Page 1 of 180 123451151101 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 1793
Like Tree322Likes

Thread: Holly Branagan's Murder Remains Unsolved

  1. #1
    Guest LUCKY13's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Barberton, Ohio
    Posts
    28,156

    new Holly Branagan's Murder Remains Unsolved

    Thirty years later, Holly Branagan's brutal murder remains unsolved.



    Holly Branagan

    BETHLEHEM -Decades after Holly Branagan's murder at her Bethlehem home, police still search for clues. Police know a lot about the brutal, now 30-year-old murder of Holly Branagan, a pretty senior with a bright smile who sang in the concert choir at Freedom High School.

    But her killer remains elusive today, 30 years to the day after the crime.

    Branagan was stabbed 18 times -- 15 of the wounds were "serious" according to an autopsy. The knife came from her kitchen. The attack was so fierce the blade of the knife snapped off in Branagan's back. Her older brother, Sean, found her body the next day.

    Bethlehem Detective Sgt. Mark DiLuzio said he still gets regular phone calls from people interested in the case. There is a suspect list. But the limited amount of forensic evidence adds to investigators' mounting frustration over a case unsolved for three decades.

    "It never has been closed," DiLuzio said. "At least 30 different detectives and investigators have worked on the case.

    "When people look at cold cases they look at it from the perspective of 2009 TV shows like 'CSI.' This was 1979."

    Searching for answers

    DiLuzio and investigator Thomas Galloway hit the case hard since swimming into the file earlier this year. They interviewed 20 to 30 people, spoke to Holly's father, Richard Branagan, submitted evidence for testing and asked an expert to profile the killer. DiLuzio said there are fresh leads, but it's too soon to know if they will bear fruit.

    Richard Branagan, 90, still lives in the home on Pine Top Trail. He expressed weariness about the long search for an answer.

    "I had the detective out here and I don't see any need to talk about it," Branagan said. "I'd just be rehashing it again and I've lived with it for 30 years."

    Other members of Branagan's family met tragic ends. Her mother died two years before the murder and her brother, a Lehigh University student, was killed in an explosion at a gas station six months later. Police said much has been made of the family's foul fortune, but no evidence suggests a link between the siblings' deaths.

    Galloway said people contact him to see if any new clues have popped up. He said the community can't forget the Branagan murder.

    "They can't let go of the thoughts of it," Galloway said. "It is like a scab being picked."

    'I still know her phone number'

    Sally Siegfried, Branagan's childhood neighbor and good friend, said she stopped at Holly's house to pick her up for school March 29, 1979. She honked the car horn and knocked on the front door while the Branagans' dog, Clancy, pawed the window.

    Holly never came out.

    Siegfried went as far as climbing the steps to the second-floor porch to peer into the kitchen for her friend, but something -- she's not sure what -- stopped her. Holly's body was found in the kitchen.

    Siegfried was the first recipient of the Holly M. Branagan award, which goes to a senior in the Freedom choir who exhibits Branagan's personality and joy. The award, which comes with a small scholarship, remains a staple of the school's choral program.

    Galloway said Branagan was smart and popular. Newspaper clips from the time said she planned to attend Penn State University. A page of the insert to the 1979 Freedom yearbook was dedicated to her. It marked her as generous, helpful, happy.

    Siegfried remains hopeful that justice will come to her best friend's killer. There are blogs about the murder and a page on Gonetoosoon.org where a number of people posted virtual "candles" or short notes.

    "I keep thinking somebody will tell me it has finally been solved," Siegfried said. "I hope it is in my lifetime.

    "I still miss her. I still know her phone number."

    'Everyone we are looking at is still alive'

    The detectives believe Branagan knew her killer, and that killers often talk about their deeds.

    But DiLuzio said the investigation froze quickly when the families of the teens police wanted to question refused to allow their children to be interviewed. No one wanted to be associated with the crime, police said.

