This weekend CBS “48 Hours Mystery” is profiling the case of 49-year-old detective Stephanie Ilene Lazarus who was arrested for the cold-case shooting and beating death of her ex-boyfriend's wife Sherri Rae Rasmussen. Rasmussen, the director of critical care nursing at Glendale Adventist Medical Center, was found beat and shot to death in her Van Nuys condominium on February 24, 1986. Rasmussen's husband, John Ruetten, found her body when he returned that night from work to the couple's condominium.
The program features an exclusive interview with Sherri's father, Nels Rasmussen who fruitlessly begged LAPD to consider Lazarus as a suspect, because Lazarus had been in love with Rasmussen's husband and was allegedly stalking her.
Nels details how he tried repeatedly to get detectives to investigate Lazarus, who was a new patrol officer in the valley, as a possible suspect, but the authorities dismissed the information. Rasmussen is now calling for a probe into the 23-year old case.
For years, homicide detectives believed the killing was committed by men during a burglary gone bad. Then early last year, DNA tests of cold-case evidence showed the killer to be a woman — and police finally looked closely at one of their own: Lazarus.
Lazarus, a well-regarded veteran cop dedicated to tracking stolen art, was arrested while working at Parker Center on June 5, 2009. In one of many creepy coincidences, Lazarus worked next door to homicide detectives who were working the 23-year-old cold case in which Lazarus is now implicated.
Los Angeles Times police reporters Andrew Blankstein and Joel Rubin broke the story last year and were also consultants for the show.
The 48 HOURS MYSTERY: “One Of Their Own” will air on Saturday, May 22 (10:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.