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Answered By: Jeneen LaSee-Willemssen
Last Updated: Mar 07, 2016     Views: 93

Most serial killers, murderers and other "famous" criminals begin life as private citizens. Thus you can assume that written records of their lives up to the point they were arrested were private. This means finding information about a criminal's early life can be tricky.

Frequently, police, detectives, journalists, and newspaper writers are the first to pursue information about a criminal's childhood, education, and family life. The journalists tend to share the information they find, in real time, in newspaper articles. In addition, sometimes those articles are complied into a biography that is published as an article and/or book.

Thus, start with books to see if a biography or chapter in a book has been written about your criminal. 

1. Check e-Books and Academic e-Books and search serial killer to locate the books on that topic.

2. The Cloud Library also contains books on serial killers.  Again, enter serial killer in the textbox at the top of the and search to locate books on that topic.

If you can't find any books, see if there are magazine or journal article biographies on your criminal.

  1. Check a broad, all-purpose database for articles:
    1. Academic Search Complete via EBSCO
    2. ProQuest
  2. Check a criminology database for crime-oriented articles:
    1. Justice Studies via ProQuest

Finally, move to newspaper articles written around the time your criminal was arrested and in court.

  1. News and Newspapers via ProQuest is another great newspaper source.