Why the Conviction MattersThe Brandy Myers Story

Brandy Myers was a thirteen-year-old girl who had her whole life in front of her. It was May 26th, 1992 and Brandy was going to go door to door with her younger sister Kristin to collect signatures for a book-a-thon sponsored by her school. 

Brandy and Kristin lived in a small apartment complex in Phoenix Arizona close to their school Sunnyslope Elementry. The apartment complex was just a few blocks from the school and the girls decided they would head out in that direction. When it was time to go Kristin decided she didn’t want to go, but Brandy decided to go anyway.

Brandy left, Kristin right

Kristin still remembers her walking out of the complex and on to the sidewalk and as she watched Brandy turn the corner she got a bad feeling. Kristin was only 11, so young. She wasn’t sure why she felt that way at the time. Looking back now she just knew she felt something awful.

The neighborhood is a bustling community. The apartment building is across from the fire department and there are two churches next door to the complex Brandy lived in. The reason I mention this is because after walking the location it’s clear to see the neighborhood watches out for one another. So a kid going missing in this neighborhood without someone seeing them being abducted would be hard. So when Brandy didn’t return home that night the neighborhood quickly gathered and started a search party for Brandy.

Brandy

The police were brought in right away to assist with the search for Brandy who was last seen around 8 pm on May 26th Knocking on a neighbors door. May 27th as the search continued for Brandy Myers a young girl’s body was found in the Central Arizona Project Canal. The young female victim was around the same structure and build as Brandy. Unfortunately, we would not identify the young girl until 2011. It was later determined that it was the body of a girl that went missing eight weeks before Brandy’s disappearance. Her name was Shannon Aumock.

Shannon’s life was not an easy life, to say the least. She was 16 at the time of her death and nobody even reported her missing. Shannons birth was a result of a sexual assault. Shannon resided with her birth mother until the age of three in which her mother gave her to CPS. 

A family in Flagstaff adopted her at 3, but they stated that she was a very troubled child and they returned her to CPS when Shannon was 12. Shannon then bounced between foster homes and group homes. She had run away over 40 times in one year. When Shannon went missing there was no one looking for her. Shannon was buried as a Jane Doe until they were able to match her DNA to her birth mother in 2011.

Shannon

Shannon’s cause of death was strangulation. She was never reported missing since she had runway from the group home she was in about a month before her disappearance. No one knew when they were looking for Brandy that we already had a young girl in the area missing. Shannon’s case is still open and unsolved today.

November 1992 a 22-year-old Angela Brosso would go out for a bike ride in her Phoenix neighborhood and never return home. She was reported missing and her body was found with in the week. However, they were not able to identify the body since the head had been removed before the disposal of her body. The searchers found her head floating in the Arizona Canal 11 days later.

Angela

Melanie Bernas was a 17-year-old local high school student in Phoenix. She went on a bike ride near the Canal in September 1993. She would be reported missing and her body would be found the following day in the canal. There is no report of the cause of death that I can find.

Melanie

January 2015 Phoenix Police arrested a man named Bryan Patrick Miller after he allegedly attacked a woman he was giving a ride home. This young lady stated that he just started stabbing her multiple times and she was able to flee from the car and seek help. At this point, they were able to take Miller’s DNA and add it to the national database. That’s when they got a hit on DNA evidence that tied him to both Angela Brosso and Melanie Bernas. 

Miller was known in the area to locals and the police because he drove a car that he had painted called the Zombie Hunter and it drew attention. Miller would dress up in these elaborate outfits and pose with people on the streets of Phoenix. There are even pictures of him posing with local police officers.

Bryan in the middle

Miller was also known to police beyond them knowing him as the “zombie hunter”. Miller was arrested as a Juvenal in 1990 for stabbing a young girl near the Paradise Valley mall in Phoenix and he also was accused of Stabbing a woman in Everett WA.

How does this bring us back to Brandy? The day Brandy disappeared she had walked door to door in her neighborhood we know that. We also have neighbors who had last seen Brandy knocking on the doors down the street. That very street that Brandy was last seen on just happens to be the same street Bryan Patrick Miller resided on in May 1992. He was renting an apartment in a little house that looks like it was remodeled into two separate units. Brandy was seen knocking on the door just two doors down from his door. 

