Pam's yearbook photo
POS Bruce Lindahl yearbook versus the phenotype
POS Bruce Lindahl's scary smile and eyes
On the Case with Paula Zahn: Clearing The Docket (S22EP5)
Where: Woodridge, IL, southwest part of the Chicago IL suburbs. Population in the mid-70s is roughly 15-16k. This is less populated city then other cities in the county. At some point in our story we’ll end up in Aurora Illinois. And based on the census, I'm going to estimate they had a population of about 77k back in the mid 70s. We are told that Woodridge is a safe place. Teenagers are often walking out and about at night. There's no real crime, most businesses aren't open that late usually, so no one's out looking for - or getting into - trouble.
Who: Pamela Maurer, 10/24/1959. Parents are Louis and Betty Ann Maurer. She was the second of 4 kids. So it was Charles (18), then Pamela (16), Patrick (14), and finally Susan (12). The family lived in Woodridge, and Pamela was a junior at Downers Grove South high school. Dad says his daughter was introverted and kept to herself, but got along well with the family. She was never a problem, and never rebellious. So if she was asked to do something, she was responsible and did it.
Pamela did not participate in any extracurricular activities but did have her own group of friends she spent time with. Friend Cindy Evans, says “when you first meet her she’s shy, when she gets to know you, she becomes herself . Down to earth, lots of talking, singing giggling, having fun.”
Pam is 16yo, and it’s Monday night, Jan 12 1976, Dale Denham, a friend of Pamela's, swung by her house. They hang out, play some cards, and then at around 8:30, Pamela and Dale decide to go to another friend's house, Kathy Robertson, a few blocks from Pamela's house. After hanging out for a while there Pamela decides she wants to go to McDonald's nearby for a Coke. No one sees her after that, and that was at about 9:45pm.
Pam was supposed to be home by 10:00, but 10 comes and goes and Mom realizes Pam is late. But she only went , like, a half mile away, so maybe she stayed a little late since travel time is so small, maybe she lost track of time. But she never shows up at home. By 10:45 her Betty Ann is getting annoyed. So she called the friends house, and the kids say Pam had left about an hour ago to get a soda and they figured she just went home when she didn’t come back.
Mom and one of her own friends went driving around town looking for Pamela. Her friends that were all hanging out at the house start worrying now too. And they decide to walk over to the laundromat and the McDonald’s to see if she was there. Pam was not prone to being late and definitely was not the type to run away, so where the hell is my daughter??? After an hour, Betty gives up and calls the police just before midnight. They tell Betty to just wait for a while to see if she come back. They do also tell her they will send a cruiser around to see if an officer can come across her. From what I could tell you didn't even send an officer to the house. So that’s pretty messed up. I’ve already searched up and down the streets … she's not on the streets. I would have been like, “I already drove around looking for her, so offering to do the same thing I just did is not going to cut it. You’re the police, you are better trained than I am…. you need to come here, get a picture of her from me, call the next police departments over.. you need to start Plan B now. But that doesn't happen. And the Maurer family stays up all night worrying. No one is sleeping, everyone is waiting by the phone, their hands are tied, they don’t know what to do. This is always the part of the story that messes me up - the first night or nights after a disappearance. Pam didn’t have a cell phone to track. Family and friends didn't have cell phone to text her to see if she was okay. If Mom or Dad or Charles decide to go driving around town, and she is found and she's okay... they don't know that until they give up their search and get back home... there's no cell phones so no one would be able to call or text them that she is found and she's fine. But that officer is going to get off his shift at some point. Soooo… are the police going to call back and tell them now no one is looking for Pam? And what exactly was the extent of that one cruisers search? Was he actively looking for a missing 16yo at 1 or 2 am?
At about 7:30 the next morning and about 5 miles away, a highway commissioner employee, Thomas Patterman is driving to work on College Road, about a mile south of suburban Lisle, Illinois. He notices a purse next to the guardrail on the side, and becomes curious. So he pulls a U-y and to get a closer look. If there's a purse here, what if someone was also outside the car, and the victim of a hit-and-run? It was at that time that Thomas Patterman discovered the body of a young female. She's actually been dumped on the other side of the guardrail. So she's not directly on the street. The purse playing next to her was in fact her purse, so she was identified pretty quickly. Now when police get Pam's body to the coroner's office, they originally thought she was a victim of a hit-and-run. So they weren’t treating it like a crime scene and taping off the area and watching where they walked or what they touched. And this was also January so there was a lot of snow around.
The DuPage county coroner’s office determined she had been strangled, but they did not think she had been sexually assaulted - at least that's what they said to the local news. But in the Paula Zhan episode, an interview with law enforcement tells us that she definitely was sexually assaulted. But of course …. Being as it’s 1976 what are they going to do with any semen samples they find? They can only put it in the closet and wait for technology to evolve. I'm guessing they didn't put it in the paper because this is a 16 year old girl. Maybe they didn't feel comfortable publishing that kind of information about her attack.
When they realize she’s been killed and sexually assaulted and that this was a murder, not an accident, they run back to where Pam was found, hoping to find more clues. And they did something… a rubber hose. It was an automotive gas hose. So they checked mechanics and hardware stores in the area and found out that it was a really common hose that was sold a lot of different places throughout the country. They did determine that this was the murder weapon; they feel like she was strangled with this hose. But based on the fact that it's such a popular item, there’s no way they’ll be able to track who bought it. So there's our first roadblock.
Of course police are asking anyone to come forward who may have witnessed her abduction. They set up interviews with tons of kids that go to school with her. They’re trying to determine if she was lured into someone else's car or physically taken off the street. Pam did have a boyfriend at this time. So they interview him and interrogate him for hours. He says that he and his sister have been home grounded that night. Police don’t really go for the alibi but then they realize that this kid doesn’t have a car and there was no way for him to be able to drive her 5 miles out that night even if he wasn’t at home. He would’ve needed somebody else car. So they do end up ruling him out.
Within a few days, a woman comes forward and tells the police that a man offered her ride. He was asking her to model for him, and she noticed inside his car, a Mercury Capri, that he had some kind of white bundle on the front seat. And she said this happened at about 11:45 Monday night, which is about an hour after Pamela was believed to have been killed. So is this possibly going to be a second victim? But they do have her describe him and they create a sketch. He is about 25 years old about 5 ft 9 in.
Then they get a tip from someone else who says, “ I was having drinks with a guy at a bar, and he got drunk and admitted to me tht he had kidnapped and killed Pamela Maurer.” This guy is Michael Basso, 19yo, he has some prior offenses. And he actually worked at the gas station across from the laundromat but she might’ve gotten her soda from. And working at a gas station, he had easy access to her. Not only that, but the gas station does sell those kinds of hoses that was to kill Pam.
When they questioned him he denied it. And he doesn’t remember ever telling anyone he killed and offered to take a polygraph; it was deemed inconclusive. But no direct evidence… Was somebody trying to get even with him for something else? The only evidence they had was the tip from that one person.
Case goes cold and police have to admit to the family they have nowhere else to go from here. It's one thing to lose your child, your sibling, your friend. But then the police have to come to you and tell you they have no idea who did this. They do believe that she had been picked up, because everyone they're interviewing, They got nothing on any of them. They really feel like they have no solid leads. So they do feel that she was abducted in some way right there on the street; they don't even know if she got that soda before she got picked up.
Twenty-five years later, in 2001, police had Pam‘s clothes taken out of evidence, and sent to the county lab to get DNA profile. They found some pieces semen evidence on her clothes that hadn't been noticed during the initial investigation. Which means this is been untouched all these years. They put this profile into CODIS, but negative for hits! There’s no matches for any other victims and none for any other offenders.
They decide to check up on Michael Basso DNA profile. He had died in a car accident years ago, but from his autopsy, they did have a blood sample at the coroner's office. Alas, he was not a match either.
And all this time anytime a new detective comes into the department, they want to try to get a crack at the Pamela Maurer case. So even though the case is cold of new evidence or leads, it’s not forgotten or abandoned.
March 2019, Lisle Police Detective Christopher Loudon requested to be out on Pam’s case. He tells us he was about her age right at the time she died, and “I didn’t think that her family, or Pam, deserve to be forgotten. So I became obsessed with solving this case”
He does end up sending the DNA sample off to Paragon, and they get a phenotype. Green eyes! Only 2% Population has green eyes. Family mapping report says focus on Lindahl family to two boys. Older brother did not have green eyes, but the younger brother did. And this guy looks just like the phenotype! It’s incredible. But this guy is already dead. How he died is a story in itself so we'll just get to it…
On Jan. 13, 2020 the Lisle Police Department announces the that man who raped and murder Pamela Mauer was 1976 is Bruce Lindahl.
