Brandy Lynn Myers was a 13-year-old student at Sunnyslope Elementary School in Phoenix, Arizona. She had been diagnosed with brain damage, and according to her mother, she was a naive child.
On May 26, 1992, Brandy and a friend went around their Sunnyslope neighborhood collecting money for a school read-a-thon. Brandy was just $6 away from her goal.
It was approximately 8 PM when they stopped outside Smitty’s grocery store. Brandy’s friend went inside while she waited in the parking lot on the corner of 10th and Hatcher Streets. When they returned outside, Brandy was gone.
Authorities spent several weeks searching throughout Sunnyslope for the missing girl. On the second day of searches, police found a decomposed body by the Central Arizona Project Canal.
It took until 2011 for the body to be identified as 16-year-old Shannon Aumock. After spending her childhood jumping from one foster care home to another, Shannon had run away. No one reported the teen missing.
It has always been speculated that Brandy and Shannon were harmed by the same person.
Sadly, Brandy was never found, and the case went cold for many years. That is, until 2015 when a man who called himself the “Zombie Hunter” was arrested.
Bryan Patrick Miller, known by locals for his alter ego and driving around in his old customized police car, was 43 years old and living with his teenage daughter when familial DNA connected him to two murd*ers from the early 1990s.
22-year-old Angela Brosso and 17-year-old Melanie Bernas had been riding their bikes when Bryan attacked them and disposed of their bodies near the Arizona Canal. His criminal record dates back to 1989 and shows a pattern of violence towards women.
When Brandy disappeared, she was just two doors down from Bryan’s house. Her younger sister, Kristin Thelen, recalls frequently passing by it,
”He lived three blocks from my house and one block from our school. So we walked by him every single day. We had no idea we were living by this monster.”
Bryan’s ex-wife, Amy, believes he confessed to mu*rdering Brandy and says there are likely more victims — Shannon may be one of them. At the time, however, Amy wasn’t sure if Bryan’s stories were real or intimidation tactics.
“He told me some teenage girl, probably in her mid-teens, had come to the door and she was trying to deliver Girl Scout cookies, or something similar to that. And he hadn’t even ordered any, but he told her to come inside for a minute. And when she did … (Bryan) attacked and k*illed her.”
Bryan told her he had stabbed and cut the girl’s throat. Amy continued to explain how he had put the body in the bathtub and accidentally ran hot water, increasing blood flow rather than stopping it.
“So he cut her up, put her in bags and put her in his big trash can. He said he stored it in his house until trash day, and then he just put the trash out.”
One of the reasons authorities believe Bryan told his wife a true story was because he had mentioned the girl seemed mentally handicapped. Kristin also believes in Amy and wants to see Bryan convicted of Brandy’s murder.
Unfortunately, Maricopa County Attorney’s Office determined there was no chance of a conviction due to insufficient evidence, particularly the lack of a body.
Bryan has been in custody since his arrest. After several delays, his trial began on October 3 of this year. Although he has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, he faces the dea*th penalty if convicted of Angela and Melanie’s mu*rders.
The Canal K*iller may no longer be a free man, but Kristin hopes he will face justice for Brandy’s disappearance,
“There’s nothing in my mind that says, ‘It’s OK, he’s in jail forever, no.’ He’s actually looking at the d*eath penalty, but he’s looking at the de*ath penalty for Angela Brosso and Melanie Bernas. They’re also looking at him for four more mur*ders. I believe each woman who lost her life to this man deserves a charge.”
Kristin has struggled since Brandy vanished thirty years ago, not only because she lost a sister but because of the guilt. She was supposed to collect money with her that evening,
“I understand that I have survivor’s guilt and remorse. And I definitely blamed myself for Brandy’s disappearance and now that I’ve worked through those things, I’m stronger — but it hurts every day.”