Kansas (CNN)(02/07/20)— Approximately 152 acres of land that once belonged to the “Bloody Benders” is for sale as a part of 15 tracts of land that were put up for auction by the Schrader Real Estate and Auction Co.
The group is believed to be one of the first serial killer families in America. The “Bloody Benders” were a German family of four that settled a claim in southeastern Kansas in Labette County in 1871, according to the Kansas Historical Society (KHS).
John Bender Sr., his wife Kate, and their two children, also named John and Kate, operated an inn and sold supplies to travelers, or so people thought.
Locals began scouring the area after reports of people who had gone missing in their community began to surface.
According to the KHS, one local noticed that the Bender family’s inn appeared abandoned and the townspeople feared that the Bender family had become the latest victims.
However, once the property was searched, the townspeople discovered a far grislier truth: The family had gruesomely murdered at least 11 people and buried their bodies throughout the land.
The search revealed a single-room timber cabin that had been divided into two by a curtain. There was a trap door that led to a stone cellar below. Its floor was covered in pools of blood, according to the KHS.
It was suspected that the Benders sat travelers near the curtain and used some sort of hammer to hit them in the back of the head, before dropping their victim through the trap door and into the cellar below.
It was in the nearby orchard field that the victims were found buried. One of the searchers identified the body of his brother, with the back of his skull smashed in and his throat slit.
“To my knowledge, there have been no efforts to excavate the property during the time my clients have owned the farm,” Brent Wellings, auction manager for Schrader Real Estate and Auction Co., told CNN. “Prior to their ownership, which took place in the 1950s, there could have been an excavation that I’m not aware of.”
The timber cabin where the murders were committed no longer exists, and there are no structures or buildings that remain on the property. It is unknown if the Bender family committed any other murders there.
After the gruesome murders, it’s believed that the Benders had fled the area and were never found, according to the KHS.
A historical marker erected near the site says, “Although stories abound, the ultimate fate of the murderous Bender family is uncertain. Some say that they escaped, others that they were executed by a vengeful posse.”
Their story is unresolved and remains one of the great unsolved mysteries of the old West.
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