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Porchlight International for the Missing & Unidentified > Missing Persons 1969 > Slawson, Linda Kay January 1969

Title: Slawson, Linda Kay January 1969
Description: Portland, Oregon

monkalup - October 13, 2008 02:14 AM (GMT)
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36 years later, killer's death relieves victims' families

Some think Brudos always had expected to get out of prison

Statesman Journal

March 29, 2006

Tuesday's death of notorious Oregon inmate Jerome Brudos could not have come soon enough for the family members of his victims.

For the past 36 years, they have lived with the knowledge that the killer of their loved ones continued to seek release from prison. And they grieved anew for their loss with his every attempt.

Brudos' death Tuesday at age 67 inside the Oregon State Penitentiary ended those appeal efforts. And perhaps it allowed the families of Karen Elena Sprinker, Jan Susan Whitney, Linda Dawn Salee and Linda Kay Slawson to find a sense of peace.

"I'm feeling relief," said Cindi Elliott, the younger sister of Jan Whitney, the first of the three women whose deaths would be attributed to Brudos. "I'm glad it's over. You hate to say you are glad that someone is dead, but my family believes it should have happened years ago."

Elliott, now 57 and living in Aurora, was 18 at the time of Whitney's disappearance. She said her family has lived with her sister's murder for 36 years.

"As soon as I heard he was dead, I started crying, and it was not for him," Elliott said. "It was for our family. He put our family through h**l. I'm assuming that he's destroyed many lives, and I don't think any family ever recovers. You're never really the same."

Brudos sexually assaulted and strangled the women, then cut up some of the bodies and dumped all three corpses into area rivers.

The bodies of Salee and Sprinker were found in the Long Tom River near Monroe in early May 1969. They had been weighted with auto-body parts. Whitney's body was found in July 1969 in the Willamette River near Independence.

While in custody, Brudos told a psychologist that he had killed a fourth woman, Linda Kay Slawson, 19, of Aloha. Slawson last was seen in January 1969 selling encyclopedias door-to-door in Portland, where Brudos and his family lived at the time. Her body never was recovered.

Police were led to Brudos as a suspect April 22, 1969, after he was suspected of assault with a deadly weapon and the temporary abduction of a 15-year-old Salem girl near what now is Parrish Middle School. Police arrested Brudos after the girl identified him as the man who attempted to kidnap her.

The detective who broke the killings was Jim Stovall of the Salem Police Department, now retired. Stovall interviewed Brudos extensively during Memorial Day weekend in 1969. Stovall, now 81, said Tuesday that Brudos attempted to play mind games with him during their interviews. Brudos used hypothetical examples that struck a little too close to the truth to be a coincidence, Stovall said. Stovall gathered enough information from Brudos to file charges in three of the missing-woman cases by the end of the weekend.

Stovall said after the interviews that Brudos also admitted killing Slawson and throwing her mutilated body into the Willamette River from the Wilsonville bridge on Interstate 5. Slawson's body was not recovered, and no physical evidence could be found to support going forward with prosecution.

After pleading guilty to the murders of Salee, Whitney and Sprinker, and being sentenced less than a month after being charged with their murders, Brudos entered the Oregon State Penitentiary on June 27, 1969.

Brudos was born Jan. 31, 1939, in South Dakota. He later would describe a childhood of abuse by family members. He was taken into custody in Polk County in 1956 at age 17 for stealing women's underwear and also was charged with taking pictures of a naked girl, and placed under the care of the Oregon State Hospital. In 1960, he was found by Oregon State University officials near a dormitory with a large amount of women's clothing and wearing women's underwear and shoes.

He became an electrician and married Ralphene Leone on Sept. 30, 1961. The couple were raising their two young children at the time of Brudos' arrest in 1969. The family moved from Portland to Salem during the time in which the women disappeared.

Ralphene Brudos divorced her husband after she was acquitted of charges that she participated in Brudos' crimes.

Brudos tried repeatedly to win release.

During parole hearings, Brudos told of having a troubled childhood, saying that he was mentally abused by his entire family. When he was 13, Brudos said, his family barred him from the house. As an adult, Brudos said he experienced blackouts and became increasingly detached from the world around him.

Asked at a parole hearing whether he hated women, Brudos said no. But he declined to delve into his homicidal impulses, saying only that killing helped him let off steam.

