Where are The Lonely Hearts Killers now? | Raymond Fernandez and Martha Beck

The Lonely Hearts Killers

What did Raymond Fernandez and Martha Beck do? 

Raymond Fernandez and Martha Beck were an American serial killer couple who were convicted of one murder, but were believed to have committed two more, and were under suspicion for the murders of up to 20 victims in total during 1947 and 1949. 

They were known to meet their unsuspecting victims through personal ads posted in newspaper Lonely Hearts columns, which led to them being dubbed “The Lonely Hearts Killers.”

How were the murders carried out? 

Beck would pose as Fernandez’s sister to lull their victims into a false sense of security in having another woman in the vicinity during the meetings. 

In 1949, the pair committed the three murders for which they ended up being convicted. Janet Fay became engaged to Fernandez and went to stay at his apartment, and when Beck caught her in bed with him, she brutally hit Fay over the head with a hammer in a murderous rage. Fernandez then strangled Fay to death.

Delphine Downing was a widow with a two-year-old daughter, and Fernandez gave her sleeping pills to calm her after she became agitated while staying with them. The daughter witnessed Downing’s unrest and began crying, which angered Beck, and she strangled the child, but didn’t kill her. Fernandez then shot Downing while she lay unconscious after taking the sleeping pills. The couple stayed in Downing’s house, and Beck became enraged by the daughter’s crying and drowned her in a basin of water. The couple buried the bodies in the basement, but neighbours reported the Downings’ disappearances, which led the police to arrest Fernandez and Beck on the 1st March 1, 1949. 

Where are The Lonely Hearts Killers now? 

Fernandez confessed to the three murders but the couple denied committing the 17 murders that were later attributed to them. Fernandez tried to retract his confession later, claiming he made it to protect Beck. They were sent to New York, which still handed out the death penalty, and they were only tried for Fay’s murder and both sentenced to death. They were executed at Sing Sing prison on the 8th March, 1951.

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