How Rohinie Bisesar Lost Her Mind

Rohinie Bisesar is not an imposing woman. Standing at only 4’11” at 85 lbs, she appears utterly harmless and shy in her behavior and etiquette. She is pretty, and looks younger than the 40 years of age she was in the mugshot above. She is intelligent and highly educated, with an MBA and a Bachelor’s in Molecular Biology.

And yet; she stabbed a woman to death 2 weeks before Christmas in 2015, at a Toronto pharmacy while in the grip of a schizophrenic episode.

How did this attractive and well-schooled woman decompose psychologically? It is a complex tale of mental illness, child abuse, a strict Asian family, capitalism, careerism, delusion, abandonment, personal failure, and pure madness. This is the story of Rohinie Bisesar.

School portrait

A Strict Childhood

She was born in 1975 in Guyana, to Hindu Indian parents. Guyana is a beautiful South American tropical nation, but it suffers from extreme poverty and a culture of domestic violence and misogyny. It has the highest suicide rate in the world, and was home to the 1978 Jonestown Massacre; when crazed cult leader Jim Jones induced over 900 of his followers into “revolutionary suicide” via cyanide-laced Kool Aid.

Her parents moved to Canada in 1980, with their two oldest children. They left behind their youngest daughter, five-year old Rohinie, in the care of relatives. By all accounts, she was not their favorite child. After earning enough money to buy a house, her parents finally brought her to Toronto to live with them. They had another son shortly.

Rohinie occupied the lowest hierarchical position in the family: she was the second daughter. Her parents were more proud of their two boys, and they viewed her as the extra daughter they didn’t need.

The Bisesar Family Store

She was compared to her successful older sister Chandra; an ambitious investment banker and chartered accountant living in New York City.

Her parents ran a small clothing store called Sandra’s and Chico’s, and worked part time gigs as well. They were serial workaholics who expected Rohinie to have the same drive for labour that they did. Any time she was not at school, she was made to work at the family store.

She had no time for a social life or dating. Rohinie’s father was a super strict traditional Hindu, and she grew resentful at how her parents controlled every aspect of her life. Her father forbade her to wear makeup, well into her 20s.

Finally, she rebelled: Rohinie ran away from home as a teenager, but was discovered by a truck driver who took her to a police station.

The Bisesar Family Home

This was the last straw for her religious nut father. He took her to a Hindu faith healer, and they performed a bizarre and disturbing cleansing ceremony. They forced Rohinie to strip naked, and poured chicken blood onto her. With a father like that, who needs an enemy?

After this, Rohinie became skeptical of her religion; often ridiculing superstitious aspects of Hinduism. Her antipathy towards her abusive father may have driven her off dating Indian men. Later on, when asked out by men of her race, Rohinie would politely inform them that she only dated tall white men.

After graduating high school in 1993, Rohinie attained a Bachelor’s degree in Molecular Biology at the University of T Scarborough, and an Administrative Studies degree in General Management from York. She also had a certification from the Canadian Securities Institute, and a certificate in mining as well. She worked as a technical writer and computer technician at York’s math department, and attained her MBA in 2007. Her future looked promising.

Leaving the Nest

2003 was the year that Rohinie could not stand living with her parents any longer. She was 28 years old, yet still bound by a curfew and her parents had access to her bank account. Her life was one of mere work and study. It was no life at all.

Her traditional religious parents thought it was blasphemy for a woman to leave the home before marriage. But Rohinie defied them by moving out to live with a female roommate, prompting her parents to accuse her of being a lesbian.

She acquired a deadbeat boyfriend five years her junior. When interviewed later on about the murder by Toronto Life, he hides under an alias and basically just throws Rohinie under the bus and covers his own ass throughout the interview.

People who claimed to know Rohinie described the boyfriend as “a sloppy, ripped jeans and stained t-shirt type of guy who did not take care of himself.” This may just be slander, but the story gets even more eyebrow-raising.

They met when he and his male friend were driving down the street and whistling at Rohinie. She was initially annoyed, but Rohinie gave him her MSN messenger ID.

Their first date consisted of going to a restaurant for Thai food, then a dance club. Rohinie did not have many friends and was sheltered, so this must have been exciting for her. She appeared to be naïve about him as well: he was unemployed, living with his mother, and trying to launch a music career. Not exactly a prize catch.

At this point, Rohinie was in her 30s and wanted to make up for the years she lost living at her parents’ house. The boyfriend described her as “this outgoing, strong, assertive woman. She was a Type A personality. She helped to put me on a new path that benefitted me.”

Indeed she did. She became his mommy gf.

Dreaming of Success

Rohinie financially supported the boyfriend while he attended York University to attain a degree in commerce. She rented them an upscale apartment in heart of the city. This was a far shot from living with his mama and making mixtapes in the basement.

She struggled to stay afloat at harsh investment firms where 12 hour work days were the norm. She was overwhelmed and stopped showing up for weeks at a time. She was fired by her firm after 4 months.

For two years, Rohinie was unable to find a new job. She began taking out loans and huge lines of credit to support herself and her boyfriend, and amassed a crushing amount of financial debt.

In 2010, Rohinie finally managed to get a new job as a mining analyst associate. The couple moved into a better and more expensive apartment. The entirety of the couple’s financial responsibilities fell on her, and she tried her best.

At her brother’s wedding

Rohinie’s days were long and often lasted from 5 AM to 10 PM. Her work consumed her life, and she did not have money to indulge in luxuries. She had only a few outfits, and took her boyfriend out for dinner at swank restaurants whenever she could afford it.

And yet, she could not conform to the toxic codes of corporate culture. She was a small ethnic woman at a mostly male finance firm, but she still had the nerve to criticize her superiors in front of other people.

Rohinie grew extremely paranoid that her co-workers were going through her computer. She wanted to place a spy camera on her desk to prove this. These appear to be the first exterior indications of her schizophrenia. She was fired 7 months into the job.

Rohinie retook exams to become a chartered analyst despite failing six times, and applied to dozens of jobs to no avail. Nobody would hire her.

Working Girl

She now felt that someone, or something, was conspiring against her through nanotechnological mind control; that her ex-employers were somehow preventing her from getting hired somewhere else.

The stress she felt about being in debt probably contributed to her decline. Why didn’t her boyfriend chip in at this point and help take the pressure off of her shoulders? Why didn’t her parents provide assistance to their struggling daughter?

Breaking Up

The boyfriend criticized Rohinie for not applying to lower-status jobs, yet did not help out himself. Despite the fact that she was over $60k in debt, she kept using credit to pay monthly rent. The boyfriend’s six year-long gravy train had come to a halt, and he wanted out.

Yonge and King, the busy district where Rohinie and her boyfriend lived.

He began to avoid interactions with her, admitting he “would wake up, shower and leave for work as soon as I could. I just wanted to leave and let Rohinie do her thing.” This was the time in which she needed help the most, but he abandoned her.

He dumped Rohinie, and said that she “became hysterical” and screamed at him. He left the apartment, and told her to move back in with her parents as well. This was her worst nightmare.

Rohinie dreaded going back, and stayed alone in the apartment for 6 months. Later that autumn, the boyfriend gave her the measly sum of $2,500 and helped her move back in with her parents. She was doomed; sent back to the very same horrible environment she feared and resented.

She and her parents butted heads immediately. Ever the strict Hindus, her parents placed a curfew on their daughter even though she was nearly 40 years old. She didn’t even have her own house keys, and if she returned home after 10 PM, she was effectively homeless for the night.

A depressing view over Yonge and King.

Even when she attended networking events to gain employment, her parents still refused to allow her inside after curfew. Rohinie would sleep at Tim Hortons for the night. Her life was a walking nightmare.

