Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Bambi Bembenek

Initial Investigations

Fred Schultz, on duty that night, went to the scene of the crime. He called his new wife, Lawrencia ("Laurie") Bembenek, at 2:40 a.m., but the line was busy. She had been packing to move to a smaller apartment that evening and had planned to go out with her friend, Judy Zess, but the date had been canceled. Schultz then called her again. She picked up the phone and it sounded to him as if she had just awoken. He took his partner, Detective Michael Durfee, to his apartment, sixteen blocks away, and felt the hood of her car in the presence of the other officer, and then examined his off-duty .38 pistol. Durfee smelled it and looked it over, determining that it had not been fired that night, nor recently cleaned. There was dust on the weapon. That eliminated it as a murder weapon.

Fred Schultz and wife Laurie at friend's wedding
Fred Schultz and wife Laurie
at friend's wedding

Schultz asked Bembenek to accompany him to identify Christina and took the off-duty pistol with him in a briefcase. Durfee left him as Schultz went into a private meeting with his superiors and left to write his report, but not before mentioning that the gun was in the briefcase. No one there recorded the serial number, nor recorded the fact or content of the meeting, so in retrospect, it could never be proven that such a meeting took place.

At 4:00 a.m. two detectives came to Bembenek's apartment to ask if she owned a gun or a green jogging suit. They also asked about Honeck and Schultz. She told them she had no such jogging suit and never had owned one of that color.

Kris Radish in Run Bambi Run described the situation with Lawrencia Bembenek: " She was one of those radical women's libbers. The kind of women who thought females deserved an equal chance. She was also one of the most beautiful cops the department had ever seen. She was tall, with a great set of legs, sky-blue eyes, long, slender finger, and a head of thick blond hair. She was gone but not forgotten. She had been booted out of the department because of some minor problem, and Chief Breier smiled when he learned of her connection with the Schultz murder. The police department was no place for women. Let them stay home. These women needed to be taught a lesson."

Christine's autopsy report indicated radial expansion, in which the muzzle of the gun left a circular imprint on the victim's skin. That is, the gun had been held against her back, touching the skin, when fired. The bullet entered the back through the shoulder and made a direct path to the heart. Hairs were found in the bandanna wrapped around her mouth and were consistent with hers.

It turned out later that there were other discoveries, but they were not initially noted.

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