"CSI: Miami" actress Eva La Rue. (CBS)
"I had hit an emotional wall in the scene
because I couldn't be connected to it…because I
hadn't yet connected to it for myself."
Eva La Rue
(CBS) Over 20 years ago, police in southern California
were investigating the homicide of a Jane Doe, when a
tantalizing clue – and another murder – would unmask a
Fast forward to 2006 and a star of the hit CBS show
"CSI: Miami" finds herself working on an episode that
draws from her true-life story, of how she came face to
face with that very same serial killer.
Bill Lagattuta reports.
On the set of the hit "CSI," everything may look normal
but, says star Eva La Rue, it’s not. That’s because an
episode she is working on is based on a true story — a
story that is painful and personal.
Over 20 years ago, in the early 1980's, Eva and her
sister Nika came face to face with a real life serial
"They used to have in southern California these amateur
photo days," Eva remembers.
Thousands of girls would show up at these events, all
chasing their dreams. "Any guys could come up and say,
'I’m a photographer and I’m gonna make you a star,' and
young girls tend to believe that," remembers Alina
Thompson, who like Eva, was a regular at these open
"Anybody could come and pay the fee, just a small fee
and then they had the right to photograph any of the
models in any of the settings," says Tina Teets, who was
also a regular.
Tina also remembers meeting the serial killer, Bill
Bradford. "The scary part is he was not a bad looking
man. He was very approachable, clean cut for the most
part, not the persona of what you would expect the bad
guy to look like," she recalls.
Bradford was one of the many amateur photographers who
showed up at those photo shoots and came away with
pictures of pretty young girls. He was approachable and
clean cut, but he was after something else: Bradford was
a serial killer, looking for victims. And when he killed
— he strangled his victims — he took body parts as
"It turns out that there are quite a few women in this
world who were last seen with Bill Bradford," says
former district attorney Pam Bozanich. She says Bradford
operated in Los Angeles and other parts of the country
from 1975 to 1984. Police think it’s possible he may
even have been operating as early as 1966.
One woman who was lucky enough to get away is Bradford’s
ex-wife Cindy Sue Horton, who met him when she was only
15 years old. "He was gonna make a model out of me, I
was gonna go places and do things," Cindy tells
But once she became pregnant, Cindy says everything
changed. "He’d kick me down the street, he tried to slam
my stomach in the door, he was beating me up and raping
me," she says.
Pam Bozanich was a young district attorney when she
first heard Bradford's name. The year was 1984 and cops
had just discovered the body of a naked woman who had
been strangled and dumped in a lot in west L.A.
Bozanich says the badly decomposed body was found
wrapped in a dirty old blanket. The body had been
mutilated in a number of places, including a patch of
skin on the woman’s left ankle.
John St. John, a homicide detective and LAPD legend
better known as "Jigsaw," got the case but initially
even he was stymied by the case: the woman was
classified as Jane Doe No. 60.
"So her body’s found July 6th. Six days later, Tracy
Campbell disappeared. The last person she’s seen alive
with is Bill Bradford," says Bozanich.
Campbell, 15, was Bradford’s next door neighbor.
Bozanich says police went to Bradford's house to talk to
him and decided to get a search warrant. Police soon
discovered hundreds of photographs and undeveloped
negatives of young women and one in particular caught
the eye of "Jigsaw John" and his partner John Rockwood.
Rockwood zeroed in on a tattoo barely visible on
the woman’s left ankle. He flashed on the
location of the patch of skin that had been
removed from Jane Doe No. 60: it was in the
exact same spot.
"They went to Bill Bradford 'Who is this girl?' 'Her
name’s Shari Miller,'" explains Bozanich.
Using fingerprints, detectives quickly established that
Jane Doe No. 60 was Shari Miller. And her picture
yielded yet another important clue.
"In the picture of Shari Miller, she’s standing in front
of a distinctive rock formation," says Bozanich.
