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View Full Version : IN IN - Brandie Peltz, 11 Argos, 11 Dec 1986


colette
01-13-2009, 12:42 PM
1986 Brandie was found in a bath tub sexually assaulted, strangled and her home was on fire. Did the "passerby" who found her really kill her? A new novel written about the case has prompted Indiana State Police to get involved.

"The Passerby", a novel is supposedly based on facts of the case... the names have been changed is the "fiction". The unsolved murder is finally getting another look. The town is divided, the "passerby" is supposedly a high school teacher in a small community, never charged. OR was it the men from England?

The victim was alone, home from school sick. She had called her mother and said she was getting harassing phone calls and was scared, hours later she was dead. Was the killer at the vacant home across the street? Did he have an affair with the mother? Do they have DNA? Supposedly they still have Brandie's finger nails, maybe she fought him.

I remember this terrible murder. There had been another unsolved murder of a mother just two miles from Brandie. Were the two cases connected? Three unsolved murders in a small rural area in a close time frame... still unsolved to this day.



http://www.wndu.com/localnews/headlines/35996064.html Good article about the novel. Over 200 comments on this story.. some very interesting.


http://www.wndu.com/localnews/headlines/37 Indiana State Police are now looking at case.

http://www.thepilotnews.com/content/view/83201/1/ Another story about the novel inspired by cold case.

colette
01-13-2009, 02:54 PM
Here is a review of the book "The Passerby" with many comments from local people after the article.
http://www.duffbert.com/duffbert/blog.nsf/d6plinks/TADF-7L92JM

The other unsolved murder 2 miles from Brandie was of a mother; Darlene Hulse, home with her three girls. Some unknown man came to the door and abducted the mother in front of the girls. She was later found murdered. One of the girls commented in the above article that she did not want her mother's case reopened. It would seem like she would want the case solved.

I remember at the time I thought some delivery man (such as UPS) might be the killer of both, because I thought the girls said he was a deliveryman.
I'm hoping both cases will be solved soon.

colette
02-01-2009, 11:56 AM
There has been a meeting in the town where Brandie lived and was murdered. They are putting up pink ribbons to bring awareness to her case.
Another meeting took place with the author of the book, he says since it was written many people have talked to him about the case. He has gathered more evidence, enough for a couple of new chapters.

From the latest article:
“A sickness” was going around that fall, Kariger said, and several of his students were absent, including 11-year-old Brandie Peltz.

Meanwhile the phone rang about 1 p.m. at the Peltz home, where Brandie was home alone. On the other end, the caller breathed heavily into the receiver but said nothing. It was the second time that week such a phone call had been placed to the home, and Brandie called her mother at work.

It was the last time Roxie Peltz spoke to her daughter.......

2 hours later the house was on fire and Brandie was found.


http://www.wsbt.com/news/local/38764487.html

http://www.thepilotnews.com/content/view/93567/1/

MeoW333
02-01-2009, 12:23 PM
I think it's great a book led to the case being reopened!
From Colette's link:

"Holmes said county police long ago identified a suspect in the case, but were never able to charge the person. “They just kind of ran into a dead end on it,” he said. Crowel is hopeful the new investigation will lead to an arrest. He said he has been contacted by state police and plans to share what he knows.
“I have great optimism that the state police are going to be able to (solve the murder),” Crowel said.
Smith, the state police spokesman, said investigators are reviewing the evidence, after which they plan to conduct a thorough investigation.
“Times and technologies and things have obviously changed in the past 20 years,” he said. “DNA samples and things were collected along the way, and basically what the agency is going to do ... is we will be putting fresh eyes on the case. We’re going to start from square one and go over everything with a fine-toothed comb.”
http://www.wsbt.com/news/local/38764487.html

I wonder if they'll be able to charge the original suspect that they had back then, being the advancement with DNA now..

