You are on page 1of 3

“Silent Scream”

Forward by
Charles Hemp OPPSD ret
When Gerard John Schaefer was perpetrating his evil in South Florida, and
perhaps elsewhere as well, the term “Serial Killer” hadn’t been coined. The crimes,
which now fit into that category, have been documented throughout history but the label
had yet to become part of the American lexicon.
The “Behavioral Science” unit of the FBI was non-existent and law enforcement
in general had to rewrite the training manual when it came to dealing with these
criminals, the crime scenes they left behind and the terrible void suffered by a family
who lost a loved one under such monstrous circumstances.
In April of 1973 when the skeletal remains of Susan Place and Georgia Jessup
were found in St. Lucie County the start of a joint investigation, which involved the
Oakland Park Department of Public Safety, the Broward County Sheriff’s Department
and the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Department began. Numerous other law enforcement
agencies, from Fort Lauderdale to Stuart also assisted and cooperated as south Florida
detectives scrambled to determine if there was a link between this crime scene and other
open cases.
By year’s end exposure to Gerard John Schaefer’s conversations, mind games,
manuscripts and the story that unfolded with the investigation aged my fellow detectives
and me 10 years. The terrible fear and cruelty that Schaefer’s victims endured serves to
illustrate a basic truth that homicide detectives come to understand. “There is nothing
so inhuman, so bazaar or so painful that one person won’t do to themselves or another
human being.
I often think to myself that if this crime had to take place, I wish that it would
have been later in my career when I was a more experienced, seasoned investigator and
was better prepared to deal with the verbal games and manipulative tactics of this cold
blooded murderer.
Although Schaefer was convicted of the heinous murders of Susan Place and
Georgia Jessup, the voices of his other victims still cry to be heard. In her book, “Silent
Scream,” Yvonne Mason gives all of Schaefer’s victims a “voice” and it is my hope that
perhaps her work will allow them, their families and everyone connected to the evil of
Gerald John Schaefer a lasting peace.

Normally I wouldn’t do a Foreword and a preface in one book. However, this book
merits both. As I researched this crime and the players involved many things that I already knew
were reiterated and proved once again that there are no depths to which a human being will
There is no evil which man will not do. There are a myriad of excuses and platitudes a
criminal will always fall back on when caught. They are not sorry for the crime they perpetrated,
they are not sorry for the loss of life they caused. They are not sorry for the pain of the victim
and the families as well. The pain, which never goes away. The questions, which always remain,
unanswered. One question, which has haunted law enforcement and those who worked this case
concerning Gerard Schaefer, has been “Did we do all we could?”
There is no answer. Sure they can play Monday Quarterback, they can continue to
second-guess their abilities and their drive to put away one of the most vile and evil men who
lived. But for what purpose does it serve? Who does it help at this junction? The answer to that
question is no one and nothing. These players who worked so tirelessly to make sure that
Schaefer was never able to perform his whore cleansing did the best they could with what they
At that time in law enforcement history there was no CSI (Crime Scene Investigations)
to speak of, no DNA testing available, limited evidence techniques, and primitive lab/evidence
analysis as compared to today’s standards.
Schaefer was a genius. He knew the system of law. He knew how to manipulate and
stage things to place him just on the edge of the crime without falling in. He always said he could
never be tied to any of these crimes because he could never be placed at the scene. In that he was
Schaefer’s victims were never given a voice. Their screams have been silent for over
thirty years. Their lives were taken at a time when they should have been planning their future.
They were robbed of their youth and their old age. They were used as a tool for the sick and evil
perversion of one human being.
Their story is between these pages. They now are heard.
You the reader decide what Gerard John Schaefer was.
For the victims!


Chapter One
How it Ended
At 9:40 A.M. Gerard John Schaefer’s life drained from his body as he lay in
a pool of bright red blood in his blood splattered cell at Starke Prison also known as
Raiford, located in Starke, Florida just northeast of Gainesville. He had been stabbed by
a fellow prisoner with a homemade knife, called a shank.
Schaefer’s transgression included the fact that he had taken the last cup of hot
water from a water fountain. Each inmate was allotted one cup. This was to insure that
every inmate had access to the hot water. Schaefer took two. Maybe because he was the
one who had been instrumental in getting the fountain installed in the first place he felt
he was entitled to extra privileges. However, that appeared not to be the case. His worst
transgression was that he made enemies and was not loyal to the code of prison conduct.
Gerard Schaefer had gained notoriety in prison by gaining the confidence of
other well-known prisoners at Starke. He had gained the confidence of serial killers Ted
Bundy, who killed girls at FSU as well as all across the country from
Washington State to Florida, Danny Rolling who killed girls at the University of
Florida and Otis Toole who had been an accomplice to several serial killings starting out
west and moving east. Schaefer would get these men to talk and then use their
conversations to try and get leverage with law enforcement.
He wanted out of prison and thought if he was the confidential informant he
would win his way out. He was the king pin at Starke, the celebrity who had been
accused and convicted of savagely raping, killing and mutilating young women. He was
the rogue cop who became skilled in the law by studying in the prison law library.
When Ted Bundy told Schaefer he had heard that Schaefer had killed up 28
young girls Schaefer’s reply was it had been was closer to 34. Bundy’s comment was
that Schaefer had him by one. Schaefer more than likely was not happy that his status as
a celebrity in his world was changing. Maybe he thought if he could get something on
the “new kids” in the block he could regain his reign as king. The only thing it gained
him was the loss of his life.
Schaefer’s throat was savagely slashed and both of his eyes stabbed repeatedly.
The viciousness of the attack was an act of sheer hatred. It also sent a message. This
message was Schaefer and others like him who violated the code would no longer be
able to see or talk. His eyes were blinded and his voice was silent. He endured the same
silent scream, which his victims had endured. The attack was a statement of not only
anger, but also territory.
Schaefer’s life ended as he had ended the lives of so many women and young
girls, in a pool of blood, created by a maniac.
Schaefer’s demise came about as he lived, violently. December 3, 1995 was
indeed a red-letter day for the man who never admitted to the slayings of at least nine,
but as high as 34 females between 1966 and 1972. Even though he was only convicted for
two in 1973 he spent the next twenty-two years eluding to the fact that he perpetrated
other violent killings. He did it in television interviews; manuscripts he wrote which he
sometime said were fiction and letters to people in law enforcement as well as his
publisher Sondra London.