Kansas land up for auction was site of 1870s serial slayings

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WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas cropland that turned into a crime scene of serial slayings in the 1870s is up for auction.

The 162-acre tract where the Bender family killed at least 11 people will be sold off to the highest bidder by an Indiana-based auction company next month, The Wichita Eagle reported.

Accounts say the family of four who came to be known as the "Bloody Benders" would lure travelers into their home inviting them for a hot meal and a place to rest.

Once seated at the dinner table, instead of hospitality, these travelers would get their throats slit or heads bashed in — their bodies tossed into the cellar until they were able to be hauled out and buried at night.

An 1873 excavation found 11 bodies in the garden, although some suspect the Benders killed up to 21 people.

When people became suspicious over the missing travelers, the Benders fled. They were never captured.

Auction manager Brent Wellings says buying the property would be a “neat opportunity for somebody who's interested in that type of history.”

“Properties like this are not offered to the public very often,” he said. “It might be an opportunity that only comes up once every 100 years.”

The auction is scheduled for Feb. 11 and is open to the public.

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