In the abatement of 1977, Laurie Wasserman, a 19-year-old University of Arizona student, enrolled in a home economics course. She additionally took one in marksmanship.
Her activity crisscrossed Arizona, Iowa, Wisconsin and Illinois. She abounding four universities but never becoming a degree.
She lived in adequate houses in Glencoe and Highland Park but concluded up with a admiration to beddy-bye central her car. At age 30, Laurie Wasserman Dann lived with acceptance 12 years her inferior in off-campus accommodation at the University of Wisconsin, never enrolling in class. The jailbait who already enjoyed airy rides in a convertible adopted to ride aimlessly in the elevator.
Laurie Dann`s adventure was apparent by contradictions and abstract $.25 of behavior and roles. She was the quiet student, Daddy`s little girl, a accepted abode babe and a appealing bride. She was a cutting doubtable and the spurned wife who could not let go. She was the admirable baby-sitter and the awful baby-sitter.
She seemed bedeviled with cleanliness, cutting gloves and compulsively ablution her hands, but she had urine-stained carpets and anointed hair. She was a woman showered with new clothes but remembered for her sweatsuits and bedraggled dress. She was wealthy. She was a thief.
Growing up forth the advantaged streets of the North Shore, Laurie`s approaching seemed destined to be both anticipated and comfortable. ”I ample she`d get affiliated and never accept to assignment addition day in her life,” one aerial academy acquaintance said.
Years later, the burning accent of a letter from her analyst flashed admonishing signals that she not alone had absent from the accepted aisle but was in alarming territory.
”I am absolutely anxious about your adeptness to cope with the problems you accept been disturbing with,” the doctor wrote in aggravating to actuate her to abide therapy.
”I anticipate it is important for you to realize, if you don`t already, that the attributes of your problems go aback continued afore you affiliated your husband, and it relates actual abundant to your adolescence upbringing.”
On and off, she would abide therapy. She additionally would buy three guns. In the final months of her life, she would cease treatment.
The contradictions assume endless. She was adored by children, and it was accouchement who became her final target.
”Why did she shoot six kids she didn`t know?” Winnetka badge Lt. Joe Sumner said. ”That accurate acknowledgment we may never get.”
Her family, addled over the tragedy and abashed to allocution to reporters, has not been able to adumbration in the account of their alone daughter. Her ex-husband fabricated one abbreviate actualization on civic television and afresh aished from the accessible eye. Her analyst in Madison has cooperated with police, but his insights, based on a patient-doctor relationship, accept been cloistral from the public; he has told badge she never accompanying to him thoughts of violence.
In demography her own life, she allegedly took abroad the one adventitious to put a name on the affronted that grew aural her. All she larboard abaft was a fascinating, amateurish account of torment.
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Laurie Wasserman was built-in on Oct. 18, 1957, in Michael Reese Hospital on Chicago`s South Side, the additional adolescent of Edith Joy, 27, and Norman Wasserman, 28, an accountant. The brace afresh lived with their 5-year-old son, Mark, in the Pill Hill adjacency a South Shore.
Seven years later, the Wassermans arranged up for the North Shore and a ample brick trilevel home with a big bay window in Highland Park.
Laurie abounding West Ridge Elementary School, now closed, four blocks from her home, and Red Oak Inferior High, three blocks away. The recollections of Red Oak classmates do not alter much: She was quiet and unremarkable-except conceivably in her spelling ability. Cipher recalls that she had any aing friends.
”She was very, actual quiet,” a acquaintance said, ”and she was actual aberrant because you`d airing bottomward the anteroom and say `Hi` and she wouldn`t say anything. I bethink her consistently accepting acceptable grades. It didn`t assume she had abounding accompany in inferior high.”
In a 6th-grade chic portrait, she kneels at the end of the advanced row, arch affronted adjoin the boy aing to her, the alone adolescent not adverse the camera. The 8th-grade yearbook, the Red Oak Leaves, includes for anniversary alum a
”prophecy” and a ”last will and testament” to a 7th grader ,written by Bernie Hirsch and addition classmate. Her ”last will” read: ”Laurie Wasserman`s spelling allocation to advantageous Jeff Worth.”
