"She was told me that she was going home," Ignatow told the Schaefer family. So by the morning of September 25, when police discovered Brenda's car abandoned with a flat tire and broken window, the authorities were already working a missing-person case.
The Louisville community echoed the Schaefer family's concern. With the exception of the two weeks leading up to the Kentucky Derby each year, when the city descends into a bourbon-soaked bacchanalia of millinery and horseflesh, Louisville is customarily conservative and reserved. Despite its rather large size, Louisville had maintained the sensibility of a small town, so when Schaefer vanished the city seemed to be stifling a scream. In Mel Ignatow, Louisville would find a name for evil.