Is serial killer Ed Kemper still alive?

In 2019, Oxygen dared to ask the eminently Google-able "yes or no" question, "Is the Co-Ed Killer and Mindhunter serial staple Ed Kemper still alive?" The answer was yes, and as of this writing it still is. The end. Well, it's not really the end until Kemper dies, though one might argue that a fundamental part of him died decades ago.

Childhood trauma all but destined Edmund Kemper for a severely dysfunctional life. Born in 1948 in Burbank, California, he had an alcoholic mother named Clarnell who inflicted deep psychological wounds. When Kemper was about 9-years-old, his parents divorced, forcing him to live with Clarnell and his two sisters, per Biography. At 10-years-old he was forced to live in the basement. Consumed by disturbing urges, Kemper daydreamed about murdering his mother.

Childhood innocence was lost on Kemper, who invented a game called "gas chamber" which he forced his sisters to play. The girls played the part of torturers, blindfolding the boy and placing him in a chair where he feigned an excruciating death. In a horrific bit of foreshadowing, Kemper decapitated his sisters' dolls. Whether he knew it or not at the time, he was rehearsing grotesque scenes that would play out in reality.

Ed goes over the edge

Ed Kemper took his first life at 10-years-old. As Biography describes, the child buried a family cat alive. At 13 he butchered a second family cat with a knife. The kid clearly needed help, but his parents were woefully unprepared to provide it. The teen briefly moved in with his father but was ultimately met with rejection, according to Psychology Today. Next he lived with his grandparents. Kemper detested his grandmother, whom he later accused of abuse. So at age 15 he fatally shot her "to see what it felt like." Afterward he murdered his grandfather to spare him the horror of discovering his wife's death.

Diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, Kemper spent the remainder of his childhood in a detention facility for mentally ill criminals. He was released at 21 and, against an expert's recommendation, resumed living with his abusive mother. In the three years that followed he would brutally end the lives of six female college students, his mother, and her best friend. Just as he had with his sisters' dolls, Kemper decapitated his victims.

The woman who gave him life, and — in Kemper's mind — ruined that life would be his last victim. Kemper recalled, "I said, 'It's not going to happen to anymore girls. It's gotta stay between me and my mother." He beat her to death with a claw hammer and, as he put it, "humiliated" her lifeless body. After having his way with her remains he alerted law enforcement to what he had done.

So yes, Ed Kemper is still alive, but what a sick and twisted life it has been.