Over four decades ago sixteen-year-old student, Pamela Maurer, was found raped and murdered by the side of the road near College Street and Maple Avenue in the small village of Lisle, DuPage County, Illinois. The cause of death was ruled as strangulation and a nearby rubber hose found at the crime scene was believed to be the ligature used in her murder.
On January 12th, 1976, Maurer had been visiting a friend in the neighbourhood. When it came time to leave, the teenager decided to head to a nearby McDonalds to buy a soda when she was snatched off the street by her killer. Despite exhaustive efforts, police were unable to identify the perpetrator, and the case remained cold for 44 years until 2019, when the killer was finally identified as Bruce Lindahl, a suspected serial killer who had died in 1981. His body was exhumed, and his DNA was tested against the sample found and preserved from Pamela Maurer’s body. It was a match.
Lindahl died during an attack on another teenager when he accidentally wounded himself during a frenzied stabbing attack on 18-year-old Charles Huber. Bruce Lindahl entered Huber’s residence and began attacking him, stabbing the young man almost 30 times, when he accidentally slashed his own femoral artery with the six-inch blade. Police believe that Lindahl planned to murder the young man so he could get to his girlfriend who was sleeping in another room, but gravely injured himself in the process, eventually bleeding to death from his injuries.
On October 7th, 1980, Bruce Lindahl kidnapped a woman named Debra Colliander from the Northgate Shopping Center. He kept her in his apartment against her will, where he sexually assaulted her and made her pose for naked pictures. He encouraged her to look as if she was there voluntarily, telling her to act like she was enjoying herself.
Colliander managed to escape and was all set to testify against Lindahl in court. Two years later she was found murdered. Police believe that her killer ordered a hit against her.
Investigators now believe that Bruce Lindahl could be a serial killer with as many as 12 victims. After his death in 1981 his house was searched by police who uncovered a stash of photographs depicting nude women, just as Colliander had described. Amongst his collection was a photograph of at least one missing student who vanished without a trace in 1979. Some of the woman look as though they were voluntarily posing, possibly at the forced direction of their captor, while others look scared stiff. It’s now up to investigators to determine which of the women could be Lindahl’s victims.
Bruce Lindahl may have murdered a dozen women throughout the seventies and early eighties and somehow managed to evade the law while doing so. He did, however, have a close call while, presumably, driving one of his victims back to his apartment or a dumping ground. Police pulled over his vehicle during a routine traffic stop only to find a bloodied female in the backseat. When they asked what had happened Lindahl claimed that he was driving the woman, who appeared to have a head injury, to the nearest hospital, despite driving in the complete opposite direction. Police called an ambulance for the injured female, who told hospital staff that she had no recollection of what happened but did remember being at a party with Lindahl and taking a sip of his drink.
Lindahl didn’t have many friends as he had relocated several times over the years, including stints in both Lisle and Aurora. He was considered decent looking and was said to have a silver tongue that enabled him to persuade people to do what he wanted. It seems wherever he went, women would go missing and those cases would dwindle as soon as he moved to another town.
Lindahl’s ex-girlfriends described how the suspected serial killer would ask them the simulate knife attacks on him so he could “show them his defence skills”, however police believe the real reason may be more sinister and that Lindahl possibly wanted to kill the women but needed it to look like it was an act of self-defence.
The “Daily Beast” published an exclusive article featuring the story of one of Lindahl’s living victims (referred to as “Fran” to protect her identity) wherein she recalls the killer constantly hosting parties at his apartment where he would ply young female guests with free alcohol. She goes on to say that he eventually gained her mother’s trust and seemed like an upstanding person. Fran told the media outlet that the suspected serial killer drugged her scotch at one of their regular drinking sessions and that she lost all control of her body. Once immobilized, she said her attacker took pictures of her naked, just like he had done with his other victims, and sexually assaulted her. The article suggests that he groomed and sexually exploited the teen, while trying to maintain a “normal” outwardly appearance. Fran eventually escaped Lindahl when she began working night shift at a new job, but that didn’t stop him from following her and attempting to further exploit the teen. She believes that she narrowly avoided being murdered by Bruce Lindahl.
Police are working to identify the women in the collection of photographs and other possible victims.