Her parents, on the other hand, claimed that they were afraid of her, begged her ex-boyfriend to help her get therapy, and locked their doors at night out of fear of their daughter.

The ex-boyfriend sometimes saw Rohinie walking down city streets, and said she looked like a bag lady and reminded him of the Russell Crowe character in A Beautiful Mind.

Downwards Spiral

Things all came to a head in March of 2014.

For whatever reason, Rohinie threatened to burn her parents’ house down and pushed her mother so hard that it damaged a door. Her parents called the police, and she was taken away to a mental ward and diagnosed with schizophrenia.

The ex-boyfriend came to visit her, and found that she had been administered a strong dose of antipsychotics. With the medicine in her system, she was able to talk to him like a rational human being and finally admitted to hearing voices in her head for several years. One of the voices was an old white male business executive.

They had a touching moment where they cuddled in the bed of the mental ward. However, Rohinie would not recover because she refused to take her meds.

Not many people realize how strong antipsychotic drugs truly are. Countless schizophrenics struggle to stay on medication that keeps them assimilated into society, yet destroys their mind and body in other ways.

One of the drugs Rohinie was prescribed was Olanzapine. Common side effects are weight gain, sleepiness, a rise in prolactin which weakens the bones, dizziness, high cholesterol, pancreas issues, erectile dysfunction, OCD, suicidal thoughts and hyperglycemia/diabetes. And these are a few of the side effects.

Following her release, Rohinie moved in with her aunt and landed a contract job at a business firm. She tried to go straight, but once she was off the meds it was over.

Her parents attempted to get her institutionalized, but they had no legal precedent to do so. The stage was set for a disaster. Rohinie left her aunt’s house in the autumn of 2015, resigning herself to a life of homelessness and drifting.

Lost on the Streets of Toronto

She was known to wander around the city all day, most often on Bay Street; which is the main part of Toronto’s Financial District and like a shitty Wall Street, and in the PATH System; a rat-like maze of underground tunnels which contains thousands of shops and offices.

An eyewitness who worked at Goodlife Fitness gym described Rohinie as polite, yet disturbed. She spent 5-8 hours a day in the gym bathrooms, showered and groomed there, and even washed her underwear in the sinks. She stared at her reflection in the mirror for hours, sometimes screaming at it. One day, she had a psychotic episode and destroyed a blow dryer.

While being thrown out by security, she apologized profusely and claimed that “it was all because of these voices in her head who ruin everything, they’ve deprived her of her house, fiancé, and a career.”

Toronto is a city with a New York, Paris, and London tier price tag; but it is bleak and frozen and without style or uplifting scenery. It is a depressing, cold, lonely city; where the weak and impoverished often get crushed within the walls of the harsh and unforgiving concrete jungle.

She visited the same Starbucks on Yonge and King each day, and would “come in and always get an ice water or a tall pike coffee and would sit at a laptop turned away from the wall.” When she had no money, she just ordered hot water with cinnamon in it.

Rohinie stayed there from morning until closing time, and had only a few outfits which she wore over and over: a smart black pantsuit and a lavender or white shirt. When Starbucks employees tried to converse with her, Rohinie appeared awkward and was slow to answer.

The Starbucks that she was obsessed with.

They described her as “very antisocial. We knew something was off because she would stand at the cash and give us a blank stare.”

She put up small signs at her table offering financial services, walked around trying to give people her business card, and dropped off her resume at offices and firms.

At this point, Rohinie was functionally homeless. She emailed people and begged them for money: “I am asking all my friends to contribute, if they can and wish to, denominations of $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50 or $100. My goal is simply to ensure I have basic necessities (food, water, shelter, clothing, and products for hygiene and beauty).”

The only people who helped were men who had a crush on her, or those who pitied her. Rohinie still had her looks, and she was a pretty and petite size 00 who attracted many admirers. A broker who hit on her in public said she rejected him, but he allowed her to crash on his couch regardless. This man claimed that she was $200k in debt.

Toronto’s depressing PATH Undeground

80-year old Trueman MacHenry, Rohinie’s former mathematics professor from York University, tried to help her out as well and took her out for meals. He said of her:

“She was very friendly, she was very good with people, she was bright. Everybody who knows about [the stabbing] at work feels very badly, and I almost had a nervous breakdown over it. I tried to keep her from starving to death…

Rohinie bought a gym membership downtown, using it as a place to bathe and sleep until staff asked her to stop. Then she tried sleeping on the subway, a dangerous situation that she disliked very much. She slept in corners of the underground city and couch-surfed. The idea of staying in a shelter never came up: She was kind of a patrician.”

Her LinkedIn Page

Rohinie would also go to classy hotels and restaurants with her makeup and hair done, and sit there for hours not ordering anything. When asked to; she would tell the servers to first create a better menu, and instead ate sliced apples from a little container and a granola bar.

A server on Wellington Street saw her with a succession of different men each time, noting that “they looked like lonely guys probably trying to pick her up. They were older men who obviously didn’t know her.”

Professor MacHenry said that Rohinie once did obtain a place to live through social assistance money, but it went downhill quickly. She moved in with a man she knew, and things went sour when “he came onto her, and I don’t know if she moved out or what she did. She was angry,”

Before Rohinie snapped, she sent a final disturbing email to all her colleagues and friends:

“I need to speak to the top professionals in artificial intelligence, military and government. I need to get to the bottom of something that has been quite disruptive. Something has been happening to me and this is not my normal self and I would like to know who and why this is happening. There is either a single person or more responsible and who and why would be nice to know…. I am sorry about the incidence…. I felt the need to be extreme to see if it would work. I would normally not do such a thing.”

She truly believed that the government or some kind of powerful entity had inserted a microchip into her body, and was using nanotechnology to control her brain and actions. Rohinie had stopped taking her medication, was under extreme stress from being homeless, and was estranged and alienated from her family and loved ones.

Something terrible was about to happen; something gruesome that would shock all of Toronto.

Murder on Bay Street

The scene of the crime, one week after it happened.

If you’re a Canadian, you’ll be familiar with Shoppers Drug Mart; an overpriced pharmacy/drugstore/convenience shop hybrid that is literally everywhere. Nobody expects to get knifed while they’re grabbing groceries, but that’s exactly what happened on Dec 11, 2015 at the 66 Wellington St W location of Shoppers.

Rosemarie Junor was a 28-year old ultrasound technician who was newly married and well liked among family, friends and colleagues for her cheerful and uplifting spirit. Like Rohinie, she was of Indo-Caribbean descent (a Guyanese mother and Trinidadian father).

At 2:35 PM, Rosemarie left work to walk to the Shoppers located in the dungeon-like underground PATH system. As she browsed the aisles for lotion, she spoke with a friend on her cellphone. Suddenly and without warning, Rohinie Bisesar walked up to Rosemarie and stabbed her once in the heart. Rosemarie’s horrified friend heard her scream through the phone line.

Rosemarie Junor

The stabbing proved to be fatal, as the knife had pierced through Rosemarie’s heart and vital organs. Rohinie left the kitchen knife she had purchased at a local Dollar Store on a cosmetics display, and calmly walked out.

A bleeding Rosemarie collapsed at the pharmacy in the back of the store and yelled out, “Help me, I’ve just been stabbed!” When an employee asked her if she knew her assailant, Rosemarie told her that she did not. Tragically, Rosemarie died after five comatose days in the hospital. She was in a vegetative state, and her family was forced to take her off life support.

Earlier that year, a hopeful Rosemarie had posted this on her Facebook: “Dear God, Thank you for another day of Life. Thanks for another day of waking up healthy and happy.” Young, in love and successful; her life had been cut short abruptly.

