There have been female serial killers in other countries like the United States, UK, Australia.  But, the first one in India’s history wasn’t until 2008.  However, since Cyanide Mallika has been found, another female serial killer has also been arrested for murdering six members of her family.  It makes you wonder if KD Kempamma has made it easier to find other female killers in India because now people have to come realize that women can also be murderers without a conscious.  

KD Kempamma Before Murders 

Not much is known about Kempamma before the murders.  There is nothing on who she was before she started killing other than she married a tailor.  He didn’t make a substantial amount of money so she also worked.  The two had three children.  

It seems that KD was deeply ambitious and was part of a chit fund.  On Quora, an Indian Personal Finance Coach said that a chit fund is “part of the Indian financial system for more than 100 years. Back then, the banks were not available in villages. Hence people would collect some money every month which would be given to the person who urgently needs money for requirements like building a house, children marriage, medical emergency, etc.”  The chit fund eventually would fail and her husband would leave her.  She would find work as a maid and assistant to a goldsmith.  It could be that being so close to someone who made gold articles made her greedy enough to start killing.

First Murder   

The first time KD Kempamma killed was in 1999.  She watched Mamatha Rajan while she prayed at a temple.  KD approached Mamatha and the two women started talking.  After a while, Kempamma offered to help Mamatha by performing a ‘puja,” which is a holy ritual.  This fake puja consisted of making Mamatha dress lavishly and wear her most expensive jewelry.  They then made plans to meet in an isolated area near the temple and perform the holy ritual.  After the ritual was complete, she gave Mamatha a glass of water laced with cyanide.  The woman would die of cyanide, and KD would proceed to take her valuables to sell.  

The year after murdering Mamatha, KD Kempamma was arrested for trying to do her form of puja on a victim at a house.  The woman was able to escape and was saved by her family.   She was arrested for trying to steal from the house and went to prison for six months.

The reports say the victim screamed and her family came running.  It doesn’t seem to make sense of why she was only arrested for theft.  Maybe because she was a woman but I do wonder if lives could have been saved if they would have taken this criminal act more seriously. 

Murder Spree    

Maybe getting arrested spooked KD enough to stop killing for a while or there are more victims out there that no one has connected to her yet.  What we do know is that in 2007, KD Kempamma murdered five women in a span of three months.  She used the same approach that she did with her first victim.  She went by temples looking for women who seem to be in need and started a conversation with them.  Eventually, KD would talk them into doing a holy ritual, and schedule a time for them to meet again.  The women had to be dressed in their most expensive clothes and jewelry.  After the puja was performed in the secluded place, it would end with the victim drinking a cyanide-laced cup of water or food.  How did she get the cyanide? From the jewelry stores because cyanide is used to clean gold jewelry. 


After nine years of murdering vulnerable women, KD Kempamma was arrested in 2008.  She was at a bus stop when the police moved in.  When they searched for her, she had cash and jewelry she intended to sell from some of her victims. The police found her because someone contacted them with a tip about a woman named “Jayamma” who seemed suspicious.  When questioned, KD confessed to all her crimes.   It has now been found that it wasn’t just five women she murdered but seven.

KD Kempamma was given two death sentences for the murders of 60-year old Muniyamma and 30-year-old Nagaveni.  In other trials for the other victims, she was convicted.  The second death sentence was changed to life in prison because it was argued that it was only circumstantial evidence. I’m not sure life in prison matters if she still has a death sentence. 

Closing Remarks

Greed can turn many into a green-eyed monster.  This is what happened to KD Kempamma.  She was not happy with her current situation so she decided to greedily murder women who went to the temples to pray for things like trying to find her missing granddaughter, curing asthma, and having a son.  This poisoner will have time in prison to think about the pain she has caused the victims’ families because she will never be free. 

KD Kempamma is known as Cyanide Malika

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