Who Is Monte Ralph Rissell? 8 Haunting Details About The 'Mindhunter' Serial Killer Who Raped And Murdered Five Women

You've haven't heard of him, but he's one of the worst.

Who Is Monte Ralph Rissell?

All of the serial killers profiled on the Netflix original series Mind Hunter are terrifying. Some of them, like Jerry Brudos or Ed Kemper, are familiar names that have haunted the brains of the true crime aficionados for years. 

However. some of the serial killers who are portrayed on the show about the invention of the FBI's serial killer profiling program you've probably never even heard of — but it's not because their crimes weren't truly horrific in their own right. 


To me, Monte Ralph Rissell is the most horrific killer of the bunch. On the show you learn that being spurned by an ex-girlfriend prompted Rissell to go on his serial murder spree. However, what you don't learn is that from a very young age Monte was committing crimes and was put in institutions. 


Monte would be arrested before his 20th birthday and found guilty of raping and murdering 5 women. The haunting facts of his life paint a picture of a man who could have had a very different life had nature and nurture not been stacked up against him.

RELATED: 11 Chilling Facts About Dennis Rader — The Real 'BTK' Serial Killer From The Netflix Series 'Mindhunter'

Here are 8 critical things you need to know about Monte Ralph Rissell. 

1. His parents divorced when he was young. 

Born in Virginia in 1959, Monte Ralph Rissell was the youngest of three children born to parents whose unhappiness made for an incredibly tense household. 

Monte's parents would split when he was seven years old. Monte's mother had custody of the children and she took Monte and the others to make a life for themselves in California. 


She would marry again not long thereafter. Her second husband was a gun afficionado with a violent temper. He once gifted Monte with a BB gun and when Monte accidentally shot a cousin, his stepfather took the gun and beat him with it until it broke. 

2. He had a very high IQ.

Monte, when interviewed by the FBI, said his entire life would have been different if he been able to live with his father and his mother.

He told the interviewers if he had lived with his father he would have become a lawyer. 

While there's no way of saying how much of Monte's crimes were caused by nature or nurture, he was bright enough and had an IQ of 120, which was more than enough to have made college and law school possible for him in another life. 


3. His mother's second divorce sent him on a spiral. 

When Monte was 12, his mother divorced his stepfather and moved the family back to Virginia. 

The way Monte told it, this should have been a positive change but whatever damage was caused to him by his stepfather was too deeply-rooted to be undone. 

Back in Virginia he was arrested while still in highschool on charges including theft and much more. 

4. He committed his first rape at 14.

Among the other crimes Monte committed in high school, he also committed his first rape at the age of just 14. 

He was released from jail and allowed to attend school, but he was on strict probation and was working with a counselor. 


Like serial killer Ed Kemper, Monte was adept at committing these crimes directly under the noses of the authorities who surrounded him.

RELATED: 9 Chilling Facts About Jerry Brudos — The Real Serial Killer From The Netflix Series 'Mindhunter'

 5. He was institutionalized — but that didn't stop him.

After violating parole for his rape conviction, Monte was institutionalized but he broke out of the facility frequently.

During these breakouts, he would commit other thefts and at least one of the murders which initially would give him an iron-clad alibi. After all, how could he murder when he was in a mental hospital at the time? 

He credited his time inside the institute for giving him the insights he needed in order to manipulate authorities. 


6. His jealousy over an ex drove him to commit a serious crime. 

When Monte was out of the institution and back in high school he received a letter from his girlfriend.

She was a year older than he was and had already started college. She essentially wrote him a "Dear John"  letter. 

Enraged by her rejection Monte directed his anger elsewhere. Instead of getting even with his ex he prowled his own neighborhood abducting 26-year-old Aura Gabor, his neighbor, at knife point and raped her.

He grew angrier when she tried to "control the situation", as he put it, by faking orgasms and asking him what positions he wanted her to get into. 

What he didn't know what that his victim was a prostitute and that she was using tactics she had tried to use before to please angry and potentially dangerous johns. 


When Aura tried to flee, he chased her. According to Monte ,she fell into a small stream and he held her head down until she died. 

He had just committed his first murder at 17 years old. 

7. He mastered depersonalization in order to kill his victims. 

When he abducted his second victim she overwhelmed him with a string of questions. It was too much for Monte so he stabbed her to death without raping her first as he had planned. 

According to the Washington Post, his victims included:

Aura Merina Garbor, 26, who lived in the same apartment complex as Rissell in the 400 block of North Armistead Street in the Landmark section of western Alexandria. She was found strangled last August lying in a creek in the same area.

Ursula Miltenberger, 22, a McDonald's restaurant management trainee whose battered body was found March 6 in a wooded area near Burke in western Fairfax County.

Gladys R. Bradley, 27, a distribution clerk in the Washington Post Office who lived in the Holmes Run Park apartment complex near the apartments where Rissell and Garbor lived. She was found drowned in another creek in Alexandria April 30.

Janette McClelland, 24, a proofreader for a printing firm, who also lived in the Holmes Run apartments. She was found stabbed to death in the Landmark area on May 5.

Aletha Byrd, 35, a personnel department employee at Woodward and Lothrop, who also lived in the Holmes Run apartments.Her badly decomposed body was found Tuesday in a wooded area of western Alexandria.

8. He is serving 5 life sentences. 

Monte was caught and arrested. He was found guilty of all the murders and sentenced to serve 5 life sentences for them all. 


Perhaps most shockingly of all, he was months away from turning 20 when the prison doors closed behind forever. 

Because of a program in Virginia that gives inmates the chance to earn time through good behavior, he has been eligible for parole since 1992. 

Every year the families of his victims take part in a rigorous campaign to keep him behind bars. 

RELATED: 11 Facts About Ed Kemper — The Real Serial Killer From The Netflix Series 'Mindhunter'

Rebecca Jane Stokes is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York with her cat, Batman. She hosts the love and dating advice show, Becca After Dark on YourTango's Facebook Page every Tuesday and Thursday at 10:15 pm Eastern. For more of her work, check out her Tumblr.