Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Wonderland Murders

Dawn, 15

In 1976, when Holmes was 32, he met Dawn Schiller, a 15-year-old girl who was living in the Glendale apartment complex that he managed with Sharon.

Dawn Schiller at 15
Dawn Schiller at 15

Schiller's parents had recently divorced, and she and her younger sister had moved to California with their father while their mother stayed in Florida. Schiller's father was a disabled vet with whom Holmes found an immediate connection, Schiller told Crime Library. The family was dirt-poor and living off food stamps, so Holmes paid the sisters to do gardening and other small chores around the complex and he dropped off meals at their home to help them out.

At first he treated Schiller like a kid sister, driving her to shopping malls and the beach, but then he became possessive, getting angry if she hung out with friends after school instead of coming straight home.

"I thought he was such a dork," said Schiller, who was alternately flattered and flabbergasted by the porn star's attention. "He had this huge Afro and was so much older than me. He'd make comments like 'Too bad you're so young.'"

But Holmes was the stable provider her disabled father couldn't be, and eventually his small kindnesses won her over. Their relationship became intimate. Sharon tolerated their affair. At one point when Dawn moved into the Holmes' apartment, Sharon found herself in the bizarre role of mothering her husband's lover, cooking her dinner and otherwise providing a home for her.

Dawn would remain at Holmes' side for years, even as he got her hooked on drugs, beat her, and prostituted her.

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