Netflix's The Good Nurse and Capturing the Killer Nurse seem to be all the rave from viewers these days as they become astounded with the real-life story of the evil nurse. After knowing that the movie is real, they start looking for answers about the real-life killer nurse, Charles Cullen, and where he is right now.
We try to answer some of the internet's burning questions about the serial killer:
Who Is Charles Cullen?
The Good Nurse and Capturing the Killer Nurse are all about the nurse-turned-serial killer, Charles Cullen, who was portrayed by Eddie Redmayne in The Good Nurse. Cullen was able to kill hundreds of patients from nine hospitals and one nursing home over a 16-year period.
During his career as a nurse, Cullen would sneak into the room of the patient and inject a lethal dose of drugs into the patient's IV bags. He often used a powerful medication for treating heart conditions known as digoxin. He also used other medications like dobutamine, norepinephrine, pavulon, nitroprusside, and insulin.
While many of his victims were elderly, Cullen's youngest victim was 21-year-old Michael Strenko, who was brought in for a routine spleen surgery. Unfortunately, Strenko received a high dose of norepinephrine from Cullen, which caused him to die.
When Did Charles Cullen Start Killing?
Cullen graduated from nursing school in 1987 and then got married. Unfortunately, his marriage did not last and he got a divorce in 1993. Many believe that this is when he started killing his first victims.
Before getting caught, Cullen worked in nine hospitals and one nursing home. Several times, he was investigated over misconduct allegations, which caused him to quit his job. There was also one incident where an elderly patient complained he was giving her injections even though he wasn't assigned to her. This caused Cullen to resign from his job.
Another hospital fired Cullen for hiding heart medicine inside a bin where used needles were disposed of.
What Was Charles Cullen’s Childhood Like?
Cullen had a sad childhood. When he was just seven months old, Charles' father, Edmund, died. This left his mother, Florence, to raise eight children on her own.
Growing up, Charles was the constant target of bullies because he was a thin and introverted child. His older brothers dealt with drug addiction while his sisters were involved in bad relationships.
While in his senior year, he learned that his mother was in a vehicular accident. He was angry at the hospital for not informing him that his mother was instantly killed in a head-on collision after an epilepsy attack while driving. He also got upset that the hospital cremated her body instead of returning it to the family.
This incident worsened Charles' mental health and he attempted suicide, causing him to stay in a psychiatric institution. When he was released, he dropped out of school and joined the Navy where he served for six years. He was also bullied by other crew members, which caused him to attempt suicide several more times.
In 1984, Cullen was discharged from the Navy. This led Cullen to enroll in a three-year nursing program.
Did Charles Cullen Have a Wife and Children?
While studying nursing, Cullen worked at a bakery to pay for his tuition. He met Adrienne Taub and the two got married in 1987. The couple had two daughters, Shauna and Saskia.
After an initial period of happiness brought about by the birth of his daughters and wife, Charles lost interest in his family. This led to Adrienne being concerned with her husband's behavior, causing their divorce in 1993.
Adrienne got full custody of their kids after accusing Charles of being a danger to them. She accused Charles of burning their daughter's books, extreme cruelty, psychological violence towards family members, abusing their dog, and even pawning off his daughters to a babysitter for a week. Cullen rejected these claims and argued that they were exaggerated.
How Many People Did Charles Cullen Kill?
When he was first arrested, Cullen was charged with one count of murder and one count of attempted murder. While confessing, however, Cullen admitted to murdering approximately 40 patients. Authorities, however, were only able to confirm 29 victims.
But it is believed that the true number may be closer to 400, which makes Cullen the most prolific serial killer throughout US history.
Where Is Charles Cullen Now?
After getting caught in 2003, Cullen was sentenced to 11 consecutive life sentences in New Jersey. This is equivalent to 397 years, making him eligible for parole on 2388.
He did not get the death penalty as a plea deal for cooperating with the authorities. He cooperated by identifying his victims.
He continues to serve jail time at the New Jersey State Prison in Trenton.
In 2013, Cullen was asked about what he did. His answer was without any remorse:
"I thought that people aren't suffering anymore, so in a sense, I thought I was helping. My goal here isn't to justify. You know what I did there is no justification. I just think that the only thing I can say is that I felt overwhelmed at the time."
You can watch more of Charles Cullen's story in The Good Nurse and Capturing the Killer Nurse, both of which are available to stream on Netflix.
Here's the trailer of Capturing the Killer Nurse: