Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Fetish Killer

Probable Cause

In trying to link the murders to Brudos, Detectives Jim Stovall and Gene Daugherty placed Brudos' known activities against their timeline of the missing women. As Rule tells it, "In January 1968, Jerry Brudos had lived in the same neighborhood worked by the young encyclopedia salesgirl the missing Linda Slawson. Brudos had indicated that he had moved to Salem in August or September 1968 and had gone to work in Lebanon, Oregon hard by the 1-5 freeway where Jan Whitney had vanished in November. His current job was in Halsey only six miles from the body sites in the Long Tom. And of course, when Karen Sprinker had disappeared from Meier and Frank on March 27, Brudos had lived only blocks away."

Rope and knot samples
Rope and knot samples

Brudos had also referred vaguely to "problems" and appeared to have a lot of nylon rope in his workshop. The cops who met him expressed having a "bad feeling" about him, but that was clearly not sufficient grounds for a warrant to search his place. In addition, he did not look strong enough to have carried the bodies with their respective weights (although appearances can be deceptive) and did not drive a sports car. However, he did admit borrowing one. And some rope tied into a knot in his workshop appeared to be similar to the knots used on the bodies. He even let detectives take a sample, but then called an attorney, Dale Drake, and asked him to find out why the police seemed so interested in him. Drake agreed to represent him should he have the need.

Jerry Brudos' gun
Jerry Brudos' gun

In the meantime, the police got a warrant to search Brudos' vehicle but found that the interior had been thoroughly washed. That was suspicious but not damning, and Brudos had a ready explanation. Yet he had no defense against the adolescent girl who picked him out of a photo spread as the man who recently had attempted to force her into a car. It was sufficient cause to arrest him, along with a weapons charge for having a gun in his car. They hoped for a stronger case, but they had some concern that Brudos might panic and flee. When he drove to Portland one day with Darcie, the police moved in.

After Brudos was arrested (and found to be wearing women's panties) on May 30, he agreed to submit to an interrogation. In stops and starts, despite his attorney's warning not to talk, Brudos offered a confession. Or, rather, he decided to crow.

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