Christopher Wilder: The Cross Country Killer

Lori Johnston
21 min readMay 30, 2020

Ask any true crime “fan” who Ted Bundy, Jeffrey Dahmer, The Green River Killer, John Wayne Gacy are and you’ll get an answer. Christopher Wilder, while just as heartless and cruel, is a forgotten killer in the annals of crime.

Born in 1945 to an American naval officer and Australian woman in Sydney, he barely survived his birth (he was reportedly given last rites by a priest) and then nearly drowned in a swimming pool two years later. At the age of three, a sickly child, he suffered convulsions that led to fainting spells.

Despite his shaky health, his childhood appeared to have been average until his teens. He started peeking in windows and in 1962, at the age of seventeen, he participated in the gang rape of a teenage girl on the beach in Sydney. Pleading guilty, Wilder received a year of probation to be combined with counseling and electroshock therapy. Rather than helping him, it seems the shock therapy fueled his violent fantasies. He began to foster a need to dominate women and hold them against their will.

At 23, Wilder married but his new bride left him after only week, once she discovered his dark fantasies. She had also discovered that one of Wilder’s passions — photography — led him to have photographs of naked women in his briefcase.

In 1969, now divorced, he headed for Florida, settling in Boynton Beach. The building boom led him to a large economic success, making a fortune in real estate and construction. He bought himself a nice home, boat, and cars, began racing and developing his photography. From the outset, Christopher Wilder looked every bit the successful playboy.

In 1971, he landed in hot water again. This time he was turned in to local authorities for attempts to get various women to pose nude for him. He received a fine. He kept his nose clean briefly but he simply couldn’t stay out of trouble. He forced a high school student to perform oral sex on him in a house he was renovating. She turned him in, resulting in him being taken to court. Wilder told the judge that he was masturbating at least twice a week to the image of raping a girl and did not think what he had done was wrong. Doctors that examined him believed he was not safe in an unstructured environment and needed supervised treatment. Efforts to make a deal fell through and the case went to trial. The jury, somewhat amazingly, acquitted Wilder.

Lori Johnston

Writer, reader, margarita drinker. Currently looking for a “dare to be great” situation.