TRENTON, NJ – Charles Cullen, 53, is currently serving eleven life sentences in a New Jersey State Prison in Trenton for 29 counts of murder. It is very likely he has killed hundreds of individuals, making him one of the most prolific serial killers in New Jersey, and perhaps United States, history. For sixteen years, Cullen, a nurse, was injecting drugs into patients – seemingly at random – ultimately causing their deaths. It wasn’t until one of his closest friends and colleagues, Amy Loughren, became a confidential informant that his spree ended.
Loughren, whose name may sound familiar, was Norwich High School’s Homecoming Queen in 1983, and subsequently graduated from NHS that summer.
New York Times Bestselling Author Charles Graeber spent seven years of his life investigating the story of Cullen and recently released a book – The Good Nurse: A True Story of Murder, Madness and Medicine – which was first to divulge Amy’s identity as the informant that ultimately stopped Cullen’s killing.
“Some people are crazy for serial killer stories. I’m not one of those, but I am interested in people - the choices they make, how they behave when they think they can get away with it,” said Graeber. “When I first heard about Charlie Cullen, the story was that he was a crazy nurse who took the idea of mercy too far, and played God.”
Cullen began his nursing career at Saint Barnabas in Livingston, NJ, where he killed a number of patients by injecting them with drugs he stole and stockpiled. From there, Cullen worked at eight different hospitals and one nursing home, according to Graeber. Cullen was able to easily find work at other hospitals because – even though hospital administrators were suspicious of foul play or drug mishandling – he was fired or asked to resign and given neutral references. No legal action was taken.