Status report

YOKNAPATAWPHA COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT

Investigating Officer(s): Det. T. Armstrong, Det. S. Murphy
Incident No.: 004651-29J-2020
Case Description: Frederick Miller death investigation


INVESTIGATION STATUS REPORT SUMMARY
All detailed reports on file.

November 10, 2020

Tipline

An additional 30 calls have been received. Of those calls, 17 were discounted as impossible. 13 of the calls were considered possible but unlikely.

Of the 13 possible but unlikely calls, alibi checks quickly ruled out the persons implicated.

Investigative action:

Follow up on any potentially viable tips.

Phone call

Paul Bragg called Detective Murphy to thank her and Detective Armstrong for their professionalism when they searched the Bragg house.

Mr. Bragg also apologized for his wife's rude behavior when she came home from volunteering at school and was surprised to find that her house was being searched. She cursed at both detectives and yelled at her husband, demanding to know how he could have let this happen.

Mr. Bragg told Detective Murphy that his wife's behavior had become more paranoid and erratic since the search. When Detective Murphy asked if he felt that he or his son was in any immediate danger, he said no. Detective Murphy told him if he did feel threatened to please call 911.

Investigative action:

Ask Patrol to increase drive-bys of the Bragg residence and watch for any signs of disturbance.

Phone call

Detective Murphy called the Crime Lab to see if digital media collected during the search of the Bragg residence (computer, digital camera, and memory cards) had been analyzed and if any pertinent images or other files were found. The lab responded that they should have results later in the week.

Investigative action:

None needed until the Crime Lab has processed the evidence collected.

Witness interviews

Five teenagers, all weekday regulars at Square Pizza, were interviewed about conversations Greg Reis had overheard that seemed suspicious to him.

Brooklynn Danning substantiated the fact that both she and Colton were talking about crossbows and had joked around about killing Mr. Miller. All of these teens exhibited signs of social awkwardness, but Colton Masters showed the highest degree, laughing loudly at inappropriate moments.

All of these teenagers were forthcoming and honest in their answers. Greg Reis had misinterpreted their conversations, and they had nothing to do with the death of Frederick Miller. Detective Murphy and Detective Armstrong reminded the teens that not everyone is familiar with comics and fantasy culture and to be careful when talking about things like crossbows in public.

Investigative action:

None needed.

November 11, 2020

Tipline

An additional 19 calls have been received. Of those calls, 13 were discounted as impossible. Five of the calls were considered possible but unlikely. One call from Claire Rivas was flagged for immediate follow-up.

Of the five possible but unlikely calls, alibi checks ruled out the persons implicated.

An anonymous caller left two messages, insisting that releasing Marc Huddleston was a mistake. No caller ID was available, but the caller sounded like someone trying to disguise their voice. These calls are considered unlikely and a hoax.

Investigative action:

Interview Claire Rivas.

Witness interview

Detectives Armstrong and Murphy interviewed Claire Rivas after she called the tipline to report she had seen Stephanie Bragg practicing archery in the woods shortly before Frederick Miller was killed.

Claire was cooperative but got defensive when asked if she and her friends had been smoking anything illegal in the forest.

Claire said she and her friends Mitch Freedman and Keanu May often hang out in these woods. Unfortunately, neither she nor her friends took any videos or still shots of Stephanie Bragg as she was allegedly practicing archery to corroborate Claire's story.

Investigative action:

Interview Mitch Freedman and Keanu May to find out if they corroborate what Claire Rivas claims she saw.

Search

Detective Murphy and Detective Armstrong knocked on the front door of the Braggs' residence and identified themselves. After a minute, they knocked again loudly. Stephanie Bragg answered shortly thereafter.

When she was notified that they had a court order to collect hair, blood, and fingerprint samples from her, Mrs. Bragg stood there with a blank look on her face. Mrs. Bragg said she didn't understand why investigators needed these samples as they had already done a physical search of her residence.

She was resistant and told the detectives that it wasn't a good time and asked them to return later. She was informed that she didn't have a choice. She finally cooperated but treated the officers rudely, at one point telling them sarcastically, "I hope you find what you're looking for."

The samples were immediately transferred to the Crime Lab, which was informed it was a rush job. The lab promised to forward their preliminary findings as soon as possible and said hair and fingerprints analysis would be completed first.

Investigative action:

None needed until the Crime Lab has processed the evidence collected.

November 12, 2020

Tipline

An additional 15 calls have been received. Of those calls, ten were discounted as impossible. Five of the calls were considered possible but unlikely.

Of the five possible but unlikely calls, alibi checks ruled out the persons implicated.

Investigative action:

Follow up on any potentially viable tips.

Witness interviews

Mitch Freedman and Keanu May were both interviewed at Yoknapatawpha High School. Their accounts were consistent with what Claire Rivas said she had seen.

Investigative action:

Contact Claire Rivas, Mitch Freeman, and Keanu May and set up a time for them to show Detectives Armstrong and Murphy the site in the woods where they had allegedly seen Stephanie Bragg.

Site visit

Detective Murphy and Detective Armstrong picked up Claire Rivas, Mitch Freedman, and Keanu May after school. The teens directed the detectives to the location in the woods at the edge of Holly Springs National Forest.

The teens escorted the detectives to the vantage point where they had observed Stephanie Bragg. In the clearing below, the detectives recovered one crumpled up human silhouette archery target that had holes in it that appeared to have been made by arrows. The paper target has been transferred to the Crime Lab for analysis.

Investigative action:

Re-interview Stephanie Bragg.

Report filed 11/12/2020, 5:30 p.m. by Det. T. Armstrong, 615, and Det. S. Murphy, 633


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