‘Homicide Hunter: Lt. Joe Kenda: Night Terrors’ on Investigation Discovery tells the story of how Cheryl Brantner, a 42-year-old mother of three, was discovered dead in the toilet of her Colorado Springs, Colorado, apartment in the middle of December 1992. The novice culprit left a mountain of evidence behind, which allowed the police to crack the case in a matter of hours. We’ve got your back whether you’re curious to learn more about the case, the killer, or how Cheryl passed away. So let’s get started, shall we?
How Did Cheryl Brantner Die?
Bill Brantner, who was 18 at the time, got up at 6:00 am on December 14, 1992, and got ready for school as normal. Before looking for something to wear, he awakened his younger brothers. When Bill couldn’t locate his red jumper, he shouted out to his mother Cheryl Brantner but got no answer. When he entered his parents’ bedroom, he heard the shower running but was unable to see his mother. Bill peered inside, assuming Cheryl couldn’t hear him over the steam, to discover his mother face-down in the bathtub with the shower running overhead.
The investigators responded to his 911 call and found the residence in northeast Colorado Springs on a cul-de-sac. Cheryl, 42, works as a maternity nurse at Penrose Hospital, according to the programme. They initially assumed Cheryl slipped and fell accidently after noticing light blood streaks around the bathtub’s rim. Her right eye had a severe cut above it when the investigators turned her over. They believe she was in the shower blocking the drain when she slipped, fell, banged her head, and became unconscious before dying in the tub that was filling up.
The coroner’s findings, though, showed something quite different. Her death was attributed, according to the postmortem, to a subdural hematoma, a severe bruise on the brain tissue that fractured several veins and arteries. The medical examiner came to the conclusion that the severe injury could not have been caused by a simple slip and fall. That terrible wound required multiple blows from a blunt object to the sufferer. The mother of three, 42, had been brutally murdered before being put in the tub, according to the many head blows.
Who Killed Cheryl Brantner?
The cops searched the entire residence for evidence of a struggle or a forced entry. Additionally, neither the bathroom nor the bedroom walls had any blood splatters. Though it was exceedingly unusual for someone to do their laundry so early, the bed, stripped of everything but the pillow covers, aroused questions. No blood was found on or above the bed after a closer investigation by the CSI. Bill waited in the kitchen with the other officers and his younger brothers, Scott and Mike.
The police discovered that Robert “Bob” Brantner, the father, was an early riser and taught vocational arts at a nearby high school. Further questioning revealed that the kids claimed to have heard a scream at the crack of dawn, corroborating the police’s suspicions of possible foul play. One of the little boys admitted to the cops that he went to his parents’ room to check something out but came back once the screams subsided. He explained that Cheryl experienced horrific instances of night terrors. Thus, when the screaming stopped, the child did not give it any thought.
Around nine in the morning, Bob was taking a class in the school’s wood shop when the detectives first ran into him. The police followed Bob to the teacher’s lounge where they questioned him more after notifying him of the untimely loss of his wife. When they received a pager from the coroner informing them that the death was a homicide, the interview’s direction was altered. The investigators spoke with Bob’s coworkers while the art teacher was being escorted down to the station and learned that he was apparently an excellent father, a Boy Scout leader, and a committed public school teacher.
When the police investigated Bob’s truck, they discovered a love letter in the glove box. The initials “L.D.Z.” at the bottom made it clear that it wasn’t from his late wife. The police questioned whether the likelihood of an affair was the reason. Bob was not as stupid as he seemed to be, as they learned when they found a bag full of bloodied linen sheets in the trunk of the car. The homicide investigators instructed the C.S.I. to search the bedroom once more as they began hunting for the unidentified woman.
The Brantners’ neighbour, Laura D. Zirchner (L.D.Z. ), was shortly discovered by the authorities to live two homes down. They conducted an interview with her and discovered that she was a single, divorced mother of two. She acknowledged having a two-year adulterous relationship with Bob. Bob, whose children were in the same Boy Scout group as her own, was someone Laura had always liked. The adoration for the Boy Scout leader quickly developed into a romance, and according to Laura, Bob frequently dropped by before leaving for school to pick up the lunch she had made for him.
Where is Robert Brantner Now?
The C.S.I. reported finding a bloody three-foot length of a two-by-four plank jammed behind the wooden headboard, confirming the investigators’ suspicion that Robert Brantner, also known as Bob, was the murderer. It was initially out of the cops’ initial range of vision because it was so neatly concealed. When confronted with the evidence against him, Bob originally made up the story that Cheryl had fallen in the bathtub after sliding and banging her head against the headboard during a heated fight with Bob.
He was unable to explain the bloody board concealed in the bedroom or the bed sheets in his car, though. The prosecution conjectured that Cheryl might have erupted into a tantrum and threatened to kidnap Bob’s children after finding out about his affair. They asserted that Bob lost his composure, repeatedly smacked her in the head, and orchestrated the crime scene to make it appear accidental. He received a 40-year sentence after being found guilty of second-degree murder on February 18, 1994. Given that his name does not appear on the prison roster, Robert Brantner, who is now in his 70s, is assumed to be on parole.