Bobby Joe Long is a well-known serial killer and rapist who was responsible for the harm and murder of many women in the Tampa Bay Area. This villainous man has a long history of violence and was surprisingly only charged for some of it. His crimes, which can only be estimated, have impacted a wide variety of victims in various places. Over the years, he has terrorized many areas and made it unsafe for women to go out at night. This deranged man was eventually found out when he let one of his victims escape, but before her, there were many who were not as lucky.
An Unusual Beginning
As a young boy, Long reportedly experienced a range of violent traumas to his head. It is unclear if this would ultimately play a role in his lack of impulse control and otherwise skewed thinking, but it is likely a relevant factor. In addition to his head injuries, Long had a unique condition that resulted in his having an extra X chromosome. This condition resulted in an excess of estrogen in his body and ultimately led to some issues with his development. Reports state that he grew breasts and other feminine features that he was teased for by local children. Being at odds with many kids his own age, he developed a dependency on his mother and supposedly slept in her bed well after he hit puberty, sometimes being kicked out by her various boyfriends.
The Original Craigslist Killer
Though Bobby Joe Long was charged, convicted, and sentenced for murder, he actually has a broad history as a serial rapist. Current estimates suggest that Bobby Joe Long was known for the violent rape and imprisonment of over 50 women in California. In fact, his actions, which were largely committed without him being caught, earned him the title as the Classified Ad Rapist. By this point, women have been warned away from posting ads on sites like Craigslist, particularly when they are left alone, and Bobby Joe Long is one of the original reasons why.
His endless list of crimes was committed well before Craigslist existed, but he worked in the same way that modern predators have through the site. He would look through classified ads and frequently poked around to see what the individual had to offer. In the event that he went to a location that had a woman who was alone, he would often ask to use the restroom in order to gain access to the home. Once he was inside he would use special tools to detain, rape, and rob the unsuspecting women. Since this existed well before constant technology use, he was able to do this to many women without being caught, causing quite a scare in the area. His attacks were often incredibly violent in nature, which was likely a precursor to his inevitable penchant for murder.
The Florida Killings
At the age of 30, Bobby Joe Long moved across the country to Florida. He was divorced and starting over, leaving his kids behind. This was where his true treachery reportedly began. Over the course of ten months in total, Long was responsible for the abduction, rape, and murder of over 10 women. He reportedly began to seek out known prostitutes in areas, and then they were never heard from again. These women, who were easy to target, were often not reported as missing until much later, if at all. Long continued to seek out victims, murdering them before dumping their bodies until he abducted a 17-year-old girl. This young girl, Lisa McVey, was abducted by Long who proceeded to rape her over a period of 26+ hours. Afterward, he surprisingly released the girl.
Before Lisa McVey, there weren’t any other victims who were known to be released. To this date, no one knows what ultimately led Long to release her. It could have been her young age, making it too difficult for him to imagine killing her, though this seems unlikely. Regardless of the reason, Lisa was allowed to live and managed to lead police directly to Long.
Death by Lethal Injection
The extent of Long’s crimes were aired in court, though he was only charged for the most recent batch of abduction and murders. Since Long’s extensive history as a serial rapist was outside of the statute of limitations, police were unable to formally convict him for it. Though they did try to charge him with rape prior to the statute ending, ultimately the charges were dropped, which is what allowed Long to move to Florida and begin his killing spree. Long was ultimately sentenced to the death penalty and died of lethal injection.