How Many Victims Did The Tehran Desert Vampire Really Have?

In March 2005, Iranian officials flogged and hanged a serial killer convicted of the rape and murder of several boys and teenagers. According to the BBC, the heinous crimes and where he committed them earned Mohammad Bijeh, 24, the harrowing nickname "the Tehran Desert Vampire," as well as the sentence of 100 lashings before finally being slowly put to death via hanging.

A crowd of around 5,000 angry citizens attended the execution, chanting for him to be hit harder and frequently clashing with security forces due to outrage at Bijeh for what he had done. After being flogged by several governmental officials, the mother of one of his victims was allowed to place the noose that would end his life over his neck. As officials were preparing the equipment for the hanging, the brother of one of Bijeh's victims was able to break through the lines of police and stab the killer in the back. The Tehran Desert Vampire was then hoisted 10 meters into the air by a crane, slowly strangling to death, since the process does not break the neck.

The Tehran Desert Vampire may have killed over 40 people

The trial of Mohammed Bijeh scandalized Iran and galvanized the public to demand revenge. As is often the case with serial killers, the official count of his victims was likely much lower than the actual one. The BBC reported that he was convicted of the murder of somewhere between 19 and 22 teenage and young boys, none of them over the age of 18, but locals believe the real number of his victims to be much higher than that.

His page on Murderpedia cites several other media sources that have a different count of victims, stating that 17 were boys between the ages of 8 and 15 years old and that three others were adults. The website also states that he had another unnerving nickname: "Hyena." Still other sources claim that he killed even more victims. Pulling from several Persian-language media outlets, Bijeh's Wikipedia page includes a terribly long and detailed list of 41 alleged victims of the Tehran Desert Vampire.

While some Iranians feel that public executions do not really deter future crimes, many witnesses to Bijeh's hanging felt they received justice for what he had done to their families.