Detective Stovall said the Brudos case was unusual in that it required a large degree of cooperation among law enforcement agencies throughout the Willamette Valley. Serial killers and cases involving missing and murdered young women now are given wide attention by television news and other programs, but the Brudos case was the first of its kind for the Northwest.

"I'm satisfied that he has died," Stovall said Tuesday. "It's just good riddance. He was a true monster."

Stovall last talked to Brudos shortly before he went into the state prison. Stovall said he thinks Brudos agreed to plead guilty to the three murders with the idea that he would be released at some point. He described Brudos as "meticulous," but also as someone who thought he was a lot smarter than he actually was.

"He was always hopeful that he would be released, I think," Stovall said. "And he was always pretty arrogant about it when he was interviewed on TV."

For Cindi Elliott, the death of Jerome Brudos marks an end to a dark and long chapter in her life and the lives of her family members.

"It's over," she said. "It's finally done and it's pretty sad. I'm not saying that he was the only link we had to our sister, but ... I heard he suffered with his cancer. Well, he didn't make death easy for my sister for the other girls. I hope eternity is not easy on him."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

ddecarbo@StatesmanJournal. com or (503) 399-6714

prosecution of Jerome Brudos.

Jan. 26, 1968: Linda Slawson, 19, of Aloha is last seen selling encyclopedias in the Portland neighborhood where Brudos lived with his wife, Ralphene, and their two kids. Slawson's body was never recovered, but Brudos later would tell police he killed her and threw her body into the Willamette River from the Wilsonville bridge on Interstate 5. Brudos never was prosecuted for her death.

Nov. 25, 1968: Jan Whitney, 23, of McMinnville is last seen in Eugene. Her car was later found abandoned at a rest stop along Interstate 5 between Salem and Albany.

March 27, 1969: Karen Sprinker, 19, of Salem is last seen alive in the Meier & Frank parking lot in downtown Salem.

April 22, 1969: Gloria Jean Smith, 15, is nearly abducted while walking near Parrish Middle School. Smith eventually identifies Brudos as the man who attempted to kidnap her and take her to a green Volkswagen Karmann Ghia, a car later identified as belonging to Brudos' mother. Before getting to the car, Smith spots Phyllis Kerr working in nearby front yard and yells to her and pulls away.

April 23, 1969: Linda Salee, 22, of Beaverton is last seen alive at the Lloyd Center parking lot in Portland.

May 10, 1969: The body of Linda Salee, 22, is found in the Long Tom River near Monroe, weighted down.

May 12, 1969: The body of Karen Elena Sprinker, 19, is found in the Long Tom River near Monroe, weighted down.

May 18, 1969: Jerome Brudos is identified as a possible suspect after a tip from an Oregon State University student.

May 26, 1969: Brudos' home in the 3100 block of Center Street NE is searched by police who find copper wire, rope and pictures of female victims.

May 29, 1969: Brudos is arrested on a charge of armed assault related to the April 22 incident with Gloria Smith.

June 3, 1969: Brudos is arrested in Salem on three counts of murder in the deaths of Karen Sprinker, Linda Salee and Jan Whitney.

June 27, 1969: Brudos pleads guilty to three counts of murder in the deaths of Sprinker, Salee and Whitney, three days before the scheduled start of a trial. Judge Val Sloper hands down three consecutive life sentences. Brudos is transferred to the Oregon State Penitentiary.

July 27, 1969: The body of Jan Whitney is found tied to a piece of railroad iron in the Willamette River near Independence.

June 21, 1995: After repeated parole hearings, the Oregon Parole Board tells Brudos he will never be paroled. "You will be in prison for the rest of your life, and there will be no further parole hearings," said board chair Marva Fabien. Brudos continues to be allowed to appear before parole board every two years for an informal interview.

March 28, 2006: Jerome Brudos dies at 5:10 a.m. inside the Oregon State Penitentiary.

Brudos' known victims

Jan Susan Whitney was the first of the three women whose deaths would be attributed to Jerome Brudos. The 23-year-old from McMinnville last was seen in Eugene on Nov. 25, 1968. Her car later was found abandoned at a rest area along Interstate 5 between Salem and Albany.