Who is Bruce Lindahl? Who is this piece of shit? This guy is a lunatic!!! Detective Loudon says, “this is what we traditionally in the police world call a shitbag.” And they bleep him out. It's hilarious.
Lindahl was born January 29, 1953. His life started out relatively uneventful, we really don’t know much other than his crimes. He graduated from Pamela’s High school, Downers Grove South in 1971, went on to college, and graduated with a degree in electromechanics.
The Associated press tells us, “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 closer to his new home.” In all, they believe he had victims in: Lisle, Downers Grove, Woodridge, and Aurora. So let’s get to them.
Pamela’s Murder in 1976. What is believed is she was going to get a soda McDonald's or nearby laundromat and he just picked her up. We don't know if he lured her in the car some way, Or if he got out of his car, snatched her directly from the vending machine or what, But that's the theory. He takes her, he does what he wants with her... he takes her 5 miles away, and her body is left on the other side of the guardrail over on College Road that same night.
And here's one that we don't have a date for. Cops pull him over one night and when they go up to the window, they see a girl slumped over with a big gash in her head. They asked him what's up, and he tells them and she hit her head and he was bringing her to the hospital to get treated. They quickly realized the hospital was in the opposite direction, so they decide they're going to take her themselves I sent him on his way. At the hospital she gets a physical, and it's determined that she'd been sexually assaulted. When she wakes up end the interview her, she says she doesn't remember anything. The last she knew he had given her something to drink at a party. This girl is not named, but it's believed that he might have been on his way to finish her off and dump her body somewhere.
At some point during this time Lindell decides he likes skydiving. So he goes to a local parachuting school, and eventually making friends with Dave Torres. Dave Torres is a local cop. And tells us that they used to hang out all the time together. They’d drink and go partying… they’d skydive…. play racquetball…. And eventually Lindahl moved into the basement of Torres house.
March 6, 1979 - Annette Lazar was walking to a friend's house in Aurora IL when a man pulled up an offer to sell her some pot. She didn't feel threatened so she said why not? And followed him to a nearby house. Seems he was just coming home when he spotted her. He leaves her into his basement apartment, pretty much immediately pulls a gun on her and threatens to kill her. At first she fights back and tells him she's going to call the police, but he tells her that won't happen because he lives with the police officer, so nobody would believe her. and soon enough she has her wits about her and she decides she's going to compliment him and pretend like she's enjoying the time together. she even goes as far as to offer to pay him, so he eventually let’s her leave. but here's the thing. When she goes to police to report kidnapping and rape, and she tells the full story about how she was able to escape, they decide it was consensual. They don't believe her. So I'm sure the police talk to officer Torres about it, right? “You don't think you have a rapist in your house, do you?” Torres says no. And then they go talk to Lindahl himself and say, “Hey, did you rape this woman? Did you kidnap this woman?” And he says no she's my girlfriend! See, here is her name and number! What she did, but she did that so she could get the hell out of that house. And with that, the DA decides not to prosecute. They think the jury is just going to see this as a consensual encounter. And even if she didn't want to date him, maybe this was just a bad date or something like that. It's just horrible. Because it's the one thing you do to get yourself out It's the one thing that's going to make people not believe you. I see both sides. Such a horrible place to be in. If maybe assholes like Bruce Lindahl wouldn’t be pulling shit like this then we could all be safe and sound and not have to worry about some kind of escape plan and if the escape plan is going to perpetrate an even further injustice on you once you escape.
Within a year after this attack. Lindahl would buy the house from the man.
In an interview since the announcement Annette tells us, “If you saw him in a store, you’d think he was a cool guy. He was friendly, but when he showed what he was really about, it was frightening because you knew he meant it.” And his friend Officer Torres gives us the same description. “He was a nice guy with a short fuse and if you watched him go off you new - boom - he's going. I told him hey you can mess with anyone you want but the last person you mess with is me. You leave me alone.” All well and good for a man to say to another man. But us ladies, we don't always get that luxury.