Does anyone know if the other murder cases around there had involved people getting a phone call and the heavy breathing prior to be murdered?

colette
02-01-2009, 02:25 PM
I'm hoping they have DNA evidence properly stored that can lead to an arrest. The Indiana State Police have the case now, it shouldn't take that long to rule on the "passerby's" involvement.

According to some who have read the book... the timeline spells "guilty" for the "passerby".

On the Hulse case I don't remember hearing about any heavy breathing phone calls. That could have been held back to the public. The phone call before Brandie's murder was widely reported and very creepy.

T-Rex
02-05-2009, 06:12 PM
This is really fascinating. Thank you so much for posting it!

colette
07-28-2009, 11:03 PM
The latest on the case....

Crowell (the author of the book ) concludes Marshall County Police bungled the investigation and overlooked the key suspect -- the man who reported the fire, the passerby.

“When he reported the fire, the fireman was already there,” says Crowell. “The fireman was guarding the door.”

The book caught the Marshall County Prosecutor's attention, who put Indiana State Police Detective Tom Littlefield in charge of the case.

“I think the book caused a stir, or kind of brought the case to light again,” says Det. Littlefield. “The book is one part that's kept this thing going, but I think your station really has a lot to do with it.”

“We've gotten tips and the tips have been very useful in documenting the timeline,” Littlefield says.

Brandie Peltz Tips
Detective Tom Littlefield
Indiana State Police, Bremen Post
1-800-552-2959

http://www.wndu.com/hometop/headlines/51937792.html

I am still waiting for the DNA evidence, wonder what happened with that. Maybe they botched that too.

mysteriew
07-28-2009, 11:23 PM
In 1986 DNA wasn't known very well, they just started using it in the 80's. So how to store it and preserve it wasn't commonly known. Maybe they can use it and maybe it will be too degraded.

Knox
07-29-2009, 12:27 AM
Thanks for posting this story Colette, haven't read all the stories in the links you provided yet, be back here tomorrow to read them all. I think from the face of it this case has a good chance for being solved.

colette
07-29-2009, 12:50 AM
I hope so Knox. I'm afraid there might not be enough evidence to have a conviction.

Lola
07-29-2009, 04:45 AM
Any info on the passerby? Where is he now? Any brushes with the law since then?

gaia227
07-29-2009, 10:06 AM
Does anyone know the name of the mother who was murdered before Brandi was?

colette
07-29-2009, 11:26 AM
The name of the mother killed shortly before Brandie was Darlene Hulse. I have a little about this in my second post at top of page.

The "Passerby" has supposedly been a high school Ag teacher for the past several years. I don't believe he has had any brushes with the law.

gaia227
07-29-2009, 11:28 AM
The name of the mother killed shortly before Brandie was Darlene Hulse. I have a little about this in my second post at top of page.

The "Passerby" has supposedly been a high school Ag teacher for the past several years. I don't believe he has had any brushes with the law.


Oh, okay - I was thinking Darlene and the murdered mother were two different people. Thanks for the clarification.

Tranaice
07-29-2009, 11:29 AM
Does anyone know the name of the mother who was murdered before Brandi was?

Darlene Hulse

ckwood32
07-29-2009, 01:07 PM
I'm from Rochester Indiana (10 miles from Argos) I remember this case very well!! I have always hoped this case would be solved. My Mom is reading the book now. Isn't the suspect still teaching at a high school? Maybe Lakeville or something?

ckwood32
07-29-2009, 01:10 PM
My Uncle was sherrif at the time and he helped with the Hulse case. I'll have to ask him if he knows any more details. He told my Mom some things when it happened.

ckwood32
07-29-2009, 01:15 PM
Never mind I read those comments and it says Triton schools.

ckwood32
07-29-2009, 01:35 PM
I should also say he was sheriff of Rochester not Argos.

ckwood32
07-29-2009, 03:18 PM
Wow I'm wading through all of those comments from the blog that I believe Colette posted. I really hope this case gets some attention! 2 years ago I thought about this case and I did a lot of google searches but couldn't find anything! So glad this book was written.