Detectives figured if they could find that rock, they
might unravel the mystery of what happened to Tracy
Campbell. A buddy of Bradford’s led cops out to
Bradford’s favorite camping spot in the desert.
Sgt. Dick Adams, now retired, was one of dozens of
police officers who in 1984 traveled to Antelope Valley,
a desert region north of Los Angeles, searching for
The police set up a command post and fanned out, some on
horseback, in search of the unique rock formation.
Finally, they found it.
Adams says within 100 yards of that rock, searchers
found the body of Tracy Campbell. The teen, like Shari
Miller, had been strangled to death.
"This was his killing ground," Adams says.
But the killer made a terrible mistake, leaving behind a
devastating piece of evidence. "When they found Tracy
Campbell, she had a blouse wrapped around her head that
belonged to Shari Miller," Bozanich explains.
That, she says, tied them to Bradford. "No one else
could have done this."
Bozanich was determined to convict Bradford and
convinced a judge to tie the murder cases together.
Bradford was convicted of the murders of Shari Miller
and Tracy Campbell. Then, at sentencing, Bozanich
brought in a parade of women who said they had been
raped by Bradford.
"We had six victims lined up to testify," Bozanich
remembers. "Six rape victims and he didn’t just rape
‘em. He tortured ‘em."
But Bradford wasn’t finished with them. He fired his
lawyers and questioned the women himself, including
ex-wife Cindy Horton, who told jurors what it was like
to live with Bradford.
Pam Bozanich argued Bradford should be put to death and
he didn’t disagree: he shocked everyone in the courtroom
by telling the jury: 'Think of how many you don’t even
know about,'" implying he killed other women.
The jury sent Bradford to death row but the question
lingered: how many others did bill Bradford kill?
Once Bradford was sent to San Quentin’s death row, the
hundreds of photos he took of young women seemed to
disappear along with him.
"They just got lost in the shuffle. For years, we’ve
been looking for the photos," says Bozanich.
But by a lucky accident, the photos were found last
summer in an unmarked folder in the back of a filing
Some of the pictures were of nude women, others were in
bikinis, explains Captain Ray Peavy, "Some looked like
professional models that he had picked up."
The goal now, says Peavy, is very simple. "We wanna find
out who these women are. We wanna find out if they’re
alive. We wanna find out if they’re not alive. Could
these possibly have become victims of Bradford?"
|The hundreds of
photographs are giving detectives another
chance: police always believed that he began
killing in 1975 and didn’t stop until he was
arrested in 1984. Bradford taunted the jurors
who convicted him that there were other victims,
and detectives are determined to find out.
With newfound urgency, detectives pored through hundreds
of old Bradford photographs; forensic artists worked
their magic; and in July, the L.A. Sheriff's Department
was ready to attack this massive cold case.
They released a poster featuring 47 women Bradford had
photographed and asked for help in identifying them. The
response was immediate.
When amateur photographer Larry Gray read about the
renewed investigation, he went to the Web site police
set up to look at the women in Bradford’s photos. "As
soon as I brought it on screen, I recognized two girls
immediately and I thought – 'Oh my God, what’s going on
here?'" Gray remembers.
Back in the early 1980’s, Gray was a regular at group
model shoots that were held around southern California.
Bradford was at some of those same shoots, but Gray has
no memory of him.
Gray studied the photos online and compared them with
his own photos from the shoots. In the end, he
identified six of the women on the poster - all of them
alive and well.
Tina Teets was one of those models. "I was shocked. I
thought possibly I was mis-id’d."
"Using photography to get young girls is as old as
photography," says Bozanich.
She says that back then, people simply were not as
suspicious then as they are now. "You have to remember,
we’re talking about the early ‘80s. Now we have all been
through the last 25 years or so where we now know that
perverts and weirdoes are everywhere," Bozanich says.
Monique Gabrielle also attracted the attention of
Bradford "I was posing in one of the cars and he said,
‘I wanna do a shoot with you, with a car, one day. Where
I can really shoot and there’s no other distractions.' I
ended up calling him and talking to him on the phone a
couple of times. Then he said that he was gonna shoot
for a car magazine. He said it was gonna be out in the
desert," she recalls.
