Lawrencia "Bambi" Bembenek (August 15, 1958 – November 20, 2010), known as Laurie Bembenek, was a Playboy bunny, turned police officer, then convicted of murdering her husband’s ex-wife in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on May 28, 1981.
Her story garnered national attention after she escaped from Taycheedah Correctional Institution and was recaptured in Canada, an episode which inspired a TV movie and the slogan "Run, Bambi, Run". Upon winning a new trial, she pled no contest to second-degree murder and was sentenced to time served and ten years probation. Since then, she had sought to have the sentence overturned.
Bembenek was a former Milwaukee police officer who had been fired and had gone on to sue the department, claiming that it engaged in sexual discrimination and other illegal activities. She worked briefly as a waitress at a Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, Playboy Club. At the time of her arrest, she was working for Marquette University’s Public Safety Department, in downtown Milwaukee.
Death of Lawrencia Bembenek
On November 16, 2010, WTMJ-TV in Milwaukee reported that Bembenek was slipping in and out of consciousness and near death in a hospice care center, suffering from liver and kidney failure. On November 20, 2010, she died at a hospice facility in Portland, Oregon, aged 52
Bembenek had written a book about her experience, titled Woman on Trial (ISBN 0-00-215746-2). Since her release, she had various legal and personal problems. She was arrested again on marijuana possession charges, filed for bankruptcy, developed hepatitis C and other health problems. She also admitted to being an alcoholic. She legally changed her name to Laurie Bembenek in 1994.
In 1996, she moved to Washington.
In 2002, Bembenek either fell or jumped from a second-story window, breaking her leg so badly that it had to be amputated below the knee. Bembenek claimed that she had been confined in an apartment by handlers for the Dr. Phil television show and was injured while attempting to escape.