Norman Church (b. 1951; d. 9 Sept 1990) was the husband of Deborah Church, the father of two daughters, and a mechanical engineer for an aerospace company who lived in Los Angeles. Between January and September of 1988, he murdered nine prostitutes by strangling them with the straps of their purses. He was initially labelled the Westside Strangler. A task for to apprehend the killer was led by Lt. Terry Lloyd. Harry Bosch was supervisor of the B squad (night). The killer's M.O. of painting over their faces with pancake makeup, red lipstick, heavy rouge, and sharp black eyeliner earned him the nickname of "the Dollmaker". He also painted a white cross on the nail of the right big toe that investigators later discovered was meant to be "the steeple of a Church."
At the time of the murders he was estranged from his wife and living in an apartment over a garage on Hyperion St. in the Silverlake district. He rented the apartment under an alias. In September of 1990, he picked up a prostitute and took her to the apartment. While picking through the bathroom, the prostitute found women's make-up that led her to believe that Church was the Dollmaker serial killer. She fled and contacted the Westside Strangler Task Force, and accompanied Homicide detective Harry Bosch back to the residence.
Bosch attempted to apprehend Church, believing that he may have found a replacement victim. He did not call for backup because his car was not equipped with a radio. In addition, it was shift change and the rest of the B squad had already gone home. Bosch kicked in the door and found Church alone in the room. When Church began to reach under the pillow on his bed, Bosch ordered him to stop. Church continued for the pillow, and Bosch shot and killed the man. Bosch then discovered that Church had been reaching for a toupee under the pillow, so he was unarmed. Investigation showed the make-up found in the bathroom chemically matched that used on nine of the victims. The shooting was ruled justified. Bosch, however, was still suspended for 22 days for the killing for breaking protocol by going into the residence without backup, and he was transferred from the RHD unit to the Hollywood Division.