On Wednesday, March 30, 1977, in the afternoon, Claude Wise came home from work to find himself in the grip of a nightmare. In the living room, he discovered his wife Beverly Wise’s lifeless body, suffering from a solitary stab wound to the chest. Both Claude’s 2-year-old daughter Tiffani Wise and his 5-year-old stepdaughter Brandi Jondell Summers were absent. Eight-month-old Stacey, his youngest daughter, was sitting in the hallway by herself but unharmed.
Claude dialed the San Bernardino Police Department in shock. The neighbors of the couple were questioned by detectives right away to find out if they had heard anything strange that day. Several of them remembered seeing a white man in a leather jacket outside the Wise residence. At approximately 11:20 am, the man—who fit the profile of Beverly’s ex-husband, Roy Summers—was observed putting Tiffani inside a gold-colored Camaro. Not a single witness mentioned seeing Brandi.
Although Roy, Brandi’s father, was wanted for questioning, investigators chose not to name him as a suspect in the mur*der-kidna*pping. Right now, their top priority was to locate the missing kids. They stated that it was critical that Brandi be located right away because she had cystic fibrosis and required regular doses of medication to help keep the illness under control.
When Claude, an Air Force sergeant, spoke with reporters the day after the mu*rder, he was shocked. “I’m doing my best to keep my composure, but it’s difficult when your wife is covered in blood and the two little girls you adore are gone. He expressed concern for Brandi, pointing out that she was required to take multiple pills with every meal and that she was missing some of them. “I just hope they’re all right,” he said. “She needs to visit a hospital soon if she doesn’t get [her medication].”
After finishing high school, Claude and Beverly, who had been infatuated, parted ways. Beverly met and wed Roy following Claude’s enlistment in the Air Force and his deployment to Thailand. The union was short-lived, and Beverly had already filed for divorce when Claude came back to the States. After rekindling their romance from high school, the two got married. Beverly was killed a few weeks before their fourth wedding anniversary.
After their divorce, Beverly had hardly spoken to Roy and had only met him once since she married Claude. He had been a blacksmith living in Arizona when she had last spoken to him. Though they didn’t know where to look, detectives were desperate to find him.
Three years prior, Claude and Beverly had moved into their San Bernardino house. Since the family was well-liked by their neighbors, they decided to raise their children in the peaceful, tree-lined neighborhood. It was said of Beverly that she was a kind and amiable young lady who could brighten any space she entered. She was a master card player, a gifted artist, and a wonderful cook. Everyone adored her, so when they heard of her horrible mur*der, they were all shocked.
The search for the missing children had yielded no results three days after Beverly’s m*urder. In addition to his frequent public pleas for assistance in locating his daughters, Claude soon declared that he would pay $1,000 for information that would result in both their return and the capture of Beverly’s k*iller.
Roy Summers lived in Livermore, California, which is over six hours away from San Bernardino, according to information obtained by detectives. After interviewing him at his house, they were certain he was unrelated to either Beverly’s mur*der or Brandi and Tiffani’s kid*napping.
A special task force was established by the San Bernardino police on April 4, 1977, to look into the double kid*napping. The task force was tasked with over a dozen investigators who worked nonstop, pursuing every tip in the hopes that it would lead them to the missing kids. Officials requested the FBI’s help because they thought the girls might have been taken out of state.
Reporters were informed by Sgt. John Klein that the task force was reviewing the complete case file, re-interviewing witnesses, and locating everyone connected to Beverly and Claude. We’re currently investigating his and her past, including anyone he may have worked with, acquaintances she may have had, and everything else. We will devise a plan of action.
It was difficult for the detectives working on the case to remain objective because many of them were parents. “I’ve lost a lot of sleep in the last few days, and the other guys are saying the same thing,” Sgt. Klein acknowledged. It’s very frustrating not to have a strong lead when everyone is so eager to find the kids.
Detectives’ concerns about the children’s safety increased as the investigation’s second week went on. The fact that Brandi was missing her cystic fibrosis medication concerned Detective David Franz. They sent out alerts to all doctors in the state, hoping that one of them would recall writing a prescription for the medication for a new patient. However, they were unable to locate anyone who had seen Brandi since she vanished. “She was in the habit of taking her own medication…she knew when to take it and that if she didn’t she would get very sick.”