Cut to June 1980. Karen Weeks-Kozman lives in Lindahl's neighborhood and she and her kids are getting into the family van and going out when a naked woman starts running up to them screaming for help. This is 25yo Debra Colliander. Karen rushed her (and I'm guessing the kids) inside, and got the whole story from Debra. She had gone to the Westgate shopping mall, and was locking up her bike when this guy approached her and asked her if she could help start his car. Does this sound familiar to you? Something else like that happened in the 70s. He wants her to push on the gas while he tinkers around under the hood. After some hesitation, she says yes and when she gets in on the driver side, he shoves her in and drives off. He wraps his belt around her neck to get her from the car inside his house, and holds her captive all day in his house, and we know what his MO is. When Karen asks Debra to describe him, Debra says he has very distinct blue eyes. And then Karen says, “My daughters and I looked at each other and instantly knew it’s Bruce (Lindahl).” So I guess the question is, “How blue is blue? Blue-green? Green-blue?” But whatever it is, he has very distinct bluish greenish eyes. So scary now to realize you have someone in your own neighborhood and you have daughters you have to worry about.
At some point he falls asleep and she’s able to escape. So Debra and Karen get on the horn and call the police. an officer Torres is on duty and here's the call over dispatch realizing that it's his old neighborhood where Bruce lives. What’s going on over there? So he goes to the house and finds Lindahl. He looked down the hallway and Lindahl was running from one run to another, but he was completely naked. So he must have been passed out, butt-ass naked in the room where he was raping Debra. Then his buddy Torres knocks on the door and says, “hey what’s going on?” And he’s like, “oh shit, I gotta get up and I gotta get dressed and make like everything’s cool.” Torres finds a gun right in his vicinity, and naked pictures of Debra. Guessing they were Polariods since they were taken just that day and they were laying there. So they tell him, “we got to take you in for questioning.” And I think at that point, Lindahls had some kind of shade on him, because one of the officers swiped a good samaritan plaque the city gave him a few years ago. Thats awesome! No matter what nice thing you've done in the past, you are being accused of raping and terrorizing woman for hours. She literally had to run from your house, completely naked, up to some innocent lady, witness, with her kids, trying to get her kids in the car.
As part of Debra’s statement to the police, she tells them that he had made her pose for him, and asked her why she wasn’t smiling …. Wasn’t she having a good time?
The DA charges Lindahl with: deviate sexual conduct, rape and aggravated kidnapping. But despite the horror story Debra told police, and the prior report from Annette - remember, they decided she wasn’t credible, the judge offers him bail, and Lindahl is able to bond himself out. About a month later, he gets himself a job at Kaneland’s vocational school, and he's going to teach small engine repair. Come again? What school is hiring a man ready to stand trial for abduction and rape? I'm wondering if his charges weren't made public, so maybe work didn't know about them. Although isn't it supposed to be on your job application? Well, who knows what they look like back in the 80s.
In October of 1981, just a couple weeks before trial, Debra went missing just outside work when she got off her shift. A few months after Debra goes missing, another woman calls police to report an attack. She says a man came onto her, she refused him, and he tried to attack her. Given a photo line up later, she was able to identify him as the man she encountered that night.
January 1981 - nope… we’re still not done!! He's taping people's phone conversations? We don’t know the full details of this but the police show up on his doorstep and arrest him for illegal phone tapping. He gets pissed off, resists arrest, and brandishes a shotgun at one of the police officers! Did I not say he’s a lunatic? This guy is a whack-a do! Soon after, work is fed up with all of the news they are hearing about him in the paper, and get them to quit the job. Thank God!
He seems to have a quiet February and March, although we'll never really know. But on April 4th of 81, he's hanging out at the local bowling alley and meets 18yo Charles Huber. At this point Lindahl is 29. Charles invites him and back to his house to hang out. At some point in the middle of the night as Charles's girlfriend is sleeping in the room next door, Lindell start stabbing Charles. In the frenzy to kill Charles, he cuts himself in the leg, severing his femoral artery. Ah you POS! Thank God for the rest of us you offed yourself like this! We can't know how many other people he would have killed and women who would have raped The idea that he cut his own leg stabbing a victim… well that just tells me what a frenzy he was in at the time. Seems to me he was coming unglued kind of like Bundy down in Florida at the end there.