But when Monique asked Bradford a few more questions,
her gut told her something was wrong. "The more I talked
to him, he just got a little stranger to me," she says.
For one, Monique says Bradford was contradicting himself
when she questioned him about hair and make-up
arrangements for the desert photo shoot. She decided to
back out and now knows all too well that Shari Miller
and Tracy Campbell went to the desert with Bradford and
Alina Thompson was just 12 when she tried her hand at
modeling. Too young, she says, to be aware of who might
be behind the many cameras pointing at her. For Alina,
going to the group model shoots was a family affair. She
went with her parents and older sister.
"Mostly it was a safe situation, my parents were there,"
But on one occasion, one of the men behind a camera was
Bradford. 'I was taking pictures with a lot of
photographers around me. And he came up to me right in
the middle of me shooting and said, 'I need you to come
over here with me, and I can shoot you in a better light
and I can get better pictures than these guys,'" Alina
remembers. "So I took off with him; there were some
photographers who knew me. They went up to my mother and
they told my mother, ‘Hey this photographer just took
off with your little girl.'"
Alina’s father Carl went looking for her and found his
daughter alone with Bradford in an alley.
"My dad stood next to him and started taking pictures of
me like he was another photographer. He just wanted to
make sure I was safe," Alina remembers. "And Bill said,
'Excuse me, can you get out of here?’ And my dad didn’t
even say anything, just kept taking pictures. And then
he got really agitated and he was like, 'You know what?
I am out of here.' He got mad and left."
Twenty-two years later, when the sheriff’s poster came
out, Carl was shocked to see photos of both his
daughters. "It really tore me up. I thought, this
predator had pictures of my girls. Maybe he was thinking
of them as the next victim," he says.
For Capt. Peavy, the pictures tell stories. "I look at
their faces, I look at the smiling faces and I say,
‘What was going on in their minds? What was he telling
them at the time?' And then I look at some of the other
pictures, where the women actually look terrified. And I
wondered, what was he doing to them? What was he saying
to them to cause them to have this look?' And was that
the last look they ever had?"
And now the case is going places Peavy never even
The dream of becoming a famous actress or model is an
old one although it looks a lot different when imagined
by the creators of CSI: Miami.
Eva La Rue, an actress on the show, says she and her
sister Nika had the same dream back in the 80s when they
traveled to amateur modeling competitions, looking for
"It’s a big ego stroke to have someone say 'You look
like a model, I could really help you,'" Eva says.
Because there was no Internet back then, the girls
willingly gave the photographers their home phone
numbers and addresses in order to get copies of the
photographs. That’s exactly what Bradford was hoping for
when he met and photographed Eva and Nika as teenagers.
Years later, it was a Bradford photograph of Nika that
would eventually wind up on the L.A. County sheriff’s
Asked what she thought when her sister's picture turned
up, Eva says, "I don’t know how to answer that because I
don’t think that I was thinking. You are looking at a
picture of your little sister, of your baby sister who
is found amongst the cache of missing and unknown girls
that came from a serial murderer.
Eva called the police to identify her sister and she did
tell the story to the writers at CSI: Miami.
John Haynes, a writer for the show, used Eva’s real life
tale as inspiration for an episode titled "Dark Room"
that airs Monday, Nov. 13.
"Our killer on the show is an amateur photographer who
tries to take advantage of his position locating naïve
girls, promising certain things, fulfilling their
dreams, and then ultimately taking advantage of them,"
Haynes wrote a big part for Eva’s character, who learns
that her sister has been abducted by a rogue
photographer. "It was stunning for me," Eva says of
shooting the episode. "I had hit an emotional wall in
the scene because I couldn’t be connected to it, as
crazy as that might sound because I hadn’t yet connected
to it for myself."
Seeing the problems Eva was having, the show’s star
David Caruso stepped in to help. "David was the one who
sort of pulled me aside and he actually gave me a really
great note," she says.
