The Macabre and Frightening Serial Killer from Poughkeepsie, NY - Kendall Francois
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The Macabre and Frightening Serial Killer from Poughkeepsie, NY - Kendall Francois

The macabre and frightening acts of a serial killer in Poughkeepsie, New York - Kendall Francois

In a small city just over an hour north of Manhattan, New York City, lurked a macabre and frightening serial killer between 1996 and 1998, Kendall Francois. Residents and police investigators from Poughkeepsie, NY in Dutchess County were being terrorized and mystified between 1996 and 1998 by the disappearances of eight women, Wendy Meyers, Gina Barone, Kathleen Hurley, Catherine Marsh, Mary Healy Giaccone, Michelle Eason, Sandra Jean French and Catina Newmaster, all thought to be prostitutes. Nevertheless, still human beings who had unknowingly become victims of a violent and terrifying demise by the hands of Kendall Francois within his house of horrors.

The pathology of serial killers can be categorized by investigative profilers as either Organized/nonsocial offender's, who usually have high IQ's similar to that of Ted Bundy and the Disorganized/asocial offender's defined by the serial murders of Kendall Francois. One universal element that should be noted when trying to look into the mind of a serial killer is their need for domination, usually in the form of a sexual manner. Here is how this true crime of a serial killer unfolded.

On a cold and dark December evening in 1996, Gina Barone walked the lonely and drug infested streets of downtown Poughkeepsie to unfortunately cross paths with her killer, Kendall Francois. As a few nights turned to days, Gina's Mother, Patricia Barone, reported her missing, as she had disappeared into the frightening night. Two months previous in October of 1996, Wendy Meyers had been reported missing, too. Then in January of 1997 a pattern had emerged with another disappearance of Kathleen Hurley, last seen on the mean streets of downtown Poughkeepsie. The FBI were then contacted.

As investigators followed leads and realized the possibility of a serial killer emerging, their focus seemed to lead to 99 Fulton Avenue, Poughkeepsie, NY, the home of serial killer Kendall Francois and family just a few blocks away from Vassar College. Investigators biggest stumbling block was no apparent crime scene and due to lack of tangible physical evidence, a search warrant couldn't be issued yet. The disappearences continued as did the investigation..

In September of 1998 a prostitute reported a strangulation and was able to flee the scene of that crime located at 99 Fulton Avenue. This sparked investigators to apprehend and question Kendall Francois about that report and after a few hours of questioning, Kendall Francois confessed to the abductions and eventual murders of all eight victims. What he told investigators was truly disturbing and shocking. A warrant was obtained to search the residence and the mystery to these lost woman unraveled into the revelation of the macabre and insane acts of a serial killer, Kendall Francois.

When investigators obtained the warrant to enter the home and proceeded, they were greeted by the confused mother of Kendall Francois. When she opened the door, police were just about knocked over by the stench of death emanating from the home. As they entered, it was immediately apparent that these women were most definitely within the home and after a brief search, the house was taped off and deemed a crime scene. Most of the women found inside the home were located up in their attic covered with blankets and also showed evidence of the killer moving them around, as to make room for more victims. There was also evidence of necrophilia after forensic testing had been done a short time after. The cause of death determined by forensic evidence and the coroner's report was strangulation and blunt force trauma.

The most puzzling aspect to investigators was the obvious stench of death within the home and questions were raised as to how the rest of family members were unable to recognize something just wasn't right. Investigators did mention to local press that the home was very unkempt and quite filthy with garbage, household items strewn about and very unsanitary. Maybe their lifestyle prevented them from realizing what was really happening. Although it still seems very strange and disturbing. Through the course of their investigation, it was also revealed that Francois had contracted the deadly HIV disease and a theory had emerged. It's quite possible that these abductions and murders were an act of vengeance toward the prostitutes that he most often had encounters with. In any event, these victims died a horrible death and family members of the victims were extremely grief stricken beyond what any parent should have to face.

This monster had preyed upon the weak and impoverished people of the seedy underbelly within society. Another disturbing fact had emerged as well. Kendall Francois was employed at the Arlington High School, just a few miles from the city. He was a hall monitor that was well known for inappropriate conduct among students and eventually let go from employment at the school. One can only imagine what potential that implies. Kendall Francois was convicted of his heinous crimes and In August of 2000, Kendall Francois was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole at Attica correctional facility for the rest of his natural life.

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Comments (16)

Its probably easy to live in the house and not notice the smell. I work in a store that sells cinnamom scented brooms and customers notice the smell right away, and I cannot even smell it.. cat litter is the same way, owners of cats dont even notice the smell after a while... but guests do.

