CRIME HUNTER: How ‘damn weird’ Florida cop became a serial killer

Article content

Even when serial killer Gerard Schaefer was stabbed to death in his cell on Dec. 13, 1995 at the Florida State Prison, mystery prevailed.

Officials pinned the jailhouse slaying on his cellmate, a charmer named Vincent Rivera.

But there was a bloody palm print in the death cell that belonged to neither man. And there were boot prints all over the dead killer’s body. His lawyers claimed Rivera was a patsy.

Schaefer’s sister said her brother was murdered because he was trying to verify the murder confession of Ottis Toole who admitted killing Adam Walsh. Others said Schaefer got shivved because he was a rat.

But when Schaefer was murdered, detectives believe he took to the grave secrets on how he murdered scores of girls.

At the time of his demise, Broward County homicide detectives were about to bring new charges against Schaefer for three unsolved murders.

Outside Florida, Schaefer is not well known on the serial killer pantheon. But some experts believe he was one of the worst.


Story continues below

Article content

“He was one of the sickest,” retired FBI agent Bill Hagerty told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel in 1995.

“If I had a list of the top five, which would include all of the serial killers I have interviewed throughout the country, he would definitely be in the top five.”

Nancy Leichner and Pamela Nater are both suspected victims of Schaefer.
Nancy Leichner and Pamela Nater are both suspected victims of Schaefer. Photo by HANDOUT /FLORIDA STATE POLICE

Schaefer was born in Wisconsin and not unexpectedly, his home life was violent and chaotic. The family moved to Fort Lauderdale in 1960 and he attended community college then earned a BA from Florida Atlantic University.

Friends remember that in high school, he began showing disturbing signs of mental illness. Things like mutilating small animals and a burgeoning obsession with women’s undergarments

“He used to call himself Dr. Jerry,” a former neighbour told the newspaper “Whenever I had a loose tooth he used to yank it out with fishing line.”


Story continues below

Article content

She added: “He was so damn weird. I’m lucky to be alive, that’s what my mom keeps telling me.”

Gerard Schaefer was just getting started. His career as a serial killer would be greatly aided by his day gig: A Martin County sheriffs deputy.

On July 21, 1972, while on patrol, Schaefer picked up two teenage hitchhikers named Nancy Trotter and Paula Sue Wells.

He kidnapped them the next day, took them to a remote woods and tied them to trees. But when he was called away, the two slipped out of their bonds and went to a nearby cop shop, ironically where Schaefer worked.

The slippery creep told his boss he was merely trying to scare the girls into not hitchhiking. But Schaefer himself was not scared straight.

On Sept. 27, 1972, Schaefer abducted, tortured, and murdered Susan Place, 17, and Georgia Jessup, 16, and buried them near Port Saint Lucie.


Story continues below

Article content

Jewelry of Schaefer’s victims found in his mothers home.
Jewelry of Schaefer’s victims found in his mothers home. Photo by HANDOUT /MARTIN COUNTY SHERIFF

He was later convicted of murdering the two girls. Because of a death penalty moratorium, Schaefer escaped a one-way ticket to the electric chair.

But detectives believe he was responsible for dozens of murders in Florida and elsewhere in the U.S. Investigators described the slayings as ritualistic murders, with the victims first hanged then the evil cop had sex with their corpses. Then, he would dig up their bodies and repeat the twisted process.

He is also suspected of murdering Carmen Marie Hallock, 22; Leigh Bondadies Hainline, 25; and Belinda Hutchins, 22, all of Fort Lauderdale, in the early 1970’s.

None of their bodies were ever found.

In a 1973 search of his mother’s house, cops found jewelry and some of Hallock’s teeth were found along with the personal papers of Collette Marie Goodenough and Barbara Ann Wilcox, teen girls from Iowa whose skull-less skeletal remains were discovered in 1977 in Martin County.


Story continues below

Article content

We apologize, but this video has failed to load.

Cops also found a treasure trove of Schaefer’s writings that detail sex torture, dismemberment and murder. Investigators believe the stories reflect the reality of his murders.

Schaefer has also been eyed in unsolved homicides in West Virginia, Michigan and Pennsylvania.

One detective said the former cop had “the coldest eyes I’ve ever seen”.

“I believe his accounts are accurate depictions of what he did to his victims,” former detective Richard McIlwain said after Schaeffer’s death. “He’s writing about the crimes he carried out.”

Wissam Terabichi: Accused of kidnapping his two young children.
Wissam Terabichi: Accused of kidnapping his two young children. Photo by HANDOUT /RCMP



411:  Wanted for parental abduction. On April 4, 2018, police discovered that on March 24, 2018 Wissam Tarabichi took his two children, a daughter, 9, and son aged 8 yrs, to Seattle. The next day Tarabichi and his children flew to Beirut, Lebanon. Tarabichi was charged with Abduction in Contravention of a Custody Order. He is a computer consultant by trade and holds a Canadian, Lebanese, and Syrian passports. He is believed to be in Beirut and has family in France and Abu Dhabi.



Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour for moderation before appearing on the site. We ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications—you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there is an update to a comment thread you follow or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.


Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on linkedin
On Key

Related Posts


Russtrat world

Who are you, Monsieur Zemmour?

MOSCOW, 03 Dec 2021, RUSSTRAT Institute. The Ruptly video agency, part of the RT television company, reported that a protest rally was held in Paris

USA on the eve of white revenge

MOSCOW, 30 Nov 2021, RUSSTRAT Institute. During the presidency of Donald Trump, so many rules and even taboos have been broken in the American establishment