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Jerome Brudos was a serial murderer and necrophile who murdered four women in Oregon during the 1960s. He was known as the "The Lust Killer" and "The Shoe Fetish Slayer."
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Later Brudos dumped the body.
That November, Jan Whitney was driving home for Thanksgiving when her car broke down. Brudos saw her and stopped to offer her help. Instead, he strangled her in his car and had sexual relations with her dead body. Brudos brought Whitney’s body into his workshop and dressed and posed it for photographs. As with Slawson’s remains, he decided to keep a part of his victim—this time he removed one of Whitney’s breasts.
The killing escalated the following year. Brudos abducted 19-year-old Oregon State University student Karen Sprinker from a parking garage in downtown Salem in March. Taking her to his home, he sexually assaulted her and strangled her to death. Brudos also removed both of her breasts after her death. Only four weeks later, he struck again—the victim this time was 22-year-old Linda Salee. He kidnapped her from a shopping center and brought her back to his home to continue his murderous spree. As he had done with his other victims, Brudos disposed of the body in a river.
A few weeks later, Salee’s body was discovered in the Long Tom River. Her corpse had been weighed down by a car part. Police working the case noted the unusual knot on the nylon rope used to tie the body to the auto part. Continuing to search the river, police found Sprinker’s remains a few days later. They, too, had been tied to a car part using an unusual knot.
During the course of their investigation, the police interviewed students at Oregon State University in Corvallis about the murders. Some female students reported receiving phone calls from a strange man claiming to be a Vietnam veteran looking for a date. One of the students actually went out with the caller—a heavyset man with light hair and freckles. During their encounter, the man made some reference to the dead women found in the river and the possibility of taking his date away and strangling her. Police asked her to call them if the man ever called again and to set up a meeting with him at her dorm. After a few days, the man—who turned out to be Brudos—called and agreed to get together with the young woman.
Instead of his date, Brudos found the police waiting for him when he arrived. They interviewed the electrician and decided to investigate him further as a possible suspect. After a young woman he previously attempted to abduct identified him, the police were able to get a search warrant for his home. There they found a wealth of evidence, including nylon rope and Brudos’s photos of the victims.
During an interrogation, Brudos admitted to the four murders as well as several other assaults and attempted abductions. He was first charged with the Salee and Sprinker murders. Brudos tried to avoid punishment by claiming he was not guilty by reason of insanity. The mental health experts who examined him, however, determined that he was legally sane. Brudos knew what he did was wrong and never showed any signs of remorse for his actions.
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Many of the most horrifying acts of violence are committed by serial killers. Always looking for next victim, these murderers kill again and again, never fully satisfied by their bloody deeds. Their twisted motivations—and even more twisted techniques—land the people in this group among the most frightening criminals in history.
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