'Bishop' Kidnapped Several Women, Hoping to Impregnate Them and Create 'Perfect Race'

One of Gary Heidnik's survivors tells her story on a new episode of 'People Magazine Investigates: Surviving A Serial Killer'

<p>AP Photo</p> Gary Heidnik

AP Photo

Gary Heidnik

Gary Heidnik had a sinister plan. He was living alone in Philadelphia, having lost custody of his three children after serving time in prison. Not wanting the outside world to interfere with the upbringing of any future kids, he set out to kidnap several women, hold them captive and then impregnate them.

Heidnik's crimes are featured in the upcoming episode of People Magazine Investigates: Surviving A Serial Killer. He was ultimately convicted of murdering two of the six total women he held prisoner and tortured for several months.

Though Heidnik was living in an unimpressive home in the northern part of the city in 1986, he was actually quite well off.

More than 20 years before, he had been honorably discharged from the Army, having shown signs of mental illness. Because of that discharge, he received checks from the government. And utilizing a genius-level IQ, Heidnik was able to turn those checks into millions of dollars by investing in the stock market.

<p>Bettmann/Getty</p> Gary Heidnik


Gary Heidnik

Though he didn’t spend his money on a lavish home in a more upscale neighborhood in Philadelphia, he owned a Cadillac and a Rolls Royce.

Heidnik further protected his wealth when he started his own church, the United Church of the Ministers of God, and ordained himself as a bishop. He then used the church, which he ran out of his home, for tax write-offs.

The first woman Heidnik kidnapped was Josefina Rivera, who at the time was a sex worker desperate for money. She was chained up in Heidnik's basement, and she would later be joined there by Sandra Lindsey, Lisa Thomas, Deborah Dudley, Jacqueline Askins and Agnes Adams. Heidnik was White, and all of the victims were either Black or Hispanic.

In an exclusive clip from the episode “Surviving the Bishop’s Basement,” shown below, Heidnik’s eventual defense attorney, Chuck Peruto, reveals what his client intended to do with the women he planned to kidnap and rape.

“His goal was to get them pregnant in his basement to raise a perfect race,” Peruto says. “They were going to be half-Black, half-White. They weren’t going to have outside influence from the world.”

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Lindsey and Dudley both eventually died as a result of the torture inflicted by Heidnik in the basement. Rivera, who spent four months in captivity, was eventually able to escape, leading the rescues of the three remaining women and the arrest of Heidnik.

If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, please contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or go to rainn.org.

People Magazine Investigates: Surviving a Serial Killer airs Sunday, May 26 at 9/8c on ID and streaming on Max.

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