While they may not have the worldwide notoriety of Ted Bundy or the Zodiac Killer, the Toolbox Killers easily go down as two of the darkest, most disturbing serial killers in American history. Armed with a specially enhanced van they nicknamed "Murder Mac" and a toolbox filled with pliers, ice picks, and more, Lawrence Bittaker and Roy Norris abducted young women, brought them into the San Gabriel Mountains in California, raped them, tortured them, and murdered them.
In total, Bittaker and Norris killed five women in a five-month span in 1979: Lucinda "Cindy" Schaefer, 16; Andrea Hall, 18; Jacqueline Gilliam, 15; Jacqueline Leah Lamp, 13, and Shirley Lynette Ledford, 16, The Los Angeles Times reported in 1989. The remains of Gilliam, Lamp, and Ledford were all eventually found. But where are the bodies of Schaefer and Hall?
That's the question Laura Brand, a private investigator and one of the foremost experts on The Toolbox Killers, wants answered, she told the crowd at CrimeCon 2021, presented by Oxygen, during a panel entitled "What Hell Is Like: The Untold Story Of The Toolbox Killers." Brand spent several years interviewing Bittaker and Norris, and her interviews with Bittaker will be the backbone of an upcoming Oxygen special about the sadistic murderer entitled "The Toolbox Killer."
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Ledford's body had been found because they disposed of her in plain sight: an ivy bed in a suburban neighborhood. The partial remains of Lamp and Gilliam were located in the mountains after Norris struck a deal to avoid the death penalty and agreed to testify for the state and help authorities find the bodies. An ice pick was still embedded in Gilliam's skull when it was discovered, Brand said. But the bodies of Hall and Schaefer are still missing.
Brand started corresponding with the two men in 2014, and in 2018 (after her boyfriend kicked her out when she was seven and a half months pregnant, she noted in the presentation,) Brand traveled to San Quentin Prison, where Bittaker was held on death row, to finally speak in person with him. He ended up drawing her a map of where he put Hall and Schaefer's bodies, as well as where he hid crucial evidence after he was tipped off to Norris' arrest, including the missing tape of Gilliam's torture, Brand said.
Brand's mission is to now get together the resources necessary to act on that map and find these bodies and evidence, as well as determine whether Bittaker and Norris had other victims. Her search will be explored further in "The Toolbox Killer," airing on Oxygen this fall.
For more on Bittaker and Norris, including how they were caught, check out Oxygen's digital evidence kit on The Toolbox Killers.