- Category : Beauty-Model
- Type : PM
- Profile : 4/6 - Opportunistic / Role Model
- Definition : Single
- Incarnation Cross : RAX Explanation 3
American magazine model who interviewed for a job as a policewoman on 8/01/1979, completing school on 5/25/1980. She and two other female cops were fired on 8/25/1980 while still on probation, they appealed for reinstatement. They felt that they had been fired because of a wild party in which they had taken pictures of a couple nude cops having a high time.
While on suspension, she took a job as a waitress at the Playboy Club. She met the 10-year-older and recently divorced cop Fred Schultz in November 1980. They married on 1/30/1981 and moved in with Judy Zess, also a former cop. Fred was holding two jobs because his ex-wife, Christine, was living in the house that Fred had built with their two sons and was drawing alimony. Money was tight, and Fred and Bambi soon began to fight.
On 5/28/1981, just before 2:00 AM, a masked intruder entered Christine's house, tied her up and shot her in the back. The intruder also tried to strangle one of the boys who woke up, but the boys called their mom's beau, Frank. Fred was on duty, and Bambi was arrested as the suspect, even though the boys said that the intruder was bigger than she. Fred's off-duty gun, in the house, was deemed Bambi's murder weapon.
At the trial, which began on 2/23/1982, Fred had immunity from testifying. Bambi was found guilty of first degree murder on 3/09/1982 and her appeals were denied. Fred sent her a goodbye letter in jail in July 1982.
Bambi escaped from prison on 7/15/1990 and fled to Thunder Bay, Canada. She found work as a waitress on 10/7/1990. She said that she had reached the point where she could not even dream about the free world but just lived from one day to the next. When identified, she was held in Canada for a year before being extradited to a Wisconsin jail, where a review was scheduled in late 1991. Bambi had spent more than a decade behind bars - the last seven months in solitary confinement as punishment for her escape - for a murder she steadfastly maintained that she did not commit, With overwhelming evidence as to her innocence, her lawyer struck a deal with prosecutors that allowed her to plead "no contest" to second-degree murder, with a sentence of time served. The sloppiness of the initial police work and discrepancies in physical evidence was revealed, along with such testimony from five forensic experts that the gun presented at Bembenek's trail could not have been the murder weapon. In spite of the suspicion that her then-husband, Fred Schultz, had hired a hit man to kill his ex-wife, Bambi's name was not cleared, but she was free. Her parents, who had never lost faith in her, mortgaged their house for her legal defense.
In an attempt to retain sanity in a prison that had the conditions of an 18th century lockup, Bambi had kept up a strict regimen of physical fitness and intellectual stimulations. A vegetarian, she lived for years on bread, potatoes, overcooked vegetables and canned fruit cocktail. She remained a slender 5'10". Reading voraciously, she worked toward a degree in humanities from the University of Wisconsin. She received her B.A. on 12/20/1992 at a ceremony her parents never thought they'd live to see.
When she had fled to Canada, she was with a lover, Dominie Gugliatto, the brother of a fellow inmate, but their relationship disintegrated after Gugliatto, a divorced Milwaukee factory worker, was sentenced to a year in jail for aiding her escape. Since then, she has built walls around herself, feeling that too much of her life has been filled with betrayal and there have been too many goodbyes.
Chris Radish wrote her biography, "Run Bambi Run," Birth Love Books, 1992, and Bembenek herself wrote her autobiography, "Woman on Trial."
Bembenek died of liver failure in a Portland, OR hospice on November 20, 2010.