Jerry Brudos was born on January 31st, 1939 in Webster, South Dakota. He was the youngest of four boys and was psychologically damaged as a child by a mother who desperately wanted a girl child. She dressed him up like a Barbie Doll and he developed a weird fetish for women’s shoes and underwear.
Jerry’s family moved to Salem, Oregon and he soon began stealing women’s shoes and underwear at an early age. He would steal from neighbors and anywhere he could. When he was a teenager he began stalking young women and beating and choking them unconscious and stealing their shoes.
When he was 17 he was arrested for kidnapping and beating a young woman and was remitted to the Oregon State Hospital for nine months. Psychiatric evaluation diagnosed him with schizophrenia and blamed his sexual perversions and attacks as a revenge against his mother and women in general.
Jerry married in 1961 and fathered two children and had his seventeen-year-old bride parade around in nothing but high heels. When this proved not stimulating enough he would go out on night raid and steal shoes and underwear to sate his compulsions.
He began to experience severe migraine headaches and suffer from blackouts. He started keeping trophies of his pilfered ladies wear in his garage under lock and key and would soon begin to collect more grisly prizes. Soon Brudos’s lust fetish would spiral out of control and lead him on a collision course with strangulation and murder.
Jerry would soon earn one of his nicknames by preying on women and killing them and collecting their body parts as souvenirs. Between 1968 and 1969 Brudos strangled four young women, the first being nineteen year-old Linda Slawson, whose foot he kept to model his shoe collection.
He also butchered three other young women, Jan Whitney, Karen Sprinkler, and Linda Salee.
Salee’s body was discovered in the Long Tom River. Her corpse had been weighed down by a car part. Police working the case noted the unusual knot on the nylon rope used to tie the body to the auto part. Continuing to search the river, police found Sprinker’s remains a few days later. They, too, had been tied to a car part using an unusual knot.
During the course of their investigation, the police interviewed students at Oregon State University in Corvallis about the murders. Some female students reported receiving phone calls from a strange man claiming to be a Vietnam veteran looking for a date. One of the students actually went out with the caller—a heavyset man with light hair and freckles. During their encounter, the man made some reference to the dead women found in the river and the possibility of taking his date away and strangling her. Police asked her to call them if the man ever called again and to set up a meeting with him at her dorm. After a few days, the man—who turned out to be Brudos—called and agreed to get together with the young woman.
Instead of his date, Brudos found the police waiting for him when he arrived. They interviewed the electrician and decided to investigate him further as a possible suspect. After a young woman he previously attempted to abduct identified him, the police were able to get a search warrant for his home. There they found a wealth of evidence, including nylon rope and Brudos’s photos of the victims.
Jerry readily admitted his crimes when caught and explained them in detail. He was convicted of the four killings and sentenced to life in prison. He spent the rest of his life behind bars collecting mail order shoe catalogues up until he died of natural causes in 2006 at the age of 67.