Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Bob Berdella: The Kansas City Butcher

It Gets Worse

Bob sat on Bryson, as Jackman and Cole depict, and used an iron bar to smack at Bryson's bound hands. Then he got off and started doing something that Bryson could not see down near his groin. Soon his intention was clear: He had attached an electrical device to Bryson's testicles and thigh. Bryson waited in horror, unable even to shout through the gag, and then felt a sudden strong jolt of electricity going through his lower torso. The pain in his hands from the beating he'd sustained snapped through his body to his thighs and he gave a muffled scream of agony.

As he reacted, he saw a flash of light and heard a whirring sound, the noise of a Polaroid camera. Bob was taking pictures of him in these humiliating, involuntary poses. Now Bryson was certain that he'd come into the hands of someone he'd only heard about in strange and scary tales—a sexual sadist who was unlikely to ever let him go. Bryson had no idea how to react; he could not believe he'd been so easily tricked into this position.

Once Bob's fun was over, he gave his victim two more shots, one of which hurt badly.   He warned Bryson that if he shouted or made any other noise, the next shot would go into his vocal chords. Bryson seemed to have no choice other than to obey as he passed out once again.

The next thing he knew, he had a fever and Bob had returned. He instructed Bryson that he was now a sex toy and was never going anywhere again. His punishments had been administered to make sure he understood his place. They were always ready and they could get worse. If he resisted too much, he could "end up in the trash" like the "others."

And there were more instructions, all intended to make Bryson utterly subservient to Bob. He could choose to cooperate and receive some comfort or he could remain tied to the bed and be used as Bob desired—and also abused.

Bryson tried to play along, but he watched for any opportunity to get out.

For the next four days, he remained at Bob's house, alternately being drugged, bound, tortured with shocks, and sexually assaulted. He was always tied to the bed with the dog collar and leash, even when a hand or foot was freed. Bob sometimes injected his throat with drain cleaner and sometimes hit him with the iron bar. He also warned Bryson that others before him had died for misbehavior. To prove this, he showed Bryson photographs of men who looked deceased. They might have been just sleeping, but Bryson could not tell.

But one day Bob made a mistake. He allowed Bryson to have his hands tied in front of him rather than to the iron bars on the bed, and once he was gone from the house, Bryson managed to get free and escape.

Now he was safe, with the police. Bob could no longer reach him. He did not yet know that the nightmares would remain with him for a long time to come.

The next step for investigators was questioning the man who owned the house on Charlotte Street, whom they soon learned was Robert Berdella. They had Chris Bryson's side of the story, and it was quite a story, but just because he had reported it did not make it true. They would withhold judgment until they had more information. They had to consider their approach to the person who was being accused of some atrocious crimes.


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