Hirsch said the apocalypse accounting for her was almighty short, ”Laurie Wasserman grows,” and referred to the actuality she had yet to mature.
”It`s absolutely awe-inspiring because anybody abroad gets, like, 20 words,” said Hirsch, now a bartering music ambassador in Indianapolis. ”She gets one.”
Wasserman abounding Highland Park Aerial Academy for her apprentice and green years, afresh transferred to New Trier East Aerial School, Winnetka, in 1973 afterwards her ancestors confused to a $100,000 home in Glencoe. Her parents still alive in the sprawling five-bedroom house. Admitting adequate by any measure, the home is bashful by Sheridan Road and Glencoe standards.
Norman Wasserman loves to travel, loves his tennis and jogging and has congenital a acknowledged accounting business. But his priority, by best accounts, has been demography affliction of his family.
Though Wasserman showered his babe with gifts, the ancestors seemed to abridgement outward, affecting displays of affection. In a accent at a prenuptial banquet years later, Laurie would acquisition herself clumsy to acquaint her parents she admired them-even admitting the words were in her able text.
At New Trier, Laurie did not assume to accept abounding girlfriends-a affection that would chase her throughout her life-but was accepted with boys. She abounding the inferior brawl at the Orrington Hotel in Evanston.
”She was continuing in the hall,” her brawl date said. ”I had apparent her afore about school, but she was never with anyone. She was absolute beautiful and had a abundant figure, so one day I absolved up and started to allocution with her.”
They anachronous for about a month. ”I had a LeMans convertible, and we would drive about afterwards school, alert to Bank Boys tapes,” the above admirer said. ”We would go over to her abode and accept to the radio. I can`t bethink that she had any accompany of her own.”
Bonds with the girls at New Trier were not calmly artificial by Laurie, and she was denied admission to some of the added coveted positions in the aerial academy hierarchy. She approved out for cheerleading and the Girls Club, one acquaintance said, but did not accomplish the cut. Anniversary time, she absolved abroad angry.
”I perceived a paranoia aback girls were around,” a changeable acquaintance recalled. ”She consistently had a admirer and was absolutely clingy, draped about him. That absolutely addled me, that she was somehow abashed and had a absolute ailing adapter to boys.”
A classmate, Scott Walker, remembers that she cheated off him in U.S. history-and additionally affronted him bottomward aback he asked for a date. Her brawl date said that aback she formed as a accountant at a bounded K mart, she would accord him discounts or not allegation him at all.
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In the abatement of 1976, she entered Drake University in Des Moines as an apprenticeship major. A year afterwards she transferred to the University of Arizona in Tucson as a advanced arts major. She apprenticed the Alpha Delta Pi sorority.
She was a C student. Her capital absorption on campus, said one above abode sister, was not difficult to distinguish: ”Men! She had a lot of dates.”
Frequently she would accomplish dates with several men for one evening, her abode sisters said, and afresh aish all but one-”the one guy she absolutely capital to go out with”-at the aftermost minute.
Among her Alpha Delta Pi sisters, she was not decidedly social. ”She complained a lot and rarely was fun to be with,” a above acquaintance said.
That summer, Laurie Wasserman took a home economics advance at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, and aback she alternate to Tucson in the abatement of 1977 she afflicted her above to home economics. She additionally begin time, she would afterwards confide, to apprentice marksmanship in off-campus instruction.
For two years, her abiding admirer was a pre-med student, but they bankrupt up as he was about to access medical school.
The breakdown did not assume abnormally alarming or significant, said Lou Spivack, a prosecutor in Tucson who additionally abounding the university and double-dated with the pre-med apprentice and Wasserman.
The ex-boyfriend, according to Spivack, remembers that ”she tended to be careful of him and anxious of added women.” But, he says: ”Laurie never was a alpha psychopath actuality in Arizona. If she was, we never saw it.”
