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Laurie Bembenek, former police officer and Playboy bunny convicted of murder, dies at 52

November 21, 2010 | 12:12 pm

Laurie Laurie Bembenek, a former Milwaukee police officer and Playboy Club bunny who gained national notoriety after she was convicted of murder and then escaped from prison, has died. She was 52.

Bembenek died Saturday at a hospice care center in Portland, Ore., said her attorney, Mary Woehrer. The cause of death was liver failure, she said.

Bembenek was convicted in 1982 of fatally shooting her police detective husband's ex-wife and sentenced to life in prison. She escaped in 1990 and fled to Canada.

Supporters cheered her flight, selling "Run Bambi Run" T-shirts and bumper stickers.

Bembenek was captured but later released after pleading no contest to second-degree murder. Her story was made into a TV movie starring Tatum O'Neal.

-- Associated Press

Photo: Laurie Bembenek in 1992. Credit: Associated Press

[For the record, 2:18 p.m.: An earlier version of this post incorrectly referred to Bembenek as a Playboy Club model.]