Victim Studies 006: Christopher Wilder

on December 6, 2011 in Serial Killers, Victim Studies, Victimology by

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.

Christopher Wilder at Wikipedia
A Killer’s Rampage by Katherine Ramsland at
Christopher Wilder at Serial Killer Central


  • Jennie Y says:

    I narrowly avoided being a Christopher Wilder victim.

    Back in 1980 or 1981, I was a reluctant participant in a modeling contest in Fort Myers, Florida. I actually won the ‘pageant’ and received a crown and sash. Several weeks later, I was in a strip mall and was approached by a bearded man with a camera. He chased me through the parking lot and begged me to model for him. I ran to my car and quickly locked the door while telling him to leave me alone. He rattled the handle of my car door, but I drove off leaving him standing alone in the parking lot.

    I got home and called the police since we didn’t have cell phones back then. They came over and took a report.

    Fast forward to 2003. I was watching a show about Wilder. I instantly recognized that bearded creep as the man who chased me in the parking lot. His was a face that I’d never forget.

    Interestingly, two young ladies, Mary Hare and Mary Opitz worked at my parents’ restaurant back in 1981. Both were murdered. Hare’s body was found, but Opitz body was never recovered.

    I feel lucky to have escaped that madman.

    • shane kurz sia says:

      Hi, Jennie,
      I met Wilder in summer of 1983-he stopped at my yard sale in Lockport, NY.(western ny).
      He tried very hard to convince me to do a “modeling portfolio”, as he did my girlfriend who was with me.
      He was actually looking for cameras he saw for sale at a yard sale near me-yet couldn’t resist then, trying to find a victim.
      There was a girl recently identified by dna, whose body was found in wny.
      Turned out she was from West Palm Beach, Florida and had disappeared in June 29th, 1983 when she told her mother she was leaving to join a friend in Boynton beach Fl, who was taking her to NY for a modeling career. (Wilder lived/had a business there!). Her name: Shari Lynne Ball, age 20, blonde.
      I believe it was Wilder who killed her, then casually drove to Lockport(home of Elizabeth Kenyon-the beauty queen Wilder dated,(was dating then), and is suspected of killing-who was never found). Wilder mentioned to me he had gone over to the Kenyon’s store, a block from me.
      Sadly, neither my friend nor i could remember the exact date of our yard sale-so can’t definitely place Wilder same time Shari Lynne Ball’s body was placed in a field near Lockport, which was end of June, police estimate. We didn’t advertise in major papers only retailers who don’t have archives!
      This monster was a serial killer as well as spree killer.As bad a Bundy and the Green River killer.!

  • gary says:

    I use to work for him at Sawtel Construction. believe it or not he was one of the best guys I ever work for. The day I quit my job he gave me a ride to I95 where I was going to hitchhike to Miami. Before I
    I got out of his truck he asked me why I was going to Miami and I told him I just like to move around a lot,he said back to me “I know what you mean, I like to move around a lot myself” and in his final days he was sure moving alot

    • shane sia says:

      Recently a body that was found in wny-in 1983,was id’d as a Shari Lynne Ball, from West Palm Beach Fl. The authorities think Wilder killed her. He was familar with wny becasue of the Kenyon family. Shari’s body was dumped in the end of June 1983-but-the challenge is to put him up in Ny in 1983. He stopped at a yard sale i was having in wny in 1983-but i told cops i cannot remember when. All i know is-it was Wilder.! He gave me his business card and told me i’d make a great model, and he did portfolios. I was not interested. The next year i realized who Wilder was-or who i’d talked to, when he was in his spree killing and went through wny to new Hampshire where he was killed on April 13th, 1984.
      Anyway-do you or anyone here remember Wilder coming up to NY in 1983-if so, when? Shari Lynne Ball told her mother she was meeting “a friend” in Boynton beach who was taking her to NY for a modeling career. Wilder’s MO!

  • Shane Kurz Sia says:

    Hi, I’ve set up a FB page about one of suspected murder victim of Christopher Wilder-Shari Lynne Ball. She was a Jane Doe for 31 years. She was from West Plam Beach, Florida. Recently was id’d by dna her mother has donated years ago.
    Wilder is the number one suspect. This is ana ctive cold case.
    Please visit my FB page on this:
    Who Killed Shari Lynne Ball. Thanks!