Not continued afterwards the split, in the summer of 1980, she larboard the university. – – –
Laurie Wasserman alternate to the North Shore. A new affair began.
She met Russell Dann at a bar, and they started dating. Russell, who grew up in Highland Park, was a ascent agent of Dann Brothers Insurance Co. in Northbrook, the ancestors business. He anticipation she was quiet but cute. Aloof the appropriate height, too. At 5-foot-3, she was a brace inches shorter.
But in abounding means he was Laurie`s opposite. ”You could characterize Russell as an all-American boy,” said his uncle, Charles Dann. ”Very outgoing, a abundant cardinal of friends, well-liked.”
He is a best tennis amateur at the Green Acres Country Club in Northbrook, Charles Dann said, and ”an outstanding skier.” His affection for tennis seemed to alongside that of Laurie`s youthful-looking father, Norman Wasserman.
All of Russell`s friends, it seemed, were accepting married. Laurie and Russell were affianced nine months afterwards at the Wassermans` Florida home in Boca Raton.
They were affiliated on Sept. 11, 1982, in Northbrook. It was absitively to accept a baby ceremony, partly because Russell`s accompany would far outnumber Laurie`s.
The Wassermans` bells present was $15,000. He was 26. She was one ages shy of 25.
By this time, she had enrolled in and aloof from six courses at Northwestern University`s continuing apprenticeship program. Applying for jobs, she aria that she had accustomed a amount from Arizona and had formed at Dann Brothers. The assignment she begin was uninteresting; she abdicate as a agent at Northwestern in August, 1982, accusatory that she was not actuality challenged.
Once married, she did not allegation to work. Russell Dann was earning a six-figure bacon that was alone a atom of his net worth.
While allure and as newlyweds, Russell Dann began to apprehension what, at first, he anticipation to be controllable superstitions. At stoplights, Laurie would accessible the aperture and tap her bottom on the pavement. She would edge about a carpeting at her parents` Boca Raton home. She would debris to aing cabinets in the kitchen.
Soon he accomplished the problems ability be deeper. Laurie`s father, who additionally was part-owner of a accouterment store, provided her with new clothes, but they concluded up in blowzy bags on the closet floor. Her car, ancestors associates thought, looked like the home of a bag lady.
”He formed a abounding day,” said a acquaintance of Laurie and Russell Dann`s.
”She had about woken up by the time he got home. She was abased and helpless. She couldn`t authority a job. He approved actual adamantine to accomplish it work.”
Laurie would afterwards say that she acquainted a antagonism with his mother, an adorable woman who was additionally a acknowledged t trader.
Faced with the problems of a new alliance and abiding troubles aloof alpha to surface, Laurie Dann began to see a psychiatrist. Her bedmate promised to absorb whatever it took to accomplish her well, but by March, 1984, she was abnegation help.
A letter from her analyst on March 12 pleaded with her to abide psychotherapy. The letter additionally warned Laurie that she could not await on medication to cure her problems.
”The use of medication can alone aftereffect in a appropriate advance and not in a absolute cure for the kinds of difficulties that you are experiencing,” the doctor wrote. ”Medication can additionally alone be appropriately administered beneath advancing doctor`s ascertainment and care.”
In 1985, they bought a five-bedroom abode in Highland Park. Afterwards that year, they separated.
Russell Dann`s father, Armand, gave Norman Wasserman a borderline to appear to a affable annulment agreement. The day afore the deadline, in January, 1986, Laurie Dann filed for dissolution of the marriage. She told her advocate that she was acquisitive to annoyance out the annulment affairs for two to three years.
The alliance was the alone affair she had and the alone affair she wanted, a acquaintance of the couple`s said. According to the friend, Laurie told Russell,
”If I can`t accept you, cipher can.”
A advocate accustomed with the case declared Laurie as ”emotionally dominated” by her husband.
At a audition in June, 1986, on acting abutment for Laurie, her advocate declared that Dann had baffled his wife during the alliance and the separation. It was not the alone time Laurie Dann accused her bedmate of violence-and, like the added times, there was never abundant affirmation to accord believability to her charge.
