If you lived in South Louisiana during the 1910s then you may have been locking your door carefully and double-checking every point of entry – it was a terrifying time of a crazy ax murderer on the loose. And it was a brutal murderer indeed, known as Clementine Barnabet she was infamous for completely crushing the skulls of her victims with her ax. In the small town of Crowley, Louisiana near the Texan border is where the terror started.
February 1911, Barnabet broke into the Byers family home and murdered them all by brutally smashing them to death with her ax – not even their young son was spared. The whole family was murdered and the scene was covered in blood. Later that same month, nearby in the city of Lafayette, the Andrus family met the same terrible fate. Barnabet even left the bodies arranged in the parent’s bed like some sort of strange delusional blood-drenched ritual. This was the first sign to the police that they were not dealing with robberies gone wrong, this was a serial killer who was acting out some sort of ritualistic plight of murder.
The selection of the victims appeared to be random, yet they were all African American, which caused a huge public outcry. Police worked around the clock with their best detectives to try and narrow down the suspects, they bulked up their patrols and had a massive manhunt. Their investigation led them straight to Raymond Barnabet, who was a known criminal and had a history of being violent. He was arrested for the murders and his daughter, Clementine, even testified which led to him being convicted.
Of course, it was the daughter who was the actual murderer. As Raymond sat in prison, another family in Lafayette, the Randalls, was brutally bludgeoned to death by an ax. This time it was even more horrific as four young children had been killed. The community went into hysteria with everyone living in constant fear, and the murders just kept happening. However, the police were still convinced the murderer was Raymond – this just meant he was not acting alone. So they went back to his house and found the bloody evidence of Clementine – still, no one could believe such a small young woman capable of these horrors.
In the end, the evidence was overwhelming, the public let out a sigh of relief with both of the Barnabets in prison when suddenly another family was killed by the ax. Police discovered they were all part of a cult, The Church of Sacrifice. They believed that killing sinners would lead them to immortal life. She was sentenced to a life in prison and doctors operated on her brain, advising that would return her to normal. After 10 years of good behavior she was released, never to be heard of again.