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  • Writer's pictureThe True Crime Edition

The Glamour Girl Slayer

Harvey Glatman was a serial killer who murdered three women and disposed of their bodies but not before taking photographs of their suffering.

Harvey Glatman was born on the 10th of October 1927 in the Bronx, New York. An awkward child, Glatman excelled at school and had a high IQ. He enjoyed the arts and had a passion for photography growing up.

Harvey Glatman via Murderpedia

When he was a toddler, his family moved to Denver, Colorado, where his mother had family. He attended Denver East high school, where he was part of the school band, playing the cornet. Early on, Glatman showed traces of antisocial behaviour and violent tendencies.

Behind his back, his classmates would make fun of him, calling him a weasel or chipmunk due to his large ears and buck teeth.

In 1938, his parents caught him masturbating with a rope tied around his neck. At 11 years old, it was normal for boys to experiment, but his parents were concerned about his behaviour.

The assaults

In his teenage years, Glatman broke into multiple houses, stealing small trophies and on one occasion, he stole a gun. In the beginning, these burglaries were random, but they became more deliberate the more houses he stole from.

He began to target the houses of attractive women. He would follow his victims home and climb through an unlocked window or door. He would catch the women by surprise and tie them up with the rope he brought with him. Even though he was small, he had his stolen gun to assist in subduing them.

Once they were secured, he would remove their tops and touch them and himself. He didn't rape them, but the trauma was just as bad. For him, the act of tying up these women and the helplessness was enough to satisfy his urges. For them, it was still abuse.

On the 18th of May 1945, Glatman was caught trying to access Elma Hamum's apartment. He was apprehended by police, who found the rope and the .25 calibre pistol in his pockets. He quickly confessed to the burglaries but didn't mention the instances where he had assaulted the house's occupants.

While out on bail, he kidnapped Norene Laurel and took her to Sunshine Canyon. As with his intrusions, he performed the same actions of groping her and himself. He then returned her home once he was finished.

Norene immediately reported the crime to the police and picked Glatman out of a mugshot book. He was quickly detained by the police and was sentenced to one year at Colorado State prison, but was released early on good behaviour eight months later.

Concerned for her son, Glatman's mother, Ophelia, took him to see a psychiatrist. At just 19 years old, these were not usual teenage inclinations, and she wanted him to get help. The doctor believed that he was scared of women and suggested that he involve himself in new hobbies to interact with women easily, like dancing.

His mother suggested that he move back to New York and found him an apartment in Yonkers. She also got him a job at a local TV repair shop, which was a skill he'd learned in prison.

On the 17th of August 1946, Glatman attacked Thomas Staro and Doris Thorn while walking. He tied up Thomas with the rope he brought with him and began to rape Doris while aiming a toy gun at her. Thomas managed to free himself from the bindings and attacked Glatman, who was otherwise occupied.

Glatman managed to twist free from Thomas' grip and cut him with the penknife he was carrying. The cut made Thomas retreat, and Glatman ran and found himself on a train to Albany, two hours north of New York.

A few days later, on the 22nd of August, Glatman attacked Florence Hayden. He pushed the nurse into a yard as she walked down Main Avenue in Albany and told her to stay quiet as he pointed his toy gun at her.

While he tied her up with the rope he had in his pocket, she realised that he wasn't holding the gun anymore, so she screamed and pushed him away from her. Florence Hayden escaped unharmed, telling police that her assailant looked more frightened than she was.

The following evening, Glatman approached two women in Albany to fulfil his urges. He planned to attack them both, but as he reached them, he lost his confidence. He instead demanded they give him their money whilst he waved his toy gun at them. Evelyn Berge and Beverly Goldstein handed over their purses, and he ran off, mumbling to himself.

Police Commissioner James Kirwin and his team received the report from the two women and matched it to Florence Hayden's, and Thomas Staro and Doris Thorn's descriptions of their attacker.

Two days later, Harvey Glatman was arrested. He was in the process of following his next victim when he was apprehended carrying the toy gun, the rope and the pocket knife. Once captured, he immediately confessed to the crimes.