    Prior to the murder Branagan was talking on the phone with a friend. Someone came to the door of her home and Branagan told the friend she would call her back. She never spoke again.

    Galloway said the murder appears unplanned -- killers with a plan bring their own tools -- and the act's viciousness points to a crime of high emotion. He said Branagan didn't live long into the struggle, but that 30 to 40 seconds might have felt like an eternity to her.

    The murderer may have left behind a few clues. Items sent to a lab earlier this year include hair and fibers. Police also have the knife handle and blade.

    Galloway said police need a confession backed by physical evidence.

    "They talked about it at some point in time," Galloway said of the killer. "They had to have."

    He said the killer would have exhibited post-murder behavior: a change in a routine or some subtle shift in his or her actions or personality.

    "It would have seemed odd, but the person may have explained it away," Galloway said.

    DiLuzio hopes the years of guilt press someone to come forward or that the years have eased some of the fear that halted the initial investigation.

    Galloway declined to reveal the length of the list of suspects, but said "everyone we are looking at is still alive."

    First loves...First kisses...
    My first look at my newborn son...
    When I am cold and dead...
    All these memories will be gone...
    Like tears in rain...
    Join us , as you need to be a member to view attachments,photos and other files. It is free and quick.
    Looking for a case? try an advanced search registering will give you more options
    Follow us on Twitter
    and facebook
    Link Directory


    • Advertising

      advertising
      CrimeCaseFiles.com
      has no influence
      on advertisings
      that are displayed

        
       

  2. #2
    CCF Chief Detective starkrial's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Bedlam aka Bethlehem in Pennsylvania
    Posts
    639

    Default Hope in Holly's case

    Thanks for posting this story on your site. I have been following this story for 30 years and this past January something changed regarding Holly's case. The second week of January if you googled her name, about three sites appeared. Now, thanks to sites like this, goggleing Holly Branagan has about 25 hits.
    Next week the DA is meeting with two detectives from Bethlehem to discuss "new leads". This is really great news for family, friends and others concerned about justice in this case.
    Again, thanks for the post!

    LUCKY13 likes this.

  3. #3
    CCF Chief Detective starkrial's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Bedlam aka Bethlehem in Pennsylvania
    Posts
    639

    Default Holly's story on youtube etc.

    Here are some additional related links. I have the original articles from 1979 but the latest ones seem to cover all that police released.
    Also, I have been blogging with many people in the past few months and some of the theories are pretty out there.
    Any new and/or interesting insights as well as plain old arm chair detective work is welcome. I have been wanting to pick new brains lately.
    When you see the video, you should have some comments!





    Holly Branagan's Murder: 30 Years Later | NBC Philadelphia

    Thanks!

    LUCKY13 likes this.

  4. #4
    CCF Chief Photographer jfriedman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Pennsylvania
    Posts
    98
    LUCKY13 likes this.

  5. #5
    CCF Chief Detective starkrial's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Bedlam aka Bethlehem in Pennsylvania
    Posts
    639

    Default

    Thanks Jim!
    I had tried to post that with the video yesterday and it didn't work.
    This is a great site!


  6. #6
    CCF Chief Detective starkrial's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Bedlam aka Bethlehem in Pennsylvania
    Posts
    639

    Default

    I am laughing at both of us Jim, it did post! So now it's posted twice. Can never get too much information out there.

    LUCKY13 likes this.

  7. #7
    Guest DADOCTOR's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Sydney, Australia
    Age
    40
    Posts
    19,592

    Default

    Thanks to both jfriedman and starkrial for adding content to this case
    This is what Crime case Files is all about

    Feel free to add the article when posting instead of just the link
    you can copy the article and post it here as long as you mention where you got it from

    Thanks guys I look forward to reading more soon

    We want you to Blog Crime Case Files Blog
    (interested ? ask me how)
    TRUST ME I'M DADOCTOR
    It is good to have an end to journey towards;
    but it is the journey that matters in the end
    Join us , as you need to be a member to view attachments,photos and other files. It is free and quick.
    Looking for a case? try an advanced search registering will give you more options
    Follow us on Twitter
    and facebook
    Link Directory


