Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Mel Ignatow

The criminal sexual sadist

Ray Hazelwood
Ray Hazelwood
Roy Hazelwood, one of the FBI's preeminent experts on violent sexual sadists, was summoned to Louisville to assist with the investigation once the evidence began to point to Ignatow. Ignatow, in Hazelwood's estimation, exhibited the hallmarks of the criminal sexual sadist. As the investigation progressed, Hazelwood and his colleagues were vindicated. All of the evidence, however circumstantial, pointed to Ignatow, and every interaction that they had with him seemed to indicate that Ignatow was a textbook sexual sadist: narcissistic, a pathological liar, paranoid, and misogynistic. If Ignatow were going to maintain the pattern, he would also keep souvenirs of his victim. This observation would prove correct, but it would be too late for a full measure of justice to be served.

Even before the police began identifying Ignatow as a criminal sexual sadist, the Schaefer family intuitively understood Ignatow as a threat. In the days after Brenda's disappearance, Ignatow would come to the Schaefer house, sit in the kitchen with the family and shed alligator tears, claiming that his life was over, that he couldn't live without Brenda. In particularly audacious moments, he would silence those that hoped for Brenda's safe return by bluntly saying that he thought she was already dead. Ignatow often broke down sobbing and crying like an inconsolable child.

Like many predators, Ignatow savored turning the tables and claiming a portion of the public's sympathy. From the beginning of this long, torturous ordeal, he'd placed himself at the Schaefer's table, a hated suspect demanding sympathy. As the days became weeks and weeks became months, the city became more distraught, and Ignatow became bolder in his claims for the public's compassion.

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