Rosemarie on her wedding day.

Rohinie remained on the run for four days, during which she was the most wanted woman in the country. She was finally captured and set to a maximum security prison. When Rohinie’s father was quizzed by reporters, he gave a cryptic and strange answer: “People need to know what happened. Because she was highly educated.”

In prison, investigators tried to uncover why Rohinie committed the crime when she didn’t even know Rosemarie personally. Some felt like there was a connection between the two women because they were both Indo-Caribbean, as it is not often that women of South Asian descent randomly kill one another.

Rohinie gave police a surprisingly cold answer. She told them that she chose to stab Rosemarie because they were both of the same height. However, she claimed that she was being controlled by the voices in her head, and that they instructed her to kill.

Rohinie leaves the scene of the crime.

She gave a disturbing firsthand account of the murder during her psychiatric assessment:

“The day started as usual…I showered and dressed…was reading business newspapers to keep up my knowledge…I don’t recall how I got downtown…I heard the voice downtown in late morning… It said what is the worst thing you can do…I was really agitated and upset…phased out, not thinking, like those river stones again…stepping one at a time.

I’m usually in the Starbucks at Adelaide St., East and Yonge Street…It’s easy to sit and do work, I had my laptop…I pretend to read but I’m zoned out…distracted by the voice and the movements and communication.

The voice said to get a knife…went to the Dollar store to buy the knife…I’m familiar with the place and it’s close to the subway.

I went back through King or St. Andrew subway entrance…went to the bathroom in First Canadian place…didn’t want to hurt someone…A lady asked if I was okay…I’m in the concourse, moving from one bench to another…

Then the voice, communication and movements made me sit up, turn, walk straight into the Shopper’s fast…I was not an agreeable participant…went right up to the person (victim) with no hesitation, barely took it (knife) out of the bag…My arm was in L-shaped.

The voice said, if you mean it do it…The voice and movements raised my hand, pushed forward…It was like the knife was sticking to my hand and couldn’t be dropped…I was spending all my energy fighting the voice and communications…fighting the invisible entity…As soon as it happened I wanted to get away…traveled back home…The voice said I should have kept the knife.”

In Custody

Following her apprehension, Rohinie was charged with first degree murder. The media was shocked at how such a small and harmless looking woman could lash out so violently. Her former colleagues were surprised as well, with a friend named Andrius Pone describing Rohinie as a “professional career woman and a sophisticated individual. Rohinie is a very gentle person, she speaks in a whisper. I don’t know what has happened with her but it’s just so incredibly out of character.”

Karl Gutowski, a friend of Rohinie’s for eight years, had this to say about her:

 “She seemed very sweet but odd. She’s been able to sustain herself from a large network of friends, but I speculate the list got shorter and shorter. She got that one job, but she didn’t get to keep it for too long. She couldn’t adjust to pretty normal office politics.”

In court, Rohinie was disheveled and confused. With no access to makeup and hair grooming products; her acne scars and dark undereye circles were visible, and her hair was wild and uncombed. Her lawyer Calvin Barry said she was “very upset and like a deer in headlights.”

Rohinie in court, with odd marks on her face.

During a 2016 appearance, she ranted and raved in court about being involved in some obscure terrorist plot that went all the way up to the prime minister and the military, and was then hospitalized and medicated before the trial was resumed.

She had also claimed that she was being “damaged” somehow by those in charge, requested a “body scan” and had strange bruises on her face which she attributed to a microchip being implanted inside her.

Rohinie told the court that the voices in her head were “a real time, progressive dialogue and conversation. Whoever it is will tell me something, I’ll tell them to go away. I have somebody [else] communicating with me. I have to listen to both of you at the same time”

In 2017, Rohinie was declared unfit to stand trial due to her severe schizophrenic symptoms. She even denied that Rosemarie was really dead. The judge sent her off to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto for psychiatric treatment.

In November of 2018, the court found Rohinie not criminally responsible for the murder of Rosemarie Junor, because she was in the throes of a psychotic episode during the homicide.

In early 2019, The Ontario Review Board decided to keep Rohinie in the CAMH mental hospital because she was still in denial about her own involvement in the murder. The board continued trying to rehabilitate her; keeping her on “a strict regime of medication, cognitive behavioural therapy and psychotherapy.”

In May of 2020, the board granted Rohinie more freedom and access to the community, due to the fact that she is now supposedly of sound mind. It is now up to her case officer to decide whether or not she can leave the facility unsupervised, and even live outside of it.

The only conditions are that she must report to her review officer on a weekly basis, as well as refrain from purchasing firearms and weapons.


Rohinie appears to have changed her tune about the killing, almost seeming to express remorse and awareness of her actions:

“I did not plan to go murder someone…It was just like time stopped with all the chaos in my mind…I feel sorry for the person (victim) caught in my illness.”

Rosemarie Junor’s family members and the broader public were not happy about the court’s recent decision. Less than five years after the unprovoked killing, Rohinie is being given lenient privileges that could perhaps go terribly wrong in regards to public safety.

Even weirder is the fact that Rohinie is still trying to apply to jobs, to this very day, deluded to the fact literally nobody will ever hire her again.

During her appearances, the courtrooms were usually packed; as Torontonians were fascinated with the macabre case and its odd defendant. The presence of so many spectators led clueless judge John Ritchie to remark, “What does Rohinie do? Is he a sports figure or something?”

A spectator tried to give Rohinie’s lawyer David Burke his contact info on a small folded note of paper as he left the courtroom; stating that he wanted to go on a date with Rohinie. Burke refused to be an intermediary.

Rohinie’s story is shocking and saddening, yet it is not surprising. Had she received proper medical treatment earlier, Rosemarie Junor would have still been alive.

Instead, the combination of parental abuse, abandonment from a man who she loved and devoted herself to for six years, schizophrenia, homelessness, debt, work-related pressures and unemployment all came together to create a volatile outburst of unpredictable violence. Being a South Asian woman in Canada is tough, and this may have contributed to her stress and frustration as well.

At the time of the stabbing, Rohinie was 40 years old and most likely in the grip of a midlife crisis, without a home or anyone to care for her, and Christmas was fast approaching. She snapped and did something awful that the world will never be able to forgive her of, due to things beyond her control.

The question remains- will they really release her from the institution? Should they? While she should not rot her life away in a traditional prison, the memory of her crime still seems too fresh and new. She needs help and long term care.

What will become of Rohinie Bisesar? Only time and her own sense of guilt and repentance will answer that.

Psycho Elevator Lady: The Mental Decline of Laurie Dann

Laurie Wasserman Dann lived a charmed life. Money, men, educational + career opportunities, luxury cars and clothes, constant vacations, a polished and respectable suburban existence- and she threw it all away, to shoot up an elementary school.

Plagued by severe mental illness for years; Laurie lived in a state of perpetual psychological torment. No amount of expensive psychiatry and medication could help her. She would only be appeased by blood and chaos, eventually ending her own life after a final disturbing spree of violence.

Poor Little Rich Girl

She was born in Chicago on October 18, 1957 to Norman “Norm” Wasserman and housewife Edith Joy, the descendants of Russian-Jewish immigrants. Her father Norm was a wealthy accountant with a net worth of $4 million. Adjusted for inflation, that is equivalent to $11 million today.

Laurie grew up a sheltered child in the suburbs of Northern Chicago. Her parents were distant and emotionally cold, choosing instead to show their affection by taking her and brother Mark on impromptu trips to Disneyland, Florida and Hawaii, and buying costly gifts.

Laurie claimed that when she was hurt or ill as a child, her mother often ignored her. Edith did not work, and was completely dependent on her husband, afraid to even drive on her own.

