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Laurie “Bambi” Bembenek, a Playboy bunny grew to become Milwaukee police officer accused of murdering her husband’s ex-wife, has been reputedly forgotten with time — till now.
The girl at the back of what Diane Sawyer referred to as “essentially the most glamorous homicide case of the Eighties” is now the topic of a true-crime Apple Original podcast, “Run, Bambi, Run,” which explores her conviction and supreme break out from a Wisconsin prison that ended in a global hunt.
It options an in-depth interview with Bembenek’s biographer and shut pal Kris Radish, who prior to now wrote a e book by means of the similar identify, in addition to crime mavens, former journalists who coated the case and Sheldon Zenner, one among Bembenek’s legal professionals.
Bembenek, who maintained her innocence, died in 2010 at age 52 from liver failure.
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“I used to be amazed that I had by no means heard of Laurie Bembenek, who was once one of the vital greatest icons of the ‘80s,” host and Campside Media co-founder Vanessa Grigoriadis instructed Fox News Digital. “The reality is, such a lot of persons are forgotten over the years … As other people grow older, the ones tales must be retold. Otherwise, everybody will simply disregard them. I believed this was once a just right alternative to delve into this interesting girl and interesting case.”
Grigoriadis famous that a part of her analysis in bringing this podcast to lifestyles was once taking a deep dive into mountains of prison paperwork, in addition to talking with prosecutors, detectives and those that attended the police academy with Bembenek.
“It’s at all times interesting when any individual who’s portrayed by means of the media finally ends up being so other,” she defined. “In this example, you’ve a girl who’s portrayed as each the villain and likewise as a sufferer. She was once portrayed as a assassin and likewise as any individual who were victimized by means of a corrupt machine. I actually felt she was once this good, uncanny, humorous girl who was once radicalized in jail and changed into a feminist, a Marxist who stood up for different prisoners’ rights. She ran a class-action swimsuit on behalf of all prisoners for overcrowding … She had an entire different lifestyles in prison. And, on this case, she escapes.”
Bembenek in short labored as a Playboy Club waitress in Lake Geneva prior to changing into a Milwaukee police officer in 1980. The following 12 months, she married Detective Fred Schultz. He was once a 13-year veteran of the Milwaukee Police Department who was once 10 years older than her.
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Schultz was once prior to now married to Christine Schultz, a stay-at-home mother to the couple’s two sons. The pair referred to as it quits in 1980.
Bembenek’s whirlwind romance with Schultz didn’t remaining lengthy.
On the morning of May 28, 1981, the Schultzes’ 11-year-old son Sean was once woke up when a masked intruder tried to tie one thing round his neck. He screamed, and the intruder headed to Christine’s room. The kid heard what appeared like a firecracker, and the intruder fled down the steps. Sean went to his mom’s bed room and referred to as Stuart Honeck, her boyfriend, who then referred to as the police. The 30-year-old was once useless, sure and gagged. The scientific examiner testified that Christine died from a unmarried gunshot that handed via her center.
It was once reported that Fred Schultz was once on responsibility on the time of the homicide. However, his off-duty revolver was once tested by means of ballistics mavens, who made up our minds that the bullet that killed Christine was once fired by means of the similar weapon. Bembenek was once arrested, and a hairbrush belonging to her had hair in step with hairs discovered within the bandana used to gag Christine.
Bembenek was once convicted in 1982 of fatally taking pictures Christine after complaining in regards to the alimony Schultz needed to pay. She was once sentenced to lifestyles in jail however maintained her innocence.
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In 1990, a divorced Bembenek escaped from Taycheedah Correctional Institution and fled to Canada together with her fiancé, the brother of a fellow inmate. She escaped by means of crawling via a laundry room window.
“She did care for her innocence till the day she died,” stated Grigoriadis. “I additionally seemed on the principle that she will have been in the home. She may just certainly had been there. She had no alibi, and the state has at all times maintained that she did this crime, even after it changed into a global fiasco. It’s very exhausting to take a look at her trial and say not anything unsuitable came about as a result of moderately a little bit that was once offered on the authentic trial has since been debunked. But you need to account for the truth that the federal government was once below global drive.
“Some of the facets of the trial had been so outrageous that it’s exhausting to play them instantly,” she added. “It’s exhausting to mention, ‘Yes, this girl for sure stole a inexperienced jogging swimsuit from a store and dedicated this homicide in it.’ There had been such a lot of items of proof that felt like they didn’t line up.”
After Bembenek escaped, greater than 200 supporters in Milwaukee, many dressed in “Run, Bambi, Run” T-shirts, rallied in make stronger of her flight from the regulation. Bembenek and her fiancé had been residing below faux names once they had been captured in Thunder Bay, Ontario, about 3 months after the case was once featured on “America’s Most Wanted.”
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“I feel America likes to root for the underdog,” stated Grigoriadis. “We call to mind any individual who escapes jail as a person who’s simply taken the regulation into their very own palms and all is honest and sq. … [People] are titillated by means of inmates who break out and are excited to listen to what occurs subsequent. And Laurie was once very convincing.”
Grigoriadis famous that Bembenek’s just right seems — the clicking described her as a twiglet — in the long run harm her.
“I feel they helped her in different portions of her lifestyles as a result of it’s true — bodily look does get advantages people,” Grigoriadis stated. “But she was once additionally being made as a femme fatale. The argument was once she was once so gorgeous that she wanted cash to stay alongside of her way of life and appears … Now if you’re gorgeous, you might be observed as just right. Somehow your insides fit your outsides … But again in 1982, those girls had been observed as evil, jealous and in a position to committing one thing like this.”
In 1992, Bembenek was once launched on parole after her authentic conviction was once put aside, and she or he agreed to plead no contest to second-degree homicide as a part of a deal. A no-contest plea isn’t an act of contrition however is handled as such for sentencing functions.
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She moved to Washington state to reside together with her folks, the place she fought to transparent her identify till her demise. Bemebek had a pardon request pending with then-Gov. Jim Doyle when she died. Doyle, a Democrat, didn’t act at the pardon request.
In 2019, Bembenek’s lawyer, Mary Woehrer, despatched Gov. Tony Evers a pardon request. She argued that new ballistics and DNA proof turn out Bembenek’s innocence. Evers, a Democrat, declined to remark on the time on explicit pardon requests.
Bembenek’s case has been the topic of more than one books, a 1993 TV film starring Tatum O’Neal and the focal point of an Investigation Discovery (ID) episode of “Vanity Fair Confidential.”
Schultz moved to Florida the place he began a brand new lifestyles working a carpentry industry. In 1990, he instructed the Chicago Tribune he believed his moment spouse killed his first, including, “I feel she did it for the either one of us.”
While there was once suspicion that Schultz will have been concerned, he was once by no means attached to the homicide. He has additionally denied any involvement in different interviews.
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Grigoriadis stated she hasn’t won any comments from Christine’s circle of relatives in regards to the podcast. And she doesn’t assume we’ll ever actually know who killed her.
“I feel what we do know is that the police botched the investigation of a girl who, on the time, was once an enemy in their division,” stated Grigoriadis. “I am hoping at some point this example will probably be solved for everybody.”
New episodes of ‘Run Bambi Run’ are launched on Mondays. The Associated Press contributed to this file.