WYOMING, Mich. (WOOD) – Wyoming police released grisly details Monday about when and how a couple and their unborn baby were killed and what investigators found at the home of the man suspected of the murders.
Wyoming Police Chief James Carmody said Monday during a news conference that Brooke Slocum, 18, was strangled by the suspect, 31-year-old Brady Oestrike, on Thursday after being held captive at his Wyoming home for five days.
The exact cause of death for Slocum’s boyfriend, 25-year-old Charlie Oppenneer, was not as clear, Carmody said. Investigators believe it was some sort of trauma to the head, but the nature of that trauma is unknown.
“We don’t know what trauma was caused because after he was murdered, his head was removed by the suspect,” Carmody said. “We have not been able to locate his head after a very thorough and exhaustive search.”
Carmody said investigators had recovered email communication between Oestrike and Slocum which showed they had planned to meet for sex at Wyoming’s Gezon Park — where Oppenneer’s body was later found — on Saturday.
Slocum offered to have sex with Oestrike if he paid her for it, Carmody said. Oppenneer was to be present at the time, the email showed.
Investigators who searched through Oestrike’s Wyoming home, which Carmody called a “hellish environment,” recovered more than 400 items connected to the case.
Included in those items were dozens of firearms and knives and ammunition. Computers, cameras and electronic monitoring devices – as well as items that belonged to Oppenneer and Slocum – were also found, Carmody said.
Carmody also discussed Oestrike’s criminal history, which included two domestic assault complaints filed by his ex-girlfriend. The first was filed in May and the second was filed in June when Oestrike’s ex moved out of his home, Carmody said.
Investigators have since made contact with the ex-girlfriend, and she is alive and well, according to Carmody.
The next phase in the investigation includes searching the electronic devices found in Oestrike’s home, Carmody said. Investigators are also trying to find any other potential victims and determine whether Oestrike acted alone in the murders.
“We want to be able to walk away at the end of the day and say that we’ve covered all of the things that we need to cover and confident that there are no other victims and also no other suspects,” Carmody said.
The FBI and the Internet Crimes Against Children task force will be assisting in the investigation.
Police were tipped off to the case when they were alerted about an abandoned vehicle at Gezon Park on Wednesday. That’s when police discovered Oppenneer’s body in a wooded area.
The next day, police named Slocum a missing person after she was last seen on July 12. Wyoming police Capt. Kim Koster said police were “very concerned” about her whereabouts.
On Thursday evening, police were sent to Oestrike’s home. There, they wait for a warrant to be issued so they could search the home.
While they were waiting, Oestrike left and drove away, giving chase to police. He then crashed his car on Burton Street SW on the US-131 overpass in Grand Rapids. Police said it was after the crash that Oestrike fatally shot himself in the head.
When officers approached the car, they found Oestrike dead and Slocum’s body in the trunk.
Slocum’s family, who had been out searching for the teen in Gezon Park Thursday, took a wrong turn as they were driving home from the park and inadvertently drove past the crash scene. Slocum’s father, Greg Slocum, told 24 Hour News 8 Sunday he knew what he had witnessed.
“As soon as we crossed that Burton Street overpass, my heart fell into my stomach, and I knew my baby was up there,” he said.
Oppenneer’s family provided a statement that was read at the news conference saying they are thankful for the prayers and sympathize with Slocum’s family.