In 1946, at 19 years old, he was sentenced to five to 10 years. Because he wasn't 21 yet, he was initially transferred to Elmira Correctional Facility but would later spend time in Sing Sing Correctional Facility, both in New York state.

At Sing Sing, Glatman underwent several psychiatric examinations, which reported him as "not definitely mental defective or psychotic". In 1948, after just two years, Glatman was released early on good behaviour.

He was returned to the care of his mother and kept under observation as part of his parole conditions, which continued for four years.

In January 1957, and now 30 years old, Glatman moved to Los Angeles, California, where he picked up his interest in photography again. Working as a TV repairman by day, Glatman was able to rent a studio apartment on Melrose Avenue in the heart of Los Angeles. He set up a darkroom in the apartment and bought a Rolleicord camera and its accessories.

Rolleicord camera via Wikipedia

Now that he had all the equipment, he began to offer his services under the pseudonym Johnny Glenn, where he sought work at modelling agencies, looking for victims.

Judith Dull

A 19-year-old going through a brutal child custody battle for her daughter, Judy used modelling jobs to pay the court bills and was keen to book as many shoots as possible.

Judy Dull via

On the 1st of August, Glatman called Judy on the number given to him by her agency and told her of the exciting opportunity he had concocted. He asked her to wear street clothes and told her they could even shoot at her apartment if it made her feel more comfortable. She shared her apartment with two other models and would be paid $50 for her work, around $450 today. It was an easy job.

Later that day, Glatman arrived at Judy's apartment. He told her that the lighting wasn't right for this particular shoot, and he would like to go to his studio instead. After meeting Glatman, the skinny, awkward man, Judy decided that he wasn't a threat and agreed to leave with him.

He gave his phone number to Judy's flatmate Betty, led Judy out to his car, and drove her to his apartment. When they arrived, he explained to Judy that the photoshoot included bondage, and he would need to tie her up.

Once she was in position, he went through with the photoshoot, waving his newly purchased real gun around and telling her to look scared.

When the photo shoot was finished, he raped her several times, losing his virginity in the process. He then made her sit down next to him, cuddle on the sofa and watch TV.

Around 10.30 pm, Glatman told Judy that he was ready to let her go but would need to leave her in the middle of nowhere. Instead, he tied her wrists again and led her to his car by gunpoint. He then drove her 100 miles southeast, outside Los Angeles, near Thousand Palms.

When they finally arrived, he lassoed her neck, pushed her down onto her knees and hog-tied her. He then pulled on the rope until she was dead.

Meanwhile, Judy's flatmates were growing concerned that she wasn't home from the photoshoot yet. Betty called the phone number Glatman had left her but soon realised it wasn't the number for his studio.

Betty called the police and gave them a description of the man who drove Judy away in his car. The police put out a bulletin for Glatman, but no one came forward.

Judy was discovered four miles from Indio, just off of the highway. Glatman had taken the rope with him and buried Judy in a shallow grave, which had been dug at by animals who eventually reached her body. She would be known as Jane Doe for many months.

Shirley Bridgeford

24-year-old Shirley met Glatman on the Lonely Hearts Club, advertisements in newspapers for those looking for love. He had answered the advert as George Williams and met the divorced mother of two at her home on Tuxford Street, Sun Valley.

Shirley Bridgeford via

Stunned by the number of people who greeted him at Shirley's home, he quickly got her into his car under the deception of going dancing. When they began driving, he told Shirley he had a headache and instead, they went for dinner in Oceanside.

After dinner, they returned to his car, where they kissed and fooled around for a while. Glatman then started to drive but headed east instead of north, which would take them back to Los Angeles. When he arrived at Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, he told Shirley to undress as he pointed his gun at her.

He raped Shirley several times and forced her out of the car, where he tied her up and took photos. The bulb in his flash broke, and so they waited until sunrise so he could take more pictures of her. He then strangled her and took additional pictures, where he positioned her how he wanted. Once he was done, he left her body on the desert floor for the animals.