Knox
07-30-2009, 01:09 AM
Wonder what kind of evidence they have? Colette, how old would the passerby have been in 1986? Has he always been a high school teacher? Brandie would have been in sixth or seventh grade in 1986, just wondering if the passerby was a middle school teacher in 1986. Was the entire house on fire including the bathroom? Was there water in the tub? Why would the perp put her in the bathtub and then set the house on fire?

ckwood32
07-30-2009, 12:03 PM
http://www.triton.k12.in.us/hs/faculty/emenakerm.htm
The passerby has the initials ME. He still has his web page at Triton Schools. Brandie was in 5th grade. Supposedly Mother was having a few affairs with different men. Brandie had been sick for 4 days - Mother rode with "friend" (nephew of sheriff at the time) to her home to drop off pizza for Brandie. After she left Brandie rec'd a heavy breather phone call - she called her Mother. Mom didn't come home and Brandie was dead 2 hours later. From the way I understand it - different versions out there - ME (Passerby) drove by - saw smoke coming from the house - went in - let the dog out - saw Brandie in bathtub w/strangle marks around her neck - he tried to revive her but couldn't. So - he put her BACK in the tub and went to the neighbors to tell them to call the fire dept - he said he'd be back - but he left. Kind of odd to put the child back in the tub. The fire was upstairs on Mom's bed - someone put a fire log on the bed and lit it. Brandie was also molested POST MORTEM. So sad. mom and dad still live in the area. Another family now lives in the house. Some speculate ME was mad because Mom was with another Man (like he was watching her house).

SleuthyMama
07-30-2009, 12:43 PM
http://www.triton.k12.in.us/hs/faculty/emenakerm.htm
The passerby has the initials ME. He still has his web page at Triton Schools. Brandie was in 5th grade. Supposedly Mother was having a few affairs with different men. Brandie had been sick for 4 days - Mother rode with "friend" (nephew of sheriff at the time) to her home to drop off pizza for Brandie. After she left Brandie rec'd a heavy breather phone call - she called her Mother. Mom didn't come home and Brandie was dead 2 hours later. From the way I understand it - different versions out there - ME (Passerby) drove by - saw smoke coming from the house - went in - let the dog out - saw Brandie in bathtub w/strangle marks around her neck - he tried to revive her but couldn't. So - he put her BACK in the tub and went to the neighbors to tell them to call the fire dept - he said he'd be back - but he left. Kind of odd to put the child back in the tub. The fire was upstairs on Mom's bed - someone put a fire log on the bed and lit it. Brandie was also molested POST MORTEM. So sad. mom and dad still live in the area. Another family now lives in the house. Some speculate ME was mad because Mom was with another Man (like he was watching her house).

Thanks for all this info, ckwood32. Is the passerby the suspect that they have never been able to charge or is that a different person?

Knox
07-30-2009, 12:51 PM
http://www.triton.k12.in.us/hs/faculty/emenakerm.htm
The passerby has the initials ME. He still has his web page at Triton Schools. Brandie was in 5th grade. Supposedly Mother was having a few affairs with different men. Brandie had been sick for 4 days - Mother rode with "friend" (nephew of sheriff at the time) to her home to drop off pizza for Brandie. After she left Brandie rec'd a heavy breather phone call - she called her Mother. Mom didn't come home and Brandie was dead 2 hours later. From the way I understand it - different versions out there - ME (Passerby) drove by - saw smoke coming from the house - went in - let the dog out - saw Brandie in bathtub w/strangle marks around her neck - he tried to revive her but couldn't. So - he put her BACK in the tub and went to the neighbors to tell them to call the fire dept - he said he'd be back - but he left. Kind of odd to put the child back in the tub. The fire was upstairs on Mom's bed - someone put a fire log on the bed and lit it. Brandie was also molested POST MORTEM. So sad. mom and dad still live in the area. Another family now lives in the house. Some speculate ME was mad because Mom was with another Man (like he was watching her house).

