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Kendall Francois: The Sickening Story Of "The Poughkeepsie Killer" Who Brutally Murdered 8 Women

Kendal Francois brutally killed eight women during the late 1990s and kept their corpses hidden in the attic of his family home that he shared with his parents and sister.


Kendall Francois was convicted of the murder of 8 sex workers from Poughkeepsie
Kendall Francois was convicted of the murder of 8 sex workers from Poughkeepsie

In 1997, the small town of Poughkeepsie, New York, was made up of approximately 40,000 local residents, some of which had begun to go missing. But no one apart from those who knew the victims and the local police force knew it yet, it would be a whole year later before the authorities captured the perpetrator, a man by the name of Kendall Francois.


Kendall Francois was a beast of a man, a 6"4' Army veteran who weighed 250 pounds. Francois went relatively unnoticed in the town and worked as a student monitor for Arlington Middle School, he was only really known for his terrible odor, resulting in the students nicknaming him "Stinky", and the parents complaining.



It was following his arrest on September 2, 1998, that it became apparent that his horrendous stench wasn't down to just his personal hygiene - but also down to the number of corpses in which he lived with.


Dubbed by the press as "The Poughkeepsie Killer", Kendall "Stinky" Francois's horrific crimes sent the small, quiet town into a state of shock.


How Kendall Francois Became 'The Poughkeepsie Killer'


Kendall Francois was born on July 26, 1971, in Poughkeepsie, he was a promising football player for Arlington High School. When he graduated in 1989 he stop pursuing football and enlisted in the US Army. In 1990, he graduated from Basic Training at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and returned home to enroll at Duchess County Community College in 1993.


Francois was declared a liberal art major and continued with coursework until 1998. By that point, he had already been hired as the hall and detention monitor at Arlington Middle School. During his time there between 1996 and 1997, several teachers complained about his inappropriate sexual jokes whilst touching the hair of female students.


Unbeknownst to anyone, Kendall Francois had already begun his murder spree by this time, killing women from the local area and hiding their bodies in his house.


Kendall Francois mugshots
Kendall Francois mugshots

Police later recalled "the smell of feces, soiled underwear with human waste lining the fabric". One of the most disturbing facts, Kendall Francois lived at home with his parents and his sister, either they had ignored the horrendous stench of death coming from the attic or they were too scared of him to even ask.


The Victims Of Kendall 'Stinky' Francois


It is believed that Kendall Francois's killing spree started with 30-year-old Wendy Meyers. He solicited her for sex at the local Valley Rest Motel on October 24, 1996, Francois crushed her throat by grabbing it with such force, he then left her to rot in his dilapidated attic at home.


He killed his next victim on November 29, of the same year. He picked up a local sex worker, 29-year-old Gina Barone, Francois then parked his red 1994 Subaru on a side street on Route 9 and choked her so hard that the bone in her neck broke. He dumped her body in his attic next to that of Wendy Meyers.


The next body to be put in the attic alongside the other two victims just several days later was a pregnant woman by the name of Cathy Marsh.

In January 1997, Kathleen Hurley was reported missing, followed by Mary Healy Giaccone in November. Then in June 1998, mother of three, Sandra Jean French vanished.


Local police were left baffled by the recent surge in disappearances and called on the FBI for assistance, however, they said that a serial killer profile wasn't feasible without a crime scene.


It was the end of the summer of 1998 when the net started to close in on Kendall Francois. He committed another two murders in August, that of 34-year-old Audrey Pugliese and 25-year-old Catina Newmaster.

Kendall Francois Victims
The victims of Kendall 'Stinky' Francois

These killings led police to a clue, Newmaster had worked the same downtown streets as a sex worker as Mary Healy Giaccone did, this prompted the authorities to patrol the area more frequently.


On September 1, 1998, two Poughkeepsie police officers, Skip Mannain and Bob McCready, handed out flyers relating to the disappearance of Catina Newmaster from an unmarked car.


Whilst getting gas, a woman called Deborah Lownsdale rushed over to the officer's car and told them that a woman had just been assaulted close by.


The police located the woman in question and brought her to the station for questioning, at which point she filed an official complaint against Kendall Francois - who was known as a regular customer on her street.


Authorities didn't have to push Kendall Francois very much before he confessed to the murder of Newmaster. The police still had no idea of the dark secret that Francois was keeping.


On September 2, 1998, police executed a search warrant on the home of Kendall Francois. Not long after midnight officers found the victim's bodies in the attic, "it was like a graveyard".


A week later, Kendall Francois pleaded not guilty to the charges against him.


Kendall Francois was charged with eight counts of first-degree murder, second-degree murder, and attempted assault on October 13, 1998. The district attorney requested the death penalty, however, New York State law mandated only a jury could impose it under the circumstance.



February of the following year, Kendall Francois found that he had contracted HIV from one of his victims. In August 2000, he was sentenced to life in prison.


His horrific crimes were featured, yet heavily dramatized for the 2007 film The Poughkeepsie Tapes.


Kendall Frances died of cancer whilst incarcerated at Attica Correctional Facility on September 11, 2014.


Now you have learned about the sickening crimes of Kendall Francois, read about Robert Berdella and his heinous sexual crimes.