Laurie would go on to imitate her mother’s helpless and clingy attachment to her husband in her own relationships.

Their home was kept immaculately clean. At the age of 5, Laurie already had obsessions with “good” and “bad” numbers, and displayed OCD symptoms. There was also a strong genetic predisposition for mental illness, as Norm’s grandma and Edith’s mother had suffered from clinical depression.

Around the age of 12, Laurie was placed in special help classes for the learning-disabled. Laurie was an unattractive and awkward child, and her peers said she had a “spaced out” look to her.

A classmate recounted how:

”She was very, very quiet, and she was very strange because you`d walk down the hall and say `Hi` and she wouldn`t say anything. It didn`t seem she had many friends in junior high.”

Laurie would not receive treatment until it was too late.

Promiscuous Youth

As a teen, her parents paid for an otoplasty procedure (a cosmetic surgery to reduce large ears), and a rhinoplasty for her big nose. These surgeries, combined with a growth spurt which increased her breast size, suddenly turned the shy and mousy Laurie Wasserman into a beautiful young woman.

Her introduction to the opposite sex was ruthless: the first boy who asked Laurie out went on to break up with her two months later because he was embarrassed to be seen with her.

Laurie was enraged but learned a valuable lesson: she switched to a new high school and began to wear tight-fitting designer clothes to emphasize her petite yet top-heavy 5’3, 100 lbs build.

While she was popular with boys, girls hated her, even though she bought popular girls gifts of jewelry and candy. One female classmate recalled how she ”perceived a paranoia when girls were around. She always had a boyfriend and was really clingy, draped around him. That really struck me, that she was somehow frightened and had a real unhealthy attachment to boys.”

Before her nose job.

Perhaps they were jealous?

In 1974, a football player named Rob Heidelberger began dating Laurie. During her shifts at K-Mart, Laurie would not scan Rob’s purchases, and instead passed him the items for free.

Rob described their high school romance as such:

”I had a LeMans convertible, and we would drive around after school, listening to Beach Boys tapes. We would go over to her house and listen to the radio. I can`t remember that she had any friends of her own.”

The couple broke up after only one month, following a mediocre prom date.

Ironically, Laurie was supposed to have been in a relationship with another boy at the time. She had developed a cruel streak. Laurie had one of her lovers call the boyfriend that she was now tired of, and he relayed this brutal message:

Post rhinoplasty, 1975.

“You should know that I’ve been going out with Laurie. We’ve been having a great time together, including sex. She really likes it from me. She thinks I’m great. And those times when you dropped her off for work or the country club? Well, she called me up and I came to get her and we went out.”


College Bimbo

After high school, Laurie began her never-ending odyssey of failed studies: she drifted between universities in Iowa, Arizona, and Wisconsin; changing majors constantly from teaching to home economics to psychology, etc.

Her grades were weak, but she told friends she was only at college to find a rich husband anyways. She joined and was ejected from a sorority, and dated dozens of men simultaneously.

In 1979, Laurie found love with a pre-med student named Stephen Witt, and planned to marry him. Unfortunately for her, he wanted to see other women. Stephen quickly grew fed up with Laurie’s clinginess, but kept her around to cook, clean and care for him while he focused on studying.

A disheveled Laurie, post-shoplifting arrest. It has proven impossible to find photos of her as a youth.

Once he was done his courses, Stephen dumped Laurie for being too possessive. Laurie constantly phoned him whilst crying and begging for another chance, but he refused. She was left heartbroken.

At Long Last Love

Since she had failed in her quest to find a husband, Laurie gave up on university and went back home to Chicago, finding work at a Jewish country club as a cocktail waitress.

There, she would meet 25-year old Russell Dann, a cocky sales exec who worked at his father’s insurance company. Like Laurie, he was riding on daddy’s gravy train of plentiful cash.

She fell for him immediately. He was short and boyish and resembled the Monkees lead singer Davy Jones, who she had a crush on.

Unlike shy, withdrawn Laurie; Russell was extroverted, charismatic, and enterprising.

Laurie lied to him that she was a graduate in hospital administration, feigning success in order to impress. Nine months after they began dating, the couple were engaged.

Once called a pretty “Barbie doll” by admirers, Laurie later went on to hack off her hair and gain a lot of weight.

Laurie told a friend that “Russ is the first person who gave me a lot of warmth and a lot of love. I don’t even know how to deal with it.”

Poor Russell had no idea what he was getting into.

The couple married in September of 1982, in a traditional Jewish ceremony. Laurie didn’t have many friends to invite to the wedding, so they kept the guest list short. Russell’s friends and family constantly criticized her for being “weird” and introverted.

After a tranquil honeymoon in the British Virgin Islands, Laurie regressed into certain ritualistic OCD behaviours.

She refused to step on sidewalk cracks, never put lids back onto items, hoarded large piles of dirty clothes, stopped driving to tap her feet on pavement, and did not let Russell go to work until she touched the sofa.

Russell “Rusty” Dann

When asked why, she simply said “something bad will happen if I don’t.” She would not step on certain rugs, tiptoeing around them instead, and rode bicycles with only one hand, almost causing her to fall off a bridge.

Russell realized Laurie was incapable of remaining employed. She was fired from dozens of jobs for incompetence, and often lied on her resume. Eventually, she gave up trying to work altogether.

She then spent her days in bed, watching TV until Russell came home. She was unable to handle even basic tasks. When Russell’s sister asked Laurie to help babysit her children, Laurie pretended she got into a car accident to avoid it.

When guests came over, Laurie was a ditz; serving them rotting potatoes and frozen vegetables, complimented by dying flowers.

After a year and a half of a troubled marriage, Russell insisted that Laurie see a psychiatrist. The shrink prescribed Thioridazine, a heavy-duty tranquilizer used to treat schizophrenia and psychosis. After 3 appointments, Laurie stopped showing up.

Laurie and Russell at their wedding. The ring he gave her was a family heirloom. She never returned it.

The psychiatrist was concerned, and wrote Laurie a letter telling her she desperately needed to continue receiving professional help.

An alarmed Russell asked Laurie’s dad to talk to her, but Norm told him “that there’s really not that much of a problem here. It’s a nonissue. I don’t believe in psychiatry. I don’t believe in that kind of stuff.” And that was that.


Two years into their relationship, Russell bought the couple a brand new suburban home. Laurie trashed it almost immediately, scattering her makeup in the microwave, putting food out to rot, leaving cabinet doors open, canned food in the dishwasher, money in the freezer.

When confronted, she would be flippant; surprised that anyone would even question her.

A depressed Russell lamented to his friends about how Laurie was “not happy. She’s not self-sufficient. She doesn’t do anything all day long. She has no life. Laurie is just somebody who needs to be taken care of, and I know I have to take care of her forever.”

OCD: she used towels to open door knobs.

She was becoming a burden to him.

By the time Russell would arrive home from work at 6 pm, Laurie was barely awake, still dressed in a sweatsuit or pajamas. The house was usually filthy, as Laurie never cleaned, and Russell would have to do it all himself. He felt like she was more of a lazy child than a wife.

She begged him not to divorce her:

“Don’t leave. You’re the only person who ever cared for me. Even after all the shit I put you through, you were still a pal. We have a great house in the suburbs and we belong to a country club. Where would I go if I lost you?”

Once Laurie realized that Russell was serious, she tried to make efforts to improve. She attempted to do laundry, but ended up putting soggy, wet clothes back in the drawers, causing mold to grow on them.

She also became hypersexual, wrongly believing that sex could cure their marital problems. Laurie had odd fetishes: she admitted to fantasizing about dogs giving her head, and confessed to getting off in public pools, in the presence of her family!