In Tucson, Laurie`s ex-boyfriend from college, now a doctor, had amorphous accepting afflictive buzz calls.
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On May 10, 1986, Laurie Dann absolved into the Marksman gunshop in Glenview, area the agent remembers her as actuality flirtatious. She bought a .357 Smith & Wesson Magnum.
She told her parents she bare it for protection. A acquaintance of the Dann ancestors fabricated abiding Russell knew his conflicting wife now was armed. And Russell told police. Aback Mr. and Mrs. Wasserman were contacted by Glencoe police, they said they would put the gun in a safe-deposit box.
In August, Laurie met John Childs, now 34, on the Glencoe beach, and they addled up a abbreviate friendship. He lived alone two houses away.
His accord with Dann lasted alone into September, recalls his mother, Alexandra. He absitively to stop seeing her afterwards acquainted assertive idiosyncracies: Laurie would accessible doors and aces up apparatus with her sleeves. She did not like to be touched. She was abashed of her husband.
Mrs. Childs remembers that Laurie done her calmly frequently, a addiction she noticed aback Laurie would appear over to the abode and delay for John to acknowledgment from work. ”I abiding aces winners,” John told his mother sarcastically. The aing camp adventure in the Dann alliance took abode on Sept. 30, 1986. As he slept in his apartment, Russell Dann was stabbed in the with an ice pick.
A accouterments abundance agent said he remembered Laurie Dann affairs an ice pick. A cancellation for an ice aces was begin in Laurie`s home. Russell Dann bootless a lie-detector test. His ex-wife, he said, anesthetized one. No accuse were pressed.
”She absolutely told me she did it,” Russell Dann told ABC-TV`s
”Nightline” affairs on May 23. ”I was talking to her on my car phone, and I said to her, I said: `Laurie, I mean, you apperceive it`s one affair to abhorrence me for the divorce, whatever. I mean, aback you go to this extent, I mean, you allegation help.` ”
It was afterwards the cutting that Dann, his accompany and his ancestors began accepting late-night afflictive buzz calls they anticipation were from Laurie. At first, the addition would artlessly arena already and adhere up.
A Deerfield woman dating Russell Dann appear agnate calls to bounded badge in October and said she doubtable Laurie Dann. The calls were traced to the Wasserman abode in Glencoe.
”Victim believes doubtable is 10-96,” the badge abode said. The cardinal is a badge cipher for ”mental patient.”
She was arrested by Highland Park badge in November, 1986, for authoritative afflictive calls. Accuse afterwards were alone by Lake County prosecutors, who cited a abridgement of accurate evidence.
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The annulment seemed to be proceeding calmly as of Jan. 28, 1987.
Court abstracts appearance the brace advised to breach the money from affairs the house, admired at about $250,000, and Russell Dann would pay Laurie $1,250 a ages for 36 months.
At about the aforementioned time, the afflictive buzz calls seemed to diminish. But by March, Russell Dann`s accompany were afresh ”experiencing the aforementioned terror,” as one of them put it, and wrote the Lake County state`s advocate gluttonous help.
”This was accident two or three times a night, bristles canicule in a row,”
said a acquaintance who accustomed calls.
The annulment was accepted on April 27. One of her attorneys remembers that she already recoiled in abhorrence aback he approved to agitate her hand.
Not continued afterwards that, in May, she accused her ex-husband of ually assualting her. Afterwards beard samples were taken from Russell Dann, prosecutors absitively not to accompany the case.
That aforementioned month, Laurie told badge that a Molotov cocktail had been larboard on the kitchen table in Glencoe. Russell Dann was questioned, but no accuse were filed.
A addition to the home of Susan Taylor, Russell Dann`s sister, threatened:
”Susie, Susie, Susie, you are activity to die. Goodbye.” The addition would say, ”I`m a psychopath,” and she would laugh.
That summer Laurie Dann farm an accommodation from a apprentice at the Kellogg Living Learning Centermost at Northwestern in Evanston.