So yeah it sucks but we don't get to relish in any prison time for any of his crimes. September 8, 1983, the state adopted lethal injection as the default method of execution, But they were also still using the electric chair. so it's really too bad he was never put on trial. But for me though I'm okay with knowing he is his own murderer… that's pretty awesome.
Debra Colliander’s body won't be found until April of 1982, in a farm field out of town. They were not able to recover any DNA evidence, likely because she was exposed to the elements for almost two years. She herself might have been only bones by then. But I'll give you one guess who the police think did it. It's horrific to imagine what she went through before she was killed. He picks her up outside of work and he knows she's going to testify against him in the next few months. You can just imagine what possibly went on, it's just horrible.
Now the next people that lived in Lindahl's house after he died came forward saying that they found tons of photographs of women, many of them naked, hidden throughout the house. They tossed a number of them before going to the police with them, because they didn't realize houses history. When they figured out who has live there and what he was accused of, they brought some of these pictures to the police. Police study the photos throughout the years, and one in particular they believe they can Identify. Deborah McCall, a student at Downers Grove High School who vanished in 1979 is believed to be one of the women in these pictures. To this day, she has never been found.
So this is what I'm thinking. Police are linking missing and or murdered women in the area where Linda lived in the late 70s and early 80s. And since the 80s they've had in their possession a slew of pictures of unknown women that were found in his house…. so for all this time, couldn’t they have been able to link names to faces? But we are told now that all the departments in the area are re-opening these cases to see if this POS had anything to do with their murders. For the girls that are missing, if they have been found but not identified, then they are Jane Does, waiting for their turn to get their names back. So I mapped out the towns involved in this case, and we have Woodridge where Pamela lived, Lisle where she was found, Aurora where he lived and is accused of multiple rapes, Oswego, where Debra Colliander was found, and Naperville where he killed Charles Huber and himself. Haha, that still gets me… They're all within about a half an hour drive of each other, and they're all towards the outskirts of the Chicago suburb area. If you go south or west, you're hitting all sorts of farm fields, Forest areas and small towns... who knows how many unidentified victims are out there, and how many that may not even be found yet? We think Pamela Maurer was his first victim, but we don't really know that do we? He took her 5 miles from where he picked her up. Who's to say he didn't travel with any other victim farther than that?
Each person is their own case. We won’t know that they're linked by this asshole until we work each case and find if it's connected to him. I think the easiest way to do that will be to get hits from victim evidence matching him in CODIS. But in order to get to that point, each of those police departments for each victim… they need to re-open their evidence boxes and send them off to the lab. So it's going to take a long time - and money - to figure out exactly how many victims this guy has. And keeping in mind, some of those victims won't be Lindahl's, but someone else's. It's a tough job to be law enforcement working these cold cases. But I’ll say it again, just like I'm sure I do in every episode, if it wasn’t for forensic genealogy, none of these mysteries would be solved. It’s not just an advancement in technology - it’s an advancement of thinking about how to solve a problem. And what worse problems do we have in society than rape and murder?
So once again please consider if you haven't already, opting in at GEDmatch or another open-source database. I think Family Tree DNA is one of them that is open to the public and you can opt-in to law enforcement. This will definitely speed the process along for families Who are trying to find answers for their loved ones Who ended up becoming victims of horrible and horrendous up-close-and-personal crimes. There are so many families out there whose loved ones and themselves deserve at Justice. And even though we don't know If that perpetrator in that specific family is going to be alive, or roaming free, or found to be in prison for some other unrelated crime. Or even just killed or even just died of natural causes over the course of time, they are answers that every family deserves.
For officer Torres’ part, he says his whole career he struggled with getting promoted. Since he was associated with Lindahl, did he knew about his crimes? Was he a bad cop? The department did investigate Torres, but they never found evidence that he was involved or even knew about Lindahl’s activities. And after Debra’s rape and eventual disappearance, Torres knew that his fellow officers would never have his back if he ever needed it. He says, “I knew from that day forward but if I ever called for backup, I wasn't going to get it. I had to depend on me.”
Closing Tribute: Charles: It was rough to know that Lindell was dead and not able to be sent to prison for killing a sister, but was believed there wouldn’t be a trial the family would have to go through.