Karen Elena Sprinker of Salem, a 19-year-old honor student at Oregon State University, was killed in March 1969. Police suspected that she was abducted from the parking structure at Meier & Frank in downtown Salem, where she was to meet up with her mother for a lunch date.

Linda Dawn Salee, 19, of Beaverton worked as a secretary and attended classes part time at Portland State University. In April 1969, Salee's car was found at Lloyd Center in Portland, where she had gone to buy her boyfriend a birthday present.

Linda Kay Slawson, 19, of Aloha, last was seen in January 1968 selling encyclopedias door-to-door in Portland, where Brudos and his family lived at the time. Her body never was recovered, and Brudos never was prosecuted for her death.

monkalup - October 13, 2008 02:20 AM (GMT)

2006_03_29: Oregon serial killer dies after 36 years in prison Salem OR
Serial killer Jerome Brudos, the longest-held prisoner in the Oregon State Penitentiary, died Tuesday of natural causes, state officials said. Brudos was 67.
Admitted to prison on June 27, 1969, Brudos was serving three life sentences for murdering three women in his Salem home.

In a brief news release, the state Department of Corrections said he "passed away of natural causes" at 5:10 a.m.

Brudos pleaded guilty in 1969 to the strangulation murders Jan Susan Whitney, 23, and Karen Elena Sprinker and Linda Dawn Salee, both 19.

Oregon did not have the death penalty at the time.

Brudos, whose crimes were detailed in the Ann Rule novel "Lust Killer," expressed no remorse for the murders. Relatives of Brudos' victims had asked during parole hearings, often tearfully, that he be kept in prison for the rest of his life.

He cut up some of the bodies and dumped all three corpses into local rivers.

Whitney was murdered after her car broke down on Interstate 5 near Albany in 1968 and Brudos offered her a ride.

Sprinker vanished in March 1969 from the Meier & Frank department store parking lot in Salem. Salee disappeared in April 1969 on a trip to the Lloyd Center shopping mall in Portland.

Brudos also was charged in Multnomah County with the killing of Linda Kay Slawson, 19, of Aloha.

She disappeared in January 1968 while selling encyclopedias in the Portland neighborhood where Brudos then lived. He was not prosecuted after the first three convictions in Marion County.

Brudos had tried repeatedly to win release.

During a parole hearing three years ago, Brudos said he was a good candidate to re-enter mainstream society.

"I think I've got a whole new personality," Brudos said. At the time, he said his daily routine included working as an orderly and making handicraft projects in the prison hobby shop.

"One day's like another day in here," he said. "I tend to lose track."

During parole hearings, Brudos told of having a troubled childhood, saying that he was mentally abused by his entire family. When he was 13, Brudos said, his family barred him from the house. As an adult, Brudos said he experienced blackouts and became increasingly detached from the world around him.

Asked at a parole hearing whether he hated women, Brudos said no. But he declined to delve into his homicidal impulses, saying only that killing helped him let off steam

monkalup - October 13, 2008 02:21 AM (GMT)

monkalup - October 13, 2008 02:22 AM (GMT)
2006_03_29: Killer dead but doubts still linger Salem OR
Oregon’s longest-imprisoned serial killer died quietly Tuesday, and few in Corvallis will mourn him.

To longtime residents, the name Jerome Brudos is one they were glad to forget when the heavy gates at the Oregon State Penitentiary slid shut behind the 30-year-old serial killer in June 1969.

Brudos’ crimes have been exhaustively documented in everything from creepy Internet sites devoted to serial killers to crime writer Ann Rule’s exhaustive book about his deviant, murderous exploits, “Lust Killer.” For those who don’t know or have not read about him, suffice to say here that by the time he went to prison to serve three life sentences, Brudos had kidnapped, raped, imprisoned, tortured and killed five women in 1968 and 1969, including a 19-year-old Oregon State University student.

Two of the victims’ bodies were recovered by Benton County sheriff’s deputies in May 1969 from the Long Tom River, and credit for stopping Brudos goes to the women at Oregon State University who alerted police to a strange man on campus, and to the police investigators who ably followed up on those leads and arrested Brudos.

Corvallis has other key connections to Brudos; this is where he lived as a youth, and where he attacked his teenaged date. Brudos graduated from high school in 1957, although few of his classmates knew at the time that he’d already been locked up at the state hospital in Salem in connection with the date attack.

