Watch CBS News

Police Solve 44-Year-Old Murder Case Of Pamela Maurer Of Woodridge; Bruce Lindahl May Have Killed More Women

LISLE, Ill. (CBS) --- On Jan. 13, 1976, Pamela Maurer of Woodridge was abducted and murdered.

Her body was found near College Road and Maple Avenue in Lisle.

As CBS 2's Jim Williams reported Monday, The investigation into the 16-year-old Downers Grove South student's death remained unsolved -- until now.

"Today, that mystery has finally been solved," said DuPage County State's Attorney Robert Berlin.

Based on new DNA evidence used for the first time in Illinois to solve a murder, investigators concluded that she was raped and strangled by Bruce Lindahl.

He died at age 28 in 1981 after he bled to death while stabbing another victim.  The coroner said his knife wounds were accidentally self inflicted.

Now police say evidence connects Lindahl to several other victims.

Maurer was last seen alive on January 13 around 9:30 p.m. when she left her friends to go purchase a soft drink at a McDonald's. Her body was discovered the next morning by road workers.

Bruce Lindahl
Bruce Lindahl (the upper right image is the composite created through DNA testing.)

In 2001, DuPage county investigators were able to create a DNA profile based on evidence taken from Maurer's body.

However, that profile never led to a match in the DNA database, Combined DNA Index System (CODIS). That's because Lindhal had died long before and had never been convicted.

Last year, more sophisticated DNA profiling done with Parabon Nanolabs was able to create a detailed description of the suspect, including hair and eye color and even facial shapes. The image on the upper right in the photos above is a composite based on the DNA results.

Investigators then created a genealogical family tree based on those results and determined the DNA matched Lindahl. The odds of the DNA matching another person was 1 in 1.8 quadrillion.

Lindahl lived in the area at the time of Maurer's murder.

Pamela Maurer
Pamela Maurer

"This case is the first case where investigative genetic genealogy has been used to solve a murder," Berlin said. "I'm proud to say with the DNA match the murder of Pamela Maurer has been solved."

Investigators traveled to Texas to inform Maurer's father and brother.

Late last year, investigators got a court order to exhume the body obtain the DNA from Lindahl's remains to build the profile.

Now police believe Lindahl is responsible killing Deborah Colliander.

At first Lindahl was charged with raping Colliander, who manged to escape from the attack.  However, two weeks before Lindahl's trial, Colliander disappeared after leaving her job at a hospital.

The case against Lindahl was dropped. Colliander's body was found on April 28, 1982 in a field on Oswego Township.

After she disappeared, a friend of Lindahl's came forward and said Lindahl offered him money and drugs to kill Colliander. The friend was a heavy drinker, never acted on the offer and never told police about it until later.

By that point, Lindahl had already died. He killed himself, police said, after stabbing Waubonsie High School senior Charles Huber 28 times.

The motive for that attack was never determined.

Investigators also think Lindahl may have something to do with the disappearance of Deborah McCall, a student at Downers Grove North.  She was last seen alive in November 1979. Photos of her were found in one of Lindahl's residences.

And there may be other victims in the 1970s and before his death, police said. The new evidence will be used to open additional investigations.

Investigators set up two tip lines: (630) 407-8107 (DuPage state's attorney) and (630) 271-4252 (Lisle police).

"More than four decades have passed since Pam Maurer was brutally murdered and sexually assaulted," DuPage county state's Berlin said. "During that time however, dozens of law enforcement personnel from multiple jurisdictions have kept her in their hearts and it is because of their diligence, commitment and compassion we are here today."

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.