Number of victims: 11
Date of murders: 1920 - 1954
Method of murder: Poisoning
An outwardly friendly and caring woman, Nanny Doss’ jovial facade disguised a deadly killer, one who made a habit of poisoning her husbands, children, and other family members. The first two victims to fall prey to this deadly poisoner were two of her children from her first marriage, to a man named Charles Braggs. The children died of mysterious ailments, netting Doss a small sum in insurance money but losing her her husband, who departed soon after, along with their oldest child.
Doss was left with the baby, Florine, but after marrying a man named Frank Harrelson, she abandoned the child and hit the road. Florine was picked up by her father and would not see her mother again until 1945. By then, she was married and had a baby of her own, one she made the mistake of entrusting to his grandmother. Baby Lee survived three days in Nannie's care, before he died in agony. She said that he’d accidentally eaten some rat poison. Just three months later, Frank Harrelson died, again from some mystery ailment.
But Nannie Doss was only just getting started. During the early 1950s she murdered her third husband, Arlie Lanning; her mother; two of her sisters; and her fourth husband, Richard Morton.
Husband number five, Samuel Doss, died in July 1954, a month after marrying Nannie. This death, however, roused suspicion and an autopsy revealed enough arsenic to kill twenty men. Confronted with the evidence of her guilt, Doss confessed to ten murders, spanning three decades. Her jovial demeanor at her trial earned her the nickname “The Giggling Granny” but didn’t save her from a life sentence. She died in prison of leukemia in 1965.