Thanks CK ... He put her BACK in the tub?!! That's beyond bizarre, with a house on fire I think most people would have left her outside. BP's Mom was married at the time of the murders or single? ME would definitely be on a list of suspects to clear. What about the nephew of the sheriff who rode with Mom that day?

ckwood32
07-30-2009, 12:57 PM
Yes the Passerby IS the suspect - they had a town meeting in January and the author of the book answered questions about why he is sure this guy is guilty. You should read all of the comments from the locals under Duffberts review of the book. 2nd post by Colette. BP's Mom was married - still is as far as I know. Supposedly the nephew left town after this happened. Rumors all around that this is a big cover up by the police. This really needs to be solved!

ckwood32
07-30-2009, 12:58 PM
Yeah - put her BACK in the tub??? How could you do that???

SleuthyMama
07-30-2009, 01:04 PM
Did the passerby have any sort of "relationship" with the mom? (And I will go back and read the comments in colette's post, thank you!) Did he maybe want to be involved with her and was rebuffed? Or could they have had a relationship and then she dumped him?

ckwood32
07-30-2009, 01:08 PM
From what I understand - Mom was having an affair w/passerby and other men. some speculate he was mad she was messing around with the nephew of the sheriff. people wonder why Mom doesn't seem to care if this gets solved. Also, one of the Hulse children commented on the site I mentioned and she said to please not try to solve her Mother's death - they want to move on - put it behind them. Her Dad said the same thing. Strange.

ckwood32
07-30-2009, 01:10 PM
Sleuthy - you will be reading for quite awhile - there are over 1300 comments on that site! you will learn a lot though. People were contacting AMW and Nancy Grace to see if they will cover this.

SleuthyMama
07-30-2009, 01:15 PM
From what I understand - Mom was having an affair w/passerby and other men. some speculate he was mad she was messing around with the nephew of the sheriff. people wonder why Mom doesn't seem to care if this gets solved. Also, one of the Hulse children commented on the site I mentioned and she said to please not try to solve her Mother's death - they want to move on - put it behind them. Her Dad said the same thing. Strange.

You aren't kidding! I'm wading thru the comments right now. Aha, not at all surprised to hear rumor that mom was sleeping w/ the passerby too. And the nephew of sheriff...wow, this was a real Peyton Place, huh? I saw that comment from the Hulse children about not wanting their mom's murder caught...that is bizarre to me too.

How do they think the Hulse murder is related? What relationship, if any did passerby have with her/her family?

SleuthyMama
07-30-2009, 01:19 PM
ckwood32-don't mean to hijack the thread but now that you have me reading these comments I am beyond intrigued. Who was the 3rd murder mentioned by one of the posters to that blog?

ETA: I must go order this book. Now.

colette
07-30-2009, 01:27 PM
Mom is still married and lives in the area.
Brandie was stangled with a telephone cord. I think touch DNA would be available from the cord if it was handled properly.
The "passerby" was a high school teacher before the murders, took a job I think with a grain coop at the time of the murder. Then went back to teaching after.

ckwood32
07-30-2009, 01:30 PM
I'm not sure who they are referring to. I vaguely remember something about another murder but I can't remember the details. I'd have to ask my Mom. I was 17 in 1986 so I definitely remember Brandie's murder. I'll see if I can find anything out tonight when I talk to her! I don't know if they Hulse family had any connection to the passerby. I think they always thought a delivery man killed the hulse Mother. I'll have to talk to my uncle because I know he was involved in that case which I believe was in 1984.

colette
07-30-2009, 01:33 PM
The connection between the Hulse murder and Brandies was that a green car was seen near both crime scenes. But from what I understand the green car the day of Brandies murder was her Mom with a friend/co-worker in his car bringing pizza home for lunch for Brandie.

