Sister: Oestrike must have ‘snapped’

Brady Oestrike (undated file photo)

WYOMING, Mich. (WOOD) — The sister of the suspect in the murders of a man and woman, along with the woman’s unborn child, said her brother must have “snapped.”

“I’m totally in shock,” said Brady Oestrike’s sister, Barbara Miling, of Dorr. “I know everyone is portraying him as a monster, but he wasn’t a monster.”

Police Friday were releasing little about Oestrike, 31, of Wyoming, or the motive behind the killings of Charlie Oppenneer and Oppenneer’s girlfriend, Brooke Slocum, who was 8 months pregnant.

Brooke Slocum and Charles Oppenneer (courtesy photos)
(Brooke Slocum and Charles Oppenneer (courtesy photos)

Oestrike committed suicide after crashing his car on the Burton Street SW bridge over US-131 in Grand Rapids Thursday night, police said during a news conference Friday morning

They said Oestrike had connected with Slocum through a Craigslist ad on Saturday.

Miling said her brother had been trying to meet women through on-line dating services. He told her he had recently met a woman who later stole from him, she said.

“All he wanted in life was to be married and start a family,” Miling said. “I think he searched in the wrong direction.”

Miling described her “baby brother” as a good uncle to her children and said he had helped build churches in Haiti.

“In 31 years, I’ve never seen him get angry. That’s why it was just a shock,” she said. “He freaked. It doesn’t sound like him. He was always in control. He was a lineman, he knew what to do in stress.”

A long-time friend said he can’t believe Oestrike would kill.

“I know all this that’s going on, from the front it looks bad, but there’s always more behind it, so I hope it all gets just exposed for everything it is,” his friend, Andrew Weener, told 24 Hour News 8.

Weener and Oestrike had met as kids at a church in Byron Center. Oestrike recently stood up at his wedding.

“He was straightforward, a blunt type of guy, but still very kind at heart,” Weener said.

Oestrike worked as an electrical lineman for a Reed City-based company. Company officials refused to comment.

His only criminal conviction was a misdemeanor larceny more than 10 years ago in Grandville. He lived in a home on Taft Avenue SW in Wyoming owned by his father.

Oestrike had posted a profile on Dungeons and Dragons and had a Facebook alias named “Joat Amos,” though some friends called him grizzly bear.

He also collected weapons and posted often about guns on his Facebook page.

Police said they seized assault-type rifles from his home, but they weren’t saying how many.

Detectives and forensics officers were still searching the home on Taft late Friday afternoon.

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