A apprentice alive at the centermost afterwards told university public-safety admiral that Dann was analytical about which fraternities would be bigger for affair men.
She anon became a doubtable in thefts at the architecture and for several confusing incidents, including meat larboard beneath the cushions of chairs and couches in the lounges.
It was about this time that Laurie Dann, who consistently capital to accept one child, absitively to booty up baby-sitting. She acquaint handwritten notices on account boards in the Glencoe Accessible Library and Dee Jay`s Foods in Glencoe. Laurie Dann was either a near-perfect baby-sitter or a disaster, depending on which North Shore ancestors is talking. But all the families that assassin her in 1987, alike those who anticipation her a thief, vandalizer, cheat and worse, said she was acceptable with children.
One brace who came to accept that she blanket aliment and defaced acreage recalls her readily arena amateur and putting calm puzzles with their children.
”She had an about artless affection about her,” the ancestor said. ”But she had a abundant anxiety with adults.”
Norman Wasserman deeply denied that his babe blanket the food, but he did accede to pay the added ancestor $400 for the missing items. ”He said there`s no way you can prove it,” the man said.
Laurie Dann was not missed. ”She had anatomy odor like a longshoreman,”
the mother said. And, she said, Laurie would use pots and apparatus and afresh put them aback in cabinets and drawers afterwards abrasion them.
Kenneth Beckman, whose son said he saw Laurie burglary arctic steaks and added food, was not absorbed in restitution. But the Glencoe man was so anxious about Laurie Dann that he advised demography out a bi-weekly ad to acquaint the North Shore about her; he was dissuaded from this by police,.
Elsewhere on the North Shore, in Winnetka, the Bayless ancestors was acutely blessed with Dann afterwards she was recommended by the ancestors aing door, Padraig and Marian Rushe. ”Our babe admired her,” said Craig Bayless, of Winnetka. ”She was abundant with kids.”
The university, meanwhile, had confused to adios her, but her ancestor accustomed to conciliate, and she confused out Sept. 7.
Her actuality in Evanston was abundantly nocturnal, said an investigator Russell Dann had assassin afterwards he grew abashed of her. He said that aback academy admiral inspected her apartment, they begin urine-stained floors and rancid meat on the counter.
Laurie was apparent bristles blocks away, sleeping in her car, which the investigator begin was not unusual.
In October, afterwards four complaints about annexation of aliment and clothing, Robert Bonneville, Glencoe`s public-safety director, accomplished an acceding with Norman Wasserman. He said his babe would not seek any added baby-sitting jobs but would abide with the families who admired her. Wasserman already had paid amends to two families.
Last Nov. 7, Laurie Dann alternate to the Marksman and bought a .32 ability Smith & Wesson, the gun she afterwards would use to booty her own life. She additionally purchased a .22 ability semiautomatic Beretta on Dec. 29.
Police accept she confused to Madison ancient in November.
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The phone-call aggravation had gotten so bad by aftermost January that four men from four afflicted families met with Glencoe`s Bonneville and appropriate accumulation of a assignment force of North Shore badge to investigate allegations adjoin Laurie Dann.
A Glencoe detective, Floyd Mohr, was assigned to the case, and he abstruse that Laurie Dann was seeing a psychiatist. The detective afterwards told some of the bodies accepting buzz calls that the analyst believed she would not abuse herself or anyone else.
After a abeyance in Tucson, Dann`s ex-boyfriend had amorphous accepting afflictive calls again.
It was in January that Dann confused to the Towers, off-campus apprentice housing, in Madison. She was seeing a university psychiatrist, Dr. John Greist. And he assigned a biologic alleged lithium carbonate, frequently acclimated to amusement berserk depression.
She additionally started demography an beginning biologic alleged clomipramine. The biologic controls obsessive-compulsive disorders, which are apparent by august or repetitive behavior.
She chock-full her visits to Greist in March.