Knox
07-30-2009, 01:34 PM
In a town of only 1,500 (is that right?) 2 murders in short time? Victims so different though, wouldn't seem they would be related. I think I smell a rat with the nephew ... Thanks Colette for the additional details! I agree with SMama, what a peyton place!

colette
07-30-2009, 01:36 PM
You are right ckwood, most people thought a delivery guy was the killer at the time because the Hulse kids said a guy came to deliver something then took their mother. Later there was talk of a green cars.

ckwood32
07-30-2009, 01:37 PM
Maybe the 3rd murder they are talking about is the prom night murders - Lakeville Indiana. Jeff Pelley. google and you'll find it. I'll attach a link. It's interesting too.

SleuthyMama
07-30-2009, 01:38 PM
I am still reading the comments and someone else cleared up that what one poster called the 3rd murder really wasn't one. It was someone named Powell and that it was a natural death.

colette
07-30-2009, 01:39 PM
Right Knox, 2 murders in a small town, both homes were rural at the time. Also how does an 11 year old girl get killed and everyone is silent for so long?

ckwood32
07-30-2009, 01:39 PM
http://abcnews.go.com/2020/story?id=3255186&page=1
Here is the link anyway:) Colette do you live around Argos?

colette
07-30-2009, 01:43 PM
The prom murders/ Pelly case was farther north in Lakeville and rural also. BTW an innocence project has taken on the Pelly case according to his sister's web site.

Another interesting thing is they both have books out at the same time about the cases and both had the same coroner.

colette
07-30-2009, 01:44 PM
I live closer to the Pelly case.

SleuthyMama
07-30-2009, 02:08 PM
And here I go again....what is this about children the Peltz family adopted after Brandie's death and then RETURNED? Helloooo...they aren't clothing. You don't just bring them back.

ckwood32
07-30-2009, 03:02 PM
yeah I thought that was weird too! adopting and then giving them back.

ckwood32
07-30-2009, 04:16 PM
I think we need to start a thread on the Pelley murders too - especially since The Innocense Project has agreed to take it! I think Jeff is guilty as sin! Not to hi-jack thread with another case:)

ckwood32
07-30-2009, 08:46 PM
OK I talked to my Mother. My uncle is good friends with the guy that was Marshall County Sheriff then. My uncle told my Mother years ago they thought the Hulse murder was commited by someone who was "English" and left the country and Brandie's murder was commited by someone in jail who had already died. My Mother wants these murders solved as well - can't say much more. Don't want my uncle drug through the mud. I'll see what else I can find.

ckwood32
07-30-2009, 09:05 PM
This murder/murders need to be solved. I think there has to be some coverup something going on. I hope the State Police get involved. A child 11 years old killed and nobody cares??? Even her Mother doesn't want to give much information. Something not right here.

SleuthyMama
07-30-2009, 09:31 PM
OK I talked to my Mother. My uncle is good friends with the guy that was Marshall County Sheriff then. My uncle told my Mother years ago they thought the Hulse murder was commited by someone who was "English" and left the country and Brandie's murder was commited by someone in jail who had already died. My Mother wants these murders solved as well - can't say much more. Don't want my uncle drug through the mud. I'll see what else I can find.

Do a lot of people in the area think there may have been any kind of police coverup at the time? Don't want to drag your uncle into things and obviously he wasn't sheriff in that particular county but could it be possible that the Marshall Cty Sheriff told people that the murderer was in jail for another crime to coverup the possibility it was his nephew or the passerby?

colette
07-30-2009, 10:31 PM
I don't think people think there was a cover-up. More likely people think the police force might not have been up to the job of solving this murder. That is why everyone is happy the Indiana state police is taking the case. That only happened after the book.

As far as suspects... the "Englishman" was actually a suspect for Brandies murder, there were really 2 Englishmen and they seem to be ruled out by the author of the Passerby.

colette
07-30-2009, 10:45 PM
In case anyone is interested....

From Jeff Pelley's sister site:

March 2009 The Innocence Project from Indiana University School of Law- Indianapolis has agreed to take our case.

http://www.justiceforjeff.org/

The book about the case is: The Prom Night Murders : By Carlton Smith

Knox
07-30-2009, 10:46 PM
So who does the Author suspect, or does he say?

