While I disagree with a murderabilia collector’s hobby, I respect the collector’s rights to do so. This is one of those instances where I disagree with and disrespect the hobby; this time, I find it sickening. To sell the portrait of a tortured murder victim drawn by the perpetrator, a serial killer-rapist, has crossed the line; profiting off the gristly murder of an innocent victim is a blatant, twisted display of total disregard for the surviving victims.
It is essential to know the details of the crime in order to grasp the repulsiveness of this entire story.
Lucinda “Cindy” Schaefer was walking home from her beloved church in Redondo Beach, California, in June 1979, when serial killers Lawrence Bittaker and Roy Norris abducted her. They bound her with duct tape, drove her to the mountains, and repeatedly raped her. They used a hammer to strike and torture her, pliers to remove her teeth. Lucinda pleaded for "a moment to pray" before they killed her; they laughingly denied the request. The killers attempted to strangle her. Bittaker used vise-grip pliers to twist a wire coat hanger around her throat until she was dead. They wrapped her remains in a plastic shower curtain and tossed her off a cliff, her body never recovered.
|Artwork of Cindy Schaefer by her killer, |
That is the police report, the legal version. Then there is the version of Cindy Schaefer that few get to know.
A willowy, pretty girl, 16-year-old Cindy Schaefer had long blonde hair and a beautiful smile. Author Laura “Siren of San Quentin” Brand has dedicate years interviewing Bittaker and Norris and investigating their crimes in her effort to locate remains of the duo’s missing victims. Brand says, “Cindy’s first boyfriend has never recovered from losing her, even after over forty years. Her best friend, her family, will never recover. Cindy spoke fluent Spanish because she wanted to be like her mother, who took mission trips to Mexico teaching English.” Brand shares the dreams and hopes of this teen whose life was cut short and brutally ended by evil. “Cindy wanted to study languages and teach English in underdeveloped countries. She was a ‘good Catholic girl,’ no drugs, no drinking. Cindy played guitar, loved to write music.”
Laura Brand shares what she secretly learned in one interview with Bittaker. “When Cindy’s mom and grandmother were running around all over, trying to find Cindy (after she went missing), Norris wanted to call Cindy’s grandma and say, “I killed the bitch,’ and hang up. He wanted to specifically tell her grandmother .” Brand recalls Bittaker and Norris laughing about their victims, from the murders to their deathbeds, never expressing remorse.
Lawrence Bittaker and Roy Norris were both arrested in 1979. Bittaker received death. Norris received 45 years to life imprisonment; he would never be paroled. Both died of natural causes in 2019; they both left items that murderabilia collectors swooped down on like vultures: televisions, papers, and pictures. Somehow, one murderabilia site has obtained Roy Norris’ numerous personal effects and is selling everything from an ice cream wrapper ($49.) to hand tracings “…with both bblack [sic] and red fingerprints and portions of his hands” ($895.) among the ten screens of “Roy Norris” items. It is one of these items that has caused me to write this blog.
Roy Norris used Lucinda “Cindy” Schaefer’s “missing” poster photo – the same girl he tortured and repeatedly raped – to draw her portrait. And now this same murderabilia website is selling this portrait for $2,900.
You don’t have to personally know Cindy to shed tears at what these two men did to her. And, in my opinion, this now includes Norris’ artwork and the selling of the image. This portrait is not a homage done in penance. Roy Norris did not pick up paper and colors in self-reproach to memorialize this girl.
I have learned from a source that some collectors will ask the perpetrators to draw their victims; these drawings bring a high price and are coveted items. I do believe that items from crime scenes, locations of crime scenes are part of our history. And I damn sure believe you cross a line when you request, sell, or purchase a portrait of a victim drawn by that killer. Evidently these people have never been the victim survivors of murder, because they would know what their actions are doing to Cindy' loved ones, to Cindy's memory, her legacy.
Quotes from the case come from Bosco, D. & Markman, R. M.D. (1990). Alone With The Devil. New York: Bantam Books.
Quotes from the murderabilia website come from the same webpage where the drawing is sold and will remain anonymous in respect to Cindy and her loved ones.