  8. #8
    CCF Chief Detective starkrial's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Bedlam aka Bethlehem in Pennsylvania
    Posts
    639

    Default DA meets with Detectives this coming Tuesday 21 April

    This is great news regarding the case. I agree with the DA, this IS a solvable case. Everyday I read about another cold case that is solved. Or if not solved, about a case that people are still caring enough about to continue working on. Thanks to forums like this we can continue to hope for justice.
    I have created a memorial site for Holly if anyone is interested in lighting a candle, please do.
    Thanks again everyone!



    District attorney to review cold case file of Holly Branaganby Express-Times staff
    Tuesday April 07, 2009, 12:17 AM

    Express Times File Photos
    John Morganelli said that his office will meet with investigators regarding the 1979 murder of Holly Branagan, inset.
    New information and promising leads in the 30-year-old murder case of Freedom High School senior Holly Branagan have prompted Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli to call an April 21 meeting with Bethlehem detectives Mark DiLuzio and Thomas Galloway.

    The outcome of that meeting, which will also include Northampton County Coroner Zachary Lysek, could lead to calling a grand jury. The original investigation in 1979 bogged down when teenagers and others police sought to interview obtained lawyers and refused to talk.

    "The grand jury has tools to compel testimony," Morganelli said.
    The recent conviction of Robert White Jr. for the 1978 murder of Virginia Morrell has increased the optimism that modern technology and persistence can provide closure for families like the Morrells and Branagans.

    "I believe it is a solvable case," Morganelli said Monday.
    The investigators refused to divulge what new information had been gathered but said they welcome the assistance of Morganelli's office and the possibility of accessing the grand jury's investigative power.

    LUCKY13 likes this.

  9. #9
    CCF Chief Detective starkrial's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Bedlam aka Bethlehem in Pennsylvania
    Posts
    639

    Default Articles from the beginning of Holly's Murder

    This forum began with the 30 year anniversary of Holly Branagans murder. The original articles, and there were many, have since gone to archive and have faded along with the 'friends' memories.

    I copied some from microfilm (not great quality) but they do have interesting contradictions. I have compiled lists and lists of questions I would love to ask the investigators but I am just a lay person. I have a gut feeling about the killer. And from all I have discussed and read over the 30 years I do have days when this case just eats away at me.

    I will try to share with you what I have. The following is a from the A&E Cold Case Files Discussion forum that started out in 2005. Some insignificant posts here and there over the years and then when I finally did discover it it started to take off.....

    Here goes, I will add more later but as you will see this really got some people going..... The responses have started some friendships and lots of web sleuthing.

    Re: Who murdered Holly Brannigan? (cold case from 1970's)
    Mar 19, 2008 6:30 PM Report Abuse
    It's impossible to forget what day this was, because it was the same day that Three Mile Island happened.

    My ex wife and I knew the Brannigans. We were young, I was just out of grad school. Dick Brannigan was a sales executive for Lone Star Cement Co., not Beth Steel. He was a great gentleman, a real joy to meet, and his wife was a great , fantastic lady. he was funny, a 'sales guy', complete with the funny golf pants. Always happy, because he was married to a great, gracious lady and had great kids and a great life. My ex was an executive secretary in that sales office, just North of Liberty HS in Bethlehem, across from 'The Cup." The small building, a sales office, is still there, its made of concrete with a Lone Star symbol above the door. A few years before, my ex and a friend of ours, a girl she had gone to business school with who was Dick Brannigan's secretary, a young 20 something girl our age "B", house sat for the Brannigans on Pine Top Trail. We had dinner a few times with the Brannigans. They were a great family, the absolute best, gracious and graceful and funny and warm.

