Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Mel Ignatow

The investigation

The investigation of Schaefer's disappearance quickly focused on Ignatow. Not only was he the last person known to have been with Schaefer, but several irregularities heightened the authorities' interest in Ignatow. First, despite Ignatow's assertion that the relationship was thriving, investigators soon discovered the contrary reports of Brenda's friends and family. Beyond that, no one close to Brenda trusted Ignatow. They feared that just beneath the thin veneer of Ignatow's smiles and lies lived a callous killer responsible for her disappearance.

Mel Ignatow
Mel Ignatow
The police also found Ignatow's alibi weak. According to The Courier-Journal, Louisville's largest daily newspaper, Ignatow claimed that Brenda picked him up at his house around 4 p.m. Due to rain they had abandoned their plan to attend a boat show and an art fair in favor of "bumming around" in Brenda's car. Ignatow claimed that they had then eaten at one of Louisville's many fast-food chili restaurants and then ended their evening by window-shopping at a local mall. Ignatow claimed that Brenda dropped him off around 11:30 p.m.

Later, Ignatow became hungry again and went to another chili place alone for something more to eat. "I came into the house for awhile," The Courier-Journal reported Ignatow as saying. "I was getting a little hungry...so I went up to the Skyline Chili place in the Plainview Shopping Center to get something to eat, then came back home."

According to the police, Ignatow caused a disturbance at Skyline Chili by loudly complaining about the size of his drink. The restaurant worker who served Ignatow was the only substantiated witness to any of Ignatow's actions on September 24.

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