When someone brings up serial killers in Washington most people think of Ted Bundy or the Green River Killer, Gary Leon Ridgeway, not Jake Bird.

Jake Bird’s story is wildly gruesome and eerie because not only is he responsible for hacking a mother and daughter to death with an axe in Tacoma, Washington in 1947 during a burglary gone bad, but he is also suspected of killing over 46 other people throughout the United States making him one the worst serial killers ever.

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As he was attempting to burglarize the Tacoma residence, the homeowner, Bertha Kludt tried to stop him. Jake Bird attacked and killed her horrifically with an axe. Bertha’s daughter, Beverly, who was upstairs and heard her mother screaming, ran downstairs to help and confronted the killer, only to suffer the same fate as her mother - being hacked to death with the axe.

Washington State Archives
Photo: Washington State Archives


The screams were so loud that those nearby summoned the police and when they arrived on the scene they were able to catch Jake Bird running from the area. He would later confess to the killings and was eventually linked to 46 other murders.

After his sentence was read, the court gave Jake Bird an opportunity to speak and this is when he placed a hex on everyone involved with his conviction including the judge, a court clerk, two police officers, a prison guard, and his lawyers. Mr. Bird allegedly exclaimed, “I’m putting the Jake Bird hex on you…you will all die before I do”. Eerily, most of them died before he did, in fact, the judge in the case died of a heart attack two months later, and one of his lawyers died on the first anniversary of his conviction. Coincidence? Probably, but still creepy as hell.

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Every state is known for something. Florida has swamps and beautiful weather, Iowa has wrestling and corn, New York has Manhattan and Brooklyn-style pizza, Maryland has crabcakes. Washington has apples, wine, IPAs, and serial killers. This article is not meant to glorify these evil people in any way, just shed some light on a bizarre Washington truth. From Bundy to the Green River Killer, these are twelve of the deadliest killers in Washington state history.

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Several murders have yet to be solved in Washington. These unsolved murders haunt the families and friends of the victims. Even with various law enforcement agencies across the state working tirelessly to bring these folks some closure, there is still help needed on the part of the everyday resident. Crime Stoppers of Tacoma/Pierce County urges anyone with a tip to call 1-800-222-TIPS. Tips that lead to the arrest of a suspect could be rewarded with up to $1,000.


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