Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Bob Berdella: The Kansas City Butcher


Bob began to play with his unconscious sex slave. He touched him in intimate places and used his restrained body for sexual gratification. Then he gave him another shot to keep him unconscious and bound his head in a pillowcase. He made a careful record of everything he did.

Chris Bryson, survivor
Chris Bryson, survivor

By the time Bryson revived once more, he had been in Bob's home for about seven hours. The sun was peeking into the room, so he knew he'd been there far longer than he'd ever intended and he wondered what his wife must be thinking. He felt the cloth stuffed into his mouth that served as a gag and wondered what was going to happen to him. He struggled and felt the restraints tighten quite firmly. He realized with a growing sense of dread that he was not going to be able to free himself. But his movement brought Bob into the room.

Bryson hoped for an explanation or some sign that this was just a game that would soon end, but he was disappointed.

Bob loosened the pillow case to expose Bryson's face and he realized from his blurred vision that he'd been heavily drugged. He tried to make a pleading sound to appeal to Bob's sense of mercy, but it did no good. In fact, it was probably what he should not have done, for it drew a terrible response: Bob began to jab Bryson in the eyes with his finger. Then he got some substance that had a strong odor and used a Q-tip to dab it into Bryson's eyes. It stung badly. No matter how Bryson tried, he was unable to block his tormenter from experimenting on him. He had no choice but to endure whatever the man dreamed up. He suffered the pain while trying desperately to think of a way to escape.

But the eye treatment was nothing compared to what came next.

Dark Dreams
Dark Dreams

When a sexual sadist goes looking for a partner, says former FBI profiler Robert R. Hazelwood, he generally has a certain type of person in mind. In Dark Dreams, a book devoted to the violent fantasies that drive rapists and killers, Hazelwood discusses the notion of a sexual slave. While he mostly discusses women as the victims, the same idea applies to men looking for men.

Robert R. Hazelwood
Robert R. Hazelwood

Sadists seek traits that make a person appear vulnerable—youth, low self-esteem, inexperience, ambivalence, recent trauma, or naiveté. Once they have zeroed in on a target, they begin the seduction. They'll be friendly, and will perhaps offer gifts or a place to stay. They'll seem harmless, genial, and even attractive. Some sadists draw out the courtship, but others take quick advantage and go right to the punishment stage.

We're Following
Slender Man stabbing, Waukesha, Wisconsin
Gilberto Valle 'Cannibal Cop'