Whatever Caruso said, it worked.
Fortunately for Eva, Bradford never got any closer to
her real-life sister Nika than through the camera lens.
Asked what she thought when she found out that her
picture was in Bradford's group of photos, Nika says,
"It could have been me just as easily as it could have
been any of these girls because I was there, just as
they were. I was doing the same thing they were. Like a
sniper in a group of people: that person wasn’t lucky,
and that person wasn’t lucky."
Nika has a small role in the CSI episode, written by
Haynes knows a lot of crime, because for years he was a
well-respected detective for the L.A. County Sheriff.
"There were a lot of turf wars, a lot of dope rips that
occurred, a lot of murders and we were out there trying
to do something about it. And Bobby and I worked
together in South Central and southeast L.A. as young
detectives in gangs and narcotics back in the early
80's," he recalls.
“Bobby” is Sgt. Bobby Taylor, now in charge of finding
the women on the poster – it’s another real life
connection between the Bradford story and the
make-believe world of CSI: Miami.
"When you think about it, do you think about the
contrast between make-believe and real life?" Lagattuta
"I do," he replies. "Sometimes when we’re gathered in
the writer’s room, someone will be telling a story about
something they saw on the news or whatever, it does
impact me in a different way. It was hard to change hats
from being a cop and then being a writer and I used to
tell people that, ‘Hey it’s not as whimsical as that.’
There really are lives that are truly affected forever."
Of all the photos on the sheriff’s poster, one in
particular hits home for Lisa Mora and Lori Duhamel
whose long-lost mother, Donnalee, was No. 28 on the
sheriff's photo board.
It’s been nearly 30 years since 31-year-old Donnalee
Duhamel vanished, leaving behind her two daughters, who
were then ages 11 and nine.
“She dropped us off at my grandma’s house and never came
back," Lisa remembers. “I definitely cried every night,
you know? I really missed my mom. She just – she never
The questions haunting Lisa and Lori about their
mother’s disappearance resurfaced last summer when
police went public with the Bradford photos.
The story of Donnalee’s disappearance dates back to
1978, on a night when she was out with boyfriend Jake
Karcher at a local bar in Culver City.
“I was in a place called 'The Frigate,'" Karcher
remembers. "I was playing pool and she was having a
couple of margaritas. She seemed in good spirits.”
Once again it seems that being photographed was the
killer’s lure: Donnalee met a man in that bar who told
her she could be a model. She left her purse, keys and
her car, and told her boyfriend she’d be back soon.
"I was hopin' it was legitimate. I didn’t wanna have her
not have an opportunity to do something with herself,”
He now believes that photographer was Bill Bradford.
Karcher waited all night in the bar for Donnalee but she
After several days, Donnalee’s mother went to the
police. "It didn’t seem like anything was getting done
about it," says Lori. "They posted a few fliers around
Culver City, around where the bar was and that’s all I
Years passed and then in 1985, police contacted Lisa and
Lori. Investigators had found photographs of Donnalee in
Bradford’s apartment and Bradford admitted taking them
the night he met Donnalee in the bar, according to Sgt.
The police checked their records and discovered the body
of an unidentified woman found in Topanga Canyon about
the same time Donnalee went missing. Using dental
records and fingerprints, detectives established
conclusively that the woman was in fact Donnalee
Police still lacked enough evidence to charge Bradford,
but he was sent to death row for the murders of Shari
Miller and Tracy Campbell and the file on Donnalee
Cpt. Peavy of the L.A. County’s sheriff’s office, hoping
for more information, included Donnalee’s photo on their
Well-known attorney Gloria Allred is assisting Lisa and
"The fact that he is sitting on death row convicted of
the murders of two other young women should not stop
them from trying to get answers and accountability,"
After all these years and false starts, the Donnalee
Duhamel case now is at the forefront of the sheriff’s
"We’re absolutely convinced that he murdered her," says
Peavy. "That the case will eventually be presented to
the district attorney.”
