Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Mel Ignatow

Grand jury

During the preparations for the grand jury testimony the prosecution did find something with which it could work a weak-willed witness who admitted to having had sex with Ignatow within six months of Schaefer's disappearance. It was obvious from her demeanor that she knew something, but in order to talk she'd have to fear the law as much as she feared Ignatow.

Jim Wesley
Jim Wesley
"Brenda Schaefer was beautiful!" Officer Jim Wesley shouted at Mary Ann Shore-Inlow, according to Bob Hill's Double Jeopardy. "Brenda Schaefer was beautiful, and Mel loved her, and he still killed her. You're ugly and Mel doesn't [care] about you....You're dead." Wesley, who had been a lead investigator on the Schaefer disappearance, was at his wits' end. Wesley and his colleagues knew that Shore-Inlow held the key to the case, but they could not get her to talk.

Mary Ann Shore-Inlow was one of Ignatow's former girlfriends. Shore-Inlow was often down on her luck and barely scraping by. She had indulged an infatuation with Ignatow for a decade, hoping that her relationship with Ignatow would win out over his engagement with Schaefer. Many times during his engagement Ignatow would visit Shore-Inlow for sex, often complaining about Brenda's timid sexuality. Shore-Inlow had also been intimate with Ignatow soon after Brenda's disappearance. It was too close for comfort too strange not to be telling. Time and again, the police questioned Shore-Inlow, and each time she refused to admit anything, though she was obviously straining under the pressure.

Finally, as the grand jury proceedings continued, Shore-Inlow broke and led the police to a wooded area behind her house. In a shallow grave they found Brenda Sue Schaefer's remains. Two grisly packages were buried in the sodden ground. One contained Schaefer's clothes, the other her tightly-trussed, horribly decomposed body. According to Hill, the ground in which Schaefer was buried was always moist, which contributed to a particular type of decomposition known as adipocere; all of the soft tissue had turned into a viscous jelly. What remained of Schaefer's yellowed skin would slip from her body with the slightest touch. Her facial features were unrecognizable. There was no discernable physical evidence that would point to cause of death. Although the medical examiner would eventually rule that she had been killed by asphyxiation, the original coroner's report listed cause of death as "homicide by undetermined means."

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