Sloppy: Laurie had “let herself go.”

Russell was just about done. He had encouraged Laurie to go back to therapy, but she wasn’t making any progress. He did, however, feel guilty, so he stayed with her on her 28th birthday, and bought her a flower bouquet and pink sweatsuit.

Laurie wore the sweatsuit for weeks, believing Russell wouldn’t leave her if she kept it on, and hauled the flowers around even after they died.

A Messy Divorce

In 1985, near their third anniversary, Russell told Laurie that they had to separate. She was an emotional wreck, sobbing because her parents were on vacation in Florida, unwilling to return home to console her.

Russell had to phone Norm and call him a “son of a bitch” to convince him to come back and care for his distraught daughter.

Laurie went home to live with her parents during the separation. She tried to convince Russell she was a functional human being, that she would change for the better.

The couple in happier days

Privately, she told friends that Russell would not get away with doing this to her, and that she would make him suffer.

Laurie went full psycho: threatening Russell that she would get pregnant to force her to stay with him. When he informed her that always pulled out, she told him she would just get a syringe and inject his semen.

They began having screaming fights, and police were often called to their residence.

Around this time, Laurie started an annoying and disturbing habit: she would phone Russell, his family, and friends repeatedly, often hundreds of times a day, only to hang up.

At one point, she was even arrested after the calls were traced back to her, but police released and never charged her.

A document noting Laurie’s arrest.

The divorce dragged on for months, turning ugly fast. Laurie, a habitual liar, was telling everyone that Russell was physically attacking and raping her.

Once, like a scene from a horror film, Russell found Laurie in his closet, sitting in a pile of birdseed, listening in on his phone conversations. She became a stalker, intercepting and reading his mail.

She filed a false police report, claiming Russell had burglarized her home. When he asked her why, she told him:

“I don’t have any reason to go on living. And if I go, you’re coming with me. If I can’t have you, nobody can. That’s true love.”

At this time, she bought a Smith & Wesson .357 Magnum gun. Police asked Laurie’s parents to confiscate her gun, but they vehemently refused to do so. Norm blamed Russell for “ruining” his daughter.

Laurie called up her college ex Stephen Witt, now married and a doctor in New York.

Like Dirty Harry: Her .357 Magnum

She told him that she had his child, and had been raising it alone for years, nearly causing Stephen and his wife to break up.

When Stephen found out Laurie was lying, she phoned his office and told his coworkers that he raped her in an emergency room.

Stephen’s wife said that Laurie’s voice over the phone ”sounded like the Wicked Witch of the West.” She would soon receive several death threats from Laurie, directed towards her and their children.

In between bouts of psycho bitch behaviour, there were attempts at normalcy. Laurie dated a neighbour, and often baked cookies and pies for his mother.

The mother said Laurie seemed a lonely and sympathetic individual, who rarely laughed or smiled, but had a certain “modesty of the soul. She was naive, forlorn and lost, and wanted love and understanding and someone to talk to”

The Stabbing

Laurie’s gun licence

In the summer of 1986, Russell started dating a rich $100 million net worth blonde heiress. Laurie did not take this well. Somebody had to pay.

On Sept. 30, Russell was awoken in his bed by sharp pain in his chest. He had been stabbed with an ice pick!

The wound was an inch deep, and partially deflated his left lung. He was convinced Laurie was the perpetrator, but police claimed there was not enough evidence to prosecute her.

Bizarrely, Russell failed a lie detector test when questioned on the stabbing, and he said this was because police made him nervous. Indeed, the police on the case disliked Russell and thought him an entitled yuppie type.

Russell said of the incident:

“She actually told me she did it. I was talking to her on my car phone, and I said to her, I said: `Laurie, I mean, you know it`s one thing to hate me for the divorce, whatever. I mean, when you go to this extent, I mean, you need help.”

Laurie’s family and remaining friends were tired of her. Her parents still supported her financially, but were disappointed by the dissolution of her marriage and her ensuing bad behaviour. She felt unloved and unwanted, so she turned to the easiest vocation she could find: babysitting.

Technically, she didn’t even have to work. As a part of the divorce settlement, she received over $125k from Russell, as well as a $1250 monthly stipend for 36 months. But her life was empty, and she felt aimless.

Back to School

In 1987, Laurie moved into an apartment on the campus of Northwestern University in Illinois, despite the fact that she wasn’t even enrolled in any classes. It was a sort of regression into a better time, as if she were trying to relive her youth. But she was too far gone.

Laurie’s strange behaviour frightened her roommate. She refused to touch any doors or metal surfaces, using her sleeves or rubber gloves to open them instead.

She had extremely poor hygiene, and once followed one of the roommate’s friends into the bathroom to watch him pee, trying to shake his hand after he zipped up.

She left her dead goldfish in its bowl to rot.

An illustration depicting Laurie placing meat inside a couch.

Laurie spent her days riding elevators up and down, and watching TV static or shows without sound.

She stuffed public sofa cushions and carpets with fish bones and rotting raw meat that dripped red with blood, and threw spaghetti in the hallways.

She broke into the apartment of a man she was dating, in order to pee on his carpet.

When they went to a zoo together, the normally indifferent Laurie became sexually excited at the smell of elephant urine. What was happening to her brain?

The scared roommate began sleeping with a bat or knife at his bed.

Babysitter from Hell

After tenants complained about Laurie’s creepy behaviour, she was promptly evicted, much to the dismay of her exasperated father.

In November of 1987, Laurie bought a .32 caliber Smith & Wesson Terrier revolver. Despite the fact that their daughter was clearly deranged, her parents allowed her to possess guns.

Laurie’s .32 S&W

Laurie had returned home, only to cause more aggravation by wreaking havoc via babysitting.

She cut open a client’s furniture, causing $1700 worth of damages. When police questioned her, Laurie cried and accused Russell of doing it to frame her. They let her go.

It wouldn’t end there: she would steal food, shoes, pills, perfume- you name it. She wrote on walls with crayons, and wrecked furniture.

People who hired her said she wore thick coats even in the summer, and had awful B.O. A client said of Laurie:

“‘She had an almost childlike quality about her. But she had a great uneasiness with adults. She also had body odor like a longshoreman.”

She let dogs inside a client’s home, and stood by while they tore the place up. Laurie’s father paid the family off to thwart a police complaint.

Norm and Edith sent Laurie back to therapy, as her behaviour was getting too wild for them to handle.

The shrink prescribed Anaxfraxil/Clomipramine, an antidepressant drug used to treat OCD. One of the many side effects of this medication is increased suicidal ideation, as well as the symptoms listed below:

Her exhausted parents sent Laurie to live in student housing in the college town of Madison, Wisconsin. She lived by the University Hospital, to be close to her psychiatrist, Dr. William Greist.

When he administered an OCD questionnaire, Laurie responded “no” to questions asking whether she fantasized about homicide and hurting others.

Dr. Greist prescribed more Clomipramine, as well as Lithium, and gave her lists of tasks to complete which were supposed to assuage her OCD.

Just when she started to improve, Laurie overdosed on her medication. She vomited continuously for 12 hours until her parents took her to the hospital.

That Christmas, she bought her last gun: a .22 caliber semiautomatic Beretta.

Laurie was losing it. Her psychiatrist was alarmed when he discovered she had stuffed a cloth-covered pencil into her ear, and then lit it on fire, in order to remove earwax. She had to be prescribed antibiotics to treat the resulting infection.

Laurie’s .22 Beretta

Back to School Pt. 2

You would think that after the Northwestern debacle, Laurie’s parents would be more reticent about placing her in collegiate environments. Well, that wasn’t so!