At the Towers, Dann told acceptance she was a green belief journalism and said she had transferred from Northwestern. She bound became accepted as a beatnik and an aberrant and was nicknamed the ”psycho elevator lady.”
She seemed to be accepting weight, but some acceptance anticipation she was bulimic. A 5th-floor apprentice said she saw a agenda at the advanced board of the dining allowance saying, ”Please don`t let Laurie Dann leave and appear aback for meals.” Dann advantaged sweatsuits, and her beard was greasy.
Her apartment acquaintance said she already begin a agenda in Dann`s allowance that appeared to be a agenda for benumbed the elevators.
Spooked by Dann`s elevator habits, her bistro habits and rumors that she had been apparent annexation by added students, the apartment acquaintance grew aflutter and confused out. Cipher confused in aing to Dann.
Early in the bounce the Glencoe ancestors that had assassin Laurie and had accused her of burglary aliment accustomed a afterlife blackmail from a woman caller:
”Your accouchement are activity to die.”
On March 10, the wife of one of Dann`s accompany accustomed a afterlife blackmail over the phone.
On March 12, Dann was reportedly apparent in a lab at the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics Building. Three canicule later, a abundance of arsenic and advance was appear stolen.
On March 14, Laurie Dann was arrested and answerable with annexation four wigs and two hairclips at a J.C. Penney abundance in Madison. She said she was a University of Arizona student, gave her abode as the Highland Park home she had already aggregate with her bedmate and listed her weight at 130 pounds, 33 pounds added than what was on her driver`s license.
Shortly afore Mother`s Day, Susan Taylor best up the buzz and heard a changeable voice: ”Susie, Mother`s Day, are you all accepting together? You shall die.”
A alarm May 9 to the Tucson ex-boyfriend threatened that he and his accouchement would be stabbed. ”It articulate like the articulation of the Wicked Witch of the West,” prosecutor Spivack quoted the doctor as saying.
Arizona prosecutors had planned to arraign Dann May 18 for the cutting threat. That idea, however, was alone in favor of bringing assorted accuse in Madison in hopes of accepting her captivated afterwards bond over afterlife threats adjoin the Tucson ex-boyfriend, Russell Dann and Taylor.
On May 15, with best acceptance already gone for the summer, a agents affiliate at the Towers begin her in a 5th-floor debris room. She was lying in a bend of the room, coiled up in a fetal positon with a artificial bag pulled over her body, decrepit with sweat.
Police accept she larboard Madison at 4 a.m. May 16.
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On May 20, Laurie Dann set out from her Glencoe home in a affluence Toyota with the three accoutrements from the Marksman and bales of aliment attenuated with advance and arsenic.
She delivered the aliment to two Northwestern fraternities, baby-sitting audience and bodies she knew alone tenuously. Her analyst and her ex-husband accustomed bales of attenuated abstract in the mail.
She went to the home of the Rushes, who beforehand that anniversary had told her they were affective away, and said she was demography two of the family`s accouchement on an outing.
With the two accouchement in tow, she collection to Ravinia Elementary Academy in Highland Park and started a baby fire. At the day centermost at the Young Men`s Jewish Council, additionally in Highland Park, she was prevented from entering but allegedly larboard a Mickey Mouse cup abstemious with poison. The accouchement of Susan Taylor were at the two Highland Park schools.
She afresh alternate to the Rushe home and took the accouchement to the basement. Aback the mother went to analysis on them, Laurie Dann set the basement stairway afire and fled. The mother and accouchement fled through a basement window.
At Hubbard Woods Academy in Winnetka, area the Rushe accouchement were enrolled, she attempt and dead 8-year-old Nicholas Corwin and blood-soaked bristles added children.
In a adjacent Winnetka home, she would blaze two added bullets. Philip Andrew, a 20-year-old University of Illinois student, was blood-soaked by the first.
She acclimated the additional to annihilate herself, agreement the .32 central her aperture and affairs the trigger.
At her death, Laurie Wasserman Dann advised 137 pounds. She wore a University of Arizona medical academy T-shirt imprinted with a skeleton airish as the Thinker.
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