I can’t find my daughter. On October 18, 1999, a distraught father called 911 in tears. 34-year-old William Bradley “Brad” Jackson claimed that his daughter, Valiree, played outside that morning. When it was time to leave for school, Brad discovered that she was missing, her backpack the only thing left behind on their front doorstep. Valiree was only nine years old.
Everyone knew and loved the little girl with distinctive red hair and a bright smile. The close-knit community immediately rallied together not only to help police search for Valiree but also to comfort Brad, who seemed genuinely devastated. The poor guy couldn’t seem to catch a break. He was a single dad, raising Valiree by himself ever since Valiree’s mother had disappeared seven years earlier.
Police consider possible suspects
The sleepy town outside Spokane, Washington feared the worst — a stranger from outside the community was preying on their children. Tips poured in as neighbors reported sightings of suspicious strangers, but none of them panned out.
Police considered another possibility. Had Valiree’s mother, Roseann Pleasant, abducted her? Roseann had been addicted to drugs at the time of her disappearance. Maybe she had become sober and wanted to reconnect with her daughter.
Not everyone bought Brad’s outward act of the sympathetic grieving parent. John Stone, Roseann’s brother, was suspicious of Brad from the outset. John recalled how Roseann was afraid of Brad throughout their relationship. Brad had been arrested at least once for hitting her.
John knew his sister had struggled with substance abuse. But he didn’t believe that Roseann would abandon her four children and never once contact them. Now that Valiree was also missing, John was confident that Brad was involved somehow and possibly even involved in Roseann’s disappearance.
Police turn their attention to the Jackson home
As investigators searched the Jackson home and delved into Brad’s relationships, they started to uncover troubling clues about Valiree’s home life.
Two red pubic hairs were found in Valiree’s bed, along with a few drops of blood on her pillowcase. The pubic hairs were found to be similar to Brad’s, but investigators couldn’t say for sure how they got there. As for the blood, Valiree was prone to nosebleeds. However, it was odd that there were no tissues, cotton balls, or anything else one might expect to find when trying to stop a nosebleed.
Investigators also uncovered that Valiree had been prescribed the antidepressant Paxil. The usually sweet and easy-going 4th grader had recently started acting out against Brad’s then-girlfriend, Danette Schroder. The two constantly fought, leading Danette to suggest to Brad that Valiree attend counseling.
Police had a gut feeling that Brad was connected to Valiree’s disappearance, but they lacked sufficient evidence to charge him.
Police bait Brad, and he falls for it
Almost two weeks had passed since Valiree’s disappearance, and still, there were no leads. Brad continued to play the part of a worried father, making public pleas for Valiree’s return and raising reward money. But he was also growing increasingly paranoid that he was a suspect. He believed he was being followed by media and nosy neighbors. As it turns out, he was being tailed — but not how he thought.
When police searched Brad’s car and truck, they had secretly placed a GPS tracker in both vehicles. Police then took advantage of Brad’s paranoia and told him not only did they know he k*illed Valiree, but they were going to find her body. They warned him that his days as a free man were numbered.
Brad fell for their bluff. He led police straight to Valiree’s body buried in a remote logging site 60 miles away from his home. She had been moved from a shallow grave in another location miles away. There was no question that Brad had hastily disposed of his little girl. Now investigators needed to prove that he murd*ered her as well.
An autopsy revealed that Valiree had bruising around her nose and mouth. Police believe Brad suffocated Valiree with a pillow before wrapping her head with plastic bags and duct tape, which were found at the burial site and which contained Brad’s fingerprints. Brad then removed Valiree from the home and buried her in a shallow grave. Once that was done, he turned on his acting chops and made the tearful 911 call.
The GPS showed that Brad often passed by the house of his former girlfriend, Danette. Brad and Danette had broken up at this point. Still, prosecutors alleged that Brad was obsessed with her and desperately wanted to win her back. In his sick mind, the only thing standing in his way was Valiree.
As soon as he was arrested, a hopeful Brad called Danette from his jail cell and proposed marriage. Danette wisely said no and cut off all communication. However, it’s hard to feel sympathy for a woman who couldn’t get along with a child and instead convinced her father to put her on prescription medication for depression.
At trial, Brad claimed Valiree died from an overdose of her medication, and he moved her body out of fear that he would be blamed. Thankfully, a jury saw through this lame defense and was justifiably disgusted that a father would bury his child face down in a shallow grave. They had no trouble finding Brad guilty of first-degree mu*rder. He was sentenced to 56 years in prison, which is double the state sentencing guidelines. In 2003, Washington Supreme Court reaffirmed his conviction.
Valiree’s mu*rder prompted investigators to reinvestigate the disappearance of Valiree’s mother, Roseann. Sadly, there was virtually no physical evidence of foul play and few clues to aid investigators other than Roseann’s statements to her brother that she was afraid of Brad.
Roseann’s brother, John, theorized that Brad murd*ered Roseann and then buried her in a construction site. At the time of Roseann’s disappearance, Brad worked for Haskins Steel Co. and could have easily hidden a body in a building’s foundation. Her disappearance remains unsolved.
To put it mildly, it is disturbing to know there are people who can k*ill someone without an ounce of remorse. When the victim is a child, and the murd*erer is the child’s own parent, it’s that much more shocking and sickening.
I believe Brad murd*ered Roseann. In d*eath, I hope mother and daughter are finally reunited. I also hope that one day, Brad will reveal a tiny shred of humanity and confess his crimes so that Roseann’s family can receive a measure of closure.