Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Fetish Killer

The Search

A team entered the Brudos home and workshop to search for items that might link him to one or more of the victims, as well as to learn more about his methods. What they discovered there was shocking. They took photographs of everything, including the hook-and-pulley in the ceiling used to hoist bodies into the air. They found nylon cord and a leather strap that might have been used for murder. From a shelf they removed a mold made from the gruesome "paperweight" that Brudos had described the one of a female breast. They also discovered a cache of women's shoes in various sizes and many styles of underwear bras, girdles, panties, and slips as well as a collection of photographs. Some were of Brudos in female underwear, but the most important ones contained horrifying images of the victims. They found one of a woman suspended from the hook-and-pulley with a black hood over her head. Another body had been dressed in several different garments and photographed. Quite often, Brudos had cut the heads out of the pictures so he could enjoy the anonymous female form.

Nightgown worn by victims
Nightgown worn by victims

The photograph that really caught their attention, as reported by Rule, was one that clinched the case against this monstrous murderer even in the minds of his own attorneys. "A girl's body, clothed in a black lace slip and panties with garters, hung suspended from the ceiling. The camera angled up to her crotch reflected in a mirror on the floorIn the lower corner of the photo, there was the frozen image of a killer, caught unawares in the mirror." It was Brudos, looking at the woman he had just murdered.

Now the police had good physical evidence against him. They had also confirmed from a survivor the details of a rape that Brudos had admitted to, although this woman had been unable to identify her attacker. In that incident, she had lost several pairs of shoes and some underwear.

It was time to proceed through the legal process. Some sources claim that neither Slawson's nor Whitney's bodies were found, while Rule indicates that Jan Whitney's was recovered in the summer of 1970. The district attorney nevertheless had sufficient evidence in 1969 in the other cases to go forward. They had the photographs and the confession. That was a "body" of evidence.

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