But in all of the years that society has kept Brudos behind bars, and all the psychiatrists who interviewed him still haven’t yielded the answer that we most want to know — how can we identify and stop serial murders like Brudos before they kill?

Psychiatrists now believe that a fundamental inability to empathize with other living beings is common to all serial killers. This lack of “bonding” with other humans is most often attributed to a bad relationship with one or both parents. But how do we recognize the difference between the many people with poor social skills, some violent tendencies and a bad relationship with authority and someone who is a budding serial killer?

Brudos didn’t help much. He wouldn’t talk about the motivation for his crimes, except to say that he was “letting off steam” when he killed. The horrific photos he took of his victims amply demonstrated how much he relished causing pain. In some ways, he was able to do so repeatedly from prison: Every time he came up for parole, the families of his victims went to Salem to testify against his release, every few years for the past 37 years.

That ordeal, finally, is over for them.

monkalup - October 13, 2008 02:23 AM (GMT)
2005_08_18: Serial killer refuses to detail crimes Salem OR
Board again rejects a formal hearing for Jerome Brudos

Salem's most notorious killer told a parole board Wednesday that he is recovering from colon cancer and pursuing his master's degree in counseling at the Oregon State Penitentiary.

Jerome Brudos, 66, has been locked up since 1969, longer than any other Oregon inmate.

Bald and portly, the serial killer said he is mellowing with age.

Three weeks ago, Brudos said, he avoided a prison altercation by walking away.

"I never would have done that" in past years, he said, drawing a distinction between his "hotheaded" past and his changed demeanor.

Mellowed or not, Brudos offered no new insight into his crimes. He declined to answer when a board member asked him why he committed the torture-murders that landed him behind bars for life.

Brudos indicated that the public session wasn't a suitable forum to delve into the matter.

"This is information I wanted to give to the board without it becoming public record or reading it in the newspaper," he said. "I have no intention of baring my soul."

No visitors attended Wednesday's proceeding of the state board of parole and post-prison supervision. The half-hour session officially was deemed a "personal interview" between Brudos and the board, not a parole hearing.

In 1995, the board voted to ban Brudos from ever getting parole. Since then, he has been allowed an interview with the board every two years.

It would take board action to grant Brudos a formal hearing. The three-member panel rejected such action Wednesday.

Board chairman Michael Washington told Brudos that he wouldn't receive a formal hearing, in part because of his refusal to candidly discuss his crimes.

Brudos pleaded guilty and was sentenced to three consecutive life sentences for killing three women in Salem: Jan Susan Whitney, Karen Elena Sprinker and Linda Dawn Salee.

Brudos abducted the women from public places and took them to his home near the Oregon State Hospital. When police searched his home, they found a collection of his photos, some showing victims hanging from a pulley. One of his victims choked to death after he used the contraption to lift her off the floor and left the room.

Investigators determined that Brudos sexually attacked his victims and mutilated them before dumping their bodies into area rivers.

Brudos also admitted to a fourth murder in Multnomah County, telling a psychiatrist that he killed a teenager who was selling encyclopedias door to door in Portland. Her body was not found, and he was not prosecuted in that case.

At the penitentiary, Brudos told the board Wednesday that he has benefited from 17 years of psychological treatment, as well as schooling and work programs.

"I'm more stable now than I ever was out on the streets," he said.

Brudos said that he accepts responsibility for his crimes but that he prefers not to dwell on what happened.

"I'm trying to get on with my life," he said.

Brudos said he has earned two college degrees behind bars, in general sciences and counseling.

"I'm working on a third," he said, citing his work toward a master's degree in counseling.

Brudos repeatedly criticized the past and present parole board. He said the board's 1995 decision to ban him from parole consideration was "an act of vengeance."

Federal court rulings have upheld the board's handling of Brudos' case, Washington said. The longtime convict gets an interview with the board every two years because the courts have held that he is entitled to the biennial meetings, he said.

Brudos says he is being deprived of his rights.

"This is not over," he said, handcuffed and waiting to return to his cell after meeting with the board. "They cannot remove my legal rights."

Asked about his health, Brudos said he underwent colon cancer surgery about a year ago. He had little to say about his prognosis or prison routines.

"One day's like another in here," he said.

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