Lisle Cold-Case Murder Solved, Killer Long Dead: Authorities

Sun-Times Media Wire
January 13, 2020 - 12:15 pm
Lisle Cold Case Solved

DNA evidence shows that Pamela Maurer (left) was murdered by Bruce Lindahl (right) in 1976 in Lisle. | DuPage County state’s attorney’s office

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LISLE (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Exactly 44 years ago, authorities found 16-year-old Pamela Maurer dead on the side of the road in west suburban Lisle.

She had been raped and strangled — most likely with a rubber hose found near her body.

Today, authorities announced they’ve identified a likely serial killer responsible for the 1976 rape and strangulation of the teen from Woodridge.

Using a new type of DNA analysis — the same used to identify the Golden State Killer — investigators say they’ve determined that Bruce Lindahl abducted the teenager as she left a friend’s house alone to buy a soda.

Maurer’s parents called police the night of Jan. 12, 1976 to report her missing, but she was found dead the next morning near College Road and Maple Avenue in Lisle.

Her murder remained unsolved for 44 years “despite an exhaustive investigation by law enforcement,” DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert Berlin said Monday in a news conference.

“Today, that mystery has finally been solved,” he said.

DuPage County State's Attorney Bob Berlin
DuPage County State's Attorney Bob Berlin talks with reporters Monday about a 1976 cold case murder that is now solved. (WBBM Newsradio)

Lindahl was 23 at the time of the murder, but died five years later from accidental self-inflicted injuries during the stabbing murder of 18-year-old Charles Huber of Naperville, Berlin said.

Investigators believe Lindahl is responsible for other murders in the area, Berlin said.

Lindahl is also suspected of ordering the killing Debra Colliander, an Aurora woman who accused Lindahl of kidnapping and raping her, Berlin said. Colliander disappeared shortly before she was expected to testify against him. She was found in a shallow grave years later in Oswego Township.

“I suspect him to be a serial killer,” said Lisle police detective Chris Loudon.

“We know he killed Huber, we suspect with good reason that he killed Colliander. We know he killed Pam Maurer. He killed himself. And there are other cases that are actively being investigated in other departments that we feel he’s a solid suspect. … There’s a lot of active investigations,” Loudon said.

Berlin said the investigation relied on a new type of DNA analysis called investigative genetic genealogy. He said it’s the first murder to be solved in Illinois using the technique.

Using DNA found on Maurer’s body, investigators used publicly available DNA databases to construct a possible family tree of a suspect and identify relatives of a suspect, Berlin said.

After identifying Lindahl as a suspect, prosecutors got permission in November to exhume Lindahl’s body and test his DNA. Berlin said the tests were a match.

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