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Detective claims he will ‘suffer sleepless nights for the rest of his life’ after catching serial killer

Ali Condon

Published 
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Detective claims he will ‘suffer sleepless nights for the rest of his life’ after catching serial killer

Featured Image Credit: Paramount+

It was an ordinary school night in 1976 when 16-year-old Pamela Maurer was kidnapped and murdered in her hometown of Woodridge, Illinois.  

Her body was found on the side of the road the very next day, but her murderer was never found. That was, until 2020, when a curious Detective Chris Loudon from the Lisle Police Department, Illinois, decided to reopen the decades-old cold case, only to uncover an unused box of damning evidence. 

After taking DNA evidence collected from Maurer’s body that night and running it through new state-of-the-art DNA testing equipment, Detective Loudon and his team determined that her murderer was a man named Bruce Lindahl. Not only that, but the DNA linked Lindahl to a string of other unsolved murders and disappearances in the area. 

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He is believed to have murdered at least 12 people and raped at least nine women – if not many more – between 1974 and 1981. As detectives uncover more about him, Lindahl has been likened to notorious serial killers like Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy, and Jeffrey Dahmer. 

But how did he get away with it all for so long? That’s what Detective Loudon sets out to determine in shocking new true crime series The Box. 

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Over the course of the gripping three-part docuseries, Loudon details how he and his team managed to expose Lindahl as a serial killer, speak to some of the women who survived their encounters with the deadly killer, and determine why this case couldn't have been solved 40 years sooner.

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By the time Detective Loudon and his team named Lindahl as Maurer's killer, he was long-dead.

While violently attacking a teenage boy – his first ever male victim – back in 1981, Bruce had managed to accidentally stab himself in the thigh, hitting a main artery, and subsequently bleeding out.

Did that put a damper on the pride Loudon felt when his team connected the dots and solved the unsolvable? Not in the slightest.

"Here’s the thing", he told UNILAD. "I’m glad that Bruce Lindahl died when he did because there’d be so many more victims.

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"So any personal satisfaction I would have had from putting handcuffs on him is dwarfed by the fact that no one else could ever get hurt by this piece of cr*p... I’m glad he died when he did. It’s just a shame it wasn’t 20 years earlier."

Bruce Lindahl was a serial rapist and killer who committed his crimes in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Credit: Paramount+
Bruce Lindahl was a serial rapist and killer who committed his crimes in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Credit: Paramount+

Between the years of 1974 and 1981, more than 80 women were killed in the neighbourhoods around Lindahl's home.

And of those unsolved murders, Lindahl is currently the lead suspect in at least 12.

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One of the most prominent cases linked to him was the abduction, rape, and murder of 25-year-old Deborah Colliander.

The day after Deborah went missing in June 1980, she reappeared in her local police department, and reported that Lindahl and kidnapped and raped her in his home.

Bruce was arrested and charged for the attack, but before Deborah's case against him went to court, she went missing and was never seen again, and the entire case was thrown out as a result.

Two years later, Deborah's body was found, but it wasn't until long after Bruce had died that police suspected he was responsible.

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Another woman who could have suffered a similar fate was Annette Lazar, who was kidnapped and raped at gunpoint by Lindahl in 1974 when she was just 20 years old.

Annette is one of the survivors who bravely speaks out about her horrific experience in The Box.

She managed to escape Lindahl's home and survived the gruesome incident but, due to her history of drug abuse, her case was thrown out soon after she reported it to the police.

Detective Chris Loudon. Credit: Paramount+
Detective Chris Loudon. Credit: Paramount+

Listening to the grim stories from survivors of Lindahl over the course of his investigation, it wasn't long before Detective Loudon grew an emotional attachment to the case.

While he admits he'll probably never get a good night's sleep again because of it, the detective is convinced that the heartbreak he felt over these women's stories is probably the 'only reason the case actually went forward'.

He said: "To be honest, old cases are very challenging, they’re time consuming, and if I didn’t feel so adamant about it, they would have just dropped it at some point.

“This literally consumed every minute of every thought. Even in my dreams, I still get bad dreams from talking to all the rape victims."

Loudon said it was infuriating to hear about how victims' reports about Lindahl were ignored by police while the killer was still at large.

“I’m embarrassed as a police officer and I’m mortified as a man. There was so much misogyny involved with police work back then. There’s still a level of it today. There was a tendency, especially, that crimes against women weren’t taken as seriously as other crimes."

Lindahl is currently the lead suspect in at least 12 of 80 murders. Credit: Paramount+
Lindahl is currently the lead suspect in at least 12 of 80 murders. Credit: Paramount+

By taking a look at the case with fresh eyes, Loudon and his team finally managed to put an end to the disturbing mystery that lingered over the small south-western suburbs of Chicago for decades.

Mourning families and traumatised victims can finally rest – though Detective Loudon doesn't expect to enjoy the same fate any time soon.

"If the worst thing I have is sleepless nights for the rest of my life, it’s so worth it for them to get some peace, that they identified him as their attacker, and that they know that he died a pretty cr*ppy death at a relatively young age.

"So if that makes them feel better, then it’s worth all the sleepless nights."

All episodes of the Paramount+ original series ‘The Box: An American Murder Story’ are available to stream now.

If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677 

Topics: Film & TV, Film and TV, True crime, Documentaries

Ali Condon
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