DNA test­ing sheds light on 1976 cold case

Antelope Valley Press - - FRONT PAGE - By DON BABWIN

CHICAGO — A man who po­lice sus­pect stran­gled a 16-year-old sub­ur­ban Chicago girl in 1976 may have killed as many as a dozen young women and plot­ted to kill oth­ers be­fore he died dur­ing a fatal knife at­tack on a teenage boy, a de­tec­tive in­ves­ti­gat­ing the case said Tues­day.

“When we start dig­ging to see com­mon threads (in miss­ing per­sons cases), there are nine that we’re aware of and that num­ber could go up to 12,” Lisle Po­lice De­tec­tive Chris Loudon said of his in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Bruce Lin­dahl, who has been linked by DNA ev­i­dence to the 1976 slay­ing of Pamela Mau­rer.

That to­tal raises the chill­ing prospect that from the 1970s un­til his death in 1981, Lin­dahl may have been ab­duct­ing, rap­ing and killing women and girls with­out rais­ing sus­pi­cions in var­i­ous sub­ur­ban po­lice de­part­ments. Just as un­nerv­ing is the ev­i­dence that women who fled his grasp — by pure luck or their own ac­tions — may have nar­rowly es­caped death.

Loudon told of the time that po­lice pulled over a car Lin­dahl was driv­ing to dis­cover an un­con­scious woman bleed­ing from a deep gash in her head.

“They said, ‘What are you do­ing?’ and he said he was tak­ing her to the hos­pi­tal,” Loudon said. “But he was go­ing in the wrong di­rec­tion.”

Rather than let him drive off, the po­lice had an am­bu­lance take the woman to the hos­pi­tal, where an ex­am­i­na­tion re­vealed she had been sex­u­ally as­saulted.

The woman did not re­mem­ber any­thing about what hap­pened af­ter Lin­dahl gave her a “sip of some­thing” at a party, so no charges were ever filed in the case, Loudon said. But the de­tec­tive said he’s con­fi­dent Lin­dahl was driv­ing to a re­mote spot to kill the woman and dump her body.

Lin­dahl was 29 when he died dur­ing a fatal knife at­tack on 18-year-old Charles Hu­ber; he in­ad­ver­tently sev­ered a ma­jor artery in his own leg and bled to death.

Loudon said the scene where their bod­ies were found sug­gested that Lin­dahl may have planned to also kill Hu­ber’s girl­friend who was sleep­ing a few feet away in an­other room.

“The cops back then thought, and I think it makes sense, that he was go­ing to kill Hu­ber and then kill the girl­friend and blame the deaths on each other,” he said.

The case of De­bra Col­lian­der sug­gests an­other close call for an­other woman. It was Col­lian­der who re­ported that Lin­dahl ab­ducted her from a sub­ur­ban shop­ping mall, took her back to his apart­ment and raped her be­fore she es­caped. Days be­fore she was to tes­tify at Lin­dahl’s rape trial, she dis­ap­peared and her body wasn’t found buried in a shal­low grave un­til af­ter Lin­dahl’s death.

It was only in try­ing to re­trace Lin­dahl’s steps in the Mau­rer in­ves­ti­ga­tion that detectives found in a re­port that a woman had told po­lice some­one had tried to abduct her from the same mall on the same day Col­lian­der van­ished.

Then there were the sto­ries from women who dated Lin­dahl. Some said he would hand them a knife and tell them to pre­tend to at­tack him so that he could show them self-de­fense. Loudon said he sus­pects those play fights were part of a ruse to kill the women and make it look like he was sim­ply de­fend­ing him­self.

While he is hope­ful that DNA ev­i­dence will link Lin­dahl to other crimes, Loudon ac­knowl­edges it is only in the case of Mau­rer that such ev­i­dence has been found.

But there are plenty of co­in­ci­dences.

When Lin­dahl lived in the Lisle area, women there were dis­ap­pear­ing. About the time Lin­dahl moved to the Aurora area, women stopped dis­ap­pear­ing from the Lisle area and started dis­ap­pear­ing from closer to his new home, Loudon said.

He said the body of a young woman was found about a block from the spot where Mau­rer’s body was found. And the day Lin­dahl is be­lieved to have ab­ducted Mau­rer, he tried but failed to con­vince an­other girl to get into his car in a neigh­bor­ing com­mu­nity.

Investigat­ors are run­ning down new tips re­ceived since Mon­day’s an­nounce­ment, and are try­ing to iden­tify sev­eral women whose pho­to­graphs — many of them nude — were dis­cov­ered in Lin­dahl’s apart­ment af­ter his death.


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