Infamous domestic terrorist Ted Kaczynski was found dead Saturday morning in his federal prison cell, 27 years after his reign of terror ended.
Known across America as the “Unabomber” as authorities searched desperately for him from 1978 to 1996, he waged war on unsuspecting victims by sending explosives through the US postal system.
During a 17-year campaign, Kaczynski killed three people and injured 23 others with 16 bombs.
But his descent into madness came after he became known as a prodigious Harvard-educated mathematician with a genius-level intellect, leading many to wonder where it all went wrong for the notorious terrorist.
Ted Kaczynski was captured after an exhaustive 17-year manhunt. He is pictured being escorted by US marshals in 1996 after his arrest
Who was Theodore ‘Ted’ Kaczynski?
Born on May 22, 1942, Ted Kaczynski was the son of second-generation Polish Catholics.
His father was a sausage maker and his mother was a housewife, and he grew up in Chicago with his younger brother David.
From an early age, it quickly became apparent that Kaczynski was a mathematician of genius, and he skipped sixth and eleventh grades before going to Harvard at just 16.
However, his classmates remember the virtuoso as an outcast, with one disturbing incident seeing him show a classmate how to make a mini-bomb which exploded during chemistry class.
His Harvard classmates recalled him as a lonely, scrawny boy with poor personal hygiene and a room that smelled of spoiled milk, rotten food, and foot powder.
He continued his graduate studies at the University of Michigan, before obtaining a teaching position in mathematics at the University of California at Berkeley.
In 1971, unemployed Kaczynski bought a 4-mile patch of land in the desert outside of Lincoln, Montana, where he built a cabin with no heat, plumbing, or electricity.
While briefly working for his father and brother in Chicago in the late 1970s, he was abruptly dumped by a co-worker after two dates. When Ted began posting offensive limericks about him, his brother fired him, sending him back to the woods where he hatched his plot to terrorize society.
Ted Kaczynski (pictured) was behind a 17-year-old wave of mail bombs that left three dead and injured 23 others
Kaczynski was eventually captured living a hermit’s life in the Montana wilderness after retreating to a lonely cabin
How did he become known as “Unabomber”?
Kaczynski earned his nickname “Unabomber” from the FBI because many of his early targets were universities and airports.
The domestic terrorist used his knowledge of bomb-making and engineering to hatch an insidious plot to sow fear and chaos across America, usually by sending bombs to his unsuspecting victims through the postal system American.
Its explosives have been thoroughly tested and come in wooden boxes that are meticulously handcrafted and sanded to remove any fingerprints.
While most of his victims were badly maimed by the explosives, he killed three – computer rental store owner Hugh Scrutton, advertising executive Thomas Mosser, and wood Gilbert Murray.
Mosser was killed in his North Caldwell, New Jersey home on December 10, 1994, a day he was supposed to pick out a Christmas tree with his family. His wife, Susan, found him badly injured by a barrage of razor blades, pipes and nails.
“He was moaning very quietly,” she said during Kaczynski’s 1998 sentencing. “The fingers of his right hand were hanging down. I held his left hand. I told him help was coming. I told him that I loved him.
The terrorist sent explosives across America. Pictured: An FBI reproduction of one of Kaczynski’s bombs
In April 1996, authorities found Kaczynski in a 10-by-14-foot log cabin outside of Lincoln, Montana.
What did the Unabomber believe?
Throughout the 17-year hunt for Kaczynski, which has been the longest and coldest manhunt in US law enforcement history, the suicide bomber has shot to infamy as a that elusive and almost mystical criminal mastermind.
In 1995 he published his twisted manifesto, “Industrial Society and Its Future”, and promised to stop sending bombs if it was published.
The 35,000-word tome claimed that society was spiraling out of control due to the emergence of technology.
At the request of authorities, it was published by major news outlets, leading his brother to recognize the outlandish belief system and notify the FBI.
His capture in 1996 revealed that the terrorist lived a hermit’s existence in the Montana wilderness, where he would build explosives miles from civilization before sending them across the country.
The domestic terrorist insisted he was not crazy when he carried out the series of bombings
David Kaczynski (right), brother of Ted Kaczynski, holds the hand of his mother Wanda (left) as they arrive at the Unabomber murder trial
How was the Unabomber stopped?
Kaczynski led authorities on the longest manhunt in US law enforcement history from 1978 to 1996.
He baffled authorities by sending untraceable bombs across the United States, leaving them with little evidence to track down the terrorist.
But they finally got a break when Kaczynski tried to push his extravagant manifesto onto the world in 1996.
The previous year he had stepped up his bombshells and letters to the newspapers, leading pundits to speculate that “Unabomber” was jealous of the attention given to Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh.
When The Washington Post, in conjunction with The New York Times, published his manifesto, his brother David and his wife Linda Patrik realized that Ted might be the mystical suicide bomber who had terrorized America for nearly two decades.
Patrik claimed she had an ominous feeling about her brother-in-law even before she saw the manifesto, and the couple enlisted the help of her childhood friend Susan Swanson, a private detective, to verify the link.
Swanson in turn passed them on to former FBI behavioral science expert Clint Van Zandt, whose analysts said whoever wrote them likely also wrote the twisted manifesto.
“It was a nightmare,” said David Kaczynski, who idolized his older brother as a child, in a 2005 speech at Bennington College. “I was literally thinking, ‘My brother is a serial killer, America’s most wanted man.
His tip led federal agents to track Kaczynski to his Montana hideout, before he was arrested and sentenced to life behind bars without the possibility of parole.
He was found dead in his cell on Saturday June 10, at the age of 81.