Instead, she moved right into the heart of the University of Wisconsin, in one of the most expensive residences. Purchased courtesy of Norman, of course.

Her new roommate quickly began to notice Laurie’s eccentricities. She had no friends, she didn’t bathe, and her room smelled like urine.

On her shelves were dildoes and Penthouse magazines. Laurie was obsessed with sex: when she and Russell were together, they had invested money in softcore porn films.

Laurie continued her elevator riding obsession, which earned her the moniker “Psycho Elevator Lady.”

She would only touch metal if she wore gloves.

She hogged the lobby room TV, and told others it was hers when they tried to touch the remote, obsessively switching back and forth from channels 7 to 21 over and over again.

She entered the cafeteria in fuzzy pajamas, and ate only with gloves on, taking massive quantities that caused her weight to balloon to an extra 50 lbs. It was as if she were ravaged by an insatiable hunger.

Soon, Laurie was bulimic, vomiting loudly after eating, to the point where other students became concerned.

Creepily, a student adviser found Laurie in a stairwell, stark naked and slamming doors repeatedly. She also set fires on campus, and broke her roommate’s stereo and computer.

The only male relationship Laurie acquired in this period was a friends with benefits situation, with an attractive but odd sophomore who had managed to bang her after offering her a back massage.

He claimed that although she had bad hygiene, he didn’t really care, as his laycount that year was supposedly 20. Sounds legit.

At this time, Laurie was taking lithium, which may have caused her weight gain.

However, this guy had never been with a girl like Laurie before: She sliced up her FWB’s roommate’s clothing and textbooks when they were outside during a fire alarm drill, causing $650 worth of damages.

Laurie started plotting her final rampage as early as March of 1988.

It was here that her crank phone calls escalated into actual verbal death threats. She would call up Russell’s sister Susan and laughingly tell her “I’m a psychopath,” mocking her with chants like ”Susie, Susie, Susie, you are going to die. Your children are going to die. Goodbye.”

Laurie then stole arsenic and lead from her psychiatrist’s hospital lab, as well as books on poison from the local library.

Stolen chemicals

That month, Laurie was arrested for shoplifting 4 wigs, 2 hairclips, white pants, and a ring from JC Penney. She ran from the police, and when caught, she tried to give them a fake name.

Following her release, she skipped town to avoid her community service sentence.

In April, her distraught roommate left, and Laurie had her own lonely dorm to herself.

Laurie also stopped attending therapy, and her alarmed parents tried hard to convince her to allow herself to be hospitalized. She refused, and the stage was set for a horrific incident.

Due to the fact that she was now phoning up her enemies and threatening to actually kill them, the FBI finally intervened. They sought to seek an indictment against Laurie, but were too late.

She had already gone home to visit her parents for summer break.

A scary depiction of Laurie wrapped in plastic during a psychotic episode.

Something incredibly disturbing had happened before Laurie left the campus. The janitor found her curled up on the floor of a garbage room, inside of a plastic bag, sweating profusely.

When he asked her what she was doing there, she said she was just looking for something and dashed away.

The frightened man called up his colleagues, who then went into her disgustingly horrific dorm room.

Her urine-stained bed

Her room was full of human waste, but an oblivious Laurie was sleeping nude on her mattress. She somehow managed to convince police she was alright, and then made her escape back home to Chicago via Greyhound bus.

Like the buffoons they were, police and FBI missed their last chances to stop Laurie’s killing spree.

When they searched her vacated room, they found hell on earth.

One of the many sinister notes found in Laurie’s dorm.

There was a news clipping about a man with OCD who shot himself in the head as a “cure.” There was an article about a mentally ill woman who pretended she was being stalked in order to gain sympathy. There were stolen items from Russell’s home.

Creepiest of all, there were illegible yet telltale rants scrawled by Laurie on scattered paper:

“ hate pain… get through to you… abuse , spit , hurt , spat… why gun . question of safety… bag lady , scum paraplegic… Threw away wedding tape terrified I was helpless . I’ll deny it . suffer forever . Harm children to pay a bill .”

“bag lady, scum, paraplegic, hurt me, break me”


May 20, 1988: the day where all the threads unraveled.

Laurie awoke at 5 am, and prepared arsenic-filled rice krispie treats, popcorn and juice packets. She was ready to harm the people who she felt had made her suffer.

It was sunny outside, and she was wearing a U of Arizona Medical Dept. t-shirt with a skeleton on it, paired with white bermuda shorts.

Stage 1: Poison

She then drove across town to deliver the tainted snacks to the homes of her enemies.

Toxic juice, courtesy of Laurie Dann.

Ex-employers, babysitting clients. former in-laws, ex-friends, her psychiatrists, hated neighbours, college fraternities, ex-boyfriends, and Russell Dann- dozens of people received poisoned goods, as they were all on her kill list.

Few actually consumed the strange, foul-smelling packets of leaking food and juice, which were clumsily injected with poison via syringe. Her most potent victim was a dog, who vomited blood yet survived after consuming the tainted snacks.

Unbeknownst to Laurie, the arsenic was highly diluted and ineffective.

Stage 2: Explosives

After this, she arrived at the home of the Rushe family, to babysit their two sons and take them to a carnival as she had promised.

It is bizarre that despite all her sick behaviour, many of her babysitting clients remained unaware and still hired her! Some think the fact that the Rushe family was moving cross-country triggered Laurie, since she took it as a betrayal.

Instead of taking the kids to a carnival, she instead drove to Ravinia Elementary School, and left a homemade bomb (created with stolen flammable chemicals) by the entryway.

Failed fire bombs

Her intention was to kill Russell Dann’s nephews. She set fire to the bomb and ran away, but before it could detonate, a teacher and his students noticed the fire and called the cops.

Returning to the car, Laurie gave the boys poisoned milk in a Mickey Mouse cup. It tasted gross, so the children spit the liquid out and refused to drink more.

Laurie’s next target was a Jewish daycare center which Russell’s niece attended. She kept trying to enter the building with a gasoline can, but was escorted outside each time by puzzled teachers.

Laurie gave the Rushe boys poisoned milk in this cup.

Stage 3: Arson

After that failure, she took the Rushe children home. While they were in the basement with their mother, Laurie started a fire upstairs.

The flames quickly spread and trapped the family, but heroic mother Marian Rushe managed to smash the tiny basement windows open. She used her hands to clear the broken shards of glass, badly cutting herself in the process.

The small basement escape window

She saved her two boys first, then herself.

Bloody and confused, Marian wondered if Laurie was alright. She could not believe her shy babysitter was capable of something like this, and would only find out later that it was Laurie who started the fire.

Stage 4: Firearms

Though her actions up to this point were (thankfully) incompetent, she would finally manage to harm the victims at her next target: Hubbard Woods Elementary school.

School Shooter

She arrived at around 10:30 AM, armed with three guns, which were tucked into her shorts. There were around 200 kids attending school that day.

Laurie first went to the boys’ bathroom, and a teacher saw her exiting and said “hello.” Laurie ignored the greeting and walked on.

She entered classroom #7, where teacher Amy Moses was giving the children a bicycle safety test.

Teacher Amy Moses

Amy was a small woman, barely grazing 5 ft and weighing about 110 lbs. At this point, Laurie was very heavy, pushing 160 lbs. There was no way Amy would be able to fight Laurie off.

When Amy asked if she could assist Laurie in anything, she merely replied with a chilling “no.” Amy said that Laurie looked “so lifeless. Her face was so hard.”

Amy assumed that Laurie was a visiting student teacher, so she tried to engage her in conversation. Laurie stayed cold and blank, probably strategizing her next move, wondering what to do.

Laurie exits the bathroom, and notices two boys staring at her.

There was still time to call it off and go home, still time to save her conscience.

