Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Shotgun Slaying of Bruce and Darlene Rouse

Two Shots in the Night

Bruce and Darlene Rouse were self-made millionaires who seemed to be living the American dream. They owned a 13-room mansion in the upper-class Chicago suburb of Libertyville, had three children and were popular members of society. Their lineage in the area could be traced back a century.

Libertyville, Ill. sign
Libertyville, Ill. sign

So no one was prepared for what happened around 2:30 a.m. on June 6, 1980. Someone entered the couple's first-floor master bedroom while they were sleeping and fired a shotgun blast that hit Darlene between the eyes. She died instantly.

As Bruce was jolted awake, he was shot in the jaw. It seemed like the killer either missed a dead-on shot or wanted Bruce to suffer because he survived the shot. So the killer bashed his head in with the butt of the gun then plunged a steak knife repeatedly into his heart. All of this supposedly happened while two of the Rouses' three children slept in their bedrooms on the floor above—the third child was sleeping in the guest quarters behind the house.

The town of Libertyville was shocked at the brutality of a crime that seemed inconceivable within its borders. The Rouse children aged 20, 17, and 15 moved on with their lives, soon living in three different states while detectives struggled for leads. They may have had an inkling who did it, but no proof would be forthcoming for 15 years.


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