Police release detailed timeline in Craigslist murders

WYOMING — Police waited nearly four hours outside the home of Brady Oestrike, most of it while waiting to get a search warrant for his home, before he left with 18-year-old Brooke Slocum in his trunk.

Wyoming police Friday released a timeline of the events leading up to the chase that led to Oestrike’s suicide and the discovery of Slocum’s body in the trunk.

They said at 5 p.m. on Thursday, July 17, they developed Oestrike, 31, of Wyoming, as a suspect in Slocum’s disappearance and the death of her boyfriend, 25-year-old Charles Oppenneer. Police had discovered his decapitated body the day before in Gezon Park.  They identified Oestrike as a suspect through Slocum’s computer.

Shortly after 5, Wyoming police began surveillance of Oestrike’s home on Taft Avenue SW, as other officers prepared to get a search warrant. Police said they didn’t have enough evidence for an arrest warrant.

At 8:30 p.m. — three-and-a-half hours after starting the surveillance — they obtained a search warrant from the Kent County Prosecutor’s Office, and then headed to meet with a judge to sign it.

But at 9 p.m., as officers watched, Oestrike left the home, leading to a chase, Oestrike’s suicide and the discovery of Slocum’s body in his trunk.

A death certificate shows Slocum died that day in Oestrike’s home, but it does not list a time of death. Police were not answering any questions.

Oestrike and Slocum met on Craigslist, police say, and along with Oppenneer agreed to meet at Gezon Park in Wyoming on the night of July 12 for sex.

Police said they’ve found an email exchange showing Slocum offered to have sex with Oestrike if he paid her for it. Oppenneer was to be present at the time, the email showed.

Oestrike then killed Oppenneer at the park. Oppenneer’s death certificate shows he died on July 13, but it doesn’t specify a time.

His cause of death remains uncertain. Authorities say he sustained a trauma to the head that killed him — but the nature of that trauma is unknown because he was decapitated after death and his head has not yet been recovered.

The cause of death on his death certificate reads “homicide by unspecified means.”

Police say Oestrike then held Slocum in his home for five days before strangling her on Thursday, July 17.

Police were outside his home that evening when he drove away, leading to a chase. That chase ended when Oestrike crashed on the Burton Street bridge over U.S. 131, where he shot himself in the head. Officers then found Slocum’s body in the trunk of his car.

Her death certificate shows she died of “ligature strangulation” — which means he choked her with a cord-like object. Her unborn child also died.

That led to a three-day search of Oestrike’s home by police, who said they recovered more than 400 pieces of evidence — including firearms, swords and medieval weapons — as well as computers and cameras. Police called it a “hellish environment.”

Brooke Slocum’s father, Greg Slocum, had nothing but praise for the police.

“Wyoming police did an awesome job,” he said. “I believe they did everything they could.”

Oestrike worked as an electrical lineman for The Hydaker-Wheatlake Co., a Consumer Energy contractor based in Reed City.

Several co-workers say he had worked at least some of the days while holding Slocum captive in his home. They say police have seized documents from the company’s local headquarters on Clay Avenue SW in Wyoming.

A source at the company said police also seized his company vehicle and have searched it for evidence.

Relatives said they believe Oestrike must have “snapped” and blamed it on recent break-ups with women. They described him as a good uncle to his nieces and nephews who had helped build churches in Haiti.

But a woman who described herself as a friend said he had a darker side and had fantasized about killing people with his bare hands and killing himself.

She said he used Craigslist to find others interested in bondage and sexual dominance and kept restraints, handcuffs and sex toys all over his home.

 

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