Though no sightings of the girls had been reported since they were abducted, the detectives were encouraged that the children were still alive because they had not been ki*lled with their mother. Furthermore, no demands for ransom had been made. Though they were running out of leads and had only a sketchy description of the man, investigators were still working nonstop to find the person who had abducted the girls.
Witnesses reported that the mur*derer had ruddy complexion, short reddish-brown hair, and appeared to be in his early 30s. He weighed about 150 pounds and was about 5 feet 9 inches tall. He had on a blue shirt with vertical stripes and dark pants the day of the mur*der. He was operating a gold or bronze Camaro.
To find out if the witnesses could provide a more thorough description of the mur*derer, investigators chose to hypnotize two of the witnesses. Two sketches of possible suspects were created based on the findings; however, detectives stated that it was unclear if the two witnesses had seen the same man because the sightings occurred a few hours apart. At 11:20 a.m., one witness saw a man put Tiffani in a gold Camaro, and at 2:00 p.m., another witnessed a man drive up to the Wise residence and enter. The witness was unaware of the man’s departure time.
Investigators conducted over 100 interviews and investigated every tip they received, but they were unable to generate any strong leads and were unaware of the whereabouts of Brandi and Tiffani. They had contacted numerous clinics and pharmacies in the hopes that the ki*dnapper had looked into getting Brandi treated, but they were unable to find anything.
A psychic informed Claude two weeks following the m*urder that she thought both girls were still alive and were living in Mexico with an impoverished woman. Bea Lydecker asserted that she had “spoken” with each girl and that, in the absence of her medication, Brandi was growing more ill. The floor of the room they are in is bare and almost appears to be made of dirt. In addition, hens are kept outside the entrance. Her best guess for the location was somewhere in Tijuana because of how hard the ground was, similar to clay.
Bea shared her perception of the murd*erer as well, even though she acknowledged not knowing his name. “I don’t think he intended to k*ill her. All he wanted to do was hurt the family. She thought that after he abducted the two girls, he left them with a woman in Mexico who was unaware that they had been taken. “And I feel he’ll have a good alibi,” she said. “She is completely blameless for everything.”
Beverly’s husband and parents felt it was worthwhile to travel to Tijuana in order to find out if anyone there had seen the missing children, despite the detectives’ declaration that they would not base their investigation on the psychic’s predictions. They distributed flyers for missing persons and informed everyone that there was a $1,000 reward for the girls’ return during their day-long stay there.
Neighbors of Claude and Beverly organized a protest on April 19, 1977, to voice their discontent with the way the mu*rder-kid*napping probe was being conducted. Residents wanted police to “delve deeper” into the case and keep people better informed about the investigation’s status. Ken Selby, one of the event organizers, stated, “We are not satisfied that the investigation has been a thorough one.”
A few days after the mu*rder, Ken mentioned that he had confronted two strange men who were walking in the neighborhood. When he asked the men if they needed assistance, they said they were new to the area and were searching for a white German Shepherd dog. He had noticed a gold Camaro parked close by. Ken reported the men to the police out of suspicion, and they were apprehended and interrogated. After a quick interview, police released them despite the fact that they didn’t live nearby and had no legitimate reason to be in the neighborhood.
The same two men were observed loitering in the neighborhood by a number of other neighbors; one of them saw them looking into his backyard while carrying a dog leash. The men started running as soon as they realized someone was watching them.
Because the Wise family owned a white German Shepherd dog similar to the one the men claimed to be searching for, the residents were on edge and thought the men had something to do with the mur*der-kid*napping. Everyone was tense, and many women were afraid to spend the day alone at home. They were curious about the measures taken by the police to guarantee the safety of the neighborhood.
The mayor and other officials expressed their support for the San Bernardino Police Department and other agencies involved in the investigation. They reported that investigators had put in close to 2,000 hours on the case, interviewed over 140 people, and followed up on leads that took them all over California and beyond.
Beverly’s parents and Claude expressed their satisfaction with the police work and their belief that the ki*ller had specifically targeted the family; the crime seemed to be personal, and they didn’t think the perpetrator would target them again. Many of the neighbors, including Ken, apologized to the police the day after the rally and said they had let their fear and rage get the better of them.
