Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Bob Berdella: The Kansas City Butcher

One Thing Leads to Another

Berdella was away, so the uniformed officers assigned to the job waited for him to return. When he did, walking up to their car dressed in a black shirt, they immediately arrested him on the suspicion of sexual assault and asked if he would sign a consent form to allow them to search his home.

Berdella asked for more information about why they were bothering him and when they informed him that they did not have to explain anything, he refused to allow them into the house. They did tell him that a man named Christopher had reported the incident, and he seemed incredulous. They warned Berdella that he did not have to talk and had a right to have an attorney present. At the station, Berdella contacted one.

For the moment, the police were working under the impression that this "crime" might be no more than a lovers' quarrel, with one person turning against the other and dragging the police into it. Such motives were not uncommon and Berdella's reaction had been consistent within that context. But police assigned to the case were careful to do the investigation by the book, in the event the incident turned into something unexpected. If Berdella really had held Bryson in his home for several days against his will, torturing him in unspeakable ways and warning him that he might die, they wanted answers to some key questions: What had been his intention and would they discover more victims?

To get into Berdella's house without getting attacked by his dogs, they requested the services of animal control officers. Then a squad of detectives and uniformed officers kicked in the door. Three Chow Chow dogs were found and taken out of the trash-littered home. Detectives then got to work.

Nothing stood out on the first floor, so they climbed to the second floor to start going through the bedrooms, with the awareness that Bryson had reported being tortured in an area upstairs.

 

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