Born in Brooklyn, Connecticut, where his parents ran an egg farm, Ross concentrated on animal science in high school, moving on to Cornell University in 1977 and earning his bachelor's degree in 1981. After graduation, he worked briefly at an egg farm near Columbus, Ohio, but Ross had trouble keeping his mind on the chickens. Bicycling through LaSalle City, Illinois, on September 28, 1981, he kidnapped a 16-year-old girl and dragged her into the woods, gagging her with a handkerchief and belt before police arrived. Charged with unlawful restraint, Ross pled guilty the following day and paid a $500 fine, drawing two years probation before he returned to Connecticut. On January 5, 1982, 17-year-old Tammy Williams disappeared in Brooklyn, while walking home from her boyfriend's house in broad daylight. Ross was not suspected in the case, but he had reason to be fearful, all the same. In February, he found employment at another Ohio egg farm, living peacefully for nearly three months before his next clash with the law. On April 26, Ross turned up at a rural home in Licking County, asking to borrow a flashlight. His car had broken down, he said, and when Ross came to return the light, he also asked to use the telephone. Inside the house, he tried to choke his female benefactor - an off-duty policewoman - but she fought him off and gave a clear description to authorities, resulting in his swift arrest. Bailed out by his parents on May 11, Ross was sent home to Connecticut for 60 days of psychiatric study. On June 15, 1982, Debra Taylor was riding with her husband when they ran out of gas near Danielson, Connecticut. They split up to find a filling station, and Debra disappeared, her skeletal remains discovered by a jogger on October 30. In the meantime, Michael Ross pled guilty to assault charges in Ohio, on August 4, paying a $1,000 fine and serving four months in jail before his release, on December 22. In May 1983, Ross was hired by a Connecticut insurance company, his application falsely denying any criminal convictions, and his work record was satisfactory until early November. On November 16, 19-year-old Robin Stravinsky was reported missing in Norwich, Connecticut, her body found by joggers a week later, near a local hospital. Ross's employer was pleased to note an improvement in Michael's work through December and January, but by March 1984, the young man seemed to be entering another unexplained slump. On April 22 - Easter Sunday - 14-year-old neighbors Leslie Shelley and April Brunais disappeared from Griswold, Connecticut, en route to a friend's house. Two months later, on June 13, Wendy Baribeault vanished in Lisbon, on a short walk to the neighborhood store. Her body, raped and strangled, was found on June 15, and witnesses recalled seeing a blue sub-compact car near the scene. Police began working their way through a computer listing of 2,000 sub-compact drivers, and they caught up with Ross on June 28. He swiftly confessed to the Baribeault murder, then directed authorities to a rural dump site, where the bodies of Leslie Shelley and April Brunais were recovered. On June 30, officers followed Ross's directions to the shallow grave of Tammy Williams, and by July 5 he was charged in a total of six homicides. Guilty pleas in the murders of Williams and Debra Taylor earned Ross a sentence of 120 years imprisonment. Convicted of four other slayings on June 26, 1987, he was sentenced to death ten days later.