    We were absolutely shocked when this happened, as was anyone who knew them. Several months after this happened, a PI came to see my ex and I. He wanted to ask us some questions, we were glad to help if we could. He sat down He had a theory that Dick Brannigans secretary -- our friend "B"-- was involved. He asked us all kinds of questions about her, and we thought he was nuts. "B" was a young, goofy, vibrant girl. A little quirky maybe, but not dangerous. He was convinced. He said he had disclosed what he knew to the police, but had only anecdotes about her odd behavior. We had only anecdotes about quirky behavior, like the time I came home from college, when they were housesitting for the Brannigans, and she was working on her car in the driveway on a cold clear day in January '77(I think, or might have been '76), draining oil down the hill(!), and randomly replacing the spark plug wires on her 'barracuda.' OK, she wasn't very mechanical. She was a little quirky, a little ditzy. It was endearing. But, that was about it.

    My ex changed jobs, we kind of lost track of "B", but a few months later, she calls us from the 6th floor of the Allentown hospital, the psyche ward. She's being committed, she wants us to come and 'testify' for her. Sure, "B".

    When we get there, she meets with us before the hearing. While she's talking to us, she removes her front teeth/appliance, and is kind of playing with it. Uncomfortable moment. We ask her why she's in here, what is this about, and she just says 'they think I'm crazy.' There are about 30 people there to 'testify' on her behalf.

    The hearing starts. Her live in boyfriend had come home from work at APCI, and had found her naked, in a bedoroom closet, catatonic, clutching a kitchen knife. She was unresponsive. He called an ambulance/state police, she was admitted, this was the hearing. He is incredulous/bewildered.

    One by one, folks started testifying about her. Only...nobody knew her by the same name or history. Her name is "B". Her father works at Betlehem steel. No, her name is "X", her father is in diamond mines in South Africa. No, her live in boyfriend says her name is "Z", her father is a sales executive in Bethlehem. There is very little cross-over among the groups who knew her as a different personality. Amazingly, one of the folks testifying was a former boyfriend, someone we had known her with socially, a psych professor at Allentown College SFD, who claimed to know she was a multiple when they lived together(?!?!?) Like, he was studying his girlfriend. More than a little creepy....

    After the hearing, the group of 30 go to a bar at the Hotel Traylor, to compare notes. At some point, her live in boyfriend, the one she told that her father was a sales executive in Bethlehem, tells us that she once showed him her fathers house, on Pine Top Trail, and he describes the Brannigan's house.

    We're all freaking out. We tell him, that's the Brannigan's house, and we tell him about the unsolved murder of Holly Brannigan.

    He/we are all freaked out. The police know about all this, but there's no 'there' there. There is no proof of anything, other then this girl is disturbed. Her boyfriend quits his job and moves to San Francisco.

    When "B" is released several weeks/months later, she moves to California.

    That is the last I heard of "B".

    My ex and I split right after this. I don't know if this was a factor, but it was very disturbing. Things like this just don't happen to great folks like the Brannigans, except randomly.

    I don't know if "B" did it. Nobody does. The police know about this, but there is nothing actionable. I do know, Holly knew "B", and if she was on the phone and "B" came to the door, she would not have found it out of the ordinary. "Oh, it's "B", Dad's secretary at Lone Star.

    But, the girl was disturbed, and this was sure enough disturbing, and for all anyone knows, her bizarre behaviour was a reaction to the murder. So, who knows?

    The rumours about drugs and all that nonsense was just nonsense. Holly was a great kid, and this is all just incredibly sad, even all these years later--never mind everything that happened to Dicks family after that. It is incomprehensible.

    --
    Edited by frediano at 03/19/2008 4:24 PM

    --
    Edited by frediano at 03/19/2008 4:26 PM

    LUCKY13 likes this.

  10. #10
    CCF Chief Detective starkrial's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Bedlam aka Bethlehem in Pennsylvania
    Posts
    639

    Default

    Just realized Jim Freidman sent that post...LOL

    I am so thrilled to see people get involved I get a little carried away.


Page 1 of 180 123451151101 ... LastLast

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •