This article's factual accuracy may be compromised due to out-of-date information. (November 2010)
Bruce D. Mendenhall (born April 14, 1951) is a convicted American murderer and serial killer. He was arrested in Tennessee in July 2007 and found guilty in 2010 of the June 26, 2007 murder of Sara Hulbert, whose body was found by the security guard on duty that night. A long haul trucker, Mendenhall's truck was found to contain the blood of numerous other murdered or missing women. He has been charged with the murders of three other women at truck stops in Alabama, Indiana and Tennessee. He is still under investigation for murders in Georgia, Illinois, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas.
|Other names||The Prosti-Shooter|
The Rest Stop Killer
The Truck Stop Killer
|July 12, 2007|
A resident of Albion, Illinois, Mendenhall was arrested at the TA truck stop on Interstate 24 in Nashville, Tennessee on July 12, 2007 after Detective Sgt. Pat Postiglione spotted a truck that matched surveillance footage from the night Sara Nicole Hulbert was murdered at the same truck stop. Upon inspection of the vehicle, a large quantity of bloody clothing and identification and personal effects of an Indianapolis woman, who had gone missing the day before, was found in a plastic sack along with blood spots scattered around the inside of his cab, including even the steering wheel and his hands. Medenhall was arrested and taken into custody. Police catalogued 300 items from the truck including a rifle, knives, handcuffs, latex gloves, several weapons cartridges, black tape, a nightstick, and sex toys. Sampling of these items turned up the DNA of five different women. On August 2, 2007, Mendenhall waived his right to a preliminary hearing.
Mendenhall's victims were primarily young prostitutes, usually found shot, though detectives have determined that his method of killing may have changed over the years. During questioning, he implicated himself in the shooting death of Hulbert, whose body was found on June 26, 2007.
He has also implicated himself in the shooting death of Symantha Winters, whose body was found June 6, 2007 in a trash can at a truck stop in Lebanon, Tennessee. She had a criminal record showing at least one previous charge of prostitution. On August 17, 2007, a Wilson County grand jury indicted Mendenhall for the murder of Winters. He was subsequently convicted and sentenced to life.
Another victim killed on July 11, 2007 at a Flying J truck stop on Interstate 465 in Indianapolis, Indiana was recently found. Carma Purpura, a 31-year-old mother of two, was last seen at the far-southside Indianapolis truck stop. On April 10, 2008, Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi charged Mendenhall with murder in the case. DNA tests link a large quantity of the blood from Mendenhall's truck cab to the woman's parents. Investigators also found her cell phone, ATM card and clothing she wore on the day she disappeared. Four years later her remains were discovered just off I-65 in Kentucky.
On July 28, police in Birmingham, Alabama charged Mendenhall with the murder of Lucille "Greta" Carter, who was found nude in a trash bin with a plastic bag taped around her head on July 1. She was shot with a .22 caliber weapon.
Investigators said Mendenhall was initially cooperative, but subsequently ceased to implicate himself in other murders. Police are investigating the possibility that Mendenhall is responsible for other murders in the region including:
- Deborah Ann Glover, an Atlanta prostitute whose body was found near a Motel 6 in Suwanee, Georgia on January 29, 2007. Police are certain that Mendenhall was in Georgia on the day Glover was shot.
- Sherry Drinkard, a prostitute from Gary, Indiana whose body was found naked in a snow embankment
- Tammy Zywicki, a student who was found stabbed to death on September 2, 1992. She vanished from Interstate 80 near LaSalle, Illinois nine days before, after dropping off her brother at Northwestern University.
- Robin Bishop, a prostitute who was run over at a Flying J truck stop on Interstate 40 in Fairview, Tennessee on July 1, 2007.
- Belinda Cartwright, a hitchhiker who was run over at a truck stop in Georgia in 2001. A composite police sketch made of the suspect based on information from witnesses bears a striking resemblance to Mendenhall.
Until August 2009, Mendenhall was considered in the murder of Jennifer Smith, a prostitute found nude at a truck stop in Bucksnort, Tennessee in April 2005. DNA evidence in 2009 proved that she was the second victim of killer John Wayne Boyer.
In 2021, It was reported that Mendenhall was transferred to Indiana to stand trial for the 2007 murder of Carma Purpura. He denies being a serial killer and claims to only be guilty of trusting a cop.
- "Police Try To Link 'Prosti-Shooter' With Indy Slaying". WRTV. 2007-10-10. Archived from the original on 2008-11-04. Retrieved 2008-10-30.
- Wells, Len (2017-02-15). "Court denies appeal from convicted killer Mendenhall". Evansville Courier & Press. Retrieved 2017-05-08.
- Greg Giuffrida (2007-07-12). "Police: Man arrested in truck stop death". San Jose Mercury News.
- "Who Is Bruce Mendenhall? | WKRN.COM". 2007-10-17. Archived from the original on 2007-10-17. Retrieved 2020-04-18.
- "Homicide detectives arrest suspected serial killer". Metropolitan Nashville Police Department. 2007-07-12.
- "Police: Truck driver spoke of 6 killings". USA Today. 2007-07-13.
- "Suspected Serial Killer Waives Right To Hearing". newschannel5.com. 2007-08-02. Archived from the original on 2007-09-27.
- Jeremy Finley (2007-07-31). "Group Suspected Accused Trucker Years Ago". WSMV. Archived from the original on 2007-09-27.
- "Mendenhall Suspected In Bucksnort Murder Case". newschannel5.com. 2007-07-27. Archived from the original on 2007-09-27.
- "Mendenhall gets guilty verdict". Lebanon Democrat. Archived from the original on 2018-03-03.
- "Remains found in Kentucky identified as Indy woman". Indianapolis Star.
- "Truck driver charged in Alabama woman's death". Chicago Tribune. 2007-07-28.[permanent dead link]
- "Was Silver City woman victim of serial killer?". kob.com. 2007-07-24.
- Dana Kozlov (2007-07-13). "Confessed Killer May Be Linked To Zywicki Murder". cbs2chicago.com. Archived from the original on 2007-07-14.
- Christian Botorff (2007-07-18). "Trucker gets look in other killings". The Tennessean.[permanent dead link]
- Len Wells (2007-07-31). "Cold cases thawing". Evansville Courier & Press.
- "Man serving time for killing New Hanover woman indicted on murder charges in Tenn". Star-News. 2007-08-07.
- "Suspected Albion, Ill., serial killer found guilty in Tennessee murder". Courier & Press. Retrieved 2023-06-21.
- Beres, Nick (2021-10-14). "Serial killer Bruce Mendenhall to stand trial in 2007 murder". News Channel 5 Nashville (WTVF). Retrieved 2023-06-21.
- Tennessee Department of Correction; Felony Offender Information Tennessee Offender Management Information System Identification (TOMIS ID): 00465896