CA CA - Bonnie Brashers, 50, Watsonville, 16 Sept 1963

Discussion in '1960's Missing' started by CCJW, Dec 23, 2015.

  1. CCJW

    CCJW New Member

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    Missing person details:
    Name: Bonnie Elzora Brashers
    Date of birth: 10/03/1913
    Current age (if alive): 102
    Age at disappearance: 50
    Date of disappearance: 16/09/1963
    Location of disappearance: Watsonville, Santa Cruz County, California
    Height: 5’7
    Weight: 170lb
    Race: White
    Hair: Brown
    Eyes: Blue
    Spouse: Nathan Brashers
    Children: Donald, Mary Lou, Martha and six other children

    Details of Disappearance:
    Bonnie Elzora Brashers was last seen at her residence in Watsonville, California.

    Nathan Brashers (Bonnie’s husband) disappeared from Watsonville on September 17[SUP]th[/SUP] (the next day) leaving $77 and a note saying not to look for him.
    A famed search bloodhound named ‘Brandy’ was used on September 20[SUP]th[/SUP] but made no indication of finding the trail of either missing party. Deputies said there was a problem in getting a scent for the dog to follow. One of the girls living at the residence had washed virtually all clothing at the house, leaving little for Brandy to sniff from. Deputies searched every building and bush within several miles of the Brashers' residence. Nathan Brashers was known to have a violent temper and at one time was arrested for the throat-slashing death of his neighbor.
    Detective Sergeant William Shaw found Nathan Brashers on October 5[SUP]th[/SUP] and took him into custody after stopping Brasher’s vehicle in the area of Freedom, California.
    Nathan held to the story that Bonnie just walked away and didn't return. He told officials he had gone to Oregon to work in the apple orchards. Public Defender Gary Britton represented Nathan on October 23[SUP]rd[/SUP] for charges that accused him of deserting two of his children (who were minors at he time) when he left the area.
    Brashers said that he felt he couldn't have a home anymore and so he left the money for his children. However when questioned, Brashers allegedly refused to elaborate on this statement. Brashers also said there had been no fight or disagreement with his wife prior to the disappearance and he steadfastly denied knowing anything about the disappearance of his wife, Bonnie. An exhaustive search began when the couple disappeared. Deputies said Brashers told his children that his wife had "just walked down the road" and failed to return.
    Brashers was later committed to Agnews State hospital (an insane asylum). District Attorney Richard Pease yesterday said it was learned that Brashers had escaped from Agnews where he was committed in June of 1961. Felony charges of abandoning two of his children had been dismissed because of the recommitment. Brashers eventually died in Santa Cruz, California, April 21, 1982.

    Possible body matches:
    No credible matches.

    Possible theories:
    A: Truth: In this scenario, Nathan was telling the truth: Bonnie wondered off without telling anyone and never looked back or spoke to any of her family again. She got stressed out with her family life and decided to ‘get away from it all’ or start up a life elsewhere. Nathan panicked and left the note and money in order to escape from the situation. Bonnie died at a later date after having run away from Watsonville (or could even still be alive somewhere?!)…I highly doubt this scenario as I doubt that Bonnie could or would have left her entire family and set up elsewhere without anyone finding her. Also, Nathan would have been looking for her instead of running away. Why would he also leave a note asking people not to look for him?

    B: Murder by Nathan: In this scenario, Nathan killed Bonnie: He snapped one day and killed Bonnie. He panicked about what to do with her body, hid it and then drove away with it the next day. He was missing for eighteen days, in which time he had plenty of time to travel anywhere in the country (or possibly outside the country) in order to get rid of the body. He tried to evade the police for these reasons and was only found when he was back in Santa Cruz County…I think this scenario is much more likely than scenario A and would explain Nathan’s erratic behaviour. This is also consistent with him having killed a neighbour during a fit of rage. It could easily have happened again, especially if he had basically got away with it the last time.

    C: Murder by Nathan with one of the children being involved: In this scenario, Nathan killed Bonnie, however at least one of his children either knew about the murder or could have even been involved in the murder: Nathan killed Bonnie and one of his children witnessed the murder or found her body later. He decided to get rid of her body the next day and also told one of the children to wash all the family’s clothes in order to get rid of any blood stains and clean the scent of Bonnie’s clothes so that police dogs would be unable to detect a trace from Bonnie’s clothing. He then drove away with Bonnie’s body, buried it and came back to the Santa Cruz area later…I think this is the most likely scenario. There are reasons given in scenario B but it would’ve been difficult for Nathan to kill Bonnie without any of the children learning of her murder, especially with so many of them being in the family house. Furthermore, the children may have been scared of Nathan due to his violent temper and so could have been unlikely to report their father to the police. All of the nine children outlived Nathan past 1982. Which of them were at the house during September 16[SUP]th[/SUP] and 17[SUP]th[/SUP] and which of them may therefore have more answers about Bonnie’s disappearance, is however, almost impossible to find out through the internet.

  2. alb1on

    alb1on Well-Known Member

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    The Brashers must have moved to California in the late 1950s from Dunklin County, Missouri. has a photo of the entire family in 1955 in Missouri. Also is a record of burials in Missouri which includes various Brashers, including Nathan's mother, sister and a 10th child of Nathan and Bonnie. Clearly their daughter, Carolyn (now Carolyn Brashers Etchison) is alive (or was until recently) as she posted the picture and records. The records also show Bonnie's maiden name as Shipman.

    Nathan's arrest for the murder of his neighbour was in 1958, so they must have moved between 1955 and 58.

    Given still living children (and at least one sister of Bonnie until recently) and the lack of publicity I assume the family long ago accepted that Nathan murdered her.
  3. Gardener1850

    Gardener1850 Timeline Guru (Still Remembering Cupcake)

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  4. YaYa_521

    YaYa_521 Forum Coordinator Staff Member Forum Coordinators

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    UP6796 11/18/1985 Alleghany VA
    UP5556 05/30/1976 Virginia Beach VA
    UP13028 04/27/1984 Stanislaus CA
    UP355 07/10/1982 Clark NV
    shanda3434 and Gardener1850 like this.
  5. Cimatico

    Cimatico Active Member

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