Suddenly, Laurie stood up from the desk she was seated at, and stormed into the hallway, like a woman possessed.

Laurie saw a 6- year old boy drinking at a water fountain, and pulled him into the bathroom. She fired a hesitant shot, but accidentally hit the tile wall. She shot again, this time hitting the boy in his chest.

Turning around to leave, she found that two boys had witnessed her crime. She aimed to shoot, but the gun jammed, and they ran away and informed a teacher.

Who draws this shit?

The poor wounded boy asked the teacher if he was going to die.

Galvanized, Laurie returned to classroom #7. She pointed her gun at Amy and ordered the teacher to round her students into a corner.

Amy attempted to wrestle the gun away, but Laurie overpowered her. As she pulled another gun out of her shorts, Amy noticed that Laurie wasn’t wearing any underwear.

Laurie then walked up to five scared children, and shot them wordlessly, one after the other. The scene was horrific. Wounded children lay crying on the floor, covered in blood.

Victim Nicky Corwin

Here, Laurie killed her only victim: 8- year old Nicholas Corwin. The rest were left with terrible injuries that took months to recover from, but with mental scars that would last forever.

Fugitive on the Run

After injuring 6 children and killing 1 of them, Laurie escaped to her car. She panicked at the sight of police and accidentally drove into a dead end suburban street. She removed her blood-stained shorts, covering herself with a flimsy blue garbage bag as replacement.

Armed with two guns (she had thrown the heavy Magnum away after it jammed), Laurie ran through random people’s backyards in hysterics.

After running through dense forest brush, she came to 2 Kent Road, an 8 bedroom mansion which belonged to the well-off Andrew family.

She burst into the unlocked kitchen, and found 50- year old Ruth Ann and her 20- year old son Philip, an athletic runner and swimmer. Laurie flashed her gun at them, and took the family hostage.

A panicked Laurie saw many cops outside that day, as they were attending a firefighter’s funeral.

When they asked her why, she lied that she had shot a man who had raped her, and had run away because she was scared of police.

A sympathetic Phil tried to offer a clearly upset Laurie some water and a pair of pants. She rejected the pants, but took the drink.

The concerned family encouraged Laurie to call her mother, which she did, explaining:

“Mom. I’ve done something terrible. People won’t understand. I’m going to have to kill myself. These are nice people here, I don’t want to hurt them.”

Phil leaned over to console Laurie, who pulled away and warned him not to touch her. She did, however, allow Phil to speak to her mother.

2 Kent Road

When he got Edith on the phone, Phil was shocked at how emotionless and unsurprised she was, asking him only to return her daughter home safely.

Edith claimed that she could not come pick Laurie up, as she didn’t have a car. Most likely, Edith was too afraid to handle the situation herself, without her husband present.

Laurie apologized to her mother, and told her goodbye and hung up.

Ruth Ann offered Laurie a pair of yellow sweatpants, which she finally accepted. As she put them on, Phil was surprised that Laurie exposed herself in full view of everyone, not even bothering to cover her nakedness.

As she changed, Laurie left her two guns on the counter top.

She entered the home wearing no pants, wrapped only in a blue plastic bag.

A sneaky Phil managed to grab the .22 Beretta, but Laurie reached for the .32 S&W (the one she shot the children with) and demanded he return it back. Phil kept but disarmed the gun to dissuade her wrath.

Laurie finally allowed mother Ruth Ann to leave. As soon as she was outside, she informed police of the hostage situation inside her home.

Inside, Phil tried to plot his escape, but Laurie shot him without warning, and then ran upstairs to the second floor. He was hit in the chest, and he sunk behind the pantry for cover.

The bullet was lodged inside Phil’s lungs, right beside his heart, but he escaped the house and survived the harrowing ordeal, eventually going on to become an FBI agent in the future.

Phil Andrew

Inside the home, Laurie had holed herself up inside the daughters’ rooms. She was at the end of her life. The room was filled with toys and girly objects, perhaps providing some comfort to her.


The crime scene outside would rage on until 7 PM. At this point, the police had phoned Laurie’s parents and requested that they come assist in procuring their daughter from the house.

Ex-husband Russell Dann also showed up on the scene after going through a root canal at his dentist that morning. He claimed to have felt vindicated, as no one had believed him when he warned them that Laurie was violent and unstable.

An officer on the scene who had mishandled the stabbing case even sobbed and apologized to Russell.

Police put a dog leash on Laurie’s father.

When Norman arrived at the standoff, he was hysterical and in disbelief. He cried:

“She’s my little girl. And they’re treating her like a wild animal. Look at these people with army outfits and guns. All they want to do is kill her.

If this is true, if this is Laurie and she did these things, my life is over.”

Norman demanded that police allow him to go inside the house to get Laurie, but they refused, saying it was too dangerous.

Cops humiliatingly tied a dog leash around Norman’s waist to keep him under their control. Via speakerphone, Norm begged his daughter to come out of the house and talk to him, but there was no response.

While Norm lamented the situation, Edith told police that considering the severity of her crimes, Laurie would now be better off dead.

After nearly 7 hours of this awful spectacle, police finally stormed the house.

Laurie’s corpse is removed from the home.

They found Laurie in the girls’ bedroom, face down in a pool of blood. She had shot herself in the mouth, severing her brain stem. Her eyes were open, and her tongue stuck out from between clenched teeth.

Laurie Wasserman Dann was dead, committing suicide at age 30.

When police informed her parents, Norm was devastated, sobbing and apologizing for his daughter’s actions continuously. Edith seemed eerily… relieved.

The agonized couple went home, police in tow. When police tried to search Laurie’s room, Norm grew enraged, demanding they leave immediately.

Once the police left, the Wassermans threw away most of the evidence. Norm’s compulsion to protect his daughter followed him even after her death. He cried and cried, mourning the loss of his “baby,” wondering how she could do something so evil.


Suicide: She died by gunshot.

For the most part, Laurie’s rampage had failed. She had attempted to kill hundreds of people across the city by distributing poisoned food to “enemies,” planting homemade bombs at schools, committing arson, and shooting up an elementary school.

She had also intended to kill her ex-husband and those close to him.

In the end, Laurie killed only one child, and herself.

Mother Linda Corwin made a public statement on her son Nicky’s death, which highlighted a disturbing coincidence:

“Hubbard Woods School had returned all of Nicky’s classroom projects, including several storybooks he had written and drawn pictures for.

Two creations seemed chillingly prescient— the first was a lengthy talking-animal story he titled ‘Randolph’s Adventure,’ in which the villain, a dog named Dirty Dan, shoots his victims while at play, killing a character named Mickey.

The second was a drawing of his mother, standing alone, with a balloon caption coming from her mouth reading, ‘Where is my son?”

Following her crime spree, investigators wondered if Clomipramine had caused Laurie to become violent.

In the wake of her shooting spree, victims sued Laurie’s parents for allowing their unstable daughter to own firearms, and pushed for stricter gun laws.

Ironically, they forgot that she had attempted to utilize poison, fire and bombs as murder weapons as well.

Some even pushed for the involuntary institutionalization of mentally ill people suspected of being dangerous.

Police and FBI were criticized for their incompetence and for not taking Laurie seriously as a threat to society, despite the fact that Russell Dann had constantly warned authorities about his crazy ex-wife for years.

Laurie Wasserman Dann was buried in an unmarked grave at Shalom Memorial Park, in a small ceremony featuring her parents and a few relatives. Grave diggers were told not to disclose her burial location to anyone.

Tragedy: Nicky Corwin’s funeral


If you actually read all this, you are probably wondering what the fuck was going on in mind of Laurie Dann.

