Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Mel Ignatow

I told you never to call me again!

Brenda Sue Schaefer was a happy person. Although she had some misgivings about Ignatow, she felt that he loved her. That went a long way for Brenda, and she tried to make the relationship work. But in the weeks leading up to her disappearance, her friends, family, and co-workers detected problems. Brenda began to complain about Ignatow's behavior, particularly where sex was concerned.

Brenda Sue Schaefer
Brenda Sue Schaefer
This wasn't the first time that Brenda had been in a relationship that she found sexually intimidating. Her ex-husband, Pete Van Pelt, had complained to friends that Brenda wasn't fully comfortable with her sexuality and that, likewise, she was uncomfortable with his sexual advances.

The trouble with her relationship with Ignatow publicly erupted few days before Brenda's disappearance. While at her job working for Louisville physician Dr. William Spalding, Brenda's co-workers overheard her yelling at Ignatow on the phone, "I told you never to call me again!" Much to their relief, Brenda had also told several friends and colleagues that she had ended her relationship with Ignatow. Schaefer once told a friend, Linda Love, a story that Love found difficult to believe. Love told Bob Hill that once, while on vacation with Ignatow, Brenda had awoken to find Ignatow holding a chloroform-soaked cloth to her face. "I just wanted you to relax," Hill reported Ignatow as saying, "It's something to help you sleep." Who knows how many times Ignatow had succeeded in rendering Brenda unconscious without her knowledge?

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