Ruth Mercado

In July 1958, Ruth had placed an advert in the local paper, looking for work as a model. Glatman contacted her through the advert and made an appointment to visit Ruth at her apartment. She worked as a pin-up girl and dancer under the alias Angela Rojas and had recently moved from New York to Los Angeles.

Ruth Mercado via Americans Most Haunted

Glatman abducted Ruth and subjected her to the same horrors as Shirley and Judy. Her remains would eventually be found near Shirley Bridgeford's unburied body.

On the 27th of July, Ruth's landlord grew concerned about his tenant's four-day absence. He opened the door to her room and found her dog and birds on the verge of death. He contacted the police about the disappearance of his tenant, who went on a photo shoot with a photographer and never returned.

Lorraine Vigil

New to modelling, 28-year-old Lorraine was eager for her first paid photo shoot. Her agency told her that Glatman, known to them as Frank Johnson, would pick her up from her apartment at 8pm that night.

Lorraine Vigil via

Once in the car, Lorraine asked Glatman questions about where they were heading. Her agency had already told her to be careful of Glatman, as they know him to be an amateur photographer rather than a professional. Many of them just wanted images of stripping women for their personal collection.

Lorraine grew concerned when they passed the Anaheim exit on the freeway and asked more questions about their destination. Glatman snapped and veered off the road, crossing two lanes of traffic and came to a quick stop, claiming to have a flat tyre.

He tried to tie Lorraine up with the rope he had, but she resisted him. Finally, he pulled out his gun, but instead of backing off, Lorraine grabbed the other end, and the two fought for control until the pistol went off and grazed Loraine's leg.

Glatman released his grip from the gun, and Lorraine jumped out of the car. He tried to grab her before she made her escape, but he was too late, and she took the gun and ran.

His erratic driving had caught the attention of a passing police car, which was now driving towards them. Lorraine dropped the gun and ran to the two police officers while Glatman cowered inside his vehicle.


Harvey Glatman was taken to the Orange County jail, where he was questioned. He quickly confessed to the killings, and police were sent to his apartment to find the toolbox he spoke about in his statement.

The toolbox was full of the images he had taken of the rapes and murders he had committed. They were lovingly processed with care in his homemade darkroom. The studio where his toolbox was discovered also contained clothing from some of his victims.

Glatman wasn't jailed immediately. Instead, investigators wanted the remains of his victims to build a solid case again the serial killer and provide closure to the victims' families.

A convoy of police officers and the prisoner travelled first to Anza State Park, where Glatman revealed the location of Shirley Bridgeford's remains. He hadn't bothered to bury Shirley because he didn't believe anyone would ever find her. Her remains were scattered over an area of desolate land due to animal interference, but there was just enough to identify her.

The police and Glatman then continued down the road to Ruth Mercado. Her body was mostly intact, and there was still hair on her skull.

The next day, investigators and Glatman continued their mission to unearth Judy Dull. However, her remains weren't where Glatman had left them. Instead, her body had been found a few months earlier where she had been tagged as a Jane Doe.


On the 15th of December 1958, Glatman pleaded guilty by reason of insanity. He was sentenced to death for the murders of Shirley Bridgeford and Ruth Mercardo and transferred to San Quentin Prison, 400 miles north of Los Angeles.

On the 18th of September 1959, Glatman was executed by gas chamber. He was 31 years old.

Glatman was dramatised in the TV movie Dragnet, starring Jack Webb and Harry Morgan. The writers used Glatman's statement to the police for dialogue in the film.

In 2010, another of Glatman's victims was identified. "Boulder Jane Doe", as she'd been known for over 50 years, was killed in 1954 when she was hit by a car and tied up before she died.

Further Reading

The images of the women can be found here:

1 comentário

22 de mai. de 2023

Glatman was not idle during his stay in Denver during the 50’s. And I’m not referring to Boulder Jane Doe. He lived near my grandmother and was stalking me when I was still in elementary school. If there is a cold case squad in Denver they should be considering him as a suspect in all the unsolved child abduction cases in Denver and nearby jurisdictions.

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