Hers was a long, unending tale of mental suffering: what haunts me most were her obsessions with raw meat and riding elevators, which seem to evoke the similarly creepy case of Elisa Lam.

Laurie obviously suffered from untreated paranoid schizophrenia, yet her parents were in denial of this, choosing instead to treat the issue as just a mild embarrassment for their family. They vacationed in Florida while dumping their daughter onto psychiatrists in other states, hoping for a miracle cure in their absence.

Rather than lightly requesting Laurie to hospitalize herself, her parents should have done so against her will, instead of encouraging her to live alone when she was no longer even capable of performing the most basic daily tasks. Not only this, but allowing their unhinged daughter to own three guns? It was a recipe for disaster.

Infamous: A 1992 true crime trading card featuring her likeness.

Her ex-husband Russell was cold, more interested in building his own life than helping his mentally ill wife. Everybody Laurie knew deemed her a “weirdo” after awhile and abandoned her. Nobody wanted to be responsible for such a frighteningly troubled woman.

There was something terrible happening in her mind that nobody understood. And yet, how can one sympathize with a child killer? Her actions were sick beyond belief.

To her father, she remained his shy, misunderstood, tragic little girl. But to the rest of the world, Laurie Dann is a symbol of mental decay and absolute terror.

I leave you with the final heartbreaking letters Norm sent Laurie in April, a month before her rampage, begging her to get professional help and to heal from her mental illness:

Bettie Page and the Bondage She Freed Herself From

Bettie Page was the biggest sex symbol of the 1950s. Her pin-up spreads are iconic, her body was unreal, and she’s forever known for her trademark vantablack hair with those sleek brow-sweeping bangs. Bangs that have unfortunately been imitated by cringeworthy indie hipster girls everywhere, but she has yet to be outdone by them.

But what happened when the most famous sex symbol of the 1950s got tired of being ogled by dirty old men? Unfortunately, psychological decline, violence and disaster. Her later years were punctuated by schizophrenic and scary mental breakdowns.

Bettie before the pin-ups

To best understand what brought poor Bettie to point of insanity, it would be advisable to peer back into her troubled youth. Although she looked like a sweet clean-cut girl next door, Bettie was tormented by her abusive rapist father and neglectful mother. She was the second of six children and was horribly deprived of loving, normal parental relationships.

Her mother even deigned to tell Bettie what a period was, and Bettie claims “when I started menstruating at 13, I thought I was dying because she never taught me anything about that.” When her mother’s lover hit on her and tried to pull her into his car, Bettie was blamed and accused of seduction, and sent to go live with her creepy father. The girl who would go on to sell sex had her views of it warped at an early age through no fault of her own.

After graduating school, Bettie tried to become a teacher. She could not control the leering boys in the classroom. She tried her hand at secretarial work, became a typist, learned to sew, do her hair and makeup, got married and subsequently divorced.

In 1945, Bettie landed a screen test with Fox. She declined the advances of a perverted studio head, and they declined her contract. In 1947 she went to New York to try and become an actress. Instead, she was raped by a group of men and quickly left the city.

At this point, anybody in Bettie’s shoes would have lost it. Can you blame her? But she soldiered on and in 1950, an ex NYPD officer with a roaming eye approached Bettie while she walked alone along the dreamy Coney Island shore to offer up a card for his services. Services which were: pin-up model fetish photography. She accepted. As a girl, she had always dreamed of becoming an actress. This wasn’t exactly what she had prayed for, but it was something.

Bettie said of herself at the time ; “I had lost my ambition and desire to succeed and better myself; I was adrift. But I could make more money in a few hours modeling than I could earn in a week as a secretary.” She had a point.

At this time, Bettie grew her trademark bangs to cover her large forehead, which she disliked, or was made to dislike by the cop photographer. He told her the bangs would prevent the sheen of her large forehead from being reflected by the flash of the camera.

From this time onwards, Bettie would do a lot of bondage and S&M photography, partnering up with talented sleaze-makers like Irving Klaw and Bunny Yeager. She starred in striptease movies, she was on magazine covers. The 1950s were a time of prosperity for Bettie Page. Even the FBI tried to have her cheesecake dance clips burned. Everybody wanted a piece of Bettie.

But what did Bettie want? Sci-fi authour Harlan Ellison wrote her salivating praise: “She is simply pure fantasy. A dream girl in all the nicest ways, in that undiluted human passion way that we all shared at some point in our innocence. She is lust in an ice cream cone (two scoops), enthusiasm in the whisper of nylon, postpubescent rambunctiousness in the back seat of a Studebaker Commander. … She was an icon, Venus on the spike heel, the goddess Astarte come again, smoother and sleeker and possibly available.”

The thirst was real.

In 1967, Ellison would write the iconic science fiction short story I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream. And in the late 1950s, Bettie had no mouth (it was revoked from her), just her body, but she was ready to scream.

Bettie left fetish modelling in 1959 to become a born-again Christian. She was 35 years old, in a dull marriage, and felt used and regretted her nude photos. Some claim that Bettie had been informed that a man had died in a bondage session which had somehow involved her photos. This was just too much.

Bettie became a disciple of the showboating reverend Billy Graham. She said of it, “When I gave my life to the Lord I began to think he disapproved of all those nude pictures of me.”

In 1958 she attended a multiracial sermon and became inspired by ideas of peace and equality. She tried to become a missionary in Africa, but was rejected due to her several divorces. She dropped out of college while pursuing a master’s degree.

And then, her life fell apart. 1972 was not a good year for Bettie Page. It reads like one long rap sheet.

In January, Bettie ran wild with a .22 caliber pistol screaming about “the retribution of God” at a ministry retreat. Her sympathetic ex-husband took her home with him.

 In April, however, Bettie threatened to stab her ex-husband and children if they refused to pray in front of a portrait of Jesus. “If you take your eyes off this picture, I’ll cut your guts out!,” were her words. She was taken to a mental institution for 4 months, then released.

In October, a cop was called to her ex-husband’s place yet again after Bettie went on a destructive rampage inside. After the officer left the car and returned, he “saw Bettie in the back seat, with her dress pulled up, panties around her knees, masturbating with a coat hanger that the officer had left.” She spent another 6 months in a mental institution.

Things were quiet for awhile until 1979, when she attacked 2 neighbours with a knife. The neighbours were forced to knock her out with a wrench. This time she spent 7 months in an institution.

 The worst was yet to come. In 1982, she stabbed her landlady 20 times while yelling “God has inspired me to kill you!” The poor landlady woke up to a possessed Bettie sitting on top of her with a foot-long serrated bread knife. Bettie stabbed her four times in the chest, narrowly missing her heart, stabbed her hand eight times, severing the top of her third finger.

When police came, they “found Bettie in the shower with her clothes on, trying to wash out the blood stains. She kept the police waiting for an hour before she dried herself off.” Afterwards, Bettie would spend 10 much-needed years back at an institution.

Following these deranged incidents, Bettie managed to get the help she desperately needed for her schizophrenia, and she stopped attacking people. Sadly, she was penniless for many years, until her son and a team of lawyers helped her profit from royalties of her likeness which were being used in the media. She signed autographs of her pin-ups in her old age, and managed to gain a semblance of stability. Bettie died of a heart attack in 2008.

Her conflicted legacy still remains to this day. Every girl obsessed with vintage glamour wants to look like Bettie. But did we really understand her? Said Bettie in 1998 of her career, “I never thought it was shameful. I felt normal. It’s just that it was much better than pounding a typewriter eight hours a day, which gets monotonous.”

With her looks and brains, she never had to pound on a typewriter again. Instead, we intrigued devotees pound on our keyboards to churn out her tragic yet thought-provoking life story.