Wyoming Police outline investigation into Craigslist Killings

From left to right: Brooke Slocum, Brady Oestrike and Charlie Oppenneer

From left to right: Brooke Slocum, Brady Oestrike and Charlie Oppenneer

WYOMING, Mich – Late Friday afternoon, the Wyoming Police Department released the following press release regarding the ongoing investigation into the Craigslist Killings:

The investigation into the deaths of Charles Oppenneer, Brooke Slocum and her unborn child began with an unoccupied vehicle that was first discovered in the early morning hours of Sunday, July 13, 2014. The vehicle, registered to Charles Oppenneer, was parked in Gezon Park and was investigated by an officer who initially ran queries to determine if it had been reported stolen. Over the next two days, the officer returned and saw that the vehicle had not been moved.

In the very early morning hours on Wednesday, July 16, the officer requested that the Kent County Sherriff’s Department attempt to locate Oppenneer at his parent’s address which was listed on the registration. The officer learned that Oppenneer did not live with his parents at the time and they did not know his current whereabouts. After walking the trails in the wooded area nearby, the officer marked the vehicle as abandoned with a 48 hour sticker. Early that same morning, contact was also made with Oppenneer’s employer who advised that he had not reported for work. Later that morning, around 11:30 a.m., police began a search of the wooded area in the park and located a body, later identified as Oppenneer. During that same time, Oppenneer’s father reported his son as a missing person.

Over the next few hours, investigators were able to determine that Oppenneer had a girlfriend, Brooke Slocum. At that time, investigators did not know what involvement, if any, Slocum had with Oppenneer’s death. Investigators worked to locate an address in Grand Rapids where Slocum was living. Interviews with Slocum’s roommates indicated that she was last seen with Oppenneer late Saturday night. A search warrant for her apartment was obtained and executed at approximately 8:00 p.m. that night. One of the items obtained in the search was Brooke’s laptop computer.
While investigators searched Slocum’s apartment, an extensive and coordinated search of the park was conducted utilizing personnel and resources from within the department as well as those from the Michigan State Police, including the use of a helicopter and a specially trained K-9. The search was unsuccessful in locating Slocum or the missing part of Oppenneer’s body that would later be released to the public.

Early Thursday morning, July 17, investigators took Slocum’s computer to the office of ICAC, the Internet Crimes Against Children located in Rockford, MI, where it could be analyzed for any digital evidence. Investigators also continued their search for Slocum.

At approximately 4:00 p.m., investigators began the process of an emergency request for information from Google after ICAC provided a lead they obtained from Slocum’s computer. Meanwhile, ICAC continued working to obtain more leads.

At approximately 5:00 p.m., ICAC obtained a possible lead and provided Brady Oestrike’s name and address. Detectives immediately began surveillance on Oestrike’s home while other investigators began to prepare a search warrant for the residence. At this time, there was not enough evidence to obtain an arrest warrant for Oestrike, only a search warrant for his home. The information from Google was not provided, therefore a search warrant was also prepared and faxed to Google. The department’s tactical team was notified due to the fact that Oestrike was known to have assault style weapons in his home.

At approximately 8:30 p.m., the search warrant for Oestrike’s residence had been obtained from the Kent County Prosecutor’s Office (based on information from ICAC) and investigators were enroute to meet with a judge for his signature. The tactical team was assembled and on stand-by.

At approximately 9:00 p.m., Oestrike was observed leaving the residence in his vehicle. Although he stopped initially for a high risk traffic stop on Burton St. SW, just east of Burlingame, he fled from the police and crashed into a cement barrier on the northeast corner of the entrance ramp to northbound US131. Oestrike took his own life immediately following the crash.

“As tragic as this case has been, I cannot understate the quality of work and dedication exhibited by our entire staff as they worked tirelessly to locate this missing teenager and her unborn child. The fact that we were able to identify, locate and apprehend the suspect within thirty-three hours makes me extremely proud of the work they do every day”, commented Chief Carmody.

The Wyoming Department of Public Safety continues to investigate the homicides of Charles Oppenneer, Brooke Slocum and her unborn child. Investigators are currently working with the ICAC (Internet Crimes Against Children) task force to analyze evidence recovered from various search warrants. Additional resources and assistance are being received from both state and federal authorities through partnerships with the Michigan Intelligence Operation Center (MIOC) and the FBI’s Violent Crimes Against Persons (VICAP).

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