Serial Killer finally caught


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Mess in trucker's cab held clues in slayings

Bruce D. Mendenhall's mustard-yellow truck cab was a mess, his boss told him last week.
Mendenhall assured him he would clean it up.

Thursday afternoon, Nashville police peered into the same truck cab and found it spattered with what looked like blood. Mendenhall was arrested on the spot and within hours was the main suspect in an apparent string of serial killings in states along his truck route.
Metro police say Mendenhall, 56, a husband and father of two from Albion, Ill., made statements implicating himself in six killings in four states, including two in Middle Tennessee.
Police had been searching for his truck, with its distinctive yellow cab, since it appeared on surveillance footage the night of June 26, when Sara Nicole Hulbert, 25, was shot to death at a Nashville truck stop.
Mendenhall was charged Thursday with criminal homicide in Hulbert's death. He was picked up at the scene of the crime, the TravelCenters of America on North First Street, by detectives who went there to conduct more interviews on the Hulbert slaying and spotted the truck circling the block.
They approached it and saw that the driver had drawn the curtains. They knocked on the door and showed their badges.
"He jumped out. He had socks on, he had no shoes on … He seemed somewhat cooperative, maybe a little nervous," detective Sgt. Pat Postiglione said.
"Inside the left driver's door there were several blood spots and obviously that heightened our suspicions at that point."
Police say he confessed
Mendenhall agreed to a search of the truck, which turned up additional evidence that Postiglione considered incriminating.
"At that point, we were pretty sure we had the right truck," he said. "Subsequently, he did give a statement to us implicating himself in several homicides."
During questioning, police say Mendenhall implicated himself in Hulbert's death, as well as the slaying of Symantha Winters, 48, who was found shot to death and dumped in a garbage bin at a Lebanon, Tenn., truck stop on June 6.
Mendenhall also made statements that appeared to implicate himself in a killing in Alabama, another in Georgia and two in Indiana over the past several months, Postiglione said.
Even before they picked up Mendenhall, police investigating the truck stop killings suspected that they were dealing with something more sinister than random, unrelated slayings.
"If there is such a thing as a normal homicide, we felt like this was more serial-related," Postiglione said. "As time went on, it became more and more obvious that there were other agencies that had other homicides that were similar in nature … It was an instinct based on evidence."
Postiglione said there is a "pretty good possibility" that Mendenhall could be linked to deaths besides these six.
He was a good worker
News of Mendenhall's arrest shocked those who knew him in the small town of Albion, Ill.
Danny Davis hired Mendenhall a little more than a year ago to drive for his family's small trucking company.
"I didn't see this coming. He is a little slow. He's not well-educated. He wasn't an Einstein, but he was a good worker, very personable, easy to talk to," Davis said from his office at Quality Oak Products in Noble, Ill.
"The more news I watch, the sicker I get."
Mendenhall passed his pre-employment background check with flying colors, Davis said. There was nothing more incriminating on his record than a few minor speeding violations.
"Everything came back clean and green," he said. Mendenhall also has undergone regular drug screenings, which were assigned by a lottery among the company's small fleet of drivers.
"He's been drug tested more times than any of the other employees, and he always came back clean."
Because Mendenhall lives out in the country, a good distance from the terminal, Davis allowed him to take his truck home at night. Much of the contact Davis had, telling Mendenhall about his routes, was by telephone.
"The last time I seen him was a little over a week ago. He was over at the mechanic's shop getting his truck worked on.
"I kinda looked into the truck and said 'Bruce, you kinda need to get that truck cleaned out.' "
He said his employee promised he would clean up the messy cab.
Mendenhall was supposed to be on his way to Buford, Ga., with a load of furniture. Now the furniture and the truck carrying it are sitting at the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, waiting to be processed by the crime lab.
Davis and his wife, Debbie, broke the news of the arrest to Mendenhall's wife, Linda.
"It was as complete a shock to her as to everybody else," Davis said. "I told her not to worry too much. It may be a big mistake. That's what she's hoping for."
Neighbors recall quarrels
Shirley Houser lived next door to the Mendenhall family in Albion, Ill., until a couple of years ago, when she said the Mendenhalls moved to the country. Bruce Mendenhall didn't have too much to say, she said, but she often would hear the whole family "yelling and carrying on."
"They'd swear a lot out there in the yard, real loud," Houser said. "He'd say something to (his oldest daughter), and she'd shout back, 'I'm so scared of you, I'm shaking.' That's just the way they lived."
Lori Phillips lives a few houses from where Mendenhall used to live. It's a nice neighborhood, she said, a quiet street in a small town. She was surprised to hear of the charges against him, although she remembers him as "a little odd."
"They were a different bunch," Phillips said.
"You know how some people aren't very friendly. The mom was always loud and screaming. I don't think they really cared what anybody thought of them."
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stuff like this amazes me but truck driving would be the perfect job to do it. Pick someone up on the east coast and dump them somewhere along the way to the east coast. It is scary.
Wow what a story! How often does stuff like this really happen?

Yep, according to reports I have read they think several drivers are possible suspects for various serial crimes, rape, drugs, guns and killing.

Many of the bodies found along I-69 have showed signs of being frozen. They think a driver pulling a reefer is doing those killings.

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