Brandi and Tiffani were still missing a month after the mu*rder. If Brandi hadn’t taken her medication for the previous month, her doctor didn’t think she could still be alive, so Claude was concerned that it would be too late to save her. There was a risk that the investigation would end as tips had begun to dry up.
The crime was still unsolved a year later. Over 200 individuals were interviewed, and Claude was one of the few who underwent polygraph testing. Though they were unable to identify any actual persons of interest, detectives were able to quickly rule out Claude as a suspect. Claude was afraid it was a familiar face. “Normally, I get along well with people, so either my wife or I did something wrong.”
One of Beverly’s closest friends and lifelong friend, Claude’s mother, thought that Beverly had died attempting to keep her children from being taken. “Anyone who stood in her children’s way would face her with violence.” She was very protective of them. She was the epitome of what a mother should be.
Despite the fact that authorities were beginning to lose hope that Brandi and Tiffani would be discovered alive, the two were seen multiple times over the following few years, along with Brandi’s father, Roy. Although at first investigators had ruled him out as a suspect, he was taken into custody in Oregon in November of 1979. They discovered pictures of both girls and some of Brandi and Tiffani’s possessions in his house. However, Roy wouldn’t discuss the children because they weren’t present in the house at the time.
In late 1979, there were multiple reports of seeing the girls in Idaho; although the sightings were thought to be authentic, the investigators were unable to find either child. They were hopeful that the girls, who are now 4 and 7 years old, were still alive because of the sightings, but they were unsure of who was in charge of them.
Juanita Iwakiri, a resident of Boise, was detained by police in January 1980 and accused of kid*napping after she acknowledged that the girls had been staying at her house. She subsequently refuted this and said she didn’t know the kids. Although the charges against Brandi were eventually dropped, Juanita was put on trial in May 1981 in connection with Tiffani’s case. She was found guilty of the crime and given a five-year prison term, which she served for less than five months before being released on parole. The Idaho Supreme Court overturned her conviction in 1984.
Investigators learned that both girls had been seen with California resident Lee Allan Casner in December 1979, leading them to arrest Casner in February 1980 in connection with the kid*napping of Brandi and Tiffani. The accusation against Lee, Juanita’s brother, was that he helped mur*der Beverly and ki*dnap her daughters. His sister-in-law Vivian Casner was accused of being an accessory to the ki*dnapping. In the end, these accusations were dropped.
Roy was found not guilty of any of the charges despite being tried for the m*urder of Beverly and the ki*dnapping of Tiffani and Brandi. He was imprisoned for three years while awaiting trial, and following his acquittal, he sued the city of San Bernardino for millions of dollars, claiming that his civil rights had been violated by the arrest and detention. He consented to take a $400,000 settlement in June 1986. He explained to reporters that the police had fabricated the charges against him in order to get the case closed because they couldn’t identify the true murd*erer.
Roy’s ongoing legal battles made sure that Brandi and Tiffani’s names and pictures were featured frequently in local newspapers during the late 1970s and early 1980s, regardless of whether Roy was involved in their abduction. The public’s attention shifted away from the girls’ disappearance investigation and the case was closed after Roy received his settlement from the city of San Bernardino. Detectives are still unsure of the whereabouts of the two young girls and what became of them. They might be living somewhere under false identities, or they might have been k*illed not long after the death of their mother. Sadly, it doesn’t seem like anyone is searching for them anymore.
In March 1977, Brandi Jondell Summers vanished from San Bernardino, California, at the age of five. On the day their mother was murd*ered, Brandi vanished along with Tiffani, her younger half-sister. Although the ki*ller of the girl’s mother has never been identified, detectives believe that she kid*napped the girls. Brandi was 4 feet tall and 50 pounds in weight when she vanished. She also had blonde hair and blue eyes. Brandi, who goes by Jondell in her middle name, has cystic fibrosis and needs to take medication every day to stay well.
When Tiffani Claudette Wise vanished from San Bernardino, California in March 1977, she was only two years old. On the day their mother was ki*lled, Tiffani vanished along with Brandi, her older half-sister. Although the ki*ller of the girl’s mother has never been identified, detectives believe that she kid*napped the girls. Tiffani had reddish-blonde hair and blue eyes. She weighed forty pounds and stood three feet five inches tall when she vanished.
We would appreciate hearing from you if you have any information regarding Beverly Wise’s mur*der or her daughters’ kid*napping. Our number is 909-384-5142.