Brandy’s body was never found so we don’t have DNA to work from. So what ties Miller allegedly to Brandy’s case? Let’s start with the fact that he lived in the same neighborhood close to where the other two victims that resided in the same area we killed and their bodies dumped. Kristin and Brandy walked past Miller’s house every school day. Miller has a proven history of violence toward women. Shortly after his arrest Miller’s ex-wife would come forward and tell police about a confession Miller had made to her about killing a young girl that knocked on their door one day in Phoenix May 1992.

Miller’s ex-wife

Miller’s ex-wife tells investigators about Miller’s retelling of the day in 1992 when a young girl came knocking on the door. Miller recounts to his wife at the time how he heard the knock, opened the door to see a young girl just standing there, and at that moment decided to just grab her. He dragged her in and stabbed her repeatedly. Millers ex then stated he took the young girl’s body into the tub and dismembered her body and disposed her body at a recycling center. With the timeline, and the details of the young lady matching Brandy and other evidence pointing to Miller’s guilt the investigators assured Kristin that they had found Brandy’s killer. They stated that Miller was allegedly responsible for taking Brandy’s life that day and they were sure of it.

Kristin (Brandy’s sister) middle and Sarah Turney right

“The detectives called me and said we have him. We know what happened to Brandy, down to the color of the bag Miller used to dispose of Brandy’s body, but her case sits resolved yet unsolved.” Kristin tells another reporter who asks why she’s fighting to have Brandy’s name added as a victim to the list of other victims that Miller is accused of killing. 

Why is it so important that Brandy is named as a victim if we know what happened to her and who did it? Why is Kristin still finding time in her own hectic life to run a Facebook campaign and a twitter account dedicated to her sister being named as a victim of the Canal killer? Why did Kristin create a letter asking Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery to please consider bring charges against Miller in her sister’s death? Kristin is begging to please give her sister her day in court. It’s important because Brandy was a person. She was someone’s daughter, sister, and friend, and she was so loved and is missed by so many.

It’s important because Brandy was a big sister who is missed every single waking day by Kristin and her family. Brandy being ripped from her family and missing over 20 years with no answers destroyed her family. Kristin had to go without her big sister and losing your sister that’s a bond that cannot be replaced. Kristin has spent her childhood and her whole adult life living with the effects of having her sisters murdered. She has spent most of her adult life looking for her sister, now she is spending every free moment to get her sister her rightful day in court, fighting to give her sister her voice back.

We seem to miss the fact that when a person goes missing or is murdered in a family it does not take just the victim’s life in most cases. Every case murdered or missing is investigated at the beginning with hopes of finding the person responsible for the murder or abduction of their loved one. The family has no control over who is assigned to their loved one’s case. Not all cases are worked and covered with the same care. Families are the ones left to push these cases forward once it goes cold. Only 40% of Murders are solved and the data on Missing person cases is too skewed to give a percentage.

Brandy left, Kristin on the right

Kristin was left to pick up the pieces when she was older. Brandy being taken that day changed everyone who loved her lives. It changed her entire neighborhood. Brandy taken that day shaped so many lives and that’s not something we all talk about.

Brandy’s case fell on Kristin’s shoulders as the adults just couldn’t handle all the pain and constant disappointment. The family was left wondering what happened to Brandy and for years that went unanswered. The mind can be very unkind and running through all the scenarios of what may have happened to someone you loved is a natural and painful part of this process. Chasing every single lead down only to at some point learning not to hope because so many hopeful leads fell short.

Detectives transfer and retire and these cases get passed on to a new detective. Now the family needs to rely on a new detective who wasn’t present at the time of the case and also now has to catch up on this case and multiple other cold cases they have been passed along. Witnesses age with the time and memories are harder to recall accurately when being reinterviewed years later. Sometimes the new detective on the case is exactly what the case needed, and other times families of these victims feel like they lost the one person they had that cared about their loved one and their case. 

Years pass not knowing what happened to the one you loved. Evidence becomes harder to collect and keeping the case fresh in the minds of the public is the hardest. So many people say its been so many years why doesn’t the family just move on. How can you say that? I use to think close to the same. I’d read about a case that was 40 years old and say that’s sad but we need to put our efforts into the missing here and now. I didn’t understand the true depth of this loss and the impact it had until I started reading and studying these cases.

Think of the people in your life and how much you love them, now imagine someone takes their lives or they go missing. How many years would it take you to say that the search for that loved one no longer matters? How long would you fight for their Murderer to be found and prosecuted? 