Knox
07-30-2009, 10:53 PM
Two very interesting cases. Is CK starting a Pelly thread?

colette
07-30-2009, 10:55 PM
I read the book about the prom murders. I think the author thinks Jeff was the killer, but there were questions in the timeline and about other possible suspects. The timeline was very tight, he had to kill 4 people, clean up, get dressed, go to a gas station, fiddle with his car, hide the gun, and drive into town in 20 minutes. Even I have questions with that.

Knox
07-30-2009, 11:49 PM
Sorry Colette ... I was asking about the BP case, who does the author think committed her murder?

SleuthyMama
07-31-2009, 09:37 AM
Colette, have you read The Passerby? If so, what are your thoughts on it?

ckwood32
07-31-2009, 09:49 AM
I started a thread on Jeff Pelley. I posted a lot of articles I found on the internet. He seems the only logical suspect. Especially when you read about the interview he had w/police.

colette
07-31-2009, 10:10 PM
Colette, have you read The Passerby? If so, what are your thoughts on it?


Yes SleuthyMama, I have read this book. It was very good too. The author thinks the "Passerby" is the killer.

bolen.teresa
01-09-2010, 11:31 PM
Thank god that someone has cared enough to reopen the case. My grandfather lived next door to her grandparents (and or parents), and I remember playing with Brandie, I remember being scared to death after her murder. I hope that this book and interest in the case help to solve her and Other murders in that area in the same time frame.

bolen.teresa
01-09-2010, 11:37 PM
My step-grandfather was on the city council

Texas Mist
12-09-2010, 04:22 PM
<snip>

A novel about the case, and our NewsCenter 16 report on that, resurrected the case two years ago. The lead detective say down with Maureen McFadden to talk about whether there will ever be justice for Brandie.

more here

http://www.wndu.com/hometop/headlines/ISP_investigation_into_the_murder_of_Brandie_Peltz _continues_111621919.html

colette
12-10-2010, 11:04 AM
The lead detective says "The Passerby" got everything wrong but helped bring interest back into the case. Well it sounds like they really don't have a clue who did it. This looks like it will never be solved. ISP is waiting for someone to come forward, give me a break. Maybe they should try testing some old evidence but they probably threw it out or didn't collect in the first place.

Kid Justice
02-22-2011, 09:59 PM
Seems like the ISP detective only made himself look bad amongst the folks in the community that helped the writer. Very sad indeed. I have faith that there is a larger force guiding the outcome of Brandie's case though. And I do believe she will get the justice she so very much deserves in the near future.

Mrs.bwatkins
05-16-2013, 09:10 AM
I am from argos. Brandie and i rode the same bus. I think it was a county cop who was stalkin a young lady in the area. She would have never opend the door for a stranger, but she would have for the police. This cop is no longer on the force because of inappropriate actions with a young girl. This also explains the coverup theory. Think about it, i have!

a.allison
05-16-2013, 11:43 AM
Such a sad case, how can an 11 year old child be murdered and sexually assaulted the way Brandie was and there be no justice for her.

Mrs.bwatkins, was this cop found to be stalking the young lady around the time of Brandie's murder?

I could definitely see a young girl opening the door for police, we're all taught that the police are people we trust, we never think of them as people who could possibly hurt us or be doing something illegal.

Mrs.bwatkins
05-18-2013, 11:50 AM
Yes he was. He pulled my sister over after following her from the bourbon dairy queen, just to get her number.He was the first person on the scene, not the fireman.

tracytony20
01-19-2014, 04:27 PM
I am from Argos. There is recent discussion about the case of Brandie Peltz. The people want "Justice for Brandie". We hope the renewed interest will spark some more information, thoughts, or discussions as to what truly happened to this young girl in our small town. Attached is the original news articles that were published shortly after the murder.