Lisa and Lori, who have daughters of their own now, are
hoping to finally see their mother’s killer held
But Bradford to this day denies he had anything to do
with Donnalee’s murder and in fact is still hoping to
overturn his two murder convictions.
Darlene Ricker, Bradford's lawyer on his federal death
penalty appeal, is determined to help him win back his
Ricker says the evidence that Bradford killed Shari
Miller and Tracy Campbell was circumstantial: he never
confessed to their murders and his attorney did not
present any defense.
Asked how she explains the fact that Bradford looked at
the jury and said, "You have no idea how many others are
out there," Ricker says, "I wasn’t there at the time. I
surmise that Mr. Bradford was angry at the jury at that
point and just kind of tossed up his hands and said,
‘You know what guys, you don’t believe me, do what you
want with me now.’"
"When you hear him described as worse than the devil.
Pure evil. What are you saying?" Lagatutta asks.
"I say he’s being described by people who haven’t met
him," Ricker says.
But ex-wife Cindy Horton lived with Bradford for five
years and she knows him all too well. "If you gave me a
choice to be in the room with Charles Manson, Lucifer
himself or Bill Bradford, I would rather be in a room
with Lucifer and Charles Manson than Bill Bradford. I do
believe that he is the devil. He is Satan himself," she
Cindy is one of four women who married Bradford. Each of
his wives wound up on the sheriff’s poster; all are
alive. Bradford also has five children and this past
week, one of his daughters, 32-year-old Jodeen Larson,
talked to 48 Hours.
"I remember him being a doting dad. Daddy’s little
girl," she remembers.
She says Bradford was a good father – up to a point. "He
loved to take photographs and we did that often. He was
a good dad," Jodeen says.
But, Jodeen says, everything changed after Bradford was
sent to prison and she visited him as a teenager. "All
of a sudden, I had what those women had. He was so
fixated on talking about it. You know? 'Show a little of
this. Show a little of that.' You know, 'You're foxy,
you're a foxy girl.' I, you know, you don't say that to
your kid," she recalls.
Bradford’s reaction convinced Jodeen that there is a
killer living inside her father and she cut him out of
her life. "It just angers me that somebody can do what
they do and have no remorse or regret. Damage families
the way he did. He didn’t just damage them, he damaged
us," Jodeen says.
Former D.A. Pam Bozanich knows the toll Bradford’s
actions have taken. "The whole thing is so awful and so
haunting and so disgusting but for the sake of all the
families and for the sake of those lost souls, somebody
has to keep this thing alive," she says.
Meanwhile, Sgt. Bobby Taylor's investigation is moving
ahead. He and his partner Sgt. Fred Castro have even
more work to do, with scores of additional Bradford
photos only just rediscovered.
"Twenty-three additional women are going to be added and
in addition to that we’re going to also publish nine
photographs containing different individuals," Taylor
With the new photographs, a new poster is created, and
this poster features a belt buckle left beside an
unidentified woman’s body found in the desert in June
1984, not far from Bradford’s killing field. That case
Just weeks ago, one of Bradford’s ex-wives recognized
that belt buckle as Bradford’s. It’s a tantalizing lead.
But his attorney, Darlene Ricker, says she knows he is
Asked if it isn't possible that she was charmed by
Bradford, like police say he charmed all of his
victims," Ricker says, "I doubt it 'cause I am just not
that naïve. I’m pretty good at judging whose conning me
and who isn’t and he isn’t."
Bradford’s own daughter begs to disagree. "I fell sorry
for the people that suffered," she says. "And if I could
just reach out and say 'I’m sorry for your pain and your
loss. I’m sorry for your suffering.'"
Four months after the poster was released to the public,
32 women have been identified; dozens of others still
have not been heard from.
Even if they only find two or three women, that’s two of
three more families who know what happened to their
loved ones and that’s what police do. They’re here to
solve crime," says Bozanich.
And police vow to keep searching until they know who’s
alive and who’s dead.