How would you feel if the detectives that were assigned to your loved one’s disappearance come to you and say we have figured out what happened to your loved one the day they disappeared, we have answers. They sit you down and explain to you that your loved one was abducted by someone, brutally killed, and then their body was disposed of in a way that it can never be recovered. They know this because they are confident based on the evidence they collected. They have arrested him in connection with two other girls killed in the same neighborhood with in the same time frame.

Brandy💙

However, they will not be seeking the conviction for your loved one because they don’t have the body. They have all the evidence and it all lines up. We have a killer who we can connect through DNA to two murders in the same location. The other known victims were of the same build and had similar looks and were killed only months apart. We have an ex-wife that is willing to testify that her ex-husband told her in detail about killing this young girl, and the details match exactly what the detectives already knew.

We have so much evidence and the detectives are positive this is what happened to Brandy. Yet there will be no conviction. This happens all the time, even in highly publicized cases like the Atlanta Child Murders. Until Payne Lindsey coved that story I had no clue that no convictions were ever given to Williams for the 28 children that were killed. Each child’s case is still open without a conviction to this day and until Payne and Mindhunters brought attention to the fact that every single child’s case is still open, it remained quietly that way until media attention forced the GBI to look into the case again.

What do you do if a case that big with so many victims that made national news can go without any convictions and the people not demand more be done? How do you fight for your loved one to get their voice back and to have a chance to fight for their justice in a court if you cannot get anyone in law enforcement to help?

Seriously I am asking what do you do? Public pressure is the only thing that get these cases looked at again. We must tell their stories again and again. We must shout their names and their injustice in hopes that we can build an army for those victims whose voices are lost in the sea of missing and murdered cold cases pilling on desks in every state, and every town. We must find a way to raise each voice and help them get the justice they deserve.

On that note, I ask you please stop asking me why it matters. Please don’t ask a victim’s family members why they are still searching for a loved one years, even decades later. Don’t ask them why it matters that their loved one’s name be added as a victim to the accused killer even if that killer has been arrested or passed. If you find yourself asking these questions I ask you to truly look at your loved ones and just try to put yourself in these family’s shoes. I know I’d never stop looking, stop caring, and stop demanding their justice.

Brandy and a sweet kitty she rescued

Brandy Myers’s story and her case is the perfect example of what’s wrong with our justice system and the issues we run into with no-body cases. The conviction system needs to be reevaluated. How are they able to close cases as resolved but unsolved by tying them to other convictions?

Brandy’s name deserves to be mentioned any time Miller’s name and his other victim’s names are brought up. Brandy’s name should be shouted louder than the man who allegedly took her life. That’s the other side of it, without a conviction and trial you cannot even say Miller is responsible for Brandy’s death even with all the pieces of the puzzle without adding allegedly. That makes my blood boil and I hope I have changed a few minds and hearts with this piece.

I ask that you please head to the links added below to help support Kristin in her fight to have Brandy’s day in court. Kristin has written a letter that you can print, sign and mail to the sitting Attorney General in Phoenix AZ requesting that he please consider pursuing a conviction against Bryan Miller for the Murder of her sister Brandy Myers. The only way we are going to get a chance to take this to trial is public pressure. 

You can find that letter by clicking the link below.

https://m.facebook.com/Justice-for-Brandy-Myers-1699091760353508/

I can tell you that Kristin is one of the most amazing, strong, and resilient women I have ever met. She fights for her sister with the rawest and purest love I have ever seen. What you see with Kristin is exactly who she is. Kristin is beautifully scared by the loss of her sister, and she uses that to push forward in her battle to bring Brandy justice.

Kristin is a warrior and one hell of a fighter, she won’t let Brandy’s story be forgotten and I hope you won’t either. Join this warrior in the fight to justice and help us shout Brandy’s name. As Kristin said standing in front of Sunnyslope Elementry talking with a local reporter about her vigil for Brandy, “We have got to Bring it home for Brandy.” Help Kristin finish this in Brandy’s name, help her honor her sister’s life by asking that Bryan Patrick Miller be charged in the Murder of Brandy Myers and that he stand trial by his peers to determine his guilt. Let’s “Bring it home for Brandy”. 

Erin Reed 

Sipping On Some Crime Reports 

My source for my article was the amazing Kristen Thelen 

There are so many greats that have covered this story I have added the ones I have personally listened to or watched myself. Please follow these links to learn more about Brandy Myers and how to help.

Kendall Rae https://youtu.be/2AlqytA_GtE

Justice For Brandy https://youtu.be/pAcA5I1_15o

Danelle Hallan https://youtu.be/LjdD9b4nRBo

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