I wish this was the case regarding this family, but other facts I didn't mention were of neighbor complaints of foul odors emanating from the home and the fact he was making yard digs in his yard at night. Real spooky maniac this serial killer was/is. It was a real nightmare for Poughkeepsie residents and as I wrote, it was just about a stones throw away from the prestigious Vassar College. Thanks for the comment Brenda and keep writing. I enjoy your work.

Gruesome stuff. Eight women is bad enough but glad they found the guy before he killed more.

Wow, I'm a great lover of history of serial killers and I've never heard of this man. It seems to me that his family may have in fact been involved in some way. How could they not. All those smells coming from the home and no one knew anything was amidst. He does remind me of Gary Ridgeway, killing prostitutes and returning to their bodies. He was no where near the intelligence of Ridgeway though.

Actually Lauren, they did investigate the family and they were hardly home because both mother and father were very hard working people that were employed at IBM. They had no idea apparently. His excuse to them was that there were dead raccoons and rodents in the attic and I guess they took his word for it. It's still very unbelievable that they were that unaware, but they were exonerated of any wrong doing, but still unbelievable and spooky. It's only about 10 blocks from where I live and I think the house is still vacant. It's a really nice neighborhood, too.

I have a friend whose family lives in Wingdale, NY on Benson's Mt. This is unbelievable. You expect this to happen in NYC not the outlying burbs.

Wow! What a small world it is. Wingdale was named after my family from the 1700's. Dutchess county is pretty big as I'm originally from Millbrook, NY. And yes, you would expect this sort of insanity from NYC but these criminals could be living right next door to anyone. They come in all shapes and sizes with no sarcasm intended. Thanks for your comments Irene and everyone else!

Very interesting and informative article. This guy sounded like some kind of horrible nightmare that you could awake from. Just to think he actaully was watching over innocent children. Excellent article and read! You have my vite and buzz!

I couldn't imagine you wrote this inspired by actually living near the place of the crime. Another interesting post, Richard.

Interesting article, rather disturbing that such things do happen.

Richard, this was a brilliant discussion of a very dark subject. The text was very well-written and engaging, as always with your work.

A very well researched article as usual. Thank you Richard.

Another dark topic and makes me wonder. Why do we have people like these. Good write. Re tweeted and dug.

bone chilling human psychology can be so twisted

Richard Wing, the mother didn't work at IBM, she is or was a nurse at the time. She would go to work in the mornings her son Kendall would drive her to work in her car, because he had one of thev victims in his car at the time which he would later sell to someone. He would buy another car soon after my guess is to either throw off the police or to get rid of the evidence that would prove that the eight victims were in his car before he killed them. Another motive of the crime might of been racial or that fact that he believed they were ripping him off by not giving him more time to "get off". The authorities were surprise the mother  couldn't  the smell of human death in the house since she was a nurse when he hid first two bodies. Some of the Professor at Dutchess Community College still talk about him every now and then, because he attended the college there both the north and the south location I was told by one of the Professors who I can't give out thier name was in the classroom across from her class. At the time he was still taking some classes in 1996-1997 it was mentioned that another woman went missing they were talking about it in the class guess who was in the class? Kendall. I always wonder what was going on in his mind when they discovered that another woman went missing and they were talking about it in class. My mother went to the same High school in Beacon as did one the victims apparently she was a just a grade below or a head of my mother. I found an old high school photo of her in my mother's year book. I believe his house was right by or near Hudson Valley doctor's office, I always wonder if the doctors and nurses there knew something was dead in their house.

Leo...yes you are right..his mother was a psyciatric nurse! This house is three minutes walking distance from my home..I remember taking donuts to the crime scene to try and get a first hand look...they just ate the donuts. I knew three of these of them I went to high school with. One of them was turned on to crack cocaine at the age of ten by a friend of her older brother's, which sealed her fate. I saw her the day she died..probably a few hours before this guy picked her up. She was visibly pregnant..well into the second trimester..and still hooking. It was just awful. I sometimes think..if I pulled over and offered to buy her some food..would I have saved her life? But I did was too much for me to even comprehend. These were sweet loveable human beings at one time, and regardless of what they were doing they did not deserve to die. And yes..these girls get the money in their hands and the physical compulsion to get the crack becomes almost overwhelming..which makes them impatient for the guy to orgasm, which in turn makes alot of men do just the opposite..and which in this case made the man attack them. A true nightmare on earth, and I hope they are all in a happy, warm, safe place.