed with this novel. It is believed that this novel spoke to Wilder, as it was his attitude towards many of the women that he kidnapped, raped and murdered. This book became a fantasy for Wilder, causing him make it come to fruition.
It is not known just how many women Wilder murdered throughout his life. He has officially been linked to the murders of 8 women, but is thought to be involved in other murders in the United States and in Australia.