  • I, along with three other school teachers, worked for Wilder one summer at Sawtel Contstruction in Boca Raton, FL, during the development of Boca West Country Club. Always friendly, making sure your pay was correct, and insisting on you taking extra drinks with you on those hot days, he couldn’t have been a better boss. Then, one day a year or so later, I came home, and my wife was holding up the local newspaper with his photo on the front page: accused, wanted, and on the run! Look carefully into the eyes of your boss when you go to work tomorrow!

  • Shane Kurz Sia says:

    Interesting and good advice Rob! I was glad i paid attention to my instincts!

  • Cindy says:

    Wow, wasn’t Leonard Lake also obsessed with “The Collector”?

  • Kaylene says:

    This is pretty creepy, back in 1982 or 83 I was at my rented home washing my car on the lawn. I lived on a very busy street with heavy traffic and many people walking down the sidewalk, this man came walking onto my lawn. I didn’t see where he parked or where he came from. He told me he was a modeling photographer and that I was a great fit for his portfolio. He asked me if I would be interested in letting him take some photos of me. He was quite a bit older then me and I don’t recall if he had a beard, I just recall that he was much older then I. I told him I was not interested in doing any modeling, I thought he seemed like he was lying and I instantly mistrusted him. He tried to talk me into it for a bit and I remained adamant that I was not interested. He left without incidence (it would have been hard for him to try to kidnap me in such a busy area). Years later I saw a documentary about Wilders. I can’t be certain as I really didn’t pay him much attention as I continued washing my car while he was talking to me and I barely looked up at him but it could have been him. He didn’t have a beard though. However, I’ve seen photos of Wilder without a beard and it looks like this was possibly the man. One of the reasons that I was so leerie of the man was because this was something that Ted Bundy used on his victims. Bundy did get some of the women in my city back in the mid 70’s and I remembered hearing about the ruse’s he used. It’s a common ruse for serial killers to pose as modeling photographers, promising his victims fame.

  • Kaylene says:

    Legitimate modeling photographers won’t ask women to get in cars with them. They will generally give the woman their business card with the name of their modeling agency and have them make an appointment at a studio for a photo shoot. Be leerie of any man who poses as a photographer and wants you to get in his car with him and leave with him on the spot.

  • Shane Kurz Sia says:

    Kaylene, Hi!
    What state were you in when you met Wilder. I’m trying my best to prove he was the one who met me in WNY in summer 1983-to tie him to a murder of a Florida girl-Shari Lynne Ball-who ended up murdered and body placed in a swamp-day before i met him! Poor Shari wasn’t id’d until 30 yrs later. She had no clothes or id on he when she was found.
    I’ve done two interviews since i last posted about Shari-actually 3-one being with the State Police cold case investigator n Shari Lynne Ball’s case. Since then, i was was on a radio show featuring wny cold cases, about my meeting Wilder, and also did a newspaper interview with an investigative reporter-doing a special on cold cases..
    Wilder did the same with me in summer 1983-in wny. Showed me a card, and showed me his albums he’d done on girls who had him do their portfolios and-said to call number on card, and set up an app’t. for a photo shoot. I remember a beard, not much of one-like he was still just growing it in..
    My problem is-i threw his damn business card out when 9 mos. later he came back through wny on his killing spree in spring of 1984 after he murdered Beth Kenyon-the former beauty queen. But, unlike what Wilder told me-he did not make contact with the Kenyon family when he stopped in Lockport, NY to talk to me-as he had said he did. Police don’t have enough evidence to prove Wilder was there and murdered Shari. But, Shari’s Mom said the guy who took her daughter to be a model in NY-lived where Wilder did-yet Shari never said his name…just that this man said he woud help her become a model. Poor girl believed him and paid with her life for it.

  • mark says:

    I think it is a mistake to identify Chris Wilder as a spree killer. He was a suspect in the murder of two teen girls in Austrailia in the 60’s. I grew up in south florida in the early 70’s and and many young women seemed to have disappeared at that time including amy billig.

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