How an abused child became a serial killer

The case of John Eric Armstrong

Dani Hendrix
4 min readJul 7, 2021


There is a gross number of abused children in America. Many kids who face hardships like abuse growing up go on to live perfectly healthy and normal lives. But what happens when they don’t? It’s no secret that the majority of serial killers have a dark, depressing childhood and John Armstrong was no different.

John Eric Armstrong. Image from Facebook.

His early life

John Armstrong was born on November 23rd, 1973. He was raised in North Carolina with a younger brother and his two parents. His little brother died when he was only 2-months-old from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and Armstrong took the death particularly poorly.

Armstrong was only five when his brother died. He was already having a very hard time with his parents and had been looking forward to having a sibling. His dad was abusing him verbally and psychically and there are reports that his father sexually abused him when he was five.

Because of everything Armstrong had already endured by the age of five, he attempted suicide. He rode his bike into a very busy street but survived the attempt. His father left the family shortly after.

At the age of fifteen, Armstrong was struggling in school. A female classmate tried to force Armstrong to have sex with her and he locked himself in a bathroom. After this incident, Armstrong spent one month in a mental health facility. One year later, in 1989, Armstrong finally received professional help for the death of his brother.


Allegedly, Armstrong killed his first victim at the age of 17 in 1991. This is according to Armstrong himself, but police still do not consider him a suspect in that murder. He would still have been in high school at that time.

In 1992, his high school girlfriend broke up with him for a guy that gave her lots of gifts. Armstrong did not handle the breakup well and felt like he had lost his girlfriend to someone he considered an enemy. Armstrong later said that he targeted prostitutes because he associated them with gift-giving and it reminded him of his high school girlfriend.

He graduated high school later that year and joined the Navy in Raleigh, North Carolina. He…



Dani Hendrix

I love writing true crime and fascinating stories about humans. You can find me on Instragram at @restless_dani if you would like to connect.